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Today on Beacon Hill

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

7:00pm Politics and Pastries with Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Share Amherst, 17 Kellogg Avenue, Amherst

Birthdays: Rep. Kimberly Ferguson

Must-Reads

State officials panicked over children's health program » Politico Families are becoming increasingly panicked about children losing health insurance without new funding from Congress, state officials warned Wednesday as a new report showed nearly 2 million kids coul…

I spoke my mind on guns. Then my Senate confirmation was put on hold. » The Washington Post Then, I blurted out what was in my heart: “I'd also like to .?.?. just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic weapon like an AR-1…

Virginia court tosses one-vote victory that briefly ended GOP majority in House » The Washington Post Control of Virginia's legislature hung in limbo Wednesday after a three-judge panel declined to certify the recount of a key House race, saying that a questionable ballot should be counted in favor of…

OFF-SHORE WIND DEVELOPERS PITCH STATE FOR LONG-TERM CONTRACTS » State House News Service Deepwater Wind, Vineyard Wind and Ørsted, the Danish company formerly known as DONG Energy, each responded to a request for proposals from the Department of Energy Resources for offshore wind proje…

Despite tax bill passing, individual mandate remains in Mass. » Boston Globe Massachusetts is largely shielded from a key provision of the sweeping tax bill approved by Congress on Wednesday, a measure that guts the requirement that Americans obtain health insurance or pay a p…

Durand endorses Koh for congressional seat » The Metro West Daily News Former state representative, state senator and Massachusetts Environmental Secretary Bob Durand recently endorsed Dan Koh for the congressional seat held by Niki Tsongas. …

The year in journalism: The big players, best feuds, and more » Columbia Journalism Review The big players, best feuds, and more …

'Chop him up:' Accusers seethe over Vatican funeral plans for Cardinal Law » CNN Alexa MacPherson says very little about Cardinal Bernard Law's death gives her peace of mind -- including the Catholic Church's plans for a full cardinal's funeral at St. Peter's Basilica. …

Tax cut's silver linings playbook. Hidden opportunities for progressives in GOP tax bill - Part I » Commonwealth Magazine The tax cut legislation reduces the ACA's tax penalties under the so-called “individual mandate” to zero. Despite repeated media reports that the law repeals the individual mandate, that's…

Cousins gets vote of confidence from new employer » The Salem News Inspector General Glenn Cunha' ... said that (former Essexz sheriff Frank) Cousins, of Newburyport, encouraged scores of employees to call in sick on days they were healthy — often using the ti…

“In a time where there is so much polarity, our ability to continue to retain working, constructive relationships with our colleagues in state and local government on both sides of the aisle has been a positive achievement,”

Governor Charlie Baker

Looking back at the legislative year in review.

News By Category
Business

Boston has its first cat cafe. Will it last? » Boston Globe Diane Kelly needed a change. After working in the field of cardiac ultrasound for about three decades, the 50-year-old Hull resident knew this: She wanted to work with animals and she wanted to be he…

Companies pay hefty settlement for illegal asbestos work on Harbor Place project in Haverhill » Eagle Tribune Two companies will pay a total of $215,000 to settle allegations that they performed illegal asbestos work on the Harbor Place project in downtown Haverhill and the Mass Mills renovation in Lowell, st…

Is Boston's AAA team headed to Massachusetts? » Lowell Sun The mayor of Pawtucket, R.I., sounded fairly certain of it, but state and local officials were mum Tuesday about the prospect of Worcester luring the Red Sox AAA affiliate to Massachusetts.…

Why one Seattle reporter thinks Boston looks better than ever for Amazon HQ2 » Boston Business Journal One of the biggest stories of 2018 will be Amazon.com's second headquarters pick.…

Crimes

Boston Opened 'Pandora's Box' of Clergy Sex Abuse Worldwide » US News and World Report Cardinal Bernard Law became a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church's widespread failure to protect children as he presided over a cover-up of sexual abuse by priests in Boston's archdiocese. A global r…

