State Capitol Briefs – Monday, Jan. 12, 2015

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STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS – MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2015

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

CLARK APPOINTED ASSISTANT MINORITY WHIP
At the start of her first full term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark has been appointed to one of the positions of assistant House whip, the congresswoman’s office announced Monday. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, appointed Clark to the post and a spokesperson for Hoyer did not respond to a News Service query about how many Democratic members of Congress were appointed to the position. In a statement posted on Clark’s website, Hoyer referred to “the whip team.” Whips generally communicate messages from leadership to other members of the party to encourage caucus unity on votes. “As a sophomore Member, Rep. Clark?s appointment as an assistant whip is a high honor,” said Hoyer in a statement sent to the News Service. “She is quickly rising through the ranks and distinguishing herself as a leader within the caucus.” The Melrose Democrat, who won office in a special election in 2013, said she would help “continue the fight” to protect social security, fair wages and affordable child care. ?Families at home are frustrated by the disconnect between their needs and the priorities in the Republican led Congress,? Clark said in a statement. – Andy Metzger/SHNS

ROSENBERG DEFENDS PRESENCE OF PARTNER ON TRIP
Quizzed about his relationship in a televised interview, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said he and Bryon Hefner have separate jobs and said Hefner was not the only significant other to accompany a lawmaker on a recent trip to the Caribbean. “He has his job. I have my job. We’re going to do our separate jobs. We’re entitled as couples to go on vacation like anyone else,” Rosenberg said during an appearance on “On The Record,” which aired Sunday. After a Boston Globe article in December noted concerns that Hefner was allegedly bragging about the sway he expected to hold over inner-workings of the Senate and had posted an insulting message about Therese Murray, the former Senate president, on Twitter, Rosenberg made efforts to assure his colleagues Hefner had no special influence on the chamber’s business. Saying it raised the issue of “credibility,” co-host Ed Harding questioned how Rosenberg could have claimed a “firewall” existed between Hefner and the Senate before taking his partner on a trip to the Caribbean where Rosenberg was attending a legislative conference. “It’s ancient history,” Rosenberg replied, saying other lawmakers brought spouses on the trip. “He and I planned to go on vacation. He was at the resort. He was not at the conference. There were three other legislators whose spouses were with them. They were on vacation. They were not at the conference,” Rosenberg explained. “It was only my partner who was scrutinized for being at the – at the same venue while he was on vacation and I was at work.” Rosenberg noted all 34 Democrats supported his presidency and the vote was later made unanimous. – Andy Metzger/SHNS

DEP CHANGED NAMES OF TWO BUREAUS
The state’s new environmental protection commissioner, Martin Suuberg, is dealing with a pair of newly named bureau’s thanks to the last minute work of his predecessor, David Cash. A DEP spokesman confirmed to the News Service Monday that early last week – before Gov. Deval Patrick left office – Cash wrapped up an effort that led to name changes for two of three Department of Environmental Protection bureaus. Spokesman Ed Coletta said discussions of name changes had been ongoing and said the new names “better identify what these particular bureaus do.” DEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup will retain its name while the Bureau of Resource Protection will now be known as the Bureau of Water Resources and the Bureau of Waste Prevention is now the Bureau of Air and Waste. – Michael Norton/SHNS

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