Beacon Hill In 5


Beacon Hill In 5 is a weekly check-in at the Statehouse from New England Public Radio. Get a quick look at the week ahead in politics and government in Massachusetts with Carrie Healy, NEPR’s Morning Edition Host, and Matt Murphy with the State House News Service.

Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, at center, tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state. At left is Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
State House News Service

A week ago, Massachusetts officials reported five deaths attributable to the coronavirus. As of Monday morning, there were 48.

Over the weekend, the number of Massachusetts residents who tested positive for COVID-19 increased by more than 100 each day. Governor Charlie Baker appears to be preparing people for those numbers to keep going up. 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, at right, with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Governors across New England ordered schools closed, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker went even further than that.  

A line forms outside New England Treatment Access in Northampton, Massachusetts, on the first day of sales, November 20, 2018.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

One big complaint about Massachusetts' legal marijuana industry: Who is getting all those profits? Efforts to change have been slow moving.

Outside a Massachusetts polling place.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

As Massachusetts voters weigh in on the presidential race, some will also be voting in special elections for the state legislature. 

A traffic camera in California.
Theron Trowbridge / Creative Commons /

When you're driving in your car this week to vote early in the Massachusetts presidential primary, make sure you aren't talking on your cellphone.

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The Trump administration has proposed a rule change for Medicaid, putting up to $2.4 billion in jeopardy in the Massachusetts budget. 

A CTrail train seen at Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Frederick J. Gore / The Republican /

After releasing the cost of expanded east-west rail at between $2 billion and $25 billion, Massachusetts officials look for feedback this week.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Between presidential primaries, impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C., and the Super Bowl, Massachusetts lawmakers are still getting stuff done in Boston. 

A Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus.
David Wilson / Creative Commons /

With Governor Charlie Baker's State of the Commonwealth speech delivered and his budget unveiled, Massachusetts lawmakers, lobbyists, activists and reporters now have their chance to scrutinize it all.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivering a State of the Commonwealth address on Jan. 23, 2018.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lifts the curtain on his budget plan this week. Some tough decisions are expected this time around, with a slowdown in the forecast for tax revenues and big spending on pensions and schools.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin in 2017.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts is among 42 states that had fewer births recorded in 2019 than the year before.

A bunch of coins on a table.
Mary-Lynn / Creative Commons /

It took 20 years of tiny decreases — but now Massachusetts is just days away from a 5% income tax. What will you do with the little bit of extra money in your pocket in 2020? 

A voter examines the ballot in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on Nov. 3, 2015.
John Suchocki / The Republican /

The presidential primary in Massachusetts isn't until March 3, but we're already getting some answers on what the ballot will look like. 

A road intersection in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Josh Graciano / Creative Commons /

Massachusetts lawmakers held a hearing on transportation last week, and revenue was top-of-mind. Several state reps hinted that they're likely to include an increase in the state's $.24-per-gallon gasoline tax in a bill that could be released next month. 

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
Ron Gilbert / Creative Commons /

Massachusetts lawmakers are home this week getting ready for Thanksgiving — and presumably getting some rest after some late nights last week.  

Menthol cigarettes sold at a convenience store in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

There are just a handful of days left for the Massachusetts legislature to get things done before essentially breaking until January. There's a lot on the to-do list, but one item that appears headed for passage is a ban on all flavored cigarettes and tobacco products.

An apartment in Boston.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts lawmakers say one issue that continues to suppress business growth is a lack of affordable housing. So now the state says it's going to launch its own housing search tool. 

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

A Halloween deadline looms for Massachusetts lawmakers to resolve differences in a fiscal year closeout budget.  

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
YU-JEN SHIH / Creative Commons /

When the Massachusetts Senate passed its education bill this month, senators had few specific numbers to help make up their minds.   

A map of Massachusetts shows rural communities in green.
Massachusetts Rural Policy Advisory Commission

A group created by the Massachusetts legislature a few years ago has released what it calls a rural policy plan. 

Education advocates set up a "fully funded flavor" snowcone stand at a education bill "beach party" rally outside the Massachusetts Statehouse in July.
File Photo / State House News Service

Massachusetts lawmakers this week will be dealing with investments in K-12 education. 

School buses lined up.
Chris Devers / Creative Commons /

Following the rollout of a school finance overhaul crafted by Massachusetts House and Senate leaders, early reviews were positive. 

The empty Massachusetts House chamber.
State of Massachusetts

A task force this week is taking on the job of examining problems in the nursing home industry. This comes the week after a state audit found public health investigations into elder abuse at nursing homes were taking too long. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno addresses a press conference regarding a "physical interaction" between a police officer and student at a city middle school.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Massachusetts Democrats are gathering in Springfield on Saturday for their annual convention. And there's at least one Democrat who was not invited to speak. 

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III continues to consider whether to challenge Senator Ed Markey in the 2020 Democratic primary. 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito on election night in 2018.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

It appears the message from Massachusetts tourism officials worked: Governor Charlie Baker is staycationing. He's on vacation at least through this week. But it's not all fun and sun.

On January 10, 2011, new state legislators and their aides getting to know one another.
File photo / State House News Service

Massachusetts lawmakers have hailed the state's new Equal Pay Act. But when it comes to their own employees, equity may still be a ways away.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Are you holding your cell phone up to your ear right now — while driving? That's a bad idea, but in Massachusetts, it's still not against the law.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Registry of Motor Vehicles office in Downtown Boston.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts lawmakers this week will try again to get some information out of the officials from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.