Happening Today:

10:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey announces $1.5 million in federal grants aimed at curbing violent crime. | Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, 65 Boys & Girls Club Way, Worcester

1:15 p.m. | Sen. Ed Markey joins local leaders to deliver remarks on Cape Cod's environment and economy. | Wequassett Resort, 2173 MA-28, Harwich

2 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu goes green with Chicago's mayor and Green New Deal Director Oliver Sellers-Garcia to sign an executive order eliminating fossil fuels for new construction| Eagle Room, Mayor's Office, Fifth Floor, City Hall, Boston

3 p.m. | Sen. Ed Markey tours the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Shark Center. | 35 Orleans Road, Chatham

3:15 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will attend the Boston Police National Night Out, visiting locations in Brighton, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Mattapan.

7 p.m. | Tonight at the NAACP National Convention's Juanita Jackson Mitchell Youth Awards gala, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks. | Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston

State lawmakers this weekend showed once again they are capable of legislating — at least when overdue deadlines loom. But Beacon Hill’s top-down power dynamic, its habit of slow-walking bills and hiding much of the process from public view appears to be making the Legislature less effective at doing its job.

Massachusetts ranked among the bottom 10 state legislatures for the number of laws enacted in the 2021-2022 session, with 110 total. Just 5.8 percent of bills filed at the State House eventually became law — the fourth lowest rate nationally behind Minnesota, New Jersey and Missouri. Bay State senators and representatives this year introduced 6,691 bills — 80 percent fewer than in the last session, a recent study found.

Sizing up legislatures across the country “suggests a strong correlation between total party control of state government with the percentage of bill enactment,” researchers said.

But momentum is mounting in Massachusetts to push through an overdue state budget that’s finally come into public view. 

Sunday night’s much-anticipated budget agreement kicked off a flurry of activity for lawmakers now scrambling to deliver a $56.2 billion spending plan without sacrificing their summer break. The Legislature typically breaks for a month starting Aug. 1. Lawmakers are snapping to action today to send the bill to Gov.  Maura Healey’s desk by the close of business.

It’s a jolting mad dash for what’s otherwise been an incredibly sluggish session on Beacon Hill, that’s seen just 22 — largely local — laws passed so far. A Boston Globe review has declared the 2023-2024 session to be off to the least productive start of any in at least 40 years — when measuring the number of laws passed, anyway.

House and Senate negotiators took more than seven weeks of secret deliberations over spending and policy priorities for the current fiscal year that began on July 1. The rank-and-file, however, won’t have the luxury of time to get to know the re-tooled spending bill. They’re getting less than 15 hours to pour over the just-released 398-page proposal today before they’re due at the State House to take a vote.

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Finally, a budget: What’s in it and what’s not

Lawmakers have agreed to a $56.2 billion state budget that’s now a full month overdue. Free tuition for nursing students and Bay Staters over 25 without college degrees are some of the top lines, report Samantha J. Gross for The Globe and Chris Van Buskirk for the Boston Herald. The online lottery didn’t make the cut. Today lawmakers in both chambers will take up the bill for a vote. 

The Boston Globe

Warren vulnerable to losing Senate seat? Poll suggests maybe

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren could be vulnerable in next year’s reelection, a poll of 750 likely voters conducted on behalf of Republican-aligned MassFiscal, reports The Boston Herald. Asked to consider a theoretical matchup between the two-term senator and former Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, 41% of respondents said they would give Warren a third term, compared to 29% who would pick Polito. A full 30% were undecided.

The Boston Herald | The Eagle Tribune

Mass. GOP chairwoman says state needs two-party rule

Jon Keller for WBZ writes that Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party Amy Carnevale says a concentration of power and lack of effective two-party government is becoming a bigger problem in the state, which struggled to finalize a state budget earlier this month.


Mass. women’s colleges on front lines of trans admissions question

Women’s colleges have long faced the question of whether or not to accept applications from transgender men and non-binary students who don’t identify, reports Jenny Hellwig. Massachusetts is home to five women’s colleges, more than any other state in the U.S.

Boston Business Journal

Maura Healey moving out of Cambridge, in with partner in Arlington

Massachusetts Gov.Maura Healey is leaving Cambridge and moving into the Arlington home of her partner, Joanna Lydgate, on Aug. 1, reports the Globe.

The Boston Globe

Used book store leaving to make way for… used book store in Harvard Square

Harvard Square will barely have time to mourn the departure of Raven Used Books before it turns over and welcomes the return of Rodney’s Bookstore, the used-books seller that closed in Cambridge’s Central Square in October 2020, reports Cambridge Day.

Cambridge Day | Universal Hub

Bills aim to root out child predators 

Massachusetts is the only New England state that doesn’t require schools and youth organizations to educate staff and students on preventing child sexual abuse. A raft of bills would change that by getting schools to adopt child sexual abuse prevention policies and training, improve screening of prospective employees to identify past sexual misconduct, and criminalize sexual assault by adults in positions of authority, regardless of the age of consent, among other changes.

The Eagle Tribune

No limits: New Bedford lawyers say term-limit petition drive took a wrong turn

A petition drive aimed at putting the question of term limits for members of the New Bedford city council — which had collected more than 2,700 signatures in recent weeks–may have all been for naught. Arthur Hirsch of the New Bedford Light reports the city’s legal team says the petitioners were pursuing the wrong path under state law for changing a city’s charter.

New Bedford Light

Show of force: Facing well-known challenger, O’Connell formally launches Taunton re-election bid

Taunton Mayor Shauna O’Connell has formally launched her bid for a third straight term, a delayed kick off that featured a show of political force and accomplishments from her first two terms. Daniel Schemer of the Taunton Gazette reports O’Connell, who pushed back her campaign launch after her daughter was reported missing from an Ohio treatment facility, is facing a challenge from her former chief of staff.

Taunton Gazette

ARPA cash to fund guaranteed-income program in Worcester  

The Worcester Community Action Council says it will soon launch a guaranteed-income program to pay low-income families up to $500 a month with no strings attached thanks to a quarter-million-dollar grant from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act haul. Isabel Tehan of the Worcester Business Journal has the details.

Worcester Business Journal

Not here: RMV lists vanity plate request too vulgar for Bay State roads 

Cute is ok, racy or nasty not so much. Norman Miller of the MetroWest Daily News used a public records request to get the Registry of Motor Vehicles to turn over a list of the 900 vanity license plate requests they rejected for being vulgar or suggestive. Among the rejected plate asks: Narcan, Hitman, Glock7 and three different misspellings of the word ‘cougar’ — all requested by one driver. 

MetroWest Daily News

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList