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Today on Beacon Hill

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

11:30am House Session, Informal Session

11:45am House Session, Joint Session

12:00pm Joint Committee on Transportation, Oversight Hearing

2:00pm DCR Lifeguard Recognition Event, Great Hall

Must-Reads

Republicans Are Courting Disaster on Health Care » New York Times After years of attacking Obamacare they still aren't ready to repeal it. They're about to do so anyway.…

Bristol Sheriff offers inmates to build Trump's Mexico wall » Boston Globe FALL RIVER — Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has made a personal offer to President-elect Donald J. Trump: Bristol County inmates will be available to help build Trump's border wall with …

The Boston Globe's major overhaul is underway » Poynter Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory on Wednesday afternoon detailed the finer points of a massive reorganization aimed at reinventing the newspaper for the digital age. …

Former aide to Deval Patrick considers challenging Charlie Baker » Boston Globe Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez has taken steps toward a challenge to Republican Governor Charlie Baker, leaving his private-sector job and telling associates he is likely to run in 2018. …

MassBenchmarks: State economy nears 'full capacity'; impact of Trump unknown » Mass Live The Massachusetts labor market is reaching full capacity, with a lack of skilled and ready workers already pushing up wages in the high-tech manufacturing and construction industries, according to the…

GOP sticks with veteran leaders in Dem-dominated legislature » State House News Service Hoping to temper the Democratic majority's appetite for taxes, veteran Republican lawmakers were re-elected to their leadership positions in the House and Senate on Wednesday, the first day of the 201…

Quincy city council president Kirsten Hughes seeks re-election as state GOP chief » The Patriot Ledger A Quincy city councilor has set her sights on four more years atop the state's Republican Party. Quincy City Council President Kirsten Hughes, 39, is seeking re-election after her first four-year ter…

Two longtime reps skip speaker vote » Commonwealth Magazine TWO LONGTIME MEMBERS of the House, both with a prickly history with Speaker Robert DeLeo, opted out of voting for DeLeo's reelection to the post, even asking that their names not be mentioned during t…

Rosenberg hews to liberal agenda » Commonwealth Magazine SENATE PRESIDENT STAN ROSENBERG offered a snapshot of his legislative priorities for the coming session, zeroing in on the need to invest in education and transportation, and enact criminal justice re…

“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,”

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson

Offering Bristol County inmates as workers to build Donald Trump's wall.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

Republicans' 4-Step Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act » New York Times Though much remains unclear, a determined Republican president and Congress can gut President Obama's signature accomplishment.…

Law firm of Trump's SEC pick lobbied for Goldman Sachs » nj.com The law firm of Donald Trump's nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission lobbies for Goldman Sachs Group, the investment bank the president-elect blasted on the campaign trail. …

Special Report: Why New England's 12 Senators Matter » WGBH News Almost two years ago, in the Senate's second vote of the 114th session, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against a bill helping business get insurance aga…

Democrats say GOP will 'make America sick again' » Boston Globe President Obama returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday to rally battered Democrats to defend his health care law, urging lawmakers to stand up to Republicans who are intent on unwinding the crowning domes…

Scott Brown still 'in the mix very much' for VA secretary » Boston Herald Former Bay State U.S. Sen. Scott Brown said he is still a candidate to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as President-elect Donald Trump has taken meetings with new candidates for the Cabi…

When It Comes To Russia, So Far Donald Trump Mostly Stands Alone » WBUR The Republican Party has embraced President-elect Donald Trump's positions on immigration, trade, the deficit and conflicts of interest, but when it comes to Russia, Trump and his party are not even c…

Sen. Elizabeth Warren slams Exxon-Mobil proposed payout to Trump secretary of state nominee as 'golden parachute' » The Republican President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for chief diplomat, Rex Tillerson, is set to receive a $180 million payout from Exxon-Mobil if Tillerson is confirmed. That has drawn the ire of Sen. Elizabeth …

Business

No more 'paper of record': McGrory offers more details on the Globe's reinvention » Media Nation Earlier this week Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory promised his staff that he'd soon be offering more details about the paper's reinvention effort. Well, a little while ago his latest memo came float…

Macy's to close stores in Brockton, Taunton » Boston Globe Macy's stores anchoring malls in Brockton and Taunton are among 68 nationwide that are scheduled to go dark, eliminating about 160 jobs in the two struggling Southeastern Massachusetts cities.…

