New year, new session, new agenda

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Transportation and gun violence top the legislative agendas of Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray this year.

“We have a legislative agenda that we’ve been developing. Transportation, you know, is going to be on it.  I hope that the issue around additional gun control is on it,” said Patrick.

As the 188 th Massachusetts Legislature began a new session on Beacon Hill Wednesday, House Speaker DeLeo reflected on the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and called for a study on guns and mental illness.  His top priority however is making sure the state’s roads, bridges and tunnels are kept in good repair.

“The cost burden must not be borne by any one region nor may the plan benefit one region at the expense of the other regions of the state,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop).

To maintain Massachusetts roads, lawmakers face the major challenge of reducing a budget gap of billions dollars over the next 25 years in the state’s transportation department. All options are on the table, including tax hikes – Which Republicans oppose.

“There is no better or clearer message that we can send to the economy and the taxpayers in renewing, in bipartisan fashion, your pledge of the last session Mr. Speaker, to refrain from any statewide tax increase,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

The Senate President also called on lawmakers to re-examine sex offender registration and address public health issues that led to a meningitis outbreak and state lab scandal last year.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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