People, Power, and Politics

Late-Budget Drama Drags Deeper Into Summer. In a sign of continuing conflict between House and Senate Democrats, both branches adjourned Thursday for another long weekend without an agreement on an overdue annual state budget that has now resided in the darkness of conference committee talks for seven weeks. While Massachusetts lawmakers for years have blown past their deadlines, the most recent string of late spending plans has occurred with the same two budget chiefs at the negotiating table: Sen. Michael Rodrigues (left above) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston (at right). Both lawmakers have declined to explain areas of disagreement that are keeping them from reaching consensus, leading to mounting speculation about why Democrats are unable to find common ground.(State House News Service)


Monday, July 24

Planning Board Meeting


Tues.July 25

Design Review Meeting Date


Thurs. July 27

Conservation Commission Meeting



Beacon Hill is nearly a year removed from the chaotic and somewhat embarrassing all-night session that closed formal legislating for 2022, but Democrats in the months since appear to have grown further apart rather than closer together. The annual budget is weeks late again, although history still suggests it will land in July, targeted tax relief remains an unfulfilled promise, a routine local road and bridge funding bill is interminably hung up for no known reason, and Democrats won’t act on their own urgent calls for gun law updates because they can’t get past an argument over which legislative committee should vet firearms-related bills. School administrators are readying for a new academic year but the fate of free school meals remains a mystery. One community college is promoting a free option for the fall even though legislators have not yet agreed to that major reform. And vast groups of people – families, the elderly, cities and towns, and businesses – are waiting for policies that have become intertwined in the legislative darkness to emerge into the light. Gov. Maura Healey, who has offered a limited legislative agenda of her own and has yet to host a significant bill-signing, appears content to let House and Senate Democrats work things out, but there are few signs of progress and the new governor has so far been unable to advance her tax-related plans to make Massachusetts more competitive. State government has enough cash to keep services running only through roughly the end of the month. Without a fiscal 2024 budget accord soon, Healey may have to file another temporary budget to prevent a government shutdown. Increasingly, the Legislature is a place where only the top Democrats in either branch have a handle on what’s happening, but even they appear to have their lines crossed with leaders in the other branch. Members of leadership in both branches and committee chairs either don’t know what’s around the next corner, or won’t discuss it, and the cadre of legislative spokespeople are mostly in the same positions. The week ahead could bring breakthroughs on any of the stalled priorities, mostly due to the fact that legislators usually go on vacations in August and may want to show they can finish something before then. The annual budget is usually wrapped up by this time in July, so history suggests a deal may be near. Talks in recent years have only continued deeper into the summer during 2020, when the pandemic gave lawmakers a valid reason to press pause. The last time lawmakers got a budget to the governor before the fiscal year began was 2012, when the fiscal 2013 budget was enacted on June 28, according to data provided by the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation. Once annual budget deals are ready, Democrats quickly schedule formal sessions where the unamendable proposals are approved.

Storylines In Progress

… Preparations are underway for the NAACP’s national convention in Boston, which begins on Wednesday and runs through Aug. 1 … First Lady Jill Biden takes advantage of the concentration of wealth on Nantucket in July with an island fundraiser for President Biden on Saturday … Massachusetts is experiencing typical warm summer days but many of the beaches people rely upon to cool off are closed for swimming due to high bacteria levels associated with rain-related releases from septic systems, sewer overflows and pipes, and agricultural runoff or pet waste … Legislative committees are set to hearing bills dealing with prison construction, housing production, distracted driving, real estate transfer taxes, and vaccines …

Sunday, July 23, 2023

TANISHA SULLIVAN ON 4: NAACP Boston Chapter President Tanisha Sullivan talks with Jon Keller about this week’s NAACP National Convention in Boston, and the perception of Boston among African-Americans and how the convention can change it. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

TRAHAN ON 5: Congresswoman Trahan is on “On The Record” talking about the atmosphere in Congress, her legislative priorities, and her thoughts on the 2024 election cycle. (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

