The events and meetings this coming week

Black market tobacco sales - Casino license finale - “Tax fairness” commission - Fix state’s electric grid

ADVANCES – Week of Feb. 23-Mar. 1, 2014

Casino License finale

A subset of Massachusetts voters on Tuesday will effectively decide whether the city of Everett will face any competition for the sole resort casino license available in the potentially lucrative eastern Massachusetts area. And by next Friday, state gambling industry regulators plan to issue the first license, for a slot machine parlor, under the November 2011 expanded gaming law - applicants in the bidding are pushing proposals for Leominster, Plainville and Raynham. With the fate of a casino law repeal proposal in the hands of the courts, voters in Revere head to the polls to determine whether a hastily drawn up $1.3 billion casino plan backed by Suffolk Downs and Mohegan Sun will compete with a rival casino proposal backed by gaming magnate Steven Wynn. Last November, voters in Revere approved a Suffolk Downs casino in East Boston, but in a surprise to many, East Boston voters rejected it and developers quickly shifted their sights to Revere with the hopes of keeping their casino dreams alive. Arguments for and against the casino remain largely the same, with proponents banking on jobs and an economic jolt and opponents resisting the traffic, social problems and negative consequences of a casino. With school vacation ending activity will pick up again on Beacon Hill. Here’s a snapshot of some of the news that’s taking shape.

-- Gov. Deval Patrick plans to spend his week far from the halls of the State House. The governor leaves Massachusetts on Saturday for Washington, D.C. where he plans to take part in the annual winter meetings of the National Governors Association, and will leave from there on a vacation to Costa Rica. While confabbing with the NGA, Patrick plans to participate in event with other governors and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss early childhood education. The governor also has short meetings scheduled with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Patrick plans to join other governors for a dinner at the White House on Sunday night with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and on Monday will take part in a meeting back at the White House with the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss "ongoing state-federal issues." After the NGA conference, Patrick plans to depart Washington on Tuesday morning for Costa Rica.

-- The state Senate next week plans to tackle legislation addressing unmet funding needs for water infrastructure improvements, but the bill that will emerge for consideration has been stripped of $450 million recommended by a joint legislative committee. The Senate Bonding Committee, chaired by Sen. Brian Joyce of Milton, this week advanced a version of the bill that does not include an authorization for $250 million in borrowing for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust and up to $200 million for infrastructure from capital gains revenues.

-- Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker delivers a keynote address Monday afternoon at a Boston College conference on health care reform. Baker’s background is in health care, as state health and human services secretary and then as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

-- Fiscal 2015 budget hearings resume, with members of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees sitting down Tuesday in Amherst and Friday in Dedham to hear Patrick administration officials promote and defends spending proposed in Gov. Deval Patrick’s $36.4 billion budget. Tuesday’s hearing focused on education and local aid; health and human services are on tap for Friday.

-- Lawmakers have tasked a commission with coming up with ideas for “tax fairness” and the panel is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, with a vote on final recommendations on the agenda.

-- State utilities regulators plan hearings all week on ways to modernize the state’s electric grid.

-- The Illegal Tobacco Commission, formed by the Legislature to develop policies and methods to reduce black market tobacco sales in Massachusetts, is expected to release its final report and recommendations to the Legislature by March 1. The nine-member panel is chaired by Department of Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter.

SUNDAY, FEB. 23, 2014

DeLEO ON KELLER: House Speaker Robert DeLeo appears on WBZ’s Keller At Large program. Host Jon Keller and DeLeo discuss the casino approval vote in Revere, Gov. Patrick’s lame-duck status and the problems with the state health insurance website signup system. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV)

KAYYEM ‘ON THE RECORD’: Democratic candidate for governor Juliette Kayyem is this week’s guest on WCVB’s On the Record. (Sunday, 11:30 a.m., WCVB)

CATERED RALLY FOR REVERE CASINO: Supporters of a casino in Revere plan to hold a rally Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled referendum vote on a casino planned on Suffolk Downs property located on the East Boston border. Organizers are promising food, fun, and entertainment, including catering from Kelly’s Roast Beef. “We encourage everyone to join us for this fun-filled afternoon as we say yes to new jobs, tax relief, economic development and the exciting opportunity that Mohegan Sun Massachusetts represents for Revere,” Cyndi Ciambelli, of Friends of Mohegan Sun, said in a statement. (Sunday, 2 p.m., VFW Post Joseph Mottolo, Revere)

ANTI-CASINO MARCH: Don’t Gamble on Revere and Friends of Revere plan a public march from Immaculate Conception Parish Church to Revere City Hall. The Salvadorian Marching Peace Band will lead a procession, which will include a brief rally in front of Revere’s City Hall advocating for people to vote against the proposed Mohegan Sun casino. (Sunday, 1 p.m. Immaculate Conception Parish Church, 127 Winthrop Avenue to Revere City Hall, 281 Broadway).

