Beacon Hill game of chess
Beacon Hill’s top three political leaders, accustomed to working out most disagreements behind closed doors, are playing an interesting public game of chess with the state budget and a transportation funding bill.
Gov. Deval Patrick last week sent the transportation funding bill back to the Legislature with an amendment that would automatically raise the gas tax in 2017 if the tolls on the western section of the Massachusetts Turnpike come down as planned. Patrick says he is concerned that a funding bill promising $800 million in revenue could come up $135 million short if the tolls do come down.
Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo say they plan to push for a vote rejecting Patrick’s amendment next week. “I don’t see a real boatload of support for either a gas tax or a toll hike,” DeLeo said. “The amendment in its present form is unacceptable, so I don’t know what we could do besides straight reject it.”
Patrick has hinted he is pressuring lawmakers to support his approach, but his legislative lobbying machine is pretty rusty. Patrick, DeLeo, and Murray are accustomed to hashing out their differences at weekly leadership meetings, so the governor and his staff have little experience in independently building support for their initiatives in the Legislature. The governor tried to exert outside public pressure on the Legislature last year to support a $1.2 billion tax plan, but that campaign gained little traction on Beacon Hill.
The tech services tax contained in the revenue bill sitting on Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk is stirring questions, the Gloucester Times reports.
Governing analyzes how Massachusetts is using green bonds to raise money for environmental projects.
In the wake of Framingham’s fungal meningitis outbreak, the Legislature’s Committee on Public Health will propose a bill to tighten pharmaceutical industry regulations.
Freetown selectmen are defending their decision not to release a private investigator’s report into allegations of impropriety and unethical business dealings by the town’s building inspector, who has decided to retire in August after taking vacation time in July.
Milford casino foes say the Foxwoods proposal for their community keeps changing, making any definitive analysis difficult the Telegram & Gazette reports.
In a truly defining moment of “bad optics,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed stringent restrictions on abortion access into law while he was surrounded by six white men and no women from elected office anywhere in the room. Meanwhile, Texas state Sen. Wendy White, whose filibuster of an abortion bill made her a sensation among the left, says she will not engage in another filibuster for the refiled bill which the legislature will take up this week.
Seth Moulton, a Marblehead Democrat, says he plans to challenge US Rep. John Tierney next year because he’s so frustrated with Congress, the Salem News reports.
State Sen. William Brownsberger plans to run a maverick-style campaign for Congress, WBUR reports.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas says he doesn’t plan to run for reelection next year, the Texas Tribune reports.
Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey is hedging his bets, gathering enough signatures to run for both mayor and reelection for his own seat this fall, though he could face as many as three challengers for his district post. If he wins both, he will have to choose.
State Treasurer Steven Grossman takes the lead in fundraising over his likely Democratic gubernatorial rivals, reports the Boston Herald.
The parent company of Shaw’s and Star supermarkets will close six stores — four in Massachusetts and two in Rhode Island — by Aug. 3. Shaw’s, meanwhile, was fined $8,000 for violating the state’s item pricing laws for failing to individually price a majority of items on display over the holiday weekend.
The Boston Globe argues that the Boston public schools need a long-range facilities plan to deal with overcrowding in elementary schools and the empty seats in high schools.
New guidelines from the Obama administration in the wake of the Newtown massacre on dealing with emergencies in schools have some safety experts worried over the recommendation that school staff fight back against an intruder in situations if they see no other choice. Meanwhile, insurance carriers are threatening to sharply raise premiums or deny coverage entirely for school districts that authorize employees to carry guns, the New York Times reports.
Education advocates are hoping Congress can find a compromise for at least a one-year extension to rollback the doubling of student loan rates while lawmakers work on a long-term fix.
Many cities are considering doing away with their parking requirements for new buildings located near mass transit stops, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says the oil train disaster in Quebec has lessons for environmentalists who believe in moral absolutisms.
The battle over Fairhaven’s two turbines has strained longtime relationships among friends and neighbors, residents say.
MEDIAA judge ruled in favor of a motion by the Patriot Ledger and Taunton Gazette to unseal the search warrants in the murder case against former Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
Oregon Public Broadcasting partners with news outlets across the state to develop a statewide news report, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.