9:30 a.m. | Senate President Spilka hosts a delegation from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. | Senate President's Office
10 a.m. | Joint Committee on Health Care Financing holds a hearing on about a dozen bills tied to MassHealth coverage for child health and home care services. | Gardner Auditorium
10 a.m. | 21st Century Agriculture Commission holds its second meeting to discuss "recent changes" to the commission and a preview of hearings for the coming months
1 p.m. | Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on nearly 50 bills affecting the criminal justice system. | Room A-2
Chances are slimmer and slimmer that the Legislature will deliver a state operating budget by the end of the month. Brief hopes that lawmakers were getting close to a deal were squashed late Monday afternoon when an aide to House Speaker Ron Mariano confirmed to MASSterList that lawmakers intend to take up a long-awaited funding bill for roads and bridges – not the budget now more than three weeks overdue – during “potential” formal sessions scheduled for Thursday in both chambers.
Late delivery on the state budget isn’t a new order of business for Beacon Hill, which has leaned into a trend of dragging negotiations into mid-to-late July in recent years. House lawmakers have signaled negotiations are likely to spill into August with lawmakers still far apart on consensus for 130 policy differences embedded in the spending plan.
The routine roads and bridges bill coming up for a vote this week could be a good sign that friction between the two chambers is easing. It is one of several bills tied up for months in closed-door negotiations.
But without a budget, it means relief for Bay Staters that’s included in the spending bill is on hold – something that’s irking lobbyists and advocates trying to ease the burden on individuals and families struggling to get by. The budget includes relief for renters and an accompanying wide-ranging tax cut package that is also still being debated behind closed doors.
Negotiations on a compromise bill have been ongoing for roughly two months since the House and Senate passed their versions of the FY24 budget. Failure to strike a deal is the latest example of Democratic infighting that’s led to one of the slowest ever sessions – if you’re measuring by the number of bills passed anyway.
Without a budget, lawmakers will need to pass another supplemental spending bill to keep the lights on and paychecks flowing. House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz — one of the six lawmakers working toward a deal — told MASSterList in a recent interview that negotiators have been burning the midnight oil, but have so far been unable to reach consensus on “multiple” issues. He declined to elaborate on the sticking points and said wouldn’t be betting on any timeline for delivering on the budget.
“Many people have tried to make predictions and many people have been wrong,” he said.
Michlewitz told the News Service that the House has asked Gov. Maura Healey to file a second supplemental spending bill with the current $6.6 billion bill that has floated the state government through July set to expire at the end of the month. Healey has been noncommittal so far, saying through a spokeswoman that she “looks forward to receiving a budget that makes Massachusetts more affordable, competitive and equitable.”
The Senate has been quiet so far, leaving the budget timeline in the dark.
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Keller @ Large
WBZ political analyst Jon Keller is over the Granite State’s “superiority complex” and warns Bay State voters not to buy into that kind of ego trip in his latest column.
State House staffers renew unionization push
Christian M. Wade for The Eagle-Tribune reports that legislative staffers are renewing a push to unionize on Beacon Hill — this time with support from top Democrats and labor leaders. The renewed escorts come a year after a similar effort to organize was squashed by House and Senate leaders.
Pilgrim Nuclear won’t get permit to dump contaminated water in bay
Cape Cod Bay waters will stay clean after the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection denied a permit modification sought by the company decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to discharge up to 1.1 million gallons of radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay, GBH reports. .
State-run shelters housing record 5,000 people
The commonwealth’s family shelter system has reached an all-time high with 4,939 families with children living in the state-run accommodations, reports Gabrille Emmanuel for WBUR. As of Monday evening, most of them — 3,534 families — were in shelters around Massachusetts, while another 1,405 families were in overflow hotels and motels.
Special election today for Boston’s District 8 city councilor
Sharon Durkan, who’s running against Montez Haywood for the seat vacated by Kenzie Bok. The Globe’s Emma Platoff writes that Mayor Michelle Wu joins Durkan for an 8 a.m. rally.
Ranked choice voting advocates looking to second chance
A coalition will launch a new campaign this August pushing for the next Boston City Council class and the mayor to pass a home rule petition in 2024 that would change Boston’s existing election structure to a ranked-choice process — which local voters already passed but ultimately didn’t make it in the State House, reports Jennifer Smith at CommonWealth magazine.
Gov. Healey marks 75th anniversary of order to desegregate military
Yesterday marked 75 years since President Harry Truman ordered an end to segregation by race among the nation’s armed forces and Gov. Maura Healey called together members of the state’s National Guard and veterans of past conflicts to celebrate the occasion, reports Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. She called for a further commitment on fighting racism and inequity.
New Bedford latest to ban sale of nip booze bottles
The New Bedford Licensing Board voted 3-0 Monday night to ban the sale of single-serving alcohol bottles, a move greeted with cheers from many residents but warning about job losses from the city’s liquor store owners, who now have 90 days to sell off existing inventory before the nip-bottle ban takes effect. Mayor Jon Mitchell asked for the ban to be passed recently, around the time he announced his bid for re-election.
Greater expectations: GLX business say business growth hasn’t met hype
Wei Chen of Cambridge Day checks in with businesses near the new MBTA stops along the Green Line Extension and finds that so far, most haven’t seen a predicted surge in new business. Struggles to get the T operating smoothly could be one reason why new retail business hasn’t materialized even though residential real estate prices skyrocketed in the same neighborhoods before the stations opened.
With impact of failure unclear, Westport voters take up override
As voters in Westport head to the polls today to decide the fate of a $3 million Proposition 2½ override, Matthew Ferreira of the Herald-News reports both school and municipal leaders have been reluctant to state exactly what cuts could have to be made if voters reject the request for additional tax revenue.
Trash-train fire has firefighters busy in multiple towns
A fire on a freight train car hauling trash over the CSX rail line sparked as many as a dozen small blazes along the tracks in Ashland before firefighters in Westborough extinguished the original blaze. Norman Miller of the MetroWest Daily News has the metaphor-inviting details of the weekend incident.