MONDAY, FEB. 24, 2014

HOUSE & SENATE INFORMALS: The House and Senate both plan to meet for an inform sessions. (Monday, 11 a.m., House and Senate Chambers)

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: A discussion is planning Monday among members of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on “Civic Education and Engagement: the Role of Schools and State Initiatives.” (Monday, 5 p.m., 75 Pleasant St., Malden)

SERVICE & VOLUNTEERISM SECTOR IN MASS. | The Massachusetts Service Alliance, the state commission on service and volunteerism, hosts a constituent services briefing on the growing service and volunteerism sector in the Commonwealth. Speakers will provide attendees with resources to appropriately direct constituents to opportunities and groups actively looking to engage volunteers. (Monday, 11 a.m., House Member’s Lounge).

SENATOR TO DISCUSS PLAN FOR “GREEN JOBS” | Commercial and industrial property owners would be able to access low-interest financing for alternative energy facility upgrades under the reform plans of a state senator from Milton. Sen Brian Joyce on Monday morning plans to discuss his efforts to reform the Massachusetts Property Assessed Clean Energy program during an event with officials from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the U.S. Green Buildings Council and MassDevelopment, he announced on Wednesday. Joyce will be joined on a panel by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. (Monday, 8:30 a.m., Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Boston)

FINANCIAL AID DAY AT STATE HOUSE: Financial Aid Day, an annual rally organized by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts along with the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, will be held at the State House. More than 150 students, from 30 colleges and universities, are expected to attend. Speaker Robert DeLeo and Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston) are scheduled to address the students. Last year during Financial Aid Day, Gov. Deval Patrick described the state’s needs-based financial aid grant program, MassGrant, as being "chipped away" at over the years. In 1988, the MassGrants scholarship program met approximately 80 percent of student need, according to the Patrick administration. Today, it meets about 8 percent. In the fiscal year 2014 budget, the Legislature increased funding for needs-based financial aid by $3 million, according to AICUM. (Monday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Great Hall, State House)

ROLES OF SOCIAL WORKERS: Charlie Baker, a Republican candidate for governor and former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO, will give the keynote speech at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work conference. Former Massachusetts Commissioner of Mental Health Marylou Sudders will also speak, as well as Angelo McClain, former commissioner for the Massachusetts Department Children and Families who now heads the National Association of Social Workers. Baker will give remarks on health care and social work, and will be followed by a panel discussion on the roles social workers will play as the Affordable Care Act is implemented. The panel features Carol Kress, chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership; Mary Neagle, co-director, Integrative Care Management Program at Partners Health Care; Rebecca Osario, clinical social worker, Integrated Care Management Program, Massachusetts General Hospital; and J. Scott Turton, director of primary care Integration and Electronic Medical Records Implementation, Gosnold on Cape Cod. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, Corcoran Commons)

GAMING COMMISSION: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission plans to hold a meeting to discuss a recent correspondence received from the City of Boston relating to resort-casino applications in Everett and Revere. The Commission will also discuss the schedule for upcoming ‘surrounding community’ designation decisions in the eastern Massachusetts region (Region A) where developers are bidding to build a casino in either Everett or Revere. A decision is also expected on the ‘Impacted Live Entertainment Venue’ petition submitted by the Eastern States Exposition regarding the MGM Springfield proposal. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Room 104, Boston)

GUN VIOLENCE LISTENING TOUR: Reps. Hank Naughton, (D-Clinton) and Michael Brady (D-Brockton) will join Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter to host a gun violence listening tour event, continuing meetings held around the state since April to hear from the public about ways to curb gun violence. In addition to the listening tour, members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security held five public hearings around the state on gun safety legislation. House leaders, who also recently received the recommendations of a special task force, have yet to outline a plan to address gun violence. (Monday, 6 p.m., Brockton War Memorial Building, 156 West Elm St. Brockton)

COMMUNICATING DURING A CRISIS – POST BOSTON MARATHON: The Publicity Club of New England and the Public Relations Society of America Boston look back at communication efforts during the Boston Marathon bombing crisis. Specialists will discuss how information was disseminated in real-time through traditional and social media in the wake of the bombings and the manhunt that followed. Panelists will focus on crisis communications and lessons learned. The event will be moderated by Liz Brunner, former NewsCenter 5 anchor and founder of Brunner Communications. Panelists include: Michael Morrison, media relations manager at Massachusetts General Hospital; John Guilfoil, deputy press secretary to former Mayor Thomas Menino; Timothy Sullivan, director of communications, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network & Partners Continuing Care; Kat Powers, director of communications at Red Cross; and Nicole Russo of 451 Marketing and spokeswoman for Forum Bar and Restaurant on Boylston Street. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to The One Fund, supporting victims of the marathon bombings. (Monday, 6 p.m., the Old State House, 206 Washington St., Boston)

