February 12, 2017

On Beacon Hill: For DeLeo and Legislature, Pats’ ‘Do Your Job’ mantra can wait

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Sam Doran / State House News Service

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade weren't the only things moving slowly through Boston this week: Happy with their new raises, state lawmakers pretty much ground legislating to a halt.

Recap and analysis of the week in state, and federal, government from State House News Service

The slow start to the year on Beacon Hill got an assist this week from the dangerously distracting one-two punch of championship euphoria and the first significant snowfall of the season.

The former essentially turned Monday into a bleary-eyed reliving of how Tom Brady engineered the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history to defeat the Atlanta Falcons. The later turned Thursday into a governor-sanctioned day off for revelry recuperation.

Sandwiched between Super Bowl hangovers, a victory parade and the blizzard called Niko, Gov. Charlie Baker continued his Supreme Judicial Court makeover, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was simultaneously silenced and handed a megaphone in one, deep Mitch McConnell breath, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, gave Jay Gonzalez something to build off for his gubernatorial campaign.

Meanwhile, as giddy New Englanders were quickly reminded Thursday that Punxsutawney Phil wasn’t joking around when he said there would be six more weeks of winter, the state Legislature’s hibernation continued. Since taking office in January, lawmakers have barely poked their heads from the den except to gavel through a pay raise bill for public officials.

But if someone thought legislative leaders might be inspired by Patriots coach Bill Belichick leading the City Hall Plaza crowd on Tuesday in a uniquely Belichickian chant of “No Days Off,” they were in for a letdown.

DeLeo, apparently, is not the taskmaster Belichick is, having postponed due to “inclement weather” what was supposed to be a noon Wednesday caucus for House Democrats to get all their feelings about the new president off their chest and discuss how the body should respond to the actions taken so-far by President Donald Trump.

— Matt Murphy

OFF THE TOP

Warming up to a full-fledged legislative plan

Last Wednesday’s 50-degree temperatures didn’t stop House Speaker DeLeo from rolling out his early education plan, though, promising to boost funding in next year’s budget for early educator salaries and benefits.

Sam Doran / State House News Service

House Speaker Robert DeLeo

The speaker also said he would file legislation in the next two months to improve professional development opportunities for preschool educators.

The action plan stemmed from a report produced by a group of business leaders that DeLeo tasked last year with assessing an early education system that he described as “in crisis,” plagued by paltry pay and high turnover rates.

Jay Gonzalez, a former Deval Patrick lieutenant who launched his Democratic campaign for governor last week and made early education a central theme, was on hand to take some credit for serving on the speaker’s task force and helping to write the report.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Pay raises, no problem — but about those $98M in budget cuts …
  • Gov. Baker’s center court play
  • Pair of Mass. sanctuary cities sue Trump over executive order
  • Baker, Polito praise MBTA work amid tour
  • Video: On storm response, looming budget battle

THE BIG DEAL

Pay raises in the bank, DeLeo still needs to see more revenue before addressing Baker spending cuts


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