Many Massachusetts lawmakers would prefer to be enjoying the fine summer weather with family or just hanging in their districts with only weeks left until the September 9th primary elections. But as is often the case, the “full-time” Massachusetts Legislature and the Democrats who control it have dragged out deliberations on major issues – job creation, domestic violence, campaign finance reform, gun laws, and substance abuse treatment to name a few – until the final days allotted for formal sessions in 2014.
Under legislative rules, formal sessions during election years run from January through July and the branches after that meet in twice-a-week informal sessions to advance bills upon which there is unanimous agreement amongst Democrats and Republicans.
The branches plan informal sessions Monday, with activity ramping up on Tuesday and active sessions expected all week and, based on past practices, running until or past midnight Thursday.
The burst of legislative activity will follow last week’s convictions of three former probation department managers on corruption charges in a case that nicked House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray and other Democratic lawmakers. A jury concluded the probation officials engaged in a racketeering conspiracy and mail fraud by awarding jobs to candidates pushed by lawmakers while pretending to run a merit-based hiring system. The political fallout from that case, and speculation about next steps, if any, are just beginning.
For Susan Kaplan’s conversation with Matt Murphy about the week ahead on Beacon Hill, click the audio player above.