State Capitol Briefs – Friday, July 11, 2014

Massachusetts  State House in Boston on Beacon Street
Massachusetts State House in Boston on Beacon Street

STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS – FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

 

DeLEO CALLS MURPHY’S TESTIMONY “ILLOGICAL”

Speaker Robert DeLeo, who has faced glancing blows in the trial of three former probation officials, lambasted his former lieutenant’s testimony, calling it “illogical” and “untruthful.” The three former probation officials are facing charges they conspired to run a secret patronage system in the probation department. Charles Murphy, who was House Ways and Means chairman in DeLeo’s first term as speaker, testified that when he presented a mid-recession budget proposal that included about a 10 percent cut to probation, DeLeo told him to hold the department harmless. Murphy was unable to explain why the House Ways and Means budget he presented that year cut the budget by a larger amount than 10 percent, or why the final budget had an even greater cut to the line item. “Former Representative Murphy’s testimony on Wednesday, as it has been reported in the media, was not only illogical, it was untruthful. First, I never told Chairman Murphy that the probation line item was out of bounds from cuts. Any statement to the contrary is simply untrue. Second, the public records are irrefutable and confirm the truth that, like almost all of the rest of state government, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation’s budget was cut substantially in Fiscal Year 2010,” DeLeo said in the statement released just after 5 p.m. on Friday. DeLeo ousted Murphy from leadership in 2011 after the Burlington Democrat held quiet discussions about his interest in the speakership. State revenues dived downwards in the spring of 2009 after the House passed its budget and before the Senate crafted its version. DeLeo continued, “In other words, the budget for probation was not held harmless, as has been alleged. The appropriation for the Office of the Commissioner of Probation (line item 0339-1001) in the Fiscal Year 2010 General Appropriations Act was 14.2% less than the appropriation for the Office of the Commissioner of Probation in the Fiscal Year 2009 General Appropriations Act (line item 0339-1001).” -A. Metzger/SHNS

 

PATRICK WEIGHS IN ON COAKLEY-PARTNERS ACCORD

Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday said he wants “to be convinced” the agreement between Attorney General Martha Coakley and Partners HealthCare will bring costs down. The agreement has been filed in Superior Court and a comment period on the agreement is open until July 21. The accord allows Partners to acquire South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health System’s hospitals in Medford and Melrose. Coakley has argued the deal ends a five-year antitrust investigation that would have otherwise ended in litigation, limits Partners’ network growth, and caps cost increases. A coalition of Partners competitors, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health System, Atrius Health and Tufts, says the deal will lead to health care cost increases and fewer choices for consumers. “Well look, I share everybody’s concern about how we get health care costs down,” Patrick told reporters after an unrelated event on Thursday. “And that is the lens through which I’m viewing it, I think it’s the lens through which there will be others who comment on the settlement. On the substance of the settlement, I don’t have any more to add.” Asked if he supports the agreement, Patrick said, “Like I said, I want to be convinced that it doesn’t add to health care costs. We’ve done a lot of really good work, together with Partners by the way, in bringing costs down, and I want to be convinced that this doesn’t push us in the opposite direction. I think it’s going to take a little bit more analysis before I have a point of view on that.” –G. Dumcius/SHNS

>>> For video of Patrick’s remarks on the deal visit http://www.statehousenews.com/video/14-07-10gov-partners/ <<<

 

HURLEY CONFIRMED FOR FIVE-YEAR PAROLE BOARD TERM

Parole Board member Tina Hurley, who was first appointed in March for a term that expired in June, was unanimously reappointed Wednesday by the Governor’s Council. Prior to her appointment, Hurley was a hearing examiner at the Parole Board. Hurley, a Cohasset resident, was originally nominated by Patrick to serve on the board to succeed Cesar Archilla, who was appointed as a circuit district court judge in Essex County. She needed to be reappointed for a full five-year term. Hurley has spent her career in public safety roles and prisoner re-entry programs. Along with creating a re-entry program for women prisoners, she previously worked as a parole officer. She received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts. The council voted 8 to 0. Councilor Michael Albano said, “I can’t think of a more qualified person than Tina Hurley to sit on that Parole Board.” – C. Quinn/SHNS

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