People, Power, and Politics


House Democrats want to inject hundreds of millions of new dollars into the MBTA, calling for a sharp increase in operating budget support and funding for new initiatives such as a hiring and training program.  The House's budget bill will look to fund a pair of brand-new programs. Mariano's office said the proposal includes $40 million to create an "MBTA Academy," which would fund recruitment, training and creation of a workforce pipeline, and $35 million for a "Resilient Rides" program aimed at better preparing stations, rails and other infrastructure to adapt to climate change impacts.


Tues. Apr 16

COA Meeting


Massachusetts Strategic Health Group Meeting


sustainability Subcommittee


Wed. Apr 17

Master Plan Committee


Franklin Historical Commission Meeting


Finance Committee Meeting


Thurs. Apr 18

Conservation Commission Meeting



Taxpayers must file their annual returns by Wednesday, and state officials are nervously hoping that an avalanche of refunds due to overpayments will not push the state into an even more precarious position heading into the final two-plus months of fiscal 2024. Tax collections have surpassed the overly optimistic expectations of Beacon Hill budget writers only once this fiscal year, forcing Gov. Maura Healey to implement an emergency $1 billion budget-balancing plan and to impose hiring controls in another effort to limit new spending. Senate budget chief Michael Rodrigues recently speculated that the falloff in tax collections is tied to a trickle-down effect associated with historic levels of federal funds that rained down on Massachusetts during the pandemic. "For three years during the pandemic, hundreds of billions of dollars -- close to 400 billion federal dollars -- flowed into the commonwealth of Massachusetts in every way, shape, or form. ... All that federal money that flowed into the economy, a portion there has filtered down to the state's tax revenues. And we saw record revenue growth in FY 22 and 23," Rodrigues said on WCVB when asked why he thinks revenues are down in fiscal 2024. Those funds, and any corresponding tax revenue bump from them, are mostly exhausted, and budget writers are now working with spending plans based on more modest revenue growth, even though tax collections have not shown any growth this fiscal year. Next week will bring news on how much tax revenue the state collected over the first half of April, which is the heaviest month of the year for tax receipts.

The Legislative Agenda

Lawmakers have a time-sensitive emergency family shelter spending bill locked up in private talks, four other major bills sitting in or headed to conference committees (firearms regulation, revenge porn, federal funds pursuit and wage transparency), and a $375 million local road and bridge investment bill on the verge of Gov. Healey's desk. But don't expect much action on these bills next week because it's public school vacation week, a time when the House and Senate usually opt for a light work schedule, with House staff readying hundreds of amendments for fiscal 2025 budget debate beginning on Wednesday, April 24. The branches are in agreement on the road and bridge bill but it requires a roll call vote to be enacted and such votes may only be taken during formal sessions, which are not being held next week. Reflecting increased activity that's normal for this part of the two-year session, the House in recent weeks has begun to quietly advance non-local bills while the wait continues for action on larger matters like housing, economic development and information technology bond bills, plus energy and health care legislation. Those five major bills remain in committees and appear likely to emerge sometime between late April and July. It's shaping up as another session in which Democratic legislative leaders will move a series of major bills into conference committees and wait and see which ones come out, with most expected to surface for votes in July. Next week will also bring a public hearing on Boston Mayor Michelle Wu's plan to adjust property taxes.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

ROONEY ON 4: Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney talks with Jon Keller about the softening commercial real estate market in Boston and its implications for the city finances, budget issues in City Hall and on Beacon Hill, and the push to drop passage of the MCAS test as a high school graduation requirement. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

MARIANO ON 5: House Speaker Mariano is the guest on "On The Record." (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

CAPE VERDEAN-JEWISH SEDER: About 150 Jewish individuals and Cape Verdeans are slated to celebrate an 18th annual joint seder, as the communities look to foster understanding and unity amid rising antisemitism and "demonization of immigrants." The seder, which comes about a week before the Jewish holiday of Passover begins, features the theme of Peace, Pás, Shalom, Salaam - for All." Organizers say the gathering "will share the stories of each group's journey from slavery to freedom." Boston City Councilor Tania Anderson, who is Cape Verdean, is scheduled to attend. (Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m., Thelma D. Burns Building, 575 Warren St., Roxbury | More Info)

MIKE GORMAN DAY: Mayor Wu declared April 14 to be Mike Gorman Day in Boston to honor the longtime (and retiring) Boston Celtics play-by-play announcer. Gorman has been the voice of Celtics games since 1981 and will be honored with a halftime celebration during Sunday's Celtics game against the Wizards, the last game of the regular season. (Sunday)

