Returning from Philadelphia’s DNC
Massachusetts delegates, among them many state legislators with unfinished business on Beacon Hill, start streaming home today from Philadelphia after completion of the Democratic National Convention, highlighted last night by Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination acceptance speech.
State of gaming
The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States convenes its summer meeting in Newton, with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s research and responsible gaming director, Mark Vander Linden, making a presentation. The meeting runs through Sunday. Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, 9 a.m.
MADD pushes bill
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) holds a rally and press conference in support of a Senate-passed bill that would require installation of ignition interlock devices in vehicles of all drunk driving offenders, State House steps, 10 a.m.
Weekend crush on Beacon Hill
The House and Senate convene this weekend on Beacon Hill in one last push to finish session business by the end of Sunday. The proposed economic development legislation is emerging as the session’s unofficial Christmas Tree bill with a lot of goodies stuffed into it. But there are plenty of other bills and issues lawmakers will try to tackle as well. To help keep track of legislative developments and other stories, MASSterList will email special weekend editions to our readers, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. So check your inbox for MASSterList.
Clinton tacks to the center
Like beauty, the success of a speech is always in the eye of the beholder. And Hillary Clinton’s DNC speech last night in Philadelphia was no exception. Writing in the Globe, Eric Fehrnstrom, the former senior adviser to Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, thinks Clinton may regret the day she embraced the Obama-era status quo. But the Herald’s Hillary Chabot and the Globe’s Scot Lehigh noticed, respectively, how Clinton seemed to tack to the center last night while also bashing away at GOP nominee Donald Trump. That’s how we generally saw the speech too: Hillary was ultimately appealing to centrists and warning that Trump is no centrist. But it wasn’t as strong a centrist emphasis as we thought it might be – and needs to be – heading into the general election showdown.
Nantucket fundraisers for Trump and Clinton come with big ticket prices
Now that they are both officially their respective parties’ nominees, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton begin the sprint to the Election Day finish line and both plan refueling stops on the tony island of Nantucket to replenish their campaign coffers. Joshua Balling of the Inquirer and Mirror reports that Trump will land on the island on Aug. 6 for an afternoon reception with tickets ranging from $2,700 to $50,000 for a couple. Clinton will come calling two weeks later, on Aug. 20, and tickets for her two-hour event start at $1,000.
Judge deals major blow to tribal casino
A federal judge ruled in favor of neighbors who oppose the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s efforts to hastily build a casino in East Taunton, saying the federal agency that allowed the tribe to take the land into trust lacked the authority to do so. The decision could have wide-ranging repercussions for the state’s emerging gaming industry. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which denied a Brockton casino license in part because of the tribe’s Taunton project, issued a statement saying it was reviewing the decision and would comment later. The tribe did not say whether it would stop work on the project, dubbed First Light, and said it would consult with the Department of Interior to work out the next steps, such as an appeal to a higher court, Milton Valencia of the Globereports.
The decision drew mixed reactions in Taunton, where Mayor Tom Hoye pointed out to Taunton Gazette reporter Rebecca Hyman that voters in the city backed the $1 billion project by a strong majority. “This decision certainly does not in any way benefit our city,” Hoye said. An attorney for the plaintiffs notes that construction can continue but by his reading of the ruling, no gaming activity can take place on the property. The tribe had hoped to open its gaming floor as early as next summer.
Lawmakers push new ‘tax on miles’ pilot program
Under an amendment slipped into a roads-and-bridges bill, the state could apply for federal funding to test whether to implement a new tax on the actual amount of miles driven by motorists, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. A tax on miles driven, not to be confused with the current per-gallon gas tax, is seen by some as a way to raise more funds for the state’s transportation needs. Meanwhile, environmentalists see a by-the-mile tax as a way to discourage needless use of carbon-polluting cars. Even if implemented as a pilot program, the concept is not expected to be greeted with open arms by Gov. Baker, who opposes any new taxes. The issue also raises the question: Would a by-the-miles tax replace the current per-gallon gas tax – or simply be a new tax on top of an old tax? We have a strong hunch which way many lawmakers would like to go.
George Regan wins in the end: Suffolk University prez ousted
Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna, who has been battling school trustees for months now, is vowing to fight her abrupt firing yesterday by Suffolk’s governing board, reports the Globe’s Laura Krantz. “I have been disheartened by the violations of basic process and the negative impact on the truly outstanding Suffolk University academic community,” McKenna said in a statement after her ouster. The board acted after receiving an outside counsel’s report on his investigation into allegations — lodged by the school’s former public relations guru George Regan, McKenna’s arch nemesis — that McKenna was spending money lavishly and verbally abusing employees. Those initial allegations were proven to be untrue.
But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld said the board was peeved at other findings in the report, including the revelation that McKenna may have been in contact with an official at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which has blasted Suffolk’s board for not enacting reforms, and with Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office has issued a report faulting the trustees’ leadership at Suffolk. In the end, Regan got what he wanted: McKenna, gone.
Airbnb to public: Go ahead, tax us, please!
The Herald’s Jordan Graham says online home-rental service Airbnb wants to be taxed like hotels – and it’s even running local radio ads saying so. “Right now, there’s a bill before Beacon Hill that provides more revenue to the Commonwealth to fund important services like education and healthcare,” the ad says. “Here at Airbnb, we support it, because if Massachusetts families pay taxes, we should too.”
Airbnb could also be pushing for taxes as a way to avoid other burdensome regulations proposed by some lawmakers. But let’s not get into that right now. What’s curious is its stance on a Senate bill that would apply the state’s hotel tax to home-rental services firms like Airbnb. Gov. Baker, who initially expressed support for such a new tax, has since backed away from the position, so passage of the Senate plan faces an uphill battle, no matter what Airbnb says it wants.
