BOSTON (STATE HOUSE) – With a severe snowstorm threatening to dump at least a foot of snow across Massachusetts on Tuesday, the House canceled its formal session that had been scheduled for Wednesday to consider a $259 million spending bill that Gov. Charlie Baker filed in February.
Also, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means called off its planned second hearing on Baker’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal in Everett on Wednesday that was supposed to focus on housing and economic development issues.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker warned of likely “treacherous” conditions on Tuesday and MBTA chief operating officer Jeff Gonneville said he expected an effort Tuesday night to help prepare for Wednesday’s commute.
A spokesman for House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the Wednesday events were canceled due to the potential for lingering effects of the snowstorm that might affect the abilities of representatives to get to Boston on Wednesday.
DeLeo’s office considered pushing Wednesday’s formal session to Thursday, but could not due to a scheduling conflict for the speaker.
DeLeo and other reps on Thursday plan a 2 p.m. tour of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s wind technology testing center in Charlestown.
House and Senate lawmakers have been reviewing Baker’s mid-year budget bill for weeks, but House Ways and Means has not yet released its redraft of the bill. Among the requests for funding in the bill, Baker proposed $62 million for indigent criminal defendants; $49 million for sheriffs; $29 million for the Department of Correction, partially related to reforms at Bridgewater State Hospital; $21 million for emergency shelter; $20 million for snow removal; $15 million for human services providers.
Baker on Monday afternoon said he did not yet know whether Tuesday’s storm would require him to seek additional spending authority beyond the $20 million in the bill for the Department of Transportation to deal with snow and ice removal.
“Funny you should ask. We were talking about that this morning and I don’t know the answer to that yet because I’m not exactly sure what the actual impact of the storm’s going will be. We’ll know more about that in a day or two, but that’s certainly on our radar,” Baker said.
Copyright 2017 State House News Service