Happening Today

House and Senate swearing-in ceremonies

The State House will be abuzz today with activities before and after the late morning swearing-in ceremonies for new and incumbent lawmakers.

Democratic caucus

House Democrats plan to caucus ahead of their swearing-in ceremony, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 9:30 a.m.

Speaker’s breakfast

House Speaker Robert DeLeo hosts a breakfast reception in his office prior to the swearing-in of the 190th General Court, with Auditor Suzanne Bump and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg planning to attend, Speaker’s Office, 10:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council

The Governor’s Council will hold its final meeting before its new session begins, potentially voting on Sarah Ellis’s nomination for a judgeship at Woburn District Court and Daniel Hourihan’s nomination for a judgeship at the New Bedford District Court, Governor’s Council Chamber, 10:30 a.m. Gov. Charlie Baker chairs the Governor’s Council at 10:55 a.m.

Swearing-in ceremonies

Incumbent and newly elected legislators will be sworn into office to formally begin their role in the 190th biennium session of the General Court, with Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and other constitutional officers expected to attend ceremonies, State House, 11 a.m.

Post swearing-in luncheon

A luncheon follows the Legislature’s swearing-in ceremonies, Great Hall, 12:30 p.m.

Neal on the radio

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, ranking minority leader on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m.

Galvin swears in Middlesex Sheriff

Secretary of State William Galvin administers the oath of office to Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, who is starting his second full term, Nurses Hall, 2 p.m.

Bristol County Sheriff swearing-in

Gov. Baker attends the inauguration of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, Margaret Jackson Center for the Performing Arts, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree St., Fall River, 6:30 p.m.

Roxbury Heritage State Park

Department of Conservation and Recreation holds a meeting to update the public on the final design for the signature park project at Roxbury Heritage State Park, 10 Putnam St., Upper Level, Boston, 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Busy year ahead for lawmakers, old and new

After today’s swearing-in ceremonies for incumbent and new legislators on Beacon Hill, they’ll immediately be confronted with a busy and sometimes contentious legislative agenda this year, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller, who ticks off marijuana legalization, the minimum wage, an Airbnb tax, criminal justice reform, health care costs and the state budget as the top issues lawmakers will need to tackle in coming months. WBUR’s Steve Brown has his own shorter list of major items to be addressed this session: Marijuana, criminal justice reform, the budget and education funding.

Boston Globe

Push coming for higher pot taxes

The delay in the implementation of retail marijuana sales in the state will likely mean more time for pressure to build on lawmakers to significantly boost the tax rate on pot, higher than what was stipulated in the Question 4 initiative voters approved in November, Christian Wade of the Salem News reports. Supporters of a higher levy say the industry is going to be expensive to regulate, while opponents argue that taxing pot too heavily will create an environment where black-market sales can continue to thrive. 

Salem News

Pro-pot senators had their chance to stop delay

Meanwhile, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth reports that Senate President Stan Rosenberg gave three senators known to support the marijuana law advance notice that leadership would use the waning days of the informal legislative session to delay retail sales of pot. None of the three attended the session. The objections of a single lawmaker could have stopped the delay. Think about that the next time someone complains about how no one was told about the impending vote.  


Trashy ending

Speaking of the final days of the last legislative session, lawmakers last night tried to pass a comprehensive trash and recycling bill, but they just couldn’t get it done, as Bruce Mohl also reports at CommonWealth.


Mass. employers suffering from political bi-polar disorder

The Associated Industries of Massachusetts appeared to be wearing one of those reversible Greek comedy-tragedy masks yesterday, with one side all smiles about how business confidence last month hit its highest level in 12 years, partly driven by enthusiasm over the incoming Trump administration, and the other side all frowns over the prospect of the state’s minimum wage possibly being raised to $15 an hour. Both press releases were issued yesterday by the business group. The Globe has more on AIM’s employer surveys on the $15-an-hour minimum wage issue being pushed by unions and activists.

