Happening Today

Home for Little Wanderers

The Center for Early Childhood at the Home for Little Wanderers will brief lawmakers, educators and the public on the latest research in early childhood, with. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan and Rep. Kimberly Ferguson joining the discussion, Senate Reading Room, 10 a.m.

Oregon delegation visit

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and other senators meet with a delegation from Oregon to discuss health care cost containment best practices, Senate President’s Office, 10 a.m.

Water Resources Authority

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Board, 100 First Ave., 2nd floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, 10 a.m.

Integrity Task Force

Task Force on Integrity in State and Local Government meets with an agenda that includes discussion of private compensation for public employees acting as attorneys and the ethics laws around government contracts, Hearing Room A-2, 10:30 a.m.

Joint JFK session

The House and Senate meet in a joint session to commemorate the centennial of the birth of President John F. Kennedy, with remarks by former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and with Gov. Baker and all legislative leaders in attendance, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

Joint Dem-GOP Senate caucus

Senate Democrats and Republicans meet privately in a joint caucus, Senate Reading Room, 12:30 p.m.

House Dems talk Trump

House Democrats plan to caucus with an expected topic being how to respond to the policies and pronouncements of Republican President Donald Trump, Rooms A1 and A2, 1 p.m.

Lead in school water

Lawmakers and environmental advocates will gather in the State House to highlight the risks of lead in school water pipes, outside House chamber, 1 p.m.

Life Sciences Center

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center board of directors will discuss a new program to support industry growth, 1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor Conference Room, 2 p.m.

Commonwealth Awards

Massachusetts Cultural Council hosts its Commonwealth Awards ceremony, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and other lawmakers presenting awards and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito scheduled to speak, Great Hall, 2 p.m.

Healey ‘happy hour’

Attorney General Maura Healey sits down for an interview and some beers with the Boston Globe’s Josh Miller during a ‘LIVE Political Happy Hour’ event, AT&T, 699 Boylston St., Boston, 5:30 p.m.

Alliance for Business Leadership

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg will speak to members of the Alliance for Business Leadership as part of the group’s ‘Progressive Power Hour’ series, 10 Summer St., Boston, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

‘Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence’

What the …? Members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and other Trump associates had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election,” as the NYT reports this morning? Intelligence officials, as in the successors to Yuri Andropov’s KGB, Lavrentiy Beria’s NKVD and the Tsar’s Okhrana? Yeah, an investigation is order, we suspect. See next item for the Massachusetts angle, of course.


Warren, Markey call for probe of Trump administration ties to Russia

The ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russia have prompted U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats, to call for a probe of the ties between Russia and Trump administration officials, reports the AP at WWLP. Indeed, top Congressional Republicans, as well as Democrats, are pledging to deepen various investigations into the Russian ties, the Washington Post is reporting.


State GOP Job Opening: U.S. Senate candidate, minimal experience and name recognition required, likely DCR posting after election

The Senate’s recent rebuke of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the almost daily controversies coming out of the White House are only making it harder for state Republicans to find a candidate to run against Warren in 2018, reports the Globe’s Frank Phillips. Check out some of the names being floated and see if you can identify all of them with title (no cheating, please): Geoffrey Diehl, Curt Schilling, Lewis Evangelidis, Rick Green, Gabriel Gomez and Allen Rodney Waters.

The Globe’s Adrian Walker: “It isn’t that there aren’t Republicans willing to take Warren on. It’s just that they are, in various ways, problematic.”

Boston Globe

Aww, how nice, valentine flowers for Liz

This is what a GOP Senate candidate would be up against: Full adoration of Elizabeth Warren on the left, so much so that yesterday she received $1,600 worth of pink roses, hydrangeas, freesia, and calla lilies, from a psychoanalyst and her new crowd-sourcing friends. The Globe’s Akilah Johnson has the details. But just to show you how much of a bubble Liz worshipers are in, take a gander at this Politico survey: Donald Trump, despite his incredibly low approval ratings, still beats Warren in a head-to-head poll match up. We’re talking national numbers here, of course, not blue state numbers.

Boston Globe

The One Percent Solution: Activists push for guaranteed funding level for environmental agencies

From SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram: “Environmental activists on Tuesday rolled out their ‘green budget’ requesting spending increases that they say will put the state on track to dedicate 1 percent of its operating budget to environmental agencies.” The Environmental League is also blasting Gov. Charlie Baker, who once committed to the 1 percent idea, for recent budget cuts and staff reductions at environmental agencies.


New spin on privatization: Secret take home cars for T managers, courtesy of private contractors

Who knew? The T has been engaging in an entirely different type of privatization for decades, according to the WBZ I-Team at CBS Boston: “For possibly more than 30 years, some managers at the MBTA have enjoyed a perk that’s been hidden from the public: Unmarked take-home cars that are owned by construction companies. The I-Team discovered the cost to taxpayers is almost impossible to determine because the vehicles have been buried in the overall price of multi-million dollar projects.” We’re talking Ford Escapades, Toyota Highlanders, a Ford F-150, etc. Also from WBZ: “MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve told the I-Team the contractor-owned vehicles are another example of trying to change ‘decades of mismanagement’ at the agency.” Ah, this isn’t just mismanagement. The IRS might be interested in this, not to mention a few other fed agencies.

CBS Boston

Lahey Clinic accused of bribing Bermuda leader

Somehow, somewhere this can’t be good for Lahey Clinic’s planned merger with Beth Israel Deaconess, via the Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk and Shelley Murphy: “The Lahey Clinic is the target of a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the government of Bermuda, which is accusing the Burlington hospital of bribing the island’s former leader in order to secure health care business there.” Lahey is vehemently denying the allegations.

