Happening Today

Legislative boot camp, Day II

The second day of the Academy for New Legislators, held for new incoming legislators, will feature discussions of campaign and political finance issues, as well as a briefing from the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, UMass-Amherst, all day.

SJC hears Finneran pension case

The Supreme Judicial Court hears the pension case involving former House Speaker Tom Finneran and other cases, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m.

Route 20: From Boston to Oregon

Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin and local officials install a mileage sign in Kenmore Square marking 3,365 miles to Newport, Oregon, on U.S. Route 20 West, the longest continuous road in the country, Kenmore Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

Health Connector Board

The Health Connector Board meets to get an update from staff on the first month of Open Enrollment 2017, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor conference room, Boston, 9 a.m.

Workers’ compensation pilot program

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Ronald Walker, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Judge Omar Hernandez of the Department of Industrial Accidents and AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman to announce a workers’ compensation pilot program for opioid-related cases, Room 157, 10 a.m.

Boston climate plan

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh holds a press briefing to release the final report from Climate Ready Boston, the city’s initiative to prepare for the impacts of climate change, City Hall Eagle Room, 5th floor, 11:45 a.m.

Bump at Conference of Women luncheon

Auditor Suzanne Bump is scheduled to attend the Massachusetts Conference of Women Keynote Luncheon, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., 1 p.m.

Fattman Christmas Party

Sen. Ryan Fattman’s office has reserved the Grand Staircase for a “Senator Fattman Christmas Party,” Grand Staircase, 3:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

‘Not so fast, Charlie’

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is vowing to restore some of the $98 million in funding cuts ordered by Gov. Charlie Baker, over the objections of Beacon Hill’s Democratic leaders, reports WGBH’s Mike Deehan. “I think this is going to be a major issue with an awful lot of groups of people in the commonwealth,” said DeLeo, a Democrat, adding that he’s looking at ways to restore the cuts in response to “the outrage” he’s heard from many quarters. In a Twitter post, Senate President Stan Rosenberg said he’s backing DeLeo to the hilt.

Is it safe to say the long honeymoon is over between the Republican governor and Dem leaders? It’s only going to get more tense as 2018 approaches.


Baker: More than 500 apply for buyouts, but will it be enough?

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday said that “well north” of 500 state employees have applied for the state’s buyout program, after a complicated process that prolonged reviews of applications, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Michael Norton at the Sentinel & Enterprise. But the big question is: Will 500 buyouts be enough? The Herald’s Matt Stout is reporting that the administration still hasn’t ruled out possible layoffs of state employees.

Sentinel & Enterprise

Budget cuts hit business programs and health service providers

Unless legislators reverse Gov. Baker’s budget cuts, the reductions will whack a number of economic development programs, including the Big Data Innovation and Workforce Fund, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and digital health internships, among others, reports the Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan.

Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders held a conference call yesterday to allay the concerns of health service providers and activists about the budget cuts, reports State House New Service’s Colin Young (pay wall). A total of $52.2 million was cut from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Sudders told stakeholders on the call.


Boston native tapped by Trump to head Homeland Security

Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, a Boston native and UMass Boston grad, has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Department of Homeland Security, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. Kelly, 66, is the former U.S. Southern Command chief. 


Baker will head to Israel with a big business delegation in tow

Gov. Charlie Baker will be taking off to Israel on his first trade mission along with dozens of big-name cyber-security and digital-health leaders from business and academia, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien. Representatives from Raytheon, CyberArk, IBM Security, Athenahealth, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, MIT, Brandeis University, Worcester Polytech, Wentworth Institute and UMass will be tagging along. Hundreds of Israelis have already signed up to meet with Bay State officials, O’Brien reports.

Note: John Harthorne, head of MassChallenge, and Ron Liebowitz, president of Brandeis University, explain in a Globe op-ed why Israeli entrepreneurs love Boston, so much so that there are now 200 Israeli-founded firms in Massachusetts.


