Happening Today

SJC cases

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear four first degree murder appeals, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

Salem St. Patrick’s breakfast

Sen. Joan Lovely is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in Salem, Finz Seafood & Grill, 76 Wharf St., Salem, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Top consumer issues of 2017

At the end of National Consumer Week, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary John Chapman, Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau and Mike Festa of AARP Massachusetts call attention to issues affecting Massachusetts consumers, Nurses Hall, 10:30 a.m.

Rural Policy Commission

Rural Policy Commission meets with Peter Larkin, chair of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute board, presenting a status update on plans to make broadband available to 40 unserved communities in Massachusetts, House Members’ Lounge, 3rd Floor, State House, 11 a.m.

Newburyport St. Patrick’s lunch

Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives and Provident Bank President Chuck Withee co-host Newburyport’s 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, with Auditor Suzanne Bump attending, 31 Green St., Newburyport, 11 a.m.

Bosnian and Herzegovinian Independence Day

Rep. Jerald Parisella has reserved the Great Hall for a Bosnian and Herzegovinian Independence Day commemoration, Great Hall, 3 p.m.

Vacationing in Utah

Gov. Charlie Baker is out of state vacationing in Utah.

Today’s Stories

Compromise sought on St. Pat’s parade controversy

Last-minute attempts are being made to end the controversy over the exclusion of a gay veterans group from the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade, according to published reports. The Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie reports talks are under way to find a compromise and one spokesman said officials are “hopeful that this situation will be rectified, possibly as soon as Friday.’’ But the Herald’s Dan Atkinson reports that the head of the gay veterans groups is vowing there will be no compromise if it means not flying its rainbow flag. 

Btw: The Globe’s MacQuarrie uncovers the interesting fact that some members of the Allied War Veterans Council —  which organizes the parade — who voted for the ban “either did not serve in the military or do not live in South Boston.” 

This Bud’s not for you, parade organizers

This will make Southie’s St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers think twice about banning a gay veterans group from the event. From Diana Barr at the Boston Business Journal: “Anheuser-Busch said it is evaluating whether or not to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade after word that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council excluded an LGBTQ veterans group from the event.” Dedham Institution for Savings, Stop & Shop and Boston Scally Co. are among those also threatening to pull their support from the parade, according to published reports.


Healey to take action on Trump’s latest immigration order

From the Globe’ Milton Valencia: “Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday said that she plans to join a Washington lawsuit challenging President Trump’s new immigration ban, aligning forces with the same team that secured a temporary halt of the president’s first version of the order, issued in January. Healey is one of at least three attorneys general to sign on to the challenge filed by the state of Washington.”

Boston Globe

Tolls on interstate highways?

President Trump’s talk of a huge infrastructure bill, perhaps as large as $1 trillion, is attracting attention on Beacon Hill, where the plan is seen as a potential boon to Massachusetts and as a way to address the state’s backlog of major transportation projects, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Telegram. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Thomas McGee is also looking at the plan to see whether it will “provide an easier way for the state to toll interstate highways,” Metzger notes. Of all the things to talk about when money is about to rain down on the state: How to raise more money. Andy has other reactions to the tentative Trump plan.


Dems face daunting odds in 2018 Congressional races

The Globe’s James Lindell reviews the stats and concludes that, despite the powerful anti-Trump sentiments out there, Democrats are not in a good position to retain Congressional seats in 2018, let alone regain a majority in 2018. Exhibit A, the U.S. Senate: “In 2018, there are 34 seats up for reelection. Twenty-five of them are those who caucus with Democrats and just nine are Republicans.”

Boston Globe

Baker’s strategy team mulls whether to bore voters to death in Senate race

Speaking of the 2018 Congressional elections, Gov. Baker’s campaign team is debating who would be the best Republican candidate to run against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren next year – and who would best serve Baker’s own re-election bid next year, the Globe’s Frank Phillips reports. Should it be a bland, middle-of-the-road Republican who won’t rev up Democrats or a dynamic, passionate Republican who will give Warren a run for her money and divert attention away from the governor’s race? Choices, choices.

Boston Globe

Will more towns ban pot shops?

Was Westborough just the first domino? Days after voters there passed an outright ban on recreational marijuana shops, at least two more western suburbs—Medway and Hopkinton— are actively moving to put similar bans before voters, Bill Shaner of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Other towns may not be far behind, though some community leaders admit they aren’t sure the bans will hold up if legally challenged. 

MetroWest Daily News

Holyoke hisses at rattlesnake mountain idea

The Holyoke City Council unanimously approved a resolution stating the city’s opposition to having Mount Tom become a timber rattlesnake breeding site, Dusty Christensen of the Hampshire Gazette reports. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife had listed the mountain—a natural habitat for the venomous snakes—to a list of potential breeding grounds it’s exploring. 

