Town clerks conference
Massachusetts Town Clerks Association enters the second day of its Winter Conference with Auditor Suzanne Bump scheduled to speak, Devens Common Center, 31 Andrews Pkwy., Devens, starting at 9 a.m.
YMCA Advocacy Day
Sen. Joan Lovely has reserved the Great Hall for a YMCA Advocacy Day, Great Hall, 9 a.m.
Gaming Commission holds a public meeting to discuss table games rules, vote on regulations concerning Plainridge Park’s capital investment plan, and get an update from the research and responsible gaming division, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, 10 a.m.
Environmental land use conference
MCLE New England holds its 18th annual Environmental, Land Use and Energy Law Conference, 10 Winter Pl., Boston, starting at 9:15 a.m.
Home care briefing
Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Rep. Denise Garlick and the Home Care Aide Council host a legislative briefing on initiatives to strengthen the home care workforce, Room 428, 10:30 a.m.
House and Senate in session
Both legislative chambers are in formal session with lawmakers expected to take up override votes of Gov. Baker’s veto of the pay-raise bill, starting at 11 a.m.
Quincy State of City
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch gives his State of the City address, James McIntyre Center – The Great Hall, 1305 Hancock St., Quincy, 12 p.m.
Conflict minerals resolution
Gov. Baker joins Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, members of the Legislature and advocates for a signing of a resolve calling for a report on state procurement policies tied to conflict minerals from the Congo, Room 360, 1:15 p.m.
Public records talk
New England First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists New England Chapter host a discussion on the state’s new public records law, with speakers including Massachusetts ACLU legislative director Gavi Wolfe, Maya Shaffer of the Bay State Examiner, Todd Wallack of the Boston Globe and others, 117 E. Berkeley St., Boston, 7:30 p.m.
New DNC national committeeman
Massachusetts Democratic State Committee members vote on a new national committeeman with five candidates under consideration, Boston Teachers Union, 180 Mount Vernon St., Dorchester, 7 p.m.
Interfaith ‘action’ event
Greater Boston Interfaith Organization plans an “action” event to talk about criminal justice, affordable housing, health care, and gun safety, with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg scheduled to attend, Bethel AME Church, 40 Walk Hill St., Jamaica Plain, 7 p.m.
At Harvard Law School, Gorsuch was a really nice guy, for a conservative, that is
Seeing that so many Harvard Law School grads serve, or have served, on the U.S. Supreme Court of late, it’s now almost standard operating procedure at the Globe to do a shallow-as-they-come profile of SCOTUS nominees’ experiences at Harvard. Today’s exciting installment: A look at Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the court, who really was a nice conservative guy at HLS, despite being surrounded by so many liberals.
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi’s take: It’s going to be hard for Dems to block Gorsush’s nomination, partly because, well, he’s a nice and well-regarded guy, so much so that even civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate is impressed.
Surprise: Some Dems not eager to talk about pay raises
As lawmakers today prepare to override Gov. Baker’s veto of the controversial pay-raise bill, three of the state’s six statewide constitutional officers – Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Secretary of State William Galvin — have so far refused to say whether they will accept the significant pay hikes, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Matt Stout notes that Healey’s partner, an appellate court judge, is also in line for a big pay hike under the bill.
Surprise II: Some Republicans not eager to talk about Trump’s order
Shira Schoenberg at MassLive tried to track down a slew of Massachusetts Republicans to see if they wanted to comment on President Trump’s controversial immigration order. She didn’t have much luck. Many didn’t return phone calls. But she did get hold of Sen. Don Humason, R-Westfield, who said: “I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I’ve been focused on other things.” Rep. Geoff Diehl, Trump’s point man in the Bay State, defended the president’s action. But others weren’t happy, including Republican committeeman Reed Hillman, who said he was “very, very upset” by the order.
Setti will wait four to five months before declaring his candidacy
Newton Mayor Setti Warren openly talks like a gubernatorial candidate, hires like a gubernatorial candidate, fundraises like a gubernatorial candidate and makes the media rounds like a gubernatorial candidate. But he’s now telling the Lynn Item’s Bridgett Turcotte that an official announcement is still four to five months away. And, oh, he’s for the proposed millionaire’s tax.
‘Freakin’ morons … Morons, morons, morons’
Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty didn’t know the mic was hot when, beholding anti-Trump protesters disrupting the start of a city council meeting, he muttered “freakin’ morons … morons, morons, morons,” according to reports by Nick Kostopoulos at the Telegram and Alban Murtish at MassLive. The mayor, a Democrat who had previously heaped praise on the protesters, later apologized. One rival councilor is calling on the mayor to resign. Fyi: The incident happened at a meeting in which councilors considered, and ultimately rejected, an anti-sanctuary city resolution proposed by Councilor-at-Large Michael T. Gaffney. Nearly 1,000 people protested outside City Hall before the meeting, according to reports.
‘Thanks to morons, parks department now has extra work’
For the record: It’s OK for bloggers and newsletter writers to use the word ‘morons’ in headlines. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “Martin Ray Moser posted photos of the damage done to some of the field at the West Roxbury park by somebody who thought it would be fun to do doughnuts in a car there.” After viewing the photos, yeah, morons, morons, morons.
Ware residents not thrilled with their downtown’s ‘slum’ designation
There’s a lot of buck passing going on in Ware these days, after town officials recently approved the designation of its downtown as a “slum” as a way to nab government development funds. Now there’s a backlash against the designation – and selectmen are apologizing, making excuses and pointing fingers at others for proposing the idea.
