STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - AFTERNOON EDITION - WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

PROSECUTOR: DeLEO TOLD BUDGET CHIEF "HANDS OFF" PROBATION

Prosecutors plan to call a half dozen more current and former lawmakers, including former House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Murphy, as they attempt to prove their case against former probation department officials, including the allegation that former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray was gifted at least one hire in the electronic monitoring program. The case outlook and a prediction the trial could stretch longer than the mid-July forecast came out during a hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Moakley Courthouse. Prosecutor Fred Wyshak said he plans to call Reps. Byron Rushing, Harold Naughton, David Linsky, Michael Moran, James O'Day, Kevin Honan, and former Rep. Vincent Pedone about hires to the electronic monitoring program, where the three defendants allegedly committed bribery. Rep. Garrett Bradley will testify about legislation he proposed to return more probation department budgeting authority to the Office of the Trial Court, limiting probation's autonomy, and Murphy will testify that in the midst of a fiscal crisis Speaker Robert DeLeo told him "hands off" the probation department, according to Wyshak. [Developing] - A. Metzger/SHNS

DeLEO OFFERED REPS OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE JOB RECOMMENDATIONS

As chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in 2007 and 2008, Rep. Robert DeLeo, who is now Speaker of the Massachusetts House, offered the opportunity for two committee members from central Massachusetts to recommend people to positions at a new electronic monitoring facility run by the probation department in Clinton. Rep. Anne Gobi, a Spencer Democrat, and Robert Rice, a former representative from Gardner, both testified Wednesday that they subsequently voted for DeLeo to become speaker over Rep. John Rogers, though they said the job recommendation offer played no role in that decision or in their votes on state budget items. David Fournier, a Winchendon resident who had been Rice's friend since high school, applied for a job in August 2007 and was appointed to a temporary position the next day. He was sent a letter this January, nearly seven years later, informing him his position would be made permanent, he testified in the ongoing probation trial. Federal prosecutors have accused three former probation department officials of offering jobs at the Clinton ELMO facility as bribes or gratuities to members of the Legislature. [Developing] - A. Metzger/SHNS

SJC NOMINEE TO APPEAR BEFORE COUNCIL JULY 2

Appeals Court Judge Geraldine Hines will go before the Governor's Council on July 2 for a confirmation hearing on her nomination to the Supreme Judicial Court. Gov. Deval Patrick nominated Hines last week to fill the seat of Justice Ralph Gants, who is poised to become the high court's chief justice when Justice Roderick Ireland retires this summer. Hines, who grew up in the segregated South, could become the first female African-American judge to serve of the state's top court. The Governor's Council on July 2 will also interview Tina Hurley for her reappointment by the governor to the Parole Board. The Hurley hearing starts at 10 a.m. and the Hines hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. The council on Wednesday also unanimously confirmed private attorney Kerry Ahern, of Lowell, for a seat on the Essex Juvenile Court bench and Helen Brown Bryant, another private attorney, to the Suffolk Juvenile Court. Kimberly Moses Smith was reappointed by acclamation as public administrator for Bristol County, and Patrick nominated J. David Bowie, the acting clerk magistrate in the Barnstable County Juvenile Court, to the full-time position. Bowie will go before the council for an interview on July 9. Patrick said the Governor's Council would not meet next week because he will be travelling to San Diego to attend the 2014 Bio International Convention. - M. Murphy/SHNS

SENATE PANEL MUM ON VOTING AMID CHATTER ON CHARTER BILL

With the Senate's only formal session of the week set for Thursday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee won't say whether its members are voting on any bills in preparation for floor votes. Senate Ways and Means often kicks out significant bills prior to formal sessions, including proposals that have cleared the House and are awaiting consideration in the Senate's most powerful committee. Asked by the News Service Wednesday if the committee was voting on any bills, a committee spokeswoman replied by email, "We don't release this information." Many legislative committees have switched over the years from holding open and posted committee executive sessions to discuss bills and vote on them, to the now predominant polling scheme. The polling method is less transparent than executive sessions, with committees providing no public notice when members are asked to vote on bills electronically. Citizens for Public Schools circulated an "urgent update" email Wednesday afternoon speculating about a possible Senate vote Thursday afternoon on legislation lifting the cap on charter schools in underperforming districts and plans to discuss the bill during a closed caucus planned for noon Thursday in Senate President Therese Murray's office. The House-approved version of that bill is before Senate Ways and Means. The group called it an "excellent day to call" senators to discuss the issue. - M. Norton/SHNS