Saturday July 14, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- The two-year legislative session on Beacon Hill is heading into the homestretch.

With formal sessions set to end on July 31, a number of major bills await final action by lawmakers.

Atop that list is a health care cost containment measure. Both the House and Senate have passed versions of the bill that seeks to reduce health care expenditures by $150 billion to $160 billion over 15 years.

A conference committee has been working to reconcile differences between the two versions.

House and Senate negotiators have also been trying for months to reach consensus on a criminal sentencing bill that would include a ban on parole for three-time violent offenders.

Among other unfinished business: A bill targeting unnecessary foreclosures, a measure aimed at curbing electricity costs and a casino compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.