State Legislators Rush To Finish Before Break

By Sarah Birnbaum

Nov. 14, 2011

BOSTON — Mass. lawmakers head home in the middle of the week for the start of their six-week recess. But there's a lot on the agenda before then.
Conference committees are still working out the details of a pension reform bill, a measure cracking down on human trafficking and a bill that would bring casino gambling to Mass. This was about the stage the casino bill fell apart last year. But it has a better chance of becoming law this time around. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Governor Deval Patrick seem to have resolved differences over slot machines at racetracks — the issue that held up final passage last session. House and Senate negotiators hope to have a bill on the Governor's desk by Thanksgiving.
Also this week, lawmakers are poised to give final approval to a new Congressional redistricting map. The plan eliminates a district in Western Mass. and creates a new district in southern Mass. and Cape Cod. It also lumps two members of the state's all-Democratic delegation into a single district and creates the state's very first district where black, Hispanic and Asian American voters are in the majority.
On Wed., the Mass. Department of Public Utilities holds an oversight hearing on NStar's response to Tropical Storm Irene. State officials have also ordered an investigation into the utilities' response to the Oct. 29 snowstorm that left hundreds of thousands of residents without power, some for more than a week.

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