Franklin, State House, and Beyond


If you were wondering when the Legislature would lurch into the last leg of its two-year lawmaking session, the rapidly increasing number of bills in play is a pretty good indication that busy season has already arrived.


Monday, May 23

Planning Board Meeting


Rec Advisory Board Agenda


Tuesday, May 24

Design Review Commission Meeting


Wednesday, May 18

Capital Budget Subcommittee Meeting


Town Council Meeting


Thursday, May 19

Conservation Commission Meeting


Town Council Meeting



The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday launches debate on its $49.7 billion fiscal 2023 budget and senators are eager to make major changes to the bill authored by Senate budget chief Michael Rodrigues. According to a Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analysis, the 1,178 budget amendments filed this year have a total fiscal impact of $3.5 billion, with 60 percent of amendments earmarking funds for local projects and totaling $280 million. If history is a judge, the vast majority of those spending proposals will fail, as senators usually agree to tens of millions of added spending. Senate Democrats, who hold 37 of the branch's 40 seats, are also determined to load the spending bill (S 4) with policy proposals, which are reflected in 260 amendments. Most of those will also likely fizzle out. Budget bills in both branches typically attract scores of amendments from lawmakers who are aware that budgets make it to the governor's desk, unlike many of their standalone proposals that are dying while technically "under review" in various committees. There are 261 budget amendments that propose new outside sections to the budget, MTF said. Such budget riders, which often have nothing to do with spending, have come in and out of favor over the years, depending on which Democrats are running the branches. At times, Democrats have trumpeted efforts to keep policy riders out of spending bills as a good government reform. Thirty-eight amendments propose tax law changes, but some are duplicative, MTF said, leaving 19 separate tax changes on the table. Budget deliberations start on Tuesday and senators usually motor through amendments to finish well before Memorial Day weekend. Most amendments are dispensed with without public debate. Senators often withdraw proposals after learning through private talks that their ideas lack support. To speed things along, senators also adopt and reject large bundles of amendments, often by logging them electronically into "yes" and "no" groupings and voice-voting them up or down without any public explanation.

Storylines In Progress

... The Legislature next week is poised to send Gov. Baker a bill (H 4805) he does not favor but which has cleared the Legislature by veto-proof majorities. It would make immigrants without legal status eligible to apply for driver's licenses in Massachusetts, a proposal that's been offered for many years but which now appears destined to pass this year ... Gov. Baker on Tuesday releases his book, "Results:
Getting Beyond Politics to Get Important Work Done."
A day later, opponents of an income surtax on wealthy households release their own new book, "Back to Taxachusetts?" with an event at the UMass Club ... A nearly $10 billion version of Gov. Baker's infrastructure borrowing bill stays on the move next week, though it's unclear whether it will get all the way to the House floor ... Bills aimed at diversifying the marijuana business and clearing a path for cannabis cafes and fair host community agreements could be assigned to a conference committee in the coming days ...

STATUS OF COVID-19: Nine of Massachusetts' 14 counties are at high risk for COVID-19 transmission in the latest assessment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Bristol, Hampden, Hampshire and Nantucket Counties all deemed medium-risk. In the high-risk areas, health officials advise masking indoors, staying up to date on vaccines, and getting tested if you have symptoms of the virus. As of Thursday, the community positivity rate in Boston was up to 11.5 percent and the city was averaging 61 new cases per 100,000 residents per day. With many people testing with at-home kits rather than at sites that use laboratory tests, any official case count likely fails to capture the true degree of prevalence of COVID-19. Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Boston's Public Health commissioner, said testing "remains a critical tool to decrease the risk of transmission to others." "We need to decrease onward transmission to others," she said in a statement. "Please test prior to gatherings, wear a well-fitted mask in indoor settings, including public transportation, and stay home if you are sick." While health officials continue to encourage masking, face-covering requirements have been dropped in most settings. "With respect to masks and that type of thing, in long-term care facilities, in congregate care facilities,, in health care facilities, in places where we know there are a lot of folks who are vulnerable, we still have requirements in place," Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday. "And we certainly welcome people to wear masks if they take care of a loved one who's got comorbidities or is immunocompromised or if they're dealing with someone over the age of 65 or 70, but we believe that the best thing to do at this point is to make clear to people that vaccines work. With the state's case counts and positivity rate on an upswing, Baker said Massachusetts' high rate of uptake on initial vaccines and booster shots has been "incredibly important to separating the number of cases we have from the impact it has on people here in the commonwealth." On Friday, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced that Pfizer booster shots are now available to children ages 5 to 11 in Massachusetts, at least five months after they have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Parents can call their primary care provider's office if they want to get their kids' booster shots there, or use the state's VaxFinder tool to find other locations.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

