There will be no applause breaks or festive crowds this year. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker plans to give his annual State of the Commonwealth speech from the quiet social distance of his office.
Baker will take to the airwaves Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. -- a day before his annual budget proposal is due to be filed with the Legislature -- to deliver the policy speech.
The address, a chance to outline specific policy proposals and spending priorities, will doubtless be shaped by the unique problems posed to Massachusetts by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Last year, Baker used the speech to commit to a 2050 goal for net-zero carbon emissions and to call for $135 million in new MBTA operating funds.
Governors usually give the annual speech in the House Chamber during a joint session of the Legislature attended by hundreds of lawmakers, state officials, and distinguished guests. Since COVID-19 hit Massachusetts, House and Senate leadership have moved to virtual legislative sessions with most lawmakers tuning in over the telephone or videoconference.