The Back Story

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Buzz builds on FERC priorities under Trump

 Environmental activists who oppose the construction of new natural gas pipeline capacity in New England are watching what’s going on at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington with growing concern.  The federal agency last week overruled a decision by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denying a water quality permit for the construction of a connection between an existing pipeline and a natural(...)

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MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

Use of private contractor expected to save $4m a year

  THE MBTA IS STARTING to ramp up its new transit ambassador program, its latest bid to improve service using private contractors. Transit ambassadors, wearing bright red shirts emblazoned with the T logo and the words “Questions? Ask Me!” on the back, help riders with any problems they may have. The new ambassadors, who work(...)

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Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Boston mayor makes plans for 40 or more retail shops

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was among the most vocal opponents of the ballot question to legalize marijuana and, once it passed, complained that Massachusetts cities would become the default centers of the retail industry as smaller communities opted out of allowing the sale of pot inside their borders. Many smaller communities are moving to block(...)

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Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Athol lawmaker abandons Republican Party 

Rep. Susannah Whipps joined the political in-crowd this week, switching her party registration from Republican to unenrolled.  Statewide, unenrolled voters – those not affiliated with any political party – are taking over. They became the largest political designation in 1990 and an outright majority in 2008. They represent the most voters in 132 of the 160 House districts. In Whipps’s central Massachusetts district, 66 percent of the voters(...)

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Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Does Baker’s approach represent middle ground?

Debate over immigration policy has bubbled up for years at the federal level, and now the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Lunn v. Commonwealth has brought it to the forefront for state legislators, too. Attention has coalesced around three bills, each touching on a similar set of issues,(...)

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Does web browsing leave a public record?

Does web browsing leave a public record?

Dispute with Baker administration heads to Healey

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR of public records says a state employee’s web browsing history is a public record, and has asked Attorney General Maura Healey to order the Baker administration to turn the information over to a reporter. The case represents another attempt by state officials to determine what a public record is in an increasingly(...)

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Hydro-Quebec partners up

Hydro-Quebec partners up

Seeking Mass. contract, utility giant works with 3 transmission firms

HYDRO-QUEBEC, a utility giant that fashions itself the electric battery of the Northeast, is partnering with three different transmission companies in competing for a massive clean energy contract with Massachusetts. The multiple partners were a bit of a surprise because Hydro-Quebec has had a long-standing relationship with Eversource Energy on the Northern Pass project, which(...)

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Political payback and whatnot

Political payback and whatnot

DeLeo shows Holmes who's boss

JAMES VALLEE. CHARLEY Murphy. John Rogers. Jonathan Hecht. To that list of past and present lawmakers, you can add state Rep. Russell Holmes as someone who has crossed House Speaker Robert DeLeo and paid the price. Holmes, a four-term legislator with a background in financial planning, was removed earlier this week as House vice chairman of(...)

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Tired of waiting, Dempsey exits House for lobbying firm

Tired of waiting, Dempsey exits House for lobbying firm

Decision indicates DeLeo is not retiring anytime soon

THE PERCEIVED HEIR APPARENT to House Speaker Robert DeLeo said on Thursday that he is stepping down to take a top job at the high-powered lobbying firm ML Strategies, a move that suggests the speaker is not inclined to retire anytime soon. Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, the chairman of the House Ways and Means(...)

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Authorities offer financial help to state

Authorities offer financial help to state

3 agencies provide $69.5m for deficit effort

Gov. Charlie Baker is asking some of the state’s independent authorities for help in balancing the fiscal 2017 budget, but it appears only three have stepped forward. The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency agreed to provide $17.5 million and the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency is contributing $5 million, for a total of $22.5 million. The MBTA(...)

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