STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - LUNCH EDITION [+ VIDEO] - MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

WALSH TO DISCUSS GUN TRAFFICKING, BUY-BACK PROGRAM

With bills to address gun violence bottled up in committee on Beacon Hill, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh plans to talk about his plans to address gun violence in the city on Monday. Walsh will announce a citywide gun buy-back program, a regional summit on gun trafficking, and a renewed focus on a program that helps young people get summer jobs. Walsh plans a press conference at 1 p.m. with Police Commissioner William Evans, pastor Liz Walker and community representatives at Dr. Loesch Family Park on Wainwright Street and Brent Street in Dorchester. Beacon Hill lawmakers have been mulling over ways to reduce gun violence since the legislative session began 15 months ago. Bills addressing gun violence remain before the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. - M. Norton/SHNS

LAWMAKERS TIE $$$ PLAN TO CHARTER CAP PROPOSAL

With the clock ticking to reach a compromise on legislation to lift the charter cap in underperforming school districts, the Senate co-chairwoman of the Education Committee and the lead sponsor of cap-raising legislation on Monday outlined the contours of a deal they reached over the weekend that still has several major hurdles to clear. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep.


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Russell Holmes, both of Boston, presented a compromise offer that would gradually raise the cap on charter school enrollment provided that the state fully funds its reimbursement program for school districts. "I'm still hopeful, down to the last minute, that we'll be able to reach a compromise," Chang-Diaz said during a press conference in the State House. The Education Committee is expected to meet Tuesday to consider charter school legislation, and the House chair of the Education Committee - Rep. Alice Peisch - has gone on record in opposition to the proposal. Holmes said he has not been able to reach many of his colleagues on the committee to gauge their level of support. He said the proposal was about making sure families in his district have a choice about where their children are educated without pitting charter schools against traditional public schools. "Let's all get in the same boat and start rowing together," Holmes said. The charter reimbursement program was underfunded in the current fiscal 2014 budget by $28 million and House and Senate leaders are still drafting the fiscal 2015 budget. - M. Murphy/SHNS

>>> For video of the press conference with Holmes, Chang-Diaz and Forry, go to: http://www.statehousenews.com/video/14-03-24charter/ <<<

SENATE CANCELS FORMAL SESSION PLANS

The Senate does not plan to hold a formal session this week. Senate President Therese Murray outlined a scheduled last week calling for a formal session on Thursday, but those plans were wiped out on Monday when the Senate met for 15 minutes and agreed to meet next on Thursday during an informal session, usually a lightly attended affair where non-controversial bills are taken up. - M. Norton/SHNS