Happening Today

Jobs for Mass

Senate President Stan Rosenberg attends the monthly Jobs for Mass meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 8:30 a.m.

SJC hearings

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear several cases that were snowed out last Thursday: Commonwealth v. Amaral Montrond; Robert George and others v. National Water Main Cleaning Co.; Commonwealth v. Andreas Pacheco; Commonwealth v. Gabriel Cordero; AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Inc. v. Town of Barnstable and others, which involves a non-profit that distributes clean hypodermic needles, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, 9 a.m.

Citizens for public schools breakfast

Citizens for Public Schools hosts a breakfast with legislators the group says are “working to strengthen our public schools,” House Members’ Lounge, Room 348, 10 a.m.

Social Security eligibility

Reps. Kay Khanand and Denise Garlick and Sens. Patricia Jehlen and Harriette Chandler host an informational briefing for those 45 years and older with Social Security Administration deputy regional communications director Stephen Richardson and Massachusetts Retirees Association president Frank Valeri, Room 350, 11 a.m.

PRIM meeting

Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Management Board meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg as chair, 84 State St. – 2nd floor, Boston, 12 p.m.

‘Go Red for Women’

American Heart Association hosts a State House event as part of its Go Red for Women campaign, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Auditor Suzanne Bump and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg expected to attend, Grand Staircase, 1 p.m.

Health Care Price Commission

Special Commission to Review Variation in Prices Among Providers will meet, with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders scheduled to attend, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, 11 a.m.

Green budgets

Though still awaiting to be officially formed for the new session, the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture is partnering with the Environmental League of Massachusetts to host a discussion about funding for environmental programs in the fiscal 2018 budget, Room 428, 11 a.m.

Immigrant solidarity rally

Centro Presente, an immigration advocacy group, will host a rally against President Donald Trump with members of the Muslim and Arab communities, State House steps, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Vanity Fair shines the spotlight on Maura Healey

Attorney General Maura Healey is getting some major national attention as a result of a highly favorable profile of her in the current edition of Vanity Fair. The storyline: How Healey is leading the charge along with other Democratic AGs in opposing the policies of President Trump. From VF’s Abigail Tracy: “Healey didn’t mince words when I asked her how she sees her job amid the new reality of the Trump administration. ‘We need to stand up for the rule of the law,” she said. “And if the administration attempts to carry out unconstitutional campaign promises, we need to be there to take that on.’” Now let the gubernatorial-candidacy speculation resume.

Vanity Fair

Poll: ‘Baker has threaded the Trump-GOP needle pretty well so far’

A new survey by Mass Inc Polling Group shows that a plurality of voters think Gov. Baker, a Republican, is handling President Trump fairly well so far, but certainly not a majority of voters think so. More of a surprise are the numbers for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Thirty-five percent think she’s been too critical of Trump and 43 percent think the level of her criticism has been appropriate. Now that’s a “split.”

Mass Inc Polling

Newsflash: DeLeo keeps door open to new tax hikes, here and there

For a while now, House Speaker Robert DeLeo has been keeping the door open, just a crack, mind you, for possible tax increases next fiscal year. But because of the precarious condition of the state budget and the recent pay hikes approved by lawmakers, there’s now renewed interest in his views on taxes, which haven’t really changed: He reiterated yesterday he’s still open to new taxes, but not very interested broad-based tax increases, as Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and Matt Stout at the Herald report.

Bob Massie, social activist and former statewide candidate, eyes long-shot run for governor

Bob Massie — a social activist, long-time contributor to BlueMassGroup and former Democratic candidate for U.S. senator and lieutenant governor — is eyeing a run for governor in 2018, saying Gov. Charlie Baker has “dawdled on many key issues” and “cannot and will not stand up to Donald Trump,” as he writes on his Facebook page. It would be the longest of long-shots, but he’s getting encouragement on his Facebook page and at BMG. Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez has already declared his Democratic candidacy while Newton Mayor Setti Warren has made it quite clear he’s going to run too.

Facebook (Massie)

Arroyo: Register employees resisted and sabotaged his diversity efforts

The attorney for Felix D. Arroyo, the suspended Suffolk Register of Probate and former city councilor, is claiming that long-time court employees resented, resisted and sabotaged his efforts to diversify the staff and hire people with language skills to assist non-English speaking people, writes the Globe’s Andrew Ryan. But one wonders if Arroyo’s attorney may have provided a more plausible explanation for the agency’s mess when he said Arroyo inherited an office hobbled by years of mismanagement and cronyism. 

Boston Globe

SJC to hear Hyannis needle exchange case

The Supreme Judicial Court is slated to hear arguments today in a long-simmering dispute between the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod and the town of Hyannis, which sought to shut down its needle-exchange program, Felice J. Freyer of the Globe reports. The court is being asked to clarify a 2006 state law that legalized syringe possession and its final ruling could have wide-reaching implications in the ongoing opioid epidemic. 

Tito’s plodding start

From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Mayoral hopeful Tito Jackson’s campaign is off to a limping start — hobbled by slow fundraising and buried under the Patriots’ Super Bowl run, Donald Trump’s presidency and a series of snowstorms.” He was slow to announce, slow out of the starting gate, but maybe he’s like Seabiscuit: A strong finisher. It’s looking like his only hope.

Boston Herald

Bump not impressed with T’s privatization

After going over details of the T’s latest plan to privatize more of its operations, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl allows State Auditor Suzanne Bump, whose office oversees enforcement of the privatization-limiting Pacheco Law, to dump scorn on the T’s moves. Basically, Bump, who is no fan of privatization, said the outsourcing could have been achieved without having to suspended the Pacheco Law at the T. 


