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Date: 10/28/2017 8:48 AM EDT

Meanwhile, under the Golden Dome...

The Senate just passed a massive criminal justice reform package.

Deliberating until nearly 1:30am on Thursday evening, the State Senate capped off a 14-hour day by delivering to the House a large and complex bill that aims to eliminate some fees that have a disparate impact on low-income defendants, raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18 (from 17), and eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for various nonviolent drug offenses and allow certain current inmates to be eligible to earn "good time" where that was previously not permitted.  

It is, to be sure, sweeping legislation that saw over 160 amendments offered.  Successful changes include protection for LGBTQ prisoners and an update to the victim compensation statute eliminating the contributory clause for family members of homicide victims seeking reimbursement for funeral and burial costs.

The House has been working on its own legislation and has indicated that achieving meaningful criminal justice reform this session is a prority.

The Governor is holding on earmark spending for now.

Following a request from House leadership to release funding for manufacturing partnerships between UMass and industry, the Governor said he was holding off on releasing any budgetary earmarks until the state's fiscal picture clears up.  The federal government's position on cost sharing reduction payments is giving states agita as they try to predict health care costs in the coming year.

And in cannabis news - 

There is an FAA rule that may or may not permit marijuana to be transported by air to the Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.  This is important because marijuana remains a federally illegal substance and therefore transporting them by boat or air is prohibited.  That means that the islands have to grow their own marijuana, which is doable but expensive (water, real estate, and electricity tend to cost more), but prevents them from transporting marijuana for required testing, as those operations will be on the mainland.  Experts currently disagree as to whether the rule provides a solution, so stay tuned.

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