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Mere mention of opioid bill spurs fist pump from Baker

  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker takes questions from members of the media during a news conference at the Statehouse in Boston In January 2017. AP File Photo



State House News Service
Monday, June 11, 2018

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker bent down and pumped his fist at the mere mention by Speaker Robert DeLeo of his opioid abuse prevention bill, but with less than two months remaining on the legislative calendar nothing is for certain.

DeLeo, who met with Baker and Senate President Harriette Chandler for over an hour Monday, said the House was “taking a look at” the governor’s opioid legislation. That prompted the Rene Rancourt-esque display of emotion from the governor.

But the speaker simply smirked and moved on, indicating that his members were “all over the place” on another priority of the governor’s – a housing production bill – and emphasizing that the House was also “taking a look” at that bill as well.

“It seems like we’re making progress,” DeLeo said.

The House, according to DeLeo, will consider a borrowing bill for environmental programs this week, and the Economic Development Committee could be releasing a job creation bond bill as soon as Monday afternoon.

With the Senate poised this week to consider a major clean energy bill, the speaker also said the House was interested in energy issues this session, and would be looking “individually” at four bills that moved through the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee. Those bills, among other things, proposed to increase the solar net metering cap and require utilities to slowly increase the amount of renewable power used to meet peak demand.

“Whether the sum parts of all of them turn into a major energy bill, I’m not sure whether that would be considered as such, but in any case we will do some of those energy pieces,” DeLeo said.

DeLeo’s priority list also includes wrapping up budget negotiations on time for the start of the fiscal year on July 1, taking up a health care cost control bill within the next couple of weeks, and compromising with the Senate over a “red flag” gun bill over which leaders are hoping to avoid formal conference negotiations.

“I agree completely with what my partner has just said. He enumerated them so well,” Chandler said of DeLeo’s list.