Tower project might cast shadow on Boston development » Boston Globe Let me get this straight. Millennium Partners proposes a billion-dollar redevelopment of the shuttered Winthrop Square garage and then forgets to check whether the project might violate the state's sh…

Marlborough: Airport on the market for $3 million » The Metro West Daily News The state's oldest privately owned commercial airport is for sale.…

Eatery fed up with BYOB red tape » Boston Herald A nine-month wait for the city to create rules for BYOB eateries — after all city officials agreed to allow the establishments in 2016 — has nearly driven some restaurant owners to drink…

Boston's total housing market value is higher than the last bubble » Boston Business Journal In another sign that Boston's housing market just keeps percolating, Zillow reported last week that the total value of all homes in Greater Boston rose 6 percent last year to $672.7 billion.…

Pro-Legalization Legislators Knew about That Marijuana Delay Vote » Boston Magazine Lawmakers' speedy and secretive vote to push back parts of the marijuana law by six months didn't come without warning. Many of the state's pro-pot senators were alerted ahead of time about the lightl…

Crimes

7 Things To Know About The Trial Over Deadly Meningitis Outbreak » WBUR The criminal case against a former executive of the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center, which was linked to a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak in 2012, began in Boston federal court Wed…

Education

Report: Massachusetts education system ranked first in nation » WWLP 22 The Massachusetts Executive Office of Education announced on Wednesday that the state was ranked first in the nation with the best overall education system by Education Week, a national publication.…

Programs smooth college path for foreign students » Boston Globe Like many Chinese students, Snowy Chen had no intention of going to college in China. She dreams of working at a fashion magazine, Vogue maybe, so she set her sights on the United States.…

Lawmakers say school-aid fund formula needs boost » Boston Herald State legislators who say they want to change an “outdated” education funding formula are hoping to pump as much as $200 million in new state aid to schools each year.…

Parents question schools' commitment to zero waste » Andover Townsman

Health Care

Mass. mentally ill wait longer in ER, study says » Boston Globe Mentally ill patients idle for hours and even days in emergency rooms waiting for treatment, while patients with medical problems rarely experience these holdups, according to a study of 10 Massachuse…

Legislation would license alternative medicine practitioners » Boston Globe A measure that emerged in the last moments of the Massachusetts Legislature's session Tuesday would create a licensing board for naturopaths — alternative medicine practitioners whose work is c…

Baker taking wait-and-see approach to ACA changes » WWLP 22 As some in Washington D.C. prepare plans to disassemble the Affordable Care Act others in Massachusetts are girding for a battle to ensure Bay State residents will have the same access to health cover…

Labor

Associated Industries: $15 minimum wage could make companies leave, drop payroll » The Republican Raising the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour, as many activists want, could drive employers from the state, according to a survey released this week by Associated Industries of Massachusetts,…

Over The Last Year, Mass. Metro Areas Had The Nation's Biggest Declines In Unemployment » WBUR The Massachusetts unemployment rate is 2.9 percent, and it fell significantly — a full 2 percentage points — from November 2015 to now. That we've reported before.…

Legislative

New Legislative Session Underway, Cape Delegation Welcomes Newcomers » Cape Cod Online The 190th session of the Massachusetts Legislature was sworn into office Tuesday, a group that includes three new members of the Cape Cod delegation.…

3 freshmen Western Massachusetts lawmakers take their seats » The Republican In a day filled with family and friends, ceremony and tradition, the members of the 190th session of the Massachusetts Legislature were sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker.…

Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams considering giving up seat » WWLP 22 Springfield City Councilor and now State Representative Bud Williams told 22News Wednesday that he's close to making up his mind.…

New reps from Framingham, Milford join the House » The Metro West Daily News With fresh challenges facing the state, two newly-minted lawmakers from the area are eager to begin work in the Legislature.…

Recent Brown graduate fills Story's seat in Boston » The Recorder An energy jobs bill that would get Massachusetts “to go big” on clean energy technology is at the forefront of legislation new State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose intends to file.…

It's official: Leominster's Natalie Higgins is sworn in as its newest state representative » Sentinel & Enterprise Natalie Higgins smiled broadly after being recognized as one of the Legislature's newest members just minutes after being sworn in as the representative of the 4th Worcester District.…

