People, Power, and Politics


U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins improperly attempted to influence the election to fill her former office by damaging the reputation of the candidate she opposed, failed to follow ethics guidance about attending a political fundraiser, and broke from official Department of Justice regulations on several other occasions, a pair of federal investigations concluded last week. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel each published bombshell reports about a range of alleged misconduct by Rollins.


Mon. May 22

Planning Board Meeting


Agricultural Commission Meeting


Tues. May 23

Design Review Meeting Date - Canceled


Franklin School Committee Agenda


Weds. May 24

Town Council Meeting


Thurs. May 25

Town Council Meeting


Benjamin Franklin Charter School Board of Trustees Meeting



Despite a power struggle between the House and Senate over joint committee operations, many of those panels have been keeping up a fairly robust schedule of public hearings. That activity slows down next week, a break in the action that will enable senators to focus more squarely on "budget week." Senators have filed more than 1,000 amendments to the $55.8 billion fiscal 2024 budget that the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved on May 9. Floor deliberations on that spending plan formally begin on Tuesday, but private talks among senators have been ongoing and senators have even already withdrawn some of their amendments. Senate budget deliberations feature more public back-and-forth in terms of commentary than the House, but as in the House the fates of most amendments are pre-determined. While the House magically dispenses with scores of amendments through what they call consolidated amendments, the Senate uses big amendment "bundles" to pack proposals into their budget and dump others to the side. Last year the Senate was able to speed through its amendments over three days and never met past 8 p.m. Senators plan three budget sessions next week, starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Tax Relief, Rollins Fallout, and Boston Redistricting

Despite rarely being able to pass an annual budget on time, the House and Senate this year stuck with their traditional pattern: the House passes its budget in April, the Senate in May, leaving June for conference committee negotiations. In addition to the usual differences that House and Senate Democrats have been unable to consistently reconcile in a timely way, there's another wildcard in this year's budget talks: tax relief. The Senate's budget bill accounts for $575 million in tax relief rolling out in fiscal 2024, though the branch hasn't unveiled its answer to Gov. Healey's or the House's relief packages. Senate leaders are not ready with a proposal and have only said their plan will emerge sometime after their budget debate. The House approved its tax relief package before it approved its fiscal 2024 budget bill, but House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz told the News Service this week that he doesn't see the Senate's order of operations as complicating matters. "I think the fact that they put a certain amount of money aside in the budget ... signifies that they have an interest in doing this, and that we're going to keep it separate from the budget," the North End Democrat said, calling the Senate's $575 million figure "close to what we did." And he said keeping the budget as its "own entity" was designed to prevent the details of tax policy from interrupting spending talks, which operate on a June 30 deadline. "We did the same thing with the idea of making sure that, whether or not we come to an agreement on taxes, the budget will have a separate process and we hopefully get the budget done as quickly as possible irregardless of what happens with the taxes," Michlewitz said. Those seeking tax relief would no doubt like to see some deadline pressure. Still, Senate leaders have given no indication that they are straying from progressive tax relief proposals that fell flat last year, including aid to seniors, renters, parents and low-income families. Changes to the estate tax and the short-term capital gains seem like less of a sure thing, but remain on the table. The week ahead will also feature continuing fallout from the resignation of U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, which is forcing a change in leadership in that office, and the Boston City Council's efforts to quickly come up with new districts after U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris struck down the redistricting map fashioned by the council last year and signed by Mayor Michelle Wu. Saris found the plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success in "showing that race played a predominant role in the City Council's redrawing of Districts 3 and 4 in the enacted map." She also added, "In my view, the City Council is best positioned to redraw the lines in light of traditional districting principles and the Constitution. The role of race in redistricting is complicated and in flux, and the Court finds that the City Council acted in good faith in trying to comply with complex voting rights laws."

