This Week in State Politics: A Race Against the Deadline

By Sarah Birnbaum

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July 16, 2012


BOSTON — It’s crunch time for the Legislature, with just 2 more weeks until the end of formal sessions this year and six major pieces of legislation unfinished on Beacon Hill. The unfinished bills include a sweeping health care law that would change the way doctors and hospitals get paid, a transportation bond bill for local road and bridge repair and a repeat offender and sentencing reform bill that would impose stiff new sentences and parole limitations on violent offenders and at the same time reduce mandatory minimums to state’s drug sentencing laws.

On Monday, the Joint Committee on Economic Development holds a public hearing on the governor’s agreement with the Mashpee Wampanaog tribe to build a casino in East Taunton. Even though the governor signed a compact with the Mashpees during the week of July 9, a casino could be a long way off. They first need the federal government to take the land into trust a process that could take many years.

The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable holds a hearing on July 19 to discuss the high phone rates for prisoner calls. Every time inmates place a phone call, it costs the person answering far more than a regular collect call. Prisoners' Legal Services has filed a petition to address the fees, rates and dropped calls.

And on July 20, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development releases the job and unemployment numbers for the month of June.
 

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