People, Power, and Politics


Despite a high level of public commentary on how unusual it was for Judge Gabrielle Wolohojian to score a nomination to the state's highest court from her ex-domestic partner, the Governor, little controversy emerged at a pre-confirmation hearing Wednesday -- and a majority of Governor's Council members signaled Wolohojian had their support. Around a hundred boosters including lawyers, judges, and court staff packed into the State House's largest hearing room at the start of a nearly four-hour session to support the Appeals Court judge's bid to move up to the Supreme Judicial Court. The Cambridge resident has "distinguished herself as a fair-minded jurist," Gov. Maura Healey said as she introduced her second Supreme Judicial Court nominee.


Mon. Feb.26

Planning Board Meeting


Franklin Agricultural Committee Meeting


Library Board of Directors

7:00pm to 8:00pm

Tues. Feb. 27

Municipal Affordable Housing Trust


Design Review Meeting Agenda


Wed. Feb 28

Town Council Meeting


Thurs. Feb. 29

Housing and Economic Development Subcommittee


ZBA Meeting



Having taken a break from formal business for essentially all of February, the Legislature looks poised to spring back into action next week just as lobbying efforts by various interest groups start to pick up as well. The House returns from a five-week lull with a formal session scheduled for Wednesday and the Senate is going to get back into the swing of things Thursday with a familiar topic: a bill to reform and codify the state's framework for sexual health education. The Senate has passed similar legislation four times previously without finding a willing partner in the House. The Senate's formal session, which falls on the Feb. 29 leap day, will be the chamber's first since its Feb. 1 gun law reform bill debate. Throughout the week, there will be plenty of groups roaming the State House hallways and looking to meet with their legislators (or, just as often, their staffers). Older adults will be in the building for an advocacy day Tuesday, followed on Wednesday by the state's YMCAs and developmental disabilities service providers. With about five months left for serious lawmaking this session and the governor's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal in play, it's crunch time for advocacy groups looking to boost or protect their budget line items, or get their priority policy ideas into whatever legislation they think might actually make it to Gov. Maura Healey's desk by July 31.

Following her return from a National Governors Association huddle in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Healey plans early next week to address the Boston region's chamber of commerce. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce said 600 business and civic leaders will attend, an audience that likely wants to hear from the governor about the state's fiscal health, her budget-balancing actions last month and her plan for the budget year that starts in July. The chamber and its president, Jim Rooney, also have a particular interest in the state of the MBTA as the region's employers rely on a safe and reliable public transit system to connect economic centers with in-demand workers.

The Governor's Council could vote Wednesday on the confirmation of Appeals Court Judge Gabrielle Wolohojian to the Supreme Judicial Court, and the governor's second SJC nominee appears to have the requisite votes locked down. There was very little controversy at her council interview and multiple councilors expressed their support for Wolohojian. Her confirmation and later swearing in would bring the state's highest court back to full strength following the resignation earlier this month of Justice David Lowy. Councilors will not be the only ones voting next week -- presidential voting gets underway this weekend across Massachusetts as every city and town offers early voting hours Saturday, which is also the deadline to register to vote in the March 5 primaries.

Monday brings informal sessions in the House and Senate, as well as a webinar that the Mass. Municipal Association is hosting on the MBTA Communities Act. On Tuesday, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet to discuss and vote on the appointment of someone to step in as acting commissioner when Commissioner Jeff Riley departs in mid-March, and a new report on the early education and care workforce comes out. Wednesday features a slate of judicial nomination hearings, legislative briefings and a meeting of the MassDOT board, along with the House formal session. It's the MBTA board's turn for a meeting on Thursday, along with the Senate's formal session. The week will wrap up Friday with a clutch of lawmakers slated to attend the grand opening of a marijuana store that's taking the place of a former gentleman's club in Monson.

Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024

NEW ENGLAND BUSINESS REPORT: Joe Shortsleeve and Kim Carrigan return to the airwaves together as they launch "The New England Business Report," a new weekly show on WRKO-AM 680. The hourlong show will feature conversation with newsmakers and analysis from the region's business sector. (Sunday, 8 a.m., WRKO-AM 680)

BRIAN KANE ON 4: MBTA Advisory Board Executive Director Brian Kane talks with Jon Keller about the state of the T's operations and finances. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

COUNCILOR WORRELL ON 5: Boston City Councilor Brian Worrell is the guest on "On The Record" followed by a roundtable with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray. (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

SEN. KEENAN ON 10: Sen. Keenan appears on "@Issue" with Brandon Marshall, Brown University chair of epidemiology, to talk about overdose prevention sites. Also on the program: Boston planning chief Arthur Jemison. (Sunday, 11:30 a.m., WBTS-TV Ch. 10)

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

BLACK HERITAGE CELEBRATION: Boston's Black older adults will be honored during a heritage celebration, part of the city's Black History Month programming. The event will spotlight the history of African American arts and artisans. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., Russell Auditorium, 71 Talbot Ave., Dorchester | More Info)

MEDICAL VAN UNVEILING: Mass General Brigham introduces its new fleet of Community Care vans, which will offer medical services directly to people. The van teams will be staffed by multilingual and multicultural clinicians. The vans administered over 20,000 vaccines to residents early in the pandemic, and will now offer additional services including screening and intervention for diabetes care, treatment program referrals and recovery coaching for substance use disorder, and ongoing assessments on social determinants of health such as food and housing with connection to services. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., 101 Huntington Ave., corner of Huntington Avenue and Ring Road, Boston)

HOUSE INFORMAL: House meets in an informal session. (Monday, 11 a.m., House Chamber | Livestream)

SENATE INFORMAL: Senate meets in an informal session. (Monday, 11 a.m., Senate Chamber | Livestream)

STARK SWEARING-IN: Gov. Healey swears in Bernadette Stark as a Probate & Family Court justice. Open to photography. (Monday, 12 p.m., Ceremonial Office, Room 360)

MBTA COMMUNITIES: Massachusetts Municipal Association holds a free webinar about the MBTA Communities Act, with a focus on compliance and enforcement. It's led by Donna Brewer and Susan Murphy of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association. (Monday, 12 p.m. | Register)

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Disability Employment Subcommittee of the Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities meets virtually. The agenda calls for the group to discuss its fiscal 2024 goal to "identify and facilitate at least one opportunity (e.g., event, speaking engagement, information dissemination) to engage and educate at least 100 small and medium businesses/employers on the value of including people with disabilities in the workplace, available community resources, and recognition of effective employer practices." (Monday, 12 p.m., Zoom)

STEM TALENT GRANT: U.S. Rep. Trahan visits Middlesex Community College to highlight $409,410 in federal funding that the school's Industry Integrated Computer Aided Design (CAD) Expansion Program is getting from the Economic Development Administration's STEM Talent Challenge Grant Program. One of 11 grant awards nationwide, MCC "will use the funding to increase student enrollment, partner with local employers, and improve hands-on learning opportunities to produce industry-ready graduates to fulfill the high demand for quality CAD workers," Trahan's office said. Press asked to RSVP to (Monday, 1 p.m., Lower Cafe, 33 Kearney Sq., Lowell)

LEADERSHIP MEETING: Gov. Healey hosts Lt. Gov. Driscoll, House Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka, House Minority Leader Jones and Senate Minority Leader Tarr for a semi-regular leadership meeting. A media availability follows the meeting. (Monday, 2 p.m., Governor's Office, Room 360)

MIDDLESEX POLL GUIDELINES: District Attorney Marian Ryan hosts an open informational session on the guidelines and rules surrounding conduct at voting locations. (Monday, 3 p.m., Virtual – Contact for information)

DCR STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL: Stewardship Council Stakeholders Committee, housed in the Department of Conservation and Recreation, holds a listening session for "DCR friends" and partner groups. The public comments will help structure an in-person stakeholder meeting this summer. (Monday, 6 p.m. | More Info and Access)