ARKANSAS GUV TALKS HEALTH CARE: Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service covering health policy issues at state and federal levels, will hold a journalist-only discussion with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, who plans to answer questions about his state’s experiences with the Affordable Care Act. Last fall, Arkansas was the first state to win federal approval to use Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Beebe has advocated for the Medicaid “private option” plan as a way to improve care and lower costs. Political opposition in the state has threatened the program, according to A Kaiser Health News announcement of the event. The conversation with Beebe is on the record. RSVP with Tiffany Ford Fields at [email protected] or (202) 347-5270. (Monday, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Barbara Jordan Conference Center, Kaiser Family Foundation, 1330 G Street NW, Washington DC)

DPU HEARINGS ON GRID MODERNIZATION: The Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing to explore grid modernization by the state’s electric utilities. A 10 a.m. panel will explore advanced metering and the requirement to achieve advanced metering functionality in three years. At 2 p.m., a panel will discuss “how to facilitate the adoption of new technologies relative to the utilities’ research and development activities.” (Monday, 10 a.m., Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston)

EARLY EDUCATION AND CARE ADVISORY COUNCIL: The Department of Early Education and Care's Advisory Council will meet to discuss the department’s annual legislative report, the fiscal year 2015 budget, and the special commission on Early Education and Care Operations and Finance. (Monday, 1 p.m. State House, Room 437)

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE: The Public Service Committee holds a public hearing on several home rule petitions and legislation concerning retirement benefits for state employees involved in military service. Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) sponsors H 3864, which would allow the mayor of Newton to appoint retired police officers to a special detail unit. Agenda: https://malegislature.gov/Events/EventDetail?eventId=911&eventDataSource=Hearings (Monday, 1 p.m., Room A-1)

HEROIN CRISIS CONFERENCE: The Opiate Education and Awareness Task Force hosts a conference to discuss the growing problem of heroin and opioid addiction and overdose deaths in western Massachusetts. Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey and Court Administrator Harry Spence are scheduled to speak at the conference that organizers said will bring together elected officials, judges and court employees, doctors, members of law enforcement, drug prevention experts, and community leaders. The task force was created by Franklin County Register of Probate John Merrigan, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan. Congressman James McGovern, Senator Stan Rosenberg, Woburn Chief of Police Robert J. Ferullo, Jr., Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services Hilary Jacobs, Chief Probation Officer Vincent Piro and Probation Officer Michael Higgins, co-founders of the H.E.A.T. Program, and John McGahan, founder of the recovery program the Gavin Foundation, also scheduled to present and participate. (Monday, 1 p.m., Greenfield Community College, 1 College Drive, Greenfield)

BOARD OF STATE EXAMINERS OF ELECTRICIANS: The Board of State Examiners of Electricians holds a public outreach meeting to solicit ideas and comments regarding possible revisions to its regulations, 237 CMR 12.00 - 23.00. (Monday, 9 a.m., Division of Professional Licensure, 1000 Washington St., Room 1D, Boston)

MOTT DIRECTOR IN LOWELL: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Betsy Wall will attend the Greater Merrimack Valley Listening Tour, hosted by Rep. Cory Atkins and Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. (Monday, 10 a.m., Boott Cotton Mills, 115 John Street, Lowell)

PUBLIC-PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS: MassDOT’s Special Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure Oversight Commission, the panel charged with evaluating potential state-private team-ups, meets to discuss some proposals. The commission is looking into several projects, including a “twin” bridge to Cape Cod in Sagamore, a dedicated lane for Route 3 South and rest stop improvements. (Monday, 1 p.m., MassDOT Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Room 3830)

FALCHUK AT SUFFOLK: The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service continues its series of discussions with gubernatorial candidates with independent candidate Evan Falchuk. Falchuk issued a press release this week detailing the issues he plans to discuss at the forum, including anti-competitive health care practices, progressive taxation, government accountability, infrastructure and campaign finance reforms. (Monday, noon, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, First Floor Function Room)

UTILIZING SPACE UNDER I-93: MassDOT holds a public meeting on the “Mobility Hub” planned for the space under Route I-93 between Albany Street and Frontage Road in Boston. The agency plans to add parking and a “public realm” to the area that connects South Boston to the South End. (Monday, 6 p.m., Project Place 1145 Washington St, Boston)
BUMP ON THE AIR: Auditor Suzanne Bump appears on the WHMP Northampton talk-radio program “The Bill Newman Show.” (Monday, 9 a.m., 96.9 FM)