Stolen Amazon packages found in Boston home headed to rightful owners » Worcester Telegram Standing in the loading dock of the state building that houses her office Wednesday morning, Attorney General Maura Healey appraised the Amazon packages she passed from state troopers to Boston police…

Education

Mass. colleges saw endowment gains in 2017 amid bull market » Boston Business Journal The richest Massachusetts colleges and universities saw their endowments swell in the most recent fiscal year, thanks in part to a bullish stock market.…

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.9 Million Grant to Expand Research into Advanced Fibers & Fabrics for Defense Sector » Textile World LEXINGTON, Mass. — December 20, 2017 — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative announced a $3.9 million grant to support the second phase of…

MIT, Harvard say GOP's endowment tax will cost them millions » Boston Business Journal

Environment

Offshore wind bidders identify Brayton Point benefits » Herald News SOMERSET — Two of the three energy entities submitting offshore wind proposals to state officials at Wednesday's deadline would plug into the electric grid void at Brayton Point that shut down …

Health Care

State report shows Mass. residents may be insured, but care isn't affordable » Boston Business Journal Massachusetts residents may for the most part be insured, but they often still have trouble finding affordable care.…

Children's Health Insurance Deal Not Happening Til 2018, Key GOP Senators Say » Governing With prospects for reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program this year rapidly dimming, 25 states are expected to exhaust their federal funding to provide coverage for 1.9 million low-inco…

Rep. Lyons wrong on anti-choice ballot initiative » Andover Townsman It surprises me that we have not heard more about the significance of the second failed ballot initiative, which would have changed the state constitution to permit the exclusion of abortion services …

Housing

What Amazon's HQ2 Could Mean For Housing In East Boston » WBUR East Boston is a neighborhood in transition. Construction cranes tower along the waterfront. Just blocks away, vacant, boarded-up buildings linger like ghosts. …

Yarmouth Workforce Housing Project Gets Major State Boost » Capecod.com

Human Services

Once a National Model for Helping Panhandlers, Albuquerque's New Law Could Land Them in Jail » Governing Its new ordinance exemplifies a shift in how cities across the country are trying to target panhandlers. …

Immigration

Without new laws or walls, Trump presses the brake on legal immigration » Boston Globe A scientist recruited by the renowned Cleveland Clinic is stuck in India because his visa is delayed. An entrepreneur courted by Silicon Valley companies had his application denied. …

Barnstable County sheriff approved for immigration enforcement » Cape Cod Times The Barnstable County Sheriff's Office has received approval from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce federal immigration laws on a local level.…

Judiciary

More than 8,000 drug cases tainted by chemist Sonja Farak » MassLive More than 8,000 criminal cases are likely to be dismissed due to the misconduct of former state drug lab chemist Sonja Farak, according to court documents.…

Labor

Mass. unemployment rate falls for 4th month in a row » Boston Business Journal

Legislative

Parisella returns from Israel visit » Gloucester Times Rep. Jerry Parisella has returned from Israel, capping off an 11-day trip that some lawmakers see as a conflict of interest.…

Fitchburg's Dean Tran sworn in as state senator » Sentinel & Enterprise "The American dream is alive and well." …

State senator aims to save net neutrality » Boston Herald

Brookline's Rep. Smizik won't seek re-election in 2018 » State House News Service

Local Government

State: Cambridge liquor license situation 'unfortunate;' investigation ongoing » Wicked Local Cambridge Cambridge's liquor licensing practices have been confusing and frustrating for a number of business owners, but it's still unclear whether the city broke state liquor laws, according to the state …

Methuen Mayor-elect Jajuga names key staff members » Eagle Tribune James Jajuga wants to “hit the ground running” when he enters the mayor's office in two weeks, and he's already surrounded himself with select staffers who will enable him to do it.…

Falmouth official orders plan to dismantle wind turbine » Cape Cod Times Town officials will be given until May 31, 2018, to produce a plan for dismantling and removing the mammoth Wind 1 turbine that stands on the wastewater treatment plant property.…

The Quiet Revolution Happening in the Suburbs » Governing Suburbs first gained popularity for being everything a big city wasn't. Now they want to be just like downtown. …

