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Today on Beacon Hill

9:30am Executive Office of Health & Human Services Public Hearing, Via Zoom

10:00am A meeting of the Subcommittee on Municipalities Not Subject to Civil Service Law, of the Special Legislative Commission to Study and Examine the Civil Service Law, Virtual Hearing

5:00pm Close of Comment Period for Mass. Teachers' Retirement System Proposed Regulatory Changes, Submission via mail or email

Must-Reads

Spilka Talks Priorities As Formals Slowly Ramp Up » State House News Service Senate President Karen Spilka added climate change legislation to her policy list for 2022 in an interview Thursday, and remained resolutely noncommittal on sports betting legalization. The Ashland De…

Moderates once dominated the Mass. GOP. Now they're struggling to find a candidate for governor » WBUR In the race for Massachusetts governor, Republicans are searching for a candidate who can win. Many of them say they are worried that Geoff Diehl, who's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump,…

What kind of prosecutors do Massachusetts voters want? DA races raise profound questions about a powerful position » Boston Globe Four years ago, voters on opposite ends of Massachusetts vaulted into office two district attorneys vowing sweeping changes to traditional tough-on-crime thinking, from no longer prosecuting a range o…

‘Mission impossible’: With Boston’s proof-of-vaccination mandate set to begin, businesses worry » Boston Globe Last month, when Mayor Michelle Wu announced a plan to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for people to enter restaurants, gyms, or entertainment venues in Boston, it was hailed as a much-needed mo…

Some top Mass. lawmakers say the entire state should require proof of vaccination for certain indoor venues » Boston.com The first phase of Boston’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for customers and employees at restaurants, gyms, and other indoor entertainment and event venues takes effect this Saturday.…

Opinion: I’m running to be the state’s next lieutenant governor. Why not? » Boston Globe A bunch of candidates are vying to be the state’s next Lieutenant Governor. What the heck, count me in, too!…

Police reform legislation may bring massive training requirement for non-traditional police officers » WCVB Chatham Harbormaster Stuart Smith has been patrolling, enforcing the law and keeping people safe on the waters off Chatham for more than three decades.…

Massachusetts millionaires’ tax could generate $1.3 billion, but with ‘high’ cost to jobs, taxable income » Boston Herald Opponents of a millionaires’ tax before voters this fall say the $1.3 billion in new annual income will cost Bay Staters 9,000 lost jobs and drive out up to 4,000 high-earning families at a time whe…

The politics of going gray » WBUR It was 2015. I was a new member of Congress, my mom was suffering from Alzheimer’s and my dad from a debilitating stroke. My kids were 11, 15, and 17. My life was controlled chaos; traveling weekly …

NY: NYC mayor considering virtual learning plan for schools » AP News New York City Mayor Eric Adams is considering allowing the nation’s largest school district to return to some form of virtual instruction as the city weathers a wave of coronavirus cases, a reversal…

GA: Georgia Senate committee advances amendment to ban noncitizen voting » Georgia Recoerder Legislation that proposes a constitutional amendment barring noncitizens from voting cleared the Senate Ethics Committee Thursday, becoming the first voting-related measure to advance since the legisl…

NJ: Utility asks again to upgrade power grid » NJ Spotlight News Public Service Electric & Gas is seeking to spend $848 million over four years to upgrade its electric and gas grids, the third time in eight years it has sought regulatory approval for large-scale in…

FL: A Democrat won a US House seat this week with 79 percent of the vote. Her GOP opponent has not conceded. » Boston Globe An election in South Florida this week may serve as a marker for where the Republican Party stands in 2022, and how much American democracy has already changed since Donald Trump lost reelection.…

FL: Actually, y’all, some of us would prefer facts with our politics » Florida Phoenix In the first speech of his 2024 presidential campaign, not-so-cunningly disguised as the “State of the State” address, Ron DeSantis declared, We have made Florida the freest state in these United …

Sen. Mitt Romney says the Republican National Committee 'would be nuts' to block GOP candidates from participating in presidential debates » Business Insider Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah on Thursday blasted the Republican National Committee's plans to prohibit future GOP presidential candidates from participating in debates sponsored by the Commissi…

We now have the first seditious-conspiracy charges from Jan. 6. Here’s how historic that is. » Washington Post For the first time since Jan. 6, 2021, those allegedly involved in the Capitol insurrection have been charged with seditious conspiracy. Eleven members and associates of the extremist Oath Keepers gro…

Antiabortion Supreme Court Justices Draw the Line at Government Making People Get Vaccinated » Vanity Fair Back in December, the Supreme Court was asked by the state of Mississippi to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision protecting a pregnant person’s right to decide what to do with their body for…

Dem Senate candidates rally against “sellout” Sinema » Axios Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate are now explicitly campaigning against one of their potential colleagues, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — branded by one as a "sellout" for opposing filibus…

Opinion: Why Voting Rights Isn’t (Usually) Bipartisan » Politico As the U.S. Senate grapples with voting rights legislation, some lawmakers and observers fret it would be a mistake for Democrats to protect voting rights on a party-line vote. This is a hesitation th…

"Well, that would be nuts," Romney told Insider at the Capitol. "The American people want to see candidates for president debating issues of consequence to them, and it provides a service to the country and to the people, to hear the prospective candidates of the two major parties duke it out."

