Transgender rights bills
Six lawmakers charged with settling House and Senate differences on transgender-rights legislation will meet in Room 348, 10 a.m.
The House plans to tackle legislation restricting employer use of non-compete agreements, House Chamber, 11 a.m.
Senate to debate ride-for-hire bill
The Senate’s version of legislation regulating ride-for-hire services like Uber and Lyft is scheduled for debate, Senate Chamber, 1 p.m.
Fourth of July security
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Public Safety and Security Secretary Daniel Bennett, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy for the annual pre-July 4th media briefing on security and event logistics for this weekend’s Esplanade celebrations, lawn in front of DCR Hatch Memorial Shell, Charles River Esplanade, Boston, 3 p.m.
Ride-for-hire debate fueled by high-octane lobbying cash
As the Senate prepares to debate the ride-for-hire bill today, the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan reports how the legislation has become the center of one of the most intense and expensive lobbying campaigns of the session. The total fees paid to Beacon Hill lobbyists last year alone: $1.4 million, with ride-sharing giant Uber dropping $300,000 on its lobbying efforts. “In all my work, on a fairly robust set of issues, I’d never seen this many lobbyists representing one company or one industry,” said state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, who helped draft the Senate bill. But it’s not just ride-for-hire companies throwing the bucks around. The taxi industry, insurers, banks and rental car agencies are also spending money to protect their interests, O’Sullivan reports.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jordan Graham reports that the taxi industry has ratcheted up its own lobbying efforts on the Uber bill, which was influenced by a certain national figure: “Dozens of taxi drivers, cab owners and their advocates blanketed the State House yesterday in a last-ditch push for stronger rules for ride-hailing app services, while a senator acknowledged that former Attorney General Eric Holder influenced the pending bill with a letter calling for regulations without fingerprint background checks.”
IndyCar threatens bankruptcy
Grand Prix of Boston is telling sponsors, employees and vendors that they need to help the organizers of the defunct South Boston IndyCar race come up with $1.7 million to refund ticket buyers or it will be forced to file for bankruptcy protection, Joe Battenfeld of the Herald reports. In a letter, Grand Prix attorney Michael Goldberg laid blame for the race’s crash-and-burn at the feet of Mayor Marty Walsh and warned that bankruptcy would result in a “chaotic situation.” “You can help make consumers whole and put this unfortunate episode in the rear view mirror,” Goldberg wrote.
The plea comes as Attorney General Maura Healey signals that her office is preparing to file suit against the race’s promoters to help recoup ticket holders’ money, Mark Arsenault of the Globereports. Healey’s office sent a five-day warning notice that is required by law before a formal lawsuit is filed.
Capuano is expected to join protesters at Trump’s fundraiser today in Boston
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley are scheduled to join protesters this morning outside the Langham Hotel, where GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is holding a pricey fundraiser, organizers tell the Herald’s Chris Villani. At recent Trump events elsewhere, violence has broken out – with protesters getting their share of blame for starting trouble. But participants and organizers of today’s protest say they want an orderly demonstration. “What I expect is a peaceful protest, people coming together from the community and around the state committed to defeating Trump and his destructive economic policies that will move this country backwards,” said Joe Lazzerini, a political organizer for Service Employees International Union Local 888.
DeLeo to push for late-session pay equity bill
In a surprise move, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is going for broke on a gender pay equity bill with just over a month left in the current legislative session, reports the Globe’s Katie Johnson. “I am committed to bringing an equal pay bill in the coming weeks that I hope will become law,” DeLeo said in a statement. The legislation, which is intended to close pay disparities between men and women, hinges on the definition of “comparable work” in order to make sure that similar jobs have similar pay, Johnson reports. The bill would also prohibit employers from asking a job candidate’s salary history. The Massachusetts High Tech Council and Associated Industries of Massachusetts oppose the bill.
‘This was Bob Crane’s day’
Howie Carr has a wonderful column this morning on yesterday’s gathering, hosted by Treasurer Deb Goldberg, in honor of former state Treasurer Robert Crane, now 90. The event was attended by a who’s who of State House pols, past and present, and many others: Michael Dukakis, Frank Bellotti, John Driscoll, Billy Bulger, Dick Flavin, Bob Popeo, Shannon O’Brien, Robert DeLeo, Suzanne Bump, Bill Galvin, Dave Locke, Dan Rea, Joe Fitzgerald, and the list goes on. “This was Bob Crane’s day,” writes Carr, who mostly (repeat: mostly) resists taking potshots as he takes readers down memory lane.