Anti-banner rally draws scores of officers
At least 100 police officers from across the state rallied outside Somerville City Hall Thursday, calling on a defiant Mayor Joe Curtatone to reverse his stance and remove a Black Lives Matter banner from the building. Travis Andersen of the Globe reports that a small contingent of BLM protestors moved toward the police rally, but that all interactions remained peaceful. Curtatone said a day earlier he has no plans to remove the banner, a stance that has attracted a growing amount of national media attention to the city.
The Herald’s Dan Atkinson—who pegged the crowd of cops at closer to 200—reports that labor tensions could be underlying the protests over the banner. The Somerville Police Employee Association has been without a contract for four years and the two sides are awaiting a final arbitration hearing that will come next month. The mayor dismissed the connection as a “cynical” reading of the situation, while SPEA President Michael McGrath said the two issues are “absolutely not” connected.
Former AGs come to Healey’s defense
Under fire from the governor, lawmakers and gun rights groups for her move to stop sales of copycat assault weapons, Attorney General Maura Healey got a show of support from five of her predecessors, Jim Hand of the Sun Chronicle reports. Former attorneys general Martha Coakley, Tom Reilly, Scott Harshbarger, Francis Bellotti and James Shannon have signed onto a letter saying Healey was well within her authority to make the move. “She is not exceeding her authority — she is exercising it. And she has our thanks,” they wrote.
Theater tax credit: To be or not to be
More than half of the Legislature has signed a letter pressing conference-committee negotiators to keep a House amendment creating a new $5 million tax credit program for some live theater productions, reports Colin Young at State House News Service. In a bipartisan letter to negotiators, lawmakers said a live-theater tax credit would help create jobs in the creative economy and tourism industries. “Historically, high-profile theater productions first took the stage in Massachusetts before moving on to Broadway. Unlike a normal theater production which lasts for only a few weeks, these large-scale theater productions run for 10 weeks at a time, resulting in a magnified economic impact,” the letter signed by 115 legislators stated.
Newspaper: Jewish group bungled anti-boycott legislation
The Jewish Advocate is pounding into the Jewish Community Relations Council for allegedly giving poor directions to lawmakers on Beacon Hill that led to the yanking of an amendment aimed at penalizing firms that boycott Israel. Last week, the newspaper reports, Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) and Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) introduced an anti-boycott amendment written by the JCRC to the House and Senate versions of the economic development bills now under consideration on Beacon Hill. But the amendment was withdrawn after legislators decided it was too late in the session to take action. “There really wasn’t enough time to discuss the amendment, which is why I withdrew the amendment,” Creem said. “People needed more time to discuss and learn about it.” She added: “I thought it was a good idea so I decided to it was worthwhile to try. … It really was a timing issue though.”
It was just the latest setback for those pushing anti-boycott legislation on Beacon Hill. The Jewish Advocate clearly put blame for the latest legislative disappointment on the JCRC, with the headline on its story reading: “Jewish Community Relations Council bungles anti-boycott legislation.”
Patrick on Baker: ‘I’ve been biting my tongue for some time now’
Former Gov. Deval Patrick didn’t exactly let it all out yesterday, in terms of his true feeling on, and frustrations with, his corner-office successor, Gov. Charlie Baker. But Patrick, a Democrat, did make clear yesterday he’s not exactly happy with any suggestion that he might be at fault for the state’s current budget woes. “You know, look, I’ve been biting my tongue for some time now on that sort of thing,” said Patrick, when asked by reporters in Philadelphia about Baker’s blaming Patrick for budget deficits shortly after taking office, reports the Herald’s Chris Cassidy. “It’s what you hear. They’ve been in office now for whatever it is, a year and half now. Sooner or later, they’re going to take responsibility for the offices and responsibilities that they sought.”
Dukakis explains to DNC delegates just how he met his wife
Michael Dukakis was in his element speaking yesterday to Democratic delegates, which is to say he was discursive with historical tidbits strewn throughout his remarks. Here he was talking about he and his wife Kitty growing up: “We really didn’t know each other at Brookline High School, although she claims that she handed me a cup of water on Beacon Street when I ran the marathon in 1951 – record field of 300. And I was thirsty as hell by the time I got to Beacon Street in Brookline, so it’s entirely possible.” The Bay State’s longest-serving governor, who was the Democrats’ 1988 presidential nominee, also described how he met his future wife. He said, “I was much enamored of one of my classmates who years later introduced us.”
— Andy Metzger, SHNS
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Jon Keller welcomes WBZ reporter Liam Martin for a “debrief” on the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Discussion of the current beer distribution debate on Beacon Hill as well as the burgeoning craft brew industry in Massachusetts, with Chris Tkach of Idle Hands Craft Ales and Michael Oxton of Night Shift Brewery. Plus: A talk with the new chair of the Massachusetts Bankers Association and the Boston Business Journal’s Craig Douglas weighs in on the top business stories of the week.
On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m., with Ed Harding and Janet Wu. This week’s guest: Martha Coakley, Democratic analyst and former state attorney general.
CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. Note: Repeat of last week’s show, looking at the resurgence of vinyl record albums through the eyes of Newbury Comics CEO Mike Dreese, and Bob Hertig, a founder of U-Turn Audio, maker of high quality turntables.
CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m., with host Karen Holmes Ward. This week’s focus: Changing the Image, with a look at the media’s changing perception of First Lady Michelle Obama. Also, a look at Bill Overton’s book “The Media: Shaping an Image of a People” and a discussion with Tina Chery, who lost a son in the crossfire of a gang shooting and later founded the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.
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