Parole, Pension, Anti-Bullying On Docket This Week

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Feb. 7, 2011




BOSTON — On Beacon Hill this week, MBTA board members take some key votes, and in the Legislature, a slew of bills await action, ranging from the budget to health care cost control measures to probation overhaul.  Read on for a comprehensive look at the week ahead in state politics.

This afternoon, Massachusetts transportation officials hold their monthly board meeting, where they could discuss the hundreds of train delays and equipment breakdowns that left commuters shivering and angry during recent snowstorms.

And at the State House, Governor Deval Patrick will meet behind closed doors with legislative leaders, who have been slow to bring Patrick's proposals to the floor.  Awaiting a spot on the docket are bills dealing with pension reforms, changes to probation and parole, minimum sentencing guidelines and many others. 

On Tuesday, mental health advocates meet with state lawmakers to lobby for more funds.  The governor's budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year slashes millions of dollars from mental health programs and closes down treatment facilities.  Senate President Therese Murray has raised concerns that the cuts would put hundreds of mentally ill patients on the streets.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley holds a public hearing to review whether any changes are needed to the state's new anti-bullying law.  School all over Bay State submitted comprehensive bullying prevention plans to the Department of Education at the end of December.  The anti-bullying law was passed last year, after 15-year-old Phoebe Prince took her life after allegedly being tormented by several of her classmates at South Hadley High School.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety will discuss what's next for the state's troubled probation department at a public policy forum in Boston.

And at a summit on Friday, state environmental officials will outline several renewable energy initiatives

Material from the State House News Service was used in this report.

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