State Capitol Briefs – Friday, July 24, 2015

This architect's rendering released Monday, June 29, 2015, by the Boston 2024 planning committee shows an Olympic stadium that is proposed to be built in Boston if the city is awarded the Summer Olympic games in 2024. (Elkus Manfredi Architects for Boston 2024 via AP)

BAKER DECLINES TO TAKE STANCE ON OLYMPICS

Steadfast in a lack of a verdict on the Boston Olympics proposal, Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday said he would communicate his lack of a firm opinion to the U.S. Olympics Committee at a meeting Monday even as an Associated Press story claimed the national committee had given him an ultimatum to decide by Friday. “There are two very aggressive points of view,” said Baker, who said he had seen Thursday evening’s televised debate between proponents and opponents. Baker said he is waiting for The Brattle Group to complete its analysis before offering a yea or nay and described Monday’s meeting as a “check-in.” In a statement that did not address whether an ultimatum had been issued, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said he has been encouraged by discussions with Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. “We have always said that the success of this bid will require majority public support and the unified backing of state and city political leadership. We’re encouraged by recent discussions with Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker and look forward to continued, constructive dialogue,” Blackmun said in the statement. Baker’s communications director Tim Buckley told reporters Baker’s office is not aware of a decision deadline on Friday while he declined to discuss details of a conversation Baker had with the USOC last Friday. “This is a 10-year decision,” Baker told reporters. – Andy Metzger/SHNS

L’ITALIEN WILL CO-CHAIR CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE

Sen. Barbara L’Italien of Andover will succeed the late Sen. Thomas Kennedy of Brockton as co-chair of the joint committee that oversees legislation concerning consumer protection and credit, alcoholic beverage licensing and the registration of professionals. “So pleased to be chosen by Sen. President Stan Rosenberg as the new Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure,” L’Italien wrote on her Facebook page Friday. “Sen. Thomas Kennedy, who held this position until he passed away last month, was a great Senator and a longtime friend. I will do my best to honor his memory by working hard on the issues that come before this committee. This is a great responsibility and opportunity to help businesses and look out for consumers. I can’t wait to get started!” In a press release, L’Italien said her top priority would be “to make it as easy and cost-effective as possible to do business in Massachusetts, without sacrificing public safety and protecting consumers.” – Michael Norton/SHNS

BAKER, NATIONAL GUARD LEARNING FROM TENNESSEE ATTACK

After a gun rampage that killed four Marines and a Navy officer, Gov. Charlie Baker directed Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett to confer with Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Scott Rice about what Massachusetts “could learn” from the attack, he said Friday. “I have no intention of making any decisions of any kind” without a conversation about the risks and the “state of play,” Baker told reporters. Baker was asked whether he had considered arming National Guard facilities in Massachusetts. After the attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., Florida Gov. Rick Scott took a series of steps including expedition of concealed-weapons licenses for members of the Florida National Guard. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott reportedly ordered the Texas National Guard to allow its soldiers to carry weapons. While at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Colorado, Baker said he had spoken to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam about the shooting and to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley about a recent mass murder at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Last Friday, Baker said he had read up on all nine victims of the shooting at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston and he would find an opportunity at some point in the future to discuss their lives. “I wrote down a whole bunch of things about them and over the course of the next few years – I don’t know when it will be. There will be some moment when it makes sense for me to talk about who they are and what they did and what they represented. And I’m going to talk about them,” Baker said at a press conference last Friday. He said, “The people who we should remember most are the ones who have been taken, because they represent the goodness in all of us.” The Gun Owners’ Action League on Wednesday said Rep. John Velis, a Westfield Democrat, would file legislation to study the “dangers of ‘Gun Free’ zones in the Commonwealth.” GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace said the attacks in Tennessee “makes it further clear that we must address the failed ‘No Defense’ zone policy.” – Andy Metzger/SHNS

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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