Road and bridge finances
The Senate Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets Committee hears testimony on a twice-redrafted portion of Gov. Baker’s legislation financing improvements to municipal roads and bridges, Room 222, 1 p.m.
Baker and Goldberg meet for monthly meeting
Gov. Charlie Baker will hold his regular monthly meeting with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Treasurer’s Office, Room 227, 4 p.m.
Sorry, Scott, Trump has his eye on other VP picks
Along with Bill Weld and Elizabeth Warren, former U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts is one of three local pols either running or reportedly under consideration for a vice presidential spot on a national ticket. But is Brown really a contender? According to the Herald’s Howie Carr, who was palling around with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump last week, Trump isn’t so hot on Brown as a VP pick. “He’s a great guy too,” Trump said of Brown. “But I need somebody who’s in office right now.” Trump is reportedly eyeing U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (who both have one-syllable last names, something apparently important to Trump, as Howie explains).
Meanwhile, a few local Republicans are glad they have the option to vote for Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who’s running for vice president on the Libertarian ticket, reports the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert. It’s not exactly an outpouring of local support for Weld, but at least a few disgruntled Republicans have someone other than Trump or Hillary Clinton to vote for in November.
A ‘dearth’ of presidential candidates from Massachusetts? Really?
The state’s political establishment is starting to sound like spoiled Boston sports fans whining about how nine championships in the past 14 years isn’t enough. In the case of politics, Massachusetts has had two pols – John Kerry and Mitt Romney – representing their respective parties in presidential races, in 2004 and 2012, respectively. That’s two out of the past three presidential elections with a Bay State pol at the top of the national ticket. But that’s apparently not enough, for now we’re being told that Massachusetts has become a “once-proud presidential candidate manufacturing sector” because this year we have “only” three local vice presidential prospects in the running, reports the Globe’s Annie Linskey. The front-page story appeared on the third day of a long holiday weekend, a notoriously slow news day in the media business, and we’ll just leave it at that.
Speaking of spoiled Boston sports fans …
We interrupt this all-things-political newsletter with critically important Boston sports updates: As Chad Fin at Boston.com notes, it was indeed disappointing that the Celts didn’t land superstar free agent Kevin Durant. But the Celts did sign Al Horford, a highly impressive acquisition who will make the Celts a much better team next season. … And one last sports aside: David Ortiz surpassed Ted Williams over the weekend in total career homeruns. Ted Williams. Surpassed. Incredible. Are we going through a sports golden age in Boston or what? … But wait a second. We haven’t won a sports championship since 2015. It’s a dearth!
Team Baker readies for 2018
Back to politics: Gov. Charlie Baker has already begun ramping up his campaign apparatus for a re-election bid in 2018 and plans to be active in this fall’s legislative races—hoping to protect GOP candidates from any negative fallout from Donald Trump’s top-of-the-ticket candidacy, Jim O’Sullivan of the Globe reports. Democrats, meanwhile, have so far shied away from even considering a race against the hugely popular governor who has a campaign war chest bulging with $3.7 million in cash.
Walsh not a fan of Senate’s Uber bill
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he is “disappointed” that the state Senate passed a ride-hailing bill that does not require drivers for Uber and Lyft to be fingerprinted — and that the Senate did so without consulting the mayor of the city where the services are most heavily used, Marie Szaniszlo of the Herald reports. Walsh said he would continue to fight for the city’s ability to enact its own regulations on the services, even as State House lawmakers reconcile two competing ride-hailing bills on Beacon Hill.
Elie Wiesel, RIP
Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, died over the weekend. As a long-time professor at Boston University, Wiesel’s death is felt particularly hard by local folks who knew him here or knew of his work, as Brad Avery at Wicked Local reports. We won’t even try to add to the outpouring of tributes to Wiesel since his death. His achievements are too great to list here. So we’ll just point you to the Nobel Prize Committee’s original announcement of Wiesel winning the Nobel Peace Prize (with its famous “messenger to mankind” description of Wiesel) and Wiesel’s Nobel acceptance ceremony (with video). Elie Wiesel, RIP.