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney

The Republican National Committee has plans to prohibit future GOP presidential candidates from participating in debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills » Boston Globe All but conceding defeat, President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s now unsure the Democrats’ major elections and voting rights legislation can pass Congress this year. He spoke at the Capitol after …

Opinion: Democrats need to get real on Build Back Better » Boston Globe After months and months and months, during which their Build Back Better agenda has become an exercise in Bumble About Forever, Democrats need to try a different tack.…

Opinion: When it comes to subpoenas, Congress must use its power or lose it » Boston Globe Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson must create real consequences for those who flout congressional authority. He can start inside his own chamber by compelling the testimony of minority leader …

‘We’re gonna fight’: Ed Markey lays out the case for abolishing the filibuster to protect voting rights » Boston.com Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Cori Bush joined together to host a Twitter Spaces event Jan. 13 calling for abolishing the filibuster in order to protect voting rights.…

Business

In hot market for lab space, a biotech startup to replace the former CambridgeSide Sears » Boston Globe As the demand for lab space in Cambridge continues to soar, it’s no surprise that a biotech startup will soon replace a bankrupt department store chain.…

Report: Price Pressures Ripple Through Economy » State House News Service For businesses and consumers across New England, almost everything is more expensive right now and that dynamic has wide-reaching ripple effects that turn up in reports the Federal Reserve compiles fr…

Former Rep Reflects on Clout of Business Community » State House News Service Two years after ending a career of more than a decade in the Massachusetts House upon becoming frustrated with what she called "pressure from the outside," Alliance for Business Leadership head Jennif…

Steps forward, steps back: Recent economic news masks a lot of uncertainty » Boston Business Journal What we wanted in 2021 was the Great Return to Normalcy. What we got instead was the Great Resignation, unexpectedly persistent inflation, continued supply-chain snarls and a couple of nasty Covid-19 …

Lobsterman v. Lobsterman: Fight Over ‘Ropeless’ Fishing Divides Industry » WCAI A proposal by a group of commercial lobstermen for special permission to test “ropeless” fishing gear during a seasonal closure ran into fierce opposition last night from fellow lobstermen.…

Cannabis

Eastern Bank to transfer marijuana banking business to Needham Bank » Boston Business Journal Eastern Bank’s holding company has struck an agreement with Needham Bank to transfer the cannabis banking business it inherited from Century Bank as part of a merger last year, Eastern announced Fri…

Stay high-drated: Cannabis compounds can blunt COVID-19 infection, researchers find » Lowell Sun New research showing cannabis compounds could blunt the virus that causes COVID-19 can really toke one’s breath away.…

Civil Rights

Opinion: Voting is sacred » Boston Globe Whether the right to vote remains sacred depends now on members of the US Senate. The people have expressed their support. The House, along partisan lines, has voted its approval. Now democracy waits.…

Education

Navient will repay Mass. student borrowers $43.2m » Commonwealth Magazine MASSACHUSETTS STUDENT loan borrowers whose private loans were serviced by Navient will get $41 million of those loans forgiven, under a national settlement announced Thursday by Attorney General Maura…

Mayor Wu: No need for systemwide shutdown of Boston schools due to COVID-19 » Boston Globe Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday she didn’t think the city’s entire public school system would need to switch to remote learning because of COVID-19 staffing shortages, but left open the pos…

Boston students plan walk-out over lack of remote learning option amid COVID surge » Boston.com Over 8,000 people have signed an online petition started by a Boston Latin School student that calls on Gov. Charlie Baker and other state officials to allow schools the option to shift to remote lear…

Open-window mandate forces Boston Public Schools students and teachers to bundle up » Boston Herald Students and teachers have to bundle up in their classrooms because of a Boston Public Schools mandate that windows be kept open 4 inches to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.…

BPS Students Plan Walkout to Call for Temporary Return to Remote Learning » NBC Boston A group of Boston Public School students is planning a walkout Friday over COVID safety concerns, calling for a temporary return to remote learning. They also want more COVID-19 safety protocols to be…

