Franklin, State House, and Beyond


In the final week of formal sessions in the Legislature, but there were no crowds in the House or Senate chambers Wednesday. With both branches taking a mid-week break, one of the biggest gatherings on Beacon Hill was in Ashburton Park where Attorney General Maura Healey hosted an ice cream social for her office's employees.


Wednesday, Aug. 3

BOH Meeting

5:00pm to 6:00pm

FCC Agenda


Thursday, July 28

Conservation Commission Meeting



August's arrival on Monday marks the beginning of a shift away from the chaos of late July formal sessions and toward a month marked by the possible signing of major new laws, time to look back on legislative failures, a brighter focus on the Sept. 6 primary elections, and the dawning of a five-month stretch of informal sessions. "Keep in mind, the world doesn't end on July 31," Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues said this week. "We will still be meeting every Monday and Thursday in session in the Senate. Anything can happen in informal sessions, and we'll continue working." In truth, anything can't happen in informal sessions, including action on bond bills, veto overrides and land transfers, which all require recorded votes that are not allowed during such sessions. But Rodrigues' point is well taken. Other than the aforementioned types of bills, anything can, and has over the years, happened during informals, including the passage of major spending bills and legislation changing and delaying voter laws, just to name two examples. The bar for passage during informals is unanimous consent, meaning everyone who is at session agrees on a course of action. That may sound like a high bar, but Democrats and Republicans in Massachusetts often pass bills unanimously. In addition, most lawmakers don't even attend informal sessions, where agreement among a handful of the lawmakers present is enough to move bills forward. Here's a look at themes to watch for during August:

SIFTING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE: The sheer volume of legislative activity in late July means that many people involved in policy and politics will spend a good chunk of August just figuring out what was approved, and which bills fell short. Gov. Charlie Baker has already agreed to several major new laws in recent days - the fiscal 2023 budget and reproductive rights legislation - and analysts will be scrolling through those statutes and others that he's about to sign to get an understanding of where lawmakers landed on important language after months of private deliberations. Depending on the success of negotiations, lawmakers could in the coming days push to the governor's desk bills dealing with the mental health, the cannabis industry, economic development and tax relief, infrastructure spending, and sports betting, amongst many others. Baker on Friday returned to the Legislature with amendments a clean energy and climate policy bill, leaving a short window for dealmaking there.

ALL EYES ON BAKER: With the end of formal sessions, the focus over the first ten days of August will be on Baker, who must make decisions on the bills that just keep pouring into his office. By waiting until so deep into the two-year session to act on important bills, legislators collectively decided to risk seeing some of their priorities dashed by the governor. Any vetoes Baker returns will hold, since override votes can't be taken. Legislative amendments that Baker returns can be taken up during informals, but must clear the unanimous consent threshold and be drafted in such a way that the governor will approve them. If not, the governor may hand down more vetoes.

PRE-PRIMARY CAMPAIGNING: The Sept. 6 primary elections mean little for the many officeholders without opponents but it's all on the line for incumbents who face challenges from within their own party, like Secretary of State William Glavin. Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, won the resounding endorsement of the Democratic Party's convention, but Galvin has at least twice before lost the party endorsement but won the primary. It's also an important date to narrow the Democratic and Republican fields for the November elections. Either Geoff Diehl or Chris Doughty will emerge after Sept. 6 as the lone Republican candidate for governor and either Leah Cole Allen or Kate Campanale will make it through the primary to be the party's lieutenant governor candidate. On the Democratic side, only one of the three candidates for lieutenant governor -- Kim Driscoll, Tami Gouveia or Eric Lesser -- can be victorious. The same is true for the three attorney general candidates -- Quentin Palfrey, Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan. Even for candidates who have no opponents, the primary election could be significant as it marks the first time they appear on a ballot in the newly redrawn legislative districts that will be in place for the next decade. Because Massachusetts has a late primary, candidates need to compete for the attention of voters during August and through Labor Day weekend, a time when many people take vacations or try to disengage a bit. Efforts to break through the August daze will be even more critical this year since every voter has the opportunity to vote by mail. In some cases, people have already received their ballots, and could mark them and cast them at any time. So if candidates want to change voters' minds, they ought to hurry up and try. August also brings a critical deadline for the MassGOP-backed effort to repeal a new state law that would allow immigrants without legal status in the United States to obtain Massachusetts drivers' licenses. Volunteers are trying to collect more than 40,000 signatures by Aug. 24 in order to put the repeal question to voters in November.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