Monday, July 24, 2023

MARLBOROUGH WATER IMPROVEMENTS: U.S. Rep. Trahan holds a press conference announcing $1.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars for the Sligo Water Tank project. Also attending are Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant, Rep. Gregoire, Rep. Gentile, At-Large City Councilor Sam Perlman, Marlborough Commissioner of Public Works Sean Divoll, and Marlborough Assistant Commissioner of Utilities Christopher LaFreniere. The tank was built in the 1960s and stores 2 million gallons of water, according to Trahan’s office. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., Sligo Water Tank, 91 Arnold St., Marlborough)

NATICK FLOOD MONEY: U.S. Rep. Clark and the Charles River Watershed Association hold a press conference discussing how $400,000 in federal funding will reduce flood risks and bolster local climate resilience in Natick and throughout the Charles River watershed. Rep. Linksy attends. (Monday, 12 p.m., Natick High School, 15 West St., Natick)

DA RYAN IN LEXINGTON & CONCORD: Middlesex County District Attorney Ryan leads discussions at two Youth Public Safety Academies as part of her office’s Smart Choices Program, first in Lexington (11 a.m., Lexington High School, 251 Waltham St.) and then in Concord (1:30 p.m., Concord Police Department, 219 Walden St., Concord). (Monday, 11 a.m.)

HOUSE AND SENATE: Both branches start the week with informal sessions. (Monday, 11 a.m., House and Senate chambers | House Livestream | Senate Livestream)

LEGISLATIVE EMPLOYEES – UNIONIZATION BILL: IBEW 2222 holds a virtual legislative briefing on proposals from Rep. Kearney and Sen. Keenan (H 3069 / S 2014) allowing legislative employees at the State House to unionize. U.S. Rep. Pressley gives remarks. Senate staffers were unsuccessful in their bid to unionize last session despite pressing Senate President Spilka for voluntary recognition. The bills are awaiting a hearing before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. There’s an “active organizing drive” at the State House as Beacon Hill staffers work to “ensure a safe workplace free of discrimination and sexual harassment, health insurance coverage in the first month of employment, measures to recruit, support, and retain a diverse workforce, comprehensive professional development opportunities, and a voice in matters concerning their workplace among other factors as their motivation for organizing,” according to the Massachusetts State House Employee Union. (Monday, 1 p.m., Virtual | Registration)

TOURISM COMMITTEE: Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee holds hybrid hearing on three bills dealing with the same topic: banning the use of elephants, big cats, primates, giraffes, and bears in traveling exhibits and shows. The bills are sponsored by Sens. Gomez and Tarr and by Rep. Fiola. The perennially filed bills each come with a significant base of bipartisan support among members of the Legislature, but have never been able to make serious inroads in the House and Senate. (Monday, 1 p.m., Room A-1, Agenda and Access Info)

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Transportation convenes a hybrid hearing to weigh legislation aimed at distracted driving, driver’s education and recreational vehicles. Massachusetts in 2019 enacted a new law aimed at cracking down on distracted driving by requiring hands-free use of phones and other devices, but high rates of crashes — especially a record amount of deaths involving pedestrians in 2022 — might prod lawmakers into additional action. Some of the bills seek to make explicit a ban on drivers recording or broadcasting themselves behind the wheel. One proposal from committee co-chair Rep. Straus (H 3445) would require vehicles manufactured in 2025 and beyond to be designed to “lock out” certain tasks on their visual displays while being driven, such as manual text entry or playing videos. (Monday, 1 p.m., Room A-1 and Virtual | Agenda and Livestream)

GRID ENHANCEMENT WEBINAR: Utility company representatives and industry analysts discuss how new technology can optimize New England’s power grid at a webinar hosted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Speakers include Terron Hill of National Grid, Brent Oberlin of ISO New England, David Quier of PPL Electric Utilities, Julia Selker of WATT Coalition, Katie Siegner of Rocky Mountain Institute, and T. Bruce Tsuchida of The Brattle Group. (Monday, 1 p.m., Zoom)

CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE: Ticket resale, a topic high on the minds of consumers who faced sky-high costs for events like Taylor Swift’s recent tour, is on the agenda at a Joint Committee on Consumer Protection Committee hearing that will also focus on retail, solicitation and advertising. Several bills on the agenda propose new regulations for tickets to entertainment and sporting events, like barring ticket resellers from accessing pre-sales. Other topics that could emerge include telephone solicitation, cash purchases and price gouging during public health emergencies. One bill from Rep. Kearney (H 343) would immediately prohibit the “purchase and/or consumption” of “any and all product[s] made in Russia.” (Monday, 1 p.m., Room B-2 and Virtual | Agenda and Access Info)

SPILKA IN WESTERN MASS.: Senate President Spilka attends an “announcement related to flooding” in western Massachusetts, joined by Sen. Comerford of Northampton and other senators. Open to press; RSVP to for location details. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Hatfield)

DESEGREGATION OF U.S. MILITARY – 75TH ANNIVERSARY: Black and Latino Legislative Caucus commemorates the 75th anniversary of President Truman’s executive order desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces with a “short speaking program to honor the contributions and sacrifices that veterans of color have made.” Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll host the event in the governor’s ceremonial office, according to the caucus. “Although President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 changed the course of American history on July 26, 1948, when he officially declared that ‘there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin’ we are still fighting to this day for racial equity, civil rights, and inclusion inside and outside of the military,” Rep. Bud Williams, chair of the caucus, wrote in an advisory. “The sacrifices our Veterans of Color have made to ensure the freedoms that we enjoy today as Americans … Black and Brown Americans specifically, warrants our respect and goes beyond gratitude!” RSVPs were due by 12 p.m. Friday to Marcela Castillo at (Monday, 2 p.m., Governor’s Office)

LEAD IN DRINKING WATER: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox will join U.S. Sen. Warren, Congresswoman Clark, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Tepper, Sen. DiDomenico and others to announce “significant grant funding to address lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities across the country.” The EPA says the event will feature a media availability. (Monday, 2 p.m., The Kennedy Center, 23A Moulton St., Charlestown)

DPH HEARING ON BIRTH CENTER CLOSURE: Department of Public Health holds a public hearing on UMass Memorial Health’s plan to shutter the birthing center at Leominster Hospital. DPH will determine whether the service is essential for “preserving access and health status within the hospital’s service area,” according to state regulation. Pending legislation would overhaul this process — which opponents say lacks an enforcement mechanism from the state and usually results in hospitals proceeding with their closure plans despite public outcry — by creating a mechanism for state receivership of hospitals or free-standing clinics pending closure. Community members, advocates and officials have already condemned the closure of the birthing center, arguing it provides an essential service. (Monday, 5:30 p.m., Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

MHA WORKFORCE SUMMIT: The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association holds its 2023 workforce summit. Labor Secretary Lauren Jones and PressGaney’s Nell Buhlman are scheduled to discuss workforce development initiatives and the role of culture in workforce retention. The summit will also focus on building and fostering a sustainable nursing workforce, in the wake of nursing shortages around the state. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., MHA Conference Center, Burlington | Register & More Info)

SPILKA HOSTS U.K. POLS: Senate President Spilka hosts a delegation from the Parliament of the United Kingdom for a meeting “to discuss cooperation” between the Bay State and the U.K. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Senate President’s Office)

HEALTH CARE FINANCING COMMITTEE: The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing holds a hearing on about a dozen bills tied to MassHealth coverage for child health and home care services. MassHealth is the largest program in the state budget and the program is reassessing its enrollees to redetermine eligibility. Several proposals on the docket aim to update the process for determining payment rates for home health and home care services, including outlining a cost analysis using national or regional indexes and considering changes to the state’s minimum wage. Continuous skilled nursing care could see a budget boost from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services as lawmakers aim to protect “medically fragile children.” More schools could seek MassHealth reimbursements for school-based services and medical benefits under legislation that would create a task force charged with identifying barriers for obtaining reimbursement. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Gardner Auditorium | Agenda and Livestream)

AGRICULTURE COMMISSION: The 21st Century Agriculture Commission holds its second meeting to discuss “recent changes” to the commission and a preview of hearings for the coming months. The commission is tasked with tackling issues including efficiency, climate change resiliency, education and workforce development. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Virtual | Livestream)

