Happening Today:

8:30 | Former Gov. Jane Swift is the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Women Elected Municipal Officials' leadership conference. This year's theme is "Communicating with Confidence." There will also be workshops on communication and skill-building. At the Courtyard Marriott, 75 Felton St., Marlborough | More Info and Registration

10:30 | Mayor Wu holds a press conference announcing $5 million in digital equity investments, funded through grants from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and the Federal Communications Commission.....Hassan Apartments, 705 River St., Mattapan

2:00 | Gov. Healey gives remarks at the Inauguration of Claudine Gay as the 30th President of Harvard University. Media RSVP to media@harvard.edu. Tercentenary Theatre,1 Church St, Harvard Yard, Cambridge

Lawmakers finally fulfilled the promise they made to taxpayers a year and a half ago. And while Gov. Maura Healey still needs to give the tax package her stamp of approval, the natural question is: what’s next?

For the last few months — or even since the start of this session in January — legislators and the governor have answered every question about their agenda with the standard response, “Tax relief.” 

With the top item on their to-do list checked off, what will Beacon Hill set out to accomplish with the remaining 10 months and 2 days of the 193rd General Court? And will they try to tackle any other major legislation in the waning 2023 calendar year?  

House Speaker Ron Mariano tried to push a gun reform bill through the legislative process in July before lawmakers recessed for a summer break in August. The gun law is controversial, having drawn the ire of Second Amendment advocates, while groups like Moms Demand Action beseech lawmakers that every day they wait to move on the bill more people will die from gun violence. 

But between apparent House-Senate tensions regarding gun reform (the Senate is cooking up their own version of the bill) and loud voices coming from both sides of the issue, representatives seem to have frozen up on the issue that they originally said was too urgent to delay. 

Top House Democrats also plan to bring forward legislation in the coming weeks that would require many Massachusetts employers to disclose a wage or salary range on job postings and impose data-reporting requirements on employers to try to better monitor pay disparities by race and gender. 

In the corner office, Healey’s team should be filing a housing bond bill any day now.

And on the other side of the third floor, Senate President Karen Spilka says she wants action to control prescription drug prices and to address issues in the early education and care field — issues she has occasionally raised since January but there hasn’t been much action on. 

Senators will also need to agree on when they’re taking up budget overrides, after two Senate leaders gave conflicting reports on Thursday. Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues told the News Service he’s hoping those votes to override some of Healey’s budget vetoes could happen next week, while Revenue Committee Chair Susan Moran responded “nope” when asked about the timeline Rodrigues suggested. 

With close to 7,000 bills filed so far this session, lawmakers should find plenty to keep them busy.

The drama builds: Cannabis Commission showdown heads to court

How does a new daytime drama called As The State House Turns sound? Shannon O’Brien, the one-time state treasurer who heads the board that oversees legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts and was recently suspended by current state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, took the matter to court Thursday. A hearing on O’Brien’s suit against Goldberg is scheduled for the end of next week. Earlier in the day before O’Brien filed suit, Goldberg told the Boston Globe that O’Brien had been suspended after commission staff and one of the commissioners made what Goldberg said were “several serious allegations.”

State House News Service | Boston Globe

MBTA creating office to reduce transit-caused climate change

The MBTA is creating a new office that will be responsible for finding ways the transit agency can reduce its carbon footprint. WBUR reported that the MBTA stated that over the past 10 years  it has reduced energy consumption by 20 percent and emissions by more than 48 percent.


Advocates say federal shutdown would hurt underprivileged Massachusetts kids

A prolonged federal government shutdown would force the shuttering of at least one of the Head Start programs operating in the state, advocates said. Moreover, the head of a program that is sufficiently funded, at least for now, told WBUR she worries children will pay a price if parents stop receiving federal benefits. If Congressional negotiators and the Biden administration fail to reach a deal on a stopgap funding plan before Sunday, numerous federal programs will grind to a halt.