ANDREA CAMPBELL ON 5: Attorney general candidate Andrea Campbell is the guest on "On The Record," followed by a roundtable with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray. Janet Wu co-hosts with political reporter Sharman Sacchetti. (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

PROFILE IN COURAGE AWARDS: Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son Jack Schlossberg present the 2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Awards to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Wandrea' ArShaye Moss, an employee of the Fulton County, Georgia election department. While someone else will accept the award on behalf of Zelensky, the other four winners are slated to attend in person. Media were asked to RSVP by May 18 to guarantee a spot and receive info on COVID vaccination and testing requirements. (Sunday, 8:30 p.m., JFK Library, Columbia Point, Boston)

Monday, May 23, 2022

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

SENATE DEMS CAUCUS: The Senate's Democrats plan to meet for a hybrid caucus the day before the chamber dives into its fiscal 2023 budget debate. Senators participating in person will be gathered in the Senate Reading Room and senators have the ability to participate remotely. (Monday, 11 a.m., Senate Reading Room)

HOLYOKE SOLDIERS' HOME FINANCE: Finance Committee of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home Board of Trustees meets via teleconference. Agenda includes discussion of the budget process and capital plan for the Holyoke long-term veteran care facility, a chief financial officer evaluation due June 3, talks with the state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance around "tower revenue opportunities for current building and new building," and review of fiscal 2022 Trustee Fund spending plan and budget. Finance Committee members are also slated to discuss an inquiry about a "non-veteran license plate" and "potential fundraising alternatives," a CFO update on "status of tablet access for all residents," and logistics for a Trustee Picnic on Aug. 9. (Monday, 5:30 p.m., Dial 1-617-315-0704; Access Code 2531 853 6317 | More Info)

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

FOSTER CHALLENGES: A panel of foster care and child welfare experts will gather to discuss educational challenges faced by low-income foster kids during a forum organized by HopeWell, a social services nonprofit. Elevating awareness and quality of life for foster kids is a perennial issue at the State House. (Tuesday, 8 a.m., Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, 100 W. 2nd St., Boston | Registration)

STATE EDUCATION BOARD: Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets at Wellesley High School, where student member Eleni Carris Livingston is graduating from this spring. The agenda includes recognition of school counselor of the year Tama Lang, discussion around supporting students' mental health and wellness, the State Student Advisory Councils' year-end report, a special education update, and updates on the fiscal 2023 education budget. The board will also hear an update on Boston Public Schools, after Education Commissioner Jeff Riley said in March he would conduct a district review. Riley's review has stoked talk of a potential receivership for the state's largest school district -- Mayor Wu is among the local officials opposed to that idea -- or some other sort of sort intervention that could feature a partnership with local leaders. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Wellesley Senior High School Auditorium, 50 Rice St., Wellesley | Livestream)

SENATE BUDGET -- DAY ONE: Senators dive into debate on leadership's $49.68 billion state budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, a budget bill that proposes to double the increase in unrestricted government aid to $63.1 million, for a total $1.23 billion in local aid money. The Senate's bill would also boost the balance of the state's stabilization fund to $6.74 billion by the end of fiscal 2023, provide $250 million to continue the Commonwealth Cares for Children stabilization grant program for early education providers through the end of this year, invest $6 billion in Chapter 70 aid to local schools, increase the per-pupil minimum school aid amount from $30 to $60, and would allocate $175 million for scholarships, $648 million for the University of Massachusetts system, $337.8 million for community colleges and $327.1 million for state universities. The 1,178 amendments that senators have filed would have a total fiscal impact of $3.5 billion, according to the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation, with 60 percent of amendments earmarking funds for local projects and totaling $280 million. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Senate Chamber)

