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Date: 2/25/2018 9:18 AM EST

Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry departs

The Massachusetts Senate saw the departure of one of its most prominent members when Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a Democrat from Dorchester, resigned her seat to accept a position with Suffolk Construction.  She will serve as vice president of Northeast region, diversity, inclusion and community relations.
Former Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry (photo: Don West)
A special election has been set to fill her seat representing the first Suffolk district. The primary is scheduled for April 3, and the general election will be held on May 1.  Two Boston state representatives, Evandro Carvalho and Nick Collins, are campaigning to move over to the Senate.

The Annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day Breakfast traditionally hosted by the Senator representing the district will this year be led by Congressman Stephen Lynch and City Councillor Michael Flaherty, both of South Boston.

We mourn the passing...

Representative Peter Kocot, Democrat of Northampton and Chairman of the House Committee on Health Care Financing, passed away after an illness.  He was known by colleagues and staff as a "gentle giant" who treated everyone with respect and kindness and worked hard to serve his district.  We at Neponset Strategies extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, and his colleagues and staff.

Rep. Peter Kocot (photo: MassLive)

Policy update

The deadline for committees to report out bills came earlier than usual this year on February 10.  Some of the major pieces yet to be decided include the criminal justice omnibus that is still being reconciled by a conference committee.

The new adult-use marijuana regulations are under review by the Cannabis Control Commission now that the public comment period has concluded.  They have until March 15 to finalize those regulations.  Differences remain among stakeholders as to the appropriate categories of licensure, with elected leaders advocating a go-slow approach and pot proponents saying that a wider variety of licenses is the best way to ensure market participation by members of disproportionately impacted communities.

Consumer protection legislation designed to assist consumers affected by data breaches such as the recent Equifax crisis has passed the House, and the Senate is working on its version of a bill.

The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change released a broad energy bill that would ban fracking, raise solar energy savings ceilings, encourage the use of renewable energy such as wind, and other initiatives.

And another mass shooting

The students who survived the latest mass shooting at a school are leading the way.  They are forcing conversations about solutions that go beyond "thoughts and prayers".  We are encouraged by their efforts to turn their pain and anger into power and action.  The students of Parkland may yet be the changemakers who help their peers and future generations create safer learning environments.

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