Sunday, May 21, 2023

PARENTS UNION PREZ: National Parents Union President Keri Rodrigues talks with Jon Keller about parent access to school information, controversies over sexual education curriculum, layoffs in Brockton schools, and how communities are spending federal school aid. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

WU ON 5: Boston Mayor Wu talks on "On The Record" about fallout from the U.S. Attorney Rollins investigation, school safety and the role of police, and strategies to create more affordable housing. Sharman Sacchetti and Ben Simmoneau host the program, with a roundtable discussion featuring analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray. (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

CONGRESSMAN JORDAN IN HYANNIS: Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio holds a rally at Cape Gun Works, joined by Cape Cod Republican Jay McMahon, a former candidate for state Senate and attorney general, The goal is to raise money for the Jordan Freedom Fund. Host committee also includes Rep. Xiarhos of Barnstable, according to an invitation email. (Sunday, 11 a.m., 96 Airport Rd., Hyannis)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING MARCH: Arlington tenants march to protest rent increases. The tenant association will be joined by housing advocacy group City Life/Vida Urbana. "Many long-term residents would lose their homes if these rent increases were realized," said Laura Frost, a tenant with the 840-846 Mass Ave Tenants Association. (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., 840 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington)

WOUNDED VET RUN: About 3,000 people are expected to participate in the 12th and final Wounded Vet Run, a motorcycle run that this year will benefit five Marines who were injured during an attack at Kabul Airport in 2021 during the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. The ride ends at 105 Canal St. in Malden. There will be road closures in Revere, Saugus, Wakefield, Melrose, Stoneham and Malden. (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Boston Harley-Davidson, 650 Squire Rd., Revere | More Info)

SPRINGFIELD PIPELINE PROTEST: Springfield Climate Justice Coalition marches to protest the proposed Eversource pipeline in Springfield and Longmeadow. The coalition is asking the Healey administration to "put a halt to new gas system expansions until we have a concrete plan for a just and rapid transition to the clean energy future we need for a livable ecosystem." Nearly 50 organizations have signed on as event co-sponsors. (Sunday, 1 p.m., Stearns Square, Springfield)

Monday, May 22, 2023

EOHHS RATE HEARINGS: Executive Office of Health and Human Services holds a host of hearings Monday. The hearings concern rates for substance-related and addictive disorders programs (9 a.m.), rates for youth and young adult support services (10 a.m.), rates for lead agency services (10:30 a.m.), rates for program of assertive community treatment services (11 a.m.,) rates for intermediate-term stabilization services (11:30 a.m.) The proposed regulation changes would be effective July 1. Testimony is expected in the 9 a.m. hearing on rates for substance-related services by providers of addiction and behavioral health treatment. Health facilities providing addiction treatment have recently closed beds partially due to low reimbursement rates -- in the past 60 days, 160 beds were closed at Community Health Link in Worcester and 60 beds at Miravista in Holyoke. (Monday, 9 a.m. | Virtual Access and More Info)

GAMING COMMISSION MEETING: Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a virtual public meeting, with topics including a quarterly report from MGM Springfield, third quarter budget update, the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau's assessment of civil administrative penalty on MGM Springfield, and a DraftKings' noncompliance issue. (Monday, 10 a.m. | Agenda and Access Info)

HOUSE AND SENATE - BUDGET INTRO: House and Senate hold informal sessions. Senate session will be held open into the afternoon when senators will give opening remarks on the fiscal 2024 budget, according to President Spilka's office. The budget bill isn't scheduled to be formally taken up on the floor until Tuesday. (Monday, 11 a.m., House and Senate chambers | House Livestream | Senate Livestream)

WU ON RADIO: Boston Mayor Wu participates in a monthly segment on "Radio Boston." (Monday, 11 a.m., WBUR-FM 90.9)

EVERETT PERCUSSION CHAMPS: Everett High School's Percussion Ensemble, which made it to the World Championship finals in Ohio last month, performs. Sen. DiDomenico hosts the group, which will play the set they performed in all their championship appearances. Ensemble took first place in the New England Championships in Dartmouth and East Coast regionals in New Jersey. (Monday, 11:15 a.m., Grand Staircase)

DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING: Disability Employment Subcommittee of the Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities holds a virtual meeting. Becky Curran Kekula, director of the Disability Equality Index at Disability:IN is the guest speaker. Subcommittee members will review priorities and establish next steps tied to the WorkAbility Report to remove employment barriers for people with disabilities and for launching a State House internship program for people with disabilities, among other agenda items. (Monday, 12 p.m. | Agenda and Livestream)

SENATE DEMS CAUCUS: Senate Democrats meet in a private caucus. (Monday, 12 p.m., Senate President's Office)

BOSTON ROAD SAFETY: Boston Mayor Wu and city Streets Chief Jascha Franklin-Hodge announce "Safety Surge," a new program aimed at cutting down on roadway speeding and crashes. (Monday, 12:30 p.m., Thetford Evans Playground, 15 Evans St., Mattapan)