CLEAN ENERGY HEARING -- MORNING: Department of Environmental Protection holds the first of two public hearings to accept comments on proposed clean energy standard regulations that DEP says would "provide additional certainty to regulated entities regarding the need to accelerate the schedule for decarbonizing the electricity supply and Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) rates ... consistent with Massachusetts' Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goal for 2050." More Info (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Zoom)

BAKER AT HIGH TECH COUNCIL: Gov. Baker is among the speakers at the Mass. High Tech Council's annual meeting. The governor is on something of a farewell tour, and will no doubt note he was once a young staffer at MHT. The council will present its MassVision2050 long term collaboration plan. | Registration (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Seaport Hotel)

BOSTON'S MOST INFLUENTIAL: Boston Magazine celebrates the 2022 crop of its 100 Most Influential Bostonians. It's long been the trademark of the magazine: give out awards the recipients have to say they don't care about getting, but secretly love to receive, and the magazine has long since learned how to throw a good party. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, Boston | Registration)

MBTA BUS REDESIGN HEARING: MBTA staff host a virtual public hearing to gather feedback from communities on the South Shore and in suburbs south of Boston about the draft new bus system map, which would boost bus service across the network 25 percent over a five-year period. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

BAKER BOOK RELEASE: Gov. Charlie Baker publishes his book, "Results: Getting Beyond Politics to Get Important Work Done," which was written with former chief of staff Steve Kadish and published by Harvard Business Review Press. The publisher describes the 288-page book as "the much-needed implementation guide for anyone in public service, as well as for leaders and managers in large organizations hamstrung by bureaucracy and politics." An excerpt focused on bipartisanship was published by the Boston Globe. Baker said on GBH Radio in March that he and Kadish began discussing the idea in 2017. "And it began, basically, as kind of a paper," he said. "I mean, it just got bigger as both of us chatted about it." Baker is just the latest Massachusetts governor-turned-author: Deval Patrick published "A Reason to Believe: Lessons From an Improbable Life" in 2011 and Mitt Romney published "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games" in 2004. Paul Cellucci wrote 2005's "Unquiet Diplomacy" about his post-gubernatorial stint as ambassador to Canada and Bill Weld wrote three novels: "Mackerel by Moonlight," "Big Ugly" and "Stillwater." (Tuesday, More Info)

Wednesday, May 25 , 2022

SENATE BUDGET -- DAY TWO: Senators continue working through the 1,178 amendments filed to leadership's $49.68 billion state budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. (Wednesday, Time TBA, Senate Chamber)

MASS. BIOMEDICAL INITIATIVES GROUNDBREAKING: Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center host a groundbreaking event to kick off an expansion of MBI's Biomanufacturing Center. The work is set to add 10 additional labs and 10 support offices to support early-stage clinical companies in process development and early-stage manufacturing. Attendees include Reps. Mahoney and O'Day, Worcester Mayor Petty, Mass. Life Sciences Center CEO Kenneth Turner, Mass. Biotechnology Council CEO Joe Boncore and COO Kendalle Burlin O'Connell, Mass. Biomedical Initiatives CEO Jon Weaver, and representatives from Fidelity Bank and the Baker administration. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 17 Briden St., Worcester)

AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY WEBINAR: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and national nonprofit EducationSuperHighway hold a webinar to help school districts raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new federal broadband benefit that provides eligible families with a $30 discount on monthly internet service. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Register)