Audit paints messy picture of T cash room
An audit found “severe security dangers” in the MBTA’s cash-counting room, which handles $200 million annually, according to a new audit that comes as the T considers privatizing the T operation, Matt Stout reports in the Herald. The review, conducted by Chicago security consultancy 4 Demand, found broken and duct-taped doors, missing or broken security cameras, and, in one vault, thousands of keys that open T cash-fare boxes. Employees also flouted rules requiring them to wear uniforms, with one wearing an anti-outsourcing T-shirt and another found clad in shorts and flip-flops.
The bills that are going nowhere this session
They may have been introduced with great fanfare and even sparked heated debate at one point. But WGBH’s Mike Deehan, acting as a sort of triage-room doctor, examines which Beacon Hill bills still have a chance this session – and, more specifically, which bills are dead or going nowhere with less than a month left in the session.
One less ballot question to keep track of this November
In case you missed it, the Supreme Judicial Court just prior to the long holiday weekend rejected a proposed ballot question that sought to end the state’s use of Common Core learning standards, saying the petition was improperly certified by Attorney General Maura Healey and is now ineligible for the November ballot, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan at Wicked Local.
Kennedy eyes Warren’s Senate seat should she become VP
U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III says he’d consider running for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s seat should she get tapped as Hillary Clinton’s VP running mate and the Dem ticket wins this November. “If that vacancy comes up, I will take a look at it,” Kennedy told the Herald. “I’m sure a lot of other folks would, too.” And many party and political figures said Kennedy would be a top contender, if not the favorite, to win the seat.
Jim Brett to Pentagon: Obey the rigged law and buy New Balance shoes
Writing in the BBJ, Jim Brett, president of the New England Council and former state representative, says the Pentagon should obey a rigged law that requires the military to buy “Made in the USA” shoes, a move that would all but force the military to buy athletic shoes from Boston-based New Balance. Hey, we appreciate what New Balance means to Greater Boston. But the issue really is about an old crony capitalist law on the books, i.e. the Berry Amendment, that eliminates choice and procurement competition and that’s backed today by pols, such as Rep. Niki Tsongas, who recently inserted a provision in the budget reiterating that the Pentagon must follow the rigged law.
Republican senate candidate fires off anti-gay slur while declaring his love for Donald Trump
Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin calls out Ted Busiek, a GOP candidate running for a legislative seat in Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s district, for using an obnoxious anti-gay slur while without a hint of irony declaring his love for Donald Trump. Jamie Eldridge later tweeted: “Ted, your use of hateful homophobic slurs, & homophobia, are unacceptable. You should consider dropping out of race.”
Lawmakers net $327K in travel expense reimbursements
The state paid 110 lawmakers $327,238 in travel-expenses reimbursement, as more than half of the legislature took at least some of the repayments, Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Senate President Stan Rosenberg had the highest reimbursement rate, receiving $5,520 last year. A recommendation made last year to boost lawmaker’s pay but do away with travel allowances has yet to advance in the legislature.
Liquor giant partner: Bring back Happy Hour to Massachusetts!
A new campaign has been launched to bring back happy hours in Massachusetts, more than three decades after lawmakers outlawed the old two-for-one and other freebie booze gimmicks at watering holes across the state, reports MassLive’s Michelle Williams. An outfit called Cheers, which is not to be confused with the famous Boston bar named after the TV show “Cheers,” has launched an online petition to change the state’s law. And just who is this Cheers? Well, it’s a maker of a social app that connects friends going out for the night — and a partner with global liquor giant Pernod Ricard, whose brands include Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin, Seagram whisky, Chivas Regal, Kahlua, etc. But not, surprisingly, Jagermeister.
Conflict eyed in Lawrence councilor’s votes
Lawrence City Councilor Estela Reyes appears to have violated state ethics laws by voting to advance the $45 million renovation of a city school surrounded by properties she owns in conjunction with relatives and a friend, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports. The council also voted to sell a nearby vacant lot to a friend and business partner of Reyes, although she left some of the meetings focused on that issue, in one case saying she had a family emergency to address.
High hopes for new overdose drug system
Police and medical officials alike have high hopes for a new, ready-to-use version of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, or Narcan, Christian Schiavone of the Patriot Ledger reports. South Shore Hospital recently began distributing new overdose kits that come already assembled and ready to use, conserving potentially life-saving seconds in the field. “This is definitely going to save lives,” said Dr. Paul Schubert, a South Shore Hospital cardiologist. “It’s a very inexpensive way to keep someone from dying.”
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