Senate Ways & Means to release budget plan
The Senate Ways and Means Committees plans to release the panel’s budget recommendation for fiscal 2017, Room 428, State House, 11 a.m. executive session. Planned student walk-out Boston Public Schools students plan to stage a mass walkout over planned budget cuts, followed by an appearance at a Boston City Council hearing, Boston City Hall, 1 p.m.
Planned student walk-out
Boston Public Schools students plan to stage a mass walkout over planned budget cuts, followed by an appearance at a Boston City Council hearing, Boston City Hall, 1 p.m.
Mystic River lawsuit
Environmental attorneys, including those from the Conservation Law Foundation, will be at the Mystic River in Chelsea to announce a lawsuit focused on “continued pollution and climate threats to the Mystic River and surrounding communities,” Commoncove, 305 Commandants Way in Chelsea, 1:30 p.m.
An adult supervised student walkout?
Boston Public School officials and students are headed for a possible showdown today over another planned walk-out by students over planned budget cuts, with school officials yesterday issuing a blunt warning to kids, as reported by the Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson: “Students who participate in a planned walkout on Tuesday, May 17, will be marked absent for any missed classes, and families will receive automated phone messages informing them of any absences.”
The confrontation is pitting Mayor Marty Walsh and City Councilor Tito Jackson against each other, with Walsh recently saying it appears “adults are behind this situation,” while Jackson is saying he’ll welcome the protesting kids with open arms at City Hall.
So who are these “adults” Walsh is referring to? Might they be the same union-affiliated adults the Globe identified as being associated with a prior student walk-out? The Herald’s editorial board isn’t happy with Jackson in particular and other adults in general: “Any adult who would exploit school children for their own base political motives should be called out for the irresponsible cynic that he is. So come on down, City Councilor Tito Jackson — and anyone else who uses kids as props.”
Senate budget to call for increased higher-ed funding
As Senate leaders prepare to release their chamber’s state budget proposal for fiscal 2017, the Massachusetts Senate is poised in the coming weeks to press the House and Gov. Charlie Baker to make larger investments in public higher education, reports State House News Service’s Michael P. Norton. The budget proposal scheduled for release today by the Senate Ways and Means Committee will call for a $13 million increase, above funding levels approved in April by the House, for the University of Massachusetts, according to committee chairwoman Sen. Karen Spilka.
WHDH TV owner Ed Ansin’s bad bet
WHDH-TV’s legal challenge to NBC’s planned network-affiliation move to another channel was dealt a severe blow yesterday when a federal judge tossed out WHDH’s lawsuit, reports the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey and Shirley Leung. The lawsuit argued breach of contract and antitrust violations by NBC owner Comcast.
So now what? We suppose there’s always a possibility that WGBH owner Ed Ansin can go back to NBC-Comcast with hat in hand, say he’s sorry and ask for new affiliate talks. But whether that’s legally or realistically possible now is doubtful. Ansin played high-stakes business poker with Comcast – and lost. It was sort of refreshing to hear a federal judge, Richard Stearns, effectively lecture a company about the facts of life in a free-enterprise economy. “WHDH’s loss of the NBC affiliation is no doubt a blow to the station’s profitability,” he wrote. “But absent any actionable harm attributable to Comcast, it is simply an indurate consequence of doing business in a competitive and unsentimental marketplace.”
A shortage of pot? Really?
The number of people treated with marijuana for chronic pain, cancer symptoms and other illnesses has more than tripled in a year in Massachusetts, but many patients are prevented from getting herbal help due to a lack of licensed pot dispensaries and supply shortages, according to the Department of Public Health, as reported by the Eagle Tribune’s Christain Wade. At least 24,196 patients are certified to buy medical marijuana in Massachusetts, up from 7,846 a year ago.
This is one of the last things we would have anticipated about the new marijuana-dispensaries program: A pot shortage. Fyi: The story says patients bought 9,603 ounces of marijuana from six licensed dispensaries in April, up from 3,821 ounces sold by four dispensaries in January.
Non-compete bill contains a nasty surprise for large employers
A bill to limit corporate non-compete agreements with employees is once again winding its way through the Legislature. But the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports the bill now has a surprise in it: A “garden leave” provision requiring employers to continue paying workers with non-competes half of their salary until the contract expires. Big businesses, who generally support non-compete agreements over the objections of those who say they stifle competition and innovation, aren’t happy with the provision.
Our view: The vast majority of non-competes are not about protecting trade secrets and other sensitive corporate information, but are rather about preventing rivals from hiring the best workers. The best solution is a near elimination of non-competes. Short of that (as is the case with this bill), anything — including a “garden leave” provision — that makes non-competes more onerous to large employers is grudgingly acceptable.
Union claims victory for personal care attendants
Personal care attendants paid via contracts with the state will earn $15 an hour by 2018 under a new contract finalized between 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Baker administration, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. The 35,000 personal care attendants who work for the state today earn $13.68 an hour to care for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under the new contract, they will receive a raise to $14.12 an hour on July 1, 2016, to $14.56 an hour in 2017 and to $15 an hour in 2018.
Number of homeless families in motels plummets
The number of homeless families staying in state-funded motel rooms is has fallen sharply since Gov. Charlie Baker took office, Joshua Miller reports in the Globe. There were 1,500 families housed in motels as of last January, a number that has dropped to 538 this week.
Baker unveils $1.1 billion plan for affordable housing
The Baker administration is boosting funding for the state’s affordable housing programs, part of $1.1 billion push to preserve or create 5,000 affordable units, reports the Associated Press at CBS Boston. Under the plans, investments would rise by 8 percent in fiscal 2017 and by 18 percent over a five-year period.
Church group will end vigil after Supreme Court denies to take case
The Friends of St. Frances Cabrini will end their 11-year-long, around-the-clock vigil at the Scituate church after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up their appeal of a lower court order to vacate the parish, Lane Lambert of the Patriot Ledger reports. The parishioners plan to form an independent Catholic church that is distinct from the diocese, which plans to sell the church property.
Springfield delays Uber regulation vote
The Springfield City Council delayed a vote on potential regulation of ride-hailing services such as Uber Monday night, with councilors saying they want to study the issue more, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. The proposal would require all ride-sharing drivers to obtain written permission to operate from the city.
Meanwhile, Fasten, the Boston-based Uber competitor, said it would enter the Austin, Texas market, which both Uber and Lyft abandoned after that city put its own regulations in place, Brent Wistrom of BostInno reports. Fasten said it would move to sign up many of the thousands of drivers the other services had recruited in the city.
T board hears of ‘discrepancy’ in parking funds
The MBTA is continuing to investigate discrepancies between the amount of parking fees collected at T parking lots and the number of cars actually parked in the lot, though the T still doesn’t have a handle on how much money may be unaccounted for, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. The T’s legal counsel said the vendor who operates the commuter lots, LAZ Parking Ltd., would be responsible for paying the T back double the amount of any missing funds.
Cruise lines bring bucks to Boston
Two cruise lines will dock ships in Boston for the first time this week, providing a major boost to local tourism and the economy, Donna Goodison and Chris Villani of the Herald report. In all, 114 ships are expected to deliver 320,000 passengers to for brief visits to the city during this year’s cruise season. That’s a lot of cash-spending tourists, folks.
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