Mass. Student Borrowers Share In $1.85 Bil Settlement » State House News Service More than 1,500 borrowers in Massachusetts will see their student loans forgiven as part of a $1.85 billion national settlement that Attorney General Maura Healey and 38 other states reached with stud…

Massachusetts reports drop in new coronavirus cases, almost 50,000 cases reported in K-12 schools » Boston Herald State health officials on Thursday reported a drop in new coronavirus cases though K-12 schools reported a staggering 48,414 infections in the last week amid the extraordinarily contagious omicron var…

‘What’s best for us’: Mass. students calling on Baker to bring back the option for remote learning » WHDH Thousands of students have signed a petition calling for Governor Charlie Baker to bring back the option for remote learning and on Friday, students are planning to participate in a city-wide walkout.…

Maura Healey announces $1.85 billion student loan settlement with Navient, formerly Sallie Mae » Boston Herald One of the country’s largest student loan servicers, Navient, is coughing up some serious cash — to the tune of $1.85 billion — after facing allegations of unfair, deceptive and predatory studen…

Pressley to Biden: Forgive student loans immediately » WGBH U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is calling on President Joe Biden to take executive action on cancelling student debt, emphasizing that student loans are a racial justice issue as well as a socioeconomic on…

Rep. Miranda urges Baker to allow remote learning, set indoor masking policy » Dorchester Reporter State Rep. Liz Miranda, who represents parts of Dorchester and Roxbury, sent a letter Wednesday to Gov. Charlie Baker, pressing his administration to expand testing supplies and offer cities and towns…

Environment

Boston is getting more propane school buses to combat pollution. They aren’t the cleanest option. » Boston Globe The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will spend $350,000 on 12 propane-powered school buses for Boston at a time when the state’s climate plan calls for a rapid shift away from f…

Commission on Clean Heat eyes road map to cut building emissions » Berkshire Eagle The new advisory commission created to help the state meet its carbon reduction requirements by shifting to cleaner buildings and addressing heating fuels that contribute to emissions was sworn in Wed…

Health Care

Our Opinion: Hospitals are alarmingly strained — and the data show how to back them up » Berkshire Eagle When discussing the coronavirus crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and turned the world upside-down, we often speak in terms alluding to warfare — “battling” or “fightin…

Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses, allows mandate for most health care workers » Boston Globe The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers, dealing a blow to a key element of the White House’s plan to address t…

Housing

Isolation hotel suggested in western Massachusetts to protect homeless during COVID surge » News 22 WWLP.com Massachusetts could soon make more beds available for homeless people who need a safe place to isolate while recovering from COVID-19, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders suggested.…

Human Services

Just weeks after North Adams mayoral tenure ends, Bernard to helm Berkshire United Way as President and CEO » WAMC The Berkshire United Way announced this week that former North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard will become the fundraising nonprofit’s new President and CEO. Bernard just wrapped up a four-ye…

After tent encampments are cleared at Mass. and Cass, need for long-term solution remains clear » Boston Globe A day after crews dismantled the sprawling homeless encampments at Mass. and Cass, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said more than 150 people who had been living on the streets in the bitter cold had been mov…

Ex-homeless shelter head agrees to pay state $6 million to settle allegations he pocketed state housing funds » Boston Globe The longtime head of the state’s only homeless shelter with an almost entirely Spanish-speaking staff has agreed to pay $6 million to settle a civil suit brought by Attorney General Maura Healey, wh…

Judiciary

Freedom may be months away, but Brockton family rejoices over William Allen’s commuted life sentence » Boston Globe William Allen’s family is “just waiting on him to come home.” Allen, 48, has spent more than half his life behind bars for murder, serving a sentence of life without parole. He is one of two men…

Editorial: Two commutations should be just the beginning » Boston Globe Thomas Koonce and William Allen are today one step closer to freedom — and Massachusetts is one step closer to proving that a clemency process that really works can help remedy the injustices of the…

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Locke named chief justice of state Trial Court » Boston Globe A longtime Superior Court judge who presided over the Aaron Hernandez trial for double homicide has been appointed chief justice of the state Trial Court, replacing Paula M. Carey, who announced her r…

Labor

St. Vincent Hospital Nurses will vote next month on whether to decertify MNA representation » Worcester Telegram The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a February election on whether to decertify the Massachusetts Nurses Association as the union representing nurses at St. Vincent Hospital.…

Local Government

Some members express skepticism as Northampton health board debates vax passport » Gazette Net The Board of Health again took up the controversial issue of a COVID-19 vaccine passport for entering the city's indoor businesses on Thursday night, but did not vote on the proposal.…