BLACK MILITARY EXPERIENCE: As part of Black History Month, Executive Office of Veterans Services hosts a panel discussion on Black military experience. Panelists include Richard Brookshire of the Black Veterans Project, Dana Sanders-Udo of the Massachusetts National Guard, and Daniel Walker of the U.S. Air Force. The discussion is moderated by Glenn Jones of NBC10 Boston. (Monday, 7:30 p.m., Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St., Boston | More Info)

SECOND GENTLEMAN: Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff travels to Massachusetts to participate in political finance events for the Biden Victory Fund. (Monday, Boston)

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024

BOARD OF ED: Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets. The board's agenda includes awards for school counselor of the year and lifetime achievement, the latter of which is being awarded to American Federation of Teachers President Beth Kontos, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Executive Director Tom Scott, and Springfield Superintendent Dan Warwick. The board will vote on a number of charter schools and plan to discuss Gov. Maura Healey's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal. This will be the first full board meeting since Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley announced he's stepping down mid-March, and the board will also discuss and vote on the appointment of an acting commissioner and the transition. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 135 Santilli Highway, 3rd Floor, Everett | Livestream)

HEALEY AT BOSTON CHAMBER: Gov. Healey delivers the keynote speech at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce government affairs forum, which 600 business and civic leaders are expected to attend. She'll also participate in a fireside chat moderated by James Rooney, the chamber's CEO. Media should RSVP to Tickets for individual members cost $75. (Tuesday, 9:45 a.m., Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston | More Info)

CANNABIS - EXECUTIVE SESSION: Cannabis Control Commission meets with an agenda that calls only for an executive session "to discuss strategy with respect to litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the public body and the Chair so declares." (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Agenda and Access Info)

POST COMMISSION SUBCOMMITTEE: POST Commission Certification Subcommittee meets. Committee members will hear a presentation from the Municipal Police Training Committee. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 84 State Street, Suite 200, Boston | Zoom)

STATE OF EARLY ED, CARE: Boston Opportunity Agenda, the Boston Birth to Eight Collaborative and the City of Boston's Office of Early Education release a report about the Massachusetts early education workforce, based on a 2022 survey of more than 600 professionals. The report, titled the "2024 State of Early Education and Care Report: Strengthening the Foundation: A Profile of Early Childhood Educators in Boston and Beyond," covers demographics, turnover and challenges, with a focus on Boston's early education and care sector. The event, which will include a presentation about the report's findings and recommendations, also features a panel discussion. Panelists include Commissioner of Early Education and Care Amy Kershaw, Paola Tineo of the Urban College of Boston, Turahn Dorsey of Eastern Bank Foundation, Danielle Grant of UMass Boston's Institute for Early Educator Leadership and Innovation, and Arlene Ramos of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., The Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership at the Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington St. | Register)

LIGHT OF DAWNN AWARDS: Community organizations and nonprofits hold the 2024 Light of Dawnn Awards, honoring direct-service nonprofit professionals and high school seniors who show a commitment to community service. The awards are given in memory of Dawnn Jaffier, who was shot and killed at a parade in 2014. Award winners are Lan Baker of New England Village, Wilfrix Cherazard of English for New Bostonians and Saaran Sillah of Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. Scholarship awardees are Fidelina Martinez Baez of West End House, Bryan Eduardo Turcios Giron of John Hancock MLK Scholars and Mimi Ozojiofor of Boys and Girls Club of Boston. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., West End House Boys and Girls Club, New Balance Pavilion, 105 Allston St., Allston)

LOTTERY COMMISSION: Mass. Lottery Commission meets virtually, with Treasurer Goldberg as chair. The commission is expected to get its usual monthly update from Executive Director Mark William Bracken. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., For access, contact 781-917-6057 or

OLDER ADULT LOBBY DAY: Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Stanley, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, are the featured speakers as hundreds of older adults and advocates descend on the State House for an annual lobby day. "One of five Massachusetts residents are older adults. Seventy percent of them regularly vote -- the highest percentage of any age cohort. Participants at the Older Adult Lobby Day will be advocating on an array of issues including affordable, accessible housing; age-friendly transit services; expansion of home and community-based services; transformation of nursing homes; and more," organizers said. Former Rep. Mike Festa from AARP Massachusetts will be the emcee. Speakers are scheduled for 11:30 a.m., followed by legislative office visits. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Great Hall)

