Health Care Connector
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders will chair a meeting of the Health Connector, John W. McCormack Building, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 9 a.m.
Rosenberg on Herald Radio
Senate President Stan Rosenberg appears on Herald Radio, 9 a.m.
Barnstable Sheriff swearing in
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito swears in Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who has held the post since 1999, Cape Cod Community College Tilden Center, 2240 Iyannough Rd., West Barnstable, 9:30 a.m.
Lahey ribbon cutting
Gov. Charlie Baker attends ribbon cutting and delivers remarks at the unveiling ceremony of a new emergency department at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, 41 Burlington Mall Rd., Burlington, 11 a.m.
Health care rally
Health care workers, consumers and advocates rally to discuss the risks Massachusetts faces if Congress ‘repeals or guts’ funding for the Affordable Care Act, Grand Staircase, 11:30 a.m.
Trump cabinet protest
Fight for $15 advocates, including cooks and cashiers, plan to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of fast-food CEO Andy Puzder as U.S. Secretary of Labor, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 15 Sudbury St., Boston, 12 p.m.
Goldberg at MLK lunch
Treasurer Deb Goldberg attends Partners HealthCare’s annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration lunch, Sheraton Boston Hotel Constitution ballroom, 39 Dalton St., Boston, 12 p.m.
Correction automotive program
Gov. Baker visits the Department of Correction Automotive Technology Program with Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett, Commissioner of Department of Correction Tom Turco and Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Reentry Chris Mitchell, 50 Maple Street, Milford, 1 p.m.
Police mentoring partnership
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh offers remarks at an event announcing a mentoring partnership with the Boston Police Department, Boston Police Headquarters, 1 Schroeder Plaza, Boston, 1:15 p.m.
Tito Jackson announces for mayor
Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson is expected to announce his run for mayor, according to multiple reports, Haley House Bakery Cafe, 12 Dade St, Roxbury, 2 p.m.
Rep. Tyler town hall meeting
New state Rep. Chynah Tyler of Boston hosts a town hall meeting for constituents to share concerns and ideas, Boston Public Library Dudley Branch, 65 Warren St., Roxbury, 5:30 p.m.
Tito Jackson on the air
Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson is a scheduled guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.
Tito takes the plunge
It’s official: Mayor Marty Walsh will face a formidable opponent in this year’s mayoral race. Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson is finally getting off the fence by officially announcing today that he will indeed by taking on Walsh in this year’s city election. “I want to become the 55th mayor of the City of Boston to ensure that the city on the hill that has been welcoming and open to so many families . . . remains the city for middle- and working-class people,” said Jackson, as reported by the Globe’s Meghan Irons.
Jackson, who released an impressive campaign video yesterday, enters the race as a distinct underdog, going up against an incumbent “with a campaign war chest nearly 50 times bigger than his own,” reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson. Still, we just came off of one of the weirdest, most unpredictable election years in memory, so pundits, pollsters and others dismiss Tito’s chances at their peril.
Walsh: Immigrant defense fund a ‘potentially very dangerous, slippery slope’
This could be interesting as the mayoral campaign unfolds: Mayor Marty Walsh is dismissing the idea of the city establishing a new anti-deportation defense fund for illegal immigrants, saying it’s a “potentially very dangerous, slippery slope for the city to start getting involved in the business of paying for legal representation,” reports the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao. Illegal immigrants don’t vote, but many of their relatives and friends do.
Did IndyCar have inside track to City Hall?
Here’s another potential election-year problem for Mayor Walsh. Former aides and advisors to Walsh promised to use their access to help organizers of the ill-fated IndyCar Boston race get their proposal to the starting line, Joe Battenfeld of the Herald reports, citing a trove of emails released by the city. Among others, former City Hall press secretary Kate Norton boasted to the head of IndyCar’s parent company she could ensure a letter to Walsh would “not get lost in the shuffle at City Hall.”
Lawmakers steam over UMass stadium talks
Some state lawmakers are crying foul over the way UMass Boston is handling negotiations over a potential New England Revolution soccer stadium in Dorchester, saying the public and other potential developers have been shut out as talks proceeded behind the scenes, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. “Dorchester residents deserve a transparent process,” said state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, who was one of three lawmakers to meet yesterday with Gov. Charlie Baker about the project—which the Globe reported this week may be on the rocks anyway—and other issues affecting the Columbia Point neighborhood.
Brown passed over for VA post
As U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, Scott Brown probably would have put his “heart and soul” into the job of running the Veterans Administration. But he’s not going to get the chance to do so, after President-elect Donald Trump announced yesterday he’s picked David Shulkin, a doctor and the undersecretary for health at the VA, as the new head of the agency, reports CBS Boston. Even though he was left dangling for weeks by Trump, Brown, the former U.S. senator and retired colonel in the Army National Guard, was gracious about not getting the post, saying was “honored to be considered til the end” and wished “the new nominee the very best.”
Healey wins round against arch-nemesis ExxonMobil
In the latest round in her ongoing battle against ExxonMobil, Attorney General Maura Healey scored a key victory yesterday when a state judge said she can proceed with her investigation of what the giant oil company has known about climate change over the decades, reports the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert and the Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson. But there’s still a parallel legal case under way in Texas, where a federal judge has signaled he’s not all that impressed with Healey’s climate-change probe. Bottom line: Healey won an impressive round yesterday, but not the match.