Monday, April 15, 2024

LEXINGTON REENACTMENT: As part of the Patriots' Day events, Lexington stages a reenactment of the first military engagement of the American Revolution. Gov. Healey, Economic Development Secretary Hao, Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Kate Fox and Mass. 250th Coordinator Sheila Green plan to attend at 5:30 a.m. Most spectators arrive well in advance of the event's start time to secure a vantage point. (Monday, 5 a.m., Lexington Common, intersection of Mass. Ave. and Bedford Street, Lexington | Full Event Schedule)

MARATHON MEMORIAL: Gov. Healey participates in a wreath-laying to mark the 11th anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, an attack that killed three spectators and injured hundreds of people. Healey, Boston Mayor Wu and families of the victims will lay wreaths at the memorial sites on Boylston Street. (Monday, 8 a.m., Boylston Street, Boston)

BOSTON MARATHON: 2024 Boston Marathon begins with the men's wheelchair field, followed by women's wheelchair participants (9:05 a.m.), handcycles and duos (9:30 a.m.), professional men (9:37 a.m.), professional women (9:47 a.m.), para athletes (9:50 a.m.) and waves of other runners starting at 10 a.m. Gov. Healey plans to be at the finish line in Boston to celebrate winners. (Monday, 9:02 a.m., Hopkinton)

MARATHON BLOOD DRIVE: Boston Mayor Wu stops by Stepping Strong Center's One Boston Day Blood Drive in Kenmore Square. The Stepping Strong Center and Mass. General Hospital will offer "Stop the Bleed" training to teach the public how to address life-threatening bleeding in an emergency. (Monday, 2 p.m., 660 Beacon St., Boston)

MARATHON BELL-RINGING: Old South Church will ring its bells to mark the 11 years to the minute of the bombing attack near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, a terror attack that killed three people and grievously injured almost 300 others. (Monday, 2:49 p.m., Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston)

PATRIOTS' DAY: State offices are closed for Patriots' Day, a state holiday throughout Massachusetts commemorating "the opening events of the War of the Revolution and the struggle through which the nation passed in its early days." (Monday)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

HOUSE AND SENATE: Both branches meet in informal sessions. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., House and Senate chambers)

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources accepts written testimony on three bills, including legislation allowing Mass Wildlife Board members to be reimbursed for certain expenses. The other proposals deal with a pesticide reduction bylaw in Orleans and a land parcel in Rutland. (Tuesday, 9 a.m. | More Info)

BOSTON TAX PLAN: Boston City Council Committee on Government Operations convenes a virtual hearing to consider Mayor Wu's push to gain the ability to temporarily increase property taxes on commercial owners. The home rule petition Wu drafted would seek to shift the balance of property taxes in the city, which the mayor pitched as a way to insulate residents from facing tax hikes caused by a decline in commercial property values. If the measure wins support from the Council, it will head to the Legislature for its consideration. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Docket | Livestream)

MERIT RATING BOARD: Merit Rating Board meets. The board maintains operator driving records consisting of traffic law violations, at-fault and comprehensive insurance claim records, and out-of-state driving records. The agenda calls for an update from Director Sonja Singleton. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Agenda and Access)

MASSDOT BOARD: Mass. Department of Transportation Board of Directors meets. Agenda includes a safety briefing, introduction of the chief safety officer, an update on the development of the MassDOT FY2025-29 Capital Investment Plan, discussion of Mass. Pike work in Auburn and Millbury, and a presentation on statewide construction coordination. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., State Transportation Building, 2nd floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | Agenda and Virtual Access)

FITCHBURG PREZ SEARCH: Committee of the Board of Higher Education interviews a second candidate to serve as the next president of Fitchburg State University, Mark Overmyer-Velázquez. He's currently dean and chief administrative officer of the University of Connecticut-Hartford. President Richard Lapidus is retiring at the end of the academic year. (Tuesday, 10 a.m. | Agenda and Zoom)

SEMASS, CAPE AND ISLANDS HOSPITAL ACCESS: ......POSTPONED UNTIL APRIL 24 AT NOON........Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee holds a hearing focused on the health care landscape, the latest forum for lawmakers to assess patient access and hospital challenges amid the uncertain future of Steward Health care facilities. Lawmakers and committee chair Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton plan to focus on the status of access, affordability, quality and staffing of hospitals in southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. "The Committee is also interested in discussing the effects on access to quality care at area hospitals in the event of hospital closures or major disruptions to services," the hearing notice states. Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh and Public Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein had planned to testify, Pacheco said Friday, but then pulled out, he said, because of something else they have planned with Gov. Healey. The committee has invited a long list of others to testify, including executives from Steward hospitals, but it was unclear from Pacheco's office Friday which ones will actually show up. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Taunton High School Auditorium, 50 Williams St., Taunton | More Info and Livestream)

