Rosenberg off to Canada
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg departs for Quebec City, where he plans to attend the Council on State Governments’ Annual Meeting and Regional Policy Forum, Aug. 7-10.
Early voting status report
The Massachusetts Election Modernization Coalition holds a news conference to report on the progress of municipalities across the state as they implement a new early voting law, City Hall Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.
Wynn casino construction
Wynn Boston Harbor president Robert DeSalvio and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria will kick off the resumption of construction on the city’s casino project, Wynn Boston Harbor construction site, One Horizon Way, Everett, 1 p.m.
Police body cameras hearing
Boston City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice holds a public hearing to review the Boston Police Department’s proposed body camera pilot program, Mildred Community Center, 5 Mildred Avenue, Mattapan, 5:30 p.m.
Trump’s attack on Ayotte: ‘He did her a favor’
We still maintain that Donald Trump’s attack on N.H. Senator Kelly Ayotte, a fellow Republican who’s facing a tough re-election fight in the Granite State, has hurt her more than it’s helped. But the Boston Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has a good story that quotes an expert saying that Trump’s broadsides at Ayotte, who’s been cautiously straddling the fence in her support for the Donald, may actually benefit Ayotte. “He did her a favor the other day by bringing her name up,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. “She’s being tied to him in every possible way by the Democrats here in New Hampshire, and he came out and separated himself from her.” Good point. But Ayotte remains in an awful position with Trump’s almost daily controversies.
Speaking of Trump, the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis is comparing Trump to the Howard “I’m mad as hell” Beale character in the movie “Network.”
Mayor says Grand Prix CEO is lying about fed probe, lashes out at Herald
This story isn’t getting the attention it probably deserves: A day after the Herald reported the Grand Prix CEO is saying he’s talked to the feds in an ongoing fed probe of the IndyCar fiasco, Mayor Marty Walsh blasted the CEO, John Casey, for lying about his cooperating with prosecutors, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld reports. The mayor’s office has also issued a statement saying that “Mr. Casey’s dishonesty has been proven” and rebuking the Herald for reporting the car-race promoter’s claims. But the Herald says it has “confirmed independently with other sources that the U.S. Attorney’s office and Labor Department are investigating the IndyCar debacle and have met with Casey.”
Rosenberg points finger at House for pointing finger at Senate
It was Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s turn yesterday to point a finger of blame for the legislative logjam over the weekend on Beacon Hill, a day after House Speaker Robert DeLeo pointed his finger at the Senate for the death of key bills at the end of the just completed legislative session. “We didn’t point the finger at the House when they didn’t pass (noncompete legislation) last year and we did,” Rosenberg said on Boston Herald Radio, as reported by the Herald’s Jennifer Miller. “It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about getting good legislation done. It just wasn’t ready.” Rosenberg added that some bills didn’t get adequate attention in the Senate partly because senators received so much legislation from the House all at once, rather than gradually and in stages over the course of the months-long session. He urged Gov. Charlie Baker to file half of his bills in the Senate next session to improve the flow of legislative work on Beacon Hill.
The Rosenberg-DeLeo finger-pointing flap is drawing in rank-and-file members, who are also now pointing fingers, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). The two chambers really don’t like each other much these days .
Opioid deaths on the rise despite state action
The number of deaths from opioid overdoses — driven largely by use of the synthetic opioid fentanyl – is on the rise in Massachusetts, hitting 488 cases of unintended overdose deaths in the first half of the year, compared to 431 during the same period last year, according to the state Department of Public Health, as reported by SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Telegram. “Collecting statewide data on fentanyl-related deaths will play a critical role as the commonwealth works to bend the trends and combat the opioid crisis in our communities,” said Gov. Charlie Baker, whose administration has made fighting opioid abuse one of its top policy priorities. “While we have completed several reforms and passed landmark legislation, this deadly epidemic is still devastating too many Massachusetts families.” Think about it: If 488 people in Massachusetts died from terrorist attacks or from a contagious disease, the state would be in an uproar, if not in an outright panic. Again: 488 deaths. The word “tragic” is inadequate.
Sen. Kenneth Donnelly recovering after brain surgery
State Sen. Kenneth Donnelly, who was rushed to the hospital Sunday night as lawmakers toiled to finish this year’s legislative business, underwent successful brain surgery earlier this week to remove a tumor, reports the AP at CBS Boston. The Arlington senator and majority whip is resting comfortably, his family says. A retired firefighter, Donnelly has served in the Senate since 2009 and is seeking re-election in November.
