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State and regional briefs

$1B Boston convention center upgrade gets airing

BOSTON — State lawmakers are considering a proposed $1.1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition center in South Boston.

Supporters of the measure say the facility that opened in 1997 isn’t big enough to attract many large-scale national and international conventions. They say expanding the convention center and adding hotel rooms would generate new jobs and other economic benefits for the region.

The House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to discuss financing for the project.

Current plans call for no new taxes of fees. Instead, proceeds from the state’s current hotel occupancy tax would be used to support bonds issued for construction.

The Pioneer Institute has warned the convention center expansion could divert capital funds from other state projects.

State to champion organ donation efforts

BOSTON — Massachusetts officials are urging local residents to consider signing up as organ donors.

Last year, more than 640 lives were saved in New England because of the decision of other individuals to become donors.

State health officials said thousands more had their quality of life improved through tissue donations.

State Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz is planning to join with other state officials, transplant surgeons and individuals personally touched by donations — including the families of donors — during a Statehouse event today

Polanowicz will announce April as Donate Life Month in Massachusetts.

Despite the successes, there is far greater demand. There are more than 120,000 patients currently on the U.S. transplant wait list.

The event will take place at 2 p.m. Monday at the House Members Lounge at the Statehouse.

2 Vt. troopers, man shot Sunday a.m.

LEICESTER, Vt. — A Leicester man crossed the street to shoot a neighbor in the head early Sunday morning and then shot and injured two state troopers outside his home, state police said.

Timothy Foley, 47, was taken into custody around 6 a.m. Sunday. Authorities were still determining which charges he would face Sunday afternoon, but said the incident started around 3 a.m. when a woman called 911 to say that she and her husband had been in bed when someone entered their home and shot the husband in the head.

Troopers were led to Foley’s home across the street. After they spoke to Foley by phone, police say Foley fired at the officers from inside the house, hitting two troopers in the head with shotgun pellets. They were able to move to a safe area and were taken to the hospital, where one was treated and released and the other was admitted for non-life threatening injuries. The first victim was in stable condition at Fletcher Allen Medical Center.

After the shooting, the state police hostage negotiation team was able to speak with Foley by phone and persuade him to leave the home. He agreed and was taken into custody without incident. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

Authorities have not released the names of the victim or the troopers involved.

NH House panel holding hearing on new casino plan

CONCORD, N.H. — The House’s tax writing committee is holding a hearing on a new Senate plan to legalize casino gambling in New Hampshire.

The latest plan goes before the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. It would legalize two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games. The House killed a bill a month ago that would have legalized one casino licensed to have 5,000 video slot machines.

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