8:30 a.m. | Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission meets.
9 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and others visit Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School to announce new awards through the Skills Capital Grant Program.
9 a.m. | Massachusetts Public Health Association holds its annual conference virtually.
10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Major Gen. Gary Keefe, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, celebrate the Guard's 386th birthday at the State House.
10 a.m. | Board of Higher Education meets with plans to discuss legislative and budget priorities for next year.
10 a.m. | Governor's Council holds a hearing on Gov. Baker's proposal to commute the first-degree murder sentencing of Ramadan Shabazz to second-degree murder.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to review and evaluate the two applications for mobile sports betting tied to Encore Boston Harbor: from WynnBet and Caesars Sportsbook.
12:30 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu appears live on GBH's Boston Public Radio 89.7 for "Ask the Mayor"
1 p.m. | Governor's Council holds a hearing on Gov. Baker's recommended pardon of Cheryl Lefave and Gerald Amirault, who were convicted of sexually abusing young children in the 1980s contested Fells Acres case.
Gov.-elect Maura Healey has made her first hires, turning to two veterans of the Patrick administration to run her office and oversee the state’s nearly $53 billion budget.
University of Massachusetts Associate Vice President for Administration and Finance Matthew Gorzkowicz will take over in January as secretary for administration and finance, helping Healey to build her first state budget, which is due March 1.
Healey has also hired First Assistant Attorney General Kate Cook to become her new chief of staff, and Gabrielle Viator, currently chief deputy attorney general, will come into the new administration as senior advisor.
The role of budget secretary is integral to any administration, playing a prominent role in the development of most major policies and programs, in addition to developing short- and long-term operating and capital spending plans for the state.
Healey made tax relief one of her key priorities during her campaign, promising to pursue at least some of the reforms championed by Gov. Charlie Baker that fell just short in the Legislature this session. Baker has also said the new administration and lawmakers will need to act quickly to recapitalize programs like MassWorks after borrowing for economic development was stripped from a final spending bill last month due to its timing.
Healey said that in Gorzkowicz she had found someone with a “proven record” working with state finances at a time when inflation has injected a level of economic uncertainty into a stretch otherwise notable for record tax revenues and billions in federal aid the state still has to spend.
Prior to UMass, Gorzkowicz served in various roles in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance under former Gov. Deval Patrick, leaving in 2013 after a stretch as undersecretary. He has also worked in the state Senate, Department of Mental Health and for the School Building Authority.
Cook, who once served as chief legal counsel to Gov. Patrick, was a partner at Sugarman Rogers where she chaired the firm’s government law and election law divisions before returning to the public sector to join the Office of the Attorney General. Like Gorzkowicz, she has also worked in the Legislature and the legal department for the city of Boston.
“With her strong background serving both in state and city government as well as the private sector, I’m confident that she is the best person to lead our office and build a team that’s going to deliver real results for people,” Healey said.
Cook will have help from Viator, who has previously worked as Healey’s chief of staff and senior policy advisor in the Attorney General’s Office before taking on her current role.
“Gabe has been a close and trusted advisor to me for many years, and I’m thrilled to have her guidance with us in the Governor’s Office,” said Healey.
These first official hires into the new administration come more than a month after Healey won her race for governor, allowing anticipation and questions to build about how the governor-elect planned to operate and who she would tap to build a new executive team.
With her inauguration set for Jan. 5, Healey still has numerous high-profile positions to fill inside and outside of her Cabinet, from finding a new MBTA general manager to someone to fill the new secretary of housing role she plans to create.
— House puts medical examiner bill back on the table
The Legislature’s work is not yet done for the year. The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that the House has resurrected a plan to require the state’s chief medical examiner to personally review and approve all autopsies of children younger than 2. A similar measure was dropped from the annual state budget during negotiations with the Senate as it ran into opposition from Gov. Charlie Baker, but it’s back on the table with the House sending a bill to the Senate Monday with just three weeks to get it on Baker’s desk and signed. The Senate’s main co-sponsor Sen. Cindy Friedman was caught off guard by the proposal being given new life by House leaders, but she told the Globe it was definitely a possibility that it could get done at the eleventh hour.
