10:00 | Gov. Healey announces the expansion of financial aid programs at a press conference. Attendees: Lt. Gov. Driscoll, Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, Salem Mayor Dominick Pangallo, Board of Higher Education Chair Chris Gabrieli, Salem State University President John Keenan, UMass President Marty Meehan, Mount Wachusett Community College President James Vander Hooven, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Manny Cruz. At Salem State University, Recital Hall, 71 Loring Avenue, Salem
11:30 | Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, undersecretary for health at EOHHS, is among the participants at an Atrius Health Equity Foundation event focused on "innovative solutions to address life expectancy disparities in the Boston area." Boston Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bisolsa Ojikutu leads the panel |Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, 100 West 2nd St., Boston
12:00 | Rep. Cutler gives an author talk about his book, "The Boston Gentleman's Mob: Maria Chapman and the Abolition Riot of 1835." State Library, State House Room 341
It’s the Legislature’s final day of formal sessions for 2023. Here’s a little primer on what to have in mind as we spectate on sessions that could stretch into the night…
Top priority bills for House and Senate leaders are on the docket for earlier in the day, as the House takes up an overhaul of the long-term care industry and the Senate takes up its latest prescription drug bill. The long-term care bill would place added oversight and licensing recommendations on facilities, require them to develop their own infection outbreak response plans, and try to bolster the industry’s workforce. The Senate’s bill aims to reduce or eliminate prescription cost burdens for people with chronic illnesses like heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.
Then there’s the “closeout supp” — a budget that would let state financiers finally close the books on FY23, which ended back in June. This is the bill folks could be holding their breath for later in the day, waiting for House and Senate leaders to agree on compromise language. It’s gotten tangled up in the debate over how to approach funding and parameters for the emergency shelter system amid the influx of migrants coming here. (The Senate didn’t finish debating its own version until around 8 p.m. last night.) There are also standard bill-paying sections, along with more than $300 million in raises that thousands of state employees have been waiting months to receive.
The Senate requires a two-thirds vote to meet past 8 p.m., then another two-thirds vote to go past midnight. In the House, it takes unanimous consent to keep the session open past midnight. So we called Rep. Peter Durant (he’s still in the House ’til later this month), who was vocal last week about wanting changes in the closeout supp related to emergency shelter eligibility, and asked if he planned to object to going past midnight if the moment came.
“It’s a good bargaining tool that’s available to us, should it come to that,” the Spencer Republican told MASSterList.
After today, the chambers shift into “informal” mode, a holiday break that lasts ’til sometime on or after Jan. 3. If they end Wednesday without sending the closeout budget to Gov. Healey’s desk, leaders risk taking it up in an informal session where a single rep or senator can shut down the proceedings. Odds they finish by day’s end? “It’s my goal,” Senate budget chief Michael Rodrigues said yesterday. — Sam Doran
Repeat tax revenue misses have lawmakers’ attention
Four consecutive months of state tax revenue falling below forecasts have caught the attention of lawmakers, but whether there’s cause for alarm depends on whom you ask. State Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz said Tuesday: “It’s something that we’re monitoring very carefully. And while it’s true that the state has missed its revenue collection benchmarks four months in a row, we continue to see growth year-over-year.” He added that “no one is panicking at this point.” State Sen. Bruce Tarr said in a separate forum that the shortfall “points to the need to focus very closely on expenditures moving forward because the robust amounts of revenue that we have been collecting do not seem to be materializing in the current fiscal year.” — State House News Service
Senate showdown: Union president’s feud with senator hits cage match level
Teamsters President — and Medford’s own — Sean O’Brien’s ongoing feud with Republican Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin took a dramatic and nearly violent turn in a Senate hearing room on Tuesday when Mullin — a former MMA fighter — challenged O’Brien to make good on his online threats to fight him right then and there. The result: A memorable Senate hearing room moment in which each man told the other “stand your butt up” before U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders intervened to shut it down, at least for now. — Boston Herald | Boston Globe
Mass. lawmakers discuss four-day workweek
Massachusetts lawmakers are eyeing a four-day workweek — for the rest of us — and heard testimony yesterday on a proposed pilot program. State Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Josh Cutler want the state to use tax credits to induce businesses to adopt four-day workweeks for two years and to regularly report on how the change is working out. Fernandes said: “The five day work week is a human construct and we think it needs updating.” One argument put forth by proponents of the shortened workweeks is that they’re easier on the environment. —WHDH
Andover teachers’ illegal strike pays off
Andover teachers and the town’s School Committee have agreed on a new contract, bringing an end to a strike that violated state law and on Monday drew a fine of $50,000 plus $10,000 for each additional day from a Superior Court judge. The average Andover teacher makes $94,000 a year. The new contract will provide raises of 15.5 percent over four years. — WBZ
Committee exploring changing state motto and seal ends work without making a recommendation
A commission created by the state Legislature and tasked with exploring whether the state seal and motto should be replaced wound up its work yesterday without making a recommendation. The commission previously determined that the existing seal and motto are inappropriate and should be scrapped. The seal includes a sword over a Native American holding a bow and arrow. The Latin motto translates to: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” — WGBH
Rent control hearing seen as step in right direction
With a ballot question now off the table, supporters of rent control measures took their case to state lawmakers Tuesday and while it may be a while before it’s clear what legislation, if any, will emerge, the fact that the topic is even being discussed under the golden dome is giving some advocates fresh hope. — WBUR
Mascot-ban supporters say bill needed to move stubborn school districts
Supporters of legislation that would ban the use of images of indigenous people as school mascots say state lawmakers must act because 23 schools continue to be “stubbornly” attached to those symbols. Nearly 70 schools have dropped or modified mascots in the last two decades, but the issue continues to be a contentious one in many communities. — State House News Service
Brookline town meeting says yes to more housing
In the end, it wasn’t close. After months of debate, Brookline Town Meeting members overwhelmingly voted to support new zoning allowing denser multi-family housing in the town’s commercial corridor. The vote not only brings the town closer to complying with the MBTA Communities Act but could represent a major inflection point in attitudes toward expanding housing production — even in places typically resistant. — Boston Globe
Raynham says three 40Bs is too many
The Raynham Board of Selectmen will attempt to stop a proposed 250-unit 40B affordable housing project on the grounds that the town has already experienced a decade’s worth of rapid growth and that with two similar projects already under way, now says an additional project is more than the town’s schools and public safety departments can handle. — Taunton Gazette
Did the Convention Center Authority put a headache on its agenda?
The state Convention Center Authority Tuesday morning posted an agenda for a Thursday meeting indicating staff would recommend a group led by Jon Cronin had been selected to develop land near the South Boston complex and a vote would be held on that group’s bid. The Boston Business Journal spoke with the rival bidder, Boston Global Investors, which apparently hadn’t had a chance to complete presenting its bid and was unaware a choice had been made. Hours later, the agenda was revised to something far less committal and an authority spokesman had little to say about the change, the BBJ reported. — Boston Business Journal