SPRINGFIELD CHAMBER LUNCHEON: Auditor Suzanne Bump speaks at the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield annual “Outlook Luncheon." (Monday, 11:30 a.m., Mass Mutual Center, 1277 Main Street, Springfield)

MARKEY ON DRUGS AND O.D.: U.S. Sen. Edward Markey holds a press conference to discuss prescription drug and heroin overdose prevention and abuse treatment with director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye, Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, and Taunton Police Chief Edward James Walsh. (Monday, 11:45 a.m., Taunton Central Fire Station, 50 School Street, Taunton)

HPC COST TRENDS: The Health Policy Commission’s Cost Trends and Market Performance Committee will discuss the projected economic growth benchmark for 2015 and the statutory terms related to cost and market impact reviews. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Center for Health Information and Analysis, Two Boylston Street, 5th Floor, Boston)

HPC CHART COMMITTEE: The Health Policy Commission’s Community Health Care Investment and Consumer Involvement Committee will discuss the CHART Investment Program. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Center for Health Information and Analysis, Two Boylston Street, 5th Floor, Boston)

MRVP ADVOCATES: Homeless families, shelter providers, legislators, advocates and others seeking increased rental vouchers will meet in the State House at an event sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. Jamie Eldridge. The group is seeking an increase from $57.5 million to $87.5 million in the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, which they say will maintain stable housing for more than 7,000 households that currently rely on MRVP and an additional 3,000 families. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., Grand Staircase)

TUESDAY, FEB. 25, 2014

WAYS AND MEANS HEARING: The state’s largest university campus will be the site of budgetary discussions on early, elementary and higher education as well as local aid. Last year, lawmakers and university officials charted a two-year course to freeze tuitions and fees as the state moves closer towards a 50-50 funding split with the higher education system. Public officials have routinely stressed the importance of early education, and many have raised concerns about the cost of higher education. This year the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is field testing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, an alternative to MCAS. Local officials have expressed displeasure with Gov. Deval Patrick’s level of local aid funding in the budget. The House and Senate Ways and Means hearing will be chaired by Rep. Stephen Kulik and Sen. Gale Candaras. Members of Stand for Children plan to testify calling on lawmakers to increase funding for early education to reduce the size of the waitlist for programs. While Patrick’s budget includes $15 million in increased funding to reduce the waitlist by 1,700 students, Stand for Children said more is needed. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 41 Campus Center Way, Amherst)

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE: An oversight hearing is planned Tuesday to give lawmakers an opportunity to hear from supporters and critics of the MBTA Pension Fund. MBTA officials have distanced themselves from the fund, citing its autonomous operations. Fund officials have defended its operations and investment record in the face of critics who say it’s run under a veil of secrecy and should be more transparent. According to Public Service Committee staff, the panel invited stakeholders in the pension system, T representatives and activist groups to discuss concerns about the fund and how the system is managed. The Pioneer Institute has been invited to testify. According to a MassDOT spokeswoman, no one from the agency plans to attend the hearing. The committee is co-chaired by Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Room A-2)

GAMING COMMISSION-SLOTS PRESENTATION: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds the first of four open public meetings to present the “evaluation process” used to determine the awarding of the slots parlor license. Each of the Gaming Commissioners will focus a presentation on one of the licensing criteria, which include overview of project, finance, economic development, building and site design and mitigation. The commission expects to announce the winner of the slot license by Friday. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., 415 Summer Street, Room 104, Boston, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)

DENTAL HYGIENE DAY: The Massachusetts Dental Hygienists' Association holds its annual Dental Hygiene Day. Registered dental hygienists, public health dental hygienists and dental hygiene students will gather to advocate for increased access to oral health and will provide oral health screenings for elected officials and staff throughout the day. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Grand Staircase)

SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY TASK FORCE: The new School Safety and Security Task Force meets in Worcester. The agenda includes time for public comment, which is limited to two minutes per person. The agenda also includes discussion of task force goals, discussion with unnamed ‘school district leaders” and an “expert advisor,” and the “process for facilitation of future task force meetings.” (Tuesday, 3 p.m., Worcester Tech High School, 1 Skyline Drive, Worcester)

MASSDOT CAPITAL INVESTMENT - CAMBRIDGE: MassDOT officials hold a public meeting on the department’s capital investment plan. The Patrick administration is proposing to spend $12.4 billion on transportation projects over the next five years. According to MassDOT, the plan has been “developed in the context of performance and scenario planning” and includes an analysis tool the department says will show performance outcomes based on different levels of funding. The investment plan includes $1.3 billion to complete the Green Line Extension, $835 million to replace Red and Orange line vehicles, $3.3 billion for bridges and $1.5 billion for municipal projects. The public comment period for the plan ends Friday. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge)

