Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues speaks alongside Senate President Karen Spilka at a press briefing in 2019. Credit: [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Happening today:

10:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey tours the Riverside Community Behavioral Health Center to highlight the state's Help is Here campaign to raise awareness of the state's Community Behavioral Health Centers and 24/7 Behavioral Health Helpline. | 176 West St, Milford

1 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey welcomes U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe and EPA Regional Administrator David Cash for a press conference to discuss funding in the Inflation Reduction Act. | Finch Cambridge, 675 Concord Ave., Cambridge

1:30 p.m. | Senate Democrats will release their fiscal year 2024 state budget.

A battle is brewing on Beacon Hill over what “sustainable” tax relief looks like following a sudden nosedive in tax revenues that has sent shockwaves through the Legislature.

Gov. Maura Healey continues to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to passing a state budget and tax package in her vision, but Senate leaders remain solely focused on their Tuesday budget reveal, slated for 1:30 p.m.

Senate President Karen Spilka held her cards close to the vest yesterday, but details on major policy expansions in the coming budget were shaking out by close of business. Senators are looking to expand on Healey’s plan for free community college for Bay Staters over 25 without college degrees, casting a much wider net that would cover costs for nursing students in a first step toward eliminating tuition for all residents, The Boston Globe reported. Another plan features a $100 million loan repayment program for those in the behavioral health field.

Spilka told reporters she remains committed to tax relief that is “progressive, permanent, smart and sustainable.”

The House’s billion-dollar tax package largely mirrored Healey’s plan, but Senate leaders have downplayed any “urgency.” Tufts Center for State Policy Analysis  Executive Director Evan Horowitz said “sustainable” hits somewhere in the range of $500 million.

As for a timeline? “We’ll see when we are ready,” Spilka said.

Her tone contrasted that of the governor, who has doubled down — make that tripled down — on current tax relief plans, saying Massachusetts is “in a very strong financial position.”


WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller goes beyond Gov. Maura Healey’s claim that the $1.4 billion April revenue shortfall was “not unexpected” and had been “accounted for” in her budget and tax-policy planning. When it comes to the economy, lawmakers’ dirty little secret is that they really have no idea what’s going on with the economy or what’s coming next.


T needs dedicated safety oversight, lawmakers say

A new transportation oversight agency with the sole responsibility of overseeing the troubled MBTA could be in the works, WCVB reported. Under federal rules, every public transit agency in the country must have an outside agency watching over its shoulder to make sure riders are safe, currently that duty sits with the Public Utilities Commission. Supporters argue a dedicated board is needed as safety concerns continue to pile up at the T, where just last week a passenger was struck by falling debris at Harvard Station — the second time in mere weeks.


It’s a plan backed by both the state Inspector General and the mother of a professor who fell to his death through a dilapidated metal staircase at the JFK/UMass train station in 2021. 

The Boston Globe | The Boston Herald

Senate budget to cover nursing tuition is step toward free community college for all

Massachusetts Senate leaders will seek $55 million of new millionaire tax revenue to begin covering tuition costs for many community college students, including thousands of nursing students. Matt Stout and Samantha J. Gross report it’s an initial step toward a goal of making community college free for all in-state residents as early as next year. The community college plan will be part of a state budget proposal the Senate is set to release Tuesday.

The Boston Globe

First cop decertified by state allegedly helped plan Charlottesville white supremacist rally

The first officer decertified by the state’s POST Commission created in a 2020 reform law is a former Woburn police officer accused of helping plan a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., reports Chris Van Buskirk for The Boston Herald. This adds the former cop John Donnelly’s name to a national database of decertified officers. 

The Boston Herald

Homebuyers left in dark on potential flood vulnerabilities in Masaschusetts

Large swathes of Massachusetts properties that may be vulnerable to flooding have no flood disclosure requirements for a potential homebuyer, reports Jennifer Smith for Commonwealth Magazine. Massachusetts is one of 15 states that lacks a legal requirement to do so, a Metropolitan Area Planning Council found. Residents are instead left to rely on FEMA flood maps to see if their houses are vulnerable, which appear to leave out many susceptible areas.

