Saturday, 2:15 PM
Out with the old legislative session, in with the new
By Globe Staff
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill worked into the evening, racing to get legislation approved before the end of the two-year session at midnight.
This session's highlights have included the passage of a bill that will invest $1 billion in the state's life sciences industry and the defeat of a bill that would have brought casino gambling to the state.
The Legislature has been in informal session since August -- meaning all bills must pass unanimously. Still, lawmakers cast preliminary and final votes on dozens of bills today, moving them towards the governor's desk.
One bill that passed would create a special commission charged with designating 1,000 great places in the state. Another bill nearing final passage would put more teeth in the penalties for violating municipal ordinances.
The whole dance begins again Wednesday with the swearing-in of new and returning members.
Democratic caucuses will also be held Wednesday in which members will vote to pick leaders for the new session. Senate President Therese Murray is expected to be a shoo-in.
House Speaker Salvatore F.DiMasi DiMasi, who has served as speaker since late 2004, continues to face an ethics controversy involving his close friends and associates that has spawned criminal investigations by state and federal authorities, and reviews by the state inspector general and secretary of state, as well as the Ethics Commission.
But he predicted Monday he would easily win a third term as speaker, the Globe reported this morning.
"I expect to have the overwhelming support of the vast majority of the members," said DiMasi. "I feel very good about it."