STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - LUNCH EDITION - MONDAY, FEB. 10

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

HOUSE ADVANCES $154 MILLION SPENDING BILL

The House on Monday gave initial approval to a $154 million spending bill (H 3899) that was moved through the House Ways and Means Committee over the weekend. During a lightly attended session, the House passed an order calling on members to file amendments to the bill by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The bill is expected to receive further consideration during a formal session on Wednesday. Among the larger appropriations in the bill are: more than $48 million for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; $16 million for the Group Insurance Commission, $14 million in a collective bargaining reserve, $8 million for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, $7.9 million for the Department of Youth Services, $4.8 million for the Health and Human Service secretariat, and $2.8 million for the Department of Children and Families. A Ways and Means Committee aide said no summary was available for the more than two dozen outside sections attached to the bill. - M. Norto/SHNS

HOUSE SCHEDULES APRIL 29 SPECIAL ELECTION IN DORCHESTER

The House took action Monday aimed at scheduled an April 29 special election, with an April 1 primary, to fill the seat vacated last week when members expelled former Rep. Carlos Henriquez in light of his conviction on assault and battery charges. Henriquez is serving a six-month jail term and his friend and colleague Rep.


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Russell Holmes of Mattapan said last week he expected Henriquez might try to recapture his seat as he appeals the jury's verdict in a case of domestic violence. Holmes last week raised the possibility that Henriquez, who was sentenced to jail on Jan. 15, might be released on parole by April 15. While special elections are typically set through the passage of orders, the House approved legislation (H 3897) in connection with the Dorchester election. - M. Norton/SHNS

GUN OWNERS GROUP TO OFFER "CONCRETE SOLUTIONS" TO GUN VIOLENCE

Citing shortfalls in the work of a task force charged with recommending solutions to gun violence, the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts planned to release an in-depth response Tuesday and recommend its own proposals to curb gun violence. GOAL officials say the task force report failed to recognize the increase in gun crimes that has occurred under the state's current laws, which many gun control supporters describe as among the strongest in the country. GOAL, which describes itself as the official state firearms association with 17,000 members in Massachusetts, plans to release its report at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The task force was named by House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Legislative leaders have expressed general interest in tackling a bill to address gun violence, but momentum has not been established to date behind any single proposal. - M. Norton/SHNS

SENATOR DRAWS COMPARISON BETWEEN MURRAY, BELICHICK

Senate President Therese Murray confirmed her planned departure from the Senate over the weekend and several senators on Monday applauded her leadership style, with one comparing her to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "I think most of us figured she would not run for re-election, but I think we're all excited that she's going to finish out the term. She's been a phenomenal leader," said Sen. Barry Finegold. "We've joked about it. To me she's had a Bill Belichick leadership style. Where she's never been a type of person that yells, but when she wants something done, she just basically has in her own way gets things done. But she's never been a yeller, never been a one that wants to get the media attention, but incredibly effective leader and one that I've really loved serving with." A candidate for treasurer, Finegold said his departure from the Senate wouldn't hurt Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg's ability to succeed Murray when a new session begins in 2015. "I think Stan has such a majority of senators that even with a handful of us leaving, he'll still be fine," said Finegold, who supported Rosenberg. Sen. Ken Donnelly of Arlington predicted senators would support Murray through the remainder of the 2014 session. "She has a lot of respect in the Senate and we are going to be behind her 100 percent, so if anybody thinks because she's announced that gives any less then they don't know the Senate president and they don't know the senators," said Donnelly. Sen. Michael Barrett, who served in the Senate under President William Bulger before leaving Beacon Hill and returning last year, said he is "grateful" for Murray's style of leadership. "I remember the state Senate back in the days of top-down, total control," said Barrett. "Her tenure's been a sharp contrast." Rosenberg presided Monday during a lightly attended informal session. - A. Metzger/SHNS

BARROS TO JOIN WALSH ADMINISTRATION

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday pulled another of his former mayoral rivals into his administration. With Felix Arroyo already serving as health and human services chief, Walsh announced that John Barros will join as chief of his economic development Cabinet. "John shares my belief that we have to do more than better organize our efforts - we have to ensure those efforts lead to more opportunities for all of Boston's residents and business owners," Walsh said in a statement. "Boston's economy is in a good position, but we can do better. With John, our job creators, and our communities all working together, we will create more economic opportunities throughout our city and take Boston to the next level." According to Walsh's office, Barros, a Dartmouth College graduate, at the age of 17 was the first youth elected to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative Board of Directors and served as vice president and executive director of the DSNI Board and of Dudley Neighbors Inc., a community land trust created to assure permanent affordable housing. - M. Norton/SHNS