News Minute: Here is the latest Massachusetts news from The Associated Press at 5:40 a.m. EDT
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts House lawmakers have wrapped up debate on a $42.7 billion state budget plan for the new fiscal year. The spending plan approved Thursday doesn't include new taxes, although Democratic leaders haven't ruled out considering taxes later in the legislative session. Critics faulted House leaders for allowing vast stretches of the four-day debate to be conducted behind closed doors..
BOSTON (AP) - A lawyer says a Massachusetts judge charged by federal authorities with helping a suspect avoid immigration detention is "absolutely innocent." Attorney Thomas Hoopes told reporters that the prosecution of Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Joseph "is absolutely political." Joseph and former court officer Wesley MacGregor pleaded not guilty on Thursday. Joseph and MacGregor were indicted on obstruction of justice charges.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will be in court asking a judge to throw out a video that police say shows him paying for sex at a Florida massage parlor. Kraft's attorneys are expected to tell the judge Friday that police violated Kraft's constitutional rights when they installed video cameras in the parlor. Kraft was charged with paying for sex acts at the spa. He has pleaded not guilty.
BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow state residents to make a gender-neutral designation on their driver's licenses and birth certificates. The bill would allow people to choose "X" rather than "M" or "F" on the state documents. The measure passed Thursday by a 39-1 vote and now moves to the House.
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