Health Care Pricing Commission
The new 23-member commission created as part of a deal to avoid to keep a health care pricing question off November’s ballot will hold its first meeting, Room 428, 11 a.m.
Local Government Advisory Commission
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission. On the agenda: Fiscal 2017 budget update, implementation of the Municipal Modernization Act, discussion of how legalizing recreational marijuana would impact local communities. State House Room 157, 1 p.m.
Charter school debate
WBUR and the Boston Globe are teaming up with UMass-Boston to host a series of live debates starting in September to explore the four statewide ballot questions. The series start today with a debate over Question 2, the charter school expansion initiative, McCormack Theater, UMass Boston, 3 p.m.
Air pollution regulation hearings
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection holds a public hearing on proposed amendments to its air pollution control regulations, MassDEP, One Winter St., Boston, 4:30 p.m.
Baker to unveil major shift in how mentally ill inmates are handled
Following reports of mistreatment of prisoners at Bridgewater State Hospital, Gov. Charlie Baker today plans to announce major changes in how that state’s criminal justice system handles mentally ill people, the Globe’s David Scharfenberg reports. The most important component of the plan entails moving the Bridgewater facility away from a prison model and toward a more clinical approach, Scharfenberg writes.
This is an interesting and tentatively (until we see more details) welcome plan – and we hope the administration one day addresses the wider issue of how so many mentally ill people end up in prison in the first place, i.e. the mentally ill now get totally inadequate services from government in general. The system isn’t just broken. It barely even exists in the post-deinstitutionalization era, as the Globe’s Spotlight team has recently shown.
Ex-Rep. Paul Gannon tapped by Dems to face Sen. Pat O’Connor
Outgoing Democratic party chairman Thomas McGee has tapped Paul Gannon, a former state representative and current Hingham selectman, to face Republican Sen. Patrick O’Connor in the Plymouth and Norfolk district general election, reports the Patriot Ledger’s Christian Schiavone. Gannon was picked over Brian Cook, a Duxbury attorney who received 41 percent of the vote in Thursday’s primary. Former Hull Selectman Joan Meschino won last Thursday’s Democratic primary, but she declined the nomination after winning as a write-in candidate for the 3rd Plymouth District in the House, allowing the party to pick a nominee for the race, Schiavone writes. Gannon represented South Boston in the House in the early 1990s.
Poll: Voters like legal weed, oppose charter cap lift
Massachusetts voters likely to go to the polls in November oppose a ballot question that would lift the state’s cap on charter schools and support legalizing recreational marijuana, a new poll commissioned by WBUR finds. The MassInc poll found 48 percent of likely voters oppose Question 2, which would enable more charter schools to operate in the state, with 41 percent in favor, Fred Thys reports. Question 4, which would create a recreational marijuana industry regulated like alcohol, garnered 50 percent support among likely voters, with 45 percent against.
The poll of 506 likely voters also found overwhelming support for Question 3, which would ban the sale of eggs from chickens confined to small cages—66 percent to 25 percent against—and that more than half of voters, 52 percent, are against the initiative to allow a second slots-only gambling parlor in the state.
Following the charter money
Question 2, meanwhile, appears poised to shatter fundraising records for ballot questions in the state, Isaiah Thompson of WGBH reports, with nearly $19 million already raised by both sides. Proponents in particular have raised the bulk of their money from outside the state, with 80 percent of the $12 million reported raised in recent filings coming from non-Bay State sources, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who kicked in $240,000, and $1.8 million from heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.
Btw: Maurice Cunningham has a suggestion for a new pro-charter campaign song: “It’s Up to You New York, New York.”
Ex-President Bush’s cousin donates $10K to marijuana cause, faces off against Bobby Orr
And, in still more initiative petition fundraising news, Jonathan Bush, the cousin of former President George W. Bush, has donated $10,000 to the campaign pushing for legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. The ten grand donation makes Bush one of the largest financial backers of the legalization question before voters in November. But he’s facing off, so to speak, against the likes of former Boston Bruins star Bobby Orr, who donated $1,000 to the group opposed to marijuana legalization.
