Happening Today

Prohibited plants hearing

Department of Agricultural Resources holds a hearing to consider adding the following plants to its prohibited plant list: hardy kiwi, flowering rush, large gray willow and rusty willow, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Richard Cronin Building, Room 110, Westborough, 10 a.m.

Public safety funds

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett, members of the Legislature and others to announce grant funds from the Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative, Grand Staircase, 10:30 a.m.

Pediatric nursing lobby day

The Massachusetts Pediatric Home Nursing Care Campaign holds a lobby day at the State House hosted by Sen. James Timilty, Nurses Hall, 11:30 a.m.

Lauran Baker at luncheon forum

First Lady Lauren Baker speaks at chef Barbara Lynch’s Full Plate lunch forum, 354 Congress St., Boston, 11:30 a.m.

Kennedy on the radio

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM, 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

Pricing commission

The 23-member commission tasked with examining differences in prices charged by health care providers will meet, Room 428, 1 p.m.

MTA’s post-Question 2 assessment

The Massachusetts Teachers Association hosts forum for members to discuss lessons learned during the fight against last year’s charter school ballot question, 3 Country Club Rd., Holyoke, 3:30 p.m.

National Cannabis caucus

The National Cannabis Industry Association hosts a Northeast Cannabis Caucus to update marijuana professionals on the latest in policy and industry developments in Massachusetts and elsewhere, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, 575 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, 6:30 p.m.

Healey’s post-election tour

Attorney General Maura Healey attends the third of five political events she is holding around the state to assess the post-election landscape, City Hall Auditorium, 60 Pleasant St., Newburyport, 7 p.m.

President Obama’s farewell address

President Barack Obama will deliver a farewell address, 9 p.m.

Today’s Stories

To our readers

Due to technology problems, we were unable to send out MASSterList’s newsletter on Monday. Our apologies. But we’re back today and hopefully the glitches are behind us.

Preppy purveyor on the political defensive

L.L. Bean, the famous Maine purveyor of all things preppy, has found itself fending off calls for a boycott of the company’s outdoor gear and clothing products after the granddaughter and heir of the company founder donated funds to a political action committee supporting Donald Trump, reports the Globe’s Meghan Woolhouse. Timberland and Brooks Brothers must be loving this.

Boston Globe

Junior Legislators Need Not Apply

From Colin A. Young and Katie Lannan at State House News Service: “With the membership of the 190th General Court now seated, House and Senate members can begin eyeing vacant leadership posts for the 2017-2018 session, plum jobs that come with higher pay, greater responsibility and an enhanced public profile.” In the House, there are two open committee chairmanships and seven committee vice chairmanships. In the Senate, there’s an open leadership post, four committee chairmanships and four committee vice chairmanships. And that’ s not counting the new Committee on Marijuana. SHNS has all the who’s-who details.

SHNS (pay wall)

Triple dipper: Rep. Williams to keep council seat – and his pay and pension

The suspense is over in Springfield: Rep. Bud Williams, who was sworn in last week as the new legislator from Springfield, will keep his seat on the city council for the next year, holding both elected posts, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive. In the process, Williams, a retired probation officer, will also keep his council pay of $19,500 and his annual pension of $50,900. Combined with his $62,547 Beacon Hill job, his total annual take: $132,947, Goonan writes.


Baker and DeLeo snuff out pot amnesty idea

Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are no fans of declaring a general amnesty for those convicted on pot charges before voters approved marijuana legalization in November, reports Matt Stout and Dan Atkinson at the Herald. “I certainly wouldn’t support rewriting law retroactively. I would never agree to rewrite retroactively in the other direction either,” Baker said. DeLeo wasn’t as explicit, but made clear an amnesty would be “very difficult” to pass. Curiously, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office took no position yesterday, saying in a statement that “our office will review the proposed legislation when it is filed.” The Herald’s editorial board hates the idea, describing it as “part of a wave of overreach.”

Boston Herald

A clear and present danger: The ‘hardy kiwi’

The little-known “hardy kiwi,” not to be confused with its “fuzzy kiwi” cousin found in most supermarkets, may be a healthy and delicious fruit, but it’s also an out-of-control “invasive menace” that state agriculture officials want to add to the state’s prohibited plant list, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson. The Department of Agricultural Resources holds a hearing today to consider putting the hardy kiwi – and other plants – on its prohibited list.

