Student and faculty plan to protest the possible non-renewal of contracts with nearly 400 adjunct faculty members at a meeting of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, UMass Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester, 9 a.m.
Medicaid reform proposal
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration plans to post a comprehensive Medicaid reform proposal in hopes of renegotiating a federal waiver by Labor Day, amid worries the state could lose $1 billion in federal MassHealth reimbursements.
Sick time policy changes
A Baker administration bill to reform sick time policies in state government is expected to be taken up by the Joint Public Service Committee, Room B-2, 12 p.m.
Budget wipe out on Beacon Hill
Senate and House conference committee members tasked with hammering out a compromise on the new state budget, due to take effect in only two weeks, were thrown for a loop yesterday when the Baker administration announced that state revenues next fiscal year could be short of projections by as much as $750 million. The net result? The shortfall could force lawmakers to wipe out much of the new spending proposals by Governor Charlie Baker, the House, and the Senate, the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports. Despite a strong economy, the culprit appears to be the state’s ever-volatile capital gains tax revenue that’s taken a big hit due to recent stock market turmoil.
Because there’s little, if any, appetite for tax or fee increases on Beacon Hill, it’s belt tightening time, folks, and it’s going to dominate the rest of the session, however long it now lasts.
Who’s really reshaping the SJC? Baker or Ralph Gants?
As expected, Gov. Charlie Baker nominated three people to fill vacancies on the Supreme Judicial Court. They are Superior Court justices Kimberly Budd, Frank Gaziano and David Lowy. As the Globe’s Milton Valencia and John Ellement note, they’re all former prosecutors. For the most part, Baker’s selections are winning widespread praise, even from Democrats, and it appears Baker will get to leave his mark on the state’s highest court.
But the Herald’s Bob McGovern notes that none of the nominees have appellate court experience – and that could give Chief Justice Ralph Gants enormous influence over the court as the new appointees, assuming their nominations are approved, find their feet at the SJC. “This is undoubtedly Gants’ court, and it will be built in his image,” write McGovern. “When justices Margot Botsford and Geraldine Hines are forced to retire in 2017, it will be Gants and Justice Barbara Lenk with the most experience — likely flanked by this trio of trial court judges. And when that time comes, it will be Gants, not Baker, who will be responsible for how well the state’s highest court administers justice.”
Obama delivers ‘virtually flawless’ broadside against Trump
Even Rachelle Cohen, editor of the Herald’s conservative-leaning editorial pages, was sort of awed by President Obama’s performance yesterday in blasting Donald Trump’s recent anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rants, calling it a “virtually flawless” broadside by Obama. We’re not sure Rachelle is right that Obama gave a speech that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton should have given. The NYT makes clear Clinton was swinging away yesterday at Trump too. But she’s not the president. Obama is. And the commander in chief just showed others how to directly confront Trump on issues of terrorism and immigration: Head on.
Note: The NYT link above has a video of the president’s remarks.
Moulton lands on cover of NY Daily News
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, the Massachusetts Democrat who has launched an anti-assault rife crusade in the wake of the Orlando mass killings, has landed on the front cover of the New York Daily News grasping an assault rifle while serving in the military, as the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss reports. The newspaper’s very long headline: “Hey, NRA: This Marine served in Iraq & he says assault rifles should be banned. Does that make him a gun-grabbing commie, too?” The larger headline reads: “No civilian should own this gun.”
It’s a big coup for Moulton and his gun-control cause. But we’ll emphasize again: gun control is not the central political issue at this point, as much as some Dems want it to be. If you doubt this assertion, ask yourself this question: Which issue do you think will more likely dominate and swing the presidential election this fall – foreign policy or gun control? The question almost answers itself.
Framingham native tells of nightmare conditions inside Orlando nightclub
WCVB TV has a video of Angel Colon, a former Framingham resident, talking about his nightmare ordeal at the Orlando nightclub that was attacked on Sunday by Omar Mateen. How Colon survived to talk about the terror he endured and witnessed is almost beyond belief.
Meehan: Warren wouldn’t bring balance to Dem ticket
To be a fly on the wall the next time Marty Meehan and Elizabeth Warren meet, following Meehan’s dissing the idea of Warren being Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate. Meehan, the former Congressman and current head of the University of Massachusetts, was actually right in saying yesterday that Warren, the darling of the political left, wouldn’t appeal to moderate voters in battleground states. “Obviously Elizabeth Warren doesn’t bring that to the table,” said Meehan on Boston Herald Radio, as reported by State House New Service’s Michael Norton at New Boston Post. But you do have to wonder about the relationship between Warren and Meehan after his remarks. … So, Marty, how’s that UMass research funding application going? … Not that Warren would ever have stoop to such levels.
