Happening Today

‘Massachusetts Healthcare in the Trump era’

Harvard Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute holds a panel titled ‘Massachusetts Healthcare in the Trump Era,’ featuring Health Care Financing Committee co-chair Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation president Audrey Shelto, Associated Industries of Massachusetts president Rick Lord and Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals executive director Steve Walsh, Harvard Kennedy School, 8 a.m.

Board of Education

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will hear a progress report on Lawrence Public Schools from state receiver Jeff Riley, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, 8:30 a.m.

RIZE Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker gives remarks at the RIZE Massachusetts Leadership Breakfast and joins others to launch a statewide effort to fight opioid addiction, with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh also offering remarks, Taj Boston Hotel, 15 Arlington Street, Boston, 8:45 a.m.

Opioid initiative launch

Attorney General Maura Healey will speak at what her office described as ‘the launch of a private sector effort to combat the opioid crisis,’ Taj Boston Hotel, 15 Arlington St., Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Francophonie and Trade

The Consulate Generals of Canada and France, Swissnex Boston, the Quebec Government Office, and the Consulate General of Haiti host the annual Francophonie ceremony to highlight the economic partnerships between Massachusetts and French-speaking countries, Senate Reading Room, 10 a.m.

Lottery Commission

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, One Ashburton Place, 12th Floor, Crane Conference Room, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Carbonite visit

Gov. Baker visits Carbonite to tour the facility and meet with employees, 2 Avenue de Lafayette, 6th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.


ACLU of Massachusetts and ACLU of Vermont hold a joint press conference call on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues, 11 a.m.

Online gaming

Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports meets, with an agenda that includes discussion of online game technology, integrity, legal and regulatory issues, Room 222, 11 a.m.

‘Women Who Lead’

Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators holds a Women’s History Month Panel on ‘Women Who Lead,’ featuring caucus chairs Sen. Jen Flanagan and Rep. Colleen Garry, Rep. Christine Barber, former Sen. Lois Pines and former Rep. Kathy Teahan, State House library, 11:30 a.m.

Tsongas on the air

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 11:30 a.m.

Solitary confinement play

Julia Steele Allen will perform her play ‘Mariposa and the Saint,’ which tells the story of Sara ‘Mariposa’ Fonseca’s experience in solitary confinement, through the prisoner’s own words, Room 428, 12 p.m.

Line of duty benefits

Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Massachusetts State Police Richard Colonel McKeon, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and others gather for signing ceremony of supplemental budget legislation that includes doubling the line of duty death benefit for the families of first responders from $150,000 to $300,000. Room 360, 2 p.m.

Get Konnected

Get Konnected, a business networking event that aims to make Boston more diverse, will host an event with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as a special guest and with the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto moderating a panel discussion, with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg also expected attend, Mintz Levin, One Financial Center, Boston, 5:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker takes pass on supporting sales-tax reduction

Even though he supported slashing the state’s sales tax in 2010, Gov. Charlie Baker is withholding judgment on a potential 2018 ballot question to cut the rate down to 5 percent from 6.25 percent, saying such a referendum isn’t even close to reality, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WCVB. “That one has a long way to go before it ends up coming before the voters and if it does, obviously, we’ll talk about it then,” Baker said, in reaction to news that the Retailers Association of Massachusetts might push for a referendum in 2018.


DOT: Middleborough rail route about one-third the cost of Stoughton

In case you haven’t noticed, the state is leaning very heavily toward the proposed Middleborough alternative route for the future South Coast rail line. The latest evidence that the Stoughton plan is probably not going anywhere: The DOT is estimating the Middleborough option is one-third the cost of the $3.3 billion Stoughton plan, as reported by SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Enterprise. Sen. Marc Pacheco says he doesn’t believe the numbers.


T’s door-to-door Ride service spared the budget ax — for now

The MBTA is holding off on any cuts to its Ride service, which provides door-to-door rides to the elderly and those with disabilities, to see if there are other ways to reduce costs and save money, report both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

Medfield joins Westborough in no-pot stores club

Voters in Medfield approved an outright ban on recreational marijuana shops, backing the prohibition by a 4-to-1 margin, Alison Bosma of the MetroWest Daily News reports. The vote makes Medfield the second community after Westborough to pass such a ban, despite warnings from its own town counsel that blanket bans may not withstand legal challenges. 