SENATE GOP CAUCUS: Senate Republicans plan to caucus ahead of budget deliberations that formally start on Tuesday. (Monday, 1 p.m., Senate Minority Leader's Office)

BOSTON BUS LANE PROJECT: The MBTA and City of Boston host virtual public meeting to discuss the design of the Tremont St./Columbus Ave. bus lanes project, which is the second phase of the Columbus Ave. bus lane project. This second phase seeks to build on the project's first development -- New England's first center-running bus lanes on Columbus Ave., built in 2021. Phase 2 would provide transportation and safety improvements to bus stops and shelters along the one-mile segment of Columbus Ave. and Tremont St. located roughly between Jackson Square and Ruggles Station. MBTA and city staff will offer an overview and highlight opportunities for public feedback. It will be recorded and posted online for those who cannot attend. (Monday, 6 p.m. | Zoom)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

EARLY COLLEGE PATHWAYS: MassINC Polling Group along with health care and education organizations host "Tapping the Power of Health Pathways in Early College High School." The event will focus on maximizing early college programs to address health care workforce needs. Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, Mass. Business Alliance for Education and Mass General Brigham will co-host the forum. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Simches Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, 185 Cambridge St., Boston | Register)

PERSONAL BUDGETING 101: Newburyport-based Institution for Savings expects more than 1,000 juniors and seniors from 13 local high schools to attend its annual Credit for Life Fair, where bank and community volunteers help the kids learn about personal budgeting -- "skills that they will use throughout their lives." Students at the fair take on the mock role of 25-year-old "professionals with paychecks" and, using an app, visit various booths to "purchase" their expenses including housing, transportation, and groceries. Another station teaches students how to write checks, manage apps like Venmo and PayPal, and watch out for scams and fraud. Organizers promise "lots of visuals" for media coverage. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Masconomet Regional High School, Boxford)

ECONOMY, CLIMATE CHANGE PANEL: Sen. Markey delivers keynote remarks at a New England Council event called "The Economic Impact of Climate Change in New England." That's followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of emergency preparedness, Mass General Brigham; Dennis Carlberg, associate vice president of sustainability at Boston University; Rakhi Kumar, senior vice president of sustainability solutions at Liberty Mutual insurance; Kathryn Hautanen, principal program manager of Ocean & Climate Innovation Accelerator, Analog Devices; Emiley Lockhart, associate president of the New England Aquarium; and Lisa Wieland, CEO of Massport. Peter Howe, senior vice president of Denterlein, will moderate the panel. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Harbor Tent, New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston)

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE: Senate holds a formal session to begin weeding through the more than 1,000 amendments to the Senate Ways and Means Committee's fiscal 2024 budget bill. In 2022, the opening day of debate wrapped up at 7:55 p.m. Eleven of the 1,049 amendments had been withdrawn Friday afternoon. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Senate Chamber)

CLEAN ENERGY PRESSER: Environment advocates and lawmakers hold a press conference in support of 100 percent clean energy, and announce a door-to-door canvassing effort for clean energy legislation. Advocates support Reps. Decker and Garballey's "100% Clean Act" (H 3689), to transition Massachusetts to cover 100 percent of its electricity needs with clean energy by 2035, and power heating and transportation entirely with clean energy by 2045. The state is mandated under a 2021 climate law to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and, using 1990 emissions levels as a baseline, meet reduction targets of 33 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2050. The plan also calls for the state to reduce transportation-related emissions 18 percent by 2025 and 34 percent by 2030. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., In front of the State House)

BOSTON REDISTRICTING HEARING: Boston City Council Committee on Civil Rights and Immigrant Advancement holds a hearing regarding amending City Council electoral districts. The council must redraw the political boundaries of its nine district seats after a U.S. federal judge blocked Boston from using its most recent redistricting map in this fall's elections. Last fall's redistricting process was contentious and drawn out, ending with four of the 13 councilors voting against the map and two councilors challenging it in the courts. Now, the council must pass a new map by May 30, and the city filed a home rule petition that would extend candidate filing deadlines from May 23 to June 20. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Iannella Council Chamber, 5th Floor, Boston City Hall | Livestream)

