Happening Today

Education boards meet

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Board of Higher Education meet jointly to discuss the Massachusetts Early College Initiative and Next-Generation MCAS High School Assessments, Rondileau Campus Center, Bridgewater State University, 9 a.m.


Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike attend the MassCEC board of directors meeting, MassCEC Board Room, 63 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Lottery Commission

Massachusetts State Lottery Commission meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg as chair, Crane Conference Room, One Ashburton Place, 12th floor, 10:30 a.m.

Walsh on the air

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM, 89.7, 11 a.m.

Higher Education Board

Board of Higher Education meets to review a new statewide survey of increasing hunger and homelessness on public campuses in Massachusetts, Rondileau Campus Center, Bridgewater State University, 11 a.m.

Animal protection bills

Animal protection organizations, including the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, hold an event about newly filed bills impacting companion animals, farm animals, elephants, rhinos and other wildlife, Nurses Hall, 11 a.m.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets, Rondileau Campus Center, Bridgewater State University, 11:15 a.m.

House Democratic caucus

House Democrats plan to caucus, possibly to discuss strategy on a pay raise measure, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 11:30 a.m.

‘Ask the AG’

Attorney General Maura Healey is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

Women’s Political Caucus

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus holds its annual meeting with the members-only meeting convening at 5 p.m. and an open reception at 6 p.m., UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston.

State of the Commonwealth Address

Gov. Charles Baker gives his third State of the Commonwealth address, House Chamber, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker: Kumbaya, my Commonwealth, Kumbaya

Gov. Charlie Baker apparently plans to emphasize, and reemphasize and reemphasize, how he’s a “practitioner of bipartisan compromise” during his third State of the Commonwealth address tonight at the State House, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan, who got hold of excerpts of Baker’s planned speech. The emphasis on bi-partisanship is one way Baker, a moderate Republican, can differentiate himself from last week’s combative inaugural remarks by President Trump, O’Sullivan notes. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says the governor desperately needs to distance himself from Trump, who “looms over Charlie Baker like an unwanted guest as the GOP governor delivers a pre-election-year address signaling the unofficial start of his re-election campaign.”

‘Can you imagine the mind that put that sentence into a public strategy document?’

Ed Lyons, a Republican activist writing at the conservative New Boston Post, is no fan of state GOP committeeman Steve Aylward, most definitely not a Kumbya-kind of guy who’s running for chair of the state Republican party. Lyons on Aylward: “He shows no understanding of how Republicans actually win elections. For example, every pollster and experienced campaign manager will tell you that almost all Republican candidates require a significant number of Democrat votes to win (in the state). Yet, Aylward’s campaign platform says: ‘At every turn, treat the Democrats not as friends, but as our political enemy, sworn to destroy us.’ So, I guess the message to the tens of thousands of Democrats who put Baker over the top is: ‘You’re the enemy.’ Can you imagine the mind that put that sentence into a public strategy document?”

New Boston Post

Pay raises: They’re going for it

They may have pared back the size of the proposed pay raises for public officials, but they’re still big pay raises for legislative leaders, committee chairs, constitutional officers and others, as noted by the Herald’s Matt Stout, who’s gotten hold of the 18-page pay-raise bill that could be voted on later this week. He has all the dollar numbers.

“Fair-minded people will consider the fact that the stipends for presiding officers have not changed for 33 years,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg, justifying the hikes. “Who works for the same amount 33 years later?” Well, fair-minded people dissatisfied with their salary for 33 years usually find other work, right? SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more on the legislation that’s setting lawmakers on a collision course with Gov. Charlie Baker.

Boston Herald

Maybe a Republican governor didn’t want to go to a march overwhelmingly dominated by liberal Democrats?

The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan and Michael Levenson look into why Gov. Charlie Baker didn’t attend the large Women’s March in Boston over the weekend. The governor’s response: He was attending a Massachusetts Municipal Association meeting and working on the budget. The reaction from the Globe’s Shirley Leung: “Basically, he’d rather revel in details about waste management and municipal law than participate in what turned out to be a historic day in Boston and in America, where hundreds of thousands of people rallied for women’s rights.”

