7:45 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll rides the Chelsea 111 bus to the State House to highlight alternative routes amid the Sumner Tunnel closure alongside other state transportation officials. | Sagamore Avenue at Jones Avenue bus stop, Chelsea
10 a.m. | State Police Association of Massachusetts holds a press conference after an arbitrator rules troopers with religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate. | Entrance to Boston Common next to the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial
11 a.m. | Press conference to discuss $21.4 million in federal funding for four Lowell bridges. | Mack Plaza, in front of Mark Street Bridge, Lowell
4 p.m. | Acting Revere Mayor Patrick Keefe holds a back-to-school event in partnership with Amazon to distribute over 400 backpacks and supplies to Revere students. | Revere Mayor's Office, 281 Broadway, Revere
Democratic in-fighting that’s slowed progress in the Legislature and exposed differences in priorities for House and Senate leadership could flare this week with the budget now before Gov. Maura Healey.
Healey has until Thursday to review the fiscal year 2024 spending plan and sign, reject or return the budget to the Legislature with specific line-item vetoes. The action she chooses to take will reveal her policy priorities for investments “that are urgently needed to make our state more competitive, affordable and equitable,” the governor said in a statement.
Hangups in negotiations for the $56.2 billion spending plan led lawmakers to strike a deal on a final budget more than a month into the start of the fiscal year. This budget deal is on track to be the second-latest in 22 years, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The slow process is indicative of in-fighting that’s led to a somewhat stagnant legislative process this year. With a budget finally nearing competition, Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz agreed to set aside $581 million for tax relief, both have said that a deal on cuts is unlikely to come until after Labor Day.
Healey’s handling of line-item vetoes in her inaugural budget could set the tone for the term to come in how she’ll work with Democratic lawmakers already at odds in the House and Senate, pundits tell MASSterList.
The Legislature has passed the fewest bills of any recent session as committees drag their feet and leaders disagree on how to move forward on legislation from gun control to telecommunications — causing one committee to split and hold separate meetings. Senate President Karen Spilka said this weekend on WBZ’s “Keller @ Large” said there “has always been a mutual consideration between Senate chair and House chairs. I’m hoping that we get back to that.”
Among the budget differences were House and Senate Democrats’ ideas for how to allocate roughly $1 billion in new revenue through the state’s new millionaire tax. It’s similar to the near-even split the governor proposed in January earmarking $510 million for education and child care initiatives and another $490 million to be spent on public transit and transportation infrastructure.
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State Police offer reinstatement to troopers suspended for refusing COVID-19 shots
The Boston Globe’s Laura Crimaldi, said an arbiter ruled that the State Police must provide back pay and offer to reinstate seven troopers who were placed on unpaid leave in 2021 after they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 based on their ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs. In a 49-page decision released Friday, the State Police violated anti-discrimination and affirmative action provisions in their contract with members of the force’s largest union by refusing to offer opportunities to stay on the job without getting vaccinated to qualified troopers.
Advocates urge lawmakers to pass child sex abuse bills
Christian M. Wade for The Salem News writes, that the group Citizens to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse urged them to approve a package of bills aimed at identifying those who pose a sexual risk to children. The raft of bills would require 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.
Conservatives sue to block Biden student debt relief plan
Two conservative groups are asking a federal court to block President Joe Biden administration’s plan to cancel $39 billion in student loans for more than 800,000 borrowers. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Michigan, argues that the administration overstepped its power when it announced the forgiveness in July, just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down a broader cancellation plan pushed by Biden.
Groups take stand in Ludlow book ban
Two groups in Ludlow made stands on literacy as the town’s school committee continues discussions on a proposed book ban, Western Mass News reports. A proposal includes restrictions on books with written visual or sexual content. We spoke with both groups to learn about their stand on literacy. Signs and flags filled Ludlow early Saturday, as two groups took to main hubs of the town to take a stand on reading.
Boston-area groups suing Harvard over legacy admissions
Three Boston-area community organizations have joined forces to push for a federal investigation into Harvard’s use of legacy and donor admissions in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling outlawing race-based affirmative action — a local effort with national impact. Last week, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced it would investigate whether Harvard’s practice of favoring the children of alumni and wealthy donors in the admission process is discriminatory; the original complaint cited evidence that white students make up nearly 70 percent of both donor-related and legacy applicants.
Columnist tells the Globe to ‘take a look at itself’
One of the Legislature’s biggest critics over its apparent inaction and lack of transparency has been The Boston Globe. But Margaret Monsell for CommonWealth Magazine says it’s not just lawmakers who have been slacking lately — the Globe has also been taking less of an interest in coverage, though it is hardly alone in its retreat from State House reporting.
Sen. Ed Markey wants cameras in federal court so America can watch Trump
If he gets his way, Sen. Ed Markey would have television cameras inside federal courtrooms, including the one former U.S. president Donald Trump was arraigned in yesterday, despite fears that televising him could incite dangerous activity from some of his supporters, reports Alvin Buyinza for MassLive. Trump pleaded not guilty to accusations of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday.
Parts of Brockton Hospital to remain closed until next year
Signature Healthcare says it won’t be able to fully reopen Brockton Hospital by the end of this year as originally hoped, blaming supply chain problems for delays in completing the reconstruction project that began after a massive February fire shuttered the facility entirely.
Unattached: Judge finds Hull has no right to tax Graves Light land
A Land Court judge has ruled that Hull has no valid claim to Graves Ledge, a rocky spit of land several miles offshore, handing a win to the owners of the lighthouse on the outcropping, who have been battling a massive tax bill from the town since 2020. David Smith of the Patriot-Ledger reports the judge left for another time the questions of whether land can actually be unincorporated within the Bay State’s boundaries and whether another community may have a more valid claim.
Remembering Greg Torres
Greg Torres played many important roles in Massachusetts public life and public policy, including as president of MassINC. See this appreciation by Bruce Mohl and Marjorie Malpiede in CommonWealth.
Provincetown could boost its housing inventory by 75 units or more with plans
As many as 75 new units of badly-needed market-rate housing could be brought to market in Provincetown in coming years as the town makes strides on a housing production plan that includes building 40 apartments at the site of the former police station, Zane Razzaq of the Cape Cod Times reports.
Exit strategy: Trulieve moves up layoff dates, asks Holyoke about transferring permits
Trulieve is looking to speed up its exit from the Bay State market, telling regulators it will finish laying off 90 workers at its Holyoke cultivation and production facility two months sooner than originally planned and asking the city whether its permits for the operation can be transferred to another owner. MassLive’s Jim Kinney has the details.