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Menino Introduces More Than A Dozen Bills

To kick off the legislative session, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino introduced more than a dozen bills at the State House on Tuesday.

Tops on the mayor's list is legislation that would allow municipalities to band together to buy health insurance for employees through a local Group Insurance Commission.

"It will give us the opportunity to have design review of our health care policies, which will save the people of Boston about $1 million a month, which we'll be able to reinvest in early childhood programs and public safety," Menino said Tuesday morning.

Despite the mayor's push, South Boston Sen. Jack Hart says there may be hurdles ahead.

"The contentious debate would be around the ability of all these unions out there — that I support — to have some dialogue at the table, at the negotiating table, around what's best for them," Hart said.

Menino is also proposing some tough new gun laws, including a mandatory five-year prison sentence for many convicted felons who commit a crime with a gun, and a bill to allow the city to tax private businesses on MBTA property. Such businesses are currently exempt.

Menino is also seeking mandatory health education — including sex ed — in all state schools, as well as a change in the formula used to calculate special education funding.

Other bills address affordable housing and energy and environmental issues.

The mayor of the state's largest city makes such requests annually, but only a portion are passed.

WBUR's Steve Brown contributed reporting from the State House.

This program aired on January 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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