Commonwealth Magazine

Federal judge tosses Boston’s redistricting map

A federal judge ruled that city councilors likely violated the Constitution when they included race as a factor in Boston’s new redistricting map, reports Gayla Cawley for The Boston Herald. The judge handed down a preliminary injunction to bar the map’s use in the upcoming November election. The Monday ruling found that the council likely violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which bars laws requiring segregation of the races, when compiling the redistricting map that was approved last fall, by a 9-4 council vote.

The Boston Herald

New kidney for Springfield Sen. Adam Gomez

Springfield Sen. Adam Gomez is recovering from a kidney transplant at a Boston hospital, State House News Service reported. Gomez, 39, had been on dialysis for a year and a half, receiving treatments three times each week after his kidney functioning dropped from 30 percent to 7 percent, an aide said. The Springfield Democrat is slated to be released from Brigham and Women’s Hospital Tuesday and will need to quarantine for three months.

State House News Service

Texas shooting spurs calls for gun control from Massachusetts federal delegation

Democrats, including Massachusetts’ federal delegation, are lining up in support of stronger gun control laws in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Texas outlet mall where a gunman killed eight people and wounded seven more over the weekend before being shot and killed by police, reports Katie Lannan for GBH. Americans overwhelmingly support a variety of gun control measures, including background checks and raising the legal age to buy guns to 21. It’s the latest push in what’s become a familiar, but fruitless cycle following mass shootings and an unwillingness to act by Republicans. 


Accused leaker, former Massachusetts guardsman due in court

The former Massachusetts National Guardsman accused of posting top-secret military documents gets another day in court before a federal magistrate decides whether his pre-trial release poses a threat, reports The Republican. A federal judge will reopen a detention hearing for Jack Teixeira at 2 p.m. Thursday in the federal courthouse in Worcester.


No end in sight for Holyoke schools under state receivership for 8 years

There is “no specific timeline” for ending an 8-year-old receivership of Holyoke schools, which were placed under state control in 2015 for student underperformance, Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler said. Gov. Maura Healey said she would demand a plan on her first day in office to do so, reported Alden Bourne for NEPM. 


Iconic Christmas Tree shop in Sagamore to shutter amid spate of bankruptcy closings

Christmas Tree Shops (CTS) officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, reports Nick DeGray for WWLP. Documents say a total of 10 underperforming stores would be closed which includes two locations in Massachusetts, Sagamore and Falmouth. The Sagamore store is a local icon with its recognizable windmill visible as you drive over the Sagamore Bridge into Cape Cod.


History maker: Worcester remembers Sara Robertson, first woman mayor 

Sara Robertson, who made history in 1982 when she was the first woman elected to serve as mayor of Worcester, has died at the age of 88. Current and past city leaders are crediting Robertson with not only shattering a glass ceiling but also modeling how future mayors could raise the image and profile of the region’s second-largest city. 

Telegram & Gazette | MassLive

Davis will investigate mass school board resignations in Uxbridge

The Uxbridge school district has hired the consulting firm helmed by former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to investigate what led to a wave of resignations that has left the school board with a single member. The Telegram’s Jeff Chamer reports the superintendent has pledged to make public the results of the inquiry into why the school committee has seen 9 resignations in the last year and 13 in less than two years.  

Telegram & Gazette

Facing layoffs, UMass unions ask Healey to intervene in privatization plan

Unions representing workers who could be laid off amid a plan to shift some 100 jobs in the fundraising operation at UMass Amherst to a private foundation are now hoping to get Gov. Healey to intervene, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Lights out: Nantucket votes to protect night sky views 

Nantucket town meeting on Monday approved an outdoor lighting bylaw proposed by a resident to protect views of the night sky on the island, setting aside concerns about public safety in the process. Voters also shot down a bid to ban electric scooters and bikes from using local bike paths.

Inquirer & Mirror | Nantucket Current

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList