Issues to watch during the upcoming legislative session

The statewide minimum wage went up by one-dollar to $11 an hour on Sunday

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – New year, new priorities. State lawmakers will start Wednesday with a clean slate and a brand new agenda. Here are the issues to watch during the upcoming two-year legislative session.

The statewide minimum wage went up by one-dollar to $11 an hour on Sunday, but efforts are already underway to secure a $15 hourly wage.

State lawmakers are taking a closer look at criminal justice and sentencing reforms. The goal is to reduce prison populations, cut overall costs, and lower rates of criminals going back to jail.

The House and Senate could also update the state ethics laws.

Palmer Republican State Representative Todd Smola told 22News the first order of business will be the state budget. He said, “Obviously, the biggest thing we’ll be taking up in very short order will be the budget – how we’re going to spend money in the Commonwealth and figure out where we’re going to send some resources. I think education will be a big priority for us.”

Governor Charlie Baker has until January 24th to file his budget proposal, the same day he’s scheduled to deliver his State of the Commonwealth address.