Here’s another, non-alternative-news way of looking at it: The entire Baker MIA storyline – and its varying explanations and criticisms – are bogus. The Republican governor didn’t go to the event because it was overwhelmingly dominated by liberal Democrats. We all know this to be true, but at some alternative-universe level we’re all supposed to pretend it’s not true.

Boston Globe

Shirley gets her shot

Last Friday, the Globe’s Shirley Leung expressed hope Gov. Baker would take a selfie of he and his wife to see how good his inaugural seats were. The governor later responded with a photo from festivities and the Twitter note: “@leung – North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum and me – some 30 minutes or so before the show got started. Podium is on the left.” Not bad.

Twitter (CharlieBakerMA)

The rise and fall of Christy Mihos

Two-time gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos spent 10 days in the Barnstable County Correctional facility for failing to make a $79,000 payment to his ex-wife in connection with their divorce, K.C. Myers of the Cape Cod Times reports. Mihos, the former Christy’s convenience store chain owner who ran for governor in 2006 as an independent and then failed to make the final ballot as a Republican in 2010, was released on Friday. 

Cape Cod Times

State’s Group Insurance Commission seeks to cap hospital payments

From the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “The state agency that spends more than $2 billion a year to provide health coverage to 436,000 public employees, retirees, and their families is pushing changes that would allow it to slash what it pays the most expensive hospitals, a drastic move to try to rein in health care costs.” The measure will be included in Gov. Charlie Baker’s new budget that’s expected to be unveiled tomorrow.

In other health-care pricing news, the Globe’s Robert Weisman reports that four bills have been effectively re-filed that would require drug makers to disclose the cost of their research, marketing, and manufacturing.

Boston Globe

Strong support for taxing millionaires

There was another nugget buried in the same WBUR poll that was released yesterday showing support for Elizabeth Warren being surprisingly weak: The ‘BUR survey also found overwhelming support for the proposal to raise taxes on millionaires in Massachusetts, as Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports. We’re talking Question 4 tsunami-like support.


That’s a lot to sift through: More than 5,700 bills filed

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Salem News: “The state Legislature will start 2017 with more than 5,700 bills to consider. More than 3,700 bills were filed in House and more than 2,020 in the Senate by a Friday deadline, according to House and Senate clerks. The bills will be steered to various committees and eventually scheduled for hearings.”

Salem News

NRA takes aim at state’s assault-weapons ban

No surprise here: The National Rifle Association’s Massachusetts chapter has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey over the state’s assault-weapons ban, following Healey’s move last year to expand and clarify the definition of assault weapons, as the Globe’s Travis Andersen reports. By logic, the lawsuit had to go for it all – not just Healey’s interpretation of the extent of the law but the entire law itself.

Boston Globe

Which Massachusetts firms nab the most money in federal contracts?

Defense contractor Raytheon Co. is the top recipient of federal contract dollars in Massachusetts. We were a little surprised Raytheon’s figure wasn’t higher than $3.3 billion. The BBJ’s David Harris has more on the other top federal contractors, which collectively netted more than $60 billion in federal contracts last year. That’s a lot of dough pumping through the Massachusetts economy.


Boston mulls issuance of municipal ID cards

From the Associated Press at CBS Boston: “The city of Boston will consider a plan to issue municipal identification cards, an idea that other cities have used to help immigrants and the homeless. Mayor Marty Walsh said the city is seeking a consultant to study the feasibility of creating city ID cards that could be used to access the city’s services, banks and cultural institutions.” Question: Will the study be completed before this year’s mayoral election?

CBS Boston

Walking tours of Southie’s Edison plant before its redeveloped for ‘live-work-play’

Redgate and Hilco Redevelopment Partners, the new owners of the old Southie Edison plant, plan to hold walking tours of the plant’s interior through Jan. 28, followed by two design meetings in February, as they try to figure out what to do with the somewhat magnificent building that dates back to 1898, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock. The owners envision some sort of “live/work/play” use – the development buzz phrase to describe a mixed-use project — for the decommissioned plant, but they’re not quite sure exactly what. Check out the slide-show tour of the plant accompanying the story.