Why trash talk amounted to nothing » Commonwealth Magazine EVEN FOR BEACON HILL, the wrangling over recycling legislation late Tuesday night was one of those can-you-believe-it moments.…

Wolf 'optimistic' as he steps aside » Cape Cod Times The political career of state Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, came to a close — at least temporarily — Tuesday on Beacon Hill.…

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, elected to 2nd term, lays out 2017 priorities » MassLive In a speech before the newly sworn-in members of the Senate, Rosenberg laid out his priorities for the upcoming session, which range from regulating self-driving cars to reforming the criminal justice…

DeLeo to focus on leveraging state's strengths » Worcester Telegram & Gazette Elected by his fellow Democrats to a fifth term as speaker on Wednesday, Rep. Robert DeLeo said he would focus on leveraging the state's strengths in the upcoming session and predicted lawmakers would…

Rosenberg outlines ambitious two-year agenda » Worcester Telegram & Gazette Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Wednesday embarked on his second term as the top Democrat in the upper chamber, outlining an ambitious, if challenging, agenda for the coming two years that could…

Hinds Sworn In As State Senator » iBerkshires Adam Hinds was sworn in Wednesday as the Berkshires' newest state senator.…

GOP sticking with veteran leaders in Democratic-dominated Legislature » WWLP 22 News

Moore seeks suggestions for State House display » The Millbury Sutton Chronicle

Stanley Rosenberg re-elected as senate president » WWLP 22 News Amherst Democrat Stanley Rosenberg will continue to hold the top spot in the Massachusetts Senate, and it came as no surprise that he won re-election as president.…

Local Government

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno channels Bill Belichick in response to questions about fire commissioner's status » The Republican Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, citing New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, was not going to answer any more questions Wednesday on his decision not to renew the contract of Fire Commissioner Joseph Con…

Expert to help towns navigate new pot law » Berkshire Eagle Berkshires leaders have questions about recreational marijuana. A municipal law expert will soon try to provide answers.…

North Reading MWRA, Civil Service Bills Enacted » Beacon Hill Patch In addition to securing authorization for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to begin supplying water to North Reading, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) an…

Opinion

Have an open mind, but hold Trump accountable » Boston Globe I was one of many Republicans who stated publicly and vehemently that we considered Donald Trump so unsuited to be president that our duty to the country required that, holding our noses, we support h…

Editorial: Lame-duck mischief on cannabis law » Wicked Local Middleton Lame-duck legislative sessions have a bad reputation for good reason. They come after an election but before a new legislature is sworn in, which minimizes accountability. …

Will DeVos avoid the Beltway education trap? Column » USA TODAY Every administration since President George H.W. Bush's has pinned its hopes of transforming American K-12 education on several thousand bureaucrats in the Lyndon B. Johnson Building in Washington, D.…

Sheriff's proposal to have prisoners build Donald Trump's wall is absurd » Boston Globe

Politics

Bristol County Sheriff Offers Up Inmates To Build The Border Wall Trump Promises » WBUR Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is offering President-elect Donald Trump some help to build his proposed wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. As he begins his fourth term in office, Sheriff …

Newton mayoral candidates enter 2017 on strong financial footing » Wicked Local Newton Ruthanne Fuller has an early fundraising advantage over Scott Lennon in Newton's 2017 mayoral race - but both candidates are ahead of where their predecessors were during the 2009 election, a review o…

Rift between delegates, state party grows over inaugural tickets » Boston Herald Incensed Bay State delegates who backed President-elect Donald Trump say they still don't have credentials to the Republican's inaugural events — or have had to resort to asking their Democrati…

CeltiCare CEO quietly resigns while mulling run for governor » Boston Business Journal CeltiCare Health Plan CEO Jay Gonzalez quietly resigned last month to potentially run for governor.…

Baker sticking with recipe, but the Democrats feature greater numbers » Sentinel & Enterprise After administering the oath of office to the new Legislature -- split 159-41 against members of the party he leads -- Gov. Charlie Baker struck an optimistic tone Wednesday about boosting the Republi…

Schilling's conservative pitch » Commonwealth Magazine For a guy who says he doesn't care about going into the Baseball Hall of Fame, former Red Sox pitcher and noted right-wing flamethrower Curt Schilling is spending an awful lot of energy talking about …

Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito visits Westfield for first fundraiser of year » WWLP 22 Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito stopped in Westfield this morning to attend the Baker-Polito administration's first fundraiser of the New Year.…