HOUSE RESUMES FORMAL: House gavels back into formal session after recessing Friday night. (Saturday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

SENATE FORMAL: Senate meets in a full formal session on the penultimate day to do so for the 2021-2022 lawmaking term. (Saturday, 12 p.m., Senate Chamber)

PRESSLEY ON THE TRAIL: U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley spends much of her Saturday at canvass kickoffs for secretary of state candidate Tanisha Sullivan (10 a.m., 1621 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan), Suffolk County district attorney candidate Ricardo Arroyo (11 a.m., 401C Centre St., Jamaica Plain), and attorney general candidate Andrea Campbell (Saturday, 12 p.m., 344 Talbot Ave., Dorchester).

Sunday, July 31, 2022

HOUSE AND SENATE: Under Joint Rule 12A, the 31st of July is the final day the House and Senate can hold formal sessions for the two-year term. With major legislating remaining before the 192nd General Court, sessions could extend beyond midnight, as they have in recent years, as long as there's unanimous consent. (Sunday)

LESSER ON 4: Sen. Eric Lesser, candidate for lieutenant governor, talks with Jon Keller about the income surtax constitutional amendment, backlash against the new law opening up driver's licenses to immigrants without legal status, and this year's LG race -- including his criticisms of a super PAC supporting rival Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

ARROYO ON 5: Suffolk County district attorney candidate Ricardo Arroyo is the guest on "On The Record." (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

Monday, Aug. 1, 2022

DOUGHTY PLAN FOR WESTERN MA: Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale, Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, hold a press conference to announce their plan for western Massachusetts. The Doughty-Campanale campaign (they technically run separately) has held similar events to roll out its plans for economic growth and quality of life on Cape Cod, and for making initial progress to fix the MBTA. (Monday, 2 p.m., Riverfront Park, State Street and West Columbus Avenue, Springfield)

AG DEBATE - DEMS: Andrea Campbell, Quentin Palfrey and Shannon Liss-Riordan, the three Democratic candidates for attorney general, meet for a debate hosted by GBH News and moderated by Jim Braude. Palfrey, the party's 2018 lieutenant governor nominee, secured the party's convention endorsement in June. Campbell, the first Black woman to serve as Boston City Council president and a former deputy legal counsel under Gov. Deval Patrick, ran for mayor of Boston in 2021. Liss-Riordan was briefly a U.S. Senate candidate and is a labor attorney known for the lawsuits she has brought against major corporations on behalf of workers. The debate streams on YouTube at 6:30 p.m. and then on WGBH-TV Ch. 2 at 7 p.m. (Monday, 6:30 p.m., YouTube)

KENNEDY INSTITUTE DEBATE SERIES: Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy are set to debate live from George Washington University in the second hour-long Oxford-style debate sponsored by a coalition that includes the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The event follows a June 13 debate between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham that took place inside the Kennedy Institute's replica Senate chamber in Columbia Point. The Portman-Murphy debate will be moderated by CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion. The Senate Project is being organized by the EMK Institute along with the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. Organizers say the goal is to "reintroduce the culture of seeking common ground and consensus that has been the essence of the Senate since it was conceived in 1789." (Monday, 7:30 p.m., George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium, Streamed live on CSPAN platforms)

CALL TO POST?: Plainridge Park is planning to host live harness horse racing Monday afternoon, but that is contingent upon the House and Senate agreeing to an extension of the legal authority for racing and simulcasting. That authority is set to sunset after July 31. The Senate on Thursday added a provision to the extension bill that the House did not: a ban on simulcast wagering on greyhound dog races taking place in other states or countries. (Monday)

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022

HIGHER ED COMMISSIONER SEARCH: Board of Higher Education Commissioner Search Advisory Council meets virtually. Agenda includes a report on search activity since the July 20 meeting. In executive session, the council plans to review and discuss applicants, as well as the selection of candidates for interviews. The search firm and advisory council looking for Commissioner Carlos Santiago's successor are eyeing an early October time frame for that person to step into the job. (Tuesday, 1 p.m. | Access Info)

COASTAL FLOODING REPORT: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hold a media briefing as it issues its 2022 State of High Tide Flooding and Annual Outlook for the U.S. report, which provides "data that track changes in coastal high tide flooding that occurred from May 2021 to April 2022, as well as projections through May of 2023 using national flooding thresholds at 97 NOAA tide gauges around the U.S.," the agency said. Media must register for the teleconference. (Tuesday, 1 p.m.)

