Fate of sentencing bill in Patrick's hands as legislature rejects his plan

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Jul. 30, 2012

The House and Senate on Thursday rejected Gov. Deval Patrick’s amendment that would have given judges the discretion to grant habitual offenders parole, forcing the governor now to make a decision that will determine whether the bill becomes law or dies this session.  Read more

If crime bill dies, let the finger-pointing begin

To hear some advocates of the crime bill tell it, Gov. Deval Patrick is risking the legislation’s passage with his amendment.

“His actions to jeopardize the passage of the crime bill are both ill-timed and ill-advised by trying to amend a good and balanced bill with an extraordinary measure to protect repeat violent criminals, with precious little time remaining in the legislative session,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said in a statement, after Patrick announced his move on Saturday.  Read more

Supreme Judicial Court chief: Sentencing bill would create congestion

Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Jul. 26, 2012

In his deliberations over what to do with a sentencing reform bill on his desk, Gov. Deval Patrick apparently reached out to the state’s highest court for input on whether the Supreme Judicial Court’s review of capital cases might suffice for the judicial discretion Patrick has said the bill lacks.

“The short answer to the inquiry is that it would not,” Chief Justice Roderick Ireland wrote to the governor in hand-delivered letter dated Thursday, July 26 and obtained by the News Service.  Read more

Temp workers' rights bill before Senate after 123-28 House vote

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Jul. 26, 2012

A bill that would require temporary worker placement agencies to provide workers with a basic statement of benefits to protect against abuses sits before the Senate after the House passed the bill 123-28 on Wednesday.

Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry said the bill was a whittled-down, simpler version of legislation that has been pushed for years on Beacon Hill, and was the result of a year of sit-down negotiations with stakeholders.  Read more

Adams Street meeting to focus on solar energy

Elizabeth Murray,  Special to the Reporter
Jul. 26, 2012

Solar roof in Jamaica Plain: Tobias Johnson's home gets plenty of sun exposure.Solar roof in Jamaica Plain: Tobias Johnson's home gets plenty of sun exposure.A meeting in Adams Corner next Tuesday will focus on helping residents and small businesses install solar panels on their own homes and buildings. The meeting will be held at the Adams Street Public Library on Aug. 1 at 6 p.m.

The city of Boston and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center have combined to form the Solarize Mass- Boston initiative, which will staged the event on Tuesday evening. The group is hosting meetings in various Boston neighborhoods throughout the summer to try to educate more people on the clean energy resource and hopefully double the amount of residential scale solar power installations in the city.  Read more

Senator predicts Patrick amendments as Senate sends sentencing bill to governor

Michael Norton, Gintautas Dumcius and Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Jul. 20, 2012

The Senate on Thursday voted 31-7 to approve a bill broadening crime-fighting tools, ensuring that certain repeat violent offenders serve their full sentences, and easing prison overcrowding by adjusting sentencing laws for drug offenders.

Shortly after the vote, the House gave the bill final approval and senators sent it to Gov. Deval Patrick.

"The governor should sign it because it's the balanced bill that he asked for when the discussion began," Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said after the vote.  Read more

Rep. Henriquez plans community meeting for Aug. 7

State Rep. Carlos Henriquez, fighting assault and criminal charges leveled by a 23-year-old student, plans to hold a community meeting on Aug. 7.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Dorchester House, located at 1353 Dorchester Ave., according to a notice from Henriquez's office.

The notice states: "Come join Representative Carlos Henriquez for a community meeting. Share your concerns as residents as well as hear about what the Representative has been working on at the State House."  Read more

Sentencing bill negotiators still 'close,' urged to keep flexible schedules

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Jul. 16, 2012

The lead House negotiator on an anti-crime and sentencing reform bill said on Monday that changes to mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenders remain one of the last unresolved issues between the branches.

Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat and co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said after a brief conference committee meeting Monday that the House and Senate were close to reaching a final agreement on the bill that would eliminate parole for certain three-time felons.  Read more

Supporters of Superintendent Johnson to rally on Saturday in JP

Backers of Superintendent Carol Johnson will gather on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain to show support for her. Johnson went into damage control mode this week after the Boston Globe reported that she did not discipline a headmaster after he was accused of a domestic assault charge.

The church, run by Rev. Ray Hammond, is located at 40 Walk Hill.  Read more