The Codcast: Rosenberg laments broken system

He offers plenty of wonky background on the details of Joint Rule 10 and bill-reporting deadlines, but when you cut through the Beacon Hill weeds, Senate President Stan Rosenberg‘s message is clear: The system for reviewing and considering legislation is badly broken, and he’s not happy about it.

Rosenberg pointed to the fact that three of the four big pieces of legislation passed in the waning hours of the two-year session, which ended at midnight on Sunday, came to the Senate “literally in the final month or so” of the session. “That’s not fair to the Senate. It’s not fair to the public. It’s not fair to the process,” he said.

Last year, Rosenberg declared that the Legislature’s system of joint House-Senate committees had gone out of whack because the panels, on which senators are outnumbered by their House colleagues, were bottling up bills the House didn’t want to consider to a degree that he’d never before seen. Rosenberg repeated those concerns this week and said the Legislature should move up the deadline by which bills must receive committee action.

He also said the dynamic on Beacon Hill among the “big three” — the governor, the Senate president, and the House speaker — invariably leads to 2-against-1 matchups on various issues. “It’s always 2 versus 1,” he said. “The issue is, is it always the same two?  Right now it is 2 against 1, and it’s the same 2 against 1. Right now, it’s very clear the governor and the House are aligned, and the Senate is the odd man out.”

Rosenberg said the House-Senate conference committees that hashed out major bills in the final days of the session have become “swap meets” where items in bills are traded, not serious forums that try to arrive at the best policy outcome. (House members say senators don’t know how to negotiate — see below under Beacon Hill.)  “I’ve been in the Legislature for almost 30 years, and I’ve been on dozens of conference committees. These are not conference committees,” he said. “The system is not working.”




House and Senate lawmakers trade barbs back and forth about the stormy end of session, with House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano saying some senators never learned the art of negotiation. (State House News)

House Speaker Robert DeLeo talks about the final hours of the legislative session as well as his budding bromance with Gov. Charlie Baker, who he says is one Republican he could vote for. (Greater Boston)

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says the veto overrides approved by the Legislature punch a big hole in the state budget. (State House News) A Berkshire Eagle editorial applauds the Legislature’s override of a funding cut for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 

Kimberly Budd, seeking a spot on the Supreme Judicial Court, airs her views at a confirmation hearing. (State House News)

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was forced to call a recess over protests by Governor’s Council members so she could bring Baker in to preside so she could cast a tie-breaking vote to save his nominee for a post in Barnstable District Court. (State House News Service)


A Framingham charter commission is recommending voters adopt a strong mayor form of government for the state’s biggest town. (MetroWest Daily News)

Boston’s taxi division allowed Edward Tutunjian, who was charged on Tuesday with multiple federal tax and fraud crimes to related to his business, to transfer in recent weeks 362 taxi medallions into his wife’s name. (Boston Globe) The Herald appears to get stonewalled on the story, with neither a city police spokesman nor Tutunjian’s lawyer appearing to share the news of the transfers when speaking with the paper. The Herald speculates that the fate of Tutunjian’s medallions appears to be unclear because the city can revoke or suspend the medallions of owners deemed unsuitable.

A drunken man goes on a rampage at GAR Park in Haverhill and destroys four benches at the Korean War Memorial. (Eagle-Tribune)


Sen. Elizabeth Warren does her lecture on income inequality and what can be done about it at Clark University in Worcester. (Telegram & Gazette)

The US Supreme Court flirts with a case involving a transgender teen who wants to use the boys bathroom at a Gloucester County high school in Virginia. (Washington Post)


A new WBUR/MassINC Polling Group survey in the swing state of New Hampshire shows Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by a 47-32 margin. Clinton’s post-convention surge is also helping Gov. Maggie Hassan in her bid to unseat Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Hassan leads Ayotte by 10 points. (WBUR) Nationally, a Fox News poll has Clinton ahead of Trump by 10 points.

Bill Weld, the Libertarian candidate for vice president, says Trump has “a screw loose.”

The Apocalypse is upon us: The National Review says President Obama is right… about Trump.

But Trump is raising a lot of money. Not as much as Clinton, but a lot. (Time)

Young pols supporting the marijuana legalization ballot question say Yes on 4 is about fairness. (State House News) A Herald editorial pans the policy points made by the pro-pot pols.


New York-based Millennium Partners gets the nod to develop the site of Boston’s former city-owned garage at Winthrop Square, offering the city $151 million for rights to construct what the company says will be a $1 billion 55-story mixed-use tower. (Boston Globe)

Some Massachusetts retail operations are moving to cash-free systems for payment, but the move runs afoul of state consumer laws that require such operations to accept cash. (Boston Globe)  Apparently, though, the state exempts itself from the mandate. (CommonWealth)

Talk of a possible acquisition of Biogen raises the possibility of the loss of local control of the state’s largest biotech company and most valuable public firm. (Boston Globe)

Sasha Obama, the 15-year-old younger daughter of the first family, is working the take-out window at Nancy’s, a popular Oak Bluffs eatery. (Boston Herald)


A new report on race incidents at Boston Latin School reviewed more than 100 such cases dating back to 2012 and finds that teachers or administrators failed to follow proper policies in 10 of them. (Boston Globe) Michael Curry, the head of the local NAACP, criticized Mayor Marty Walsh‘s recent comments that this is not the time to examine admission policies at Boston Latin, saying, “There is no better time” to do so than now. “We need the mayor to back off,” Curry told Boston Herald radio.

University endowments around the country posted their worst earnings in the last fiscal year since 2009. (Bloomberg)

The former Seton Academy for Girls in Fall River was ordered to pay back wages to former staffers following the school’s abrupt closing in 2014. (Herald News)


Opioid deaths continue to rise, fueled by fentanyl. Opioid prescriptions, meanwhile, are way down. (State House News) The fentanyl pipeline: a painkiller made in China and shipped to Mexico is causing deaths in Hampden County. (Masslive)


Richard Davey, the former secretary of transportation, says he’s changed his mind and now believes the state subsidy for the Greenway should continue. (CommonWealth)

A Salem News editorial praises the MBTA’s solar power move.


Debate over the energy legislation intensifies. Ron Gerwatowski, a former Baker administration energy official and utility executive, explains an inconvenient truth about energy policy. Ann Berwick, the former chair of the Department of Public Utilities, calls the bill a solid step forward that could have been better. Environmentalist Frederick Hewitt notes the bill doesn’t require anyone to change their lifestyle. (WBUR)

The Dracut water district reports high levels of manganese traced to one well. (Lowell Sun)


Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey has cleared a Braintree police officer in the March 24 shooting of a knife-wielding man, saying the man refused multiple efforts by officers to deescalate the situation. (Patriot Ledger)

A former Whitman police officer has been charged with embezzling from disabled veterans. (The Enterprise)

President Obama commutes the sentences of 214 non-violent federal prisoners, the most ever in a single day in the last 100 years. The White House says Obama has now commuted more sentences than the last nine presidents combined. (U.S. News & World Report)


Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory sends out a memo to the troops updating them on the “reinvention” of the paper and, by the way, there could still be newsroom layoffs even though 19 people accepted the most recent buyout. (WGBH)

The Dallas Morning News is finding that revenue coming from non-news sources is playing an increasingly important role on the company’s balance sheet. (Poynter)

The New York Times runs uncensored voices from Donald Trump’s rallies.

The Fox News inquiry into sexual harassment charges against ousted chairman Roger Ailes continues and has now widened to look at whether other officials knew and did nothing about the allegations. (New York Times)