April 2, 2012
BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts politics, the state lottery commission convenes after record-setting sales, a law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage law heads to federal appeals court in Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority board is poised to approve service cuts and fare hikes.
The lottery commission meets on Monday. No one in Massachusetts won the Mega Millions jackpot but the ticket frenzy generated a net profit of $16.4 million for the state. The money will go to local aid for cities and towns.
On April 4, judges in the First Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. The law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Last year, a federal judge in Massachusetts found the law unconstitutional but now his decision is being appealed by U.S. House Republicans.
Also on April 4, the MBTA board considers a package of fare hikes and service cuts to close a huge budget gap. The proposals would cut service — but not by as much as officials had initially threatened — and would hike fares on buses and the subway by 23 percent. Other fare hikes would include a nearly 30 percent hike on the commuter rail and 35 percent for the ferry, and The Ride for passengers with disabilities would increase from $2 to $4. The board is expected to approve the plan, but it won't be a long-term fix. The hikes and cuts would solve the T’s problems only for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1. There’s an estimated $100 million budget gap projected for the following fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2013.