Posts tagged "Roundup"

State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Log Flotilla

Every candidate needs a closing sales pitch, and Gabriel Gomez came up with one that sounds a bit like the fine print on the bottom of a Macy’s receipt: Take me home, try me on, return me in 17 months if you’d like a different color. The Republican businessman from Cohasset, who incidentally doesn’t much like talking about his business, tried out the pitch in his final debate earlier this week against Congressman Edward Markey. “You’ve had 37 years in D.C. to get these important things done,” Gomez said. “Give me 17 months, and I will keep my word, and I will do what I say.” Voters on Tuesday will decide whether to take him up on that offer, but late polling showed Markey extending his lead over Gomez among likely voters, with one poll from UMass Lowell declaring the Malden Democrat ahead by as many 20 points. Few believe the margin will be that large, and it’s still unclear whether the probationary term would count against Gomez’s self-imposed term limit pledge should he manage to derail Markey. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England. While the U.S. Senate race entered its final stages, the somewhat dormant Legislature sprang to life this week, advancing bills to keep government running while budget negotiations continue, to align the state’s health care system with the Affordable Care Act and to keep ongoing IT and capital maintenance projects funded and on track. Still on hold, however, are the annual state budget and an accompanying tax bill intended to finance transportation that will go to the wire with just nine days left in the fiscal year. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Stephen Brewer compared the build-up of major tax and spending bills to a “log flotilla,” noting everything can flow when one log is pulled out, but he gave little clue as to when and who would do the pulling, nor a description of the troublesome log. Addressing Sen. Bruce Tarr’s question on the status of negotiations, Brewer said, “I would like to tell the minority leader a lot, but it is in conference, so I really can’t tell him a lot of the machinations.” The machinery – a little rusty, but starting to warm up – had no problem spitting out a $ 4 billion interim spending measure filed this week by Gov. Deval Patrick and whisked through the Legislature in one day that will keep the money flowing after July 1, assuming no budget will in place for the start of the fiscal year.  This […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 22, 2013 at 5:18 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Olde Home Days

His was not the story of Deval Patrick, or Mitt Romney or Bill Weld.  Argeo Paul Cellucci started local on the Board of Selectmen in his beloved town of Hudson and worked his way up: state representative, state senator, lieutenant governor, governor, ambassador. He was the Calvin Coolidge of his time, according to former Minority Leader Richard Tisei, and Democrats, Republicans and Canadians, alike, loved and respected him for it. Cellucci passed away last weekend after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 65, and on Thursday he became the 13th public figure to lie in state under the State House rotunda. The memorial service and public viewing for the former governor drew a who’s-who to Beacon Hill, including Romney, Michael Dukakis, Jane Swift, faces from the Weld and Cellucci administrations who haven’t seen the inside of the capitol since the late 1990s, and even William Bulger and his old Senate rival David Locke. Above all, Cellucci was remembered as a classy public servant, one who put people before party (as Gabriel Gomez is prone to say), worked across party lines, and helped define what it is to be a successful Massachusetts Republican. He never lost a political race, had a memorable affinity for movies and played a mean game of bocce, even if his talent for the game remained in question. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England Among the faces in the faces in the crowd on Thursday was Bulger, the former Senate President.  While jurors in the murder and racketeering trial of his brother Whitey Bulger heard about a gun cache the alleged mobster kept close to Billy Bulger’s South Boston home, the aging pol quietly took in the Cellucci ceremony before venturing back into the chamber he led for 18 years to watch as Linda Dorcena Forry was sworn into the Senate. A daughter of Haitian immigrants, Forry’s swearing in was routine, but symbolic of the changing face of Boston. She takes over as the representative of a Senate district that includes Mattapan, Dorchester and South Boston, the traditionally Irish stronghold from which Bulger drew his power for 26 years.  Ironically, Forry began her political career 17 years ago as a State House aide to former Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, who is trying to make her own history running to become the first minority, female mayor of Boston. Forry mentioned her early work for Golar Richie during remarks to the Senate after she was sworn in by Patrick. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 15, 2013 at 4:18 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: When You’ve Had a Bad Day

