Happening Today

Senate budget debate

The Senate plans to begin its debate over the fiscal year 2017 budget, Senate Chamber, 10 a.m.

MCAS review

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets to get an update on the development of the next-generation MCAS assessment and the associated review of the state’s English language arts and mathematics standards, Pioneer Charter School of Science, 51 Summer St., Everett, 9 a.m.

State pension investments

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board’s investment committee, 84 State St., second floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Today’s Stories

The courts have a lot of explaining to do in the case of Jorge Zambrano

The rap sheet of ex-con Jorge Zambrano, the accused killer of Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr., is incredible: multiple pending probation violations, previous charges of assaulting cops, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, drug trafficking, carrying concealed weapons, and the list goes on and on and on, extending back 18 years.

The Telegram counts 70 cases against Zambrano over the years, while the Globe pegs the tally in the “scores.” In other words: Jorge Zambrano was a walking disaster case. So the obvious question on most everyone’s mind this morning is: Why in heaven’s name was Zambrano free when he shot Tarentino multiple times in the chest during a routine traffic stop? Zambrano was later slain by police after a dramatic manhunt and shootout on Sunday.

“Jorge Zambrano had both past and pending cases in the court system including serving a seven-year state prison sentence,” conceded Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey said in a statement, as reported by the Herald. “We are carefully examining all of the circumstances regarding Jorge Zambrano’s criminal history in order to determine whether additional systemic steps should have been taken in his case.”

Obviously, one of the “systemic steps” not taken was keeping Jorge Zambrano off the streets in the first place. The public is not going to want to hear whether the courts – and prosecutors in Worcester, for that matter – technically followed proper procedures or not. They’re going to want a clear answer to the common-sense question everyone is asking: Why wasn’t Jorge Zambrano in prison, or at least in a mental institution, after long and repeated brushes with the law? How did this happen?

‘I can still hear him talking in my brain’

Here’s an incredibly moving and sad account of how a couple, Edward and Tammy Lemieux, tried to aid Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. after he was shot on Sunday in Auburn, allegedly by Jorge Zambrano. Tarentino, the father of three children, later died from his wounds. “We just did everything we could. I can still hear him talking in my brain,” recalled an emotional Edward Lemieux, reports MassLive’s Scott Croteau. “How can you tell someone they are going to be all right and then they end up being this way? He didn’t even have a chance.”

From Croteau’s story: “Edward held a towel behind Tarentino’s head to comfort him as he was on the ground outside his cruiser. ‘I’ve been shot,’ the officer said. ‘Just stay with us,’ Edward replied.”

It’s a heartbreaking read.


Maura Healey urges Congress to treat gun deaths as public health issue

While court officials are trying to sort out the tragedy in Auburn, Attorney General Maura Healey is in Washington today urging Congress to allow the Centers for Disease Control to study gun deaths, just as it studies deaths caused by auto accidents, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson. In a letter to Congress, Healey and other attorneys general are asking lawmakers to repeal a 1996 amendment that stipulates that funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may not be used “to advocate or promote gun control, Levenson reports.

Boston Globe

Obamas back to Vineyard one last time as first family

President Obama will bring his family to Martha’s Vineyard for one final summer vacation while in office, Sean F. Driscoll of the Cape Cod Times reports. A Coast Guard official confirmed the visit, which has yet to be announced by the White House, to Falmouth Selectmen Monday night and said this year’s stay—the seventh in Obama’s eight years in office—could last three full weeks.

Cape Cod Times

Beaton: It may take a while to comply with SJC energy ruling

Energy and Environment Secretary Matthew Beaton doesn’t appear to be in a rush to comply with last week’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling that effectively ordered the state to come up with more ways to cut carbon emissions in order to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. Beaton said that developing an emissions-reduction plan will be a “long process” that will entail reviewing many sectors where pollution cuts can take place, including the transportation industry, reports Michael Norton of State House News Service. “We have some work to do across every sector,” Beaton said.

SHNS (pay wall)

House committee waters down Baker’s hydroelectricity proposal

Gov. Charlie Baker has repeatedly touted the need to import huge amounts of hydroelectricity from Canada, as a way to both stabilize electricity prices here and to reduce the state’s reliance on power plants that burn natural gas. A House committee yesterday agreed – but called for only half of the hydroelectricity sought by the Baker administration, reports CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl. Meanwhile, the same bill released yesterday by House members also calls for procurement of 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind by the middle of 2027, but the head of the Environmental League of Massachusetts says that goal is too timid. File under: You can’t please everyone.