Meanwhile, the legislature’s Marijuana Committee held a hearing yesterday with one of the main topics being, you guessed it, local control of future pot shops, as reported by Don Treeger at MassLive.

MetroWest Daily News

When Will Massachusetts find its inner ‘Cheech and Chong’?

Peter Kadzis at WGBH surveys all the delays and obstacles being thrown up by lawmakers over the retail sale and commercial growth of legal marijuana in Massachusetts and wonders when we’ll finally embrace our inner Cheech and Chong. Well, based on the Medfield vote last night, it’s going to take a while.


Sanctuary showdown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rattling his sword over sanctuary cities, openly warning cities that they stand to lose federal funds if they don’t start cooperating with the feds on immigration matters – and, from state Democratic chairman Gus Bickford to Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, Massachusetts pols (or a few of them) are standing firm, according to a report at CBS Boston. The Herald’s Chris Cassidy and Chris Villani have more reactions from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons. Meanwhile, the Herald is reporting that Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson thinks Sessions is issuing empty funding threats.

CBS Boston

Christy Mihos, two-time gubernatorial candidate, RIP

His rise was spectacular. His fall was spectacular. He lived a full life. Christy Mihos, the two-time gubernatorial candidate and convenience store chain heir who spent years blasting Big Dig costs, lost his battle with cancer over the weekend at the age of 67, Madeleine List of the Cape Cod Times reports. In recent years, Mihos made headlines for all the wrong reasons, including his high-profile divorce and bankruptcy and a charge of domestic assault. The Herald has more on Christy’s life and death.

Cape Cod Times

Kennedy, Markey mobilize against Trump on climate and energy

After suffering a major defeat on the health-care front, President Trump is now pivoting to take on Obama-era climate and energy policies – and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey are right there to oppose him on that front too, writes the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins.

Boston Herald

Charlie Baker: Health care savior?

Writing in WBUR’s Cognoscenti column, Lauren Stiller Rikleen lays out the case for why Gov. Charlie Baker is uniquely qualified to help fix health care for the entire country, perhaps as leader of a bipartisan commission: “As the CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Baker was credited with saving the health plan from insolvency. As a former cabinet secretary under two Massachusetts governors, he has a deep understanding of how government functions. As a Republican governor in a notoriously blue state, he knows how to develop coalitions. And he happens to be governing the state considered the parent of the Affordable Care Act.” 


Close vote: Cuban immigrant recommended as next QCC president

In a split vote, the board of the Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester will recommend hiring Luis G. Pedraja, a college administrator from California and first-generation Cuban immigrant, to become the school’s next president, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports. Some board members said the move would be a major boost for diversity at the school, while others wanted to offer the role to a local vocational high school superintendent to help the school’s job training credentials. The state’s Board of Higher Education will have the final say in May.  


What did Marty know and when did he know it?

From the Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “The public deserves to know the full story behind the story of a projected $30 million deficit at UMass Boston. According to a report by the Globe’s Laura Krantz, UMass Boston chancellor J. Keith Motley was warned of serious fiscal problems in 2012, 2014, and 2016. While there’s good reason to hold him accountable, there’s also reason to wonder about oversight after Meehan took over in July 2015 — and before, when Robert Caret was president of the UMass system.”

Boston Globe

Progressive titans Warren and Sanders to team up at Boston rally

Like rock stars getting together for a special live concert, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the top stars of the progressive political movement in America, will headline a rally in Boston on Thursday to push “economic justice and speak out against Republican President Donald Trump’s agenda,” as reported at MassLive by Shira Schoenberg, who has the details.


Department of Public Safety, RIP

Quietly, without controversy or fanfare, the Department of Public Safety has slipped into state-government oblivion, after lawmakers effectively took a pass on voting on Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to reorganize the executive branch, as reported by Colin Young at SHNS. It’s strikes us as a little odd that there wasn’t more debate on this move, considering how looking tough on crime and terrorism is so important these days. But in any event, RIP, Department of Public Safety.

