Happening Today

Abiomed grand opening

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Abiomed CEO Michael Minogue for the grand opening of Abiomed’s expanded U.S. headquarters, 22 Cherry Hill Dr., Danvers, 9:30 a.m.

Gaming Commission

Gaming Commission meets with a vote expected on the sale of the Suffolk Downs racing facility, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, 10 a.m.

Mayor at Fenway

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh participates in the annual Mayor’s Walk Through of Fenway Park, beginning at Van Ness Street, at Gate B, Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, 11 a.m.

Capuano on the air

U.S. Michael Capuano is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

Governor at MassBio

Gov. Baker speaks at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual meeting, Royal Sonesta Boston, 40 Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge, 1:15 p.m.

Shannon Grant

Public officials, violence prevention leaders and law enforcement officials will tout the Shannon Grant program, an anti-gang grant program named after the late Sen. Charles Shannon Jr., and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, Nurses Hall, 2 p.m.

GE advanced manufacturing showcase

General Electric hosts a showcase of its advanced manufacturing technologies and then GE Ventures CEO Sue Siegel will lead a panel discussion with John Barros, Boston’s chief of economic development, Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Travis McCready, president of theMassachusetts Life Sciences Center, Artists for Humanity, 100 W. 2nd Street, Boston, 3 p.m.

Gaming Commission

The Gaming Commission is holding a public hearing on MGM Springfield’s workforce development plan, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 5 p.m.

DPU hearing

Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing on the petition of NSTAR Electric Company and Western Massachusetts Electric Company, each doing business as Eversource Energy, for approval of general increases in base distribution rates, Cambridge Public Library, Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, 6 p.m.

Sen. Jehlen on the air

State Sen. Pat Jehlen, co-chair of the Joint Marijuana Policy Committee, is a scheduled guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

So what’s up with Rep. Kafka’s legislative seat (and aide)?

Ted Phillips, who just so happens to work for Stoughton Rep. Louis Kafka, has raised eyebrows by setting up a campaign finance account with the stated aim of running for the office Kafka now holds, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. Kafka, a Democrat, says that his plans now are to run for re-election and that staff director Phillips probably “heard rumors about someone else, and he thought he’d organize and be ready in case a seat came open.” Phillips is only saying he does “harbor political ambitions.” Andy has much more on this saga.

Wicked Local

Brother, can you spare $500,000?

A federal judge has awarded the ACLU and affiliated attorneys more than $500,000 in legal fees from the city of Worcester in connection with the court battle that eventually led to the defeat of the city’s 2013 efforts to curb downtown panhandling, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports. The ACLU and its partner, Goodwin Procter, had sought more than $1 million, but a judge agreed the hourly rate they were assessing was too high for the Worcester area. 


War footing: Boston police warn of terrorists hitting ‘our shores’

Give police militarized weapons and they start talking and thinking like militarized soldiers. From a BPD request for proposals for SWAT and bomb-team training sessions, as reported by the Herald’s Dan Atkinson: “The increasing operational tempo of terrorist organizations and lone wolf actors around the world are shaping the battle­space into one resembling the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Question: Is Marty Walsh the city’s new Commander in Chief? Just looking for clarification.

Boston Herald

Kennedy Institute has trouble attracting tourist equivalent of a quorum

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States in Boston is not attracting even half the number of visitors originally projected, prompting officials to step up marketing and tourist bookings, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson.

Boston Globe

Let bygones be bygones? Baker tapped to serve on Trump’s opioids commission

Even though he refused to endorse Donald Trump for president last year, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has nevertheless been tapped by the White House to serve on a new commission to address the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR. Matt has more details.


Lynch rejects meeting with Trump aides, citing the White House’s ‘extreme’ views

Not even U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, a self-declared moderate Democrat, wants anything to do with the Trump administration, rejecting an overture from White House aides to meet, reports Matt Viser at the Globe. “They said they were looking for ‘moderate’ Democrats – which I am,” Lynch said. “But under the circumstances I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation. … I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”

Boston Globe

Apple for the teachers: Baker proposes hike in early-ed funding

The was a surprise move by the governor – and very welcome in many quarters. From the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert: “Governor Charlie Baker unexpectedly gave early education funding its largest boost in more than a decade on Wednesday, announcing that he would devote more than $28 million in found money to rate increases for day care centers that serve low-income children. The funding, if approved by the Legislature, will translate directly into raises for teachers whose pay has languished even as the demands of the job have inched up over the years.”

