10:30 | Gov. Maura Healey hosts a press conference "to announce new efforts to address and prevent hate-based incidents and hate crimes." Healey is joined by Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Attorney General Andrea Campbell, Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy and Mass. State Police Interim Colonel John Mawn | Room 157
11:00 | The Senate meets without a calendar | Senate Chamber
11:00 | The House holds an informal session | House Chamber
12:00 | Attorney General Andrea Campbell joins a listening session with residents impacted by Unitil’s utility services and delivery rates. Sen. John Cronin and Reps. Margaret Scarsdale and Michael Kushmerek are hosting | Lunenburg Public Library, 1023 Massachusetts Avenue, Lunenburg
12:00 | Public employee unions hold a rally and press conference bringing attention to collective bargaining agreement funding hung up in supplemental budget negotiations. Union members plan to attend Legislature's informal sessions at 11 a.m. before staging a rally outside the building. | State House steps
6:30 | Senator Jason Lewis holds a virtual community conversation on housing challenges and solutions, featuring a keynote address from Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus. Lewis moderates a panel discussion with Laura Rosi of Housing Families, Matt Noyes of the Citizens' Housing and Planning Association and Alex Pratt of the City of Malden
Clean heat in Massachusetts is about to get revamped.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is gearing up to recommend a new Clean Heat Standard, which would require heating energy suppliers to replace fossil heating fuels with clean heat over time by implementing clean heat or purchasing credits.
MassDEP is seeking stakeholder input on their draft regulations through December 21. The new standards are part of the state’s complex plan of patchwork policies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — a goal that they are legally obligated to hit.
While the focus of much conversation around converting Massachusetts to better prepare for the climate reality of the future has been on generating new sources of clean energy, DEP’s clean heat emission reduction program focuses on the full electrification of buildings.
The draft recommendations would require reductions equivalent to an additional one million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year from 2026 through 2050.
This target would require that 20,000 residents be held up to the full electrification standard by 2026, increasing by 20,000 each year to reach 100,000 in 2030 and every later year.
To try to ensure that clean heat is affordable and equitable, MassDEP’s regulations would include an “equity carve out” requirement that 25 percent of the full electrification standard be met by projects that serve customers who are eligible for low-income discount electricity rates.
Altogether, the framework, which the environmental agency hopes will be a “gold standard” of clean heat, would call for 400,000 homes, or 13 percent of all homes in Massachusetts, to be updated with clean energy by 2045.
“Climate change is a housing issue, it’s a transportation issue, it’s an issue of energy and food security, it’s a public safety issue, it’s an environment and land use issue, but it’s not just an environmental issue,” Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer said in January. “And so part of this effort is to help everybody kind of understand, climate change is really an issue that addresses all of these different aspects of our life and so if we’re really going to get a handle on trying to respond effectively to the challenge of climate change, we need to be thinking about it from all those different perspectives.” — Sam Drysdale
Unions to rally as lack of supplemental budget holds up pay raises
Members of public employee unions plan to rally at the State House Monday to call attention to the fact that as many as 100,000 public employees continue to wait for agreed-upon raises to kick in for as long as the Legislature is unable to agree on a supplemental budget package. The pay bumps being held up include raises for state, county and local workers who are members of 95 different bargaining units. — Boston Business Journal
Free calls from prison are now the law
Mass. is the first state in New England and the fifth state in the U.S. to make prison and jail calls free. Gov. Healey signed the bill into law last Wednesday, a “victory” for those who have wanted to lessen the burden on prisoners communicating for years, writes GBH’s Sarah Betancourt. The law will go into effect Dec. 1. and includes free video calls and emails along with phone usage. — GBH
Amherst Regional Middle School faces reports of anti-LGBTQ+ misconduct
An investigation report was released to the public on Friday confirming that Amherst-Pelham Public schools “failed to effectively address claims of harassment and misconduct by middle school staff against LGBTQ+ students,” Jackson Cote reports for MassLive. This report centered on claims of Title IX and other policy violations by Amherst Regional Middle School’s administration, though it was only one of five reports published Friday. The other four focused on investigations of reported harassment and misconduct of current and former ARMS councilors toward LGBTQ+ students. — MassLive
National Grid proposes annual price increase and tiered discount system