MEMORIAL DAY FLAG-PLANTING: Ahead of a ceremony Thursday and a Memorial Day weekend display, military and 9/11 families will join volunteers to help place more than 37,000 flags on the Boston Common to honor each Massachusetts fallen service hero since the Revolutionary War. The final 388 flags honoring those who have fallen as a result of the wars since 9/11 will be placed as part of the ceremony scheduled for Thursday. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Boston Common, Boston)

SPOUSAL RELIEF REGS: Department of Revenue holds a remote public hearing on proposed regulations involving spousal relief from joint income tax liability. The regulation, according to the department, describes eligibility for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief and equitable relief, and it is being amended in response to statutory changes that align with federal rules. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Hearing Notice and Access)

WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH: The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is presenting the second of its Future of Work series, and mental health is the focus. An assemblage of mental health experts will key in on what's quite possibly the biggest challenge employers and employees alike are facing in this difficult era, and what the evolution of workplace psychological wellness will look like. The session is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Registration)

HOUSE DEMS CAUCUS: A day ahead of a planned formal session, House Democrats meet for a hybrid caucus. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Hearing Rooms A1 & A2 and virtual)

BALLOT QUESTION OPPOSITION: Organizers say "women elected leaders, labor leaders, workers, and allies" will hold a press conference regarding a potential 2022 statewide ballot question. "Boston City Council, led by Councilor Kendra Lara (District 6), as well as six city councils across the Greater Boston area are in the midst of passing a resolution opposing the 2022 ballot initiative led by Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash, which threatens workplace protections, as well as wages and benefits, of a largely female workforce nationally," according to 617MediaGroup. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Boston City Hall)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL: Governor's Council meets, and could vote on Gov. Baker's proposed elevations of two District Court judges -- Katie Cook Rayburn and Sarah Weyland Ellis -- to the Superior Court bench. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

BONDING COMMITTEE - INFRASTRUCTURE BOND HEARING: Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets holds its hearing on the infrastructure bond bill (H 4798) that Gov. Baker filed in March and that the Transportation Committee pumped up to $9.75 billion before giving it a favorable report. According to the committee summary, the bill calls for using $3.5 billion to compete for federal grants as well as steering $2.8 billion to federal highway projects, $1.35 billion to state roads, bridges and routes, $1.38 billion to MBTA modernization, and $145 million to multi-modal projects and shared use paths. Other areas of funding include $114 million for aeronautics safety and modernization, $200 million for state emissions reduction programs including expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, $82 million for an industrial rail access program and $64.9 million for regional transit authorities. The House has a formal session scheduled for Thursday, which could be an opportunity to take up the infrastructure package if the Bonding Committee makes quick work of its consideration of the bill. More Info (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Hearing Room A-2)

WATER RESOURCES AUTHORITY: Massachusetts Water Resources Authority holds a virtual meeting of its board of directors. The agenda features a budget hearings presentation and an annual meeting of the Personnel and Compensation Committee independent of management, including review and extension of executive director contract and information on staff recruitment and retention. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., WebEx link)

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL - INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS: Governor's Council holds back-to-back hearings on reappointments of four current judges at the Department of Industrial Accidents. On deck for hearings that are scheduled for half an hour each: Catherine Watson Koziol, administrative law judge, to serve until Aug. 18, 2026 (1 p.m.); John Barrett III, administrative judge, to Jan. 6, 2027 (1:30 p.m.); Karen Fitzgerald, administrative judge, to Jan. 6, 2027 (2 p.m.); and Dennis Maher, administrative judge, to Sept. 15, 2026 (2:30 p.m.). (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Council Chamber | Livestream)

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Transportation will accept only written testimony until 5 p.m. Wednesday on three bills: Rep. Howitt's H 4722 relative to the theft of vehicle catalytic converters, Rep. Sena's H 4739 authorizing the town of Harvard to establish and enforce speed limits on certain public ways in the town, and Rep. Muratore's H 4743 designating a certain portion of state highway in the town of Plymouth as Plimoth Patuxet highway. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., More Info)