Democrats’ long-term demographic woes

Richard North Patterson, writing at the Globe, begs to differ with Democrats who think long-term demographics favor their party and are resisting efforts to reach out to others for support: “The Democrats’ road is infinitely harder — but potentially more unifying – than merely firing up their subgroups while scaring seniors about entitlements. The party must become a credible force for betterment in the lives and minds of more Americans, no matter who or where.” The “who,” we presume, are working-class white voters, and the “where,” we also presume, is outside blue-state bubbles. And he’s right to presume so, if that’s the case.

Boston Globe

Oh, look, there’s the guy with the nuclear football

Boston-area businessman Richard DeAgazio has become an online star, after he snapped photos of the chaotic — or was it haphazard casual? — scene at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after the president and Japanese prime minister were informed of North Korea’s successful launch of test missiles. The Globe’s Tyler Pager and the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins have the details of what looks like very sloppy national security measures during the candlelit patio gathering amidst all sorts of invited guests.

The goal: Renewables for ‘every house, building and car’ by 2050

From Gerry Tuoti at Wicked Local: “Every house, building and car in Massachusetts would be powered by renewable energy sources in the coming decades under a new bill in the state legislature.” The bill is being sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, Rep. Sean Garballey, D-Arlington, and Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, but dozens of other lawmakers are also throwing their support behind the legislation.

Wicked Local

So Mish Michaels isn’t alone as a climate-change doubter

Turns out that former WBZ meteorologist Mish Michaels, who was effectively dumped as a science reporter by WGBH due to her belief that vaccines can cause autism, is also a climate-change skeptic, a fact that also played a role in her losing the ‘GBH gig, the Globe’s David Abel reports at Boston.com. But Michaels isn’t alone among meteorologists who question whether humans are causing climate change, with a large number of meteorologists also having doubts, Abel writes.


Mashpee Wampanoags tie their future, and integrity, to Trump

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi says the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is taking a big gamble by tying the fate of a new tribal casino to the highly unpredictable Trump administration. Tribal leaders are also risking their credibility and integrity, as Joan explains.

Boston Globe

UMass under fire for nixing shooting program

The Gun Owners Action League is crying foul over a decision by UMass officials not to support a proposed statewide 4-H shooting safety program that had been given the green light—and three years’ worth of funding—by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Caitlyn Ashworth reports in the Hampshire Gazette. 

Hampshire Gazette

Hobby Lobby grant opens door to Catholic college in Northfield

A shuttered private school in the Vermont border town of Northfield could become the East Coast campus of a California Catholic college thanks in part to a grant from the president of Hobby Lobby, Anne-Gerard Flynn of MassLive reports. Thomas Aquinas College is poised to acquire the former Northfield Mount Hermon property from the National Christian Foundation, which in turn received the property from Hobby Lobby scion Steve Green.


Watchdog flags union pay bumps in Boston

The city of Boston saw its payroll grow 5 percent last year despite just a 1 percent growth in employee head count, a data point that fiscal watchdogs say should be a caution flag about the long-term impacts of generous labor union contracts, Jack Encarnacao of the Herald reports. Meanwhile, Meghan E. Irons of the Globe reports that the city’s top-paid employee was a BPD detective who brought home more than $400,000, nearly a quarter of it coming from five years’ worth of back pay awarded by an arbitrator.  

Pot-finding app seeks pot-savvy college students

Weedmaps, the pot-focused app that has turned heads with its billboards across the state advertising its services long before recreational marijuana is available for sale in the state, is also scouring local college campuses for employees to support its growth, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports. And the company says it will hire ‘brand ambassadors’ who are under 21 years of age, the legal age for buying weed under the state’s new law. 


‘Uber for snow removal’

The most popular story over at BostInno in recent days? Dylan Martin’s piece on Yeti, a Boston startup described as the ‘Uber for snow removal.’ The ecommerce app, now out for iOS, allows people to call for help in digging out their cars. The firm plans to expand services to driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces next year. It’s now available in the South End, most of downtown, Dorchester and Roxbury, Dylan writes.


Today’s Headlines


One last Valentine’s Day and then, goodbye – Boston Globe

Police detective tops Boston payroll with a total of over $403,000 – Boston Globe

Watchdogs eye contract payouts as Boston sees 5 percent bump in payroll – Boston Herald

App that helps people buy marijuana targets local college students in hiring push – Boston Business Journal


Legislation could mean an economic boost in New Bedford offshore wind projects – Standard-Times

Eversource and activists at odds over latest New England pipeline study – MassLive

Hobby Lobby grant may allow Catholic college to open at former Northfield Mount Hermon site – MassLive

No delay on T’s $65M outsourcing plan despite lack of quorum – Boston Herald

Why are Holyoke School Committee members still getting paid? – MassLive

Plastic bag ban eyed in Hopkinton – MetroWest Daily News

Billion-dollar settlement netted little for retirees – Gloucester Times

Rockland school board member charged with drunken driving, lewd behavior – Patriot Ledger

LL Bean setting up shop on Cape – Cape Cod Times

Two Pittsfield department heads fired, sources say – Berkshire Eagle

Baker rope-a-dopes Trump’s claim that thousands of Mass. residents voted illegally – WGBH


President Trump has done almost nothing – Politico

Four key Republicans could vote against Puzder for labor secretary – Washington Post

Michael Flynn resigns as Trump’s National Security Adviser – NPR

New guidelines for lower back pain dismiss opioids – New York Times

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