MBTA fare hikes take effect
MBTA riders will be required to pay an average of 9.3 percent more to use T buses and subways, starting today, under a controversial fare-hike plan approved by the T’s overseers earlier this year.
Happy New Fiscal Year!
The state’s new fiscal year officially starts today with state government operating on a temporary budget approved earlier this month by lawmakers; Gov. Charlie Baker is currently reviewing a new $39.1 billion full-year budget passed yesterday by the House and Senate.
Baker praises lawmakers for quickly passing new stop-gap budget
For a guy whose July Fourth weekend is about to be consumed by number-crunching reviews of a new state budget passed by lawmakers yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker seemed in a rather chipper mood on Thursday. Even though the $39.1 billion budget is built upon flimsy revenue assumptions and fancy accounting footwork, Baker seemed relieved that at least he had a new fiscal budget on his desk that attempts to address estimated state revenue shortfalls. The state’s new fiscal year starts today with a temporary budget already in place, giving Baker 10 days to review lawmakers’ handiwork on the full-year budget passed yesterday.
Despite a projected revenue shortfall that could hit as high as $1 billion, the legislative budget doesn’t include any tax increases, which perhaps accounts for the Republican governor’s somewhat buoyant mood. “I’m glad to be getting it before the end of the fiscal year,” Baker said yesterday, according to a State House News Service report in the Fall River Herald News. “I think that’s a real tribute, frankly, to the collaborative spirit the House and Senate brought to the process.”
Baker said he plans to use the long Fourth of July weekend to dive into the Legislature’s compromise spending plan, according to reports.
Energetic debate ahead: Senate and House to tackle energy bill differences
As expected, the Senate last evening approved an energy bill requiring the solicitation of long-term contracts to buy offshore wind and other clean energy sources such as hydro power, onshore wind and solar, as part of an overall effort to wean the state off its dependence on electricity generated by fossil fuels, reports Katie Lannan of State House News Service at WWLP 22 News. The House has already approved its own energy bill that also authorizes the long-term purchases of large amounts of clean energy. But the two chambers differ in the amounts and types of clean energy that should be used moving forward, particularly the amount of offshore wind power in future years. Negotiators will have the month of July to hammer out a compromise.
Al Gore says he’s proud of daughter who was arrested at pipeline protest
The daughter of former Vice President Al Gore was among those arrested the other day at a protest over a planned natural gas pipeline in West Roxbury, the Herald’s Jordan Graham reports. Karenna Gore, 42, later said that she participated in the demonstration because there are “higher moral principles at stake here that merit nonviolent civil disobedience.” Her father, famous himself for crusading against carbon pollution that’s contributing to climate change, said he’s proud of his daughter. “We are facing an existential crisis and should speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy and a decarbonized economy,” he said through a spokeswoman, the Herald reports.
Op-ed: Onshore wind power has a place on the ‘combo platter’
Editor’s note: In a resumption of MASSterList’s policy of running occasional op-eds, below is an excerpt from an opinion piece by Edward Krapels and James Murphy, advocates for increased onshore wind and hydro power within legislation now being debated on Beacon Hill:
“Onshore wind means clean, renewable, sustainable energy. It’s a proven, affordable power source. … Blended with hydro, onshore wind is the smartest renewable solution that can be implemented at a large enough scale to meet the legislatively mandated clean energy requirements.”
To read the full op-ed, click on the prompt below.
Score one for Rep. Clark: Ryan backs down and will allow gun vote
As U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and other Democrats rallied on the steps of the State House yesterday in favor of increased gun control measures, House Speaker Paul Ryan was announcing in Washington, D.C., that he will call a vote next week on a bill to stop anyone on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying a gun, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Ryan’s move was a symbolic victory for Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat who recently gained national attention for organizing a sit-in on the House floor with civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, to protest Republican inaction on gun-control measures, Schoenberg reports.
Warren torches another industry favored by Clinton
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is best known for her biting criticisms of Wall Street and, most recently, Donald Trump. Yesterday, she shifted her sights west and blasted away at three of the tech industry’s more famous companies: Apple, Google and Amazon, for their alleged anti-competitive practices. Her criticisms of the tech titans came, as the Mercury News’ SiliconBeat blog points out, on the “heels of (Hillary) Clinton’s unveiling of her tech and innovation agenda this week, which seemed to touch on many of the tech industry’s pet issues. … Clinton and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders have been mostly diplomatic when talking about Silicon Valley and other tech companies.”
So Warren, who is reportedly under consideration to be Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, has now taken a blowtorch to two sectors Clinton has clearly reached out to of late: Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
As for Warren’s actual arguments, she happens to be right: Apple, Google and Amazon have all been caught, or accused of, using their enormous market clout to squeeze the competition and the little guys. But you have to wonder about the timing of Warren’s remarks. Earlier this week, she looked like she was doing a tryout for vice president at a joint campaign appearance with Clinton in Cincinnati. Yesterday, she once again looked liked someone rocking the Clinton boat.
