Victims Of The Budget, Of Hefner, And The Marathon Bombing: Beacon Hill In 5

Apr 16, 2018

Last week ended before the Massachusetts Senate could move on the supplemental budget bill. One program suspended on Sunday, because the bill wasn't passed, is the Healthy Incentives Program, which needed more funding in order to continue to offer the bonus fruits and veggies to snap recipients through June 30. 

There are many other programs that being tripped up by this passage delay.

Carrie Healy, NEPR: Any sense as to when the supplemental budget could be moving in the Senate?

Matt Murphy, State House News Service: I would be surprised if this took a long time, honestly. It's obviously disappointing that certain programs have to be suspended because this could not get done in time. The governor obviously filed this budget with plenty of time to get this in place before programs had to be halted as they wait for more funding. Now that the House has taken it up, I would expect the Senate to be able to take it up and do its fairly quickly, if not this week, than certainly the week after.

It does mean that things are a little bit lighter because it is school vacation week, right?

That's right. The legislature basically takes a break during school vacation week with lawmakers spending time in their districts.

A few people that won't be getting a break will be the House Ways and Means Committee, and their staff. House leaders released the version of their budget last week, and hundreds of amendments were filed by Friday by the members in anticipation of debate next week.

And this is really the week where the staff knuckles down, and kind of goes through all those amendments, and vets them and decides which ones might have merit and which ones they might want to debate when this kicks off on Monday [April 23].

Late last week, Greenfield resident and former Mass Home Care director Al Norman said he was a lobbyist involved in the Hefner/Rosenberg investigation. Do you think that revelation provides any additional insight into the investigation into Senator Stan Rosenberg’s spouse’s interference with Beacon Hill business?

I think it does. It's certainly interesting. Al Norman, obviously a long time Beacon Hill advocate for elders and elder care, left his home care agency earlier this year. He felt he was being frozen out by the Baker Administration, in fact, and that he was no longer effective in his job. And that it might just be time for him to step aside, so that the programs and the people he has been fighting for don’t get caught up in his own personal politics with the people in charge on Beacon Hill.

Now he’s come forward, and basically said that he believes he is “the person” that was mentioned anonymously in a Globe story as the target of Bryon Hefner -- Stan Rosenberg's husband -- who is under indictment, and Senator Rosenberg is now under investigation for potentially meddling in Senate business.

Al believes, speaking with both a reporter and a member of the legislature, that he was “the” lobbyist and advocate who was mentioned in a Hefner email to senators and staff, suggesting that people cut ties with him because he had fallen out of favor, at least with Hefner.

We don't know if he’d fallen out of favor with Rosenberg. But it does show, if this is true, that Hefner was in fact, kind of getting involved in Senate business, would could not bode well for Senator Rosenberg, who is still seeking reelection, despite losing the presidency and facing a primary challenge

Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. You were reporting for the State House News Service back then, and I believe, you attended an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End at which the President of the United States was in attendance.  Do you have any memories or insights from five years ago that are still with you today?

That was obviously a few days after the marathon bombing. The president [Barack Obama] came to town. It was really a chance to collectively come together and sort of grieve the losses.

If my memory serves, a lot of that ceremony -- a lot of the president's remarks, and other people's who were there -- were about the resiliency of Boston.  

And it has sort of been restored, I think, as people kind of alluded to during that service [back] to what it was which is really a time for the city to come together and enjoy the start of spring, the Red Sox, the marathon. And it in that regard, it speaks to kind of the character of the city, I think.