SHNS (pay wall)

Moulton to call for National Global War on Terrorism Memorial

U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, both of them post-9/11 Marine veterans, will announce today their support for a bill that would allow establishment of a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial in Washington D.C., Moulton’s office said yesterday.

Worcester’s very own mini-Bulger (without the serial killing)

He’s a career criminal. He’s a drug dealer. He’s a two-timing rat who’s cut deals with the feds. He’s now facing charges again. He’s none other than Worcester’s Kevin A. Perry, whose history with the feds is now spilling out in court records, as Dan Glaun at MassLive reports.


Did you hear the joke about mental health care parity?

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen rips into the sad legal joke that there’s actual parity between how physical ailments and mental health ailments are treated. There’s really no punchline. He’s simply right: There is no parity, despite all the laws on the books to the contrary.

Boston Globe

Lawmakers and doctors prescribe alternatives to drug painkillers

Beacon Hill lawmakers, supported by some doctors, are pushing to reduce medical use of opioid painkillers by increasing use of acupuncture, yoga, massage, physical therapies and even medical marijuana as pain-management alternatives covered by insurance plans, reports Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times.

Gloucester Times

Suffolk study: Despite state law, transgenders face housing discrimination

From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “Transgender people frequently encounter disparate treatment while apartment hunting in Greater Boston — even though Massachusetts law prohibits such discrimination, according to a study from Suffolk University Law School that outside analysts said is among the largest projects documenting such bias.”

Boston Globe

Santander bank briefly occupied during protest

From the Globe’s Katie Johnston: “About 50 bank workers, community leaders, and housing rights advocates from around the country briefly occupied Santander’s US headquarters on State Street in Boston Monday morning, causing security to lock down the bank branch for about 30 minutes until police arrived. The protest followed a national meeting in Boston of bank workers associated with the Committee for Better Banks.

Boston Globe

State Rep. Naugton: Thank you, Houston, for recovering Tom’s jersey

State Rep. Harold Naughton, who chairs the state’s public safety and homeland safety committee, honored Houston’s police department yesterday for its role in recovering Pats quarterback Tom Brady’s stolen jersey from the 2017 Super Bowl, according to a report at WCVB. “When that jersey went missing, all of Patriots Nation was concerned,” Naughton said while on a trip to Texas.


‘Hamilton’ coming to Boston … in 18 months

Attention all you theater and history buffs: The hit Broadway show ‘Hamilton’ is coming to Boston. That’s the good news. The bad news, sort of, is that you’ll have to wait until the second half of 2018 to see it here. The Globe’s Dan Aucoin has the theatrical details.

Boston Globe

‘Game of Thrones’ game maker expands Framingham empire without help of dragons

From Catherine Carlock at the BBJ: “Disruptor Beam, a startup that makes mobile video games based on television hits “Game of Thrones,” “Star Trek” and “The Walking Dead,” is doubling the size of its Framingham headquarters. The company has leased 30,665 square feet at Penn Place, a 73,272-square-foot office at 100 Pennsylvania Ave. in Framingham.”


Today’s Headlines


Councilor revives effort for 5-cent plastic bag tax – Boston Herald

Northeastern claims fewer Mission Hill complaints about students – Universal Hub

Radio Shacks in Mattapan, Dorchester, East Boston and Brookline to close – Universal Hub

Cat cafe to open in Boston this summer – MassLive

Boston police challenged in adding minorities to force – Boston Globe


Can Gov. Charlie Baker fix health care in America? – WBUR

Keolis plagued by train, coach issues – CommonWealth Magazine

Opioid crisis strains Mass. foster-care system – Lowell Sun

Magnate, gov candidate Mihos dead at 67 – Boston Herald

Quinsigamond Community College chooses Luis Pedraza for president – Telegram & Gazette

Both sides brace for hearing on Salem sanctuary status – Salem News

MBTA plans to eliminate unsafe, little used bus stops – Salem News

4 Cape towns lose appeal of Eversource herbicide plan – Cape Cod Times

Tax form donations fuel select charitable causes – Taunton Gazette


Trump takes aim at a centerpiece of Obama’s environmental legacy – NPR

Mar-a-Lago can’t release visitor logs—because it doesn’t keep them – Politico

Democrats burned by polling blind spot – Politico

Trump’s first house sells for $2.4 million – New York Times

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