MASSDOT FINANCES: The MassDOT Board’s Standing Committee on Audit and Finance meets. An agenda for the meeting was available by Friday afternoon. Online: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/public_meetings/?id=6442451110 (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., MassDOT Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Room 3830)

TAX FAIRNESS: The Tax Fairness Commission holds its eighth meeting, where the panel is set vote on its final report. Rep. Jay Kaufman and Sen. Michael Rodrigues chair the commission, which was charged last fall with recommending ways to make the tax code simpler and fairer, promoting economic growth and staying competitive with other states last fall. Commission members are also scheduled to continue discussion and vote on proposed economic competitiveness remedies and edits to the final report. Online: https://malegislature.gov/Events/EventDetail?eventId=193&eventDataSource=SpecialEvents (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Executive Conference Room, Office of the Comptroller, Room 901, 9th Floor, 1 Ashburton Place)

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: Educator licensure and preparation program amendments, an update on Level 5 schools and an update on the PARCC exam are on the agenda for a Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting Tuesday. The board will also consider a recommendation for two new Commonwealth Charter schools, the New Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School, and a major amendment for the Atlantis Charter School. A discussion and vote is planned on the charter renewal, with probation, of Dorchester Collegiate Charter School, and delegation of authority to the commissioner to approve a management contract for Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Agenda: http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/2014-02/. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., 75 Pleasant St., Malden)

TELECONFERENCE ON U.S. HOUSING MARKET: Economists and the managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices will hold a 45-minute live question and answer session to discuss the overall health of the U.S. residential housing market and factors that could impact the pace of recent home price increases. Robert Shiller, professor of economics at Yale University, and David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones. will answer questions during the webinar. (Tuesday, 10 a.m. EST, Net Enhanced and Audio Streaming Info:https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PG4463870&p=INDICES&t=c; Or follow manual steps below: URL: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join/ Conference number: PG4463870; Audience passcode: INDICES.

HOUSING COMMITTEE: The Housing Committee holds a public hearing on two bills on rent escrow accounts, one from Rep. Robert Fennell (H 1110) and another from Minority Leader Bradley Jones (H 1131) that would alter the rights of tenants to withhold rent because of code violations. Currently, renters have the right to withhold rent if unsafe conditions exist, and can use the argument as a defense in eviction proceedings. Both bills would require a tenant to prove the rent has been deposited in an escrow account in order to exercise the defense. Sen. Anthony Petruccelli’s S 613, filed on the request of a constituent, would prohibit landlords from requiring cats be declawed in rental leases. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Room B-2)

DPU HEARINGS ON GRID MODERNIZATION: The Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing to explore grid modernization by the state’s electric utilities. A 10 a.m. panel will discuss regulatory treatment and cost-benefit analysis. At 2 p.m., a panel will explore the cost recovery mechanisms available to utilities. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston)

MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY: The Mental Health Advisory Committee meets and is scheduled to continue its discussion on suggested recommendations to advance mental health care in the state. Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Patricia A. Haddad chair the committee. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Room 222)

FORD HALL FORUM - POPE FRANCIS: The Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University will present “Who Am I to Judge?,” an interactive discussion of Pope Francis’ first year and his approach to the papacy, led by Suffolk University Distinguished Scholar in Residence James Carroll. Carroll plans to discuss his December 2013 article in The New Yorker and offer “frank observations about where the Catholic church is today and where it may be going,” according to organizers. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. C. Walsh Theatre, 55 Temple St., Boston)

LIFE SCIENCES PROJECT IN FRAMINGHAM: Mass. Life Sciences Center President Susan Windham-Bannister joins lawmakers and representatives from Framingham State University and Mass Bay Community College to announce funding for life sciences-related capital projects in Framingham. (Tuesday, noon, Framingham State University, Henry Whittemore Library Building, 100 State Street, Framingham)
PHYSICIAN/PATIENT ENGAGEMENT: The Choosing Wisely Advisory Group meets to discuss the next steps in physician/patient engagement. Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary Barbara Anthony attends. (Tuesday, 3 p.m., Massachusetts Medical Society, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Middlesex North Conference Room, 860 Winter St., Waltham)

DEMS FOR GUV FORUM: The Institute of Politics’ Daniel Ki moderates a forum with Democratic candidates for governor Joseph Avellone, Donald Berwick, Martha Coakley, Steven Grossman and Juliette Kayyem. (Tuesday, 8 p.m., John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge)
STROKE EVENT: The American Heart/Stroke Association hosts an event, “Together to End Stroke (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Great Hall)

MUM BETT DAY: To celebrate Mum Bett Day, House Speaker Robert DeLeo plans to give remarks followed by a reenactment and remarks by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ireland. Mum Bett was a slave who successfully sued her owner for her own freedom in 1781. The case helped bring about the end of slavery in the state. (Tuesday, 11:30 a.m., House Chamber)

