Happening Today:

9:00 | Mass. Health Insurance Connector Authority Board meets

9:00 | MBTA Board of Directors Audit and Finance Subcommittee meets virtually

10:00 | Mass. Gaming Commission meets and is expected to get a report from its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau on compliance at Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor with the commission-approved list of events that can be wagered on. Commissioners anticipate going into an executive session to "discuss the details of any ongoing investigation related to the licensees' compliance with the Approved Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog," according to the agenda

10:00 | Cannabis Control Commission meets and is expected to return to its debate around telehealth allowances for initial medical marijuana consultations, the ability for medical marijuana dispensaries to sell products curbside, and the authorization for cannabis companies to hold virtual community outreach meetings.

11:00 | Sen. Lewis, Sen. Comerford, Rep. Khan and Rep. Decker host a briefing on alcohol use and policies in Massachusetts. They will discuss legislation to increase the excise tax on alcoholic beverages. (HD 3101 / SD 931) Boston University School of Public Health professor David Jernigan will discuss recent report on the effects of alcohol policies, where he found alcohol causes one in 20 deaths in Massachusetts.....Nurses Hall

For folks seeking greater transparency on Beacon Hill in the Maura Healey era, watchdogs say: Don’t hold your breath.

Debate déjà vu is brewing in the Legislature, where state senators today will take up a pair of bills governing the rules of engagement for the current two-year legislative session.

The rules determine the lawmaking process and how publicly accessible it will be.

Thursday’s discussion and inevitable vote are likely to resurrect the same disagreement over whether to make public the votes taken in legislative committees that stymied House and Senate attempts at reaching an agreement during the last go-around.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano again refused to budge on the issue during his chamber’s rules debate last week — barely pausing to take a breath, let alone hear the voice vote as he blew through an amendment by Somerville Rep. Erica Uyterhoven that would have put the votes in the public record.

Uyterhoven told MASSterList she was “unsurprised” given “it’s not the first time we’ve seen this amendment fail. But I’m committed to keep pushing.”

It’s standard practice in Congress and in most state Legislatures for committee votes to be readily accessible to the public. But in Massachusetts, where much lawmaking happens behind closed doors, watchdogs have been known to nickname the State House one of the “least transparent” legislative bodies in the nation.

The Senate has been pushing for progressive steps toward greater transparency for several sessions, including for greater access to public testimony — which senators are seeking once again. But Progressive Massachusetts Policy Director Jonathan Cohn cautioned, “there seems to be a backslide on transparency in the Senate.” Alongside the list of transparency measures, Democratic leaders are also pushing to remove term limits for the senate president. Regardless of how the rules debate goes, Cohn said the proverbial doors won’t slam shut on opportunities to grow transparency in Massachusetts this legislative session.

Gov. Maura Healey has promised to help shine a light in areas of Massachusetts government that have been historically dark. Whether that happens remains to be seen. Massachusetts is the only state where the governor’s office and the Legislature both claim to be completely exempt from public records law.

Game on: Encore expansion gets go-ahead from state regulators

After debating voters’ intent on the 2013 casino referendum that paved the way for the Everett casino, state regulators OK’d Encore’s proposed expansion for a second building across the street that will host a dedicated poker room, a second sports betting parlor, a relocated nightclub, a theater, parking garage and more. 

State House News Service | Commonwealth Magazine

Sununu sets sights on national office, new fundraising committee suggests

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu took his most significant stride yet toward a White House bid with the launch of his “Live Free of Die” political fundraising committee, which takes its name from his state’s nickname, NBC Boston reports.

Terror on the T: The saga of safety hazards and concerns continues

Two T riders from Louisiana who ended up in a pile at the bottom of a malfunctioning escalator have filed suit against the MBTA and the escalator company, claiming to have suffered serious injuries, Universal Hub reports.

Closing costs: Hidden fees drive up home prices and pad lawyers’ pockets

WBUR’s Beth Healy digs into title insurance, an unregulated coverage market that costs homebuyers thousands while funneling hidden fees into lawyers pockets, this exclusive investigation reveals.

A mother accused of murder faces a judge

The 32-year-old Cohasset mother accused of killing her three young children in a postpartum psychosis faced a judge — via video from her hospital bed — for the first time on Wednesday. The Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill rounds up the coverage here.

MassLive | NBC Boston

Room to grow: Poll pegs Healey’s early favorability at 42 percent 

Forty-two percent of Mass. residents have a favorable view of Gov. Maura Healey while more than a third have yet to form a solid view of her leadership, a new MassINC poll shows. According to MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz, 21 percent had an unfavorable view of Healey, while 15 percent said they had not even heard of her. 


The survey also yielded warning signs for some of the Bay State’s other top pols, pollster Steve Koczela explains via CommonWealth. Just 44 percent of respondents said they want to see U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren seek re-election in 2024, while U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark — despite climbing into the upper ranks of leadership in the House — remains largely unknown in her home state.


Nursing home operator shuts four locations, blames new state rules 

Northeast Health Group Inc. says it will close four long-term elder care facilities in the western part of the state and is blaming state regulations capping the number of residents in each room at two, which took effect last May. MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge has the details.


Power Play: Somerset squabbling threatens cable-factory project

Commonwealth’s done a bang-up job relating the saga of the effort to bring Brayton Point out of its dark and dirty past, and presents the latest lamentable chapter involving a municipal-fine dispute. 


Caught on camera: Worcester police to strap on body cams this month

A ploy by the Worcester police union to delay the rollout of body-worn cameras 

won’t derail the Feb. 27 start day. City councilors decided not to push off the program, expressing a need to “get it done,” writes Cyrus Moulton of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, amid a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into local police for excessive use of force and discriminatory policing based on race and sex. 

MassLive | GBH

Taking her time: Pittsfield’s Tyer still mum on re-election plans 

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer has blown past her own “after-the-holidays” target for letting voters know if she’ll seek a third term in office, and the Berkshire Eagle’s Meg Britton-Mehlisch reports she continues to be coy about her plans even as challengers start to make moves.

Berkshire Eagle

Affordable child care on the horizon

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to make child care affordable and on Wednesday unveiled a plan that would cut costs to $10 per day for roughly half of U.S. families. The federal plan comes as Beacon Hill lawmakers mull ambitious state-level plans that would also reduce prices for parents and better support the industry plagued by a chronic staffing shortage.

Boston Globe | State House News Service

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList