State Capitol Briefs — Friday, Jan. 31

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(STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE)
LAWMAKERS PLAN HEARING ON MBTA PENSION FUND
Lawmakers are hoping next month to hear directly from officials at the MBTA Pension Fund, which has been a focus of debate in recent months over the transparency over its operations. Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), co-chairman of the Public Service Committee, said the panel is preparing for an 11 a.m. hearing at the State House on Feb. 25. Noting the invitation to fund officials has not yet gone out, Brownsberger told the News Service he hopes to ask questions about the fund’s positions on the public records, open meeting and ethics laws as well as its operations. “I’ve long been an advocate that they should be open,” said Brownsberger. During debate on a transportation bond bill this week, the House rejected an amendment that supporters said would have required MBTA pension fund managers to provide outside auditors with management discussion and analysis notes. The MBTA Pension Fund recently lost a $25 million investment in Fletcher Asset Management, which is now bankrupt and reportedly under investigation by the FBI and federal securities regulators. – M. Norton/SHNS

HOUSE PANEL VOTING ON HEALTH DISPARITIES, WORKERS COMP BILLS
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have been asked to vote on an amended version of H 2071 to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. According to the committee, the bill would establish the Office of Health Equity within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the office would coordinate all state activities to eliminate the disparities. Panel members are also in the process of voting on a bill to provide incentives for productive workers compensation audits (H 1771). That bill, according to the committee, aims to ensure that employers are accurately classifying employees and complying with workers comp laws. Committee members have been asked to respond by 10 a.m. Monday to the poll. – M. Norton/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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