Happening Today

Supreme Judicial Court

The Supreme Judicial Court hears Mary Daley v. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, which concerns an estate plan and Medicaid eligibility; Lionel Nadeau v. Kristen Thorn, the former MassHealth director, over long-term benefit eligibility, 9 a.m.

Elderly public housing

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Secretary of Elder Affairs Alice Bonner, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay and local officials for an announcement on preserving affordable public housing for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, Community Room at Forestdale Development, 427 Forest Street, Malden, 10 a.m.

Marijuana regulations

Department of Public Health holds a public hearing on proposed amendments to its medical marijuana regulations, Holyoke Community College Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke, 10 a.m.

New Governor’s Council

The new Governor’s Council is sworn in with one new member on the eight-person elected panel; Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg are expected to attend, House Chamber, 12 p.m.

T budget hearing

The Transportation Committee holds an oversight hearing on the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board annual report, Room B-1, 12 p.m.

Bill filing training

House Clerk Steven James’ office and Legislative Information Services hold a training on how to file bills for the 2017-2018 session using the Legislative Automated Workflow System (LAWS), Room A-1, 1 p.m.

McDonough court hearing

Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard McDonough, who was convicted in 2011 on corruption charges, appears before federal Judge Mark Wolf for potential additional release restrictions barring him from access to alcohol, Moakley Courthouse, Boston, 3 p.m.

Baker bill signing

Gov. Charlie Baker joins members of the Legislature in the signing of an act related to the performance of fire hydrants and components of fire protection sprinkler systems, Room 360, 5 p.m.

Worcester County sheriff

Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis is sworn into office for his second term, with Lt. Gov. Polito administering the oath of office, St. John’s High School, 378 Main St., Shrewsbury, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Sheriff to Trump: Let our inmates build Mexican wall

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, a Republican and apparently big fan of Donald Trump, has offered up his inmates as a source of low-cost labor should president-elect Trump follow through on his campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexican border, the Globe reports. At his own inauguration last night, Hodgson—flanked by Gov. Charlie Baker, who had just sworn the sheriff in for a fourth term—laid out a plan to transport prisoners to work on the project, saying the wall “has to happen,” Jeannette Barnes reports in the Standard-Times. Hodgson said he pitched the idea to the Trump transition team but hasn’t heard back yet.

Mass. Trump supporters throw tantrum over inaugural tickets

They’re mad as hell and not taking it anymore. And it’s not just about a wall on the Mexican border. The “they” are Bay State Trump supporters who are furious that they have to go to Democrats — of all people! — to land tickets to Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month, the Herald’s Matt Stout reports. And it looks like they’re going to take out their frustrations on Mr. Moderate himself, Charlie Baker, reports the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld. We’re not sure if this really represents a threat to Gov. Baker’s re-election bid, as Joe argues, but there’s no argument here about this line: “The Baker and Trump teams are like badly dysfunctional relatives.” 

Despite a conservative challenge, Hughes expects to remain atop state GOP

On last item on the mad-as-hell front: Kristen Hughes, the president of the Quincy City Council, says she will seek another four-year term as chair of the state’s Republican party, reports Sean Phillip Cotter of the Patriot Ledger. Although she is facing a challenge from conservative activist Steve Aylward, Hughes says she already has more than the 43 votes she needs to keep the post. 

Patriot Ledger

Another minor-league Dem eyes a run against Baker

As Gov. Baker deals with conservative rabble-rousers within his own Republican party, yet another Democrat, Jay Gonzalez, who worked as a top budget official under former Gov. Deval Patrick, is weighing a run for governor in 2018, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Newton Mayor Setti Warren, a Democrat, is also eyeing a run for the Corner Office. Frankly, they’re both minor-league Dems, but they’re the only Dem candidates stepping forward at this point, considering other statewide pols (hint: Maura Healey) are hanging back for the time being. At least Gonzalez and Warren are doing something.


‘No more covering boring crap nobody cares about’

Writing at Media Nation, Dan Kennedy has some thoughts on Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory’s announcement of the latest reinvention plan at the Globe. But we also liked Adam Gaffin’s headline at Universal Hub: “Globe editor: No more covering boring crap nobody cares about.” Check out all the comments at Dan’s Facebook site and, of course, at Adam’s Universal Hub.

They can meet, just not talk

Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and other state pols are asking for a meeting with officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about safety concerns at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. But Christine Legere at the Cape Cod Times reports the NRC appears to be slamming the door on any discussion about an agency investigation, as revealed in a controversial internal NRC email, about safety matters at the plant. So they can meet. Just not talk about what they want to talk about. 

Cape Cod Times

Declaring ‘Mr. Trump was right,’ Bernie uses a tweet against Trump

Talk about turning the tables on someone, or turning a Tweet on someone. On the Senate floor, Bernie Sanders yesterday hauled out a giant printout of a 2015 tweet by Donald Trump bragging about how he was the “only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.” And guess what? Republicans are now talking about cutting Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, as Bernie rightly noted, as the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss reports. For pure political theater, this one was effective.

Boston Globe

Like clockwork: Trump appoints Wall Street insider to SEC, Warren rips away

From the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss: “Senator Elizabeth Warren is railing against President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head up the Securities and Exchange Commission. Trump earlier on Wednesday said he wanted Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton to be the SEC’s chairman, calling him ‘a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law.’” Warren begs to differ over whether yet another former Goldman Sachs-tied executive is what the financial system needs. Is it safe to say she has a point?

Boston Globe

Brown still dangling, still hopeful on VA post

President-elect Donald Trump must be really pumped about appointing former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown as head of the Veterans Administration, so much so that he’s kept Trump dangling now for more than a month. “I am still waiting on the VA,” Brown said, stating the obvious. “I am in the mix very much, but he is taking his time, which I suggested he do.”

Boston Herald

Rivals are circling over Tito’s council seat

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson better run for mayor, because it’s increasingly obvious that he may not have a job on the council by the end of the year. First, Rufas Faulk, leader of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, signaled he’s running for Tito’s council seat later this year. Now Kim Janey, a community activist and public education champion, says she’s seriously considering a run for Tito’s seat, the Globe reports. And Charles Clemons Muhammad, a former Boston police officer and perennial candidate for just about anything, has also announced he’s a candidate, too, the Herald reports. It’s almost like they’re circling over poor Tito.

Deval, we hardly knew ye

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is fine with former Gov. Deval Patrick taking a stand against Donald Trump’s nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. But she wonders why Deval didn’t make a stronger stand against Trump before the election.

Boston Globe

After a marathon session, lawmakers passed a slew of bills late Tuesday

From bills promoting the electric-car industry to new massage-parlor hours, lawmakers were busy late Tuesday passing last-minute bills before the end of the 2015-2016 session. State House News Service has a big list of the approved bills that cover such issues as: promotion of the electric-car industry in Massachusetts, massage therapy services on Sundays and holidays, special alcohol licenses for nonprofit charitable corporations, further regulations to the reserve funds of credit unions, establishing a board of registration in naturopathy, creating uniform coastal beach warnings and the serving of wine in private clubs.

SHNS (pay wall)

No parking: Drivers could get fined $50 for blocking bike lanes

Yet another bill passed in the waning hours of the last session: Drivers would get hit with fines of up to $50 if they stop their cars in designated bike lanes under a bill passed on Tuesday by lawmakers, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Telegram. The statewide law would be similar to ordinances already in place in Cambridge and Boston. The legislation is now sitting on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

The Telegram

Pioneer Institute authors: Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s education pick will let Massachusetts be Massachusetts

The Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios and Charles Chieppo, in a USA Today op-ed piece, express hope that the incoming secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, might move away from the federal government’s top-down approach toward education and give states the flexibility to innovate. Well, we do know this: Massachusetts, both under Democratic and Republican governors, has been butting heads with the federal government in recent years on a number of issues, including health care and education. So loosening the reins might be welcome at this point, though many conservatives might not like what a progressive Massachusetts might do with that extra leeway.

USA Today

Chinese are sending mysterious shrink-wrapped item to Massachusetts

It looks like one of those old satellite photos from the Cuban Missile Crisis. But fear not: It’s just a shrink-wrapped mock-up of an Orange Line car that a Chinese company is shipping to Massachusetts before it begins building a new fleet of subway cars for the MBTA, the T reports on Twitter.

