Eyes On Nuclear Safety, Pension Reform This Week

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Apr. 4, 2011

BOSTON — This week on Beacon Hill, Massachusetts lawmakers take testimony on major issues including pension reform and nuclear safety.  And a judge on the state's highest court has plans to step down.  

On Monday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley briefs state lawmakers on ways to help combat human traffickingCoakley is sponsoring a bill that would outlaw the practice in Massachusetts, both for sexual servitude and other forced labor. Massachusetts is only one of five states in the country without human trafficking laws on the books.

More: Sexual and human trafficking in the Boston area

On Tuesday, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Judith Corwin is retiring from the bench after an 11-year tenure. Gov. Deval Patrick will now have an opportunity to make his fifth appointment to the seven-person court.

On Wednesday, lawmakers hold oversight hearings to investigate the safety of the nuclear power plants in and around Massachusetts. Officials from Pilgrim Nuclear in Plymouth, Seabrook Nuclear in New Hampshire and Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant are expected to testify. Last week, federal nuclear regulators told Gov. Patrick that the plants are safe, even as the federal government is ordering fresh inspections of the plants here and across the country, in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

More: Cambridge's nuclear reactor

On Thursday, the Legislature's Joint Public Service Committee holds a public hearing on a series of bills aimed at reforming the public pension system. One proposal by Gov. Patrick would raise the retirement age for future state workers from 55 to 60. The bill would also prohibit elected officials from collecting a paycheck and a state pension at the same time.

Also this week, Patrick is expected to sign a $325 million midyear spending plan. It includes funds to cover the state's higher-than-expected snow removal expenses, as well as payments to hospitals and sheriff's offices.

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