LIFE SCIENCES WORKFORCE TRAINING: Mass. Biotechnology Council holds groundbreaking for a new 4,000-square-foot workforce training center for Bioversity, a nonprofit launched by MassBio that plans to graduate 100 people next year into entry-level scientific operations jobs at local life sciences companies. Ceremony marks the start of construction on lab and classroom space ahead of Bioversity bringing in the first training cohort in January. Attendees include MassBio President and CEO Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, Bioversity Executive Director Zach Stanley, Boston City Councilor Frank Baker, Beacon Life Science President Steve Purpura, and Carol Stuckey, dean of the School of Professional Studies at the Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., 135 Morrissey Blvd., Boston)

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on nearly 50 bills affecting the criminal justice system. The agenda includes Rep. Tyler’s proposal to establish a jail and prison construction moratorium, which also blocks state and public agencies from expanding the capacity of an existing correctional facility or renovating an existing facility beyond maintenance or to comply with building code requirements. More than 20 inmates testified virtually from MCI-Framingham during a hearing in support of Sen. Comerford’s companion bill before the Joint on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight last month. Other bills on the agenda look to ensure free phone calls for inmates at correctional facilities, crack down on prison labor, and address structural racism in the parole process. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Room A-2 | Agenda and Livestream)

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE: Public Service Committee holds hybrid public hearing on bills affecting pensions and retirement boards. Potential topics for discussion include prompt retiree payments, modernizing the retirement system for future state employees, pension parity, benefit calculations in the teacher’s retirement system, State Police pensions, and veteran judges’ pensions. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Room B-2, Agenda and Access Info)

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: Sen. Creem speaks to the Women2Women International Leadership Program, which provides skills and opportunities to female leaders between the ages of 15 and 19. Creem is slated to discuss her path into politics and the importance of female leadership on major issues like climate change. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Great Hall)

REVENUE COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Revenue solicits written testimony on 20 local bills dealing with taxation and revenue, including a proposed local-option real estate transfer tax for Martha’s Vineyard communities. Testimony is accepted through 5 p.m. Friday and can be emailed to The Vineyard transfer fee, 2 percent of the purchase price for real property, would go into a proposed Martha’s Vineyard “housing bank” tasked with “creating and preserving both year-round housing and community housing.” The bill also includes “anti-flipping restrictions” for housing bank units. The Coalition To Create The MV Housing Bank says the new entity would be able to convert houses into income-restricted rental apartments, loan families downpayment assistance for market-rate homes, and grant or loan funding for denitrification wastewater upgrades. The Revenue Committee also has custody of broader transfer tax bills it hasn’t yet scheduled for a hearing, like two that would allow any municipality to choose to adopt a transfer fee without going through the Legislature. Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a proposal to let Charlemont collect a 3 percent tax on tickets for “commercial recreational activities” within its borders, like skiing, ziplining, and whitewater rafting, the sorts of activities offered by Berkshire East Mountain Resort in that town. Other bills on the docket deal with the fee imposed on passenger ferry trips that goes towards the Hyannis Fire District, a commercial linkage fee for Lexington, and half a dozen proposals that would set up a property tax exemption or deferral for certain senior citizens in specific towns. (Tuesday | Full Agenda and More Info)

BLUE HILL AVE. TRANSPO PLAN: The MBTA and the City of Boston hold virtual public meeting to share redesign plans for Blue Hill Avenue from Warren Street to Mattapan Square, including “high-quality bus priority facilities” that MassDOT says will lead to better service reliability. Meeting also includes a public comment period. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Online)