Boston Globe

March Sanctuary Madness

We haven’t figured out yet how to present this in a bracket format, so we’ll just dump these latest sanctuary-city/refugee stories in an old-fashioned round-up, complete with handy ellipses instead of logical-progression brackets: Salem has taken the sanctuary plunge, with councilors approving a new ‘sanctuary for peace’ ordinance, the Salem News reports. … Mayor Walsh and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson are sparring over Hodgson’s call to arrest elected officials who don’t enforce ICE actions, the Herald reports. … Rep. Michelle DuBois has ‘no regrets’ about posting rumors on Facebook of an alleged upcoming ICE raid, reports SHNS (pay wall). … Brockton is still waiting for that ICE raid and DuBois says she’s getting all sorts of nasty emails, the Enterprise reports. … The former mayor of Rutland, Vermont is licking his political wounds after his ouster by voters apparently upset with his stand on refugees, the Globe reports. … Newton mayor and Dem gubernatorial wannabe Setti Warren says he’s willing to make his city hall a “safe haven” for illegal immigrants, if it comes to that, the Herald reports.

Is a judicial order to remain drug free a ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment?

This is a very interesting case coming before the SJC, as the Herald’s Bob McGovern reports: “Amid the ongoing opioid crisis that has plagued the Bay State, a massive case has emerged that will determine whether or not someone crippled by substance abuse can be ordered to ‘remain drug-free’ as a condition of probation.”

Boston Herald

DeLeo: Read my lips – no new sales tax cuts

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is making it clear, even before a petition signature has been gathered, that he’s no fan of a tentative push by retailers to cut the state sales tax, via a statewide referendum, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Worcester Business Journal. “I think would put us in a more precarious financial situation,” DeLeo said.

Worcester Business Journal

Health spending benchmark lowered despite concerns

The state’s Health Policy Commission has agreed to lower its benchmark for health care spending next year to 3.1 percent, from 3.6 percent, despite doubts and concerns about whether its achievable and even desirable, if it leads to job cuts or harms the quality of care, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine.


Now it’s Warren versus two Trumps

After U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others raised concerns about Ivanka Trump’s unofficial role in her father’s White House, the Trump administration announced yesterday that Ivanka will indeed become an official government employee, presumably having to adhere to government ethics laws, as the NYT reports. In a letter to the Office of Government Ethics prior to the White House action, Warren had urged federal officials to clarify what ethics rules the first daughter will be required to comply with, reports Shannon Young at MassIve. 


The biggest driver of inequality in Massachusetts? Education, says economist

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the BBJ: “As the cost of college rises, a Federal Reserve Bank economist said Wednesday, the necessity of obtaining an advanced degree for earning potential has contributed to Boston’s income inequality – ranked most unequal in the nation last year by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Forum.” Mary Burke, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said the “biggest disparity” is between those with college and advanced degrees versus those with only a high school or less education.


Quincy’s ‘barely a Democrat’ mayor sings the praise of Baker

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, who tells the Herald he’s “barely a Democrat” and who endorsed Charlie Baker for governor last time around, is singing praises of Baker that sound like something right out of Massachusetts Republican Party hymn book. “I am proud of the work the governor’s done and the leadership he’s provided, and without a lot of noise,” Koch said on Herald radio.

Boston Herald

Optometrists see a more simple bill as the path to passage

On another health-care front, via the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “The Massachusetts Society of Optometrists have embarked on a campaign to get legislation passed that would allow optometrists to treat glaucoma. The legislation isn’t new — this is the sixth time the society has proposed similar legislation. This time, (Dr. Matthew) Forgues said it’s a more simple bill that removes opiate prescribing language.”


NBCUniversal plans $125M regional HQ in Needham

From the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “Three months after launching a new station to serve the Boston market, NBCUniversal is moving ahead with another big local investment: a $125 million regional headquarters in the Needham Crossing office park. The Comcast subsidiary is advancing plans to join the CSN sports group in Burlington with the local NBC, NECN, and Telemundo crews that are currently across the Charles River in Newton.”