‘Naturopaths’ finally have their day
Over the objections of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Gov. Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill that creates a licensing board to regulate so-called ‘naturopaths,’ or alternative medicine practitioners, reports the Globe’s Felice Freyer. The medical society said licensure would grant legitimacy to practices that are merely “a combination of nutritional advice, home remedies, and discredited treatments.” But Baker said the new law makes sure a “board is able to implement minimum standards, education, and quality of care.” Our concern: Whenever any group actually seeks out regulations, it’s often seeking market exclusivity and barriers to entry, as well as establishing standards.
From ‘opaque’ to ‘streamlined’
This one may come across as something only a policy wonk would find interesting. But it’s actually a big deal for those in the state’s huge health care industry. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “State health officials Wednesday replaced a ‘confusing’ and ‘opaque’ process regulating hospitals’ major capital projects with a new ‘modernized, streamlined and retooled regulation that puts public health at its core,” they said.” In particular, it could have a major impact on future expansion plans by hospitals.
Health costs still increasing, but showing signs of moderating
The cost of health care in the state continues to rise faster than targets set by regulators, but the growth rates have moderated in recent years, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports, citing new data from the Health Policy Commission. Costs rose 4.1 percent in 2015, above the commission’s 3.6 percent target.
Time change: Has anyone thought of its effects on computer systems?
As the Associated Press reports at the Telegram, members of a special commission yesterday began hearings on whether the state should forgo the changing of clocks by an hour each November and March as part of daylight saving time. But Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub had an interesting response to the idea: “And why not? We’re special! We deserve our very own dropdown in computer operating systems for setting the default time.” Read the comments. They’re pretty interesting. And read the comments at the Telegram as well. They’re mostly very negative toward the idea.
Rural school woes: ‘It’s the opposite of economy of scale’
Linda Enerson at CommonWealth takes a look at the hardships facing the state’s rural schools, some of them now approaching a demographic and financial “death spiral.” Enerson: “Many rural school districts, educating about 90,000 students statewide, are dealing with some of the same financial constraints as their urban counterparts. But as they operate in sparsely populated areas, even the smallest changes in enrollment or revenue or expenses are magnified. ‘It’s the opposite of economy of scale,’ says Michael Buoniconti, the superintendent of the Hawlemont elementary district and the Mohawk Trail Regional Schools.”
Nine security violations flagged at Pilgrim
A routine inspection of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station last month found nine separate security violations, a higher than typical number, though the violations were classified as ‘low-risk’ by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Christine Legere of the Cape Cod Times reports. Critics say the report is the latest red flag about slip-shod operation of the facility.
Local biotech stocks plunge after Trumps says drug firms are ‘getting away with murder’
We know of some local business people who are no longer thrilled about the prospects of a Trump presidency. From Max Stendhal at the BBJ: “Biotech stocks plummeted on Wednesday within minutes of President-elect Donald castigating the industry during a press conference for manufacturing drugs overseas and charging high prices. ‘We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, but we don’t bid properly, and we’ll save billions over time and we’ll do that with a lot of other industries,’ Trump said. He added that the industry was ‘getting away with murder.’” Well, they wanted him, now they got him.
Healey runs out of fingers counting the ways Trump has insulted people
Attorney General Maura Healey has pledged to fight to protect progressive policies and minorities that may come under attack under the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, reports Evan Lips at New Boston Post. “When I think about Donald Trump — I’ve run out of fingers — trying to count how many groups he offended throughout the course of this campaign,” Healey said at a packed event at Newburyport City Hall. “This new administration really scares me.”
Whole Foods moving regional HQ from Cambridge to Marlborough?
Score another one for Marlborough, the scrappy central Massachusetts city whose commercial real estate market has rebounded, big time. As Catherine Carlock reports at the BBJ, the high-end specialty grocery chain is moving its North Atlantic regional headquarters, with its 144 workers, from Cambridge to Marlborough, planting its local flag at 200 Forest St., a 500,000-square-foot building that sat empty just four years ago. It now full with Whole Foods, GE Healthcare Life Science and Quest Diagnostics as tenants.
Abington Democrat takes aim at Rep. Geoff Diehl
Anna Burgess at Wicked Local reports that Alex Bezanson, an Abington selectman and Democrat, has filed paperwork to run for the state representative seat now held by Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Republican from Whitman. The election is a long way off, but the early bird gets the worm, as they say.
Pike toll project remains ahead of schedule
Work on transforming the Mass Pike to all-electronic tolling remains ahead of schedule but will still take most of 2017 to complete, Mass DOT officials said Wednesday, according to a report from Kim Ring of the Telegram. Some additional exit closings are planned in coming weeks and officials say they will work to address concerns raised by public safety agencies in the Westborough area about the impact the ongoing construction is having on emergency response times.
Local Pride: ‘Two Boston dogs headed to the Puppy Bowl’
Daisy Moses, a chihuahua mix, and Mr. Whimpers, a terrier from Boston’s Last Hope K9 Rescue program, will be representing Boston in this year’s Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s brilliant pre-Super Bowl spectacle, reports Spencer Buell at Boston magazine. The hopes and dreams of the entire region are with you, Daisy Moses and Mr. Whimpers.
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