Feb. 6, 2012
BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts politics, lawmakers anxiously await possible criminal indictments, House Speaker Robert DeLeo discusses his legislative priorities in a speech to the House chamber and Attorney General Martha Coakley debates the federal health care law in Washington, D.C.
State lawmakers are on pins and needles waiting to see who will be indicted in the Probation Department’s patronage scandal. Beacon Hill has been buzzing for weeks with rumors that as many as 15 indictments are about to drop from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Prosecutors have been investigating whether state lawmakers boosted the Probation Department’s budget with the understanding its commissioner would give jobs to their families and friends. No criminal charges have been handed down so far, but indictments could be imminent.
In this tense atmosphere, DeLeo will take the floor on Wednesday to outline his legislative agenda for 2012. He’s expected to focus on the budget, criminal sentencing, and health care costs.
Then later in the day, the Governor’s Council, which vets judicial nominees, will meet for the first time since the sudden death last week of longtime councilor Kelly Timilty, who died on Jan. 31 after a brief illness. She was 49. Timilty was a frequent supporter of Gov. Deval Patrick’s judicial nominees. Now the House and the Senate, which are both controlled by Democrats, have the power to appoint her successor.
On Feb. 9, Coakley travels to Washington, D.C., to square off against Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law. Cucinelli was the nation’s first attorney general to sue over the 2010 law; Coakley plans to defend it. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider the law in March.