Battling cancer, MBTA general manager Frank DePaola to retire

The general manager at the MBTA, Frank DePaola, announced he’s retiring at the end of next month as he wages a personal battle against cancer, reports State House News Service’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack has appointed MBTA chief administrator Brian Shortsleeve, a former Marine and business executive, as acting general manager as of July 1. “As some of you know, Frank has been battling cancer for months and he has now come to the conclusion that he cannot focus adequately on his health and the treatment he needs while carrying out the heavy responsibilities of the GM’s job,” Transportation Pollack wrote in a memo Monday.

Wicked Local

Lawmakers unveil stronger public-records measure

After months of conference-committee negotiations, legislators are finally ready to pass a new bill that would strengthen the state’s “much-maligned” public records laws, reports Joshua Miller of the Globe. Among other things, the proposed legislation would allow judges to force state agencies, cities, and towns to pay legal fees if a court found they inappropriately withheld public records, Miller reports. “This bill will add considerable freedom of information to Massachusetts and make for more openness and accountability in government,” said Pam Wilmot, head of Common Cause Massachusetts. “It’s a very strong bill.” But cities and towns are worried they may become overburdened with public-record requests if the bill is enacted, says Geoffrey C. Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Boston Globe

Maybe the new public records law will help in this case

It’s been four months since the Enterprise requested the out-of-state travel records of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter and the documents have yet to be produced, Marc Larocque reports. Carpenter has traveled out of state seven times since taking office in 2014, including several international trips.

The Enterprise

Drug labs seen improving, but concerns linger

Officials say the state’s drug labs have seen increased budgets and an infusion of new workers in the wake of two scandals that have cast doubt on thousands of criminal cases, but some remain unconvinced that all is well, Karen Brown of New England Public Radio reports at WBUR. While new employees must pass drug screenings, the state is still negotiating with the union representing lab employees to put random testing in place.


Sex offender commission produces few proposals

After three years of work, a blue-ribbon panel commissioned to study how to improve the state’s sex offender registry submitted its final report but was unable to reach consensus on how the state should move forward, Matt Stout of the Herald reports. The commission produced a 118-page report that is light on policy suggestions because members could not agree on the most contentious issues. 

Boston Herald

Senate seeks to expand low-income tax credit

In one of hundreds of amendments tacked onto its budget proposal, the Massachusetts Senate is seeking to expand the earned income tax credit for a second straight year, Christian Wade reports in the Gloucester Times. A bill signed by Gov. Baker last year expanded the credit from 15 to 23 percent of income and some Democrats are now leading a charge to boost that to 30 percent.

Gloucester Times

In Dorchester, no shine off Walsh image

Phillip Martin of WGBH followed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to his weekend fundraiser at a Dorchester union hall and found support for the mayor remains steadfast despite some high-profile stumbles and the indictment of his tourism chief on extortion charges. Said one union member: “Anytime he wants my vote he’ll get my vote.”


Today’s Headlines


Boston ups $60K audit to $200K for second review – Fox 25

Marty Walsh’s very bad month continues – WGBH

In Dorchester’s Walsh country, Mayor Marty is still king – WGBH

Effort to make Harvard tuition-free fails – Boston Globe


How much marijuana is too much for drivers? – Boston Globe

Legislature poised to pass public records reform – Boston Globe

Energy bill leaves Cape Wind unplugged – Boston Globe

Gov. Charlie Baker: ‘Series of investigations’ coming after death of Auburn officer Ronald Tarentino – MassLive

After scandals, official say drug labs have improved, but concerns linger – WBUR

Mass. home sales in April grow at fastest pace since 2012 – Boston Globe

Panel probing sex offender rules lacks ‘consensus’ – Boston Herald

Dudley Town Meeting vote could stop Muslim cemetery plan – Telegram & Gazette

Senators seek bigger tax break for low-wage workers – Gloucester Times

Coast Guard official confirms Obamas’ Vineyard vacation – Cape Cod Times

Pittsfield mayor, police chief pledge robust response to violence – Berkshire Eagle

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says preparations for marijuana ballot question ongoing – Berkshire Eagle

Mass. education officials review how teachers are certified – WBUR

Brockton Mayor has not produced travel records in four months since request – Brockton Enterprise

Berkshire Innovation Center’s potential cost overruns surprising to state officials – Berkshire Eagle


New Poll: Voters unhappy – Lowell Sun

Harry Reid shoots down speculation of Warren vice presidency – Boston.com

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