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Massachusetts Municipal Association continues its virtual series on emotional intelligence. The third session is centered on tough conversations, including strategies to deliver difficult feedback, set boundaries, and handle situations that may disappoint others. (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. | Register)

MALNUTRITION PREVENTION: Commission on the Prevention of Malnutrition in Older Adults meets virtually. (Tuesday, 2 p.m. | More Info and Zoom)

MARKETING, MEDIA APPRENTICESHIPS: Massachusetts Apprentice Network, which is part of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and the Boston Interactive Media Association hold a panel discussion about apprenticeship and mentor programs in marketing and media. Speakers include Chris Hope of The Loop Lab, Andrew Eldridge of Another Age Productions, and Amy Raymond of Brighter Boston. The discussion will address how to establish and maintain apprenticeship programs, as well as how those programs can foster inclusive pathways into the media production and advertising industries. The event is free. (Tuesday, 3 p.m., Another Age Productions, 19 Needham St., Suite 207, Newton | More Info)

WORKERS' RIGHTS FAIR: City of Boston, the attorney general's Fair Labor Division, Greater Boston Legal Services, local worker centers, and other groups lead a workers' rights fair to help local workers, including immigrants, learn about their rights on the job and how to exercise them. (Tuesday, 5 p.m., Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 28 Paris St., Boston | Register)

EMBRACE BOSTON HARM REPORT: Embrace Boston unveils its "Harm Report," which looks into seven "injury" areas for Black residents. Those areas encompass culture and symbols, housing, transportation, education, criminal legal system, health, and income and wealth. The event, featuring Andre Perry of The Brookings Institution, will highlight key parts of the report; there's also a panel discussion with racial justice leaders. Other speakers include Ceci Méndez-Ortiz of MassArt, Kyera Singleton of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, Michael Curry of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Roeshana Moore-Evans of Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Initiative, and Malcolm Johnson of NBC10 Boston. (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., The Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington St., Boston)

MOULTON LAUNCH: Congressman Seth Moulton hosts an event for his political organization, Serve America, as it launches its "victory fund." Moulton founded Serve America in 2017 with the goal of bringing more Democrats with military and other public service backgrounds to Congress. So far this election cycle, Serve America has raised over $1 million for races nationally. Guests will include Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and seven of the organization's endorsed candidates: Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Rep. Seth Magaziner of Rhode Island, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, and challengers Lanon Baccam of Iowa, Mike O'Brien of Pennsylvania and Sarah Klee Hood of New York. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., RSVP to for location details)

MBTA FARE CHANGES: MBTA holds virtual hearing on proposed fare changes that would take effect this spring, including an expanded low-income rate, permanent $10 holiday weekend passes, and the removal of "change tickets" from certain T lines -- meaning riders would need to pay with exact change or a pre-loaded Charlie Card in order to not lose money. (Tuesday, 6 p.m. | Info and Registration)

CHARLTON-OXFORD ROADWORK: MassDOT holds virtual meeting to share information on upcoming planned reconstruction on Route 20 in Charlton and Oxford. (Tuesday, 6 p.m. | Registration)

ALEWIFE SUPERSTRUCTURE PROJECT: MassDOT holds virtual public hearing on proposed "bridge superstructure replacement" on the Alewife Brook Parkway over the MBTA's Red Line tunnel. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. | Registration)

EARLY ED PATHWAYS: Department of Early Education and Care holds an information session about the Early Education Career Pathways program, which provides funding to all 15 community colleges to support the workforce. Educators can learn about about program options for the southeast part of the state, with a focus on Bristol, Massasoit and Cape Cod community colleges. Coordinators at community colleges can help educators navigate course selection, as well as certificates and degrees. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. | Register)

