Prescription drug misuse meeting
Gov. Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel meet with representatives of the Massachusetts Physician Assistant and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers regarding prescription drug misuse, 11 a.m., Room 157, State House.
New prescription monitoring system
A new multimillion-dollar version of the state’s prescription monitoring program, called the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT), is scheduled to go live Monday.
MassDOT board meeting
MassDOT’s board will meet to review and discuss a number of issues, including all-electronic tolling, the Green Line extension, and a capital expense agreement with the MBTA, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd floor, Boston, 12 p.m.
STEM Summer Academy
As of late last week, Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and House Speaker Robert DeLeo were scheduled to visit the STEM Summer Academy at Bunker Hill Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, 1:30 p.m.
Big Brother roadways
One of the initial concerns about the state’s new all-electronic tolling system on the Mass Pike and elsewhere was that law enforcement officials could actually track the speed of motorists driving under the huge sensor-stuffed gantries that will replace toll booths. Now it turns out that law enforcement officials, via a “hot list” feature on the new gantries, can and will track specific license plates or transponder passes that drive under the new toll systems, reports the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau. Officials say that “hot list” will only track vehicles in public safety emergencies. But civil liberty advocates are alarmed. “There’s a real possibility for abuse and misuse with this kind of technology,” said Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. “We need to discuss this publicly. We need outside legal experts to be involved in helping MassDOT set appropriate policies that won’t violate people’s rights.”
Not to harp on the issue, but the same civil liberty concerns apply to the proposed VMT (vehicles miles traveled) tax idea that Gov. Charlie Baker just recently vetoed, to the chagrin of some public policy wonks, like former Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael Widmer, who recently penned a piece at CommonWealth magazine bemoaning Baker’s nixing a study on taxing motorists by how much they drive.
But think about it: A VMT would require motorists to report to the government exactly how many miles they drive per year in order to assess a tax. Combined with “hot wire” and other roadway sensors, cameras and other gadgets, government officials would then have the capability of knowing how many miles people drive, where they drive, when they drive and even how they drive – all in the name of roadway revenues and public safety. And, of course, they’ll also be able to determine whether or not drivers take shortcuts to destinations, assuming one day officials start to subpoena Waze traffic-direction software, another reason why George Donnelly, writing in the Globe, should ignore his wife’s advice about following the Voice of Waze.
Local Clinton fundraisers attract bigwigs galore – and a lot of cash
Treating Massachusetts like one big campaign ATM, Hillary Clinton swept into the state again over the weekend for several fundraisers, including one in Osterville yesterday that raised a cool $1.4 million, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. The Osterville event attracted a who’s who of business and civic leaders: Jack Connors, John Fish, Anne Finucane, Frank McCourt, Larry Rasky, Bryan Rafanelli, Terry Ragon, Jeremy Allaire, Steve Weiner, Jon Davis, and Howard Kessler, all at the home of Elaine and Gerald Schuster, reports O’Sullivan, citing an anonymous attendee. Clinton also attended another star-studded fundraiser in Provincetown on Sunday that raised $1.5 million, reports K.C. Myers at the Cape Cod Times. That’s the event that included Cher, in case you didn’t know.
Liz ‘trying out’ new line of attack on Trump
Now that her biting Twitter barbs are no longer eliciting responses from Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appears to be shifting her attack-dog tactics against the Republican presidential nominee, the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao reports: “In an invitation to the Robxury Community College event (on Thursday), the progressive darling says she has been ‘working on a new presentation on how the playing field got tilted against America’s middle class — and what we can do to fight back. I’ll be trying out this talk in Roxbury, and I’d love for you to join us.’”
Curt, Curt, Curt and more Curt
You can tell the media is deep-down pumped over the prospect of Curt Schilling running against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018. Last week, there were multiple reports about Mayor Walsh’s swipes at the former Red Sox ace. “I’m sure that the video game scandal that he had in Rhode Island will never come up,” Walsh deadpanned on Herald Radio late last week, reports Boston magazine’s Kyle Scott Clauss. Then the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham unloaded on Curt: “Nothing comes for free, not even after 86 humiliating years. Reversing the curse to win the 2004 World Series had to come with a price. That price is Curt Schilling.” The Herald’s Holly Robichaud this morning is begging Curt’s wife, Shonda, to let Curt run. The Herald’s Matt Stout has an interesting point: Would a Schilling vs Warren showdown actually harm Gov. Charlie Baker’s re-election bid, if the Dem base is energized and turns out en force to defend Warren? It’s a valid concern for the Republican governor. Then again William Weld, a Republican, won re-election by a landslide in 1994, despite the bruising Romney vs Kennedy Senate fight that same year.