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Public Health solicits testimony on seven bills related to vaccines, in a hearing that was rescheduled from last Wednesday when the State House was unexpectedly shut down after an electrical fire. The committee booked the Gardner Auditorium for this hearing, the largest committee room in the building that’s often reserved when the co-chairs expect a high volume of testimony. Some bills on the agenda seek to update immunization requirements in schools, including one that is intended to protect medical and religious exemptions from vaccines for school-aged children. The conservative Massachusetts Family Institute issued an “action alert” to its followers ahead of the original hearing date, calling for opposition to two proposals. One would require all public, private, and charter schools to give state government an annual report of how many of its students are immunized and how many are exempted from immunization requirements. The MFI says that bill would “delete the religious exemption for K-12th grade students from the current vaccine law.” Another bill, dubbed by sponsors the “Community Immunity Act,” is opposed by MFI because it would require immunization exemption requests to go through the state Department of Public Health, the group wrote. Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a push to give funeral home directors and funeral workers the same vaccine access priority as health care providers in the event of a public health emergency when there is an insufficient supply of vaccine. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Gardner Auditorium | Full Agenda and Access Info)

SENATE DEMS – POTENTIAL CAUCUS: Senate President Spilka has advised Senate Democrats to plan for a “potential” private caucus, ahead of a “potential” formal session on the books for Thursday. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Senate President’s Office)

BEACON WIND MEETING: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holds a virtual public meeting on the notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for construction plans of the proposed Beacon Wind offshore energy project. Beacon Wind is planned for an area of 128,000 acres in federal waters about 20 miles south of Nantucket. The company estimates that the wind farm will provide 1,230 megawatts of renewable energy for households in the Northeast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management initiated a 30-day public comment period that ends on July 31. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Zoom | More Info)

CHILD CARE BRIEFING: A legislative briefing looks to build support for a Rep. Decker bill (H 456) that would create a payment structure for family, friend and neighbor caregivers administered by the Department of Early Education and Care, including a minimum hourly rate that is equal to or more than the state’s minimum wage. The bill applies to only state payments for FFN providers, according to a spokesperson for the Care That Works Coalition – composed of community groups and labor unions – that organized the briefing. Speakers include Rep. Decker, Mimi Ramos of New England United 4 Justice, and Alejandra Tejeda of SEIU Local 509. FFN care is defined as “child care which is exempt from licensure by the department because the individual caregiver either provides care in the child’s own home or is a relative of the child, other than family child care home care,” according to the legislation. It’s awaiting a hearing before the Joint Committee on Education. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Room 350)

STATE ADMIN COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight hosts a hearing about open meetings, public records, state agencies and land bills. Several proposals seek permanent authorization for public meetings to feature remote options, which exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and which lawmakers have kept in place with multiple temporary extensions. The state’s public records law is also poised to be a topic of discussion, with proposals to overhaul it or stand up a new public records commission to govern access to documents and other government records. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Room A-1 | Agenda)

ENERGY COMMITTEE: Senate members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy take public testimony on 28 bills related to heating fuels, mostly gas pipelines and infrastructure, including proposals by lawmakers from Springfield and North Andover to place a moratorium on “new gas system expansion.” A small but dedicated group of protesters have been posted up at the State House for weeks calling for a ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure, and members of the same group this year have been arrested after protests inside the governor’s lobby, House Chamber, and Senate Chamber. Sen. O’Connor of Weymouth, the site of a controversial gas compressor station, has a bill on the docket that would require “at least one Air Monitoring Station within a one-mile radius of any working natural gas compressor station,” and another O’Connor bill calls for the University of Massachusetts to use a CDC model and study “potential public health impacts that could be caused by the extraction or transportation or compression of natural gas.” (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Room A-2 and Virtual | Full Agenda and Access Info)

HOUSING COMMITTEE: Housing production, an elusive goal of some in a state with high prices and rents and an aversion to growth in some areas, will be the focus of a Housing Committee hearing. The agenda includes bills dealing with Chapter 40B, a state law that has contributed to housing production over the years in communities where less than 10 percent of housing is considered affordable. Sen. Feeney is pushing legislation to create “missing-middle starter homes” and other bills tackle housing development incentives that lawmakers are also looking to expand in various other bills that have gathered momentum already this session. Accessory dwelling units, multi-family housing construction, and “movable tiny houses” are also potential topics of testimony, along with a “Yes in My Back Yard” bill offered by Rep. Vargas that would establish in law the statewide goal of producing 427,000 new units of housing in Massachusetts by 2040. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Room B-2, Agenda and Access)