Marijuana

Can Franklin County farmers benefit from the cannabis boom? » Wicked Local Weymouth As state lawmakers finalize the first draft of recreational marijuana regulations, some local farmers are betting that Franklin County will benefit from cannabis cultivation.…

Opinion

Ban plastic bags? It's sense vs. cents » Lowell Sun Just days after Boston approved a plastic bag ban, a Fitchburg city councilor wants his community to consider a similar measure.…

Cardinal should have faced criminal charges » Boston Herald Nearly 200 claims of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in New York remain unresolved.…

It was over for Law when Boston's power elite broke with him » Boston Globe Cardinal Bernard Law's downfall began with the courage of victims who came forward to tell their terrible stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.…

If extraterrestrials invaded, humans wouldn't stand a chance » Boston Globe Recently, Politico and The New York Times reported on a secretive effort to track “unidentified aerial phenomena” described by military personnel. Purely out of curiosity about life on oth…

Trump's security strategy prepares for a 'long war' without end » Boston Globe The authors of the Trump administration's new National Security Strategy, released this week, are marketing it as an expression of “principled realism.” Belligerent narcissism more accurat…

Shattuck: Tax cut a victory for freedom – and your wallet » Boston Herald President Trump's tax reform victory is not only a massive legislative accomplishment but also, and more importantly, a win for freedom. Freedom is making quite a revival under President Trump.…

When public buildings put up a wall » Boston Globe Securing an ID should not pose yet another barrier …

Other

GOP's Tran sworn in as new senator » Lowell Sun The American dream is alive and well." So said Fitchburg's Dean Tran shortly after being sworn in as a state senator Wednesday.,0,,,0,0,358,0,0,0,0,0,,,12,0,2017-12-21 08:58:29,1780,, 134401,1,2017-12…

Politics

For Baker, Trump's first year in office hasn't been all that bad » Boston Globe For pols who did not vote for President Trump and shunned his candidacy, 2017 has been an annus horribilis.…

Newton Mayor Warren Rips Baker For Gov's Apparent Support of GOP Tax Bill » New Boston Post On the same day that President Donald Trump signed into law a landmark tax reform bill, Newton Mayor Setti Warren…

Analysis: A Formula for Seriously Challenging the Dean? » Western Mass Politics and Insight It turns out voters in Western Massachusetts shall not go without their own fun in 2018. …

Mass. GOP Senate hopefuls support tax bill » Lowell Sun All three Republicans running for the U.S. Senate would support the GOP tax reform bill that cleared the House Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled for an evening vote in the Senate where both U.S. Sen…

Lexington Town Meeting Member Running For State Rep » Framingham Patch

Public Health

The 'man flu' may be real. But many women don't want to believe it » Boston Globe Malia Scott is not saying her husband is a hypochondriac. But when he gets the same illness the rest of the family has dealt with gracefully, his suffering is “always much more significant. 

Local groups provide funding for South Shore INTERFACE » Wicked Local Marshfield A public service that connects local residents to mental health services will continue through 2018, thanks to a collaborative effort of local officials and organizations.…

Public Safety

Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer to disburse $43K in grants » The Republican Baystate Wing Hospital has awarded $43,000 in grants to three organizations offering programs that benefit public health and access to health care.…

Massachusetts corrections officers want to carry concealed guns without state permit » The Republican Under U.S. law, retired law enforcement officers can carry a concealed weapon in any state, regardless of state law. But corrections officers do not have that ability.…

State Government

Two residents commissioned as 2nd lieutenants » The Millbury Sutton Chronicle On Wednesday, Dec. 13, State Rep. Joseph McKenna (R-Webster) joined Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and members of the Massachusetts National Guard to celebrate the 381st birthday of the Gua…

Ex-Herald workers find pension news hard to come by » Boston Business Journal Considering she long wrote for the Boston Herald's well-read gossip column “Inside Track,” it's clear Laura Raposa is a person who knows how to be in the know.…

