The House and Senate are expected to move today to enact a new $39.1 billion budget that was quickly pieced together to close an anticipated shortfall in state revenues next fiscal year.
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to swear in members appointed to two special commissions created under opioid legislation signed into law earlier this year, Room 360, 10:30 a.m.
Senate debates energy bill
The Senate plans to debate its energy legislation that would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts for offshore wind and clean energy generation from other sources, including hydropower and onshore wind, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.
Rally for gun safety reforms
U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Joseph Kennedy, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg and others attend a rally to push for “gun violence reforms,” State House steps, 12 p.m.
The duct-tape budget
Lawmakers have slapped together a new $39.1 billion state budget that appears to be held together with a little help from duct-tape, clothes hangers, string and Band-Aids. The Globe’s Joshua Miller reports that the Senate and House are expected to enact the budget as soon as today, after legislative negotiators yesterday unveiled a new budget plan designed to plug huge gaps in expected state revenues for the new fiscal year that starts tomorrow.
Some of the “financial maneuvers” used by lawmakers to balance the budget include, according to Miller, projecting that $200 million in tax revenue, meant for the state’s rainy day fund, won’t show up and thus won’t be counted as spending; changing fiscal assumptions about fees and Medicaid usage; paying some Medicaid bills later; assuming the state’s automatic income tax rollback doesn’t take place next year; and the list goes on.
By passing the budget today, lawmakers would give Gov. Charlie Baker little time over the next week or so to decide whether to sign the bill or veto certain parts of it. It’s not going to be a very pleasant and relaxing Fourth of July weekend for the administration’s number crunchers, that’s for sure.
Target: Marty Walsh
With yesterday’s indictment of a second high-ranking member of the Walsh administration in the ongoing fed probe of union strong-arm tactics at City Hall, can there be any doubt at this point that Mayor Marty Walsh is now in the crosshairs of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz – or at the very least that Walsh is pinging loud and clear on Ortiz’s radar screen? Many now speculate that next on Ortiz’s hit list is Joyce Linehan, a key confidante of Walsh, and maybe a few others.
But as the Herald’s Bob McGovern notes, it’s now clear that Ortiz is “rung by rung” moving up the City Hall ladder. “This is in the playbook. Start in the lower echelon of the administration and try to get them to turn,” says civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate, as quoted by McGovern. “It seems like they’re trying to get someone to testify that Walsh was involved in what the government has characterized as extortion.”
We’re still skeptical about the validity of the charges being brought by Ortiz in this case, especially after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on extortion charges that were filed under the federal Hobbs Act. But what we think or believe means absolutely nothing. It all comes down to what Ortiz thinks and believes, as the Globe’s Joan Vennochi points out. And Ortiz, as Joan notes, has shown over the years that she doesn’t back down from fights and has a track record of getting convictions in political corruption cases.
Howie Carr shifts into open campaign mode for Trump
Radio host and Herald columnist Howie Carr didn’t overshadow Donald Trump when the GOP presidential candidate swung through Boston and other parts of New England yesterday. But Howie was nevertheless making headlines, or at least one cyber headline, for mocking U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s past claims of Indian-American heritage and bellowing out a few war woops, as reported by Politico’s Nick Gass.
In today’s Herald, Howie says he has no regrets about whipping up the crowd at a Bangor, Maine rally before Trump was scheduled to speak. Howie also seemed mighty impressed with Trump’s Boeing 747 campaign jet and his time spent yesterday with Donald. Bottom line: Howie is now all in for Trump, well beyond radio and print cheerleading for the candidate.
As for Trump’s Boston fundraiser yesterday, the anti-Trump protest outside was smaller than anticipated, though U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano did make a cameo appearance, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Inside the Langham Hotel, MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius reports that Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, was among the small crowd attending the pricey fundraiser. Also attending were: Former Sen. Scott Brown, Massachusetts GOP chair Kirsten Hughes, state Rep. Keiko Orrall of Lakeville, car magnate Ernie Boch Jr., and, of course, Howie, among others, Dumcius reports.