It could have been a turning point in the race, the moment when the lights flicked on and the much-anticipated contest finally lived up to expectations for a U.S Senate race. Would Congressman Edward Markey would finally slam the door on Gabriel Gomez and dash the GOP’s dream of Scott Brown redux? Could Gomez shine, narrow the polls and entice national Republican donors to start paying attention? Instead, all anyone wanted to talk about Thursday morning was the thrilling Bruins double overtime victory in Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals. Tuukka Rask as a write-in? At long last, Markey and Gomez shared the same debate stage. In fact, they were so close to each other in the WBZ studios they practically shared a podium. It was all Markey could do not graze Gomez as he repeatedly threw his hands up in disbelief. “Look it,” he would say over and over, refuting one charge after another lobbed his way. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England. Neither Gomez nor Markey came across as a particularly skilled debater, but Gomez came prepared to try to knock Markey off his game and get under the veteran Congressman’s skin. It didn’t really work. The two spent an hour trading familiar campaign barbs. Gomez highlighted Markey’s resume as someone who has served in a deeply unpopular Congress since the days of Gerald Ford, reprising one-liners when he called him a “poster boy” for term limits and debuting new themes when he accused Markey of “putting party and politics before the people.” For Markey, he wanted voters to come away thinking of the new-to-politics Republican as a cookie-cutter candidate with the same “stale” Republican ideas that Massachusetts voters have repeatedly rejected. Those positions included Gomez’s opposition to an assault weapons ban, support for cutting back on Social Security benefits and a willingness to support a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade. The openings that Gomez did give Markey, the Malden Democrat largely let slide. Two new polls from New England College and UMass Amherst, both conducted before the debate, showed Markey leading Gomez comfortably by 12 and 11 points, respectively. In the plus column for Gomez, the Republican was leading Markey by 17 points among independent voters in the UMass Amherst survey.  Voters, however, trusted Markey over Gomez 47-32 to handle the economy, and Gomez’s supposed strength on national security with his background as a Navy SEAL did not resonate. Voters gave the edge to Markey on national security 41-33. Next week’s visit by […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 8, 2013 at 4:51 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Death With Benefits

The specter of deceased citizens collecting welfare benefits haunted the marbled halls of the State House this week as Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray tied up the loose ends dangling on his six-and-a-half years with the Patrick administration and Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the Obama administration for allegedly putting fishermen on death row. Other than that, the arrival of steamy days in Boston ushered in a post-Memorial Day and budget week lull at the State House with the governor out of town, politicos watching two special elections and committees plodding forward with bill hearings while lawmakers wait for word from on high about their next big votes. Congressman Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez also continued sniping from a distance in the lead-up to next week’s first debate, with First Lady Michelle Obama and song lady Carole King both in Massachusetts to campaign for Markey. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England Auditor Suzanne Bump released a blockbuster audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance alleging $ 15 million in questionable spending on welfare benefits, including 1,164 cases totaling $ 2.4 million in benefits flowing to enrollees after they were reported deceased or to recipients using a dead person’s Social Security number.  If Auditor Suzanne Bump was seeking to make a name for herself as a nonpartisan watchdog of the public purse, she hit the jackpot with this one. The report played perfectly into the hands of Republicans and conservative Democrats eager to jump on any morsel of evidence that welfare benefits are being abused. What Bump might not have been expecting, however, was the tone of the pushback from Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration who had little positive to say about his former labor secretary’s work. And it’s not the first time the accuracy of Bump’s auditing has been questioned. Patrick told the Herald he found it “infuriating” that Bump’s office had only released the details on 178 cases reviewed in the audit, of which his team found that only 17 were problematic. The spin required walking a fine line: Yes, one case of fraud is too many, but a 99.9 percent success rate ain’t bad either. Asked whether the Democrat was doing a good job in her role as auditor, Patrick said, “I think it’s too soon to say.” Bump has been auditor for two and a half years. Unlike other audits, this one isn’t likely to fade soon and will feed into the debate when Senate President Therese Murray files her comprehensive welfare […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 1, 2013 at 5:26 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Exit 10A

