BOSTON (AP) _ The new year brings a resumption of formal Beacon Hill sessions after about as tumultuous a ``recess'' the Legislature has ever seen.

Democratic Sen. Stan Rosenberg stepped aside as Senate president after The Boston Globe reported that several men _ some with business before the Legislature _ had accused Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, of sexual misconduct.

The controversy, amid other political intrigue, threatens to overshadow key challenges facing lawmakers and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in the new year, including a criminal justice overhaul, health care reform and the state budget.

The Senate interrupted its post-Thanksgiving recess to approve a probe into whether Rosenberg himself violated any Senate rules. The Senate Ethics Committee hired an outside Boston law firm to lead the investigation and there's no timetable for its completion.