Happening Today

Commonwealth Career Fair

Gov. Charlie Baker delivers remarks at the Commonwealth Career Fair, Great Hall, State House, 10 a.m.

Senate vote on transgender anti-discrimination bill

The Senate meets in a formal session with plans to take up the transgender anti-discrimination bill, among other pieces of legislation, 11 a.m.

Launch of Massachusetts Coalition on Serious Illness Care

Gov. Baker speaks at the launch of the Massachusetts Coalition on Serious Illness Care, JFK Library, Columbia Point, Boston, 11 a.m.

Today’s Stories

State to probe Taunton hospital at center of stabbing-spree tragedy

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders says the state will investigate why Morton Hospital discharged a mentally ill man who later went on a stabbing spree that led to the killing of two people and the wounding of five others, the Herald is reporting. But the hospital is already pushing back, blaming state policy that requires a “third-party state contractor” to make mental health assessments.

Meanwhile, the family of Arthur J. DaRosa, the alleged attacker, is lashing out at the hospital, saying the tragedy could have been prevented if the hospital had treated him as he requested, rather than releasing him, the Globe is reporting.

“If Morton [Hospital] could have done a little bit more and kept him there, none of this would have happened,” said DaRosa’s aunt. “He wanted the help. He asked for help.”

From every angle, what a sad, sad tragedy.

Baker is walking a political tightrope on Common Core

Gov. Charlie Baker has been trying to keep his distance from the debate over the possible ballot question fight over whether to scrap Common Core education standards – and it may have something to do with internal state GOP politics, writes CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas. From Jonas: 

“Waving off a position on a hot-button issue directly related to state education policy is a surprising stance for a hands-on governor with a keen interest in school issues, who once served on the state education board. But the state’s top Republican, after swearing off support for his party’s presumed presidential nominee and staking out other moderate stands, may be looking to avoid further alienating the conservative wing of his party, where anti-Common Core sentiment is strong.”


Transgender rights: Justice delayed, justice denied?

The Senate is expected today to take up the controversial transgender anti-discrimination bill now before lawmakers. But some are already raising concerns that the proposed law — assuming it eventually passes both chambers and gets signed into law – will be hard to enforce. Why? The state agency that would handle future transgender claims has long labored under the weight of a heavy backlog of discrimination complaints and experienced mixed results trying to obtain additional funding from lawmakers, reports Antonio Caban of State House News Service. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination investigators each already handle 235 cases and their investigations can take on average 22 months to complete, a workload and time-frame that’s higher than in other states. Rep. Russell Holmes calls the long delays in resolving complaints “ridiculous.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Rattlesnakes were also reintroduced in the Berkshires and Blue Hills?

MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius has provided the answer to our question yesterday about where the state may have already re-introduced rattlesnakes in Massachusetts, in addition to its controversial and now delayed plan to re-colonize snakes on a Quabbin Reservoir island. The question arose from remarks the other day by Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who said he knew of two other instances of rattlesnake reintroductions. Dumcius subsequently found out what he was talking about: “A spokeswoman later said Rosenberg was referring to populations in the southern Berkshires near the New York border and the Blue Hills close to Boston.”

So state officials have already quietly re-introduced rattlesnakes? Did they use the same procedures that Matthew Beaton, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, is now profusely apologizing for in the Quabbin case? We’re just wondering.


Dukakis: Trump is a ‘gift from God to the Democratic Party’

Boston magazine’s Kyle Scott Clauss caught what we somehow missed: Former Gov. Michael Dukakis saying that Donald Trump is a “gift from God to the Democratic Party” and that Dems may well regain control of Congress this fall with the unpopular Trump heading the GOP ticket.

In other presidential election news, the dreaded Trump-vs-Warren Twitter war resumed yesterday, with the usual back-and-forth insults. As the Globe’s Annie Linskey sums it up: “The digital clash seems to benefit both politicians. Trump tosses red meat to his base by going after a politician that many on the right love to hate. And Warren raises her national profile as an able 2016 surrogate able to hold her own against the top Republican.”

But Trump is also getting hammered by another Massachusetts politician: Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who is harshly criticizing Trump for saying he might not release his tax returns until after the November elections, the Globe is also reporting.

As noted in the story, there’s some irony here: “The comments again injected Romney into the presidential campaign, and in an unlikely role given that Romney’s 2012 campaign stumbled when he was reluctant to release his own tax returns. The former Massachusetts governor, who earlier this year ridiculed Trump as a ‘phony’ and a ‘fraud,’ has said that he will vote for neither Trump nor likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”

Harvard’s ‘clueless illiberalism’

The Washington Post’s Charles Lane isn’t impressed with Harvard’s recent crackdown on private student clubs at the university:

“Harvard University’s administrators should read Tocqueville’s book ‘Democracy in America.’ Their institution is not, strictly speaking, a state — it’s more of a state within a state, up there in Cambridge, Mass. In every other way, the school’s new crackdown on fraternities, sororities and a local variant, ‘final clubs,’ epitomizes the clueless illiberalism against which the French sociologist warned.”