STARBUCKS UNION PRESSER: Starbucks workers plan to hold a press conference after a bargaining session with Starbucks management and lawyers. The National Labor Relations Board in March found that Starbucks had violated labor law hundreds of times with "egregious and widespread misconduct demonstrating a general disregard for the employees' fundamental rights." Workers say they are fighting for rights such as a safe workplace and the right to organize free from fear, intimidation or coercion. (Tuesday, 5 p.m., Starbucks, 308 W. Broadway, Gardner)

MASSDOT CAPITAL PLAN: MassDOT and Pioneer Valley Planning Commission hold an online meeting aimed at Western Mass. to solicit public feedback on MassDOT's five-year Capital Investment Plan, which directs the state's prioritization and funding of projects including roads, bridges, and rail, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

HUBBARDSTON BRIDGE PROJECT: MassDOT holds hearing on the design of proposed bridge replacement project on Williamsville Road over the Burnshirt River in Hubbardston. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., More Info)

BLUE HILL AVE. TRANSIT PLAN: MBTA holds online community meeting to solicit public feedback on its Blue Hill Avenue Transportation Action Plan, a redesign in collaboration with the city of Boston to include "high-quality bus priority facilities and to improve service reliability" from Warren Street to Mattapan Square. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., More Info)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

HAO AT NAIOP FORUM: Economic Development Secretary Hao gives addresses the commercial real estate community in keynote remarks at an NAIOP Massachusetts event. Following her speech, Hao will answer questions in a conversation moderated by NAIOP CEO Tamara Small. (Wednesday, 8 a.m., Foley Hoag LLP, 155 Seaport Blvd., Boston | Registration)

HALEY @ POLITICS & EGGS: Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is the guest on "Politics & Eggs," a forum for presidential candidates, political leaders, analysts and commentators as they visit New Hampshire, where -- at least for now -- the first presidential primary is held. Democrats are moving forward with a plan to move their first primary for presidential races out to North Carolina. The series is a joint initiative of The New England Council and The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, announced her intent to run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in February. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is considering a run and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may also join former President Donald Trump in the developing GOP field. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Road, Manchester, NH)

STATE OF ED: MassINC Polling Group, The Education Trust and the Barr Foundation hosts "The State of Education in the Commonwealth: A Community Perspective" to review the findings of a poll of K-12 parents in Massachusetts. Lt. Gov. Driscoll is scheduled to speak. Rep. Vargas, Citizens for Juvenile Justice Director Leon Smith, The National Parents Union Co-Founder and President Keri Rodrigues, and father of a Taunton Public Schools student Richard Carter will sit on a panel to discuss the report. The eighth in its series, the statewide poll sponsored by The Barr Foundation comes as lawmakers are closing in on major education investments in next year's budget. (Wednesday, 9 a.m. | Register)

SMALL BUSINESS DAY: The National Federation of Independent Business, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts and 20 small business partners host Small Business Day. Organizers say the goal is to raise awareness of small business issues, including labor costs, unemployment insurance taxes, health care expenses, energy prices and tax relief. Rep. McMurtry will deliver introductory remarks, and association leaders will provide a legislative update. There will also be a discussion on energy expenses for small businesses. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., University of Massachusetts Club, 1 Beacon St., Boston)

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE: Senate is slated to return from an overnight recess to continue deliberations on its fiscal 2024 budget bill. The Wednesday of "budget week" last year ran until 7:56 p.m. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Senate Chamber)

CULTURAL COUNCIL: The Mass Cultural Council's governing board meets virtually. Agenda items include a briefing by Mass Humanities on its use of the $2.4 million grant provided by the council to develop pandemic recovery programs for humanities organizations, and a fiscal year 2023 financial update. (Wednesday, 10 a.m. | Virtual Access)

LEGO CENTER RIBBON-CUTTING: LEGO Discovery Center Boston holds ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a "VIP sneak peek." (Wednesday, 10 a.m., 598 Assembly Row, Somerville | RSVP)

UBER GOES ELECTRIC: Uber will encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles at an event featuring test drives with cars including the Chevy Bolt, Ioniq 5, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y and Polestar. There will also be a panel with so-called EV champions. More than 100 drivers are expected to attend. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Uber Greenlight, 168 Broadway, Saugus)

"THRIVE ACT" RALLY: Students, parents, educators and education advocates host a press conference in support of the legislation (S 246 / H 495) that would replace the MCAS graduation requirement with a requirement for districts to independently certify that a student has completed coursework that shows they meet state standards. It would also eliminate the policy that allows the state to take control of an underperforming district and establish a commission to create a new assessment system based on the "whole child," according to the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance. Following the press conference, advocates will enter the State House to lobby legislators to support the bill. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Church on the Hill, 140 Bowdoin St., Boston)

