The Landscape

An unprecedented number of women will head to Beacon Hill in January for the start of the next legislative session. Sixty-two women, including 50 Representatives and 12 Senators, will in total make up 31 percent of the Legislature’s 200 seats. Including the turnover from special elections, next year’s women lawmakers will outnumber the 2019 high of 57. It’s unclear how the growing numbers of women lawmakers will impact the House and Senate, which combined have only had two women leaders in their histories – both in the Senate, including current Senate President Karen Spilka.

A pandemic delayed FY21 budget debate is scheduled for Tuesday & Thursday this week in the House of Representatives, bringing staff and legislators to Beacon Hill for the first time in several months. The debate will have a heightened sense of urgency given the financial realities many are facing from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. With no new revenue generating proposals in the bill, many programs are facing an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, five unresolved House/Senate conference committees have yet to find consensus including: police reform and social justice, transportation spending, climate change, health care and economic development. With bill extensions expiring this week, reproductive rights advocates are expected to give one final push to move the ROE Act out of committee and to the floor for debate this session. Other bills to watch for in the lame-duck session include eviction moratorium, sports betting and campus sexual assault.

Tune in Thursday as Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford defends his seat for another term in the wake of a recent independent report found he violated party rules in the race between Rep. Richard Neal and challenger Alex Morse.

The News

SILVER LINING: Our long national nightmare is over.