Pro-choice activists hold a press conference prior to the start of the first of three confirmation hearings on Gov. Charlie Baker’s Supreme Judicial Court nominees, Room 428, 8:45 a.m.
SJC nominee hearing
Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano, one of Gov. Baker’s three nominees to the Supreme Judicial Court, appears before the Governor’s Council for review, Room 222, 9 a.m.
Ballot question deadline
Today is the deadline for ballot question proponents to turn in certified signatures with the secretary of state’s office, the final step in a long process of getting on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Clinton’s crippled presidency
Hillary Clinton may have dodged a criminal indictment yesterday when FBI director James Comey opted not to file criminal charges against her in the email scandal that’s dogged her campaign for president for more than a year now. But Comey’s harsh criticisms of Clinton, including calling her actions “extremely careless,” amount to a “ready-made attack ad” for Republicans and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, reports Patrick Healy of the New York Times.
But let’s forget about the ongoing campaign for the time being. What if she wins the presidency? The email scandal will linger for years, a bigger and fatter target than Benghazi, Whitewater and all the other concocted or real Clinton-related scandals combined. Assuming she wins (and it’s actually a bigger assumption than many Dems may think), Clinton would be stepping into the White House with Congressional hearings already geared up and with conservative talk-show hosts whipping the faithful into a righteous frenzy. The facts really won’t matter. The only thing that will matter is that Clinton has been wounded – largely via self-inflicted wounds – and Republicans know it. It will be political war from day one.
A look at the Legislature’s full agenda in waning weeks of the session
WGBH’s Mike Deehan has compiled a helpful list of the issues and bills lawmakers must still tackle with just over three weeks left in the legislative session. The major remaining bills deal with economic development, municipal code updates, pay equity, ride hailing, energy, and transgender rights, among others, Deehan notes.
Rosenberg: Transgender rights compromise could ‘pop’ soon
Speaking of the transgender rights bill, Senate President Stan Rosenberg says a compromise bill hammered out between Senate and House negotiators “is just ready to pop” and could be voted on and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker later this week, reports State House News Service.
Cheers: Provisions would make it a little easier to sell alcohol
And speaking of economic development: Tucked in the new draft of the giant economic development bill on Beacon Hill are two provisions designed to make it a little easier to sell booze in Massachusetts, a state known for its “antiquated and convoluted alcohol laws,” the Globe’s Dan Adams reports. One provision, apparently aimed at helping Boston’s soon-to-open Eataly food emporium headlined by chef Mario Batali, would allow grocery stores that sell take-home alcohol to also serve alcohol at in-store restaurants. The second provision would help Bolton’s Nashoba Valley Winery by allowing local producers to serve alcohol at restaurants they operate on their farms, Adams writes.
Honest cabbie becomes talk of the town
Raymond MacCausland has been driving a taxi in Boston for 50 years but his decision to follow the law and return a sack of $187,000 in cash found in the backseat of his cab has instantly made him a celebrity and a role model. According to a Herald report by Jordan Graham and O’Ryan Johnson, MacCausland found the money after giving a ride to a formerly homeless man who had inherited the windfall—and had the paperwork to prove it—and his decision to turn it into police earned him a $100 reward and praise from Police Commissioner Bill Evans for his “exemplary behavior.”
Carmen Ortiz: Making a career out of prosecuting the ‘good guys’?
Daniel Marans and Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post think Boston’s U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is making a career out of prosecuting the ‘good guys’ – and taking down those in ‘pursuit of progressive social goals.’ They make good points about prosecutorial overreach and previously expressed concerns that Ortiz and others seem to be criminalizing political behavior. But taking down progressives in particular? Sounds a little too conspiratorial to us.
IndyCar’s bankruptcy filing stalls Healey suit
After weeks of speculation, IndyCar Boston filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday, revealing it has scant assets on the books to repay some $1.7 million owed ticket holders and the millions more being sought by other creditors, Joe Battenfeld and O’Ryan Johnson of the Herald report. The move cuts off any efforts by Attorney General Maura Healey to file a lawsuit against race organizers, but a spokesperson said Healey’s office will continue to investigate why the race crashed so spectacularly. The court filing also contains a host of details about how the organization was run before the race was canceled in April: “CEO John Casey paid himself $423,000, while a consulting firm run by two former advisers to Mayor Martin J. Walsh pocketed $123,000.”