State AG wants environment-related fines to help harmed neighborhoods

State Attorney General wants the state to direct the proceeds from fines related to violation of environmental regulations to neighborhoods – often in poorer areas – that bear the brunt of pollution and other effects of environmentally harsh activity.

State House News Service

MBTA head said ‘unusual’ track changes causing recent Green Line delays

New MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng said Thursday that the narrowing of tracks along the Green Line – a problem causing trains to slow to a walking speed of 3 mph – “certainly is unusual.” Usually, he said, rails move farther apart from each other as a result of train traffic. Local officials have complained about service problems, including the recent delays, despite $2.3 billion in upgrades to the system.

Boston Herald

Wu’s Mass. and Cass plan meets resistance from council

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan for Mass and Cass faces an uncertain future after a rocky reception from both conservative and progressive members of the Boston City Council on Thursday. After hours of debate, the council delayed a final vote until next week.

Boston Herald

Not yet: T says SouthCoast Rail will open next summer 

The MBTA now says it will be summer of 2024 before SouthCoast Rail brings commuter service to and from Boston to the area. While some track and station construction work remains, most of the added time will be spent on safety inspections and test runs. 

Herald News

Former Methuen police chief, officer indicted in public corruption case

A grand jury has indicted former Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon and the former city councilor he hired as a police officer on fraud, forgery and fraud charges. Solomon is accused of bypassing the state’s civil service hiring process to put at least six hand-picked candidates in jobs, including the former chair of the Methuen City Council.

Eagle Tribune

Brockton says it had 1,000 homeless students last spring 

The Brockton school district said the number of homeless students it served spiked during the last school year–around the time pandemic protections against evictions and foreclosures expired. 

The Enterprise

Baker endorses Springfield council candidate 

Former Gov. Charlie Baker has taken time out of his new job leading the NCAA to endorse Democrat Jose Delgado, who worked in his administration and is now seeking an at-large City Council seat in Springfield. Western Mass Politics & Insight notes that at least so far, Baker has not weighed in on the city’s mayoral race.

Western Mass Politics & Insight

Strikers shut down Netflix filming on Nantucket 

Planned filming of a Netflix film in downtown Nantucket was abruptly halted after actors from the on-strike SAG-AFTRA union traveled to the island to picket production, leaving a crew of 50, which Netflix said did not include any actors, standing idle, Jason Graziadei of the Current report. — Nantucket Current

@Issue, Sunday on NBC10 Boston at 5 a.m. and NECN at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Senate President Karen Spilka on the tax reform agreement that lawmakers passed this week, and the migrant crisis. Plus, Boston Public School Superintendent Mary Skipper. And NBC News National Correspondent Steve Kornacki on polling and the 2024 Presidential race. 

Hosts: Sue O’Connell and Matt Prichard.

Keller@Large, Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV. Political commentator Jon Keller’s guest is Adam Chapdelaine, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, discussing the impact of the migrant crisis on cities and towns, the future of Proposition 2 1/2 and rising incivility in relations between government and the public.

On The Record, Sunday, 11:00 a.m., WCVB TV. State Auditor Diana DiZoglio is the guest with a focus on her efforts, by lawsuit and proposed ballot question, to audit the state legislature. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Virginia Buckingham join the roundtable discussion.

More Headlines

Boston College launches new multibillion-dollar fundraising campaign

EV chargers will return to the Mass. Pike after months with no juice

Commuter rail service at Foxboro Station being made permanent; improvements planned

Blais, Comerford pitch new building authority to aid towns

MBTA announces new climate office to reduce its environmental footprint

Tax rebate changes could draw lawsuit

Sam Drysdale is a reporter with the State House News Service and a graduate of Boston University. Drysdale has written for newspapers on Cape Cod, the South Coast and greater Boston. She lives in Brookline with her cat, Nubbs.

Keith Regan is a freelance writer and local news junkie who has been on the MASSterList morning beat since the newsletter’s earliest days. A graduate of Northeastern University and Emerson College, Regan lives in Hopkinton with his wife, Lisa.