Happening Today

Cabinet meeting

Gov. Charlie Baker holds a closed-door cabinet meeting, Room 360, 10 a.m.

Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission

Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission meets with an agenda that includes a presentation on sea herring research “set-aside program” and discussion of surf clam and ocean quahog petitions for access to Ipswich Bay, One Rabbit Hill Rd., Westborough, 10:30 a.m.

MassRobotics ribbon cutting

Tim Connelly, executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is scheduled to speak at a MassRobotics ribbon cutting at the Robotics Innovation Center, 12 Channel St. – Suite 502, Boston, 11:15 a.m.

Asian American Commission

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg holds the swearing-in ceremony for the Asian American Commission, Room 227, 2:30 p.m.

Student government day registration

Friday is the deadline for student delegates to register for the April 7 Student Government Day, a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education program that brings students to the State House to learn about government, 5 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Rep. Cusack tapped as House’s marijuana chair

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Berkshire Eagle: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s pick to work on legislation altering the marijuana legalization ballot law is fourth-term Braintree Rep. Mark Cusack, pairing the House Democrat with Sen. Patricia Jehlen as the tandem that will lead one of the most controversial and time sensitive efforts of the new session.” The two are going to be very busy this session. Matt has more details on DeLeo’s committee and leadership moves.

Berkshire Eagle

Small shop strikes?

This could be politically big if it ever snowballs: A number of local restaurants and other small business establishments either closed or scaled back operations yesterday in solidarity with immigrants who make up much of their workforce. Boston.eater.com’s Rachel Leah Blumenthal has compiled a list of 14 Boston/Cambridge restaurants that closed yesterday and additional four establishments that took some sort of action. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Kathleen Conti count around 15 establishments in Chelsea alone that shuttered for the day, including a barbershop, a bakery, a music store and a bodega. A WBUR report has more names of establishments that shuttered or curtailed business. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive says Gov. Charlie Baker has no problem with private businesses exercising their right to protest. 

And the Globe’s Shirley Leung asks: Is this and other small strikes the start of something much, much bigger in the age of Trump? Btw: Diane Lederman at MassLive reports that activists are calling for a strike today at the University of Massachusetts.

Squashing the Healey rumors? Never!

After interviewing Attorney General Maura Healey the other night, the Globe tweeted out: “Maura Healey says she will run for attorney general again in 2018, squashing rumors that she may run for governor.” But she’s previously said that she plans to run again for AG – and a lot of people simply haven’t believed her. So we have a feeling her latest pronouncement also won’t be believed and halt the rumors, though Setti Warren’s unofficial gubernatorial campaign yesterday issued a statement congratulating Healey for seeking “another term as the People’s Lawyer.”

Twitter (Globe)

King of the Hill: ML Strategies sets lobbying fee record

When it comes to lobbying in Massachusetts, ML Strategies is king of the hill (Beacon and otherwise), pulling in more than $4 million in lobbying fees in 2016, setting an apparent record, reports Jack Sullivan and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. Other firms saw impressive gains in lobbying fees last year as well, including O’Neill & Associates (to $2.8 million), Rasky Baerlein ($2.1 million), Bay State Strategies ($1.88 million) and Murphy Donoghue ($1.86 million). Sullivan and Mohl have lots more stats and names.


They did it: Governor’s Council hits a ‘new low’

The Governor’s Council every now and then, like last week and then this week, seems to hit a new low. SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Telegram has all the details – and accompanying video (pay wall) to prove them – from Wednesday’s council meeting in which council members went at it again amongst themselves. Our favorite council brawl continues to be when an argument broke out over the size and wording of a sign outside the council’s chamber. But this one is pretty good too.


Here come the Southie candidates

Two candidates—including the son of a former Mayor Ray Flynn—have already declared their intention to run for the District 2 council seat, in the wake of City Councilor John Linehan’s decision not to seek re-election, Dan Atkinson reports in the Herald. Ed Flynn, son of the former mayor, and Michael Kelly, a onetime aide to the late Mayor Thomas Menino, openly say they want to represent the fast-changing district, which includes Southie and parts of Chinatown, the downtown and South End. 