MENTAL HEALTH COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery will accept only written testimony until 5 p.m. Wednesday on two bills filed by Rep. Belsito: H 4740 establishing maternal mental and behavioral health care workforce grants and H 4741 establishing a maternal mental health equity grant program. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., More Info)

'BACK TO TAXACHUSETTS': Pioneer Institute launches its new book, "Back to Taxachusetts?: How the proposed tax amendment would upend one of the nation's best economies," a compilation of the various reports that the right-leaning organization has produced in the last year on the 4 percent surtax on household income above $1 million per year that voters will be asked to weigh in on at the ballot box this November. Pioneer, which opposes the proposed surtax, will host an in-person event to celebrate the book's release and to discuss the surtax proposal with Edward Glaeser, an economist and Harvard University professor, and Kevin Martin, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs seeking in a Supreme Judicial Court case to dictate how the surtax question is presented to voters on the November ballot. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston | Register)

MASSDOT CAPITAL PLAN HEARING - MERRIMACK VALLEY: MassDOT staff host a virtual public hearing to gather feedback from northern Massachusetts and Merrimack Valley communities on the department's draft $14.7 billion 2023-2027 capital investment plan. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

GAMING COMMISSION: Mass. Gaming Commission is expected to meet. The agenda is likely to include a regular report on casino operations and a legislative update. The Gaming Commission has been preparing for the possibility that the Legislature puts it in charge of regulating sports betting in Massachusetts and has a number of other priorities before the Legislature. The meeting could also feature quarterly reports from licensees. (Wednesday, More Info TBA)

Thursday, May 26, 2022

SENATE BUDGET -- DAY THREE: Senators are likely to complete their work on leadership's $49.68 billion state budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and the 1,178 amendments that have been filed to the proposal. (Thursday, Time TBA, Senate Chamber)

SPEAKER MARIANO AT BOSTON CHAMBER: House Speaker Mariano is the speaker at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. His comments come as a terrible stretch on Wall Street amid bad earnings reports driving recession fears, and yet the state has seemingly never had better revenue performance, for the time being at least. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Westin Waterfront, 425 Summer St., Boston | Agenda and Access Info)

STATE RETIREMENT BOARD: Massachusetts State Retirement Board meets remotely. Treasurer Goldberg chairs the board. Email for access info. (Thursday, 10 a.m. | More Info)

REMEMBERING MILITARY HEROES: Public officials will participate in the "Remembering & Honoring Massachusetts Military Heroes" event to read the names of deceased military service members and to honor their families ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Gov. Baker, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Major General Gary Keefe and Treasurer Goldberg are among those who participate. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Boston Common, Boston)

HOUSE FORMAL SESSION: House plans to meet in a formal session with roll calls starting at 2 p.m. House leadership did not indicate in a schedule email Friday what representatives would be asked to weigh in on during Thursday's formal session. (Thursday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

MBTA BUS REDESIGN MEETING: MBTA staff gather outside Chelsea City Hall to discuss the draft new bus system map, which would boost bus service across the network 25 percent over a five-year period, with the public. (Thursday, 5 p.m., Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea)

RIDERS' TRANSPORTATION ACCESS GROUP: MBTA Riders' Transportation Access Group hosts a meeting to gather feedback about The RIDE paratransit service. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Zoom)

MASSDOT CAPITAL PLAN HEARING - CENTRAL MASS: MassDOT staff host a virtual public hearing to gather feedback from central Massachusetts communities on the department's draft $14.7 billion 2023-2027 capital investment plan. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Zoom)

RED SOX HALL OF FAME: David Ortiz, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, will be on hand at Fenway Park as he and other Sox greats are inducted into the team's own hall of fame. The ceremony honors the 2020 Sox Hall of Fame class since that group's induction has been delayed for two years because of the pandemic. Inductees include Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Rich Gedman, and the late Bill Dinneen. Former general manager Dan Duquette is going into the hall as a non-uniformed inductee. Tickets start at $20. (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Fenway Park, Boston)

Friday, May 27, 2022

No public events currently scheduled.

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