Meehan closes his $4.3M campaign fund, transfers money to his education foundation
Nine years after leaving Congress, University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan is finally shutting down his campaign committee and transferring its $4.3 million to an education foundation he established in 2001, of which $1 million will be donated to a scholarship fund at UMass-Lowell, which he used to oversee before becoming head of the entire UMass system, reports MassLive’s Shannon Young. Meehan’s huge political war chest has repeatedly drawn attention over the years, considering he hasn’t been in elected office for nearly a decade. In a statement, Meehan said it was the right time to shutter his campaign committee because his “priorities and passions so clearly are here at the University of Massachusetts.”
Uber, Lyft info would be shielded from public records laws
The ride-hailing bill passed by the Senate earlier this week was even more favorable to Uber and Lyft than previously thought. According to Christian Wade at the Salem News, ride-hailing companies must turn over financial documents, reports of crashes and other information under proposed rules – but all of that info would be shielded from the public due to exemptions from the state’s public records laws under all the ride-hailing bills now under consideration on Beacon Hill. “Open government advocates say the exemptions mean passengers and the public will be limited in what they can learn about the companies and their drivers, including crashes and whether drivers have been arrested or charged with serious crimes,” Christian reports.
Taxi drivers sue Cambridge over lack of Uber regulations
The Cambridge Taxi Drivers and Owners Association has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Cambridge, claiming cab drivers are being denied their constitutional rights because they are being regulated more heavily—and at a steeper cost—than competitors driving for Uber and Lyft, David Harris of the Boston Business Journal reports. The value of Cambridge cab medallions have been plunging lately, according to various media reports, and the taxi industry is demanding that transportation rules apply equally to ride-hailing companies.
MCAD chief defends agency after critical audit
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination chairwoman Jamie Williamson is defending her agency after a highly critical audit, saying a lack of funding hampered its ability to investigate claims of housing or employment discrimination, Chris VIllani of the Herald reports. Complaints regularly languish more than year beyond the agency’s own deadlines, the state audit found, but Williamson said the agency’s staffing and funding levels are to blame. “When you come into an agency that has been wholly underfunded, wholly understaffed for the better part of 30, 40 years, this is not something new,” she said.
Islamic group will sue over cemetery permit denial
The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester plans to file an appeal of the town of Dudley’s decision to deny it a permit to establish a Muslim cemetery in the community, Kim Ring of the Telegram reports. The Dudley Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a special permit for the organization, saying it lacked standing to request it because the town has the right of first refusal on the 55-acre parcel.
Dems weigh options after Bradley resignation
Local and state Democrats want candidates to step forward to replace Rep. Garrett Bradley, who stunned many by recently announcing he would resign by the end of this month, Lane Lambert of the Patriot Ledger reports. While no candidates have yet emerged, Hingham Democrats are urging potential replacements to ramp up write-in campaigns for the Sept. 8 primary. Bradley’s name will appear on the ballot and if he gains the most votes, the state Democratic Party will be charged with choosing a candidate.
Does U.S. Supreme Court ruling affect City Hall case?
The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision earlier this week to toss out a corruption conviction against the former governor of Virginia could have implications for the Boston City Hall employees facing extortion charges, according to a report from Eric Levenson of Boston.com. The ruling could lead to an overall “narrowing of what extortion is going to be,” BU law professor Karen Pita Loor tells Levenson.
Trump tops Dan Kennedy’s Muzzle Awards
Media watcher Dan Kennedy’s annual Muzzle Awards calling out efforts to curb free speech are unveiled at WGBH — and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump tops the list for his successful efforts to shut down a Cambridge-based website that sold anti-Trump items. Kennedy also singles out the cities of Worcester and Lowell for their anti-panhandling statutes later deemed unconstitutional. Others on the list include the Nashoba Valley school district that criticized a reporter for live-tweeting one of their meetings and Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, who was fined by the state ethics commission after showing his badge and ordering a store owner to remove his challenger’s campaign posters.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV, 8:30 a.m., Guest: Brian Shortsleeve, who has assumed the role of MBTA acting general manager, will sit down with Jon Keller to discuss the progress of T privatization, negotiations with the Carmen’s Union, the status of future fare hikes, and the fate of the South Coast rail project.
This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks look back at some of the top business stories from the first half of 2016, including the UK’s Brexit vote, gambling issues, GE’s move to Boston, biotech highlights, the MBTA and some of the biggest public relations debacles so far this year.
On The Record, WCVB TV, 11 a.m. This week’s guest is Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, who talks about public policy issues and his political ambitions.
CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m., Mike Nikitas talks with Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy about the team, his priorities, the most important player of all time, the future of the franchise and Fenway Park, the Citgo sign, and other issues.
CityLine, WCVB TV, 12 p.m. Karen Holmes Ward hosts a look at this week’s focus: Summer Arts & The Push for a Roxbury Cultural District, with guests including Doreen Wage, Kelley Chunn and Joyce Stanley.
We’ve heard you loud and clear, western Massachusetts readers: Greenfield is the seat of Franklin County and not in Berkshire, as reported Wednesday in an item.
Have a great holiday weekend – and see you on Tuesday
MASSterList will be taking Monday’s July Fourth holiday off like most everyone else, so we’ll see you first thing Tuesday morning. Have a great weekend, everyone.
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