Senate and House special elections
Special primary elections will be held today for two open Senate seats formerly held by Anthony Petruccelli, a Democrat, and Robert Hedlund, a Republican, and one House seat in Lynn in which only one candidate is running, Democrat Daniel Cahill, a city councilor, to replace Robert Fennell.
Local government issues
Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito will attend a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission to discuss proposed energy policies, the new opioid-abuse prevention law and Baker’s municipal modernization bill, Room 157, 1 p.m.
Media members talk presidential politics
Political reporters from the Boston Globe, Politico and NH1 will join executives from Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications for a panel discussion on the state of the 2016 presidential race, Harvard Club, One Federal St., 38th floor, 12 p.m. Separately, Globe political editor Shira Center speaks about the presidential race at an event hosted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Taubman Building, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, also at 12 p.m.
New Balance, trade and the presidential race
If this were not a presidential election year, New Balance’s renewed complaints about the proposed Pacific Rim trade deal would probably go largely unnoticed. But this is indeed a presidential election year – and one dominated by issues about trade, loss of manufacturing jobs, angry working-class voters flocking to Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, immigration, protectionism and the list goes on and on. So what Boston-based New Balance is now claiming – that the Obama administration has reneged on a promise to give the sneaker maker a fair shot at military footwear contracts in exchange for shutting up about the trade deal – is most certainly relevant today, as reported by the Globe’s Jon Chesto. At stake, in New Balance’s view, are 1,400 regional jobs, many of them manufacturing positions, that may be at risk if the trade deal goes through.
Sound familiar? If not, check out, once again, Jim O’Sullivan’s great Globe piece on how the loss of rural manufacturing jobs is fueling much of Trump’s support in Pennsylvania. And then take a gander at this Daily Beast story on how protectionist policies proposed by Trump and Sanders to save such jobs would do more harm than good to the economy. This isn’t a case of connecting random political dots. It’s actually what’s happening beyond the bubbles inhabited by most Republican and Democratic leaders.
Mark Montigny’s really bad day
Whether you agree or not with his proposed crackdown on escalating prescription drug prices, one could feel for Sen. Mark Montigny yesterday. His controversial drug-pricing bill was subjected to hours of grueling questions and criticism at a State House hearing on Monday, frustrating Montigny to no end, reports the Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert. Quietly, Montigny has already beaten a retreat by removing a key provision from the bill that would have slapped actual price caps on some drugs. But even that move didn’t silence the critics.
As you surf the web, perhaps you’ve seen passing references about House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly eyeing a bid for the presidency if there’s a brokered GOP convention this summer in Cleveland – and you thought, “Nah, it can’t be true. He can’t be that delusional.” But the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins reports that Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential race, may actually be maneuvering for the nomination, despite his vehement denials. If he does go for it, Atkins warns it could cause chaos, resentment and “send the GOP nomination process, and the party itself, into a death spiral.”
How the ‘arsenic chaser’ was plopped into the charter school compromise bill
Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine details how one amendment to a Senate compromise bill made it almost inevitable that supporters of expanding charter schools in Massachusetts will pursue a ballot-question showdown this November.
State turns to ‘sober homes’ to help drug addicts recover
As Massachusetts grapples with the heroin and prescription-drug addiction crisis, the rising demand for long-term recovery beds has health officials turning to previously little-known ‘sober homes’ for much-needed housing, Christian M. Wade reports in the Eagle-Tribune.
Lawmakers are worried ratepayers may get stuck with the pipeline bill
Scores of legislators are mighty worried about what might get slipped into a final omnibus energy bill. Specifically, the bipartisan group of 91 lawmakers plans to issue a warning letter tomorrow to House Speaker Robert DeLeo about including any language in the bill that might require electric ratepayers to pay for a proposed natural gas pipeline by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., reports State House New Service’s Colin A. Young in a story carried by Wicked Local. Many lawmakers and residents are up in arms over the company’s plan to build a new pipeline across the state.
T delays extra late-night bus routes to study a more extensive late-night plan
The board overseeing the MBTA put the brakes on a proposal to add extra bus lines to mitigate the recent killing off of late-night subway service. Why? So it can study a potentially more comprehensive late-night bus service first outlined in a recent CommonWealth opinion piece, the magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports.