We’ll let State House News Service’s Colin A. Young take it away: “Every dog has its day, but the dogs on Tuesday had to share the spotlight with cats as the Massachusetts Senate approved three bills aimed at protecting canines and felines as well as a measure intended to boost recylcing and reduce solid waste headed to Bay State landfills.”
Medical discovery: Free lunches and ice cream don’t heal labor wounds
Brigham & Women’s Hospital threw a party yesterday – which included free lunches and ice cream for employees – to celebrate a new contract with the nurses union that helped avert a planned strike earlier this week, reports Jessica Bartlett at the Boston Business Journal. The lunch on the lawn was touted as a way to start the healing process at the hospital. But one union official was not exactly receptive to the treatment. “The harm that has been done cannot be repaired,” said Trish Powers, the union’s bargaining committee chair.
SJC approves ballot question calling for second slots parlor
There’s the perfectly normal way to journalistically report on the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision yesterday to uphold a ballot question that would allow a second slots parlor in Massachusetts. Then there’s Adam Gaffin’s hilarious but still accurate approach. With a headline that reads “Court upholds impending ballot question on letting one guy build a slots parlor near Suffolk Downs,” here’s his lead: “The Supreme Judicial Court today backed letting voters decide whether a man who has an agreement to buy a mobile-home park near Suffolk Downs should be allowed to apply for a slots-parlor license for the parcel.”
As for our headline, we didn’t even try to match Adam’s cut-to-the-chase wit.
Anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in schools in Massachusetts
The number of anti-Semitic incidents at grade schools in Massachusetts jumped from six in 2014 to 18 in 2015 – and it’s only getting worse, reports the Jewish Advocate’s Glenn Rhyne, citing data from the Anti- Defamation League. So far this year through May, preliminary data suggests there have been 24 incidents, meaning the number could hit about 50 this year if current trends hold, according to ADL-New England. The ugly uptick in anti-Semitism is alarming Jewish groups and individuals, who say more needs to be done at the state, local and school-district levels to combat the “scourge” and “poison” behind such incidents.
Note: In a major reversal, Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided to donate proceeds from Adolf Hitler’s notorious “Mein Kampf” book to Waltham-based Jewish Family & Children’s Service, which provides care to elderly Holocaust survivors through its Schechter Holocaust Services program, reports the Globe’s Malcolm Gay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had previously drawn criticism for planning to donate proceeds to a broader array of groups supporting tolerance in general, not necessarily linked to Holocaust issues or combatting anti-Semitism, Gay reports.
How Greenfield built its own Internet network
Christina Quinn of WGBH digs into the story of how the Berkshire city of Greenfield addressed its lack of high-speed Internet access by building its own network. While just 60 percent of the community had access to the Internet—and some still relied on vintage dial-up connections—the city could not qualify for state grants to fix the issue, so it issued a $5 million bond and built what is now known as Greenlight. “The internet is an infrastructure issue,” said Mayor Bill Martin. “It falls in parallel to water, sewer, power, natural gas lines that we have throughout the city. We should control it.”
In Brockton, fallout from bulldozed Tent City
A day after Brockton’s mayor ordered the demolition of the makeshift homeless encampment known as Tent City, the city’s homeless shelter says it saw just five of the 75 displaced people, meaning others merely found places elsewhere to go, Benjamin Paulin of the Enterprise reports. In fact, Paullin found a number of homeless trying to sleep on downtown streets while several tents popped up nearby in another makeshift camp being dubbed Tent Village.
Meanwhile, most of the Brockton City Council backed Mayor Bill Carpenter’s decision to level Tent City after a series of fires and other public safety issues at the site, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. However, there were dissenters, including Councilor Moises Rodrigues, who said the move was a waste of public resources, since the property is privately owned by the CSX railroad company. “Just evicting people out of a private area is not an answer,” Rodrigues said. “We aren’t dealing with a problem. We are just clearing someone’s private property.”
Braintree finds funds for drug abuse effort
The Braintree Town Council approved a series of budget transfers that will allow it to create and fill a new position that will oversee the towns’ efforts to combat drug abuse, Fred Hanson of the Patriot Ledger reports. The community now has nearly $110,000 set aside to hire an anti-drug coordinator to oversee education and outreach and help the community identify potential grant sources to further its efforts.
Divestment activists target Beacon Hill
Buoyed by the decision of the University of Massachusetts to divest from its investments in fossil-fuel companies, activists are now setting their sights on convincing the state to follow suit, Chris White reports in the New Boston Post. A number of communities in the state have already taken the step, including Cambridge, Boston, Somerville and Concord.
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