House passes restrictions on proliferating non-compete agreements
A House bill that slaps new restrictions on employee non-compete contracts doesn’t go as far as many had hoped. But the legislation, meant to rein in the increasing use of non-competes designed to make it harder for employees to leave companies for rival firms, is at least a first step in tackling the issue. Under the House bill passed yesterday, non-compete agreements would be “no broader than necessary” to protect trade secrets and confidential business information and must be “reasonable in geographic scope,” reports State House News Service’s Colin Young. A “garden leave clause” also would guarantee that workers leaving a job be paid half of their salary for the duration of their restricted period – and a last-minute amendment to the bill would allow workers and employers to come up with a mutually agreed upon alternative to the half-salary clause.
Senate approves the Uber bill
After five hours of debate, the Massachusetts Senate passed its version of a ride-hailing regulation bill that includes several safety provisions, including state-run background checks, but it stops short of requiring fingerprinting of drivers, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. The legislation, passed by a vote of 34-2 and now headed toward a conference committee, is seen largely as a win for Uber and Lyft and a major loss for the taxi industry, which wanted stricter rules.
Officials eye expanded Blue Hills deer hunt
State officials say they plan to allow another round of hunting to address the overpopulation of deer at the Blue Hills Reservation, expanding the length and area of the hunt and allowing both bows and arrows and shotguns to be used, Jessica Trufant of the Patriot Ledger reports. Hearings will be held in July on the proposed six-day hunt. Last year’s hunt, the first in the reservation in some time, sparked protests.
Judge: Ex-State Trooper must register as sex offender
A former State Trooper convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he met online must register as a sex offender, Hampshire Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford has ruled, denying a motion from Christopher J. Kennedy’s attorney requesting that Kennedy be exempt from being labeled a sex offender, reports Rebecca Everett at MassLive. The judge noted the “brazenness” of Kennedy’s crime for denying the motion. Kennedy, 33, who has been fired by State Police, was convicted last month of assault and battery, indecent assault and battery, and indecent exposure after he entered the woman’s home with her on their first date, exposed himself and forced himself on her, Everett reports. Kennedy has been sentenced to six months in prison starting in August.
Back to the future: Boston home prices hitting pre-recession highs
Question: If there was a housing bubble before the recession and if prices are now back to pre-recessions highs, are we in a housing bubble again? Granted, there’s inflation. But … Well, anyway, Greater Boston is among seven metropolitan areas in the U.S. with home prices approaching the bubble-era prices of last decade, the Boston Business Journal’s Catherine Carlock reports.
UMass buys more Lowell buildings
The University of Massachusetts continues to expand its footprint in Lowell, buying up two more private properties and taking about $22,000 off the city’s tax rolls in the process, Christopher Scott of the Lowell Sun reports. The university said it plans to invest $500,000 to improve the two industrial buildings located near its South campus.
Worcester mayor’s move to extend contract draws fire
At least one member of the Worcester City Council accused Mayor Joseph Petty of playing politics by seeking to extend the contract of City Manager Edward Augustus beyond the 2017 city election, Nick Kotsopoulos of the Telegram reports. Petty floated the extension after the council gave Augustus a mostly positive job review. But Councilor Michael Gaffney—whose evaluation was more critical—said the move may be designed to prevent the manager’s job performance from becoming an issue in next year’s mayor’s race.
Focus narrowed in Taunton casino suit
As both sides prepare for a hearing next month in the federal lawsuit seeking to stop the First Light casino from being built, the judge has narrowed the focus of the case to the single issue of whether the Department of the Interior erred when it allowed the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to take the land into trust, George Brennan of the Cape Cod Times reports.
A man walking home with Thai food on a Sunday realizes two days later he was shot
This is a strange one: Worcester police say a man who heard a “pop” when walking home only realized two days later that he had been shot, reports Elaine Thompson at the Telegram: “The 46-year-old man, whom police did not identify, told police that he was walking home from a Thai restaurant at 545 Southwest Cutoff Sunday night when he heard a pop sound and felt a pain in his back. The man continued walking home, ate the food and went to sleep. Monday morning when he woke up, he was in pain and found it difficult to move. He slept most of Monday and woke up Tuesday morning still in pain with a lot of blood on his clothing and his bed. That’s when the man drove himself to a hospital.”
There’s more: “Physicians told police that the man sustained a ‘through and through’ gunshot wound to the left chest area. He was in serious, but stable condition.” Shot in the chest area and he didn’t notice?
The story is so implausible it’s believable.
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