Report: Former Sheriff Cousins allowed widespread abuse of sick time » Eagle Tribune Former Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins encouraged 82 of his employees to call in sick on days they were healthy — often using the time off to work other jobs — and to claim holiday an…

Taxation

Republican tax plan gives break to businesses like Trump's » Boston Globe President Trump called Wednesday's passage of a sweeping tax bill an “extraordinary victory” for Americans. …

Who will benefit from the GOP tax plan? Big companies like General Electric and State Street » Boston Globe Big companies including General Electric Co. and State Street Corp. will reap the benefits of a tax overhaul that will sharply lower rates for corporations to 21 percent from 35 percent beginning in J…

Mass. GOP Senate hopefuls support tax bill » The Valley Dispatch BOSTON -- All three Republicans running for the U.S. Senate would support the GOP tax reform bill that cleared the House Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled for an evening vote in the Senate where bot…

New tax bill will change home equity rules for Massachusetts homeowners » WWLP 22 HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)-The republican tax bill passed Wednesday could impact every American.…

Transportation

Prosecutors can try to reinstate charges in '15 Amtrak wreck » Boston Globe The fight to reinstate criminal charges against the engineer in a deadly 2015 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia will carry over into next year.…

How Public Employees Could Power the Struggling Taxi Industry » Governing

Dukakis pitches the North-South rail link to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce » Lynn Daily News Item Former governor and one-time presidential candidate Michael Dukakis visited the city Wednesday to promote another Big Dig, this time connecting North and South Stations.…

New security checkpoint lanes aim to reduce wait times at Logan Airport » Boston Globe Passengers traveling out of Boston at Logan International Airport may experience less waiting in security lines, thanks to new automated screening lanes recently installed at the airport.…

Feds' release of $100 mil opens door for "real work" on Green Line extension » State House News Service

Utilities

Mass. AG appeals Eversource rate hike » Boston Globe Attorney General Maura Healey has appealed the Department of Public Utilities' approval of a $36 million annual rate increase for Eversource. …

Attorney General appeals Eversource rate increase » Berkshire Eagle The Attorney General did not get the extra time she sought to fight an Eversource rate increase. But no matter. The office filed that objection Wednesday.…

National Grid seeks increase for gas bills » Gloucester Times National Grid customers could be digging deeper into their pockets to pay for upgrades to the utility's aging national gas system.…

Three companies submit bids for offshore wind power » Cape Cod Times Three offshore wind energy developers bid Wednesday on contracts to sell electricity to Massachusetts power companies, taking the next big step in a process that could set turbines spinning south of M…

Bay State Wind pledges $1 million to BCC if it wins contract » South Coast Today Bay State Wind has committed $1 million to Bristol Community College for wind-energy training in New Bedford, contingent upon Bay State Wind winning a contract for an offshore wind farm.…

Social Media Spotlight

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Charlie Baker

@MassGovernor

Dan Cullinane

@RepDanCullinane

Speaker Bob DeLeo

@SpeakerDeLeo


Yesterday's Late-Breaking News

Steven Hall announces state senate run » The Landmark

Vargas, L'Italien file bills to preserve net neutrality » Eagle Tribune

Vargas, L'Italien File Bill to Prevent Internet From Being Carved Into Fast, Slow Lanes » WHAV

Mass. Dems introduce net neutrality bill » Worcester Business Journal

First responders, emergency personnel try to address growing gaps in ambulance services » Berkshire Eagle

State Sen. Eric Lesser encourages shopping at small businesses during swing through district (photos) » MassLive

Train tragedy in Washington won't deter local leaders from pursuing East/West high speed rail » WWLP 22

Twofer for Worcester: State Republican, Democratic conventions at DCU » Worcester Telegram

Bills would enhance benefits for campus police » MassLive

Tax bills are going up for Lynn homeowners » Lynn Daily News Item

A conversation with gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzales of Needham » Wicked Local Needham

Fitchburg's Dean Tran sworn in as state Senate GOP caucus grows to 7 members » Worcester Telegram

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Commonwealth Magazine: Three firms vying for contract offer different approaches
SOURCE: National Grid, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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