State Capitol Briefs – Thursday, May 15, 2014

state house

FINNERAN DOUBTS HE’LL BE CALLED AS PROBATION TRIAL WITNESS

Former House Speaker Thomas Finneran said Thursday he doubts he’ll be called as a witness in the trial of three former state probation department officials. Approached by a reporter after he was spotted outside House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office, Finneran was asked to comment on the trial. “Oh, I’m not talking about that at all,” Finneran, a Mattapan Democrat, said while backing away. “Not now, not ever.” Asked whether he believed he would be called to testify, Finneran said, “First, I’m not talking, but . . . I doubt it, very, very much. I doubt it very, very much.” Finneran has worked as a lobbyist, radio show host and biotechnology council president since leaving the State House in 2004 and pleading guilty to obstruction of justice charges stemming from a redistricting court case. He was House speaker when lawmakers passed legislation giving the probation commissioner at the time, John O’Brien, increased power over personnel in 2001. Like some of his legislative colleagues, Finneran also sponsored candidates for hiring and promotion within the probation department, according to an independent counsel’s report in 2010. Finneran refused to testify under oath, invoking the Fifth Amendment during the independent counsel’s investigation, the report said. – G. Dumcius/SHNS

 

BOSTON AREA CONSUMERS PAYING HIGHER ENERGY PRICES THAN NATION

Boston-area consumers saw higher electricity and natural gas prices than the national average in April, according to the regional office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For Boston households, the average price of a kilowatt hour of electricity stood at 17.5 cents. Nationally, the price was 13.1 cents. According to the bureau, the local price of electricity has been higher than the national average in April by 19 percent or more in the last five years. This year, natural gas prices in April were also higher, as Boston consumers paid $1.532 per therm, above the nationwide average of $1.137 per therm. – G. Dumcius/SHNS

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