Boston Herald

Kerry heads back to Yale

From the Globe’s Victoria McGrane: “John Kerry, in his first major post-secretary of state role, is heading back to his alma mater, Yale University, where he will oversee an initiative aimed at grappling with some of the world’s most pressing problems from terrorism to climate change. The project will be called the Kerry Initiative.”

Boston Globe

Dem senators push for aggressive criminal justice reforms

From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth: “Saying the time is right for the state to take sweeping look at criminal justice reform, a group of Democratic state senators is urging the Legislature to take up bills addressing everything from mandatory minimum drug sentences to fines and fees that lawmakers say are unfairly leading some people to spend time behind bars simply because they can’t afford the charges.” 


Democrat leaves party over ‘rural neglect’

A longtime local leader and political consultant says he’s leaving the Democratic party because of its ‘neglect’ of rural constituents and the issues they face, Fran Ryan of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Matt Barron, a Democrat for 41 years and head of the Chesterfield town Democratic committee for 18 years, says the disconnect has been building for years and can be seen in the strong performance of Donald Trump in the central and western parts of the state last November.

Hampshire Gazette

‘Litany of lies’: Bermuda’s nasty political brawl

There’s no doubt about this: Burlington’s Lahey Clinic is caught in the middle of one nasty political brawl in Bermuda, leading to bribery allegations that Lahey has vehemently denied and that the ex-premier of Bermuda is now vehemently denying, calling them a “litany of lies,” as reported today by the Globe’s Shelley Murphy and Danny McDonald. There’s also no doubt about this: Someone’s lying down there.

Boston Globe

‘Wanted: A turnaround CEO for a fixer-up transit agency’

The Globe’s Nicole Dungca and MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius report that Gov. Charlie Baker, speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce yesterday, has put out the word he’s searching for a “turnaround CEO” to fill the role as full-time general manager at the MBTA. His administration has established a new panel and retained an executive search firm to find top candidates. Meanwhile, Baker is also hoping for an extension of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board duties to complete its turnaround of the transit agency, reports Andy Metzler at SHNS (pay wall) .

Worcester officials: No more stops on Heart to Hub, please

Worcester officials are asking the state’s transportation secretary to help ensure that non-stop commuter rail service remains in place for commuters as the T weighs adding more stops on the Heart to Hub rail line, Grant Welker of the Worcester Business Journal reports. “Worcester needs to have nonstop train service that will accommodate a 9-5 work schedule,” Mayor Joseph Petty and City Manager Ed Augustus wrote. 

Worcester Business Journal

Healey stands firm against Congressional subpoena

The latest in the Healey vs Exxon saga: Attorney General Maura Healey is refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by a Republican-led Congressional committee that’s seeking information about her probe of Exxon Mobil’s climate-change policies, the Globe’s Laura Krantz reports. Basically, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee seems to be siding with Exxon Mobil in this fight, no surprise.

Boston Globe

Group going after Healey over stun guns

As she fends off Congressional Republicans over Exxon Mobil matters, Attorney General Maura Healey is facing another old foe. From Evan Lips at New Boston Post: “A trio of citizens looking to overturn the commonwealth’s ban on personal stun guns is taking the state’s most active and vocal firearms enforcement authority figure to federal court — Attorney General Maura Healey.”

New Boston Post

GateHouse has new parent

The media company that owns some major regional dailies and more than 100 weekly newspapers in the state has a new Japanese owner, Melissa Hanson of MassLive reports. SoftBank Group said it would merge with Fortress Investment Group in a $3.3. billion deal. Fortress acquired GateHouse media—publisher of the Telegram & Gazette and the Patriot Ledger, among others—in 2015. No word on how the sale might impact the local papers, which reportedly underwent a round of cost-cutting just last summer. 