The rush from Beacon Hill to the westbound turnpike this week had as much to do with two of Worcester’s political sons beating feet from the capitol as with the impending Memorial Day weekend. As Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray attempted as graceful an exit as possible from politics, fellow Worcester Democrat Rep. John Fresolo made his hasty escape under an ethics cloud feeling “marginalized” by his peers and pressured to resign, which he did. If not for those two storylines, the focus may have been on the Senate’s breakneck budget debate concluding Thursday night as senators wiped their hands clean of 725 amendments and passed a $ 34 billion fiscal 2014 budget without the need for Senate President Therese Murray to threaten a Friday or Saturday workday. But on this week in late May, Tim Murray one of his wishes, for better or worse, as the gaze of the Boston political media was affixed firmly for once on central Massachusetts. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England Murray leaves the administration after next week to take over as president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, a job closer to home and his family that will pay at least $ 75,000 more than he was earning as a sidekick to Patrick. He’ll finish his service with one last sniff of power as acting governor when Patrick travels to Chicago on Friday to headline the Organizing for Action Illinois State Founders Summit.  Murray said he was not actively looking to leave before his term expires. But his decision was not a total shocker since Murray already pulled the plug on his political career in January when he decided not to run for governor, the job many that he would pursue after running in lockstep with Patrick for so many years. For the most part, the arranged marriage between Murray and Gov. Deval Patrick turned out to be a happy and prosperous one. Since 2006, Murray has rarely, if ever, contradicted Patrick on policy or politics, and he was a foot soldier in the 2010 reelection campaign while maintaining good ties with municipal leaders who mostly like and trust the former mayor. However, the Worcester Democrat’s star started to dim in the winter of 2011 after a poorly explained pre-dawn car crash on a Sterling highway and subsequent questions about his ties to corrupt former Chelsea Housing Authority Director Michael McLaughlin.  All Murray wanted to do on Wednesday was take a bow, talk about his work […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 25, 2013 at 4:27 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Three’s Company

Like pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit together yet, the Big Three may have been separated at birth, but with each incremental step their destinies seem to grow more intertwined. No, we’re not talking about those Big Three – Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo – though they play major character roles in this thickening plot.  Instead, three bills have come to define the early months of the 2013 legislative agenda and resolutions on tax hikes, local road funding and the annual state budget continue to be elusive and dependent on one another. Patrick spent the early part of his week welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron to Boston for a few quick meetings and a visit to the Copley memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings before hopping a plane to Ireland for a rendezvous with Murray, already several days into her cross-Atlantic trade mission. If legislative leaders detect a slight accent creeping in when Patrick returns to work at the State House next week they shouldn’t be alarmed or confused. Then again, they haven’t exactly been speaking the same language lately anyway. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England The Senate Ways and Means Committee this week released its version of the fiscal 2014 state budget, a $ 33.9 billion spending plan that bore a striking resemblance to the House blueprint that roundly rebuffed Patrick’s calls for massive new investments in transportation and early education. Unlike the House, the Senate leadership’s budget provides $ 15 million to expand access to pre-school, a step toward the governor’s preferences. The budget proposal, however, backtracked from the House and governor’s commitment to boost higher education funding to avoid tuition hikes next year at UMass and other public universities. All of that is to say, Senate leaders created ample room to maneuver for eventual conference committee negotiations with the House. Of course, the divergence from Patrick was not unexpected given how House and Senate leaders already recycled the governor’s expansive tax package that he proposed to finance the new investments, instead moving forward with a more limited, but still quite large $ 500 million tax increase on gas, tobacco and business. “I find it interesting to put it mildly that the budget includes tax revenue apparently from a bill that hasn’t passed yet. And not only hasn’t it passed, my understanding is there’s only been one conference committee meeting,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr lamented. Democratic leaders don’t seem to care much that $ […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 18, 2013 at 4:58 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Three’s Company

