State lawmakers look ahead to the upcoming legislative session

Democrats continue to hold the super-majority in both the House and Senate

BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers will return to Beacon Hill in January to begin a new two-year legislative session. While new issues will come up, for many lawmakers, the New Year is an opportunity to make existing laws stronger.

Westfield state Representative John Velis told 22News, “Obviously we still have the heroin-opioid crisis that still continues to kill four human beings a day – that’s a problem. We have a student loan debt crisis right now.”

While heroin overdose deaths have decreased in Massachusetts this year, deaths linked to the synthetic opioid Fentanyl is on the rise according to the Department of Public Health.

Under a new state law, a group of legislators will spend the next several months creating regulations for the daily fantasy sports industry. The Massachusetts House and Senate are also considering regulations for short term rental companies, like “Airbnb” – a new industry that’s operating with little government oversight right now.

“For many, it helps to supplement their income, helps them to pay their mortgage and we shouldn’t be enacting rules or regulations that would chill the market for that,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

Senator Tarr said the goal is to create policies that allow businesses and innovation to flourish.

Democrats continue to hold the super-majority in both the House and Senate for this upcoming legislative session.