NEPONSET RIVER SUPERFUND: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds a public meeting to update the current status of the Neponset River superfund site, including work that happened in 2023, work planned for 2024, and how Community Advisory Groups serve as a community involvement tool around superfund sites. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Hyde Park Community Center, 1179 River St., Hyde Park | Zoom Registration)

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024

YMCA ADVOCACY DAY: Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs hosts an advocacy day, featuring a public policy overview, CPR demos, water safety demos, tai-chi, a mobile food market parked under the State House's Mount Vernon Street archway, and more. Arrival and breakfast is at 9 a.m., followed by a speaking program at 10 a.m. and legislative office visits at 11:30 a.m. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Great Hall)

SCHOOL BUILDING AUTHORITY: School Building Authority Board meets. Treasurer Goldberg chairs the meeting. (Wednesday, 10 a.m. | To access, contact

MASS MAYORS: Massachusetts Mayors' Association holds its monthly meeting. (Wednesday, 10 a.m. | More Info)

HEALTH EQUITY BRIEFING: Sens. Miranda and Payano, Reps. Garcia and Williams, Michael Curry of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Amie Shei of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts and Carlos Cappas of the Lynn Community Health Center speak at a legislative briefing on a sweeping bill to bolster health equity, including by expanding MassHealth coverage for eligible people regardless of immigration status, ensuring payment parity for telehealth services for primary care and chronic disease management, providing additional funding to safety-net hospitals and community-based providers, growing the health care workforce, and diversifying state agencies. The proposals (H 1250 / S 799) remain under review by the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. Sen. Friedman, committee co-chair, indicated last month the package may not remain fully intact. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Room 428)

DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES FORUM: Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus and Rep. Livingstone are the featured speakers at the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers' legislative budget forum. The event will discuss the "devastating impact" of the commonwealth's housing crisis on the human services workforce, highlight a pilot program in Cape Cod, and honor Sen. Friedman as ADDP's legislator of the year. ADPP CEO Ellen Attaliades will also speak about budget priorities for providers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Gardner Auditorium)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - FRANCIS KENNEALLY: Governor's Council interviews the clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court, Francis Kenneally, whom Gov. Healey nominated Feb. 7 to fill an open District Court judgeship. Kenneally has spent 10 years as the SJC's clerk following three years as first assistant clerk to the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. He previously "[m]anaged a demanding solo practice" at Kenneally Law Office in Quincy, according to his resume, and those eight years included both criminal and civil work along with real estate and estate planning. He is a Catholic University Law School alumnus. Witnesses scheduled to speak on Kenneally's behalf Wednesday include SJC Justices Gaziano and Georges, and Maura Doyle, the clerk of the Suffolk County SJC. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

HOUSE FORMAL: House plans to hold a full formal session with roll calls scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Speaker Mariano's office did not elaborate on the agenda for Wednesday's session. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - CONFIRMATION VOTES: Governor's Council plans to hold a formal session and could vote on whether to approve the elevation of Appeals Court Judge Gabrielle Wolohojian to the Supreme Judicial Court. Also on the docket for confirmation votes are District Court nominees Leo Fama II and Marjorie Tynes. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

HOUSE DEMS CAUCUS: House Democrats meet in a private caucus. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Rooms A-1 and A-2)

MASSDOT BOARD: MassDOT Board of Directors meets. Agenda includes possible action on a Registry of Motor Vehicles inspection program contract extension, a bridge program update, and discussion of work on Route 111 in Boxborough, I-90 in Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, and I-91 and I-391 in Chicopee and Springfield. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Transportation Building, 2nd floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | Full Agenda)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - COURTNEY LINNEHAN: Governor's Council holds a public hearing on Gov. Healey's Feb. 7 nomination of Middlesex County prosecutor Courtney Linnehan to the District Court bench. In Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan's office since 2015, Linnehan has handled "major cases including attempted murder, aggravated rape, aggravated rape of a child, and armed robbery in the Superior Court," according to her resume. She previously operated a private practice in Quincy for five years, spent three years as a Suffolk County prosecutor, and worked in the Norfolk County DA's office for two stints totalling six years. She is a Suffolk Law alumna. DA Ryan is scheduled to testify in support of the nomination, along with Superior Court Judge Laurence Pierce and attorney Craig Mulcahey. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