Boston Globe

‘Lawyer in Chief’ sounds like she wants to remain lawyer in chief

Though Attorney General Maura Healey may look like a potential gubernatorial candidate when she travels around the state to give her assessment of the post-election landscape (as she’s doing this evening in Newburyport), Healey, in a front-page story in this week’s BBJ, sure didn’t sound like a candidate when she was asked about a potential run in 2018: “Well, I’ll tell you what, I – and I’ve said this for a long time now. I love my job as Attorney General and I love the opportunity to serve. And I think that the work that we’re engaged in right now we’ve got a full plate. A lot of issues, potentially a lot of new issues emerging with a new federal administration and we have our hands full. And I’m just going to stay engaged in that effort and hope to serve the people well in the next couple of years.”

Of course, she didn’t answer the question directly, so make of it what you will.


‘Democrats are kinda putting up their B, C team’

While Maura Healey seems (for now) to be sticking to her no-gubernatorial-run position, Kirsten Hughes, head of the state Republican Party, thinks more Democratic candidates will probably emerge to run in 2018, but she isn’t impressed with the current crop now exploring a bid for the Corner Office, i.e. Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Jay Gonzalez, former Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget chief. “People are going to come in and out and it looks like Democrats are kinda putting up their B, C team,” Hughes said over the weekend on WCVB’s “On the Record.”

Meanwhile, State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports (pay wall) that new state Democratic Party chairman Gus Bickford says he supports the same Dem rule establishing a threshold for candidates’ ballot access that two years ago limited the primary field to three candidates. In other words, he wants to clear the field for A-level candidates. But what if they don’t have A-level candidates?

WCVB (video)

Lawmakers hold off on budget overrides till they see January numbers

From Politico’s Lauren Dezenski: “Legislative leaders eyeing a restoration of Gov. Charlie Baker’s $98 million in 9C cuts say they want to wait until January revenue numbers are in before they act. Those figures will be ready for perusal in early February.” And here we were thinking the December revenue numbers sort of undercut Baker’s more pessimistic view of the budget.


Officers use ‘chemical agent’ to quell near riot at Shirley prison

A fight between two inmates escalated into a full-scale melee at the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley yesterday, prompting correction officials to use a “chemical agent” to stop rampaging prisoners from destroying their unit, reports the Globe. According to a statement released by prison officials, as the Herald reports: “Sprinkler heads were broken off, camera systems were destroyed, the computer system in the unit was destroyed along with extensive damage to much of the remaining parts of the unit. Inmates utilized fire extinguishers and other makeshift weapons in order to destroy furnishings, windows, etc.” 

The mystery of the West Bridgewater mountain lion has been solved

Those reports of a possible mountain lion prowling around West Bridgewater? Never mind, reports the Enterprise’s Shannon Gallagher at Wicked Local. Bottom line: The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife says the reports are bogus.

Wicked Local

‘The governor may have blown it’

Some people aren’t happy with Gov. Baker’s appointment of a long-time City Hall staffer – and former boss of an indicted mayoral aide — to the Boston Finance Commission, a city watchdog group, the Herald Dan Atkinson reports. “It’s not supposed to be an inside guy, it’s supposed to be an outside guy,” Joe Slavet, a former FinCom chair, said of former Intergovernmental Affairs chief Jake Sullivan. “You ought to be lily-white to do the kind of work they do. In this particular case, the governor may have blown it.”

Boston Herald

Stergios: So, Question 2 opponents, what reforms are you demanding?

As members of the Massachusetts Teachers Association gather in Holyoke today to review the “lessons learned” from their successful defeat of the Question 2 ballot question, the Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios asks at CommonWealth magazine whether Question 2 opponents will ever propose real school reforms, other than demanding more taxpayer funds for schools. He doesn’t sound hopeful.


Baker signs slew of last-minute bills

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday signed 21 bills passed in the waning days of the last legislative session, most of them addressing local matters, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. She has an impressive summary of the bills at Wicked Local.

Wicked Local

‘A Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian, left-wing pro-lifer’

The Globe’s Bryan Marquard has a moving piece on the sad passing away of Nat Hentoff, 91, a Boston native, long-time Village Voice columnist and a self-described “Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian, left-wing pro-lifer.” What an extraordinary man and career.

Boston Globe

MBTA approves privatizing warehousing operations

The MBTA may have signed a contract with the Carmen’s Union not to privatize bus and subway driver services. But that didn’t mean it couldn’t private other services – and that’s exactly what the T did yesterday, announcing a private company will now handle the transit agency’s troubled warehousing and parts-delivery operations, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR.


