Wednesday, January 6, 2021

MA House, Senate finish session by moving finish line past midnight


"The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday morning passed long-awaited agreements on a $627 million economic stimulus bill and a multibillion-dollar transportation borrowing package, but only after bending its own rules — and the calendar — to finally get the proposals to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

        Despite giving themselves five extra months to hash out major bills, lawmakers toiled until 4:42 a.m. in a chaotic end to their two-year session. It came well past what was supposed to be a deadline of midnight Tuesday to complete their work, and hours into the same day the new legislative class will be sworn in.

        The last-minute deal on the economic development package featured a measure Baker has long sought to help speed housing production, and it would unlock hundreds of millions in borrowing, including relief for businesses battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers said. The 101-page bill did not include, however, language legalizing sports betting that had passed the House but ran into opposition in the Senate."

"WITH SOME LEGISLATIVE sleight of hand, the House and Senate extended their sessions from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and succeeded in passing most of the major pieces of legislation still pending on Beacon Hill.

A trimmed down transportation bond bill, an economic development bill without sports betting, legislation dealing with college campus sexual violence, and a handful of other measures all made it to the finish line by moving the finish line from Tuesday at midnight, when the legislative session was scheduled to end, to the wee hours of Wednesday morning."
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