Like pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit together yet, the Big Three may have been separated at birth, but with each incremental step their destinies seem to grow more intertwined. No, we’re not talking about those Big Three – Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo – though they play major character roles in this thickening plot.  Instead, three bills have come to define the early months of the 2013 legislative agenda and resolutions on tax hikes, local road funding and the annual state budget continue to be elusive and dependent on one another. Patrick spent the early part of his week welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron to Boston for a few quick meetings and a visit to the Copley memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings before hopping a plane to Ireland for a rendezvous with Murray, already several days into her cross-Atlantic trade mission. If legislative leaders detect a slight accent creeping in when Patrick returns to work at the State House next week they shouldn’t be alarmed or confused. Then again, they haven’t exactly been speaking the same language lately anyway. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England The Senate Ways and Means Committee this week released its version of the fiscal 2014 state budget, a $ 33.9 billion spending plan that bore a striking resemblance to the House blueprint that roundly rebuffed Patrick’s calls for massive new investments in transportation and early education. Unlike the House, the Senate leadership’s budget provides $ 15 million to expand access to pre-school, a step toward the governor’s preferences. The budget proposal, however, backtracked from the House and governor’s commitment to boost higher education funding to avoid tuition hikes next year at UMass and other public universities. All of that is to say, Senate leaders created ample room to maneuver for eventual conference committee negotiations with the House. Of course, the divergence from Patrick was not unexpected given how House and Senate leaders already recycled the governor’s expansive tax package that he proposed to finance the new investments, instead moving forward with a more limited, but still quite large $ 500 million tax increase on gas, tobacco and business. “I find it interesting to put it mildly that the budget includes tax revenue apparently from a bill that hasn’t passed yet. And not only hasn’t it passed, my understanding is there’s only been one conference committee meeting,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr lamented. Democratic leaders don’t seem to care much that $ […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 18, 2013 at 4:58 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: A Hoop-De-Doo

Massachusetts’ problem is now Virginia’s. After a macabre, around-the-clock stakeout of a Worcester funeral home this week by frenzied reporters and furious protestors, the remains of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev were secreted out of central Massachusetts and buried in a small Muslim cemetery in rural Virginia. No cemetery in Massachusetts, or public official for that matter, wanted Tsarnaev’s body. And Gov. Deval Patrick just seemed relieved the tense standoff was over. “No. I have enough to do,” Patrick said, when asked if he wished he had gotten involved to end the theatrics sooner. The April 15 attacks on the finish line of the Boston Marathon threw Beacon Hill policymakers off stride, quieting the raging debate over transportation financing and overshadowing annual budget talks. Still, the people’s business continues, and picked up in intensity this week as committees heard testimony on a raft of legislation, the Department of Public Health finalized medical marijuana regulations, and Rep. Joseph Wagner finally scheduled a hearing on the Mashpee Wampanoag gaming casino agreement with the Patrick administration. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England Boston Mayor Thomas Menino made the short trek from City Hall to the State House to ask the Education Committee to green light legislation that would increase the number of “in-district” charter schools and give the mayor and school superintendents more control to intervene in mediocre schools on the cusp of failing. Knowing full-well his time in office is short, Menino wants the ed reform bill as a parting gift from the Legislature, but said he’d be back to make his case next year as a private citizen if need be: “It’s my thing,” the mayor said, referring to education. Depending on what poll you read, Congressman Ed Markey is either in the fight of his life against upstart Republican Gabriel Gomez or comfortably on his way into the U.S. Senate. Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos had Markey up 17 points, while a WBUR poll put the race more in line with previous surveys showing a six- to eight-point spread. Markey, at least publicly, seemed to prefer the latter narrative, latching on to the idea that Gomez is nipping at his heels with fundraising appeals claiming he needs support – and money – now more than ever. As for Gomez, he had his most difficult week yet since he left the safe protective nest of his private equity firm to enter the public spotlight and run for public office. A front-page Globe story detailing how Gomez had taken advantage of tax loophole […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 11, 2013 at 4:01 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Enter Gomez