Scientists: Let rattlesnakes flourish!
A coalition of biologists and conservationists are urging legislators to “stand with science” and proceed with a plan that would introduce endangered timber rattlesnakes on an uninhabited Quabbin Reservoir island, reports Marry Serreze at MassLive. Advocates for Snake Conservation has started an online petition calling for the rejection of an amendment filed by Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow that would place a one-year moratorium on colonizing the island with rattlesnakes. “Preserving biodiversity means protecting all native species, even those that might be considered unpopular,” the petition states.
Walsh poised to intervene to avert a strike by nurses
Boston Mayor Marty said he intends to wade into the labor fray at Brigham & Women’s hospital to help negotiate a settlement between 3,300 nurses, who have authorized a one-day strike for June 27, and the Boston health care giant, the Boston Business Journal’s Craig Douglas reports. “I have not interjected myself in that conversation … yet,” Walsh told the BBJ. “But I intend on reaching out to see if I can broker some type of conversation at the table here.”
State board caps sick and vacation time payouts
Reacting to recent reports of huge sick and vacation time payouts to retiring officials at state colleges, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved a motion yesterday to limit the amount of sick and vacation days available to some of the highest paid education officials in Massachusetts, reports Michelle Williams at MassLive. Under the new policy that applies to 1,650 employees, vacation days accrued by non-unit professional staff will be capped at a 64-day balance and vacation days above that limit will be forfeited if not used.
Cutting carbon emissions ‘doesn’t require a public policy miracle’
Ed Krapels, chief executive of Anbaric, an energy transmission company, thinks Massachusetts is much closer than people realize to a “new energy age” that would comply with a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling to cut carbon emissions and increase the use of clean energy. The solution, as he outlines in a MetroWest Daily News piece: A regional strategy to transmit hydropower from Quebec and onshore wind power from upstate New York and Maine. Krapels: “The SJC’s ruling doesn’t require a public policy miracle. Sharply reducing our fossil fuel dependency is not only achievable, it can be done with competitively-priced clean power.”
Biz groups pressure lawmakers on Uber and Lyft access
Business groups are calling on the state Senate to clear the way for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate at Logan Airport and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Jordan Graham reports in the Herald. The groups want the Senate to remove a provision from House legislation regulating ride-sharing services that bans the cars from picking up and dropping off at the two locations.
Judge says City Hall subpoenas can stay secret
In a reversal of an earlier decision, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert N. Tochka says subpoenas served on City Hall can be kept secret, citing the risk that making them public would pose to the ongoing federal investigation, Andrew Ryan of the Globe reports. The judge reversed his earlier ruling in favor of releasing the documents to the Globe, citing a memorandum from prosecutors that will also remain secret.
Dartmouth police chief sues town for $4 million
Dartmouth Police Chief Timothy Lee has filed a $4 million federal lawsuit against the town and its board of selectmen, alleging defamation and civil rights violations in connection with allegations of mistreatment of a child that prosecutors found to be without merit, Eric Bosco of the Standard-Times reports. Lee is on long-term medical leave and his current employment contract expires at the end of the month.
Bill eyes Duck boat safety
Lawmakers will unveil a bill today that would require new safety rules for operators of amphibious duck boat tours, a response to the fatal pedestrian accident that occurred on April 30, according to an Associated Press story carried by the Herald. Sponsored by Sen. William Brownsberger, the bill would require duck boats to have blind-spot cameras and proximity sensors and prohibit drivers from also serving as tour guide narrators.
Worcester OKs $100M urban renewal plan
The Worcester City Council unanimously approved a 20-year, $100 million urban renewal plan for its downtown, despite calls from some residents that the plan ignores some key areas of Main Street, Scott J. Croteau at MassLive reports. City officials said expanding the area covered by the plan—which still needs state approval—would require re-starting the lengthy approval process.
BPL search ends where it began
Boston Public Library’s interim President David Leonard had been given the position permanently, Amy Gorel of WBUR reports. The BPL’s board voted to offer the position to Leonard—who has been serving in the interim role since last year, when the former director resigned—after it was unable to convince its first choice to relocate from California.
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