— Department lawmakers bid farewell
In addition to actual legislating, House and Senate lawmakers were back on Beacon Hill Monday to hear from their colleagues who won’t be joining them for a new session when the Legislature gavels back in the New Year. The farewell speeches featured plenty of thank yous and nostalgia from political battles of yore, as well as a few parting shots and moments of honesty. Rep. Tami Gouveia, an Acton Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, challenged her House colleagues to step up in areas where she said the Legislature was failing its constituents. “We could be doing a lot more for all of our residents,” she said. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz also reflected on the fights with leadership that cost her politically over the years, particularly in the case of the Student Opportunity Act, and times when she felt she didn’t uphold her own high standards for herself. The SHNS team has a full rundown, while MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz recaps Sen. Eric Lesser’s remarks on the importance of bridging the East-West divide.
— The checks have been mailed
You should have received your tax refund from the state by now. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that the Baker administration has finished distributing roughly $2.75 billion in income tax refunds under the excess revenue law known as 62F to eligible taxpayers who had filed their tax returns by the end of October. The remaining refunds – Auditor Suzanne Bump certified $2.95 billion in excess revenues – will be sent once eligible taxpayers submit any outstanding returns for the 2021 tax year. The checks equated to about 14 percent of filers tax liability in 2021.
— Wu pushed on housing
GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports that the Boston City Council is growing impatient with Mayor Michelle Wu over housing, urging the mayor to act to expand the city’s inclusionary development policy to create more affordable units. Wu has voiced support for a change, but has yet to act. Wintersmith writes that a new study with recommendations on policy changes could arrive as soon as this week.
— Medford’s Green Line greeted with joyous crowds
The trains were greeted by crowds fit for royals. The first Green Line trolleys servicing Medford on the last stretch of the Green Line Extension rolled down the tracks Monday to the joy of exuberant commuters. SHNS’S Sam Drysdale has more on the excitement and celebration of the completion of a long-awaited transit project. “I’ve Just Got One Word: Finally,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said.
— The history and fallout of redlining in Worcester
This piece on the history of redlining in Worcester is definitely worth a read. The Worcester Business Journal’s Kevin Koczwara documents how housing policies designed nearly a century ago continue to hold some neighborhoods, and the city, back.
— Hate crimes on the rise
Hate crimes in Massachusetts were up 31 percent last year over the previous 12 months, reports the Herald’s Rick Sobey. The alarming trend saw 407 incidents motivated by hate, with Black residents the most frequent targets followed by crimes against Jewish residents, gay males and Asians.
— In Beverly, developers race to get ahead of building height limits
Developers and landowners in Beverly are taking action to lock in current zoning regulations as the city council considers new caps on building height, Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports. Some councilors want a three-story limit on all buildings in the city, but filing preliminary plans ahead of any changes means current zoning rules can be locked in for eight years.
— Pittsfield man sentenced to 14 months for Jan. 6 attack on cops
Pittsfield resident Troy Sargent was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, during which Sargent assaulted law enforcement officers. Sargent pleaded guilty in June to charges, including felony counts of assaulting officers. MassLive’s Tom Matthews reports Sargent’s own social media posts about the day were among the evidence prosecutors amassed against him.
— Going down: Gas prices back to pre-Ukraine war levels
Gasoline prices in the Bay State are back to the same levels as before the Russian invasion of Ukraine amid a sharp drop over the last week, Stephen Peterson of The Sun Chronicle reports. Amid lower demand, drivers could see the price at the pump falling below $3 in many markets before the end of the year.
— For Bay State College, high-stakes hearing with accreditors awaits
The Boston Business Journal’s Benjamin Kail sets the stage as Bay State College and its for-profit owner Amblow Education face a hearing next month before the New England Commission on Higher Education. Kail reports the school recently laid off several staffers and that the office of Attorney General Maura Healey has been trying to gather more information about the current state of affairs at the school.
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