The Patriots and Trump connection: Any enemy of my enemy is my friend
As the New England Patriots prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl, it appears the allegiance of some Pats fans is being tested by Tom Brady, Bill Bellichick and Bob Kraft’s apparent allegiance to Donald Trump, reports the Globe’s Dugan Arnett. But think of it this way: Donald Trump, in recently released transcripts via the NYT, has variously described NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as “a dope” and “a stupid guy” and “weak,” reports the Herald. So the conclusion is inescapable: Any enemy of our enemy is our friend, at least for this Sunday. Go Pats!
Brace yourself: State government to be hit by a retirement ‘silver tsunami’
From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “A costly ‘silver tsunami’ of retirements is bearing down on Massachusetts government, the comptroller warns, with as much as 40 percent of the state’s workforce at or nearing retirement age — and experts say it could force taxpayers to dish out more for higher salaries to replace them. ‘It creates almost like a perfect storm,’ said Comptroller Thomas Shack.” Fyi: Due to the approaching retirements of millions of Baby Boomers, private industries are also bracing for their own work-force tsunami, including, of all sectors, the state’s manufacturing industry, as Northeastern University studies have repeatedly found. It’s a real looming problem for employers.
GE could get dinged by Trump’s immigration order
Yet another example of how local businesses are getting hurt by President Trump’s controversial immigration order, via Politico: “The Iraqi government is warning that a pair of pending deals with General Electric could be at risk from President Donald Trump’s travel ban, according to internal State Department documents. The industrial conglomerate, which builds everything from nuclear reactors to aircraft engines, already has sizable interests in Iraq, including power contracts worth more than a billion dollars and hundreds of employees in the country.”
From Muslim refugee to city council candidate
The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham takes a look at one Deeqo Jibrils, 38, a “Roxbury activist, an entrepreneur, and, as of Thursday, a candidate for Boston City Council.”
The state’s ancient and convoluted alcohol-sales system is now under critical assault from yet another source. From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “The country’s largest alcohol retailer, Total Wine & More, is fighting back, suing the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission over sanctions the agency issued to its two Massachusetts stores for allegedly selling bottles of brand-name vodka, rum, and other liquors several dollars below cost.”
Attention: Acting US. Attorney still talking tough about public corruption
Despite a recent appeals court setback in the Probation Department case, the acting U.S. Attorney in Boston, William Weinreb, is serving notice that his office isn’t backing down from public corruption cases, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern.
Auctioneer-turned swindler admits fraud
Real estate mogul Daniel Flynn III admitted Wednesday that he bilked local investors out of $9.5 million and is due back in federal court in May to be sentenced on wire and mail fraud charges, Sean Phillip Cotter of the Patriot Ledger reports. The Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer reports that part of Flynn’s secret fraud sauce seems to have been his reputation as a successful businessman who rubbed elbows with the state’s elite through his work as a charity auctioneer.
Hillary Clinton to give Wellesley College commencement address for third time
Hillary Clinton will be returning to her alma mater this spring to speak at Wellesley College’s commencement, reports Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine. Even though she lost the general election to Donald Trump, Clinton is expected to get a rousing welcome at Wellesley. This would be her third time as the school’s commencement speaker. Can you name the other two occasions? It’s sort of a trick question. Spencer has the answers.
Legal Seafoods and Live Nation unite against helipad plan
It’s not just residents and city councilors coming out against the proposed new helipad in the Seaport District. Heavy-hitter business leaders Don Law of Live Nation and Roger Berkowitz of Legal Seafoods are also against the plan, jointly signing a letter in opposition to the idea, reports Catherine Carlock at the BBJ.
Is the state leaning toward the Middleboro route for South Coast Rail?
An email from MassDOT’s legislative director to legislative aides on Tuesday says that the long-sought South Coast Rail line will indeed run through Middleboro, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. The state later said the email was sent in error, but it appears just about everyone is assuming that the alternative Middleboro route is now the preferred plan.
Commuters having palpitations over Heart to Hub changes
Meanwhile, on another rail line, commuters from Worcester turned up at a public hearing to lament upcoming changes to the schedule of the Heart to Hub Worcester-to-Boston express trains, some of which will be making additional non-express stops starting in May, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports.
Photographic proof: Why Hertz, Budget and Avis don’t rent cars to teens
From Michelle Williams at MassLive: “Police officers and firefighters were dispatched to an Uxbridge home Wednesday morning after a vehicle cannonballed into a swimming pool. … The vehicle was being operated by a 17-year-old young woman. Another 17-year-old young woman was a passenger in the sedan.” Neither of the girls, apparently twins, were injured. Check out the photos. Imaging coming home and seeing a car bobbing in your swimming pool. The Boston Herald has more photos and details on how the car traveled “about 300 feet across two backyards and smashing through a fence before plunging into the icy waters.”
Bill would ban law enforcement from enforcing fed immigration rules
Activists and lawmakers are mobilizing on Beacon Hill to counter President Trump on the immigration front. From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “According to sponsor Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s office, the bill would prohibit the federal government from accessing state databases in order to compile a registry based on national origin, religion, or other characteristics. The bill would ban local and state public safety officials from enforcing federal immigration rules and would stop county sheriffs from being deputized as immigration agents.”
State: Lawrence mayor overstepped on dress code, parking
The Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations has overturned two actions taken by Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera three years ago, saying he should have negotiated with employee unions on a dress code—which banned spandex and required some male employees to don ties—and changes in parking rules for city code enforcement officers, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Six-plus years after tragedy, Keating airport bill poised to pass
It’s taken years but a bill filed by U.S. Rep. William Keating requiring enhanced security at the perimeters of U.S. airports may finally be headed for passage, Lane Lambert of the Patriot Ledger reports. The bill — which Keating filed after the death of a teenager who stowed himself in the landing gear of a plane in North Carolina only to plunge to his death as the plane approached Logan Airport — could be among the first taken up by the Senate.
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