Israel trips being funded by anti-boycott groups

Local business leaders may be wild about the governor’s six-day trade trip to Israel. But Baker’s trip and a separate junket by 10 House members to Israel are being paid for by groups opposed to the growing anti-Israel boycott movement, reports the Globe’s Frank Phillips.

Boston Globe

O’Flaherty’s Garden-of-Gethsemane loyalty

The Globe is running a series of profiles on Mayor Marty Walsh’s closest City Hall advisers, the first one running today on Eugene O’Flaherty, the city’s chief lawyer and former state representative with a rocky relationship with the Globe. Bottom line: O’Flaherty is super-duper loyal to Walsh, so much so that he has a picture in his office of the Garden of Gethsemane, a copse of olive trees in Jerusalem where the Gospels say Jesus Christ was betrayed, the Globe’s Mark Arsenault writes. “The picture reminds me of the travesty of betrayal,” said O’Flaherty. “It serves as a reminder to me to stay loyal so as to never feel the shame that Judas felt.” OK, we get it. And no need to get into Emerson’s famous counting-spoons crack, either.

Boston Globe

Lawrence mayor backs embattled chief after gruesome decapitation case

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera says he is standing strongly behind the city’s police chief amid calls for him to be replaced in the wake of the horrific murder and decapitation of a missing teenager, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Rivera is expected to announce today whether he will order an independent investigation into the department and administration’s handling of the high-profile case that could factor in the future mayoral race. 


Ho hum. Another Green Line extension delay

Why don’t we just pick 2025 as the year the Green Line extension will finally be completed, giving the MBTA an ample construction-delay cushion and avoiding setting new target dates almost every other month? But they won’t listen to us, so we’ll just have to live with the latest soon-to-change completion target of 2021. The Globe’s Nicole Dungca has the details.

Boston Globe

Memo raises concerns about safety at Pilgrim

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Patriot Ledger: “Armed with an internal (NRC) email documenting safety concerns, activists opposed to the continued operation of a Plymouth nuclear plant pressed Gov. Charlie Baker again on the issue and a senator from Cape Cod identified the plant as the state’s “biggest public safety threat.”

Patriot Ledger

‘Sneakerville, USA’

The only mystery left was exactly where in Boston Reebok would move its headquarters to after it vacates its Canton abode. Now we know: The athletic footwear and gear company will be moving 700 employees into Seaport’s Innovation & Design Building, reports numerous media outlets. Adam Gaffin’s Universal Hub’s notes how Boston will now be headquarters to New Balance, Converse and Reebok, earning the city the unofficial title “Sneakerville, USA.” We like it.

Universal Hub

Stop & Shops wants to jump into … residential housing?

OK, we’ve heard of Stop & Shop gas stations. But the Residences at Stop & Shop? Actually, that’s our suggested name, not Stop & Shop’s. But it’s true: Inspired by the success of the nearby New Balance development in Allston, Stop & Shop is eying construction of about 1,000 residential units on its 11-acre property next to the Massachusetts Turnpike, reports Banker & Tradesman’s Steve Adams.

Banker & Tradesman

Developer drops Worcester courthouse plan

The developer who planned to convert the old Worcester courthouse into a mixed-use project has canceled the deal, forfeiting a $120,000 deposit and leaving the city again holding a downtown building that has sat vacant for years, Tom Quinn of Worcester Magazine reports. Worcester acquired the building in 2014 from the state for $1 after the Commonwealth gave up on trying to find a buyer itself.

Worcester magazine

Murky findings: Babson College students absolved of obnoxious pro-Trump behavior – or perhaps not

An attorney for two Babson College students accused of driving around Babson and Wellesley College shouting racist and homophobic slurs after Donald Trump’s election is suggesting his clients have been cleared of “most” of the grievous claims, reports the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao. But apparently the case is being reopened – or maybe it isn’t. It’s a very murky front-page story.