Meanwhile, the Herald this morning is really playing up a potential Marty Walsh vs Tito Jackson showdown in next year’s mayoral race. Never mind that Jackson, a city councilor, has yet to say whether he’ll run or not. Dan Atkinson has the mainbar article in the three-story spread. Links to the other two Tito stories can be found at the bottom of Dan’s piece.
As first family leaves, Vineyard debates Obama impact
With President Obama and his family gone from Martha’s Vineyard, islanders say the summer sojourns are both boon and bane for various parts of the local economy, report Ethan Genter and K.C. Myers of the Cape Cod Times. While some restaurants and gift shops see increased traffic and some hotels benefit from putting up hordes of Secret Service agents, the downsides include reduced traffic at the local airports and increased costs for some municipalities that provide public safety support.
Bill Weld: The Ralph Nader of 2016?
Boston magazine’s Simon Van Zuylen-Wood has a big profile of former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and his quixotic quest for vice president on this year’s Libertarian ticket. The conventional wisdom has it that the Johnson-Weld ticket could suck votes away from Trump. But what if the duo also attracts potential Hillary Clinton voters? Van Zuylen-Wood writes: “Polls show that Clinton’s overall lead over Trump tends to dip about a percentage point when Johnson’s name is included. ‘Trump voters are mainly Trump voters,’ Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray told Politico in August. ‘But Clinton voters are still not quite happy that they’re going to end up voting for her.’ Which is to say: If Weld siphons support from Never Trumpers who have already defected from the Donald, he’s more likely to pull from Hillary Clinton. And come November 9, he could be generating comparisons to the dread Ralph Nader.”
We’re No. 1 … in bomb threats
Massachusetts recorded 135 bomb threats against schools in the last school year, the most in the country, frustrating educators and emergency responders alike, Denise Lavoie of the Associated Press reports at the Gloucester Times, citing data from the Educator’s School Safety Network. That’s the most in the country — and some in the state’s public safety community believe the actual figure is far higher and that multiple threats of various levels are actually received each school day.
Fresolo faces climb to win back seat
Former Rep. John Fresolo will face an uphill battle to reclaim the 16th Worcester district seat he held for 14 years before resigning amid an ethics investigation, Tom Quinn of Worcester Magazine reports. Fresolo—who has owned and operated a Worcester pub since leaving office—will need to stage a write-in campaign as an independent and will face the incumbent Democrat, Dan Donahue.
Tribe’s sovereignty could be at stake in casino fight
For the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, much more than the right to operate the First Light casino in East Taunton may be at stake in its ongoing court battle, Sean Murphy of the Globe reports. The tribe’s hard-won sovereignty over land it now holds—including 150 acres in Mashpee—could be lost if higher courts uphold a federal judge’s decision that found the Department of the Interior ignored a 1934 law when it allowed the tribe to convert property in both Mashpee and Taunton into reservation land.
Payment deals with non-profits on the rise in Massachusetts
More cities and towns are striking agreements with tax-exempt nonprofits as reduced state aid and other factors pinch budgets, Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports. Lowell is trying to craft a master agreement with the University of Massachusetts in what has become a delicate back-and-forth familiar to other communities. “It’s an issue that’s been around for a long time. It’s certainly not new,” said John Robertson, legislative director for the Massachusetts Municipal Association, “It’s just a bigger issue than it was before.”
Woman who bit off cop’s ear denied bail
A woman accused of biting off the ear of a Salem police officer while she was being arrested has been denied bail by a Salem Superior Court judge, reports Julie Manganis at the Salem News. The ruling came just hours after an Essex County grand jury indicted Emma Wiley, 19, with various assault and battery charges, resisting arrest, carrying a fake driver’s license and causing general mayhem. Wiley’s attorney said his client suffers from mental illness, but prosecutors and police say she was just pure trouble after she was arrested earlier this month after Salem police responded to a report of a fight outside a tavern. Of the biting incident, Manganis writes: “Police say Wiley, who had been yelling threats while being carried to the cruiser, began to shake her head back and forth, releasing her bite only after Rondinelli stuck her finger in Wiley’s eye. Officers later found a bite-sized piece of Rondinelli’s ear on the floor of the police cruiser, but doctors were unable to reattach it.”
Hacks vs Flacks
Garrett Quinn, a former journalist and current spokesman for the Baker administration’s Executive Office of Administration and Finance, proudly announces that the third annual Hacks vs Flacks softball game will be played today at Boston Common at 6:30 p.m. The game is being touted as the “rubber match” between journalists and press spokesmen. Then there’s this plot twist: “Quinn, the former manager of the Hacks, is the first player to change teams in the softball series.” Ah, the Johnny Damon of local softball.
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