Report: BPD commissioners knew murder case was being handled by corrupt cops
Here’s an explosive new report from WGBH: Former Boston police commissioners knew investigators handling the highly sensitive murder case against Sean Ellis, accused and convicted of killing police detective John Mulligan in 1993, were corrupt and yet did nothing about it, according to an attorney for Ellis, who was just granted a new trial by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Attorney Rosemary Scapicchio said that former Commissioners William Bratton and Paul Evans must have been aware of the corruption charges against the detectives handling the case yet withheld that information for years.
As noted by WGBH: “During the interview, Scapicchio said that Commissioner Evans knew about corrupt police officers’ in the department. As a point of clarification, she was not talking about the current head of the police, Bill Evans, but rather about his brother—former Commissioner Paul Evans, who held the post from 1994 to 2003.”
Baker: Ed chief donation a ‘nothingburger’
Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker scoffed at the idea that Paul Sagan, chair of the state’s elementary and secondary education board, should step down after a $100,000 donation he made to proponents of the bid to lift the cap came to light. Gintautas Dumcius of MassLive reports that Baker dismissed calls from some corners for Sagan to resign as “ridiculous” and went on to turn a delicious phrase in his support. “It’s a nothingburger,” the governor said.
Brockton backs off Trust Act
The Brockton City Council has tabled—for now—a controversial proposal to direct the police department not to detain undocumented immigrants who interact with police but have committed no crime, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Facing a room full of immigration advocates and angry residents, the council’s ordinance committee took no action on the Trust Act proposal, but left the door open to revisiting the idea in the future.
Kerrigan first to step up for Dem chairman
Former Lt. Gov. candidate Steve Kerrigan threw his hat into what appears poised to become a crowded ring in the race for Chairman of the Mass. Democratic Party on Monday, Jim O’Sullivan of the Globe reports. Just hours after Sen. Thomas McGee said he would step down on Sunday night, several would-be successors had expressed interest in the position, including Democratic National Committee members David O’Brien and Gus Bickford. Former Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong and Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins are also said to be mulling candidacies.
Body cameras roll at BPD
The Boston police department formally launched its body camera test program Monday after delays caused by legal challenges from a police officers’ union, O’Ryan Johnson and Chris Villani of the Herald report. Commissioner Bill Evans said distribution of the cameras went smoothly and expressed optimism that officers will come to like the technology in time. “Change is always difficult,” he said. Mayor Marty Walsh said he looks forward to evaluating the program once some data has accumulated in the pilot, which is slated to last six months.
Worcester pops homeless camp trial balloon
Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus moved to pop—and then stomp on—a trial balloon floated by some city councilors to create a city-sanctioned site where homeless residents can set up camp. Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports that Augustus issued a statement after the paper reported that councilors had requested a report on how other cities operate such encampments. “To be clear, the city of Worcester does not plan to establish any kind of homeless camp. We are not considering it and I would not support it.”
T workers rally against privatization
In the first of several planned events, hundreds of T workers yesterday rallied in downtown Boston to protest the planned privatization of services at the transit agency, reports Adam Vaccaro at Boston.com. Organized by the MBTA’s largest labor union, protestors chanted and carried orange signs that read “Keep Transportation Public!” Employees demonstrated prior to public meetings of the boards that oversee the T and the state’s transportation system. Union members also crowded the meeting room, with several speaking out against privatization, Vaccaro writes.
Flush with $500 million, Google-backed diabetes startup sets up shop in Cambridge
Onduo, a new diabetes startup, is establishing its headquarters in Cambridge, thanks to a half a billion dollars sunk into the company by Verily, the life sciences effort launched by Google parent company Alphabet, and French drug giant Sanofi, reports Dan Seiffert at the Boston Business Journal. Onduo will be based in Kendall Square and headed by Joshua Riff, a Tufts Medical School graduate and former emergency room doctor. Think about it: A half billion dollars to one company – and a startup at that.
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