R.I. governor at New England Council
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks to some of the region’s top business leaders at a New England Council breakfast, Seaport Hotel, Lighthouse Room, One Seaport Boulevard, Boston, 9 a.m.
Walsh on the air
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh appears live on Boston Herald radio, 9:30 a.m.
Budget hearing in Amherst
The House and Senate Ways and Means committees will discuss the fiscal 2018 budget as it applies to education and local aid, UMass Amherst, the Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way, Amherst, 10 a.m.
MGM steel topping off
Workers and dignitaries sign the ceremonial final steel beam at the MGM Springfield construction site, with MGM Springfield president Michael Mathis, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Mass. Gaming Commission chairman Steve Crosby scheduled to attend, Howard Street turnaround, near MGM Springfield/Tishman construction trailer, Springfield, 10 a.m.
Climate change briefing
Reps. Denise Provost, Tom Golden and Frank Smizik sponsor a legislative briefing by UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative director Dr. Juliette Rooney-Varga and Dr. Michael Vayda, UMass Lowell’s provost and vice chancellor, on ‘meeting the climate and energy challenge,’ House Members’ Lounge, 10:30 a.m.
The House plans to take up the Chapter 90 road repair funding bill during its formal session, session starts at 11 a.m. and roll calls at 3 p.m.
Senate Dems caucus
Senate Democrats will caucus behind closed doors, Senate President’s office, 11 a.m.
HPC benchmark vote
Health Policy Commission holds a board meeting at which members are scheduled to vote on where to set the state’s health care cost growth benchmark for next year, 50 Milk St., Boston, 12 p.m.
State Ethics Commission commences a hearing in the case of Howard Hansen, longtime town moderator of Stoughton, after the hearing was postponed several times since last year, Governor’s Council Chambers, 12 p.m.
Twitter exec at Tufts
Twitter’s vice president of global public policy, Colin Crowell, will visit Tufts University’s Fletcher School where he will discuss the way the online platform is ‘changing the way that policymakers communicate with civil society and accelerating diplomats’ ability to gather information and react to events,’ ASEAN Auditorium, 160 Packard Ave., Medford, 4:15 p.m.
Sanctuary raids, arrests, fearmongering and a small dash of hysteria
We’re reaching some sort of tipping point in the sanctuary-city debate, tilting distinctly in the direction of hysteria.
First up: State Rep. Michelle DuBois’s warning yesterday of a rumored ICE round-up raid, reports the Herald. “If you are undocumented don’t go out on the street,” the Brockton lawmaker wrote on her Facebook page. “If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door.” The modern-day Paul Revere is standing by her decision, reports the Enterprise, even though ICE blasted her message as inaccurate and inciting panic
Next up: Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson yesterday called for the arrest of elected officials of sanctuary cities if they don’t start cooperating with ICE actions, as reported at WBUR. Gov. Baker disagrees with Hodgson’s novel suggestion, reports MassLive. The Twitter response of Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, a sanctuary backer: “Oh no, MA’s Joe Arpaio wannabe is spouting nonsense again. Last time he was offering Trump slave labor.”
Finally, state Attorney General Maura Healey accused U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, though not Rep. DuBois, of engaging in “fearmongering” on immigration issues, reports SHNS at SouthCoast Today.
Potential GOP senate candidate has some explaining to do
From the Globe’s Frank Phillips: “As John Kingston considers a run for the US Senate, he’ll need to be prepared to explain his role in a website that carries provocative political views that could cause him problems in a Republican primary — and even in a general election.” Some of the essay titles on the web site: ‘Yes, What Israel Is Doing to Palestinians is Actually Genocide’ and ‘Why Islam overtaking Christianity is good for Christians.’
Goldberg watches in wonder as officials hint at allowing online gambling
Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who has unsuccessfully pushed lawmakers to allow the Lottery to run online games, finds irony in all the talk that maybe it’s time to consider online gambling in general in Massachusetts. “You’re hearing about the Gaming Commission saying they want online gambling, and then the comment that I read in the paper was that there are only so many entertainment dollars,” Goldberg said yesterday, as reported by SHNS’s Colin Young. “So literally … if they get online gambling and we do not get iLottery, they would be trying to capture our money that goes to cities and towns for the profit of a profitable entity, like Wynn or MGM.” Yeah, that about sums it up.
Btw: Lottery sales fell again last month. Some are blaming the weather.
Goldberg to Baker: Fork over the $300K, please
Speaking of the treasurer: Even though it’s still unclear who exactly will oversee regulation of the future pot industry in Massachusetts, Treasurer Deb Goldberg has written to the Baker administration asking that $300,000 be transferred to the treasurer’s office to hire an executive director and other staff for the Cannabis Control Commission, reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett.
The Herald’s Hillary Chabot writes that Goldberg’s sudden assertive nature on Beacon Hill, focusing on the pot-oversight issue, is actually refreshing to see.
