Rosenberg’s post-session debriefing
A day after House Speaker Robert DeLeo got his chance to explain what happened on Beacon Hill this past legislative session, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg gets his turn in an interview on Boston Herald Radio, 70 Fargo St., Boston, 9 a.m.
Third and last SJC nominee hearing
Judge Kimberly Budd is the third of Gov. Baker’s three Supreme Judicial Court nominees to come before the Governor’s Council for a confirmation interview, Room 222, State House, 9 a.m.
Endorsing marijuana legalization
Boston city councilors Michelle Wu and Tito Jackson, Rep. David Rogers, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, ACLU Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose and others will attend a press conference to announce their endorsement of the Yes on 4 Campaign, which supports the statewide ballot question to legalize marijuana, State House Steps, 10 a.m.
Boston’s first marijuana dispensary
Patriot Care Corp. celebrates the “grand opening” of the state’s seventh medical marijuana dispensary and the first in the city of Boston, 21 Milk St., Boston, 10 a.m.
Friendly fire: Trump targets N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Facing a tough re-election bid that could decide partisan control of the U.S. Senate, New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte received unexpected fire yesterday when GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who seems determined to alienate just about everyone in the Republican Party these days, took swipes at the Republican senator, suggesting she’s a “weak” candidate, as reported by the Washington Post. The big question: Will Trump’s latest loose-cannon broadside help or hurt Ayotte? For her part, Ayotte is trying to have it both ways with Trump, refusing to endorse him but saying she’ll vote for him. Her straddle-the-fence position hasn’t exactly endeared her to either pro- or anti-Trump supporters in New Hampshire – and now Trump is practically mocking her. Bottom line: Trump is harming her re-election chances – as he is for other Republican incumbents across this great land, as reported by the Herald and the Globe.
Republican won’t draw the line on Trump when he makes outrageous comments about foreign policy and domestic issues or mocks a dead American who sacrificed his life for his country. But maybe – just maybe – they’ll finally stand up to him when he threatens their jobs?
MassPort boss backs Uber at Logan
While a bill regulating ride-hailing services awaits a signature or veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, MassPort CEO Thomas Glynn said he’s on board with allowing Uber and its competitors to vie for business at Logan Airport, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. The final legislation now on Baker’s desk seems to punt the final decision on access to Logan—and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center—to MassPort but Glynn said he thinks the intention of lawmakers is clear. “The legislative intent was to make it possible for more passengers to be able to use Uber and Lyft,” he said.
DeLeo: House and Senate just couldn’t pull it together on charter schools and noncompetes
House Speaker Robert DeLeo isn’t happy that lawmakers couldn’t reach agreement on key issues during the just-completed legislative session, specifically on the issues of charter schools and non-compete agreements. The speaker said the lack of legislative action on expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts was a clear failure that led to today’s very contentious and expensive ballot-question fight over the issue. DeLeo, who favors charter-school expansion, said that the House did everything it could to pass legislation in the past and that the Senate’s charter proposal this past spring was simply “unworkable,” reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at New Boston Post. “I felt very strongly that this is something that should never have been to the ballot box,” DeLeo said during an interview on Boston Herald Radio.
Meanwhile, in the same Herald interview, DeLeo pointed the finger at the Senate for the Legislature’s failure to come to a compromise agreement on reforming the state’s non-compete laws, reports the Herald’s Brian Dowling. DeLeo said he thought the House brokered a good compromise between those in the business community for and against changing non-compete rules. “Things changed, in terms of what happened in the Senate, and unfortunately at the end of the day we weren’t able to get it done,” he said.
Wynn ready to dig in
Wynn Resorts could begin construction on its $2.1 billion resort casino complex in Everett this week, even though potential legal challenges from neighboring Somerville remain, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. Somerville officials said they would not ask the Department of Environmental Protection to reconsider its decision to award a permit to Wynn, but has left the door open to a court challenge. Wynn halted environmental remediation work on the Mystic River waterfront site in February in the face of challenges from Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
Councilors Wu and Jackson to endorse marijuana legalization
Putting them at odds with Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston City Council president Michelle Wu and councilor Tito Jackson are set to formally endorse the marijuana-legalization question that will be decided by voters in a statewide referendum in November, the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports. Their endorsement, which will be announced at a State House event today, comes as Walsh serves as one of the leaders of the opposition campaign against marijuana legalization.
Legal medical marijuana finally comes to Boston
Nearly three years after it applied for a license, the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary will open its doors Wednesday and officials are predicting a low-key debut, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Patriot Care, located on Milk Street, is expected to ramp up its business, drawing a “few dozen” customers daily initially but eventually drawing as many as 100 each day. Mayor Marty Walsh said the dispensary, which received strong pushback initially, worked hard to address community concerns along the way. Two other Boston pot shops remains in the pipeline.