In case voters weren’t paying attention, and turnout suggested many weren’t, his name is Gabriel Gomez. And now only Ed Markey stands between him and the United States Senate. “My name is Gabriel Gomez, and I’m a proud Republican,” Gomez said, reciting his full name for the second time during a five-minute chat with reporters outside the new go-to, post-election Broadway T stop in South Boston Wednesday morning. The reporters already knew who he was, but part of Gomez’s strategy now is to make sure everybody else does too. The newly minted face of the Republican Party captured the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday by defeating two better known names in Massachusetts Republican politics. Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan was supposed to be the favorite, and Rep. Daniel Winslow has been active since his days with the Romney administration. But it was Gomez who easily prevailed by a margin of more than 28,000 votes over runner-up Sullivan. He also considerably outspent both his primary opponents, tapping into his own bank account for $ 600,000 to get to the general election. Now, with a seat up for grabs in the U.S. Senate, the national money should start to flow. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England On the Democratic side, Markey rolled fairly easily to the nomination over delegation-mate U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. After 36 years in the House and a few flirtations with trying move up, Markey stands on the cusp of filling John Kerry’s (and Mo Cowan’s) shoes. If Markey is something old and blue, Gomez is new and borrowing some pages from the Scott Brown playbook, with a twist.  Both are young and photogenic with military backgrounds – Brown’s a colonel in the JAG Corps of the Army National Guard, Gomez was a Navy SEAL. Brown had political experience from his days in the state Legislature when he ran against Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2010. Gomez lost a bid for selectman in Cohasset, but has more business experience and personal wealth than Brown. And just as Brown tapped into the national Tea Party angst at the time to open a spigot of financial resources, Gomez is positioned well to take advantage of his Colombian heritage and the GOP’s post-2012 realization that the growing Hispanic voting bloc, concerned about middle class issues as well as immigration, can no longer be ignored. Massachusetts Democrats say they cleaned up last election cycle among ethnic minorities and will likely have a rebuttal to Gomez’s appeal to Hispanic voters. Public Policy Polling released […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 4, 2013 at 4:33 am

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State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Lounging

Emotionally drained by last week’s marathon bombings, House lawmakers raced through budget week, shortening it to a three-day affair that averaged out to about a billion dollars in spending for every hour in session.  The only thing left to do by Friday was figure out where that money was going. It was an impressive display of efficiency and trust or acquiescence, depending on your vantage point. House lawmakers sprinted through deliberations over how to best allocate $ 33.8 billion, agreeing to bump up the bottom line closer to $ 34 billion between Monday and Wednesday night. After 37 hours in session – many spent in idle chatter awaiting a thumb’s up or down on legislators’ preferred earmarks, policy goals and spending priorities from lawmakers debating in an adjoining lounge – Democrats uniformly supported the budget put before them by Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey. The Haverhill Democrat defended the bill as “fiscally responsible,” making investments in local aid and higher education to avoid UMass tuition and fee hikes, while holding the line on other spending for programs such as pre-kindergarten until proper oversight can be demonstrated. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Dempsey have turned budgeting efficiency into an art in recent years, transforming what used to be a four- or five-day process into a three-day exercise at best. Even a late start Wednesday so that members could attend a memorial for slain M.I.T. police office Sean Collier in Cambridge couldn’t slow down the feverish pace of decision-making in the lounge. So intent on finishing by Wednesday night, DeLeo even appealed to an authority higher than any lawmaker’s professed devotion to education, social justice or public safety.  “I am not providing dinner tomorrow night,” DeLeo said around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, a light-hearted caution against stalling delivered, incidentally, not long after lawmakers put the kibosh on Munchy Ways and Buddafingers. Lawmakers had almost nothing to say about the issue in the years leading up to last November’s voter approval of a medical marijuana law, but the House this week slammed the door on edible, candy-like med marijuana products.  That’s not to say lawmakers weren’t included in the process, following the now traditional pilgrimage to Room 348 – the lounge – to pitch their amendments out of listening range for the general public. Large, bundled revisions arrived on the floor for approval, some adding tens of millions in spending to the final document. Republicans voted in a bloc against […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 27, 2013 at 5:06 am

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