Hampshire Gazette

Biblical investing in biotech

A pair of religious-guided index funds were launched last week with the goal of making investments that “align with biblical values,” reports Damian Garde at STAT News. The surprise (at least for those who don’t always associate religion with science): They’re investing in “inspiring” drug-development companies that could save lives. So maybe it’s not a contradiction.


More mid-year budget cuts?

The Baker administration isn’t ruling out additional mid-year budget cuts, on top of the $98 million already slashed by the governor late last year, reports Colin Young at SHNS. Baker’s budget chief, Kristen Lepore, signaled that March revenues numbers will be key in determining what steps, if any, the administration will take on the budget front.

SHNS (pay wall)

Lawmakers start ‘difficult task’ of crafting a new budget

Speaking of the budget, lawmakers yesterday began hearings on the state’s next fiscal-year budget, not to be confused with the current budget that the Baker administration is eyeing for possible additional cuts. Ways and Means Committee House Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, warned that it will be a “difficult task” crafting a new budget, due largely to the frustrating up-and-down flow of tax revenues into state coffers, reports Shira Shoenberg at MassLive.


Healey to lawmakers: I need more money to fight Trump

At the same legislative budget hearing yesterday, Attorney General Maura Healey made clear her office needs more money to fight President Trump and his policies, reports Mike Deehan at WGBH. “Changes from Washington have placed new demands on our office,” she said. “The new administration has announced its intent to step back from critical areas where we have historically worked together — whether that’s in protecting consumers, the environment, enforcing wage and hour laws, even collecting taxes.”


Lepore: If you have a better idea how to pay for Medicaid, let’s hear it

Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said yesterday she’s “open to any other suggestions” about how to pay for escalating Medicaid costs and she indicated that talks are still ongoing with the business community about the Baker administration’s controversial plan to slap an assessment fees on employers who don’t provide certain levels of insurance coverage for workers, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.


Huh? State’s jobless rate rises to 3.2 percent but employers add 13,000 jobs

The Boston Business Journal reports the state’s unemployment rate rose to 3.2 percent in January, the first rate increase in years. But Wicked Local reports that the state’s economy added 13,000 jobs in January, an impressive increase. Can they both be right? Answer: Yes. The unemployment rate is determined by household surveys, while the payroll number is determined by employer surveys – and the two surveys are often seemingly at odds. Surveys are not scientific, after all, as we learned in the November presidential election.

Cross-gender theater experiment: What if Trump was a woman and Clinton a man?

The NYT has a great piece on a gender-bender – and mind-bender — play in Greenwich Village in which the 2016 presidential debates are re-enacted. Except Donald Trump is played by a woman (with the fictitious name Brenda King) and Hillary Clinton is played by a man (with the fictitious name Jonathan Gordon). The exact same words, mannerisms, tone etc. are used from the debates, only the genders and names are changed. The results? Audience members who favored Hillary in real life found they didn’t like her (or actually, him) in the play and admired him (or actually, her) in the play. Got it? A fun and fascinating experiment. NYU’s Eileen Reynolds has a piece on how the show was put together and a video from one of the play’s practice sessions.


Galvin ‘very, very concerned’ about 2020 census

Secretary of State William Galvin says he’s “very, very concerned” that the state’s census count in three years could be distorted by immigrants reluctant to come forward to answer questions, due to the anti-immigrant climate gripping the nation, reports Katie Lannan at the Berkshire Eagle.

Berkshire Eagle

The deepening red-blue divide in Massachusetts

Anthony Brooks at WBUR takes a look at those one million voters in Massachusetts who supported Donald Trump in the November election. One of his main findings: “In many ways, these central Massachusetts towns are part of the ‘Rust Belt,’ similar to the parts of the country that made the decisive difference in the election: western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and where lots of working class people feel disconnected from the economic and political mainstream. They are part of a deepening political division in this state — much like we are seeing across the whole country.”


Can an employee be fired for smoking pot in Massachusetts?

This is interesting, via Chris Cassidy at the Herald: “The state’s highest court is considering whether companies can fire pot-smokers, after a Massachusetts woman canned for using medical marijuana challenged her employer’s drug-free policy.” If the court’s final decision is narrowly focused on medical-marijuana use, no problem. If the court’s final ruling is more broadly focused on marijuana use in general, it’s going to be a big, big deal in Massachusetts.

Boston Herald

Globe parent company earns big tax break in Taunton

The Taunton City Council has given its blessing to a tax increment financing deal that will save the Boston Globe $1.3 million in local property taxes over the next decade, Charles Winokoor of the Taunton Gazette reports. The tax break comes as the paper’s parent company plans to invest $72 million to buy and update a facility where it will publish its print editions and eventually employ up to 600 people. 