Millennium Partners selected to develop Boston’s Winthrop Square
Basking in recent praise for its redevelopment of the old Filene’s site in Downtown Crossing, Millennium Partners has been designated by the city as developer of the Winthrop Square garage site at 115 Federal St. in Boston, reports Steve Adams at Banker & Tradesman. The New York developer, which is now putting the finishing touches on its the 442-unit luxury Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing, plans a 750-foot-tall tower with 14 stories of office space and 36 floors of residences at the garage site, a much desired location that five other companies vied to develop. “The people that lost are probably feeling bad today and I feel for them, but the whole process just raised the bar,” Millennium Partners Principal Joseph Larkin said. “This competition pushed us hard into something we’re really proud of.”
Foundation: Mid-year budget cuts likely due to veto overrides
The Legislature’s $231.6 million in budget overrides – or 90 percent of what Gov. Baker vetoed– has punched a major hole in the state budget that will likely require mid-year spending cuts, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, as reported by SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local. “Only one month into the fiscal year, any estimates of a budget gap are very fluid and subject to change,” MTF wrote in an analysis. “What is certain, however, is that another challenging fiscal year lies ahead.”
Daylight saving time or waste of time?
There’s an irony here somewhere: The Legislature, which could have used an extra hour or so on Sunday to at least review some of the bills it was passing in a last-minute rush on Beacon Hill, passed a provision over the weekend that calls for studying whether to eliminate daylight saving time in Massachusetts. The proposal was tucked into the economic development bill and is now sitting on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. The proposal’s main proponent, Tom Emswiler, a health advocate living in Quincy, says changing the clocks twice a year by an hour – once in the spring, once in the fall – creates a form of “jet lag” in many people the next day and even week, causing car accidents and health problems. If approved by Baker, the measure merely calls for the creation of a committee to study the issue. So that means it’s headed straight to what’s normally considered the timeless graveyard of bills: a study committee. Another irony?
Probe hits Boston Latin on handling of 17 bias cases
An investigation has found that teachers, administrators and students at Boston Latin School, which has been rocked in recent months by allegations it hasn’t adequately addressed racial issues at the school, failed to follow proper policy in the handling of 17 alleged racial incidents in the past five years, Dan Atkinson and Antonio Planas of the Herald report. The probe looked at 115 racial incidents over that time frame and some community leaders want the school to put a team in place to handle complaints. Mayor Marty Walsh said the school’s new leadership will be better equipped to address concerns going forward.
Will your favorite restaurant make the grade?
Restaurants and food trucks would have to prominently display in windows or on exterior walls their assigned grades – yes, just like school report-card grades — depending how establishments fare on their most recent health inspections, under an ordinance Mayor Marty Walsh filed yesterday, reports the Boston Business Journal’s David Harris. Similar to a law that’s already in effect in New York City, the policy would put violations into a numerical point system, which in turn will be assessed into a letter grade to be displayed on an exterior wall of the establishment.
Framingham group wants strong mayor
A group planning to propose changes that would transform Framingham into a city form of government expects to recommend a strong-mayor system of government, saying an elected chief executive would come with a mandate directly from voters, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. An elected mayor—rather than a strong city manager—would work with a proposed 13-member city council and could also help Framingham wield more clout on Beacon Hill, the group believes.
Warren’s economic message resonates in Worcester
More than 300 people packed into a full auditorium at Clark University in Worcester on Wednesday night to hear Sen. Elizabeth Warren unpack her message of economic inequality and how to reverse long-term trends funneling wealth to the 1 percent, Kim Ring of the Telegram reports. Working around a glitch that made her PowerPoint presentation unusable, Warren suggested that just one tax change—eliminating the deduction corporations receive for executive bonuses—would free up $55 billion over 10 years.
Revenue increases and racial fairness touted by Yes on 4 group
Legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana would not just bring needed revenue into state coffers but would be a move to address “uneven” enforcement of existing drug laws, politicians who support Question 4 on the November ballot said Wednesday, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson said pot-related revenue could be directed toward the ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic and other underfunded priorities. “This would provide much-needed resources for many things that we need. Education, also the detox beds, and I believe we are doing the right thing and we will be on the right side of history,” Jackson said.
Sasha’s summer gig
First Daughter Sasha Obama won’t just be relaxing during the Obama family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard — the president’s elder daughter began working at Nancy’s seafood restaurant this week, Gayle Fee of the Herald reports. Obama, accompanied by a contingent of six Secret Service agents, will apparently work at the joint’s busy takeout window. The president is expected to arrive on the island this weekend for an approximately three-week summer sojourn.
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