SPILKA IN FRAMINGHAM: Senate President Spilka plans to attend a raising of “the ADA flag” with the Framingham Disabilities Commission to mark the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., City Hall, 150 Concord St., Framingham)

Thursday, July 27, 2023

MBTA BOARD: MBTA Board of Directors meets. Online participation is also available through the T’s website. (Thursday, 10 a.m., MassDOT Board Room, Transportation Building, 2nd floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | More Info)

ENERGY COMMITTEE: House members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy take public testimony on more than two dozen bills related to heating fuels, mostly gas pipelines and infrastructure, including proposals to place a moratorium on “new gas system expansion.” The agenda is nearly identical to a hearing held Thursday by Senate members of the committee, which continues to hold split meetings amid an impasse on internal rules. The natural gas compressor station in Weymouth has generated local controversy for years, and Weymouth Sen. O’Connor has two relevant bills on the docket. One would direct UMass to conduct a “comprehensive” health impact assessment to “examine potential public health impacts that could be caused by the extraction or transportation or compression of natural gas.” A “new and legitimate” health impact assessment was among the requests that Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) made in a March letter to Gov. Healey, in which the group recounted it had been “fighting the siting, construction, and operation of this toxic and potentially explosive station for eight full years.” (Thursday, 10 a.m., Room A-1 and Virtual | Full Agenda and Access Info)

CANNABIS COMMISSION: Cannabis Control Commission meets in-person in Worcester. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Worcester Union Station, Public Meeting Room, Worcester | More Info)

HOUSE – POTENTIAL FORMAL: Speaker Mariano’s office advised House members of a “potential” formal session for Thursday. (Thursday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

SENATE – POTENTIAL FORMAL: Senate President Spilka advised senators to pencil in a “potential” formal session for Thursday. (Thursday, 11 a.m., Senate Chamber)

STREET HOCKEY IN QUINCY: Norfolk County Sheriff McDermott holds free street hockey clinic for children aged 6 to 13 in partnership with Hockey Cares for Kids and the Boston Bruins Alumni. “Programs like Hockey Cares for Kids are more than just honing sports skills. Along with street hockey, kids will learn about sportsmanship and anti-bullying, as well as health and nutrition, which are all critical in a young person’s development,” McDermott said in an advisory. Event runs ’til 1 p.m. Sign up by emailing (Thursday, 11 a.m., Brill Field, 29 Island Ave., Quincy)

NEWIEE PANEL: New England Women in Energy and the Environment hosts its ninth annual Women Shaping the Agenda event, focused on balancing environmental priorities for renewable energy development. Maria Belen Power, undersecretary of environmental justice and equity in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, is scheduled to speak. (Thursday, 5 p.m., Saint Anslem College, Manchester, New Hampshire)

WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE REPLACEMENTS: MassDOT holds virtual public meeting about the design of proposed bridge replacements for Bridge Street and South Main Street where they cross over the Mill River in Williamsburg. Project also includes rebuilding South Main Street between the two bridges. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Online)

COMMUNITY COLLEGE PITCHES FREE OPTION: MassBay Community College holds an information session on MassReconnect, which would provide free community college for residents ages 25 and older without a college degree. While the proposal remains stuck in fiscal 2024 budget deliberations, the community college is reminding people that applications are due Aug. 29; classes start Sept. 5. “Once MassReconnect is approved, there will never be a better time than fall 2023 to go to college,” Lisa Slavin, MassBay associate vice president of enrollment, said in a statement. (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Virtual | Livestream)

Friday, July 28, 2023

HOUSE – POTENTIAL FORMAL: Speaker Mariano’s office advised House members to prepare for a “potential” formal session on Friday. (Friday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

THE HUB AT NAACP CONVENTION: The Hub opens at the NAACP 114th National Convention, which organizers describe as an “immersive experience celebrating Black culture and promoting social impact.” It’s free and open to the public, running through Sunday. Mayor Wu delivers a welcome address at the Hub’s block party starting at 5:30 p.m. (Friday, 2 p.m., Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston)

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