GRID MODERNIZATION: Grid Modernization Advisory Council meets. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Virtual Registration)

HEALEY AND GOLDBERG: Gov. Healey hosts Treasurer Goldberg for their monthly meeting. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Governor's Office, Room 360)

EDUCATOR DIVERSITY: Sen. Gomez and Reps. Williams, Kushmerek and Cruz are among the participants in a live webinar highlighting a new report that examined progress made towards diversifying Massachusetts' educator workforce and forecast the racial and ethnic composition of the state's teacher workforce through 2030. Event hosts are Latinos for Education, Boston University Wheelock Educational Policy Center and MassINC. Media encouraged to RSVP to (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Virtual Registration)

HOLYOKE ROADWORK: MassDOT holds community meeting on proposed corridor improvements on High and Maple streets in Holyoke. (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke | More Info)

MARION-WAREHAM BRIDGE: MassDOT holds virtual hearing on proposed replacement of the Route 6 bridges over the Weweantic River in Marion and Wareham. (Wednesday, 6 p.m. | Registration)

SALEM BRIDGE: MassDOT presents design information on proposed replacement of the Jefferson Avenue Bridge over Parallel Street in Salem. (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. | Registration)

GAMING COMMISSION - WYNNBET: Mass. Gaming Commission is expected to meet to review, and likely approve, the final report on WynnBet's cessation of operations in Massachusetts. The mobile betting platform shut down here Feb. 23 and the Gaming Commission has been monitoring the company's efforts to ensure that its customers have access to funds in their accounts and more. (Wednesday, More Info TBA)

Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

ECONOMIC FORECAST FORUM: Worcester Business Journal and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce host the 2024 economic forecast forum, featuring a keynote address from Mary Burke, a senior economist and policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's New England Public Policy Center. Chamber President Tim Murray will moderate a panel that features Polar Beverages President and CEO Ralph Crowley Jr., Heywood Healthcare President and CEO Rozanna Penney, and MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. Speaking program will begin at 8 a.m. (Thursday, 7:15 a.m., AC Hotel, 125 Front St., Worcester | Register)

MBTA FINANCE: MBTA Board's Audit and Finance Subcommittee meets. (Thursday, 10 a.m. | Info and Registration)

RETIREMENT BOARD: Massachusetts State Retirement Board meets remotely and is chaired by Treasurer Goldberg. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Contact for access)

CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION: Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss its model host community agreement template, guidance on HCAs, general guidance on licensure, and the idea of selling Massachusetts Lottery products at licensed marijuana retailers. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Agenda and Access Info)

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

DOER TOWN HALL: Department of Energy Resources hosts a virtual town hall, featuring an overview of key initiatives, engagement opportunities this year, and a Q&A session. "DOER is committed to engaging with stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for our important work to create a clean, affordable, equitable, and resilient energy future for all residents, including low-income and Environmental Justice populations, businesses, communities, and institutions in the Commonwealth," the department said in its advisory. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m. | More Info and Registration)

HEALTH POLICY COMMISSION: Health Policy Commission's Advisory Council meets for the first time this year. Council members will discuss access challenges across the health care system, including patient flow and issues around system volume and staffing shortages. The meeting will also include a discussion of an affordability index meant to work in tandem with the state's health care cost growth benchmark. (Thursday, 12 p.m., Livestream)

MUNICIPAL ENERGY: Massachusetts Municipal Association's MunEnergy program hosts a free webinar about spring energy costs, the impact of climate change on energy markets, and the best time to buy energy. The program helps cities and towns stabilize energy costs. (Thursday, 12 p.m. | More Info and Register)

MBTA BOARD: MBTA Board of Directors meets. (Thursday, 12 p.m., Transportation Building, 2nd floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | More Info)

