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With Labor Day now behind us, Washington returns to a fairly significant workload for September and October in the run-up to the midterm elections in November. The House is in session for the next two weeks before returning home for a state work period (Sept. 17-21). Theoretically, they will then return to DC for three weeks—through October 12—but there's a good chance they will adjourn before that date so that members can campaign in their districts. Although not exhaustive, the following is ML Strategies’ guide on what to watch over the next few months from Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch agencies. While all issues addressed in this update may not be completed before the midterms, we anticipate that they will take up the bulk of the legislative and regulatory agenda. With that said, the Senate has taken up the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court and that process has the potential to impact the agenda on other items. With that said, the Senate has taken up the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court, and that process has the potential to impact the agenda on other items. We expect the Senate, which remained in session throughout its normal recess period in August, will likely continue to focus on Judicial and Executive branch nominations.

On Wednesday, April 11, the House Ways and Means Committee proposed a $40.991 billion budget for FY2019 that represents an increase of $1.24 billion, or 3.1 percent, above FY2018 spending levels. The budget proposes $83 million more in spending than Governor Charlie Baker recommended in the FY2019 budget he filed in January.
On March 23, 2018, the Special Senate Committee on Net Neutrality and Consumer Protection (the Committee) released a report recommending legislation aimed at ensuring net neutrality in Massachusetts.

Governor Baker Files FY2019 Budget

January 30, 2018| Alert

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker released a $40.9 billion budget proposal for FY2019. The plan, commonly referred to as House 2, is the fourth Baker has proposed since assuming office and increases spending by 2.6% over FY2018 levels.
After closing the book on the formal sessions in July, Massachusetts lawmakers have turned their attention to the November election. The Senate and House of Representatives convene in informal sessions for the remainder of the year and no controversial legislative matters are expected to pass during this time.
The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously to pass its FY2017 state budget just before midnight on Thursday, May 26. The spending plan, which totals $39.558 billion, spends $60 million more than Governor Baker’s proposal and $50 million more than the House plan approved last month. 
In a unanimous vote of 156-0, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a $39.56 billion spending plan for FY2017 on April 27. Over three days, the House considered more than 1,300 amendments to pass a final budget that allocates approximately $10 million more than Governor Baker’s spending plan, but closely resembles his proposals.

Washington Outlook for 2016

January 20, 2016| Advisory

Welcome to 2016 and our annual look at what’s in store for the United States Congress in the coming year. Here you will find a preview of the US legislative agenda as well as a look at the Obama Administration’s regulatory plans.
After a busy final few weeks of activity, the Massachusetts Legislature departed for its summer recess with a new budget and progress on several priority policy issues. In addition to overriding $97 million in Governor Baker’s vetoes, Boston lawmakers considered tax, public records, energy, healthcare, and labor issues.
On May 22, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a $38.1 billion budget for FY2016. The Senate budget hews closely to the spending plans proposed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in April and Governor Charlie Baker in March.
On April 29 the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a $38.1 billion spending plan for FY2016 by a unanimous vote of 158-0. Over roughly 28 hours of sessions, the House dispensed with over 1,000 amendments to pass a final budget that spends $10 million less than Governor Baker’s spending plan, but closely resembles it in many regards.
Wednesday, the Baker-Polito administration revealed the details of their $38.1 billion FY2016 budget. Seeking to overcome a structural deficit, which at $1.8 billion, represents nearly five percent of the total budget, the Governor doubled down on cost-saving measures rather than raising taxes, increasing fees or drawing from the state’s rainy day fund.
Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced on Tuesday a series of proposals aimed at closing the Commonwealth’s substantial budget gap for Fiscal Year 2015. According to the current administration, even after Governor Patrick’s attempts to close the fiscal gap, a $768 million budget shortfall persists.
While it has been several years since the apex of federal clean energy funding, the Administration continues to utilize its executive authority – leveraging existing agency programs and initiatives to develop, commercialize, and deploy clean energy technologies both domestically and internationally.
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