Back from recess, lawmakers look to finish criminal justice reform bill

House and Senate criminal justice bills are in the hands of a conference committee

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers kicked off the start of the 2nd year of the legislative session with a ceremonial formal session on Wednesday. They’re hoping to pass a sweeping criminal justice reform bill as well as change the state’s health care policies in the new year.

“It really is kind of a signal for us that it’s time to get back to work,” State Rep. John Scibak told 22News. “So you’re going to see members starting to come, committees are going to be dealing with bills; we’ve got deadlines coming up in terms of bills.”

Lawmakers have been on holiday recess for the past seven weeks. The legislature is expected to have a busy few months ahead as they consider bills on issues including reforms to the state’s health care system, paid family and medical leave and raising the state’s minimum wage.

A large criminal justice reform bill is also a priority for lawmakers this session. Two versions of the bill from both chambers are currently in the hands of a conference committee, tasked with compromising on a final proposal.

Lawmakers will likely meet in a full formal session within the next few weeks.