TELECOMMUNICATIONS, UTILITIES AND ENERGY HEARING: The so-called Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy holds a hybrid public hearing on more than a dozen bills tied to broadband networks, equitable towing rates and reducing administrative burdens for government, among other topics. A public spat and power struggle between the co-chairs led to separate hearings this week, as Rep. Roy and Sen. Barrett couldn't reach an agreement on committee rules. House members on the committee have unanimously voted on their hearing schedule for the rest of the session, and Roy told the News Service he hopes Senate members participate in the upcoming hearing after "witnessing the silliness" of Friday's separate Senate hearing. But Barrett, accusing Roy of developing the schedule without consulting him, said Senate members can't participate in the hearing due to fiscal 2024 budget deliberations happening at the same time. The Senate always debates its budget the week before Memorial Day. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Room A-2 | Agenda and Access Info)

MWRA BUDGET, CAPITAL HEARING: Mass. Water Resources Authority Board of Directors holds a hybrid hearing to discuss the authority's draft fiscal year 2024 budget and proposed fiscal 2024 capital investment plan. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Deer Island Reception/Training Building, First Floor, 33 Tafts Ave., Boston | Agenda and Access Info)

NONPROFIT LEADERS SUMMIT: Former Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ros Acosta, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen, and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey are among the speakers at Harvard Business School Association's 2023 Nonprofit Board Summit. The summit, which runs 'til 8 p.m., "provides an opportunity for nonprofit board members and senior leaders to discover small, collective actions that can create the change that is needed to build a more resilient, healthy, and fair society in our cities and state," HBSA said. Other speakers include Boston's Supportive Housing Division deputy director Laila Bernstein, Children's Services of Roxbury CEO Sandra McCroom, Pine Street Inn President Lyndia Downie, Year Up founder Gerald Chertavian, United Way of Mass. Bay and Merrimack Valley CEO Bob Giannino, JVS Boston Senior Vice President Amy Nishman, and Office of the Child Advocate Director Maria Mossaides. An hour of networking and refreshments is included. (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston | More Info | Registration)

MHA WEBINAR: Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association hosts a webinar titled, "A Rapid, Around the Clock Cleanup: Boston Medical Center and Emergency Room Preparedness." (Wednesday, 12 p.m. | Zoom)

MAPC FEDERAL FUNDING: Metropolitan Area Planning Council holds an informational webinar about federal funding opportunities. The U.S. Economic Development Administration is accepting applications for FY '23 public works and economic adjustment assistance programs, FY '23 disaster supplemental funding, tech hubs funding and the 2023 STEM Talent Challenge. The webinar will focus on helping municipalities, nonprofits, community development corporations, CDFIs, higher education institutions and other public entities within the Greater Boston region apply. (Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. | Zoom)

MWRA MEETS: Mass. Water Resources Authority Board of Directors meets. The agenda calls for an executive session to discuss collective bargaining followed by financial and pension funding updates. Topics of discussion include an update on the Metropolitan Water Tunnel Program, a contract for grit and screenings hauling and disposal, and rehabilitation of the Hayes pump station. The Personnel & Compensation Committee will meet immediately following the regular board meeting. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Deer Island Reception/Training Building, First Floor, 33 Tafts Ave., Boston | Agenda and Access Info)

GOLDBERG-HEALEY MEETING: Gov. Healey and Treasurer Goldberg hold their monthly meeting. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Treasurer's Office)

BOSTON BUS LANE PROJECT: MBTA and City of Boston host virtual public meeting to discuss the design of the Tremont St./Columbus Ave. bus lanes project, which is the second phase of the Columbus Ave. bus lane project. This second phase seeks to build on the project's first development -- New England's first center-running bus lanes on Columbus Ave., built in 2021. Phase 2 would provide transportation and safety improvements to bus stops and shelters along the one-mile segment of Columbus Ave. and Tremont St. located roughly between Jackson Square and Ruggles Station. MBTA and city staff will offer an overview and highlight opportunities for public feedback. It will be recorded and posted online for those who cannot attend. (Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., Roxbury Community College, Commons 3 and 4, First Floor, Academic Building, 1234 Columbus Ave., Boston)

