Next year's state budget signed into law...
Governor Baker signed the budget sent to him by the Legislature on Friday, but not before he vetoed $256 million in funding. The total budget, nearly $39 billion, represents a 1.3% increase over last year's spending. Revenues have been disappointing in light of an underperforming stock market and have caused budget writers to adjust expectations.
Transgender people now have public accommodations protections
After some conference committee wrangling to iron out differences between the House and the Senate, a bill to protect transgender people from discrimination in public places has now been signed into law. The pivotal element of the legislation allows folks to use sex-segregated facilities (rest rooms, locker rooms, etc.) that correspond to their gender identity, not necessarily their anatomical gender. The compromise bill also includes language that has the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination working to deal with any potential use of the law for improper purposes, provisions that were important to some constituencies.
Speaker DeLeo, Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh and others urge a NO vote on recreational marijuana in MA
Safe Cannabis Massachusetts, the first committee formed in opposition to the ballot question to establish a marijuana and THC products industry in Massachusetts, continues to work to educate voters about the dangers of this particular initiative, even for those who favor the concept of allowing folks to smoke pot without interference. Governor Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, and Speaker DeLeo were joined by other political and community leaders at a press conference last week to announce their opposition and lay out their concerns.
The NO side enjoys the vocal support of political leaders who discussed how passage of this question would tie the hands of communities to limit how many retailers set up shop and allow them near day care centers and playgrounds.
Opponents are especially concerned about the lack of restriction on the production, labeling and marketing of edible THC products, such as gummies and candy, evoking memories of Big Tobacco's aggressive youth-targeted marketing.