Happening Today

Immigrants’ Day

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition holds its annual Immigrants’ Day at the State House, Great Hall, 9 a.m.

Diehl announcement

State Rep. Geoff Diehl holds a press conference expected to center on a possible U.S. Senate run and his plans to open a federal campaign account, field behind Whitman Town Hall, 10 a.m.

Boston Marathon safety plan

Officials from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Boston Athletic Association, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police Department and FBI will discuss the public safety planning for the 121th Boston Marathon to be held on Monday, April 17, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Grand Ballroom foyer, 138 St. James Ave., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Senate and House in session

The Senate plans to meet in a formal session with action expected on the $200 million local road and bridge repair bill, while the House also meets in full session, 11 a.m.

Senate joint caucus

Senate Democrats and Republicans huddle behind closed doors in a joint caucus, Senate President’s office, 12 p.m.

ACLU executive director on the air

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

Gold Star Wives Day

Gov. Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker, Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Francisco Urena, Major General Gary Keefe and members of the Legislature participate in Gold Star Wives Day, Memorial Hall, 1:30 p.m.

South Coast rail hearing

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton, holds an oversight hearing on the ‘social, economic and environmental justice impacts’ of proposed changes to the South Coast Rail project, Room B-1, 2 p.m.

New England Patriots honored

House and Senate members honor the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win Pats representatives expected to bring along the championship Lombardi Trophy, 3 p.m.

Evans on the air

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans is a scheduled guest on ‘Greater Boston, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m. 

Walsh on the air

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is scheduled to make a regular appearance on ‘NightSide with Dan Rea,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

Today’s Stories

DOR moves to apply sales tax to more online retailers

By the look of it, this one is going to land in court, pronto. From the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “The state Department of Revenue just issued a directive telling out-of-state vendors to start collecting sales taxes on Massachusetts purchases on July 1. The requirement would kick in for many companies that sell more than $500,000 of goods annually here, effectively capturing out-of-state Internet retailers.” 

The move by the Baker administration, which has seen overall sales-tax revenues shooting up and (mostly) down of late, would raise $30 million next fiscal year, making brick-and-mortar retailers happy but almost guaranteeing a legal challenge tied to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, as Chesto notes.

Boston Globe

A city is born

By the slimmest of margins, voters in Framingham elected to start the process of transforming what has long been called the largest town in the country into a city. A proposed change to a new city form of government passed by just 105 votes out of some 11,000 cast, Jim Haddadin of the Metrowest Daily News reports, meaning a recount request from opponents is likely. Under the change, Framingham would migrate to a mayor/city council form of government over the next year, meaning those also elected selectmen on Tuesday will serve short, transitionary terms.

MetroWest Daily News

Brookline, you’re up

Meanwhile, Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub notes that Framingham’s conversion to a city means Brookline takes on the unofficial title of the country’s largest town—using the narrow definition of a community that follows the Town Meeting form of government. 

Universal Hub

Diehl: Warren ‘wants to rig the system to favor herself’

Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who’s seriously eying a challenge to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, indicated to the Herald yesterday that there’s no way he’s going to go along with Warren’s People’s Pledge on campaign financing, saying she’s already raised millions of dollars and just “wants to rig the system to favor herself.”

Boston Herald

Warren: ‘Gorsuch is actually more radical than Justice Scalia was’

Here’s why Elizabeth Warren is so effective at fundraising: She throws political red meat to her followers, such as an appeal sent out yesterday by her campaign committee blasting U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. “When it comes to the rules that protect public health and safety, Gorsuch is actually more radical than Justice Scalia was,” she writes. CommonWelath magazine has the campaign appeal posted at its web site.


Green light for Green Line

Big T news, via Bruce Mohlat CommonWealth: “The Green Line extension moved closer to reality on Tuesday, as the Federal Transit Administration said it agreed with the MBTA’s $2.289 billion cost estimate for the project and state officials came up with an extra $64 million to close the funding gap. … The FTA’s concurrence with the MBTA’s cost estimates isn’t the final step before the federal funds can be released for the project, but it’s pretty close.” Both the Globe and Herald are reporting as if the extension is now a go, after few other somewhat minor hurdles are cleared.

Tito once worked for drug maker. Next: Charlie once bought drugs from drug maker?

Turns out mayoral candidate Tito Jackson, who has made opioid drug addiction a major issue in his campaign, once was a pharmaceutical sales representative who legally sold an opioid — the morphine-based Kadian, reports the Globe. OK. That’s interesting. But are we now going to dig into whether Gov. Charlie Baker, as a former head of a major HMO, once ran an insurance company that legally may have/probably/undoubtedly paid for such opioid-based drugs? Just asking.

