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New Mass. Legislative Session Is Underway

Members of the House and their families and friends wish congratulations after being sworn-in to office in the House Chambers at the State House Wednesday. (AP)
Members of the House and their families and friends wish congratulations after being sworn-in to office in the House Chambers at the State House Wednesday. (AP)

Gov. Deval Patrick swore in 199 state legislators on Beacon Hill Wednesday, as the Massachusetts House and Senate opened a new two-year legislative session.

There was pomp and circumstance, as the halls of the State House were full of lawmakers and their families, friends and supporters.

Immediately following the swearing-in ceremonies, House lawmakers voted along party lines to re-elect Winthrop Democrat Robert DeLeo as House speaker. House Republicans re-elected North Reading Rep. Brad Jones as minority leader.

In the Senate, Plymouth Democrat Therese Murray was re-elected as Senate president. Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester was tapped by his fellow Republicans to be the new Senate minority leader.

Murray predicted a productive session, and says she maintains a good relationship with the governor and the speaker.

"We are all committed to working together because we have to to face this deficit," Murray said. "And I think you're going to see a new opportunity to work together in a better way.

"I have great hopes for this new session," she said. "We will continue work to make health care more affordable. We will continue to help small businesses grow and create jobs."

DeLeo asked lawmakers to once again consider expanded gambling, and called for municipalities to be required to purchase employee health insurance through the Group Insurance Commission.

Both DeLeo and Murray also said there will be no new tax initiatives in the budget that comes out for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Patrick will be sworn in Thursday to a second term.

Gov. Deval Patrick arrives at the Senate to swear-in new members at the State House on Wednesday. (AP)
Gov. Deval Patrick arrives at the Senate to swear-in new members at the State House on Wednesday. (AP)

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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This program aired on January 5, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Steve Brown Twitter Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's State House reporter.

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