CIVICS EDUCATION: Students from Lasell University in Newton hold a demonstration to generate support for civics education funding, which would help teach students about their legal rights, in the fiscal 2025 budget. The line item received $2.1 million in fiscal 2024, but Gov. Healey has recommended cutting all funding in the next fiscal year to eliminate "FY 24 one-time costs." The House budget would fund the line item at $1 million. (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., General Hooker Entrance)

REHAB COUNCIL: Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Consumer Satisfaction Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council meets virtually. (Tuesday, 5 p.m. | Livestream

O'NEILL TUNNEL CLOSURE: Tip O'Neill Tunnel, which carries traffic southbound on Interstate 93, will be closed to traffic from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. for maintenance. The closure begins at I-93 southbound exit 20 and will reopen at Albany Street. (Tuesday, 11 p.m.)

FARMWORKER FAIRNESS: Members of the Fairness for Farmworkers Coalition visit the State House to talk with lawmakers about a bill they call the Fairness for Farmworkers Act (H 2812 / S 1837), which would end the state's subminimum wage of $8 an hour for agricultural workers and the exclusion of farmworkers from state and federal wage-and-hour laws. Coalition representatives say they have seen pay stubs with $8 an hour on them but that's not the norm. Many workers earn more than that, but less than the $15 an hour minimum wage. If the bill became law, the $15 minimum wage would be applied to affected workers, they said. The coalition's member groups include Center West Justice Center, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and ACLU of Massachusetts. (Tuesday)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

MUNICIPAL POLICE: Massachusetts Police Training Committee Standards Subcommittee meets to discuss their April agenda. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 42 Thomas Patten Drive, Randolph | Agenda and Livestream )

PUBLIC HEALTH COUNCIL: Public Health Council meets virtually. The agenda calls for an update from Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein, and votes on determination of need requests from Cape Cod Healthcare and Mass General Brigham. (Wednesday, 9 a.m. | Agenda and Livestream)

MASS SAVE LISTENING SESSION: Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council holds a virtual listening session as it seeks public comment on its three-year plan for Mass Save programs for 2024-2027. The plan addresses how money for energy efficiency programs are spent on financial incentives for homes and businesses. The final plan, which requires approval by the Department of Public Utilities, will be filed in October. (Wednesday 10 a.m. | Register)

BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH: Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association holds a webinar called "Black Maternal Health: The Future of Placed-based Birthing Care." The event, held in honor of Black Maternal Health Week, features presentations about mobile perinatal programs offered by Boston Medical Center and the Kraft Center for Community Health at Mass General Brigham. (Wednesday, 11 a.m. | Register)

MWRA BOARD: Mass. Water Resources Authority Board of Directors meets. Agenda calls for an update on water use trends, an update on the evaluation of expanding service to Quabbin Reservoir watershed communities, an update on new connections to MWRA service, a financial update and more. House Speaker Mariano has said he will propose to expand the MWRA's service area when the House takes up the governor's housing bond and policy bill this spring. The MWRA has studied expansion possibilities in the past. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Deer Island Reception/Training Building, 1st floor, Favaloro Meeting Room, 33 Tafts Ave., Boston | Agenda and Access)

ADA GRANTS: Massachusetts Office on Disability holds an information session on its Municipal ADA Improvement Grant program. Cities and towns can be reimbursed for accessibility planning and projects that look to remove architectural or communication barriers. (Wednesday, 1 p.m.| Register)

TAX DAY, TWO DAYS LATER: Personal income tax filings are due, a couple days later than usual thanks to the Patriots' Day holiday in Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. "As a result, returns, payments made with returns, and estimated payments otherwise due on April 15, 2024, will be treated as timely if they are filed and/or paid on or before April 17, 2024," according to the Department of Revenue. (Wednesday | More Info)

GAMING AGENDA: Mass. Gaming Commission is expected to meet to select the topics that it will cover more in-depth at future business meetings. Agenda-setting meetings generally do not feature any commission debate or action. (Wednesday, More Info TBA)