MASSDOT CAPITAL PLAN: MassDOT and Northern Middlesex Council of Governments hold online meeting aimed at Northern Middlesex region and the Merrimack Valley to hear public comment on MassDOT's five-year Capital Investment Plan. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

SUMNER TUNNEL PROJECT UPDATE: MassDOT holds online meeting to give an update on the first of two full closures of the Sumner Tunnel. Meeting covers goals for the tunnel restoration project, update on construction activities and alternative travel options. Attendees can ask questions and make comments. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS: Sen. DiDomenico of Everett and Rep. Livingstone of Boston are scheduled speakers at the Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations annual State House lobby day. Organizers plan to focus on MACDC's push to extend and expand the Community Investment Tax Credit. Other policy items on the agenda include housing equity and economic development. Speaking program and brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Great Hall | Registration)

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE: Senate plans to return from an overnight recess and continue its fiscal 2024 budget debate. Senate "budget weeks" in recent years have wrapped up in three days, and last year's adjourned on Thursday at 6:23 p.m. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Senate Chamber)

RENTAL RELIEF REPORT: A policy brief about Massachusetts' emergency rental relief system will be released at a virtual forum hosted by the Boston Foundation, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Citizens Housing and Planning Association. "Building a Better RAFT: Improving Access to Emergency Rental Assistance in Massachusetts" explores the impact of a one-time grant program launched by CHAPA in 2022 and recommendations to strengthen policies. Jessie Patridge Guerrero, research manager at MAPC, will discuss the findings. A panel discussion follows with Jeena Chang, director of community programs and design at Asian Community Development Corporation; Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers, director of the Everett Haitian Community Center; and Norieliz DeJesus, policy and organizing director at La Colaborativa. Maritza Crossen, director of strategic initiatives at CHAPA, moderates the panel. (Thursday, 10 a.m.| Webinar Registration)

MBTA BOARD MEETS: MBTA Board of Directors meets. The MBTA Advisory Board, an independent group representing cities and towns that contribute funding to the agency, expects overseers to take a final vote on a proposed $2.72 billion preliminary budget that would increase spending nearly 7 percent despite ridership and service woes. (Thursday, 10 a.m., State Transportation Building, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | Agenda and Livestream)

RETIREMENT BOARD: Massachusetts State Retirement Board holds its monthly meeting. People interested in attending virtually should email (Thursday, 10 a.m., Zoom)

MILITARY HEROES: Public officials including Treasurer Deb Goldberg read the names of fallen service members as part of the 2023 Remember and Honoring Massachusetts Military Heroes event. In honor of Memorial Day weekend, more than 37,000 flags will be planted on Boston Common at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, with the display planned for May 25-29. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Soldiers and Sailors Monument, 139 Tremont St., Boston)

HOUSE: House plans to meet in an informal session. (Thursday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

MBTA RIDERS' ACCESS GROUP: Riders' Transportation Access Group, a customer organization that advises the MBTA on issues affecting older adults and people with disabilities, holds an online meeting through the T's website. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Zoom)

SUMNER TUNNEL PROJECT UPDATE: MassDOT holds online meeting to give an update on the first of two full closures of the Sumner Tunnel. Meeting covers goals for the tunnel restoration project, update on construction activities and alternative travel options. Attendees can ask questions and make comments. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

ORTEGA KEYNOTE: Higher Education Commissioner Noe Ortega delivers the keynote address at MassBay Community College's commencement. Ortega received a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Edwards University, a master's of science in school counseling from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and his Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Michigan. (Thursday, 6 p.m., MassBay's Wellesley Hills campus)

Friday, May 26, 2023

UMASS AMHERST COMMENCEMENT: Hall of Fame soccer goalkeeper and alumna Briana Scurry is the featured speaker at UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies. Media passes will be required to gain access to the field at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The university says that it has "re-envisioned" this year's events so the campus can celebrate the entire Class of 2023 at one ceremony. (Friday, 9 a.m., McGuirk Stadium, Amherst | More Info)

Saturday, May 27, 2023

BRAINTREE FLAG CEREMONY: Norfolk County Sheriff's Office hosts a "Flags of our Families" ceremony and flag installation as a tribute to fallen heroes. Fifty American flags will be installed and displayed on the lawn of the Braintree Public Safety Complex. (Saturday, May 27, 9:30 a.m., Braintree Public Safety Complex, 2015 Washington St., Braintree)


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