National Grid filed a Comprehensive Performance and Investment Plan for approval from Mass. DPU, outlining its five-year plan to increase annual rates and invest in infrastructure so the organization can offer larger discounts as part of a tiered discount plan to low-income electric customers. DPU will review National Grid’s proposal for the next 10 months, in which it will allow time for public input. If approved, new rates would go into effect in the latter half of 2024. — Boston Business Journal | WBUR
Over 1,000 migrants attend work authorization clinic
“Work-eligible” migrants staying in emergency shelters attended a workshop last week to “fast-track” processing times for work authorizations — a strategy state officials claim will help move families out of temporary housing and into more permanent situations. According to the Healey administration, hundreds of adults and children also received seasonal vaccinations and access to MassHire and assistance enrolling in daycare during the clinic. The Healey administration and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security ran the workshop in Middlesex County and plan to hold another the week of Nov. 27. — Boston Herald
Worcester manager tells Human Rights Commission to skip policing angle
Worcester City Manager Eric Batista is refusing to share internal documents requested by the newly formed Human Rights Commission, essentially telling the group to pivot away from reviewing how local police have responded to hate crimes and reports of officer misconduct. Batista told the commission such an action is unnecessary because of an ongoing federal inquiry into the department and an internal racial equity audit about to launch. — Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Holyoke crime crackdown is straining courts
Two weeks after Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia announced his plan to crack down on crime following the shooting death of an unborn child, the surge of arrests and criminal summons being issued has caused a crunch in the local courts. Holyoke police say they’ve arrested 97 people since Operation Safe Streets 2 was launched on Nov. 8 and MassLive’s Aprell May Munford reports some have been unable to secure lawyers amid a shortage of public defenders. — MassLive
Potential community control over large-scale solar in the Valley
Proposed legislation aiming to increase local control over the regulation of large-scale solar projects is garnering support from Pioneer Valley residents. Under “An Act Regarding Municipal Zoning Powers,” communities would be able to institute their own zoning bylaws and would be less likely to be sued by developers if they don’t approve development proposals. — Daily Hampshire Gazette
Former Sen. Tran indicted again
Former state Senator Dean Tran was arrested for unemployment fraud on Friday and charged in federal court for allegedly collecting fraudulent unemployment benefits and failing to disclose his income to the IRS. He faces a 28-count indictment claiming he collected more than $30,000 in pandemic unemployment once he left the Senate in 2021. This is not Tran’s first indictment. — State House News Service
Swampscott is swimming in an opioid settlement
The town’s Health Department has a $100,000 share of the Commonwealth’s opioid settlement funds and is sending a community-wide survey for input on where the funds should go. The money is part of settlement agreements reached by the state with multiple pharmaceutical companies following their enabling of the overdose epidemic in 2021. The Health Dept. plans to hold an idea exchange and form a working group to brainstorm effective ways to spend funds to improve responses like addiction treatment, harm reduction and prevention education. — Lynn Daily Item
Mass. and Maine maintain Sunday hunting bans
Pushes to overturn Sunday hunting bans in Maine and Massachusetts are surfacing following a court case and several states doing away with hunting restrictions of their own. The laws in question prevent hunting big game animals on Sundays, and while some hunters believe the laws protect private landowner rights, others say the rules take away hunting opportunities. An ongoing court case in Maine is stirring conversation. — WBZ Boston | Associated Press
Despite court order, Fall River still withholding records in city public works scandal
More than a month after a judge ordered Fall River to release public records relating to the departure of a former department head, the city has released only a redacted-riddled report and continued to withhold witness identities and other key information, Jo C. Goode of the Herald-News reports. The matter could be headed back to court in the coming days. — Herald-News
Dept. of Public Health releases maternal health care access recommendations
The Department of Public Health released 25 recommendations last week for the improvement of the state’s maternal health care relating to postpartum, abortion and stillbirth services, among other monitoring and data collection programs. The recommendations follow Gov. Healey’s directive in September to review maternal health access and provide recommendations to improve care, which came as a result of opposition to UMass Memorial Medical Center’s closure of its Leominster birthing center on Sept. 23. — State House News Service
Halloween, Red Line woes help T Commuter Rail post strong month
The MBTA says its commuter rail network reached 90 percent of pre-pandemic peak ridership levels for all of October as more commuters used the Fairmount Line to avoid Red Line subway shutdowns and a record number of riders hopped on the Newburyport branch to celebrate the Halloween season in Salem. — Boston Herald