Taunton Gazette

‘Ivanka Trump’s Chilean Billionaire Landlord Has Ties to Tom Brady’

Getting ‘Trump’ and ‘Brady’ in the same headline is pure click-bait gold these days in Boston. But what we found fascinating about this piece by Kyle Scott Clauss at Boston Magazine – besides Ivanka’s multinational landlord having unrelated real estate ties with No. 12 – is the actual details of Tom Brady’s Boston real estate transactions with Andrónico Luksic, from one of the wealthiest families in Chile.

Boston Magazine

Warren’s two-faced stance on health care?

The Herald is trying mightily this morning to link U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s opposition to House Republicans’ proposed health-care overhaul to her opposition earlier this year to a medical research bill. It’s a stretch.

Boston Herald

‘More green for the Greenway’

From the Globe’s Joshua Miller: “Representative Aaron Michlewitz is suggesting the state could thwart the billion-dollar Winthrop Square skyscraper project if the city of Boston doesn’t agree to put some of the money it would make from the development toward maintaining the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the park that snakes through the heart of the city.”

Boston Globe

How the House GOP health plan would impact Massachusetts

Laura Colarusso at WGBH provides an analysis on how the House Republican health-care plan could play out in Massachusetts. Her No. 1 concern: Medicaid funding. “Even in Massachusetts, a state that has a history of bipartisan support for universal health care, the drastic funding cuts proposed by the GOP would have a profound affect.” She highlights other items of concern to Massachusetts.


Plainridge pumps slot cash into lucrative racing purse

Flush with cash from its first year-plus of operating the state’s only slots parlor, Plainridge Park Casino will stage the richest harness horse race in state history later this year, Jim Hand of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle reports. The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts race is scheduled for July 28. 

Sun Chronicle

DraftKings gets $100M from media mogul, Dodgers owner

Boston-based fantasy sports company DraftKings has received a $100 million cash infusion from the investment firm run by Todd Boehly, owner for the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard magazines and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. Boehly joins a bevy of pro team owners with stakes in the company, including the Patriots’ Robert Kraft. 

Boston Herald

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan, who talks with host Jon Keller about municipal relations with the Baker administration and how the economy is affecting local communities.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topic: Kids Health & Wellbeing, with Emily Ryan, director of Development, Share our Strength; Bob Luz, president and CEO of Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Andy Husbands, chef/owner.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung and the Boston Business Journal’s Doug Banks talk about some of the week’s major business stories including the House GOP’s health care plans, the February jobs report, the future of Boston transportation, and Eaton Vance emerging as a Boston Pops July 4th sponsor.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Boston Celtics president Rich Gotham on the business of basketball, the GE Jersey logo and an update on the new Auerbach Center practice facility. Plus, Boston Scientific SVP Mary Beth Moynihan joins the conversation to talk about the corporate partnership her company has with the Celtics.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

BC Chief Executives Club, NECN, 12:30 p.m. A rebroadcast of this week’s speech by Delta Airlines CEO Edward Bastian at the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

Today’s Headlines


Negotiations ongoing over fate of iconic Citgo sign – Boston Herald

A key state lawmaker wants more green for the Greenway. Or else – Boston Globe

Cabbies feeling Boston left them behind in break-down lane – Boston Globe


Mass. unemployment rate rises, breaking years-long streak – Boston Business Journal

Scramble is on for Lowell High site solutions – Lowell Sun

Ethics panel probing Rosa in Billerica – Lowell Sun

Staples loses $615 million, to close 70 stores – Worcester Business Journal

Healey warns of new threats from DC and beyond in push for more funding – WGBH

Amherst officials to hold refresher meeting on bag ban – Hampshire Gazette

Holyoke City Council says no to Mount Tom as as possible timber rattlesnake breeding site – Hampshire Gazette

Taunton City Council gives green light to Globe tax deal – Taunton Gazette

Cape Cod bank executive meets with Trump – Cape Cod Times

Flamboyant Brookfield town employee reprimanded for behavior – Telegram & Gazette

Several towns considering pot-shop bans – MetroWest Daily News

Dodgers part owner invests $100 million in DraftKings – Boston Herald

Competing strategies emerge on offshore wind – CommonWealth Magazine

MGM storms Hartford to fight competitor casino proposal in East Windsor and push for competition – MassLive


Budget referee may call foul on Obamacare repeal – Politico

NFL abuse of painkillers and other drugs described in court filings – Washington Post

WikiLeaks to help fix security flaws, Assange says – New York Times

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