‘Dark Money: Pro-Charter-School Fat Cats’

Writing at his WGBH blog, Maurice Cunningham thinks it’s only a matter of time before the folks at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance pry open the financial books of Families for Excellent Schools, the pro-charter school group that backed the unsuccessful Question 2 initiative. He explains why.

Maurice Cunningham

MGM says no early opening in Springfield

  MGM Springfield’s president says the downtown casino will open as scheduled in September of 2018, despite the suggestion by some local development officials that it could be ready for action before that, Dan Glaun of MassLive reports. The casino is halfway through construction and the state is ahead of schedule on the reconstruction of a local highway that had pushed the opening back by a year.


Don’t forget the 1944 German spy landing via U-boat in Maine

A MASSterList reader writes in to thank us for the link to yesterday’s Globe piece by Roy Greene on past German U-boat activity off the coast of New England. But the reader adds: “He missed one major incident here in New England—a 1944 German spy landing via U-boat in Hancock Point, ME—which I remember from vacationing up there as a kid.  Here’s a link from the Patriot-Ledger if you are interested.” We’re indeed interested and the link is below. 

Patriot Ledger

Sunday public affairs TV

This Is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topic: Immigration: Bans, Raids and Our Safety. Guests: Jessica Vaughn, Center for Immigration Studies, Eva Millona, of the Mira Corp., and Todd McGhee, Protecting the Homeland Security

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Rockland Trust CEO Chris Oddleifson on the New England economy and the future of the bank; Greater Boston Chamber CEO Jim Rooney on the business response to the Trump Immigration executive order; plus Doug Banks, editor of the Boston Business Journal Editor, on the movie tax remaining in the budget, the South Boston helipad situtation the Lahey-Bermuda bribery allegation and other issues.

CEO Corner, NECN, 10: 30 a.m. Eversource CEO Jim Judge on his goals for the company, the price of power, the power supply and the future of alternative energy sources.  

On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Dr. Tommy Chang, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, who speaks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLine, WCVB TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: Boston Arts Leaders in Diversity, Resistance, and Community. 

DC Dialogue, NECN, 12:30 p.m. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and UMass Medical Chancellor Michael Collins, MD talk about the impact of President Trump’s immigration order; plus, the role of the New England Congressional delegation in the era of Trump.

Today’s Headlines


Support piling up for retiree hit with ticket – Boston Herald

Local eateries close in nod to immigrant help – Boston Herald

Shrkreli defends drug prices, spars with protesters at UMass Boston – Boston Business Journal

MIT outlines early plan for ‘once in a generation’ Volpe site development – Boston Business Journal


ML Strategies breaks lobbying record – CommonWealth Magazine

Baker launches search for new T leader – CommonWealth Magazine

GateHouse Media, parent company of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and other Massachusetts newspapers, sold to Japan-based SoftBank Group – MassLive

AG Healey won’t comply with new subpoena – Boston Globe

Worcester-to-Boston express train should accommodate 9-to-5 commuters, Mayor Petty and city manager say – MassLive

Facing nearly $1M deficit, WRTA hiking fares, cutting service – Telegram & Gazette

Ad-hoc committee to review Salem’s ‘sanctuary city’ proposal – Salem News

Quincy city councilor seeks discussion on ‘sanctuary city’ status – Patriot Ledger

Berkshire legislators earn spots in leadership – Berkshire Eagle

Vargas warns of ICE raids – Eagle-Tribune

Democratic consultant Matt Baron leaves party over neglect of rural areas – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Tip-dependent employees deserve an equal minimum wage, reformers say – WGBH

Lowell SWAT team responses stir debate – Lowell Sun


Trump asks black journalist to set up meet with Congressional Black Caucus – Politico

Trump family’s elaborate lifestyle, a ‘logistical nightmare,’ comes at unusual cost to taxpayers – Washington Post

Robert Harward Turns Down Job As National Security Adviser – NPR

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