DeLEO ON BRAUDE: House Speaker Robert DeLeo appears on Broadside with Jim Braude. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., NECN)

CLIMATE CHANGE BRIEFING: Rep. Denise Provost, Rep. Frank Smizik, Sen. Marc Pacheco, Energy Undersecretary Bobbi Kates-Garnick and British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Director for Prosperity Andrew Mitchell hold a briefing on the “economic benefits of combating climate change.” (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Member’s Lounge)

LOTTERY COMMISSION: The Lottery Commission will meet. Beth Bresnahan is the new executive director of the Lottery. Treasurer Steven Grossman is chairman of the commission. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., One Ashburton Place, 12th Floor, Boston)

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26, 2014

HOUSE FORMAL: The House meets for a full formal session and members have been advised to be prepared to take up H 3721, a school bullying bill. House Democrats will caucus at noon in room A-1 to discuss the bill before the session. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., House Chamber)

LOBBY DAY FOR “DEATH WITH DIGNITY” BILL: Advocates who support end-of-life choices for terminally ill patients plan to hold a lobby day at the State House. Volunteers from Compassion & Choices, a national non-profit organization pushing “death with dignity” laws across the nation, hope to persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to support legislation (H 1998) that affirms a terminally ill patient’s “right to compassionate aid in dying,” filed by Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton). The Public Health Committee, co-chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain) and Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy), heard testimony on the bill on Dec. 17. Close to 200 supporters attended the hearing, according to Compassion & Choices. The bill is still being considered by the committee, but the deadline for all legislative committees to report on timely filed bills is March 19. A committee can report a bill favorably, unfavorably, or send it to study – which is typically a legislative dead-end for bills. In November 2012, voters rejected a ballot question that would have permitted physicians to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill-patients. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., State House, Bowdoin Street entrance)

CHANGING RETAIL TRENDS: The commercial real estate development association NAIOP holds a discussion with retail experts, city commercial landlords and brokers who are experiencing a transformation in urban retail development. There has been a resurgence of retail development in urban areas mixed with residential spaces. National retail chains are flowing into cities to meet consumer demand, and at the same time adapting their traditional store concepts to fit limited spaces in downtown markets, according to NAIOP. Panelists will talk about changing retail trends in downtown Boston. Andrea Matteson, vice president of CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors, will moderate the panel, which also includes Howard Clark, director, retail construction and development at City Sports; and Chris Damian, owner of Legendary Restaurant Group. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., One Federal Street, Boston)

EPA RULES ON WOOD STOVES AIRED: EPA officials hold a public hearing on proposed wood stove air pollution standards aimed at making wood stoves and heaters cleaner. The first phase of the proposed emission standards would likely apply to units manufactured and sold beginning in 2015. The EPA says smoke from residential wood heaters can increase air pollution from soot – also known as fine particle pollution – to levels that pose serious health concerns. Particle pollution is linked to heart attacks, strokes and asthma, according to an EPA press release announcing the public hearing. In New England, residential wood smoke significantly reduces air quality in some areas during the winter. The proposal would not affect wood heaters and stoves currently in use in homes or now being sold in stores. To view current and proposed standards go to http://www2.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters and to register to speak at the hearing go to http://www2.epa.gov/residential-wood-heaters/forms/public-hearing-proposed-new-source-performance-standards-residential. (Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., U.S. EPA Office, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston)

CIVIL LEGAL AID EVENT: The Equal Justice Coalition plans on Wednesday to honor lawmakers for their support of civil legal aid organizations and advocacy for access to legal services for low-income residents. Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) will receive Beacon of Justice awards for their leadership in support of funding for civil legal aid in 2013. Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre), U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) and former Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty will receive Champion of Justice awards for their support of civil legal aid. (Wednesday, noon, Grand Staircase, State House)

DPU HEARINGS ON GRID MODERNIZATION: The Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing to explore grid modernization by the state’s electric utilities. A 10 a.m. panel will look into the timing of the grid modernization process and cybersecurity. At 2 p.m., a panel will discuss the development and implementation of performance metrics. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston)

MASSDOT CAPITAL INVESTMENT - MATTAPAN: MassDOT officials hold a public meeting on the department’s capital investment plan. The Patrick administration is proposing to spend $12.4 billion on transportation projects over the next five years. The investment plan includes funding for the Green Line Extension, MBTA vehicles and other projects. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Mildred Avenue Community Center, 5 Mildred Avenue, Mattapan)

