At his annual Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce address this morning, Speaker Robert DeLeo gave his most detailed public remarks to date about health care cost-containment legislation, which is a top priority for this legislative session. I wasn't there for the speech, unfortunately, but here is the relevant portion of his prepared remarks, as provided by DeLeo's office.
Update: Robert DeLeo's attorney, Robert Popeo, tells me today that DeLeo "is not a target of the investigation. He is not somebody who violated the law. There is nothing in the DiMasi travel that will in any way affect him.
Word started spreading yesterday that former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi had departed his new residence at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky -- ie, the pen where he is serving an eight-year sentence.
--I can't say I'm all that worked up about Michael McLaughlin. I've met him a couple of times, but I'll defer to Scot Lehigh's assessment. We'll see what turns up now that the microscope is on him -- could be he was a decent administrator who found ways to legally, if grossly, pad his pocketbook, or it could be considerably worse.
The Globe beat me to it, but I'm just now getting the chance to blast the state legislature for trying to increase the amount of gaming income diverted to purses at horse tracks. Both houses passed the new version of the bill, containing that change, yesterday. (As I write, there is word that they may try to back up and rework this provision.
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.
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.
People don't usually get caught the first time they send crotch shots to women over the Internet; when they do get caught, the odds are very good there's a history of it. Same goes with public corruption.
An awful lot of folks in Massachusetts, especially Democratic lawmakers, and most especially the ones who were in the house of representatives with Sal DiMasi, seem to be treating the former Speaker's conviction for fraud and corruption as an isolated incident.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives does not seem to be in a great rush to work on Governor Deval Patrick's and Senate President Therese Murray's top priority of the session, health care cost containment, Liz Kowalczyk writes in the Globe. So true. In fact, I've found that when you mention health care cost containment to people on the House side, they tend to assume you're talking just about moving municipalities to GIC for health insurance; the big reform Patrick and Murray are talking about doesn't seem to even be on their radar.
It would be easy to jab at Bob DeLeo for his blatantly political 180 on patronage, but I'm with Lehigh on this one -- the Speaker deserves credit for taking the lead on the issue.
Massachusetts Senate leadership, announced late last week, included a number of changes by necessity -- top people had gone, leaving vacancies at assistant majority leader (which went to Steven Tolman of Boston), majority whip (Jack Hart, Boston), assistant majority whip (Harriett Chandler, Worcester), and Ways & Means chair (Stephen Brewer, Barre).
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.
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.
You can't blame state Republican officials for touting their party's gains in the state house of representatives, where their numbers will rise from 15 to between 30 and 32, depending on final tallies. That's their job -- they're supposed to draw attention to anything resembling a good nugget of information among the enormous pile of failure.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print and online now -- I look at House speaker Robert DeLeo's striking $400,000 fundraising haul so far this year, primarily from lobbyists and special interests. As I discuss in the article, the contributions are only available for public view now, after the end of the formal legislative session, rather than while the legislation and budget decisions are being decided -- and potentially influenced.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- online and in print now -- I write about the end of the Massachusetts legislative session last week, which of course was dominated by the ultimately failed attempt (at least, as of this writing) to pass an expanded gaming bill.
I suggest that those with the most experience at working in these kinds of high-stakes Beacon Hill showdowns were the ones who fared best: senate president Therese Murray most notably, but to some degree Governor Deval Patrick and Treasurer/gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill as well.