Michael P. Norton

State House News Service

Stories by Michael P. Norton

Chandler elected acting Senate president

Chandler elected acting Senate president

Investigation ordered into allegations of sexual misconduct, Senate interference by Rosenberg husband

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE SENATE INITIATED an Ethics Committee investigation on Monday night into its now former president Sen. Stanley Rosenberg in a dramatic day of upheaval that saw Worcester Democrat Harriette Chandler installed as the new acting Senate president pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment and Senate interference by Rosenberg’s(...)

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Baker in shift on distracted driving bill

Baker in shift on distracted driving bill

Now supports ban on using handheld devices behind the wheel

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE A RISE IN FATAL ACCIDENTS caused by distracted driving and advances in technology prompted Gov. Charlie Baker to throw his support on Tuesday behind a ban on using handheld devices while driving, giving a boost to an initiative debated for years by policy leaders and increasing pressure on the House to(...)

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Baker refuses to disavow new pipeline capacity

Baker refuses to disavow new pipeline capacity

Says all options for meeting energy needs should remain on table

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE DEFENDING HIS ADMINISTRATION’S COMMITMENT to developing clean energy sources, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday responded to activists who are aggressively pressing him to take steps to halt new fossil fuel infrastructure, saying all options should remain on the table and that he doesn’t “take a backseat to anybody” on renewable energy.(...)

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Warren rips Baker ‘flip-flop’

Warren rips Baker ‘flip-flop’

Says mandatory minimum drug sentence violates earlier pledge

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE GOV. CHARLIE BAKER’S new bill targeting drug dealers make him a flip-flopper, according to gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, who appears to be taking a stance against the governor’s proposal to hit deaWlers of lethal drugs with mandatory minimum prison sentences. On Wednesday, the governor proposed legislation (S 2158) defining the illegal(...)

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Sanchez named House Ways & Means chairman

Sanchez named House Ways & Means chairman

Jamaica Plain rep. tapped by DeLeo for top budget post

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE BOSTON DEMOCRAT REP. JEFFREY SANCHEZ will succeed outgoing Rep. Brian Dempsey as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a pivotal fiscal affairs and policymaking post in state government. The state representative from Jamaica Plain currently helms the Health Care Financing Committee and previously co-chaired the Legislature’s Joint Committee on(...)

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Lawmakers rush overdue budget to Baker

Lawmakers rush overdue budget to Baker

House satisfied with spending bill; Senate calls it “painful”

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE LARGELY DISCARDING SPENDING plans they approved in the spring, the House and Senate on Friday sent Gov. Charlie Baker a $40.2 billion state budget that holds state spending flat, includes higher employer health care assessments, and, according to some Democrats, underscores the need for higher taxes and new revenues. The bill(...)

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Where the food deserts are

Where the food deserts are

Gateway Cities tend to have less access to grocery stores

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE CHELSEA, SPRINGFIELD, AND TAUNTON top a new list of cities with the highest percentage of low-income residents lacking access to grocery stores, a problem with nutrition ramifications that is most acute in rural areas and so-called Gateway Cities, according to new data. In low-income areas where there is limited grocery store(...)

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MA emissions continue decline

MA emissions continue decline

Economy keeps growing as state curbs greenhouse gases

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS in Massachusetts decreased from 2013 to 2014, continuing a decade-long trend, according to the latest state data. State law requires emissions by 2020 that are 25 percent lower than 1990 levels, and emissions in 2014 were 21 percent below 1990 levels, according to the Department of Environmental Protection(...)

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Baker pushes 2-track S. Coast rail approach

Baker pushes 2-track S. Coast rail approach

Pacheco fears Middleborough approach may doom Stoughton line

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE The Baker administration has agreed on a course for the first phase of long-promised commuter rail service to the South Coast, working under an approach that contemplates diesel service along an existing Middleborough/Lakeville rail line while engineering, design and permitting work continues on a possible electric service route through Stoughton. Transportation(...)

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Panel badly split on health care pricing

Panel badly split on health care pricing

Sudders: 'This is not a Quaker consensus meeting'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE DIFFERENCES AMONG MEMBERS of a 23-person commission examining health care pricing variations were on full display Tuesday on the 21st floor of One Ashburton Place. Commission members discussing potential recommendations quickly disagreed over whether hospital prices are low are not, comparatively speaking, and members made clear that uncertainty over the federal(...)

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