SENATE FORMAL: Senate meets in its first formal session since Feb. 1. Senators are expected to vote again on a bill to update the state's sex education guidelines, something the chamber has already approved four times without getting buy-in from the House. Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its version of the so-called Healthy Youth Act (S 2686) Feb. 22 and the Senate teed it up for debate Thursday. The Senate did not set an amendment deadline. The bill would update Massachusetts' sexual health laws and create guidelines for districts that opt into teaching sex education to go over human anatomy; how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS and unwanted pregnancy; effective use of contraceptives; how to safely discuss sexual activity in a relationship; skills to identify and prevent sexual violence and relationship violence; and age-appropriate and affirming education on gender identity and sexual orientation. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Senate Chamber)

VIRTUAL REALITY WORKFORCE BRIEFING: Sen. Liz Miranda and The Graves Group hold a briefing on Transfr, a workforce development platform that uses virtual reality simulations to offer career exploration and skills-based training. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Room 428)

CALM IN STRESSFUL TIMES: Through its "Thursday Talks" program, Massachusetts Women Veterans Network holds a virtual event about "creating calmness in stressful times." Attendees will learn about communication skills, stress-reduction exercises and relaxation tools. (Thursday, 3 p.m. | Register)

SHADE DESIGN STANDARDS: Looking to protect residents and staff from extreme heat at parks, the Department of Conservation and Recreation hosts a virtual public meeting abouts its "Shade Design Standards" project. The standards will allow DCR "to design, permit and install shade structures quickly and thoughtfully as funding becomes available, to protect vulnerable populations and those who serve the public daily, including DCR's rangers, interpretive and recreation program leaders, and operations staff." By 2050, Massachusetts could see nearly a month of high heat days, with daily temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, DCR said. (Thursday, 6 p.m. | More Info and Register)

WONG NEW YEAR FUNDER: Rep. Wong of Saugus, whose family owns the Kowloon on Route One, holds a Chinese New Year-themed fundraiser at the restaurant. (Thursday, 6 p.m., 948 Broadway, Saugus)

GAMING COMMISSION: Mass. Gaming Commission is expected to meet for a regular business meeting. (Thursday, More Info TBA)

Friday, March 1, 2024

GREENFIELD MUNI BREAKFAST: Massachusetts Municipal Association holds a legislative breakfast meeting for MMA staff, local leaders and legislators. There will be a discussion on the current legislative session, including the fiscal 2025 state budget, Gov. Healey's proposed Municipal Empowerment Act, regulations tied to PFAS contamination, road and bridge funding, and Healey's housing bond bill. (Friday, 8 a.m., Greenfield Public Library, 412 Main St., Greenfield | Register)

NORTH ANDOVER MUNI BREAKFAST: Massachusetts Municipal Association holds a legislative breakfast meeting in North Andover to discuss the current legislative session with local leaders, lawmakers and MMA staff. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., North Andover Senior Center, 481 Sutton St., North Andover | Register)

DAZED IN MONSON: Reps. Brian Ashe and Angelo Puppolo, and Sens. Ryan Fattman, Adam Gomez and Jake Oliveira, attend the grand opening ceremony for Dazed Cannabis Monson with citations from the House and Senate in tow. The Black- and veteran-owned cannabis company is opening its second Massachusetts dispensary in the former Magic Lantern gentleman's club on Route 20. The company said every aspect of its store "has been meticulously designed to invoke happiness and nostalgia while serving top quality cannabis products in an educational and uplifting environment. Simply put, it's a vibe." (Friday, 2 p.m., Dazed Cannabis Monson, 399 Boston Rd. West, Monson)

ENERGY BURDEN: Friday is the deadline to submit public comments as the Department of Public Utilities pursues an investigation of the high costs of energy bills and potential improvements to current energy affordability programs that could reduce that burden on residential ratepayers. Following the public comment period, DPU will hold meetings to explain the changes under consideration and then issue a written order detailing any changes it might mandate to the energy affordability programs that utility companies are required to offer. Massachusetts has some of the highest energy costs in the country. Many households that earn 80 percent or below the state median income level "endure financial hardships in relation to paying utility bills," DPU said, and lower-income households pay as much as 3.5 times more of their income on energy than other households. (Friday, 5 p.m.)

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