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham is no fan of frats and exclusive clubs and wish they’d go away. But: “I hate to say this — no, I really hate it — but Harvard has gone too far in its attempts to reform its students’ odious, all-male final clubs. Bless them for trying, though.”

Washington Post

DOT cans risky, and sometimes costly, ‘interest rate swaps’

It’s one of those financial mechanisms that briefly became famous following the 2008 Wall Street crash: Interest rate swaps, or financial instruments that can really pay off big if they work – or hurt if they don’t. In the case of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, now overseer of the MBTA, they were a loser and kept the state locked into higher rates to pay off debt. So officials yesterday opted to move ahead with terminating its swap deals with UBS and Deutsche Bank, reports State House News Service’s Andy Metzger in the Boston Business Journal.


Amid probe, Walsh to fundraise at union hall

The office of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says no consideration was given to canceling or moving a fundraising event planned at a Dorchester union hall on Sunday, despite an ongoing fed investigation into alleged strong-arm tactics used by unions to win contracts, Jack Encarnacao of the Herald reports. Walsh campaign spokesman Michael Goldman notes that IBEW Local 103 hall has long been used for campaign events in the city and says the campaign is “not worried about it at all. It’s not like it’s being put on by the union or for the union.”

Boston Herald

Lawrence mayor, city cleared in civil rights probe

A federal jury decided Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera did not violate the free speech rights of a former city secretary—who at the time was the girlfriend of the man he defeated to win office—one day after being sworn in, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports.


CPA heads to Boston voters in November

The Boston City Council voted Wednesday to advance a proposal to adopt the Community Preservation Act property tax surcharge, meaning Boston voters will decide the issue at the ballot box in November, Isaiah Thompson of WGBH reports. Voters rejected the program when it was last put to them in 2001.


Worcester residents want street sweeping tickets canceled

Some residents of Worcester want the city to refund parking ticket fees after the city’s automated notification system sent a text that contained the wrong day for planned street sweeping activities, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports. The situation recalls a fiasco in January when the city retroactively declared a snow emergency, later saying that more than 700 residents were eligible for ticket refunds.

The Telegram

Boston ranked as nation’s No. 1 start-up city

This is a pleasant surprise: 1776, a start-up incubator in Washington, is now ranking Boston as the top start-up hub in the nation, beating out the always formidable Silicon Valley. But Boston’s rise in overall rankings is partly due to Silicon Valley’s fall from grace in certain categories. As 1776 notes in its report: “While the San Francisco Bay Area is the clear leader in total startup activity, its lack of a cohesive community and declining quality of life for residents helped move Boston to the top spot.”

It’s not as if Boston won entirely by default, as BostInno’s Olivia Vanni points out: “Not only do we have a decent number of successful startup exits and overall ventures that call Boston home, but we also have a high quality of life, a tight-knit community and support system, a great concentration of educated millennials and a healthy lifestyle. All of those factors and several others earned us our top spot for fostering entrepreneurship.”


Today’s Headlines


Marty Walsh to proceed with fundraiser at IBEW – Boston Herald

Community-preservation property tax surcharge passes City Council, heads for November ballot – WGBH

Boston ranked No. 1 startup hub in the U.S. – Boston Business Journal

City Hall asks: Hey, who wants a tree – Dorchester Reporter

State’s opioid epidemic is vividly seen on Boston’s ‘Methadone Mile’ – WBUR


Taunton Sen. Marc Pacheco calls for probe into mental health treatment of stabbing suspect – Brockton Enterprise

Lowell school board cuts 21 positions in budget – Lowell Sun

‘How The Poor Pay More’: Survey details added stresses for low-income residents of SouthCoast – Standard-Times

Baker’s common core caution – CommonWealth Magazine

With transgender bill set to pass Senate, pro and con forces split House – WGBH

Rivera, city cleared in civil rights case – Eagle Tribune

Cape Cod Hospital cited for care of addicted newborns – Cape Cod Times

Worcester residents angry over street-sweeping tickets – Telegram & Gazette

Springfield councilors want action to improve aging underground infrastructure – MassLive


Twitter war between Trump, Warren heats up again – Boston Globe

Romney says Trump not releasing tax returns is ‘disqualifying’ – Boston Globe

U.S. House considers Massachusetts-backed bills to address opioid crisis – MassLive

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