The Domino’s of pot delivery
Speaking of marijuana, the first company that successfully combines pizza and pot home delivery is going to make a mint. Until then, In Good Health, a Brockton medical marijuana dispensary, is settling for home delivery of just the drug, reports the Globe’s Dan Adams.
If at first you don’t succeed …
Did Democrats celebrate prematurely over the demise last week of the House Republican health-care bill? The NYT is reporting that House Republicans, despite their health-care bill fiasco last week, are trying to resurrect new legislation that would repeal ObamaCare. But the Associated Press reports at the Globe that Senate Republicans are highly skeptical about passage of any such a bill. Still, as Mitch McConnell says: We’ll see. Don’t forget that ObamaCare in 2009 looked dead until it wasn’t dead.
Climate summit foot-dragging could cost state millions of dollars
From Don Seiffert at the BBJ: “The most lasting effects of President Donald Trump’s disregard for climate change efforts may not be seen for a few decades yet, but the short-term effects may be felt right here in Boston this year — in the form of millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue. As yet, the U.S. State Department under Trump is giving no indication whether it plans to follow through on a promise of the previous administration to support the city of Boston in hosting a major global climate-change summit between the United States and China this year.”
They’re watching you: Business interests trump privacy concerns
Amid the blizzard of news swirling around health care, climate change and tax cuts in Washington, it should be noted that Republicans just sent to President Trump a bill that frees Internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast to start collecting and using information such as “customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers,” the Washington Post reports. We’re fascinated to see where this hidden-hand of capitalism leads. We already have an idea. And they do too.
The 10,000th sign Elizabeth Warren is eying a run for president
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has spotted another sign that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is gearing up for a presidential run in 2020: She’s being more accessible to the press. She still has to fine-tune that skill, though.
Baker administration requests flexibility in Medicaid benefits
Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders has written a six-page letter to the head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services seeking more flexibility in administering and adjusting benefits within the state’s Medicaid program, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. The Baker administration may consider expanding Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment but cutting other benefits for non-disabled adults, Schoenberg writes.
‘Period girl’ files to run for Cambridge city council
From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “Nadya Okamoto, a Harvard freshman who started a group to help supply women with menstrual supplies, has filed papers with state elections officials to run for a seat on the Cambridge city council. Like the 24 other candidates (so far) for the 9 seats open this November, Okamoto must also obtain the signatures of at least 50 registered voters on petitions that become available in July.”
Ash Carter lands at Harvard
Another Washington castaway has washed up on Harvard’s shores, this time former defense secretary Ash Carter, who’s actually re-washing ashore at Harvard, reports The Hill. “Harvard named Carter as professor of technology and global affairs and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a think tank within the John F. Kennedy School of Government.”
Christy Mihos: He just wanted to be somebody
Howie Carr has a nice write-up on two-time gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos, the late millionaire convenience-store heir who just wanted to be somebody. Howie has a funny tale about Christy’s first race for state Senate, against Bob Hedlund, the future legislator and current mayor of Weymouth. Christy never stood a chance.
GE, Partners, Blue Cross join fight against opioid addiction
General Electric, Partners HealthCare, Blue Cross Blue Health and others plan to raise $50 million over the next three years to support innovative care designed to help opioid addicts, reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett. Their new nonprofit has already received $13 million in commitments, but spokespeople declined to specify where the donations are coming from.
In Worcester, scramble to save historic church, perhaps with suds
The Worcester City Council is calling for a voluntary extension of a soon-to-expire one-year demolition delay protecting the former Notre Dame des Canadiens church, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. A development team known as CitySquare II bought the church in 2010 and says no realistic plans to preserve it have materialized since.
Meanwhile, MassLive’s Alban Murtishi reports that Preservation Worcester believes it has a concept that will work to save and re-use the historic property—creating an entertainment and restaurant destination topped by a ’tower brewery.’
Worcester city manager warns Trump cuts could harm development
City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. is worried that Trump’s proposal to scale back block-grant funds could harm his central Massachusetts city and others, reports Alban Murishi at MassLive. “You don’t need me to tell you that this conference is being held at a critical time for community development in our country,” Augustus said at a National Community Development Association conference. “For decades, communities like Worcester have made use of federal block grant funding to help millions of people across the nation, and those precious dollars are now in jeopardy.”
Ahead of summer, public warned on needles
Just days after an environmental group said it pulled 1,000 syringes from the Merrimack River, officials are warning the public to be aware of the potential danger ahead this summer for boaters, fishing enthusiasts and swimmers, Mike LaBella of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Meanwhile, at least one addiction advocate is casting doubt on whether the sudden rise in the number of river needles stems solely from opioid use.
Go West, get an earful
Members of the state senate who traveled to Amherst and Conway as part of the body’s Commonwealth Conservations listening tour got an earful on topics ranging from climate change and health care to broadband access and transportation, Jack Suntrup of the Hampshire Gazette reports.
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