The Landscape

The start of this legislative session continues to reflect an institution in a period of transition. Speaker Ron Mariano has delayed the House’s biennial debate on rules until July citing the impact of the pandemic and the bill filing deadline has been extended an additional month and many legislators, from the newly elected to senior members, await new committee assignments. With more time to file bills, legislators are working collaboratively to craft meaningful and impactful legislation.

Advocates and legislators will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the refiling of the Safe Communities Act. The bill would bar law enforcement and court personnel from asking people about their immigration status; protect due process of detainees; limit law enforcement from reporting release notifications to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and would end agreements allowing state and county personnel to act as federal immigration agents, at state taxpayer’s expense. Massachusetts is the only New England state with such agreements. The bill was reported out of the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee favorably last session for the first time and, while a hot button issue many legislators would like to avoid, the timing could be right given President Biden’s new federal push around immigration reform. 

The Department of Revenue is expected to release data Wednesday on January’s tax receipts that will show if the monthly intake lived up to the Baker administration’s projection of $2.918 billion. In the past, January has served as the fourth largest revenue month for the state. Through December, Massachusetts collected $372 million more in fiscal year 2021 than it did during the same six pre-pandemic months of fiscal year 2020.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will sit before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP Committee) Thursday at 10:00am as President Biden’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor. Incoming chair of the HELP Committee, Washington Senator Patty Murray, plans to move swiftly so Walsh can get to work “as quickly as possible.” The hearing will be live streamed.  

Boston City Councilors are anticipated to take action on Councilor Felix Arroyo’s proposal to eliminate a required special election in the increasingly likely event Walsh leaves office before March 5. Advocates are urging the Council to cancel the special election out of an abundance of caution over financial responsibility and concerns of the COVID-19 virus.  With the race underway to succeed Walsh, a September preliminary followed by a November general are already scheduled. Current Boston City Council President Kim Janey is expected to become acting Mayor upon Walsh’s resignation, making her the first woman and African American to serve as Mayor of Boston.

The News


THERE’S ALWAYS A MASSACHUSETTS CONNECTION: Newton native John Krasinski hosted “SNL” for the first time.