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER ADDRESSES AIA MEETING: Commissioner of Insurance Joseph Murphy provides remarks on the state of the insurance industry to the Northeast meeting of the American Insurance Association, a property-casualty insurance trade organization representing more than 300 insurers which write more than $110 billion in premiums annually. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 40 Court St., 11th Floor, Boston)

FOSSIL FUELS - PENSION FUND DIVESTMENT PUSH: Teachers, public employees, pensioners, and citizen group members will gather Wednesday to promote legislation (S 1225) which would divest the state pension fund from fossil fuels. Activists are pushing for a favorable vote on the bill by the Public Service Committee. Confirmed speakers include Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, D.C.; Carlos Rodriguez, Neighbor to Neighbor; Fran Ludwig, Interfaith Power & Light Board member; Devyn Powell, Tufts University and Students for a Just and Stable Future. Organizers are promising “fiery speakers.” (Wednesday, 10 a.m., in front of the State House)

BERKSHIRE CHAMBER BREAKFAST: Auditor Suzanne Bump is set to be the keynote speaker at the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce “Good News Business Salute” breakfast. (Wednesday, 8 a.m., The Crowne Plaza, 1 West Street, Pittsfield)

COURT NOMINEE BACK BEFORE COUNCIL: Joseph Berman, Gov. Deval Patrick’s nominee for a seat on the Superior Court, is back before the Governor’s Council Wednesday. Berman was first nominated for the bench last year, but came under fire from members of the council for his leadership role at the Anti-Defamation League, campaign contributions and other issues. Berman’s November hearing lasted over four hours, with councilors challenging his association with the ADL and scrutinizing the national organization for not national recognizing the Armenian genocide - critics of the ADL say it has actively worked to defeat Armenian genocide resolutions in Congress. When Berman’s nomination came up for a vote in the council, a majority of the councilors said they would vote against him, and Patrick delayed the roll call and at the time said he needed more time to gather votes. Patrick then withdrew Berman’s nomination and resubmitted his name to the council as a fresh nominee. There is no formal council assembly scheduled next week. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Room 157)

UPDATE FROM BOSTON FED CHIEF: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren plans to provide an economic outlook address to the Boston Economic Club. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., New England Room (4th floor), Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

DeLEO AWARDED: At the Equal Justice Coalition Legislative Awards Day, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is set to receive the Beacon of Justice award at 12:30 p.m., (Wednesday, 12 p.m., Grand Staircase)

JEWISH COMMUNITY AWARDS: House Speaker Robert DeLeo to offer congratulatory remarks to honorees at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston legislative achievement awards. DeLeo plans to speak at 5 p.m. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Great Hall)

FINANCIAL SERVICES: The Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on banking, mortgage and lending issues. Sen. Brian Joyce has a bill (S 1912) to improve safety at automated teller machines. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Room B-1)

GAMING COMMISSION - SLOTS PRESENTATION: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds the second of four open public meetings to present the “evaluation process” used to determine the awarding of the slots parlor license. Each of the Gaming Commissioners will focus a presentation on one of the licensing criteria, which include overview of project, finance, economic development, building and site design and mitigation. The commission expects to announce the winner of the slot license by Friday. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 415 Summer Street, Room 104, Boston, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)

MSBA MEETING: Treasurer Steven Grossman will chair the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s meeting. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., 40 Broad Street, Boston)

THURSDAY, FEB. 27, 2014

SENATE FORMAL: The Senate meets for a full formal session. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Senate Chamber)

FINANCIAL SERVICES: The Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on insurance issues. Speaker Robert DeLeo’s bill (H 3783) limiting the amount of insurance homeowners in a flood zone must purchase is on the agenda and DeLeo plans to testify. Attorney General Martha Coakley, who filed the bill with DeLeo, also plans to testify. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Room B-1)

DPU HEARINGS ON GRID MODERNIZATION: The Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing to explore grid modernization by the state’s electric utilities. A 10 a.m. panel will explore opt-out, cybersecurity, and privacy and meter data sharing safeguard provisions to be included in grid modernization plans. At 2 p.m., a panel will discuss concerns about potential health and safety effects of advanced meters and related technologies. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston)

MANUFACTURING EVENT IN DEVENS: Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki will lead a roundtable discussion of the partnership work to support manufacturing in the region and future plans. Following the discussion, there will be a tour of Mount Wachusett Community College's Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center, where a live training class will be in session. At 1:30 p.m., Bialecki tours Devens-based manufacturer Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Mount Wachusett Community College, Devens Campus, One Jackson Place, 27 Jackson Rd., Devens)

IG COUNCIL: Auditor Suzanne Bump chairs a meeting of the Inspector General Council. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Inspector General's Office, One Ashburton Place, 13th floor, Room 1311, Boston)

DeLEO AWARDED: House Speaker Robert DeLeo will receive the Political Icon award at the MassEquality Icon Awards. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Fairmont Copley Plaza)