Boston Globe

GateHouse to lay off 49 in Framingham

In other media news: GateHouse Media, owner of hundreds of newspapers that include the MetroWest Daily News and Cape Cod Times, has previously announced it plans to close its Framingham printing operations. But the BBJ’s David Harris has the number of employees who will lose their jobs as a result of the consolidation: 49. He has the details.


Santander to pay $22M for ‘unfair and unaffordable’ car loans

s In a deal with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, Santander has agreed to pay $22 million to Massachusetts and its residents to settle a case over ‘unfair and unaffordable auto loans,’ according to a report at WBUR. “Santander predicted that many of the loans would default, and allegedly knew that the reported incomes, which were used to support the loan applications submitted to the company by car dealers, were incorrect and often inflated,” according to a statement from Healey’s office.


Tufts nurses authorize one-day strike

TFrom the Globe Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: The union that represents nearly 1,200 nurses at Tufts Medical Center said it voted on Wednesday to authorize a one-day strike unless it can resolve a contract dispute with the hospital.”

Boston Globe

Bray: We lost our Internet privacy years ago

The Globe’s Hiawatha Bray isn’t happy with the GOP’s plan to unleash Internet providers to collect private data on Internet users and sell it to advertisers. But let’s face it, he says: “Even if the now-doomed regulations had been left in place, they didn’t apply to the social networks, search services, and advertisers that have kept us under ceaseless surveillance for years.”

Boston Globe

‘Gov. Baker will be going under the buzzer again’

Yes, Gov. Baker is getting his now annual crew cut for charity, reports the Patriot Ledger. It’d definitely for a good cause.

Patriot Ledger

GE’s Immelt rebukes Trump’s climate stance

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is making it clear he doesn’t agree with President Trump’s stance on climate change, issuing an internal memo to declare that GE will follow its own directives on the issue and urging other major companies to do the same, Edward Isaac-Dovere reports in Politico, citing a blog post penned by Immelt on Wednesday. “Companies must have their own ‘foreign policy’ and create technology and solutions that address local needs for our customers and society,” Immelt wrote. 

‘Genius Asian Egg Donor Wanted’

Only at MIT, only in MIT’s student newspaper – an ad for a ‘Genius Asian Egg Donor,’ for a couple who want to start a family and are willing to pay $20,000 to get one going. 

Universal Hub

BU researcher hired to merge human brains with computers

Still on the subject of geniuses, a Boston University researcher has been hired by an Elon Musk venture that plans to merge human brains with computers, reports Dylan Martin at BostInno. From Dylan: “As WSJ reported, Musk’s new company is developing what it calls ‘neural lace’ technology, which involves ‘implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.’”


Today’s Headlines


Did Pornhub actually plow snow in Boston? – Boston Magazine

Who owns Boston’s waterfront? The case for protecting a priceless public realm – WBUR

Two years in, turnout is low for Kennedy Institute – Boston Globe

BPD to use mideast conflicts as training to fight US terror – Boston Herald


UMass hire’s Chattanooga’s Matt McCall as new men’s basketball coach – MassLive

Horse-racing expert blasts proposed Spencer complex as ‘smoke and mirrors’ – Telegram & Gazette

ACLU wins legal fees in fight against Worcester panhandling law – Telegram & Gazette

In race for mayor, top spenders in Mass. often have an edge – MetroWest Daily News

So far, no ICE raid, despite Brockton lawmaker’s warning – Brockton Enterprise

Lowell city manager’s honeymoon is over, declares city councilor – Lowell Sun

Salem City Council passes ‘sanctuary for peace’ – Salem News

Developer plans to file plans next week for Walmart Supercenter in Pittsfield – Berkshire Eagle

Gov. Baker boosts funding for early education – Boston Globe


Trump’s agenda now rests squarely in the hands of Mitch McConnell and the Senate – Washington Post

Senate panel vows full investigation of Trump’s Russia ties – New York Times

Seattle sues Trump over ’sanctuary cities’ – Politico

Trump has successfully created an alternate-reality – Washington Post

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