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  • February 03, 2012
    By David S. Bernstein

    Sure, everyone is talking about the Presidential race, or Liz vs Scotto, but the cool kids have their eye on the Massachusetts state legislature!

    "Guest" asks:

    Do you think Comrade Eldridge will be able to successfully recruit a band of idiots to run against his state Senate colleagues, who he deems as "not progressive enough?"

    Read More

  • September 23, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    "Johnnie Mox" asks:

    Even though the Senate President announeced she was keepng her firm grip on the Senate Presidency for a few years, things always change. The body has had great turnover in the last 6 years. Who do you see emerging as candidates as the next Senate President?

    It's a tough one, huh? I wrote earlier this year that Therese Murray's leadership/committee assignments seemed to send a signal that she's in charge, and she's staying for a while (ditto with DeLeo on the house side), but you're right, things always change.

    Read More

  • August 31, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Brighton's Steven Tolman has wrapped up the battle to be the next president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, as the Globe and others reported yesterday. Tolman's rival to succeed Robert Haynes, Tim Sullivan, bowed out of the race once it was clear that Tolman had the votes locked up for the October convention vote.

    I spoke to Tolman, Sullivan, and others recently, for an item that had not yet run and is now obsolete.

    Read More

  • July 21, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    This is the first non-election year in which Massachusetts state legislators must report campaign finances in mid-year, under new reporting rules passed in 2009. That still keeps the contributions and expenditures hidden during the budget process, but reveals them pretty shortly after, so that's a start. Plus, it gives dorks like me a lot of numbers to play with during the dog days of summer.

    Read More

  • July 13, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    A joint statement just came from senate president Therese Murray and house speaker Bob DeLeo, saying that expanded gaming legislation will not be debated in the legislature until after Labor Day.

    That's a setback for DeLeo, who had been publicly pushing to debate gaming in July, once the budget was done. On the other hand, maybe this could be read as a sign that Murray does expect to move on gaming this fall, which would be something.

    Read More

  • July 01, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Let's start Ask Me Anything Day off with "Elias Nugator," who asks:

    The State House GOP caucus has proposed some splashy new ethics rules. Realistically, do these proposals have any change of being debated let alone becoming the rules of said chamber?

    It sure doesn't seem like it, but we'll see. Clearly, Speaker Bob DeLeo wants to be seen as a serious reformer, as shown in the aggressive patronage-ethics bill the house passed earlier this year (which the senate has shown no appetite for).

    Read More

  • June 24, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Yes, I know, it's all Whitey all the time -- believe me, I'm enjoying the spectacle -- but let's remember that there's another sordid tale going on: the inability of the Massachusetts state legislature to pass a budget.

    The fiscal year ends in six days, on Thursday June 30. So, to have money in the checkbook a week from today, a budget's got to be signed.

    Read More

  • January 21, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    "YoungMAGOP" asks:

    Do you see anyone currently in the state Legislature advancing to either Federal or State wide office in the next 4-8 years?

    Absolutely -- especially if redistricting, Democratic House minority status, age, and other factors leads some of the current US Reps to vacate. Bear in mind, though, that state campaign funds can't be used in federal races (although it can be made useful in a variety of ways, and is also an indicator of fundraising potential).

    Read More

  • January 20, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    After much speculation and rumor, word today is that the open Massachusetts state senate Ways & Means chair (left by the legendary Pangy) is going to Stephen Brewer of Barre.

    This is not a huge surprise; Brewer was vice-chair of the committee, and thus A) clearly trusted by senate president Therese Murray, and B) knowledgable enough about the budget process to handle it right away.

    Read More

  • January 05, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Oh, what an exciting week this is for those who enjoy the arcane rituals and traditions of the peaceful transfer of power in the world's greatest democracy!

    For starters, congratulations to Stephen Murphy, who got voted in as the new president of the Boston City Council. He (and his staff!) finally get the big office, and all the trappings and attention that come with it -- and, one imagines, a fundraising boost toward his re-election later this year.

    Read More

  • December 22, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I look at what may have been, surprisingly, the biggest political story of the year in Massachusetts: the probation patronage scandal.

    I suggest that the ramifications of that scandal, while still very much unknown, could very easily turn out to be bigger than most folks on Beacon Hill realize.

    Read More

  • November 24, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    I've been struck by something in the news recently: hazing. There have been a couple of incidents, in Needham and now Agawam, making the news. Hazing is one of those things that for many years was considered perfectly normal and acceptable -- people doing it might have been concerned with how it could look to some people, but didn't think they were actually doing anything wrong, or anything they could, or should, get in trouble for.

    Read More

  • October 26, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    Every time you think that Massachusetts Republican Party has hit its lowest possible ebb, they surprise you by falling even further.

    This is especially true in the state senate. At the end of the 1990s the GOP caucus was down to 7 (from a high of 16 after the 1990 election), which seemed like surely the bottom -- but no, they dropped to 6 in the 2000 election.

    Read More

  • October 15, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "Jim" asks:

    If Therese Murray were to lose her re-election bid who do you think would emerge to be the next Senate President?

    It's a great question, because so much of the leadership is on the way out or not considered quite up to the task. It's possible that Stan Rosenberg could get the nod, as a one-session placekeeper.

    Read More

  • September 03, 2010
    By David S. Bernstein

    "Michael" asks:

    What is your prediction in the MSE district primary?

    My prediction? PAIN!

    No, I just like saying that. I don't think Sal D. and Tim Flaherty will actually end up in fisticuffs, although I don't think we'd be all that surprised, would we? Flaherty has been working hard on this rematch, right since the end of the first fight (the special election to replace Anthony Galluccio -- who it seems is hanging around the trail with Sal), but I don't think he can pull it off.

    Read More

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Q&A #6: Next Senate Prez
Published 9/23/2011 by David S. Bernstein
"Johnnie Mox" asks: Even though the Senate President announeced she was keepng her firm grip on the Senate Presidency for a few years, things always...

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Boss Tolman
Published 8/31/2011 by David S. Bernstein
Brighton's Steven Tolman has wrapped up the battle to be the next president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, as the Globe and others reported yesterday. Tolman's...

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