Massachusetts State House

Happening Today:

9 a.m. | Ramping up for a green future is the task for the Clean Energy Transmission Working Group which meets to discuss future needs for clean energy projects.

11 a.m. | In district today, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey will reintroduce his Preventing HEAT-related Illness and Deaths Act in hopes of saving some of the 700 Americans who die from extreme heat. | 212 Congress Ave., Chelsea

4:30 p.m. | Batter up! Treasurer Deb Goldberg throws out the first pitch in a Cape Cod Baseball League game between the Falmouth Commodores vs. Cotuit Kettleers. | Lowell Park, 10 Lowell Ave., Cotuit

6:30 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu checks out the third annual Culture Nights Music Festival. | 88 Seaport Boulevard, Boston

Asked yesterday what exactly is holding up the state budget now nearly a month overdue, House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz shrugged off reporters saying, “I can’t go into any details.”

Open government advocates contend it’s not “can’t” but “won’t.” And they tell MASSterList it’s illustrative of a process conducted largely in secret and driven by the whims of entrenched Democratic leaders on Beacon Hill. Thousands of bills filed annually are parked in committees for vetting, but more often die a slow, lingering death with little or no explanation.  

For example — of the 312 bills sent to the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security in the 2021-2022 legislative session, 28 moved forward in larger omnibus packages. Hundreds of others died on the vine out of view. Like the conference committee budget negotiations, joint committee votes aren’t public, so lawmakers rarely have to answer for what happens with individual bills. A MASSterList review showed a similar fate for bills across the Legislature’s roughly 30 joint committees. It took six months this year for the Housing Committee to hold its first hearing on the 154 bills that include relief of “urgent need” for strapped Bay Staters who are losing out, Gabriela Cartegena of Vida Urbana told MASSterList.

GOP lawmakers’ push to make votes public and require at least 72 hours’ notice before a bill comes up for a vote has been repeatedly swatted down by Democratic leaders.

But for all the nagging by the media and good government advocates, lawmakers have faced few consequences even as the public increasingly finds itself left in the dark. 

A non-binding ballot question last year found 84 percent of voters agree representatives should make legislative committee votes public.  Act on Mass – who was behind the effort out it — said they “hope that Beacon Hill sees these results and acts accordingly.”

As Beacon Hill’s unfinished and largely opaque work approaches August, it appears the Legislature missed the memo.

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Trouble for Trump: Former president faces new charges

Legal experts familiar with the New York criminal justice system tell ABC’s Soo Rin Kim and Mike Levine that yesterday’s revised federal indictment brought “no surprises” in the charges against former President Donald Trump by the Manhattan district attorney — but that the expansive nature of the so-called “catch-and-kill” scheme alleged by prosecutors is notable.

ABC News | The Hill

Border war: State Auditor Diana DiZoglio slaps back at NH governor hopeful’s Lawrence dis

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio isn’t going to let someone from New Hampshire talk smack about her neighborhood. She became the latest Bay State official to clap back at Granite State candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte, whose campaign strategy appears to be mostly made up of digs at Massachusetts. DiZoglio let loose on Twitter on Thursday, after the former U.S. senator from New Hampshire singled out Lawrence and Lowell, which are both in DiZoglio’s native Merrimack Valley.

Officials from both cities also pushed back on Ayotte’s repeated attacks on the gateway cities. She’s blaming them for fueling New Hampshire’s fentanyl problem.

The Eagle Tribune

Buying time: Lawmakers pass stop-gap budget to continue negotiating overdue annual plan

The Legislature has really outdone itself this time — The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports lawmakers are on track to deliver the tardiest budget in more than two decades. And there’s no sign negotiations are nearing an end. The House and Senate passed through another stopgap spending plan to keep state government funded through August. What’s at stake should lawmakers continue to slow-walk the annual budget? A lot — including things both chambers agree on.

