Happening Today:

11 a.m. | The Marine Corps League hosts Iwo Jima Day ceremonies to honor veterans of the battle fought 78 years ago in the Pacific Theatre. This marks a return for the annual event, which was last hosted in 2020 prior to the pandemic. | State House Memorial Hall

Noon | Congresswoman Pressley hosts a roundtable discussion on her Post Disaster Mental Health Response Act, which was signed into law by President Biden in December. Participants include Sen. Miranda, Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia, survivors of the Boston Marathon attack, public health experts, and community advocates. | Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, 632 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester

Keller at Large

Steve Kerrigan inherits a juggernaut when he soon heads the Massachusetts Democratic Party. But as our columnist reminds us, a potential political minefield awaits all the same with the risks inherent in one-party rule.


Today’s News

Beacon Hill is finally ready to get down to business. Sure the legislative session opened a little over six weeks ago, but with committee and leadership assignments finally cemented as of late last week, the wheels of government are now on the move.

Just don’t expect too much action until the end of school vacation next week. Informal sessions are scheduled in both chambers Tuesday, with another round likely on Thursday. Despite the slow start to this current session — let’s be real, most sessions — next week is shaping up to be a busy week as lawmakers finally get down to brass tacks.

Top Democrats in the House and Senate have so far offered mere glimpses of what the current two-year legislative agenda might include. Gov. Maura Healey is also keeping her poker face, playing her cards close to the vest when it comes to the policy priorities she’ll tackle first as governor.

Healey has already put three time-sensitive bills before lawmakers, each of which are ripe for early action this session. With standing and joint committees now in place, those bills and more can now move to public hearings which are at the start of the legislative process.

The first legislation Healey filed as governor asks to borrow nearly $1 billion for “immediate” economic development needs including housing, manufacturing and infrastructure. She’s also looking to bond $400 million to improve city- and town-owned roads and bridges over the next two fiscal years. A supplemental budget bill seeks $282 million to support the overflowing emergency shelter system and stretch food security benefits slated to end soon including depleting money for free school meals.

When Healey reveals her inaugural budget as Bay State CEO and an accompanying tax relief package next week, a clearer picture of legislative priorities should emerge.

The real test for the productivity of the Legislature this session will be measured by the pace and process by which the conference committees churn out compromise bills on major policy initiatives and how quickly lawmakers move them across the finish line.

Watchdogs hand Healey tax-cut blueprint

The Boston Herald’s Matthew Medsger checks in with budget experts at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, who have a laundry list of suggested tax cuts they hope freshman Gov. Maura Healey will include in her inaugural budget — slated to be released March 1.

The Boston Herald

Is a study group for Black, Latino students violating civil rights?

A group of Milton parents say yes. Parents Defending Education last week filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Milton School District for race discrimination based on its support of a math study group for students of color that it claims is not open to all. The parent group describes itself as “an interested third-party organization that opposes racial discrimination and political indoctrination in America’s schools.”

New Boston Post

Suit claims UMass Memorial owes top state medical school $40M

A lawsuit by UMass’s Chan Medical School claims it is owed $40 million by Worcester’s UMass Memorial from the sale of a joint pharmaceutical venture sold in 2019. MassLive’s Chris Van Buskirk sets up the ensuing bitter legal battle that could cost both institutions millions more still.


‘Conservative… not extremist’: NH governor eyes presidential run 

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu says it’s time for the Republican Party to start “moving on” from an identity centered on the extremist brand of right-wing politics of former President Donald Trump following three consecutive disappointing election cycles. Sununu — a Republican who appears to be eyeing a presidential run — is pro-choice, vaxxed and boosted, considers his positions “conservative,” unlike many of his would be “extremist” GOP competitors.

New York Times

After pledging transparency, Healey refuses to release call logs, e-mails

The office of Gov. Maura Healey has denied most of the Globe’s request for correspondence, travel logs and calendar entries from her first month in office, a refusal that comes after Healey pledged during the campaign to be more transparent than her predecessors. Samantha Gross and Matt Stout report Healey says releasing more information would “unreasonably hinder” the governor’s ability to do her job.

The Boston Globe

‘Death with dignity’: Push for medically assisted death

A new right-to-die push on Beacon Hill would empower terminally ill patients to end their lives on their own terms and authorize doctors to prescribe drugs to help them. A Boston Globe poll found 77% of voters now support medically assisted death in some cases a decade after narrowly shooting down a ballot proposal to do so. In upholding a ban last year, the Supreme Judicial Court said a change lies with the Legislature.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Breaking down language barriers at the State House 

A new bill, if passed, would require agencies running state-funded programs to translate their websites and documents − as well as provide oral interpretation services − for non-English speakers.

The Patriot Ledger

No cheer after misconduct allegations at Worcester charter school

Worcester’s Abby Kelley Foster school has canceled its cheerleading season amid investigations into “inappropriate sexual behavior,” writes Kiernan Dunlop of MassLive. The charter school canceled the season despite local police declining to bring charges.


Time to remember? Lawmakers consider COVID-19 memorial day

Christian Wade of the Salem News reports on the various efforts on Beacon Hill to create a Covid-19 memorial day to honor those lost to the epidemic as well as first responders and others on the front lines of the fight. But don’t expect an extra day off: Neither of the proposals would create a new state holiday.

Salem News

Great Barrington mulls real estate transfer free to fund affordable housing 

Recognizing both the need to add affordable housing to the local stock and also the lack of resources to help build it, Great Barrington officials are pitching a local real estate transfer tax. But as the Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow reports, the idea is already getting pushback from  local homeowners who say the tax would target their nest eggs.

The Berkshire Eagle

Northampton creates climate action department

Northampton is searching for a director of Climate Action and Project Administration after the city council created the new city government office to oversee efforts to reach ambitious sustainability goals, including making all city operations carbon neutral by 2030. Alexander MacDougall of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the move by the city mirrors the decision by Gov. Maura Healey to create a cabinet-level position overseeing disparate efforts to address climate change.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette

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MASSterList editor Erin Tiernan is an award-winning reporter who brings a decade's worth of experience covering state and local politics from the halls of the State House to city streets. Her work can be found in The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, MassLive and Wicked Local. She was the New England Newspaper and Press Association's 2019 Reporter of the Year.