BOSTON (AP) — Tom Brady took one for the team, voters legalized marijuana for recreational use, and General Electric moved its global headquarters to Boston.
A look back at those and some of the other stories that grabbed attention and headlines in Massachusetts in 2016:
Brady had to sit out the first four games of the regular season after courts upheld his NFL “DeflateGate” suspension for using underinflated footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship game. The New England Patriots star bounced back just fine, piling up wins and surpassing Peyton Manning as the league’s all-time winningest quarterback.
Massachusetts became the first state on the Eastern Seaboard to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A referendum that passed easily Nov. 8 became law Dec. 15, allowing adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot outside the home, up to 10 ounces inside and grow as many as a dozen marijuana plants per household. Licensed pot shops remain at least a year off.
GE uprooted its longtime corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, and relocated its operations to Boston. Hundreds of employees began working in temporary office space in South Boston as the industrial giant began building a permanent headquarters nearby.
Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi was freed from federal prison early after a judge approved compassionate release for the ex-politician battling throat and prostate cancer. The once-powerful Democrat was convicted in 2011 of steering state contracts to a software firm in exchange for $65,000 funneled through his private law firm. He served five years of an eight-year sentence.
Daily fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to merge after months of speculation and increasing regulatory scrutiny. DraftKings, based in Boston, and FanDuel, headquartered in New York, said joining forces would help them cut costs as they work to become profitable and battle with regulators across the country to remain legal. The merger remains subject to federal regulatory approval.
A 64-year-old cancer patient received the nation’s first penis transplant in a landmark procedure performed at Massachusetts General Hospital. Thomas Manning, whose penis was amputated after he was diagnosed with penile cancer in 2012, called the operation a success.
Boston police broadened their use of body cameras after months of rancorous testing. The department launched a six-month pilot involving 100 officers after an officers’ union sued to block the effort.
Voters rejected a hotly debated statewide referendum that would have expanded charter schools in Massachusetts. More than six in 10 voters opposed the measure, contending it would have siphoned badly needed resources away from struggling inner-city public schools.
BYE-BYE, TOLL BOOTHS
Toll booths were dismantled along all 138 miles of the Massachusetts Turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston in a switch to an all-electronic tolling system. Demolition and road reconstruction continued as the year drew to a close, but officials said commuting times were down in many areas of the state as drivers using E-ZPass transponders kept moving.
Massachusetts became one of the first states to enact a sweeping transgender rights law letting people use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender with which they identify.
BAKER ON TRUMP
Gov. Charlie Baker became the first Republican governor to say he wouldn’t support Donald Trump as his party’s nominee for president. Baker went on to refrain from casting a vote for president Nov. 8.