State Capitol Briefs – Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

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STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS – THURSDAY, JAN. 22, 2015

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

NEW LEADERS NAMED FOR MASSHEALTH, CONNECTOR
The state’s Medicaid program, which is the largest contributor to the current $765 million mid-year budget gap, has a new leader after Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced he would put Daniel Tsai in charge of MassHealth. Tsai, a partner at McKinsey & Company, will take the title of assistant secretary in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in an elevation of the position from a director. Baker also announced that Louis Gutierrez, a former chief information officer for the Commonwealth, would take over as executive director of the Health Connector in February. Gutierrez has spent the past seven years as an IT consultant with the Exeter Group. He worked as the state’s CIO under former Govs. Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Mitt Romney. He also worked with Baker at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care as a senior vice president and technology officer during the insurer’s corporate turnaround. – Matt Murphy/SHNS

GAMING COMMISSION ADOPTS PUBLIC RECORDS POLICY
The state gambling commission on Thursday endorsed a policy for handling its public records, including electronic filing and the redaction of certain personal information of employees, vendors, casino operators and others. The commission, created through the 2011 expanded gambling law, is subject to the state public records law. The policy unanimously approved on Thursday calls for records to be scanned and filed electronically, “whenever possible,” in an easy to search manner. “Storage of paper copies of records should be minimized unless otherwise required by commission regulation or procedure, the public record law or the record retention policy,” the policy says. Paper records containing confidential or sensitive information can be stored in “locked fireproof file cabinets,” the policy adds. Redactable information includes personal information belonging to commission employees and individuals providing information to the commission, including investment and bank account information, social security numbers, tax returns, and criminal history information. The five-member Gaming Commission plans to revisit the policy and follow up on implementation in two months. “All requests for records from individuals or groups outside of the commission should be forwarded tothe legal department for review prior to any response,” the policy said. The commission also unanimously signed off on a plan presented by MGM Springfield officials for a diversity and affirmative action marketing program for the casino planned for western Massachusetts. Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said that while he was hoping to see “more meat on the bones of this plan,” he thinks MGM has a “strong record” on diversity. – Gintautas Dumcius/SHNS

FALCHUK PURSUING STATEWIDE VOTE ON OLYMPICS
Former candidate for governor Evan Falchuk filed paperwork Thursday to create a ballot committee as part of his effort to oppose Boston as an Olympics host city and bring the question of hosting to a statewide vote. Falchuk on Thursday reported that he was dissatisfied with the lack of response to date from Boston 2024 to questions about the potential negative consequences of hosting the summer 2024 Olympics in the area. As he takes steps to form the People’s Vote Olympics Committee with state campaign finance officials, Falchuk’s United Independent Party outlined ten unanswered questions in the wake of a community meeting hosted by Boston 2024 on Wednesday, when the pro-Olympics group released many details of proposal. Falchuk is calling out elected officials in Massachusetts, saying “pretty much all” current lawmakers have been either silent or “enthusiastically supportive” of the bid. “Is there really no one willing to ask the tough, common-sense questions about hosting the Olympics, and how it could easily impact families’ wallets in the years to come throughout Massachusetts? Why aren’t we hearing about or reading about elected officials saying their constituents should be able to vote on this issue?” he wrote in a statement. Several elected officials have expressed interest in protecting the public coffers in the event that the Boston bid prevails, while adding that the debate over the Olympics is just beginning. – Michael Norton/SHNS

DeMACEDO NAMED RANKING GOP MEMBER OF SWM
Sen. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth will hold the top Republican spot on the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee, During a long run in the House, deMacedo held the same post on its Ways and Means Committee. The assignment means deMacedo will continue to sit on conference committees that make key decisions about state spending, including the annual budget conference. Sen. Richard Ross of Wrentham had been the ranking minority party member of Ways and Means last session but under Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s new leadership chart Ross and Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth will both serve as assistant minority leaders. Sen. Don Humason of Westfield will be the Senate minority whip and new Sen. Ryan Fattman, who did not hold a leadership post under House Minority Leader Brad Jones, is now the Senate’s assistant minority whip. – Michael Norton/SHNS

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