- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - The Latest on the final day of the Massachusetts legislative session (all times local):

12:44 a.m.

The Massachusetts Legislature has ended its formal two-year session with a flurry of last-minute action on major bills.

Racing against a midnight deadline, lawmakers approved a bill that calls for a dramatic increase in the state’s reliance on offshore wind and other renewable energy sources. They also passed and sent to the governor a bill that establishes the state’s first regulations on ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Agreements on those and other bills, including a $740 million economic development plan, were reached after a weekend of closed-door negotiations between the House and Senate.



In a statement early Monday, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker thanked the Legislature and said he would carefully review all of the bills sent to his desk.

Lawmakers can continue to meet informally for the remainder of the year, but only to pass non-contested bills.

The next legislative session will begin in January.

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11:30 p.m.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill to regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft in Massachusetts.

The deal was unveiled less than an hour before a midnight deadline for the Legislature to end formal sessions for the year.

The bill would require a two-tiered system of background checks for all drivers for the app-based ride services, one conducted by the company and another by the state.

Dropped from the compromise was a House-passed proposal that would have temporarily banned Uber and Lyft drivers from picking up passengers at Logan International Airport and the Boston convention center.

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10:25 p.m.

Details are emerging of a compromise energy bill that calls for a dramatic increase in the state’s reliance on offshore wind power and other renewable energy sources.

The deal was struck late Sunday evening as a midnight deadline approached for the Legislature to end formal sessions for the year.

The bill would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers with the goal of generating at least 1,600 megawatts of wind power in the next ten years. One megawatt can power up to 1,000 homes.

The bill would also encourage the purchase of Canadian hydropower and other forms of renewable energy.

The final compromise did not include a Senate-passed provision that would bar electric companies from passing on to ratepayers the costs associated with the construction of new pipelines that carry natural gas into the region.

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9:15 p.m.

House and Senate negotiators at the Statehouse have reached an eleventh-hour agreement on a bill that calls for a dramatic increase in the state’s reliance on offshore wind power and other renewable energy sources.

A vote on the compromise is expected late Sunday evening, as a midnight deadline approaches for the Legislature to end formal sessions for the year.

The measure has been named for months as one of the top priorities for Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic legislative leaders.

Details of the compromise were not immediately released.

Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg also says House and Senate negotiators are close to an agreement on a bill that would regulate popular ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

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6:50 p.m.

The Massachusetts Senate has joined the House in approving a wide-ranging bill designed to help city and town officials better govern their communities and cope with ever-increasing financial pressures.

The so-called municipal modernization bill was one of several key measures before lawmakers Sunday as the hours ticked down on the formal 2015-2016 legislative session.

By early evening, agreements had yet to be reached on bills to increase the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources, regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, spur economic development around the state and restrict non-compete employment contracts.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said earlier in the day that progress was being made in negotiations over those bills but that he could not guarantee that they would emerge for final votes before the Sunday midnight deadline.

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5:55 p.m.

The Massachusetts House has approved a wide-ranging bill designed to help city and town officials better govern their communities and cope with ever-increasing financial pressures.

The so-called municipal modernization bill is one of several key measures awaiting final passage Sunday as the hours ticked down on the formal 2015-2016 legislative session.

By late afternoon, agreements had yet to be reached on bills to increase the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources; regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft; spur economic development around the state; and restrict non-compete employment contracts.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo says progress is being made in negotiations over those bills but he could not guarantee that they would emerge for final votes before the Sunday midnight deadline.

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2:05 p.m.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo says progress is being made on several key bills with just hours remaining in the formal 2015-2016 legislative session.

But the Democratic leader said he could not guarantee the measures would come up for final votes before midnight on Sunday.

Closed-door talks were continuing as the House and Senate try to resolve differences that are holding up final passage of the measures, including legislation that calls for dramatically increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources.

Bills to spur economic development, regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft and restrict non-compete employment contracts were also tied up in conference committees.

DeLeo, who spoke to reporters briefly after a Democratic caucus, ruled out extending the session beyond Sunday’s deadline, which is set by legislative rule.

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12:40 p.m.

The Massachusetts Legislature has begun the final day of its formal two-year session without agreements on several key bills.

Closed-door talks are expected to continue on Sunday as the House and Senate try to resolve differences that are holding up final passage of the measures, including a bill that calls for dramatically increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources such as hydropower and offshore wind.

Negotiations over a $700 million economic development bill, meanwhile, could be bogged down over a Senate proposal to apply the state’s hotel and motel tax to lodging services such as Airbnb and vacation rentals.

The House and Senate briefly gaveled in at noon before recessing for Democratic caucuses.

By rule, the Legislature must complete the formal part of its 2015-2016 session by midnight.

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