Public Health

Springfield’s Eastfield Mall COVID testing site gets additional staffing after cars turned away due to long lines » MassLive Springfield’s Eastfield Mall COVID testing site has additional staffing after cars had to be turned away due to long lines after the holidays.…

Center for COVID Control to pause testing to better train staff after Massachusetts DPH recommends public avoid facilities » MassLive The Center for COVID Control announced it is pausing testing at its sites through Jan. 22 after it received a cease and desist letter from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Thursday.…

Under fire from lawmakers, Gov. Charlie Baker pours new funding into COVID vaccination efforts » MassLive Two days after Beacon Hill lawmakers grilled Gov. Charlie Baker about increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates across Massachusetts and overcoming stark racial disparities amid the omicron-induced surge,…

Will Boston’s vaccine requirement for certain indoor venues eventually require boosters? Here’s what Michelle Wu said. » Boston.com Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says the city’s upcoming requirement that employees and patrons at restaurants, fitness centers, and other indoor venues provide proof that they’ve gotten the COVID-19 vac…

How Many People in Mass. Have Downloaded Their Digital Vaccine Record So Far » NBC Boston The My Vax Records cards aren't being mandated for download by the state, they're simply being provided to help residents who want to show their vaccination history, officials have said.…

Worcester ‘looking into’ free COVID testing site on Grafton Street that’s run by company under investigation in other US locations » MassLive Google maps describe the Center for COVID Control in Worcester as a medical laboratory. Red, white and blue signs publicizing free COVID-19 tests clutter the windows on Grafton Street blocking any vie…

3 Mass. COVID Testing Sites Shut Down Amid Investigation » NBC Boston Pop-up COVID testing locations run by a company called Center for COVID Control in Massachusetts and the country have come under scrutiny for their operating practices, and officials on Thursday order…

Public Safety

Panel Finding Big Gaps In Probe Of Corrections » State House News Service When a panel of lawmakers, experts and correction officials combed through data from county sheriffs in Massachusetts, they found rates of mental health issues among inmates ranging from 14 percent al…

State Government

Mass. lawmakers again consider waiving ID fees for people experiencing homelessness » WBUR A bill making it easier for people experiencing homelessness to get a Massachusetts identification card is once again moving forward on Beacon Hill.…

Senate Approves Adoption Rights, Homeless ID Bills » State House News Service One bill unanimously passed by the state Senate on Thursday would revise Massachusetts' adoption laws to remove a section prohibiting adults from adopting younger siblings, aunts or uncles, and anothe…

Taxation

High-earners tax may bring in considerably less than supporters estimate, study says » Boston Globe Proponents of an income tax surcharge for higher earners in Massachusetts say the tax would bring in roughly $2 billion a year for transportation and education. A new study suggests that could be wish…

Wealth Surtax Opponents State Their Case » State House News Service Opponents of a plan to change the constitution to allow a 4 percent surtax on household incomes above $1 million pushed back Thursday on one finding from a new study and refuted suggestions that the n…

Report says millionaires tax would raise $1.3 billion » Commonwealth Magazine A new report released by an independent think tank found that passing the so-called “millionaires tax” would raise an estimated $1.3 billion annually beginning in 2023.…

Transportation

Railroad OKs New York City-to-Pittsfield passenger service this summer » Berkshire Eagle The railroad that owns tracks on the proposed Berkshire Flyer route has agreed to allow Amtrak to operate New York City-to-Pittsfield passenger service this summer.…

Peeled plate on Rourke Bridge fixed after damaging car » Lowell Sun Traveling over the Rourke Bridge has always been a common occurrence for Steven Ubele of Nashua, N.H., who grew up in Lowell, but on Saturday, he had an experience he’d never planned for.…

Utilities

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Wins Grant to Help Cities Meet Stormwater Rules » WHAV Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is one of five regional organizations across the state to receive a state grant help communities meet stormwater management requirements.…

Broadband internet proves a hurdle as telehealth services continue to rise in popularity » BU News The COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly every business and industry to shift to virtual overnight – including the health care system. Medical consultations, physicals, and check-ins were all brought onl…

Social Media Spotlight

senjoanblovely

wbur



Kate Donaghue

@KateDonaghue

State Senator Diana DiZoglio

@SenatorDiZoglio

Eric Lesser

@EricLesser


The Week In Review

New laws enacted this week:

SB2550 - An Act ratifying the town meeting of the town of Rowley

HB4020 - An Act creating a cell tower receipts fund for the town of North Reading

Most read bills of the week:

House Actions This Week: 257

Senate Actions This Week: 158


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