Deval Stymied

The state legislature calls it quits for the year today, and here are the recent developments, according to reports from the State House News Service:

--Speaker Bob DeLeo is indicating that he will not try to rush through the education bill that the Senate passed Tuesday, which is a major priority of the Patrick administration.

--DeLeo also said not to expect House action on another Patrick priority, an anti-crime bill including CORI reform, that the Senate may pass today.

--The legislature will pass a "mini-budget", but will apparently reject much of Patrick's big budget-cutting requests, made a month ago. Most notably, they will not give him authority to make $75 million in cuts to constitutional offices, courts, and other areas; and they will not reduce funding for the Quinn bill. (SHNS notes that the mini-budget bill "has not had the benefit of a public hearing and expediting its passage before Wednesday ensure the legislation will receive minimal review."

So, we can see how groovy relations are between the governor and the legislature, as we head to the holidays and then into the big state elections year.

Presumably the legislature will pass ed reform after they resume in January -- before the big 1/19 deadline for federal grant applications, but close enough that Patrick won't be able to veto and push for changes, so he will have to take whatever version they pass.

Bear in mind that the State of the Commonwealth address is in mid-January, and it's a crucial one for the governor to define the political terms of his re-election campaign. He could use it to emphasize "all we've been able to do together": pension and ethics reform, transportation reorg, ed reform, criminal-justice reform, significant downsizing of government spending, etc. Or, he could use it to launch a "blame the legislature" theme, taking them to task for not doing enough of the tough things he's asked them to do.

Anyway, we'll see what actually happens today (or more likely, late tonight).

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