FINANCIAL CAPABILITY DAY: Mass Saves, along with Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and Rep. Viriato “Vinny” DeMacedo (D-Plymouth) host the first annual State House Financial Capability Day.(Thursday, 10 a.m., Room 437)

GAMING COMMISSION - SLOTS PRESENTATION: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds the third of four open public meetings to present the “evaluation process” used to determine the awarding of the slots parlor license. Each of the Gaming Commissioners will focus a presentation on one of the licensing criteria, which include overview of project, finance, economic development, building and site design and mitigation. The commission expects to announce the winner of the slot license by Friday. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., 415 Summer Street, Room 104, Boston, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)

RETIREMENT BOARD: Treasurer Steven Grossman will chair the Massachusetts State Retirement Board meeting. (Thursday, 10 a.m., One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Boston)

FRIDAY, FEB. 28, 2014

WAYS AND MEANS HEARING: The Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Public Health and other areas within Health and Human Services will go before the House and Senate Ways and Means committees for a budget hearing. DTA was the subject of several critical reports about a year ago, leading to a change in leadership and legislation. A welfare system reform bill is currently pending in conference committee. DPH has been implementing the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2012. Other legislation pending in conference would strengthen the state’s oversight of compounding pharmacies following a fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 64 people around the country. According to an earlier meeting agenda, also testifying will be the Office of Medicaid, the Department of Mental Health, the Center for Health Information and Analysis, Elder Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Soldiers Homes. Rep. Paul McMurtry and Sen. Michael Rush will chair the hearing. (Friday, 10 a.m., 17 Whiting Avenue, Dedham)

MBTA CAPITAL PLAN: The public comment period for MassDOT’s capital investment plan ends Friday. The Patrick administration's plan would spend $12.4 billion over five years on projects like the Green Line Extension, new MBTA vehicles and bridge projects. The feedback period began Jan. 29. (Friday)

MIT SLOAN 2014 BIOINNOVATIONS CONFERENCE: The MIT Sloan BioInnovations conference is Friday. It’s a forum for leaders in industry, academic and policy to discuss current issues and innovations in health care. At 2:50 p.m. Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Vice President for Industry Relations and Programs Pamela Norton will participate on a panel on trends and innovation in financing for healthcare and life sciences ventures. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Boston Marriott Cambridge, 2 Cambridge Center, Cambridge)

PIONEER VALLEY AFL-CIO BREAKFAST: The Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO hosts its annual legislative breakfast to discuss the union’s legislative agenda for the region. Attorney General Martha Coakley plans to attend. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee)

MERRIMACK VALLEY CHAMBER: Attorney General Martha Coakley is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a meeting of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. (Friday, 12 p.m., 123 Old River Rd., Andover)

SLOTS PRESENTATION: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds the last of four open public meetings to present the “evaluation process” used to determine the awarding of the slots parlor license. Each of the Gaming Commissioners will focus a presentation on one of the licensing criteria, which include overview of project, finance, economic development, building and site design and mitigation. The commission expects to announce the winner of the slot license by Friday. (Friday, 9:30 a.m., 415 Summer Street, Room 104, Boston, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)

CHINESE PROGRESSIVE NEW YEARS: Treasurer Steven Grossman attends the Chinese Progressive Association Chinese New Year celebration. (Friday, 6 a.m., China Pearl Restaurant, 9 Tyler Street, Boston)

SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 2014

GOP CANDIDATES, OFFICEHOLDERS GATHER IN MIDDLEBOROUGH: The Plymouth County GOP holds its annual recognition breakfast, which gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker plans to attend. The town committees will recognize a member from their community that has made a contribution to the GOP. Massachusetts Republican Party Chair Kirsten Hughes is also expected to attend, as well as Paul Craney, of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance; Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald Jr., and Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. Lawmakers planning to attend include Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth); Rep. Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth) and Rep. Susan Gifford, Rep. Randy Hunt (D-Sandwich), Rep. Geoff Diehl (D-Whitman), Rep. Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater) and Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville). Congressional candidates Mark Alliegro, John Chapman, Vincent Cogliano and Daniel Shores will also be at the breakfast. (Saturday, 8:30 to 11 a.m., The Boston Tavern, 58 East Grove Street, Middleborough)

BUMP IN BROCKTON: Auditor Suzanne Bump plans to attend the “Winter’s End Celebration,” hosted by the Downtown Brockton Association. (Saturday, 7 p.m., The War Memorial, 156 West Elm St. Brockton)

GROSSMAN AT CHINESE NEW YEAR: Treasurer Steven Grossman will attend the Gee How Oak Tin Association of New England Chinese New Year celebration. (Saturday, 6 p.m., 698 Washington Street)


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