The State House at night. (Ben Parker/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Lawmakers on Beacon Hill worked late into the witching hour as the formal session ended Tuesday night.
One state lawmaker called the final day of formal sessions an exercise of “hurry up and wait,” as lawmakers spent hours waiting to see if major compromises could be reached. While healthcare and public school financing bills didn’t make the cut, lawmakers pushed past their soft midnight deadline and got a $1.1 billion jobs bill passed.
Other unfinished bills included one that would allow residents to list their gender as “X” on drivers’ licenses.
Senate President Karen Spilka praised the Senate for everything they'd accomplished, and lamented that some priorities were not met.
“We have to be bold, not timid, not beholden to any specific or special interest group,” Spilka said. “And we need to stand up tall for the people of the Commonwealth.”
Some clean energy legislation, a compromise bill, was passed. State Sen. Patrick O’Connor was on the conference committee that put it together, and said it will greatly encourage wind energy.
“We are the national leader when it comes to this, and this puts a further stamp on that by saying, not only are we the leader right now with Vineyard Wind coming on board soon, but we’re also going to look toward the future,” he said. “We want more of it.”
Lawmakers did agree on an opioid abuse prevention bill desired by Gov. Charlie Baker, as well as one on economic development. Rep. Denise Garlick of Needham spoke in favor of the bill.
“The bill stays focused on the front line of this battle with care and treatment, and moves along a continuum from the health care provider setting, to non-opioid alternatives to pain management, to community settings with state-wide narcan prescriptions, essentially allowing any resident to become a lifesaver,” she said.
It was after 1 a.m. Wednesday when Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr thanked his colleagues for their work in the session.
“I want to thank all of the members for their good work and collaboration and respect for all of us in minority constellation, and the respect we’ve had for each other,” he said.
But as Spilka said, “We’re not done, we’re just getting started”--both the House and Senate have scheduled informal sessions for Thursday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports