Massachusetts lawmakers set to approve pay equity bill
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.
BOSTON — Environmental advocates are planning to rally at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to pass a ban on the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The group Environment Massachusetts said they’re planning to release a collection of personal stories from individuals affected by fracking across the country during the Wednesday event near the main entrance to the Statehouse.
In November, a legislative committee approved a bill that would place a 10-year moratorium on fracking, which involves blasting chemical-laden water deep into the ground. The measure has yet to come up for a vote before the full Legislature.
Supporters of the technique say it’s a safe method for extracting natural shale gas that would otherwise remain trapped underground, and can help lower energy prices.
BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers are planning to hold a public hearing on a proposed ballot question designed to expand the state’s existing bottle deposit law.
For more than a decade, activists have been pressing state legislators to expand the law to include non-carbonated beverages such as water, tea and sports drinks. They argue it would encourage consumers to recycle the bottles.
Activists have already collected enough signatures to move the question toward the November ballot.
Under the constitution, lawmakers have the opportunity to go ahead and approve the question if they want. On Thursday, the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy will hold a Statehouse hearing on the measure.
If lawmakers opt not to approve the question, supporters need to gather another batch of certified signatures to secure a spot on the ballot.
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