MBTA Twitter

UMass report: State’s economy approaching ‘full capacity’

From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “The Massachusetts labor market is reaching full capacity, with a lack of skilled and ready workers already pushing up wages in the high-tech manufacturing and construction industries, according to a report from MassBenchmarks, a study of the statewide economy from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.” Most economists believe an economy has hit “full employment” whenever the jobless rate hovers at or below 5 percent. The state’s unemployment rate is now less than 3 percent, so technically we’re now at over capacity.


Bubble alert? Boston’s housing market value now exceeds last decade’s pre-crash level

As unemployment rates have plummeted and workers have more money in their pockets, the combined value of all homes in Greater Boston is now $672.7 billion, higher than it was during the bubble years that began to collapse in 2006, according to Zillow data, as reported by the BBJ’s David Harris. In fact, the total national value of all housing stock grew to a record-high $29.6 trillion last year. But we’re actually not very concerned – for now. The values, as far as we can tell, are not adjusted for inflation and dollar values were bound to increase over a decade, crash or no crash.


Northampton’s ‘terrible epidemic’

Heroin overdoses in Northampton nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016, prompting police to report on their Facebook page that “we are indeed in the midst of a terrible epidemic,” writes George Graham at MassLive. In 2016, city police responded to 51 overdose calls, 44 of which involved heroin overdoses, up from 15 heroin overdoses in 2015. Six people died from heroin overdoses last year in Northampton.


Data breach listings made public

In a nod to the state’s updated public records law, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation this week made public an online archive of data breach notifications affecting Bay State residents since 2007, Susan Spencer of the Telegram reports. The list includes all breaches reported to the state under a 2007 law requiring businesses and organizations to disclose when private data became public, regardless of how it happened. 

The Telegram

Berkshire towns to get weed-law tutorial

Hoping to ease fears among some of the state’s smallest and most rural communities about the advent of legal weed, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission plans to bring in a municipal attorney from Wellesley to answer questions about taxation and regulation under the newly passed marijuana law, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

Lowell schools to get new HQ after garage-walk brouhaha

Less than two weeks after unionized school administrators in Lowell demanded they be paid an extra hour each week in compensation for longer walks to and from downtown parking garages, the city says it is actively searching for new office digs, Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports. The School Committee voted to confine the search to the city’s downtown as it begins soliciting proposals. 

Lowell Sun

Today’s Headlines


Hopefuls emerge for Roxbury, South Boston council seats – Boston Globe

Eatery fed up with BYOB red tape – Boston Herald

Forced closing of Crimson Corner for pizza typifies churn of Harvard Square business – Cambridge Day

Wynn hosting vendor fair for $90M in bids for Wynn Boston Harbor – Boston Business Journal


Mass. groups mobilize against threat to Obamacare – Boston Globe

Rift between delegates, state party grows over inaugural tickets – Boston Herald

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno channels Bill Belichick in response to questions about fire commissioner’s status – MassLive

Springfield state Rep. Bud Williams to decide Thursday whether to keep City Council seat – MassLive

State releases online reports of data breaches – Telegram & Gazette

Wine cancels Christmas Eve service at Worcester County jail – Telegram & Gazette

Developers seek tax breaks for Framingham projects – MetroWest Daily News

Marlborough airport on the market for $3 million – MetroWest Daily News

Expert to help towns navigate new pot law – Berkshire Eagle

Wolf ‘optimistic’ as he steps aside – Cape Cod Times

Quincy city council president Kristen Hughes seeks re-election as state GOP chief – Patriot Ledger

Why trash talk amounted to nothing – CommonWealth Magazine

Over the last year, Mass. metro areas had the nation’s biggest declines in unemployment – WBUR

Why New England’s 12 senators matter – WGBH

School administration move OKd but must stay downtown – Lowell Sun


WSJ editor Gerard Baker defends ‘lies’ comments made on Meet the Press – Politico

Exxon to pay Tillerson $180M if confirmed as Donald Trump’s secretary of state – Associated Press

Democrats say GOP will ‘make America sick again’ – Boston Globe

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