FENWAY WALKING TOUR: NAIOP Massachusetts hosts a walking tour of the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, where the organization said "growth is outpacing both the city and state nearly 2:1." Attendees will learn more about WS Development's plans for Fenway Corners, tour Samuels & Associates' most recent projects, and get an overview of the life sciences activity in the area. Michael Cannizzo of the BPDA, David Friedman from the Boston Red Sox and Yanni Tsipis of WS Development will make a presentation before the walking tour. Organizers said the event is sold out. (Tuesday, 3 p.m., Fenway Park)

NON-PARTY SIGNATURE DEADLINE: Non-party candidates for federal and statewide offices face a deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday to submit nomination papers to local registrars of voters for certification of signatures. The candidates will face an Aug. 30 deadline to file nomination papers with the secretary of state. (Tuesday)

DOUGHTY TOWN HALL: Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty hosts a town hall event in Framingham to "educate voters on where he stands on the issues." Doughty, who has been trailing in polling and frustrated by his primary opponent Geoff Diehl's reluctance to debate numerous times, said he strongly believes "that an informed public is better for our state. To help the people make an educated choice, I will be holding these public forums while my opponent hides." Another town hall is planned in Springfield the following week. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Framingham Sheraton, 1657 Worcester Road, Framingham)

LG DEBATE - DEMS: Tami Gouveia, Eric Lesser and Kim Driscoll, the three Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, meet for a debate hosted by GBH News and moderated by Jim Braude. Driscoll, who has been serving as mayor of Salem since 2006, topped the LG field with support from 41.4 percent of the delegates at the party's June convention. Gouveia, an Acton state representative, has called for more transparency on Beacon Hill and worked as a public health project manager and executive director of Tobacco Free Massachusetts before leaping into elected politics in 2018. Lesser is a fourth-term state senator from Longmeadow and chairman of the Economic Development Committee who got his start in politics working for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and then in the White House. The debate streams on YouTube at 6:30 p.m. and then on GBH 2 at 7 p.m. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. | YouTube)

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - SANTA HEARING, CONT'D.: Governor's Council returns to a public hearing on Gov. Baker's proposed reappointment of Parole Board member Colette Santa to a second term. The hearing was postponed multiple times before finally convening on July 20. The council has gotten back into the practice of loading up its Wednesday calendar with multiple meetings, and the crowded schedule meant councilors wound up placing Santa's hearing in recess to be continued this week. Opposition witnesses are expected to testify, according to council sources. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL: Governor's Council meets and could vote on whether to confirm Julie Lowre, an assistant clerk magistrate in Worcester Juvenile Court, as a Juvenile Court judge; Mary Beth Ogulewicz, who leads the Elder and Persons with Disabilities Unit in the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, to a District Court judgeship; and Nicole Colby Longton, a criminal defense, personal injury and business litigation lawyer, to a District Court circuit judgeship. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - DISTRICT COURT: Governor's Council holds public hearing on the nomination of Jon Revelli as a District Court judge. Revelli has served in the clerk magistrate's office at Fitchburg District Court since 2021 and was named first assistant clerk magistrate a couple of months ago. He was previously managing partner at Revelli and Luzzo, P.C., according to the governor's office. The 1991 New England School of Law grad was a Worcester County prosecutor in the early '90s. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

JULY REVENUES: Department of Revenue is due to report on tax collections for July, the first month of fiscal year 2023. Through the middle of the month, DOR had collected $898 million, down $30 million or 3.2 percent compared to the same period of July 2021. July tends to be one of the least significant months for state tax receipts. DOR also still has not released June revenues, which round out fiscal 2022 collections, or its end-of-fiscal-year figures. (Wednesday)

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022

BOSTON COMMITTEE ON REDISTRICTING: The Boston City Council's Committee on Redistricting holds a public hearing regarding the results of the 2020 census and the redistricting process for the City of Boston. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Iannella Chamber, fifth floor, Boston City Hall)

Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

No public events currently scheduled.

Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

"E" BRANCH CLOSURE BEGINS: A 16-day shutdown of trolley service on the MBTA's E Branch begins Saturday. Crews plan to use the diversion to perform major maintenance work, including replacement of about 2,000 feet of track and installation of wayside equipment for the Green Line Train Protection System. The T will enhance Route 39 bus service, which will run from the Heath Street terminus to Copley Station, with accessible vehicles during the trolley shutdown. More Info (Saturday, Aug. 6)

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified