Transgender law guidelines
Attorney General Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination have until Thursday to act on regulations in connection with the new law intended to prevent discrimination against transgender individuals in public accommodations.
‘Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons’
MassDOT showcases new “pedestrian hybrid beacons” installed this month near the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge as part of the overall bridge rehab project, intersection of Land Boulevard and Cambridge Parkway, Cambridge, 11:30 a.m.
Spaceman waits, waits, waits at Tanglewood
Former Red Sox pitcher and Vermont gubernatorial candidate Bill “Spaceman” Lee will be the special guest on pubic radio’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” quiz show, which will taped in the Berkshires, Tanglewood, Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lenox, 8 p.m.
Party hearty at DCF, Part II
Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t happy about the pre-July Fourth bash in which several GOP party leaders and Department of Conservation and Recreation officials were apparently whisked around on state-issued golf carts, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. The episode — which also involved state employees compiling the guest list, creating invitations and making phone calls — has led to the unpaid, week-long suspension of the two top officials at DCR. “I think the fact the secretary (Matt Beaton) suspended them for a week without pay sends exactly the right kind of message that this is not the kind of behavior we support and we don’t condone it,” Baker said yesterday.
Two other things: 1.) Baker says he wasn’t aware of the bash until told about it afterward by Beaton, his environmental secretary. 2.) He wasn’t even invited.
Glock is also suing Healey over gun-safety investigation
As noted in yesterday’s MASSterList, Remington Co. is suing Attorney General Maura Healey, asserting she’s conducting a “fishing expedition” into consumer gun safety. But it turns out Glock is also suing Healey’s office over her investigation into whether Glock’s firearms are “prone to accidental discharge,” reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson. Healey’s action is part of a sweeping investigation into at least Remington and Glock, with her office invoking the state’s consumer protection law as justification for the probe, Levenson writes.
DeLeo is raking in the dough – and forking out the dough
House Speaker Robert DeLeo has broken his own fundraising record, raising $468,460 so far in 2016, surpassing the $465,281 that he hauled in two years ago, according to pre-primary filings at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). “So far, the speaker has spent $310,207 this year on everything from charitable and political donations to flowers, catering and a Ford vehicle lease.”
But CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl also notices that DeLeo’s campaign committee paid $100,000 in legal fees at the end of March to the same Boston law firm, Mintz Levin, that represented him previously in his legal battles with US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office. “The payment to Mintz Levin is a bit of a mystery,” writes Mohl, noting that DeLeo in the past has spent big bucks on legal fees tied to the federal prosecution of top officials at the state Probation Department, a probe that led to DeLeo being named as an unindicted co-conspirator. The campaign says DeLeo paid Mintz for “monitoring” the case.
No automatic tax cut for you
Department of Revenue Commissioner Mike Heffernan has made official what budget crunchers already suspected: There will be no automatic reduction in the state income tax rates for 2017. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that the triggers laid out in legislation to ensure the 2000 ballot initiative calling for the tax rate to be rolled back to 5 percent didn’t break the budget—2.5 percent year-over-year revenue growth—have not been met, with tax revenue growing less than 1 percent. As a result, the state’s income tax rate will remain at 5.10 percent.
‘Well, that’s that’ – LePage won’t resign
The Globe’s Michael Levenson has a short-but-sweet update on Maine Gov. Paul LePage: “I will not resign,” said LePage, the focus of too many controversies to adequately list here. LePage also pronounced, in no particular order: “I’m not an alcoholic and I’m not a drug addict and I don’t have mental issues … I will no longer speak to the press ever again after today. And I’m serious. Everything will be put into writing. I’m tired of being caught in the gotcha moments.” Well, as Levenson put it, that’s that.
Meanwhile, Michael Socolow, an associate professor in the department of communication and journalism at the University of Maine, writes in a Globe op-ed this morning that LePage is actually a reflection of the hard-scrabble side of Maine that many New Englander don’t see and appreciate when they visit the state: “He’s Dickensian in that he grew up on the streets of Lewiston, Maine, after fleeing an abusive home terrorized by an alcoholic father. … The Stephen King edition of LePage takes this narrative of surmounting impossible odds and adds inner demons straight from Freud.” Socolow adds: “One senses — as the legislature now seriously considers impeaching LePage — that we’re reaching a climax in this Shakespearean drama. Only time will tell if this story ends with a Dickens twist or a King bloodbath.”
So our Hamlet comparison yesterday wasn’t off by much. Or should it have been King Lear?
A very expensive brawl in Hampden County
They’re really going at it in the Hampden County sheriff’s race, with expensive TV ads, charges of cheap shots, and an ongoing skirmish between one candidate and a local television station. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry covers the dustup between former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano and local NBC affiliate WWLP, while the day before MassLive’s Barry and Greg Saulmon were teaming up to report on Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s condemnation of an ad released by sheriff candidate Nick Cocchi that Sarno described as a “cheap shot” and a “slap in the face” to the city. As an added bonus, MassLive has a summary slide show of the ad war. Remember: This is all for a sheriff’s race.
Meanwhile, three women vie for the only House seat held by an African-American woman
WGBH’s Mike Deehan takes a look at a race that should be getting more attention but isn’t, perhaps because the candidates are a bit more civil than what voters are witnessing in Hampden County: The three-way contest to replace state Rep. Gloria Fox of Roxbury. The candidates in the Dem primary are Monica Cannon, a youth worker and community liaison, Chynah Tyler, a former aide to Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz, and Mary-dith Tuitt, a Navy veteran and Fox’s aide for 16 years. From Deehan: “Most of the candidates’ positions expressed at a Dudley Square forum Tuesday night were very similar, so experience and attitude is playing a big role in swaying votes in the Roxbury, Fenway and Longwood neighborhoods of the Seventh Suffolk District.”
Council relationships raised in Allston dispensary dustup
Eight of the 13 Boston City Councilors who voted to support a proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Allston had previously hired the political consultant now working with the dispensary, Meghan Irons of the Globe reports. Frank Perullo, now head of the Novus Group—hired by Mayflower Medicinals to lobby on its behalf—previously operated Sage Systems and during that time was hired by eight councilors who eventually voted to support Mayflower’s bid to gain a dispensary license in Allston.
Herald: Baker was involved in effort to salvage IndyCar – and the state’s reputation
From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh led an unprecedented taxpayer-funded effort to salvage the doomed IndyCar race, motivated to prove government wouldn’t get blamed for failing to land another big sporting event, newly released emails show.” And from one email: “Early in this process we assured all involved that if the race did not happen it would not be because of government,” state Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin wrote to city and state staffers. “We should all be pleased to know that in fact, was the truth.” What a relief!
‘Twelve things Massachusetts residents hate about Boston’
At first glance, MassLive’s list of the 12 best reasons to hate Boston may strike some as overly parochial and even a bit malicious, coming from a paper in western Massachusetts. But after praising the city for the “millions of reasons” why it’s rightly beloved, it gets down to business and presents a hate list that probably 99.9 percent of Bostonians would agree with, in whole or in part, such as the city’s high cost of living and horrible traffic etc. Our personal favorite: Boston’s non-embrace of college football, specifically Boston College football. Actually, it’s weird how Bostonians pay so little attention to college sports in general. Yes, we’ve heard it before from Dan Shaughnessy: Boston is a “professional” sports town, etc. etc. But still …
Chelmsford motel move-outs reflect state trend
The last two homeless families living in Chelmsford motels have moved into shelters or permanent housing, a symbol of progress on the issue since the start of the Baker administration, Alana Melanson of the Lowell Sun reports. When Gov. Baker took office 59 families called Chelmsford hotels home—prompting the town to seek to pass local regulations limiting the practice—and as of Friday all have been moved. Statewide, the Baker administration says just over 300 families are now being put up in motels, down from 1,500 in January of 2015.
Body cam pilot program has new start date: September 12
Boston officials now hope to launch a test of a police officer body camera program on Sept. 12, rather than today, after a judge pushed back a hearing on a police union challenge to the pilot, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. City Hall requested the hearing, originally set for today, be delayed to give them more time to prepare. The union says the department is overstepping an agreement it made on the pilot by assigning 100 officers to the program after no volunteers stepped forward.
Newsflash: GateHouse Media to stop calling reporters reporters
Dan Kennedy has spotted something interesting amidst GateHouse Media’s latest move to slash its payroll at local newspapers: The company is mulling changing the titles of reporters. In a memo obtained by Kennedy, Lisa Strattan, head of GateHouse New England’s recently redesigned Wicked Local web site, outlines a planned reorganization that includes “new job titles (and descriptions!) that better describe the role of a multimedia journalist or editor in 2016.” Dan’s reaction: “Let me say that I cannot wait to see what new title GateHouse comes up with for ‘reporter.’”
Can you imagine having to sit on an internal company committee tasked with coming up with a new title for ‘reporters’? There would be the usual eager-beaver types who really get into it and the usual back-of-the-classroom spitball shooters. We’ll leave it to readers to guess which faction we’d join. Anyway, here’s our suggestion for the inevitably innocuous new title they’ll come up with: Customer Information Advocates. Or better yet: Customer Information Agents (CIAs). Then again, it’s also headed in this direction: “Rewrite associates.”
In Roxbury race, three vie to replace only black woman in Mass. house – WGBH
Revere mayor opposes special election for slot parlor – Boston Globe
Taxpayer funds fueled doomed IndyCar effort – Boston Herald
Report sheds new light on where live and work and how we get there – Dorchester Reporter
Start of Boston police body camera pilot program is pushed back – WBUR
Protestors lock themselves to front of Cambridge City Hall – Boston Magazine
The MBTA will save $650,000 the next two years by shutting off some old cell phones – Boston.com
What New England’s Congressional delegations did on their summer vacations – WGBH
Healey launches inquiry on gun safety, misfirings – Boston Globe
GOP’s party irks Charlie Baker – Boston Herald
Framingham panel probes housing discrimination – MetroWest Daily News
Braintree police evidence probe expanded to focus on cases since 2013 – Patriot Ledger
Brockton charter school is trying to move to Norwood for now – Brockton Enterprise
Mass. farmers urge Gov. Baker to declare drought a disaster – Brockton Enterprise
Last homeless families leave Chelmsford motels – Lowell Sun
Ocean Spray sells Lakeville headquarters and raises $40M for investments – Standard-Times
Western Mass. Senate, Rep. candidates pledge to refuse fossil fuel donations – MassLive
Massachusetts income tax rate will not drop in 2017 – MassLive
How hackers could tip the vote – Washington Post
More than 6 million immigrants could be deported under Trump plan – Washington Post
Ropes & Gray takes sex-trafficking case to Supreme Court – Boston Business Journal
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