To-go cocktail bills on the move at the state house

To-go cocktail bills on the move at the state house

BOSTON — A major multi-year transportation borrowing bill and a bill allowing restaurants to sell cocktails to go emerged in the Senate on Friday, teeing up two high-profile legislative proposals as lawmakers race to wrap up priorities before the July 31 end of formal sessions.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee polled its members Friday morning on a takeout cocktail bill (S 2740) and it was promptly passed. A second $16.9 billion bond bill to fund infrastructure and transportation improvements (H 4547) also emerged from the committee

Movement on the bond bill comes four months after the House approved a roughly $18 billion version. While the Senate is moving forward with the borrowing legislation, it still has not touched a related tax and fee package for transportation that the House approved in tandem with its version of the bond bill.

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House leaders said the combination of gas tax, corporate minimum excise tax, and ride-hailing fee increases, as well as application of the sales tax to rental car purchases, would generate more than $500 million per year.

The Senate's inaction on the revenue side of the transportation issue has generated tension between the two branches.

Lawmakers must finish work on all significant bills that require roll calls by July 31, and anything they want to ensure is veto-proof needs to be done 10 days earlier so they have time to override a potential veto from Gov. Charlie Baker.

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