Curt sees lefty conspiracy on Hall of Fame vote

Former Red Sox hurler Curt Schilling, now a conservative talk-radio wannabe and potential U.S. Senate candidate, is blaming the liberal media (of the sports-writing variety) for rejecting his bid for the Baseball Hall of Fame. “If I had said ‘Lynch Trump,’ I’d be getting in with about 90% of the vote,” Curt told TMZ Sports. From the Herald’s Steve Buckley: “Poor Curt Schilling. No longer able to have an intelligent discussion in the real world, the former Red Sox pitcher created an alternate reality in his ongoing spat with the baseball writers who vote for the Hall of Fame.”

TMZ (video)

As Tito dithers on mayoral run, ministers and new council rival pounce

With Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson now saying he’ll wait till spring to announce whether he’ll run for mayor, a former state representative candidate, Rufus Faulk, has already declared he’s gunning for Tito’s council seat – and Faulk appears to have the backing of local ministers, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson. The ultimate insult came from Rev. Eugene Rivers, who co-founded the Boston TenPoint Coalition, where Faulk now works. “The candidacy may be understood as evidence that beyond the charismatic personality, there’s some sense of substance and policy focus lacking from Councilor Jackson,” said Rivers, comparing him to Charlotte Golar Richie, whose milquetoast candidacy for mayor a few years ago got lost within a crowded mayoral field.

Boston Herald

Hassan makes history

With her swearing-in yesterday as the new U.S. senator from New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan also made a little history, becoming only the second woman to serve as a state’s governor and senator, the AP reports at New Hampshire Public Radio. Republican Senate President Chuck Morse will effectively serve as the Granite State’s chief executive until Gov.-elect Chris Sununu, Hassan’s Republican successor in Concord, is inaugurated tomorrow, according to the same AP report.

New Hampshire Public Radio

Who is Dean Mazzarella? Everyone in Leominster knows

Dean Mazzarella is currently the longest-serving mayor in the commonwealth. Mazzarella was sworn in again on Tuesday to kick off his 24th year leading the city of Leominster, George Barnes reports in the Telegram. Following his own tradition, Mazzarrella delivered his state of the city address to his hometown via local cable access TV hours ahead of an evening swearing-in ceremony.  

The Telegram

State’s film tax credit gets panned

From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Bay State residents earned about 75 cents on every dollar the state gave out in tax credits to film and Hollywood productions, according to new state data, reigniting criticism of the controversial tax incentive. The latest figures, covering 2014 and released yesterday by the Department of Revenue, show the state’s film tax credit generated $49 million in personal income for Bay Staters that year, but only after paying out $64.5 million in credits to companies making films, TV shows and documentaries in the state.”

Actually, the 75-cents figure is better than what we had expected, though it still represents a net loss, as the Baker administration, which doesn’t like the tax credit, made clear yesterday.

Boston Herald

This UMass professor will take English literature for $400, Alex

Joseph Bartolomeo, an English professor and associate dean at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, didn’t need a tax credit to win everlasting broadcast fame. A self-described trivia buff, Bartolomeo appears tomorrow as a contestant on the long-running game show “Jeopardy,” reports Ray Kelly at MassLive. Bartolomeo taped his appearance in California in September. “After years of watching ‘Jeopardy!,’ appearing on the show was even better than I expected,” Bartolomeo said. “The production staff was good-humored and supportive, the other contestants friendly and engaging, and Alex Trebek a consummate professional.” 


Harvard Law School dean to step down

Martha Minow, the dean of Harvard Law School who was briefly considered as a potential U.S. Supreme Court pick by her former student and now President Barack Obama, is stepping down from her post at the end of the academic year, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ. Minow became dean in 2009 after her predecessor, Elena Kagan, was appointed by Obama to the Supreme Court. Minow formerly taught Obama at Harvard and even helped him land a summer job at her father’s law firm in Chicago, Ryan writes.


Patrick: Sessions is the ‘wrong person’ for AG

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who once sparred with Attorney General-designee Jeff Sessions in an Alabama voting-fraud case, has written to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying the U.S. senator’s “quasi-judicial activism” makes him unfit for AG, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR. “At a time when our Nation is so divided, when so many feel so deeply that their lived experience is unjust, Mr. Sessions is the wrong person to place in charge of our justice system,” Patrick wrote. Here is Patrick’s three-page letter obtained by SHNS.