Target Warren: Pre-emptive Supreme Court offensive

Have you heard the anti-Elizabeth Warren radio ads playing on WBZ, WRKO and possibly other stations? We heard ‘em this past weekend. They accuse Warren of planning to obstruct President Donald Trump’s future nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, even though he has yet to nominate anyone to the court. The ads are apparently the handiwork of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which recently announced it was launching a $10 million media campaign over the expected fight to fill the SCOTUS seat previously held by the late Justice Anthony Scalia, the same seat Republicans blocked President Obama from filling. The group didn’t get back to us to confirm they’re indeed running the ads.

T’s work on march day praised

State transportation officials gave themselves a pat on the back yesterday for the MBTA’s handling of the massive crowds that surged into the city over the weekend for the Boston Women’s March, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said after some delays early in the day—attributed in part to many of the riders being new to the T—everything went smoothly. “We got tons of very, very positive feedback,” Pollack said. 


Quincy council OKs city’s tallest building

The Quincy City Council has cleared the way for a major transformation of the city’s downtown, approving a development agreement for a 15-story mixed-use project that would become the tallest building in the community, Sean Phillip Cotter of the Patriot Ledger reports. The council agreed to sell a parcel of city-owned land to the developer and agreed to a package of tax breaks, though the project still must navigate the usual permitting process. 

Patriot Ledger

Worcester waterfront assessments launch flood of complaints

s Worcester Assessor William J. Ford is defending new valuations that saw steep increases for the owners of some properties abutting ponds and reservoirs in the city, but his explanations appear unlikely to assuage furious critics, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. Some property owners have seen the value of their water-adjacent land rise as much as 33 percent in this year’s valuations. 


UMass Lowell growth leads to parking clashes

Growth at UMass Lowell is causing a new source of town-gown friction as residents say parking problems have gotten worse in the wake of a new 510-room dormitory opening, Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports. City and school officials—who are still negotiating a master agreement meant to address property taxes being lost as the school grows its footprint—plan to meet in coming weeks to develop a plan to address complaints about on-street parking. 

Lowell Sun

New England Patriots Loyalty Quiz, Part II

So we’re not alone in being crazy. We got a couple of good responses to our New England Patriots Loyalty Quiz yesterday (see below) and hope to run some more (with just the initials of people’s names) later in the week if others respond to jay@massterlist.com. Here’s the loyalty quiz: Would you favor a repeat of a Pats Super Bowl victory even if it meant a repeat of the snow blizzards that buried the region after the team’s last appearance in the Super Bowl in 2015? Yes or no, and why, preferably.


— From VM: “I would take twice as many snowstorms if it means cementing Belichick and Brady as GOAT coach and QB respectively.”

— From TH: “The short answer is … Yes! You can hear the groans of misery in the NFL offices from the banks of the Charles River. You can almost make out the sound of millions of teeth grinding at night as Patriots haters all over the country go to their winter beds knowing an angry Tom Brady out for revenge is going to be in the Super Bowl.”

— From DD: “Definitely, yes!!”

— From EC: “Close call. … Let me think about it.”

Today’s Headlines


Planned New Balance restaurant hopes to snap up liquor license of Downtown Crossing spot that never opened – Universal Hub

T praised for response to Women’s March – CommonWealth Magazine

T building out Green Line Ext team – CommonWealth Magazine

Marty Walsh aims to get garage project out from shadows – Boston Herald

Mayoral candidate digs into own wallet – Sun Chronicle


Christy Mihos jailed for failure to pay ex-wife – Cape Cod Times

Council OKs agreement for 15-story building in Quincy Center – Patriot Ledger

Insurance program for low-income children faces uncertain future – Gloucester Times

Worcester assessor defends approach to waterfront property – Telegram & Gazette

Mass. Sen. Eric Lesser takes new post as Gateway Cities caucus chair – MassLive

Springfield city council approves 6-month moratorium on sale of marijuana – MassLive

Legislative leaders aiming for 40 percent pay hikes – Boston Globe

The state’s biggest purchaser of health insurance wants to cap payments to hospitals – Boston Globe

Worcester’s drought finally eases with rain and snow melt, but some restrictions continue – MassLive

As UMass Lowell grows, so do parking headaches – Lowell Sun

Attorney General finds Shirley selectmen violated open meeting law – Lowell Sun


Trump’s Obamacare order throws ‘curveball’ into enrollment push – Politico

Blue states are in for a world of pain – Washington Post

Cities may soon start running out of millennials – New York Times

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