The wealthiest tech executives in Massachusetts (female techies excluded)
BostInno has put together a list of the wealthiest tech executives in Massachusetts. But before the official drumroll, Dylan Martin notes the dearth of female tech execs on the list. In fact, the highest paid female techie, Mary Nadella, CEO of Continental Resource, ranks at only No. 72. As for the top 12 list itself (cue the drumroll, please), Philip Ragon, founder and CEO of InterSystems Corp., lands in the top spot with a wealth estimate of $1.7 billion followed by … and you’ll have to look ‘em up yourself.
MuckRock rocks the FOIA ship for journalists
Philip Eil takes a look at MuckRock, a Boston-based startup and “hybrid news outlet” that helps journalists and others file public-records requests with government agencies. “Since its launch in 2010, MuckRock has become one of the country’s largest independent libraries of government documents, releasing its millionth document this past May,” writes Eil.
Judge hits Wayland officials on meeting law
A Middlesex Superior Court Judge blasted Wayland officials for violating the state’s Open Meeting law in connection with their review of the town administrator’s job performance despite clear guidance from the Supreme Judicial Court on how such reviews should be handled, Jonathan Phelps of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Judge Dennis Curran ordered Wayland selectmen to put new procedures in place or face the prospect of additional judicial review.
All Brockton City Hall calls to be recorded
This is a little creepy: Starting this week, all phone calls to and from Brockton City Hall will be recorded as the city installs a new phone system and seeks to avoid disputes over what constituents tell city officials, and vice versa, Marc Larocque of the Brockton Enterprise reports. Mayor Bill Carpenter said the recordings will be kept by the city and only used when disputes arise. “One of the good reasons to do this is to protect our liability, so if there is any type of allegation made against the city through a telephone call, we can go back to retrieve it to protect ourselves,” he said.
Islamic group sues over cemetery denial
As expected, the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester has sued the town of Dudley, saying officials engaged in 11th-hour maneuvering to block its attempt to start a Muslim cemetery in that small Worcester County community, Brian MacQuarrie of the Globe reports. The lawsuit claims that after months of hearings, the Dudley Zoning Board of Appeals tried to block the cemetery by claiming the town had the right to buy the land. The Land Court suit says the group doesn’t require a special permit from the town because it is a nonprofit religious organization enjoying projection under the state’s so-called Dover Amendment.
Gloucester seeks permission for needle exchange
With the blessing of the city of Gloucester—which has grabbed national headlines for its innovative approaches to battling the opioid epidemic—the North Shore Health Project is asking state officials to grant it permission to establish a needle exchange program, Brian Steele of MassLive reports. The Department of Public Health must approve the request, which Gloucester officials say will help address the growing issue of discarded needles being found around the city.
Videos galore of spectacular fireworks failure in Plymouth
Matt Juul at Boston magazine has compiled a bunch of videos from the spectacular fireworks accident that ignited two barges and cut short Fourth of July celebrations in Plymouth on Monday.
At Wicked Local, Frank Mand reports that Ken Tavares, chairman of the Plymouth board of selectmen, is “amazed and extremely thankful” that no one was injured. Tavares was watching the display like everyone else when something went wrong. “You could see that there had been an explosion of some sort right on the water line. It was impressive to see, but not normal. In a moment everything around us went dead quiet as people realized that something had gone wrong. … I called the town manager, who I knew was down on the waterfront, but before I could get through I could see the emergency responders heading out and a fire on the barge.”
‘Brockton rang in the Fourth, and the police have the calls to prove it’
And in another wild Fourth extravaganza, Brockton police officers responded to 80 calls for fireworks and nearly 70 loud music disturbance calls in the city over the holiday weekend, starting on Friday and climaxing at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, reports the Enterprise’s Benjamin Paulin at Wicked Local. But no one was arrested or cited for illegally possessing fireworks.
Look on the bright side: Killer whales off the Cape might scare away Great Whites
Researchers have confirmed a charter boat captain’s sighting of a killer whale off the coast of Chatham on Monday. Doug Fraser of the Cape Cod Times reports that Bruce Peters, the charter boat captain, was trolling for tuna about 11 miles off Chatham on the July Fourth holiday when he noticed a fin surfacing about 75 yards away. “Didn’t think it was an orca at first and then I saw its flukes and said ‘That’s a killer whale,’” said Peters. The good news for Chatham: Killer whales are known to scare away Great White sharks, which in recent years have infested the waters off the Cape coast. The bad news: Killer whales might take their place, though researchers say orcas’ presence in Cape waters is considered extremely rare.
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