Baker eyes trade trip to Israel
Gov. Deval Patrick trekked to Israel on trade missions two times while he was governor. Now his Republican successor, Gov. Charlie Baker, is poised to make his own trade visit to Israel, perhaps later this year, as part of the state’s continuing effort to tap into the Middle Eastern country’s impressive technology sector, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. “There’s a really strong case to be made for why it’s so economically important,” said MassChallenge chief executive John Harthorne, who hopes to accompany Baker on any trip to Israel. “They create this opportunity to interact with high-level leaders on the other side that I wouldn’t get at a tiny nonprofit startup. I just don’t have the access. . . . The governor’s presence makes a difference.”
Cambridge’s Biogen targeted for potential takeover
The is huge news for the region’s biotech industry: New Jersey-based Merck & Co. and Irish drugmaker Allergan are among firms reportedly eyeing Cambridge’s Biogen for a possible takeover, the BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports, citing a Wall Street Journal report. From Seiffert’s report: “The reports come after (Biogen) CEO George Scangos announced on the company’s second-quarter financial report that he plans to leave the company, sparking speculation that the company could be trying to sell itself. Investors have long pressured the company to either make a big acquisition to replenish its pipeline or to seek to be acquired.” Biogen employs 4,000 people in Massachusetts, so that in itself makes this a huge story. But the company’s market cap stood at $72 billion yesterday, after the WSJ report, making one wonder whether it would be too rich of a deal even for Merck and Allergan.
Pay equity law could boost wages of many other workers, not just woman
The state’s new gender equity law, passed by lawmakers and signed into law this week by Gov. Charlie Baker, will likely help women, as intended, but it could end up helping many other workers, reports Slate’s Jordan Weissman. One of the key provisions in the law bars employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, a practice that has previously contributed to women getting locked into lower salaries if they’ve taken time off from work early in their career. “(But) the rule could help anybody who started off their working life on a slightly weak foot, and might cut down on the role of luck a bit in what both men and women make over time,” writes Weissman. “People who graduate into a recession, for instance, tend to earn lower salaries for years after the economy has recovered, mostly because they picked the wrong moment to go out for their first job; the Massachusetts law might make it easier to make up for that kind of early disadvantage.”
State pension eked out only a small gain in 2016, but it’s still better than other states
The state’s $60.3 billion pension fund squeaked out a return last fiscal year of only 2.3 percent and, after withdrawals going to retirees, the fund was actually down from $61.24 billion last year, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger. Not a great year, right? Actually, a miserable year is more like it. But the 2.3 percent return was still better than its benchmark of a 1.46 percent return in 2016, a shaky year for stock markets. And Massachusetts outpaced the nation’s largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and other major funds. File under: When bad is good.
Eight years after housing bust, Massachusetts still feeling ripple effects
Foreclosure petitions shot up by 13.1 percent across the state in June compared to the previous year, marking the 28th straight month of year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts, reports the Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. The jump marks the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts. Through June, petitions were up 24.4 percent from the same period last year. “Lenders continue to work through a backlog of delinquent mortgages and get foreclosure proceedings started on the most difficult cases,” said said Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group. “The higher volume of starts that we have been seeing over the past 2 years is likely to continue for the balance of the year.”
Meehan throws cold water on proposed Lowell deal
University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan says a draft version of a proposed master agreement with the city of Lowell is “dead on arrival” because it doesn’t recognize the positive economic impacts UMass Lowell has on the city, Christopher Scott of the Lowell Sun reports. Meehan, who was reacting to news of a draft circulated to city council members that calls for the city to continue paying property taxes on private properties it acquires for three years, seemed to suggest the university could expand its campus elsewhere if the city continued in its demand.
Just to be sure: Bill would ban sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go
As State Police continue their aggressive pursuit and arrests of sex offenders across Massachusetts, as reported yesterday by Jamie Leslie at Western Mass News, one lawmaker is putting the heat on sex offenders on another front: Filing a bill that would ban them from playing Pokemon Go. The popular cell-phone game uses sophisticated location software that allows players, usually young ones, to wander around in search of digital Pokemon creatures. The fear: They might be lured instead to places inhabited by sex offenders. Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik, a Gardner Democrat, filed a bill this week that would bar sex offenders from playing the game, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger(pay wall). “The unique game and its playing features present the possibility that potential sex offenders could use the features of the game to commit crimes against children,” Zlotnik said.
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