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Baker's First State Of The State To Focus On Opioids, Energy, Jobs

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker is planning to discuss accomplishments from his first year in office and look ahead to issues he considers critical to the future of Massachusetts during his first State of the State address.

The Republican will deliver the speech Thursday night to a joint session of the Legislature — overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats — and a statewide television audience. (You can watch it live on WBZ-TV and CBS at 7:30 p.m.)

Baker said Wednesday that he expected much of the speech to focus on "things that people have heard me talk about before," including energy policies and the state's ongoing opioid addiction crisis.

He also said he would discuss some of the "great things" that Massachusetts has going for it.

Given the state's tight finances, Baker is less likely to announce any major new spending initiatives.

An aide to Baker said he will reflect on a number of bipartisan efforts from the past year, including measures aimed at overhauling or improving the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the state Department of Children and Families, the Massachusetts Health Connector, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Besides the opioid bill, Baker will also press lawmakers to act on bills that would raise the state cap on charter schools and make it easier for the state to tap into hydropower from Canada.

Baker will also detail job training initiatives and unveil elements of his budget proposal, including efforts to steady the state's fiscal outlook.

Baker's full budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year that begins July 1 is expected to be released sometime next week.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

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