Boston Globe

Is Seth Moulton the new John Kerry?

At WGBH, David S. Bernstein ponders whether Seth Moulton is on a John F. Kerry track, noting that if he chooses to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 (yes, that presumes a lot), he’d be entering the Senate at the same age as the former secretary of state and presidential candidate. Moulton may also follow a similar political path as Kerry—positioning himself as an insider-friendly outsider. Moulton downplays the comparison: “He’s a different generation,” he says. 


Senate adds another leadership post – with a $35K stipend

Unless we’re reading this wrong, all Senate Democrats will now be in the position to receive special legislative stipends, as a result of the Senate leadership move yesterday. From Brian Dowling at the Herald: “The state Senate has added a second assistant majority whip position that’ll let another lucky Democratic member pull down a $35,000 leadership stipend — riling Republicans and government watchdogs who called the new post a ‘taxpayer-funded gift’ to political insiders.”

Boston Herald

Commission eyes minimum health-care rates for smaller hospitals

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Officials examining variations in prices charged by medical providers on Tuesday floated the idea of setting a minimum rate for hospitals at the bottom end of the price spectrum. The potential policy fix surfaced at a meeting of a 23-member commission that has until March 15 to release its report and recommendations.” Needless to say, insurance companies aren’t happy.

SHNS (pay wall)

Dentists vs Hygienists, Round 2

State Sen. Harriette Chandler is once again leading the charge on Beacon Hill to let dental hygienists handle more complicated dental-office duties, including pulling teeth and filling cavities, and once against dentists are opposing the move. The same legislation passed the Senate last year but died in the House. What’s the difference this year? The feud just got the front-page treatment in the Globe this morning, via reporter Laura Krantz. It’s an interesting look at what’s effectively a professional turf war that frequently breaks out on Beacon Hill.

Boston Globe

GE drops helipad request, but the city pushes ahead anyway

Theoretically, General Electric’s decision to withdraw its request for a new South Boston helipad, as reported by the Globe’s Jon Chesto, should lift the political pressure off of Mayor Walsh, who’s been getting a lot of flak for supporting the controversial idea. But the Herald’s Jordan Graham is reporting that city, and state, officials are moving ahead anyway with plans for a public heliport in the Seaport area. “We’re happy for GE, but what we’re hearing is there’s a lot more interest and need for a heliport in Boston,” said John Barros, chief of economic development for Boston.

And the winner of perhaps the nastiest space-saver note ever is …

In a post headlined ‘It just isn’t a Boston winter without parking threats and violence,’ Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin runs a photo of a note left on the car of a Boston newcomer from a very angry and nasty individual. Lots of comments from readers. We’ll decline repeating what the note says.

Universal Hub

Bump: State should fund early voting

State Auditor Suzanne Bump says communities across the state shelled out $720,000 to offer early voting for the first time and says the state should be the one on the hook for those funds, Shira Schoenberg of MassLive reports. The towns of Oxford and Woburn had petitioned for review of the expenses associated with the early voting. 


Councilor wants more mental health officials riding with police

A proposal by Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley to beef up the ranks of mental health professionals who ride along with city police officers has the support of the police commissioner and a district court judge, Adam Gaffin reports at Universal Hub. 

Universal Hub

Fatigue flagged as police detail concern

The sheer volume of detail work being done by Boston police—who pulled down $40 million in detail pay in 2016—is potentially leading to fatigue on their full-time jobs, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Seventeen members of the department earned more than $100,000 in detail pay alone last year and the amount of detail income funneled through the department is up by $10 million since 2014.

Boston Herald

Profiles in Courage: Facing huge crowd, Townsend selectmen cancel meeting

Selectmen in Townsend were forced to cancel their scheduled meeting Tuesday night when dozens of residents flooded their small meeting room, many wanting answers about an ongoing dispute between town leaders and the police department, Chris Lisinski of the Lowell Sun reports. The town’s police chief was recently placed on administrative leave amid an unspecified investigation into the department.

Lowell Sun

Boston and Worcester rank among the top places ‘to make a lot of money’

The cities of Boston (at No. 4) and Worcester (No. 18) rank in the top 20 places in the country to ‘make a lot of money,’ according to Business Insider, as reported at MassLive. Of course, they don’t point out that employees have to be paid a lot of money because it costs so much to live here. The top ranked city? San Jose, aka Silicon Valley, home of the most absurd home prices in America.

Business Insider

Today’s Headlines


City looks at adding more mental health workers to ride along with police – Universal Hub

Harvard Square newsstand gets offer for new spot – Boston Globe

Never mind about that helipad, GE tells Boston – Boston Globe

Devil’s in details for cops with OT – Boston Herald

Boston Landing lands first restaurant, a candlepin bowling alley and more – Boston Business Journal


Worcester city council rejects political activity restriction in contracts – Telegram & Gazette

Former library branch in Worcester approved as hookah bar – Telegram & Gazette

First refugee family to arrive in Northampton on Friday – Hampshire Gazette

Five violations found at Pilgrim plant – Cape Cod Times

Cohasset, former town manager settle lawsuit for $285,000 – Patriot Ledger

Renting out a room in Manchester? You need a license for that – Gloucester Times

Auditor Suzanne Bump: State, not towns, should pay for early voting costs – MassLive

DeLeo: Budget hearings will help determine any need for tax hikes – WGBH

Immigrants have major impact in Mass., study shows – Worcester Business Journal


Can Moulton play the outsider without alienating the insiders? – WGBH

Conway should be investigated for plugging Trump products, ethics agency says – NPR

Pence is above White House fray but is he also out of the loop? – Washington Post

Trump aides spoke to Russian intelligence – New York Times

Who told Flynn to call Russia? – Politico

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