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State House News Service

Mass. hospitals feeling surge in heroin-related visits, data shows

Heroin-related hospital visits in Massachusetts grew by 256 percent from 2011 to 2015, with the sharpest increase among patients between the ages of 25 and 34, according to data set to be released Wednesday. New research by the state's Health Policy Commission found a 56 percent increase in...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 11:28 AM

Reps will file bill to counter top court's immigration ruling

After the state's highest court ruled there is no authority for officials to hold immigrants solely at the request of federal authorities, three Republican House members are working to gather momentum behind legalizing those types of detentions. In a ruling hailed by civil liberties advocates...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 9:18 AM

State officials cannot detain immigrants for ICE, Mass. top court rules

State law does not permit officials to detain immigrants solely at the request of federal immigration officials, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday, putting up a legal barrier to a long-running component of immigration enforcement. In the case of Commonwealth v. Sreynuon Lunn, the court...

Monday, July 24, 2017, 11:56 AM

Legal marijuana bill finally reaches Gov. Baker's desk

The Legislature sent its rewrite of the voter-approved legal marijuana bill, with a higher tax rate and less power for voters, to the governor on Thursday, 255 days after about 1.8 million voters put the law on the books. House and Senate negotiators had planned to get a bill to Gov. Charlie Baker...

Friday, July 21, 2017, 9:15 AM

Bill aimed at protecting pregnant workers reaches gov's desk

After passing slightly different versions of the legislation earlier this year, the House and Senate reached a compromise this week on a bill mandating protections for pregnant workers and sent the legislation to the governor's desk Thursday. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act offers pregnant...

Thursday, July 20, 2017, 3:46 PM

Sexual abuse bill targets school employees

In 2004, Dudley police investigated what they believed to be a crime: a sexual relationship between a 30-year-old English teacher and a 16-year-old boy who was her student. It was not a crime, Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar told the Legislature's Education Committee on Tuesday. Since 2005...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 9:20 AM

Federal money begins to flow into Mass. for Green Line Extension

The federal government last week made its first payment towards the Green Line Extension project, a transportation initiative that over the years has been the source of headaches associated with delays and cost overruns. The wire transfer of $1.7 million from the Federal Transit Administration...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 10:28 AM

Controversial taxes pitched as funding source for free college in Massachusetts

Higher education students and advocates continued their quest to make public colleges and universities free or debt-free in Massachusetts by asking lawmakers to start by providing one full year of tuition and fees at community colleges, state universities, and the University of Massachusetts system...

Friday, July 14, 2017, 9:08 AM

While opposed, Baker says mind open on safe communities act

Gov. Charlie Baker, not wanting to undercut a brand new Latino advisory panel sworn in Monday, said he would be a "hard sell" on legislation to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state, but admitted it wouldn't be the first time he's changed his mind. The bill, known as the Safe...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 9:37 AM

Mass. budget accord reached, negotiators slash spending

House and Senate leaders agreed to a $40.2 billion budget that avoids tax increases and mostly holds spending flat at state agencies for fiscal 2018, according to two sources close to the negotiations, including one of the legislators involved in the talks. The bill, filed Friday at 9:40 a.m., and...

Friday, July 7, 2017, 11:54 AM

House speaker says to pause weed bill to focus on overdue state budget

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, in a dramatic move intended to "remove any distractions" from the goal of reaching a deal on an already late state budget, asked House lawmakers negotiating a bill to regulate the retail marijuana industry to suspend their talks with the Senate Wednesday night...

Thursday, July 6, 2017, 9:18 AM

Mass. among half dozen states without budgets in place

Five days into the new fiscal year, Massachusetts has scant and dwindling company on the list of states yet to finalize a 2018 spending plan. After Maine and New Jersey reached deals to end their government shutdowns, just six states remain in budgetary limbo: Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin,...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 2:09 PM

Mass. could join neighbors in banning handheld devices while driving

Massachusetts is poised Thursday to take one step closer to becoming the 15th state to ban drivers from using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel. The Senate plans to consider legislation that calls for a major expansion of the texting-while-driving ban established in 2010. The bill, S...

Thursday, June 29, 2017, 12:05 PM

Mass. voters would pay more money to reduce emissions: Poll

Three quarters of Massachusetts voters say they would favor spending an extra $10 per month on energy bills if it led to significant reductions in greenhouse gases, according to a WBUR poll publicized Wednesday. Less than two years ago, 58 percent of Bay State voters said they would like to pay...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 2:21 PM

MBTA's overdue Wi-Fi system faces opposition

Commuter rail riders hailing from communities north of Boston want better wireless internet service, but a vocal group is upset about the communication towers that are planned to achieve that aim. As a wireless vendor moves closer to fulfilling an agreement inked three years ago, residents from...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 9:39 AM

Mass. Senate passes pot bill

The Senate on Thursday night approved a series of updates to the state's voter-passed marijuana legalization law, which supporters said closely align with the ideals of the ballot question but which differ significantly from the bill House lawmakers passed Wednesday. The Senate's 30-5 vote...

Friday, June 23, 2017, 9:18 AM

Major overhaul of pot ballot law clears House

After several years of ceding marijuana policy-making to a voting public eager to adopt a more permissive approach to the once completely illegal drug, House lawmakers on Wednesday took the reins of the sticky issue, passing a bill to overhaul how the state will regulate the retail market of the...

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 9:44 AM

MBTA needs to make room for $9M retiree payment, GM says

The MBTA pension fund's problems have been festering for years, but T officials this year did not include $9 million in funds needed to pay retirees and now say they'll have to find room in their budget for that payment. MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve told T officials about the...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 9:56 AM

New marijuana bill targeted for Monday

After tepid support and a procedural snafu forced House leadership to pull the rewrite of the marijuana legalization law from consideration this week, the Marijuana Policy Committee is planning to release a redrafted version of the legislation Monday with debate expected in the House on Wednesday,...

Friday, June 16, 2017, 9:46 AM

If you earn more than $1 million in Massachusetts, you're taxes could be going up

For the second year in a row Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a proposal to extract an estimated $2 billion by raising taxes on the state's roughly 20,000 highest earners, setting up a 2018 ballot question campaign, a legal dispute in the state's highest court, or both. Rep....

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 10:21 AM