For Setti Warren, a fundraising hurdle » Boston Globe

Public Safety

Legislature boosts pension for ambushed Falmouth officer » Cape Cod Times After more than 37 years of dealing with the physical and emotional scars left by a vicious attack on his life, former Falmouth police Officer John Busby is on track to get some relief from financial …

A baby overdosed on fentanyl. Was it accident or crime? » Boston Globe Was it a crime or a terrible accident? Did someone recklessly expose the 10-month-old to a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, or did the child ingest residue unintentionally left on a toy or other o…

Northampton in midst of 'terrible epidemic' as heroin overdoses spike in 2016 » The Republican Heroin overdoses within the city nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016, police report.…

Child abuse reports rose in 2016 » Boston Herald District attorneys across the state are seeing an uptick in reports of child abuse and neglect, a jump they say is causing a pinch on already strained resources that are needed to fully investigate th…

Defibrillators could be coming to Massachusetts schools » WWLP 22 A bill is on Governor Charlie Baker's desk to place portable defibrillators in schools throughout Massachusetts.…

Lawmakers Pass Bill Fining Drivers For Bike Lane Violations » WBUR Drivers across the state could be penalized with a ticket of up to $50 for stopping in a bike lane under legislation sent to the governor's desk on Tuesday, the last day of the biennial session. Stat…

Sheriff offers to send inmates to build Trump's border wall » Sentinel & Enterprise A sheriff who runs a Massachusetts jail is offering to send inmates to the U.S.-Mexico border to help Republican President-elect Donald Trump build a wall there. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson…

Sheriff Hodgson will 'wait to see' if Trump wants prisoners to build wall » Boston Herald

State Finance

State Senate President Suggests Legislature Look For New Revenue Streams » WBUR On Beacon Hill Wednesday, lawmakers returned to the State House to begin a new legislative session. While the gathering was mostly ceremonial, the debate to increase revenues started to take shape. …

State Government

Registry of Deeds slated to move to old courthouse » The Salem News Lawmakers have voted to turn over the old Superior Court building on Federal Street to the Salem Redevelopment Authority, and state leaders want to move the Southern Essex Registry of Deeds from Shetl…

Boston: Governor Signs Bill Dedicating Pembroke Intersection to James 'Tiny' Brown » 95.9 WATD An intersection in Pembroke will now be a permanent tribute to a well-known, generous and well-liked resident who passed away over the summer.…

Councilors urge Baker to consider pardons, commutations » The Hull Times Governor's Councilor Robert Jubinville used a rare council appearance by Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday to ask him for an update about possible recommendations for pardons and commutations.…

State releases online reports of data breaches » Worcester Telegram & Gazette It could be through a bank or a hospital, an accounting firm or a higher education institution. It could be in a large government agency. Pretty much anywhere personal information is collected, it cou…

Major issues that could test bonds of Beacon Hill in 2017 » Nashoba Publishing In addition to the wildcard that is Donald Trump's presidency, here's a look at 11 simmering issues that could escalate to a full boil in the 2017-2018 legislative session, which gets underway today …

Pot law, opioids and the economy will be Baker's focus in State of the Commonwealth speech » Wicked Local Cape Cod

Transportation

First self-driving car hits the road in Boston » Boston Globe The start of a new era in technology in Boston began inauspiciously enough.…

Drivers who stop in bike lanes could be fined $50 under bill » The Associated Press (AP) Drivers who stop in bicycle lanes could face fines of up to $50 under a bill Massachusetts lawmakers have delivered to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.…

Utilities

Elected officials call for public meeting on Pilgrim Nuke safety » Cape Cod Today Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Congressman William Keating (MA-09), Governor Charlie Baker, the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and num…

PILGRIM STATION: Massachusetts officials call on NRC to address nuclear plant concerns » Wicked Local Plymouth State and federal leaders called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Wednesday to hold a public meeting in Massachusetts to answer questions about the safety of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymo…

Officials want public meeting over Pilgrim Power Plant safety » Boston Globe The state's top elected leaders are calling on the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold a public meeting in Massachusetts to discuss safety concerns at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.…

Massachusetts officials propose meeting to discuss public safety issues with Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant » The Republican The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, located on Cape Cod bay in Plymouth, became a point of controversy recently after an internal memo from the plant leaked that expressed concerns about maintenance issu…

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