The Boston Globe | State House News Service

As powerful debate budget in secret, one senator offers her 2 cents from outside the room

Somerville Sen. Patricia Jehlen doesn’t have a seat at the negotiating table, but she’s not letting that stop her from weighing in anyway. Jehlen, in an op-ed to CommonWealth Magazine, shed light on what she thinks is making Massachusetts less competitive: housing costs, transit woes, the price of childcare and a tax system with problems.

CommonWealth Magazine

Budget delay bad news for free community college program

A program for free college for Bay Staters 25 and older who don’t have college degrees has the backing of Gov. Maura Healey, the House and the Senate, but delayed budget negotiations could hinder its rollout. Alison Kuznitz for the News Service writes, Community college leaders say the delay in striking a budget deal, which was due by July 1, means they have less time to implement MassReconnect, launch marketing campaigns, and recruit potential students, including re-enrolling people who previously dropped out.

State House News Service

Calling for backup: MBTA chief puts old colleagues on the job to fix the T

They’ve done it before. MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng called in some out-of-state cavalry to help him fix the troubled transit agency. The Boston Herald’s Chris Van Buskirk reports Eng poached four former colleagues to fill new top-level positions  — to the tune of $800,000 in combined pay. All have previously worked with T’s new boss, including some who helped him fix the Long Island Railroad. Time will tell if they can do it again, this time in Boston. 

The Boston Herald

Money-troubled T overpaid contractor $5.3 million 

The MBTA overpaid a Tennessee-based contractor by more than $5.3 million in a gig to outsource in-station customer service agents and did not set clear goals to track their performance, Massachusetts’ top government watchdog found in a new report.

The Boston Herald

Cannabis regulators want to ease regulations to help business

Hannah Loss for GBH explores how Shannon O’Brien, the chairwoman of the Cannabis Control Commission, is exploring new ways to help businesses run by people of color get greater access into the thriving economy.


Swansea man latest to be arrested on Jan. 6 charges 

The FBI has arrested a Swansea man who posted a Facebook video of himself at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 2021 making threats against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Michael St. Pierre faces one felony charge of civil disorder and multiple misdemeanor charges after the FBI said he admitted to throwing the top of a flagpole at officers who were attempting to block doors to the building.

Herald News | MassLive

Brockton says $53 million is ‘fair’ price for Carney land 

Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan is proposing the city pay $53 to buy the 66 acres of land that for decades was the home of the annual Brockton Fair and was considered as the site of a potential casino, Chris Helms of the Enterprise reports. If the deal with the Carney family goes through, the city would then create a master plan for the property and then likely sell some parcels while setting aside others for future municipal use.

Enterprise News

Steamship Authority says operations nearly back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022

The Steamship Authority’s annual report showed another surge of growth in ridership and revenue, with 2022 going into the books as the most normal year since the pandemic began. Walker Armstrong of the Cape Cod Times has the numbers.

Cape Cod Times

In Amherst, ‘missing middle’ zoning proposal heads back to drawing board 

The Amherst city councilors who proposed a slew of zoning bylaw amendments aimed at making it easier for homeowners to turn their single-family homes into multi-family dwellings say they’re withdrawing them after a negative recommendation from the Planning Board and pushback from residents who worried it would lead to a surge in off-campus student renters, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Weekend political talk shows

Keller@Large, with Jon Keller on CBS Boston (WBZ), 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. This week’s guest is Amy Carnevale, chairwoman of the Mass. Republican Party, discussing the need for tax cuts, the state auditor’s efforts to probe the Legislature, GOP reaction to Donald Trump’s legal problems, and potential changes to state party delegate selection rules.

On the Record, WCVB-TV, 11 a.m. on Sunday. The guest this week is Linda Dorcena Forry, NAACP National Convention Director of Operations and former State Senator. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Boston Globe Columnist Mary Ann Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray join the roundtable discussion.

@Issue, NBC10 Boston or NECN, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Guests this week are NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and National Board of Directors member Michael Curry, who will speak on-site from the convention. Hosts are Sue O’Connell and Jeff Saperstone.

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList