10:00 | Lawmakers and immigrant rights advocates host press conference in support of a bill concerning language access and inclusion (HD 3616 / SD 1066). Reps. Madaro and Gonzalez and Sen. DiDomenico filed the bill. | 1 Beacon St., 15th Floor, Boston, RSVP to email@example.com
10:30 | Rep. Bud Williams, Dr. Gloria Williams and Springfield Mayor Sarno host the 37th Annual Service of the Raising of the Black American Heritage Flag | Springfield City Hall
10:30 | U.S. Sen. Markey participates in a press conference hosted by Stop the Oil Profiteering "to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for driving up gas prices, pinching the pocketbooks of working families, and exploiting Russia’s ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine as they rake in record profits for their top executives and shareholders," according to the Senator's office | Livestream
12:30 | Thriving Minds, the Rennie Center, the Massachusetts Mental Health Consortium, and Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition offer a virtual workshop on universal mental health screening in schools. | More Information
3:30 | Mass. High Technology Council hosts webinar on the state of collaboration between community colleges and business leaders | Register
5:00 | Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holds its second virtual public meeting on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed New England Wind project. | Zoom
Maura Healey is starting to get a bit of a “Gov. Wait and See” rap in certain quarters of the State House, as she tells reporters (aka “certain quarters”) that issues like the T and tax credits and the housing crisis deserve a strong response, and that response is coming soon. There’s a feeling that with an election that was a foregone conclusion, and a transition that was fairly lengthy, we should be seeing more specifics by now. Yesterday on WGBH, Healey said her package of new tax credits, for child care and other purposes, will be, in fact, coming soon.
Today brings a formal session in the House, the first of the year, at which the major business is adopted of rules for the 2023-24 session; highlight there is expected to be the end of the rule allowing remote voting on House roll calls, a pandemic contrivance. It’s likely to result in more activity in the frequently-quiet State House, though formals and roll calls are arguably too few and far between.
Expect the House to seat Kristin Kassner, who incumbent Len Mirra by a single vote after a recount. The building will also be keeping its eye on the Senate Democratic caucus across the hall. And of course tongues will be wagging, most Republican legislators will be applauding, and pundits will be assessing the meaning of Jim Lyon’s ejection at long last as state GOP chair after the party careened disastrously to the right in the last election cycle.
Lyons unseated at last as GOP party chair
It was close, it was in doubt up to the end, but the state Republican party has a new chairperson and a new era has begun after Tuesday night’s vote in Marlborough. Whether the dissension and divisiveness have ended is a different matter.
Boston Globe | Boston Herald | WBUR
Sports Betting opens
After years of anticipation, the commencement of sports betting in Massachusetts proceeded — well, eventfully, because the casinos and public officials made an event of it all, but apparently without difficulties or snafus.
CBS-Boston | WCVB | MassLive
Still closed: Despite injunction, Woburn teacher strike reaches third day
Schools in Woburn are closed again after another day of negotiations failed to produce an agreement between the district and striking teachers. Talks will resume today, according to Max Larkin of WBUR, who also explores what impact the walkout could have on a push by the Mass. Teachers Association to get lawmakers to restore the legal right of public teachers unions to strike.
No tax credits for you, not now anyway
Alison Kunitz of MassLive reviews Gov. Healy’s past comments on the tax credit question, and her appearance yesterday “Boston Public Radio,” when she said she’s still studying the options. House Speaker Ron Mariano sounded a similar strain, saying he wants to see how inflation and the economy perform. The News Service’s Chris Lisinski runs down the issues still being mulled, and the governor’s time with Jim and Margery.
MassLive | State House News Service
Healey promises to be pretty transparent, but won’t file open-records legislation
Gov. Healey told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan yesterday she will comply with the state’s open-records law, from which the governor is exempt, except when she deems it appropriate not to. She said she won’t file legislation ending the executive exemption.
Party-line vote recommends seating Kassner
Today marks the last day that Rep. Lenny Mirra’s Wikipedia page can refer to him as a rep in the present tense, after a special House committee voted on party lines to give the seat to Kristin Kassner, who lost by 11 votes in the initial count, but won by a single vote in the recount. Observers are still wondering why Mirra didn’t dispute the election before it was certified Dec. 8.
Salem News | State House News Service
Wu files the home-rule petition needed to reinvent the BPDA
It was a lynchpin of her State of the City Speech and it’s central to her strategy to change how Boston does housing – Boston Mayor Michelle Wu filed the home-rule petition with the City Council to dissolve the two entities making up the Boston Planning and Development Agency, and replace them with a single department with the same name but a new mission. “This home rule petition will formally end the decades-old urban renewal mission of eradicating so-called ‘blight and decay,’ and rededicate our resources toward Boston’s urgent needs: resiliency, affordability, and equity,” the mayor told the Council in her filing.
Mayor defends The Embrace at mayors’ conference
The Globe reports that Wu spent part of her time at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors defending “The Embrace,” the Boston Common sculptural tribute to Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, which has generated some criticism and snickers since its unveiling.
Sec. of State Galvin turns down his raise; Goldberg takes hers
Secretary William Galvin said yesterday he’ll forgo the 20 percent raise he had coming to him under the automatic-pay hike law passed in 2017 (officials’ pay can also fall if average Mass. salaries do.). He’ll continue to make $179,367. Treasurer Deb Goldberg, whose family created the Stop and Shop fortune, yesterday said she’d take the raise. All other constitutional officers have previously said they’d accept it.
SHNS story examines not just salaries, but ‘travel stipend of $22,723.27’
The state House News Service has a cracking good exposition of the legislative pay collected last year by everyone from the Senate President and House Speaker to the lowliest Republican – though it turns out, lowly Republicans are doing quite nicely, thank you.
Wasn’t Majority Leader Tarr SURPRISED, though!
In yesterday’s edition, I referenced Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), as a D. Apologies to all. —C.S.
Buy your lobsters while ye may!
Well, at their current prices anyway. The vast pot-trap, trawling and lobster grounds between Cape Ann and Plymouth will be closed immediately for three months, NOAA said, to prevent injury to Northern Right Whales.
T victim’s father says he may sue over her Green Line accident
Andrew Harlow, father of a young woman who lost part of her leg and whose skull was fractured in a Green Line accident Friday, tells the Herald he’s retained an attorney and he believes the accident was preventable.
Date rape drug testing would become more accessible under Feeney’s bill
In cases where people have apparently been the victim of “date rape” drugging, but not of rape or assault, hospitals often can’t or won’t test for the drugs. That would change under legislation filed by Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough).
New secretary speaks, call heard for more teacher support
The Rennie Center for Education held its 10th annual Condition of Education conference, and honestly? The condition of education is kind of a mess. That’s not being educators aren’t giving their best for the most part to support their students — but both those students and the staffers themselves are still in something of state of shell shock from the pandemic. That’s why new Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler’s mantra yesterday was “stabilize, heal transform.” And he had his audience give a group cheer of “Together!”, hearkening back to his middle school basketball days. Like the governor, Tutwiler said he will soon put specifics on his promises to move education forward.
State House News Service
No sweat: Some North Shore communities see little impact from T-housing law
Planning officials in several North Shore communities say there won’t be any heavy lifting involved with complying with a new state law mandating more multi-family housing be built in cities or towns within the MBTA’s service area. Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports many communities already have the apartment-friendly zoning and dense housing the law is meant to spur.
Ride along: Amherst Community Responders busy in first 5 months
Five months after it launched amid calls for police reforms, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette catches up with the Community Responders Equity, Safety and Service teams in Amherst and finds them doing outreach to homeless individuals, driving residents to medical appointments and helping undocumented immigrants who arrive in town get schooling and other services.
The Berkshire County four lay out legislative priorities
The four lawmakers representing Berkshire County on Beacon Hill–down from five a year ago after redistricting–say they’re ready to go to battle for their hometowns and have largely the same priorities as in past years: Finally getting commuter rail service extended further west and outfitting more rural communities with high-speed broadband. The Berkshire Eagle’s Sten Spinella has the details.
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