BOSTON (AP) — The new legislative session began about six weeks ago in Massachusetts but lawmakers have barely met and have yet to hold hearings on any of the hundreds of bills filed at the Statehouse.

One big reason for the slow start is that legislative leaders have yet to assign members to the committees that are responsible for reviewing bills and deciding which will advance to the House or Senate floor for debate.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Monday he was hopeful legislative committees would finally be in place by the end of this week.

DeLeo and Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka must also decide who will serve as chairs of those committees, including the powerful House and Senate Ways and Means Committees that oversee the state's $42 billion annual budget.

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