Boston Herald

Pearl Harbor’s fading memories, Part II

Yesterday, we mentioned a number of media outlets that admirably provided moving coverage of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But we’d like to give a special shout-out today for GateHouse Media’s coverage: A 50-page special supplement “Remembering,” inserted in most (if not all, we presume) of its local newspapers and posted online at the MetroWest Daily News, Milford News and Patriot Ledger, etc. Besides about ten articles and lots of photos and graphics, the supplement ends with the printing of the names of all those who perished at Pearl on Dec. 7, 1941. You can’t blame the local media for not remembering this now long-ago event, that’s for sure.

Healey, ExxonMobil spar in Suffolk Superior Court

The issue of whether Attorney General Maura Healey should testify in Texas about her climate-change investigation hasn’t been resolved yet. But Healey’s office and attorneys for ExxonMobil were going at it yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court, where they battled over, among other things, whether Healey should be given company documents about what it knew about climate change, the Herald Matt Stout reports. These two sides really don’t like each other.

Boston Herald

Prosecutors seek to protect child witnesses

Some state prosecutors say lawmakers should make it easier for child witnesses to testify in court by allowing them to have accommodations such as comfort dogs at their side, Maria Cramer of the Globe reports. Prosecutors are often reluctant to take such steps out of fear that such assistance will become grounds for appeals down the road. 

Boston Globe

Joyce sees tax bill spike

State Sen. Brian Joyce is getting a significantly larger tax bill from the town of Milton to reflect upgrades to his home, Jack Sullivan of CommonWealth Magazine reports. Milton assessors boosted the value of Joyce’s pad by a whopping 54 percent, resulting in a $6,000 increase in his annual taxes. The resulting value of $1.3 million is still far below claims contained in a Globe story last summer that asserted that Joyce made improvements to the home without permits—the town has since cleared Joyce of any wrongdoing, Sullivan writes. But the town did slap Joyce with a higher taxes based on higher values, something the Globe also stressed hadn’t been done.  


Jackson, Walsh clash on crime trends

Citing an increase in homicide and sexual assaults, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, who many see as a potential mayoral candidate, is calling on the city’s police department to explain its plan to stem the tide of violence, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Jackson’s call was swatted away by Mayor Marty Walsh, who said that overall crime is down in the Hub and that the city needs continued work on the issue, not more hearings. “What we’ve been doing for the last three years is taking action,” he said.

Boston Herald

Report: Gender pay gap narrowing in Massachusetts

A year and a half before the state’s new pay equity law takes effect in Massachusetts, a new report indicates there’s been significant improvement over the past year in closing the gap between what women and men make in the same jobs, though a separate report says there are fewer top-executive women than last year at the state’s 100 largest companies, reports the Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert.


Today’s Headlines


Reebok’s new HQ will be at Design Building in Seaport – Boston Globe

Boston school days could soon get longer by 40 minutes – Boston Globe

Ever tough, always loyal, O’Flaherty is Walsh’s rock – Boston Globe

BU student government approves ‘sanctuary campus’ – Boston Magazine

Stop & Shop eyes 1,000-unit Allston development – Banker & Tradesman

Lawrence mayor backs police chief amid calls for exit – Boston Herald


Joyce hit with bigger tax bill – CommonWealth Magazine

Probation fees hit poor the hardest, says report – CommonWealth Magazine

Pulte Homes to buy Westboro hospital land, plans 700 homes – Telegram & Gazette

Would-be buyer backs out of Worcester courthouse project – Telegram & Gazette

State auditor faults sheriff’s group on jail data reports – Telegram & Gazette

Legal pot could still land buyers and sellers in jail – Gloucester Times

Governor’s midyear budget cuts include $12 million from education – WBUR

Here’s’ how Baker’s $98M in budget cuts will affect businesses – Boston Business Journal

Staples sells European business for $1.83 billion – Worcester Business Journal


Meet the Democrats’ proto-Trumps – Politico

Union leader criticized in Trump tweets gets threatening phone calls – Washington Post

Tiffany Trump tours Harvard Law School – Politico

U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993 – Washington Post

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