Thursday, April 18, 2024

HOUSE AND SENATE: Both branches meet in informal sessions. (Thursday, 11 a.m., House and Senate chambers)

CAR SEAT CHECK: Massachusetts State Police, alongside Foxborough Police and Mansfield Police & Fire, hold an event to check child car seats. Child passenger safety techs will make sure that kids are riding safely; parents are encouraged to bring their children to the free event. (Thursday, 11 a.m., 136 Washington St., Route 1, Foxborough)

ERVING BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: MassDOT holds a virtual public meeting to present the design for the proposed bridge replacement where Church Street runs over Keyup Brook in Erving. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Access)

OBAMA'S PHOTOGRAPHER: Former White House photographer Pete Souza, a native of the South Coast, is the feature attraction at Bristol Community College's inaugural Wolfson Speaker Series event. Souza was the chief photographer for both of Obama's terms in office, and also served as a White House photographer for President Reagan. He was born in New Bedford and raised in South Dartmouth. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Jackson Arts Center, H Building, 777 Elsbree St., Fall River | More Info)

SEN. MERKLEY TALKS FILIBUSTER: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate hosts U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and his longtime chief of staff, Mike Zamore, for a discussion about the filibuster and gridlock in the chamber. Merkley and Zamore recently authored "Filibustered! How to Fix the Broken Senate and Save America." Abdallah Fayyad, a Vox policy correspondent and former Boston Globe editorial board member, moderates. (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Kennedy Institute, Columbia Point, Boston | Register)

MID-APRIL REVENUES: Department of Revenue is due to report on tax revenue collections in the first half of April. It's a critical month for revenue every year, but one that is magnified in importance as soft fiscal 2024 collections lag behind expectations by $145 million and add a layer of difficulty to nearly every decision made on Beacon Hill. The Healey administration has set the full-month benchmark at $5.291 billion, which would be $506 million more than what was collected last April and more than double what was hauled in during February. (Thursday)

CLOSED STEWARD FORUM: The Healey administration holds a private, virtual forum with hospitals and community health centers about a topic of great public interest: protecting patients and providers amid uncertainty around Steward Health Care. As the health system considers pulling out of the state, the Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers will meet with select people in communities most likely to be affected to discuss preparations for transitions. This is the first of several closed forums, where officials will discuss medical and surgery services, maternity, emergency care, behavioral health, workforce planning and academic programs. This initial regional meeting will focus on continued access and care for patients, according to a DPH official.(Thursday)

GASTON INSTITUTE SPEAKERS: UMass Boston's Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy hosts presentations by the 2023 awardees of the Andrés Torres Paper Series. John Arroyo, a University of California San Diego professor, presents his manuscript "Terror at the Traffic Stop: Immigration Federalism and Transnational Undocumented Mexican Transportation Patterns in the Nuevo South." And Indiana University professor Juan Ignacio Mora presents on "Sugar Beets Not So Sweet: Race, Citizenship, and the Truman Commission on Migratory Labor, 1948-1951." (Thursday, UMass Boston Campus Center, 2nd floor, Room 2545, Columbia Point, Boston | More Info)

Friday, April 19, 2024

CLINICAL LAB RATES: Executive Office of Health and Human Services holds a remote public hearing on proposed rate adjustments and increases for certain clinical laboratory services. The changes would take effect on or after Sept. 1. Written testimony will be accepted through 5 p.m. (Friday, 10 a.m. | More Info and Zoom)

CHARLES RIVER CLEANUP: More than 3,500 volunteers are expected to participate in the 25th annual Charles River Cleanup to help keep the Charles River and its tributaries clean and safe, and to improve the parks, forests, playgrounds and paths around it. Charles River Conservancy, Charles River Watershed Association, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Esplanade Association and the Waltham Land Trust host cleanups at various points along the river. Donation of $10 per person is suggested to cover the cost of materials and coordination. (Friday, Register)

Saturday, April 20, 2024

UNITY DINNER: Mass. Asian American & Pacific Islanders Commission hosts its 16th annual Unity Dinner to "honor and recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions by working tirelessly to promote positive change in the communities they serve." Treasurer Goldberg attends. (Saturday, April 20, 5:30 p.m., UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston)

CHARLES RIVER CLEANUP: Charles River Cleanup continues for its second day of improving the river and the public spaces around it. Charles River Conservancy, Charles River Watershed Association, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Esplanade Association and the Waltham Land Trust host cleanups at various points along the river. Donation of $10 per person is suggested to cover the cost of materials and coordination. (Saturday, April 20, Register)

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