WEEK AHEAD

Gov. Baker signs fiscal 2016 budget on July 17, 2015.
Antonio Caban / State House News Service

State lawmakers will be taking a closer look at the line-item vetoes made last week by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker before he signed the state's overdue $40.2 billion budget into law. A lot of the $320 million in vetoes stem from cuts Governor Baker made to MassHealth, in the hopes of getting his full package of healthcare reforms enacted.

 Immigration advocates, students and educators at a higher education hearing in Boston in 2015.
Antonio Caban / State House News Service

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority could be announcing bus route cuts later this week. That's after the Transit Authority's state appropriation came in more than $1.5 million less than expected.

Protests are planned in response, and the Five Colleges -- which have pumped millions of dollars into the PVTA -- have warned the transit authority that they might seek bus services from another provider. All this is going on while the state budget is sitting on Governor Charlie Baker's desk.

Judge Kafker meets with members of the Governor's Council on July 15, 2015.
Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Last Friday, Massachusetts House and Senate leaders voted on a compromise version of the state budget that reduces spending by about $600 million in the new fiscal year.

Now that the budget has been passed along to the governor's desk -- is House Speaker Bob DeLeo allowing marijuana bill negotiators back to the table?  

Raise Up Massachusetts
uusc4all / Creative Commons

Lawmakers have had a busy few weeks on Beacon Hill  tying up loose ends and dealing with the budget and marijuana policy issues -- all leading up to the Fourth of July holiday. The session began slowly and quietly. That was underlined in a Boston Business Journal editorial last week about how activists sometimes threaten to launch a ballot initiative as a way to motivate lawmakers into action. 

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Dave Roback / The Republican

It's going to be a busy week on Beacon Hill as Massachusetts lawmakers try to find common ground on some tough topics. The state's fiscal year ends Friday and there's no budget agreement yet. Also, the legislature is aiming to get a recreational marijuana law on the governor's desk this week. But big differences remain between the House and Senate bills, both of which make changes to the voter-passed marijuana law.

Varieties of marijuana.
File photo / The Republican

The Massachusetts House had planned to vote last week on a bill making substantial changes to the voter-passed recreational marijuana law. But after quick objections to the bill -- and an issue with how it was written -- Speaker Bob Deleo delayed that vote.

State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg speaks with constituents during a meet-and-greet at Northampton Coffee on Thursday, September 10, 2015.
Laura Newberry / The Republican

In Massachusetts, there's continued uncertainty around money. A small legislative committee continues to whittle down the not-yet-passed budget that takes effect in three weeks.

Meanwhile, legislators are preparing for a constitutional convention on Wednesday. Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg said he sees one matter before lawmakers -- the so-called millionaires tax -- as a solution to the revenue issues.

Massachusetts state Senator Karen Spilka, in a photo taken May, 17, 2017.
File Photo / State House News Service

A clarifying moment will come Monday, as the Massachusetts Department of Revenue releases tax collection numbers for May.  The current fiscal year, and the state budget for next year, hang in the balance.

State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy tells us there's a particular group of lawmakers eagerly awaiting these numbers.

The Senate Chamber at the Massachusetts Statehouse.
S M / Creative Commons

At the Massachusetts statehouse this week, senators will be busy deliberating the Ways and Means Committee's $40.3 billion budget proposal.

Last week, lawmakers filed more than 1,000 amendments to that bill.

Recognizing that lawmakers will want to get out of Boston well before the Memorial Day weekend, we asked State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy just how they plan to plow through the huge pile of amendments.

smoking youth cambridge cigarettes tobacco
David Salafia / Creative Commons

This week, the ping-pong game that is the Massachusetts budget moves to the Senate side of the table. The Ways and Means Committee will release its budget recommendations for the fiscal year that begins in less than two months.  

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