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Senate to meet on allegations surrounding leader's spouse

BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Senate plans a special session to discuss sexual misconduct allegations lodged against the husband of Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

The Senate is likely to vote Monday to authorize the appointment of an independent investigator whose focus likely would be on whether Rosenberg knew about Bryon Hefner's alleged behavior, or if Hefner had any clout when it came to Senate matters.

Rosenberg has not been accused of wrongdoing. He expressed shock over the allegations and maintained Hefner exerted no influence on the Senate.

Rosenberg has promised to recuse himself from any matters related to the investigation but otherwise will continue to preside over the Senate.

Several men told The Boston Globe that Hefner sexually assaulted or harassed them.

Rosenberg said Hefner will soon enter treatment for alcohol dependency.


Hernandez lawyers want to keep daughter's lawsuit separate

BOSTON (AP) - Lawyers for the estate of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez are trying to prevent a $20 million lawsuit against the National Football League from being merged with a wider class-action suit addressing former NFL players' head injuries.

The Boston Herald reports that the NFL and co-defendants are asking a federal judge to temporarily stay proceedings in Hernandez's case, which was filed in state court on behalf of his 5-year-old daughter.

The defendants say there's nothing unique about Hernandez daughter's case to warrant a separate trial.

The child's lawyers want her case tried in a state court, arguing their claim is for loss of parental consortium.

Hernandez was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (ehn-sehf-uh-LAH'-puh-thee) after taking his own life in prison in April, where he was serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder.



Baker says he supports PawSox move to Worcester

(Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.),

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has made his first indication that he supports moving the Pawtucket Red Sox from Rhode Island to Worcester.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that Baker said he believes Worcester has an opportunity and the state will do what it can to help. He made the comments last week to the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Republican governor said after the speech Friday that state assistance could come through infrastructure and public investment, such as what is done for housing projects or commercial development. He did not specify a dollar amount.

Rhode Island officials are considering an $83 million proposal to build a new stadium in Pawtucket for the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, but Worcester is also interested.



Trial of guards in mental health patient death to begin

BOSTON (AP) - Three former guards at a Massachusetts facility that treats the mentally ill in the state criminal justice system face trial this week in the 2009 death of an inmate with schizophrenia.

The Boston Globe reports that the trial of the former Bridgewater State Hospital guards on involuntary manslaughter charges is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Inmate Joshua Messier suffered heart failure when the guards forcefully strapped him to a bed.

In 2010, prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges, and none of the guards was disciplined.

But in 2014, Attorney General Martha Coakley appointed a special prosecutor who determined there were grounds for charges.

An attorney for one of the guards says the appointment of the special prosecutor was politically motived and the guards maintain their innocence.



Police: Teens use sawed-off shotgun during robbery

BOSTON (AP) - Police have arrested three teenagers they say used a sawed-off shotgun during a weekend robbery in Boston

The suspects ages 13, 14 and 16 are expected to appear in juvenile court.

The alleged victim walked into the Mattapan police station on Saturday evening. He told officers he had arranged to meet someone to buy an iPhone that he saw posted online.

Authorities say at the meeting, the suspects took out a sawed-off shotgun and ordered the man to give them his money.

Investigators charged the teens with being delinquent and armed robbery by means of a shotgun. The weapon was recovered.

Police Commissioner William Evans called the robbery "troubling."


Boston Pops offers public chance to narrate holiday concert

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Pops Orchestra is giving one lucky winner a chance to narrate its performance of "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

The orchestra is encouraging contestants to post on social media videos of themselves reading the holiday poem with the hashtag #twasthepops.

The winner gets to read Clement Clark Moore's classic work on stage with the orchestra Dec. 13. Videos are due Dec. 8.

Readings of the poem, also known as "A Visit from St. Nicholas," have been an annual rite for the orchestra since 1982.

Ben Affleck and the late Robin Williams have been among the celebrities, politicians and athletes given the honor over the years.

The Boston Pops holiday concert schedule of 40 performances runs from Dec. 5 to 31.


State budget-writers eye more accurate tax projection

BOSTON (AP) - The first step in preparing the annual state budget involves projecting how much tax revenue the state expects to collect in the next fiscal year.

The revenue consensus hearing scheduled for Wednesday at the Statehouse may get more attention than it usually does. In each of the last two years, the agreed upon revenue projections wound up being overly optimistic and forced budget-writers in the Legislature to later adjust downward, by $650 million this year and $750 million a year ago.

That in turn led to spending cuts to keep the state's roughly $40 billion budget in balance.

State officials and economists are expected to testify at the hearing.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker will submit his proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year to the Legislature in January.


Should opioids be banned in court over fears of exposure?

BOSTON (AP) - The potency of the synthetic opioids propelling the nation's drug crisis has Massachusetts' judiciary considering whether to ban the substances from being brought into courtrooms as evidence.

The chief justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court recently told prosecutors she fears allowing fentanyl and carfentanil into courtrooms puts people at risk even when the drugs are properly packaged.

But some medical experts say the proposal appears to be driven by a misunderstanding of the real dangers of the substances.

While powdered opioids are dangerous if they get into the bloodstream, experts say they aren't easily absorbed into the skin, so just accidently touching the drugs shouldn't make someone sick.

David Labahn is president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. He says he is not aware of any other states that have imposed similar bans.


Meryl Streep, Viola Davis to speak at women's conference

BOSTON (AP) - Actresses Meryl Streep and Viola Davis are among several big names who will be speaking at the upcoming Massachusetts Conference for Women.

Ten thousand people are expected to attend Thursday's conference leadership, networking and professional development at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Streep and Davis will be joined as keynote speakers by designer Diane Von Furstenberg. Others who will address attendees include Wharton School Professor Adam Grant, who recently co-wrote a book with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

An "Opening Night" event on Wednesday evening will feature speeches from writer and activist Gloria Steinem and Skinnygirl Founder Bethenny Frankel.


Feds taking final comments on new ocean habitat plan

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The federal government is closing the public comment period on a plan to change the way it manages ocean habitat off of New England.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is looking to change the way it manages the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and southern New England waters. The three areas are critical for commercial fishing operations and marine animals such as whales and dolphins.

The fisheries service is collecting the last of the comments on Tuesday. It's expected to issue a decision on the new rules by early January.

The new rules are likely to have major impacts on the way fishermen harvest important species such as clams, scallops, haddock and flounder. The fisheries service has been working on the new rules for about 13 years.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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