State firefighters union: Holyoke must restore fire engine after three fatalities

From George Graham at MassLive: “In the wake of a New Year’s Day fire that killed three and left dozens homeless (in Holyoke), the state firefighters union on Tuesday called on Mayor Alex B. Morse to restore a fire engine that has been taken out of service due to budget cuts.” But the mayor and Fire Chief John A. Pond say the “browned-out” engine did not impede firefighting efforts during the tragic blaze.

Fyi: The mayor and other city officials have established an online Holyoke Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund that had raised more than $39,000 as of yesterday, towards a stated goal of $100,000, reports CBS Boston.


Gloucester chief officially retires under a cloud

As of this morning, Leonard Campanello is officially retired as police chief in Gloucester, but many questions linger about the circumstances that led to his departure, Ray Lamont at the Gloucester Times reports. An audit of the overall department is on hold, as is the disclosure of some public records, until the office of the U.S. Attorney decides whether to proceed with criminal charges against the chief, best known for creating the ‘Angel’ program that diverted drug addicts from the criminal justice system into treatment programs.  

Gloucester Times

Drivers chafe at new parking pricing

Some drivers experienced the parking meter version of sticker shock when they parked in Boston on Tuesday, the first day of new higher rates at meters in the Back Bay and Seaport, O’Ryan Johnson of the Herald reports. Most meters in the affected neighborhoods now charge twice the old rate, though some in the Seaport neighborhood will adjust their prices according to surges in demand. 

Boston Herald

‘He wanted to be buried with these medals’

Here’s a wonderful story by the Globe’s Eric Moskowitz on how a Fall River probation officer, Mark Costa, made sure that the son of a deceased World War II veteran, Frederick C. Sylvia Jr., got his father’s medals back. Costa himself deserves some sort of medal.

Boston Globe

Gayle Fee signs off at the Inside Track

How did we miss this? After 25 years dishing out the inside gossip on “celebs, jocks, pols and the crazy things Bostonians do every day,” the Herald’s Gayle Fee has finally called it quits, writing her last column just prior to the New Year holiday weekend. She has some hilarious stories, starting from the very start: “As I recall, the first Track column contained a little ditty about hockey hero Cam Neely double-teaming on the dating front. The then-Bruins heartthrob secretly stashed two ladies in two separate boxes at one of his games at the old Boston Garden — and one of his two dates was actress Glenn Close!”

Boston Herald

Today’s Headlines


Real estate mogul puts 33 Boston-area buildings up for sale – Boston Globe

Parking meter rates rise in Back Bay, Seaport – Boston Globe

Jackson to face opposition in Roxbury if he runs for re-election – Universal Hub


Smith & Wesson completes name change to American Outdoor Brands – MassLive

Union head wants fire chief removed after blaze – MassLive

State’s longest-serving mayor sworn in again in Leominster – Telegram & Gazette

Millbury voters adopt methadone clinic restrictions, marijuana moratorium – Telegram & Gazette

New policy in Hopkinton requires cameras in liquor stores by 2018 – MetroWest Daily News

Some urge higher taxes on marijuana sales – Salem News

Campanello officially out but questions linger – Gloucester Times

Rivera posts early lead in mayoral fundraising – Eagle-Tribune

Pro-pot senators pass on blocking delay – CommonWealth Magazine

Trash commission stalls over reporting date – CommonWealth Magazine

New ordinance allows Lowell to fine nuisance properties – Lowell Sun

Council OKs payment of judgment in tainted condo case – Lowell Sun

Incoming Brockton City Council president pledges cost containment in 2017 – Brockton Enterprise


Women’s March organizers predict 200,000 will protest Trump’s inauguration – Politico

A day of chaos at the Capitol as House Republicans back down on ethics changes – Washington Post

Kelly’s move to NBC will test her, and the networks – New York Times

New York governor proposes free college for lower-income students – NPR

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