Which Massachusetts college produces the highest paid grads?

The BBJ has conducted a survey of which Bay State colleges produce the highest paid graduates ten years after their enrollment. The top college? If you guessed Harvard, MIT, Tufts, BC, BU, Northeastern, Wellesley, UMass, Brandeis, Babson, Bentley, Holy Cross, Wentworth Institute of Technology etc. etc. you’d be wrong. It’s – drumroll, please — MCPHS University. (Bonus points if you know what the acronym stands for.) Check out the slide show. There’s a lot of surprises in there.


Framingham city proposal ready for voters

A charter commission tasked with proposing a new form of government in Framingham has wrapped up its work, leaving only a decision by voters in the spring to determine if the state’s largest town will transform itself into a city, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News


Adam Markopoulos recently snapped a photo of Bill Belichick and his gal pal snoozing away on the ferry from Nantucket. But when ESPN asked if it could use the photo, Markopoulos was emphatic: “‘DO. NOT. USE. MY. PHOTO.” His reason: “No chance @ESPN, you started Deflategate.” Read all the comments hailing Adam’s heroic defiance. His tweets via Universal Hub.

Police denying more ICE requests to turn over immigrants

Boston-area police departments last year denied more requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold undocumented immigrants, bucking a national trend in the process, Jack Encarnacao of the Herald reports.

Boston Herald

At behest of Healey, Worcester shop to stop certain gun sales

The owner a Worcester firearms shop has agreed to stop selling certain weapons that Attorney General Maura Healey determined to be illegal, Mark Sullivan of the Telegram reports. Just Jonathan Gabriel, owner of the Gun Parlor, will stop selling handguns not approved for retail in Massachusetts and agreed to pay $10,000 in attorney fees. Another $25,000 in penalties will be waived if the shop complies with restrictions going forward. 


Kerry’s farewell raises alarm on climate

A day before his boss bids adieu with a speech in Chicago today, Secretary of State John Kerry gave what amounted to a farewell address of his own at MIT on Monday, underscoring the urgency of addressing climate change, Bruce Gellerman of WBUR reports. Kerry said he is “really looking forward to new adventures” and promised to remain politically active after his years at the State Department. 


Massachusetts revs up new rules for electric cars

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive takes a closer look at the bill passed in the last days of the previous session that promotes the use of electric cars in Massachusetts, from setting guidelines for public charging stations to the possibility of electrifying the state’s fleet of vehicles.


Amherst College narrows mascot field

After ditching Lord Jeffrey last year due to his connection to the spreading of diseases among native Americans, Amherst College has narrowed its search for a new sports mascot down to a mere 30 choices, Diane Lederman of MassLive reports, such as “Aces,” “Fighting poets,” “Valley Hawks,” and “Pride and Wolves.” The semi-finalists will be further culled to five finalists before a vote by the larger school community. More than 588 new mascot names were suggested — including “David Foster Walrus,“ a nod to the late writer and Amherst grad David Foster Wallace. 


Today’s Headlines


Marty Walsh hopes Curt Schilling gets into Hall of Fame – Boston.com

These Mass. colleges produce the highest-earning students – Boston Business Journal

Cops increasingly denying requests to hold illegals – Boston Herald


Attempts to free Mass. inmates convicted of marijuana possession resisted by top politicians – MassLive

Gov. Charlie Baker signs bill mandating review of potential ‘conflict minerals’ from Congo – MassLive

State Rep. Budd Williams will also keep Springfield City Council seat, drawing salaries from both jobs – MassLive

T privatizes warehouse operations – CommonWealth Magazine

Healey cracks down on more gun sales – CommonWealth Magazine

Framingham’s city proposal on its way to voters – MetroWest Daily News

Gas leak heightens concern over proposed Weymouth project – Patriot Ledger

Low cost employee-aid plan unveiled – Cape Cod Times

Baker signs bill restoring pension benefits for retired Pittsfield bus drivers – Berkshire Eagle

Mass. Planned Parenthood estimates federal defunding would cut $2 million a year in payments – WBUR

Mass. retail sales came in lower than expected for holiday season – Boston Business Journal

Beetle infestation to claim another 300 trees in Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Lopes elected to lead New Bedford city council – Standard-Times


Health care industry is quiet as millions may lose coverage – New York Times

Under Senate pressure, Backpage shutters adult section – Politico

FBI payments to Best Buy technicians in child porn cases raises privacy concerns – Washington Post

Kerry issues a dire warning on climate change – Boston Globe

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