To help job seekers, state speeds up sealing of criminal records
Something politically odd is happening: There hasn’t been a huge outcry over the Massachusetts Probation Service’s aggressive push to seal the criminal records of people convicted of certain crimes. The policy goal: To help such people land jobs they otherwise would be denied if potential employers knew of their past criminal convictions, reports the Globe’s Katie Johnson. It’s not an unwelcome policy, since everyone should have a chance to redeem themselves and not have their job prospects destroyed for life for mistakes they made as youths. But it’s still surprising that the policy isn’t generating as much heated debate as it might have only a few years ago. The muted reaction is perhaps tied to a growing bi-partisan consensus that past crackdowns on crime, specifically drug-related crimes, went too far in past decades.
Baker signs ‘Band-aid’ solar bill
Even one of the lead negotiators who produced the compromise solar bill signed yesterday by Gov. Baker didn’t sound all that excited about the legislation, according to a report by WAMC’s Jim Levulis, Berkshire bureau chief for the Albany Public Radio affiliate. “While there are components of the bill that I don’t like and certainly there are components of the bill that some clean energy and environmental advocates are concerned about, there are components of the bill that some business groups are opposed to because they see it as being too costly I think failing to act really threatens the leadership position that Massachusetts has taken,” said Sen. Ben Downing, D-Pittsfield.” Now that’s a ringing endorsement.
Why lawsuits won’t extinguish First Light
The decision by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to start construction on its First Light casino in Taunton with unresolved lawsuits still pending—seen by some as a risky gambit—may actually stand on solid legal ground, Sean P. Murphy of the Globe reports. Opponents of the casino say they are prepared to battle the tribe all the way to the Supreme Court, but legal experts tell Murphy there is no precedent for a casino project being halted.
Barbara Anderson issued a last ‘dying wish’
In a posthumous column, legendary anti-tax activist Barbara Anderson, who died on Friday at 73, calls on Gov. Charlie Baker to keep a campaign promise that revives one of the most controversial court cases in the state’s history, Paul Leighton of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Anderson’s final column for the Eagle-Tribune and Salem News ends with a direct challenge to Baker to lift the monitored parole of Gerald Amirault, who was convicted of child sexual abuse in the Fells Acre Day Care Case some 30 years ago. Anderson called the request her “dying wish.”
Prosecutors closely eye SJC breathalyzer case
District attorneys say one of their most important tools in drunken driving cases could be at risk as the Supreme Judicial Court prepares to hear a case challenging the validity of breathalyzer tests, Bob McGovern of the Herald reports. “It could theoretically put an end to breathalyzers,” said David F. Capeless, district attorney for Berkshire County.
AG: Weymouth board violated Open Meeting Law
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey ruled that the Weymouth Town Council violated the Open Meeting Law when it decided outside a public meeting to ask a developer with a project pending before another board for mitigation, the Patriot Ledger reports. At issue was a letter written by Chairman Patrick O’Connor—a candidate in a special primary election for the state Senate on Tuesday—and then circulated to other board members by its secretary.
Senate race heats up with questionable last-minute mailer
With voters headed to the polls in East Boston and other neighborhoods today to choose a Democrat to run for state Senate, Michael Jonas of CommonWealth Magazine reports that candidate and former Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo was hit with a last-minute mailer seeking to connect him to Republicans—one that may run afoul of campaign rules. Jonas reports that there was no filing with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance more than 24 hours after the PAC-funded mailers began appearing in door-jams over the weekend. Seven Democrats in all are facing off in today’s primary.
How Mass can get its ‘Washington mojo’ back
WGBH’s David Bernstein shares his recipe for Massachusetts to regain its political swagger in Washington, D.C. Bernstein’s blend includes seeing Democrats retake the Senate, Gov. Baker building strong connections with the next president, and some high-profile Bay Staters finding their way into the next administration’s upper echelons.
Old toll booths never die
The state of Maine is interested in purchasing some of what soon will be obsolete technology from the Mass Turnpike’s traditional toll-taking system, Gintautas Dumcius of MassLive reports. Maine may buy some of the computer components used in toll booths once Massachusetts completes the move to all-electronic tolling.
Double swearing ins, double maiden speeches
Sen. Michael Brady, who was sworn into office twice after winning a special election last year, gave two maiden speeches on Thursday. The Brockton Democrat was applauded by his colleagues, as is customary, for his “maiden” speech, advocating for local control of charter school approvals. Yet, about a half-hour earlier Brady had given a more abbreviated pre-maiden speech on an amendment seeking to “push back” against high-stakes standardized tests. “I’m not going to go on and on. I know this is an important matter and we’re pressing for time,” Brady said on the Senate floor, perhaps eager to get on with the business of delivering his upcoming official “maiden” speech. In November, Brady was sworn into office in a Senate ceremony after a more subdued swearing-in that satisfied the constitutional requirement that the governor perform it.
– Andy Metzger, State House News Service
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