Boston Globe

Jackson going after police again

Speaking of Tito Jackson, after criticizing Boston Police Commissioner Williams Evans the other week, the mayoral candidate yesterday “ripped police brass last night for ‘revictimizing’ the parents of a 6-year-old Roxbury boy shot in a brazen nighttime ambush,” the Herald is reporting.

Boston Herald

Ad firm targeting women at abortion clinics settles with Healey

A local advertising firm that targeted women at abortion clinics with smartphone anti-abortion ads has agreed to stop sending such messages, as part of a settlement with Attorney General Maura Healey, reports Kelly O’Brien at the BBJ. As O’Brien writes, the phone advertising tactic is known as ‘geofencing’ and, if we may say so, it’s creepy. MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg has more.


Walsh to present $3.14B budget, up 4.8 percent

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh plans to propose today a $3.14 billion city budget, up about 4.8 percent over last year, in what Walsh is describing as a fiscally responsible spending plan that invests in key initiatives, reports both the Globe and the Herald.

Now medical pot dispensaries, not just pot retail shops, are caught up in uncertainty

The confusion over when retail marijuana sales will be allowed in Massachusetts is spreading to the medical marijuana industry, as towns balk at allowing dispensaries in their communities, fearing they’ll merely switch over to general retail sales one day, reports Dan Adams and Adam Vaccaro. 

Boston Globe

SJC tilting against feds in immigration debate

The Globe’s Milton Valencia writes that “several justices on Massachusetts’ highest court seemed to agree” yesterday that local police shouldn’t detain immigration violators on behalf of the feds. The Herald’s Bob McGovern is more blunt, noting how fed attorney Joshua Press was alone, so very alone, yesterday during a Supreme Judicial Court hearing: “No one else — not the assistant attorney general, the public defenders or the justices — seemed to buy the idea that state authorities can hang onto a person without something more than a request from immigration officials.”

Funeral services set for Sen. Donnelly

Funeral services have been announced for the late state Sen. Ken Donnelly, who died over the weekend after a long illness, the Arlington Advocate at Wicked Local reports. The wake will be held on Friday at the Arlington Town Hall Auditorium, 700 Massachusetts Avenue, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Saturday at St. Eulalia’s Church, 51 Ridge Street in Winchester, at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited. In lieu of flowers, Donnelly’s Senate office has suggested donations to: Arlington Youth Counseling Center at 670R Mass Ave., Arlington, 02146; Appalachian Mountain Club Youth Opportunities Program, 5 Joy St., Boston, 02108; or Greater Boston Legal Services, 197 Friend St., Boston, 02114.

Wicked Local

Senate eyes multi-year road bill to help cities and towns plan

File this under “why didn’t someone think of this before?” From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Lowell Sun: “Senate leaders are considering a multi-year local road and bridge repair financing bill that would give cities and towns the certainty around funding that they have been craving, and Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s open to the idea.”

Lowell Sun

Baker to file ‘foolproof’ cop assault bill

Gov. Charlie Baker is once again pushing a bill that would toughen the punishments for those convicted of assaulting and injuring police, but this time the bill is written in a “foolproof” that makes sure the new law isn’t abused, a top aide says. The Herald’s Matt Stout has the details.

Boston Herald

Will Tom Brady’s jersey be there too?

Yes, the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots will be honored today at a State House event in which Pats representatives will be presented with a citation by lawmakers. The team reps are also bringing along the championship Lombardi Trophy, a true selfies magnet for State House fans, we’re sure. 

SHNS (pay wall)

Trial proceeds on whether Springfield intentionally undervalued billboards and cell towers

This is very interesting, via Peter Goonan at MassLive: “A Hampden Superior Court judge ruled this week that a civil lawsuit filed by local taxpayers in 2013 accusing the city of intentionally undervaluing land with billboards, cell towers and cell antennae has merit for a jury trial. Judge Michael K. Callan, in a six-page ruling, denied a motion for ‘summary judgment’ filed by the city that sought to have the case decided in the city’s favor ahead of trial.”


Finally, teachers union wins OK to test Worcester schools for PCBs

After a years-long standoff between the teachers union and school officials, the state’s Employment Relations Board cleared the way for Worcester schools to be tested for the presence of dangerous PCBs, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports. The two sides had agreed to some testing, but could not come to terms on details. The decision by the board gives the union authority to conduct unilateral testing with its own environmental expert if it wants. 


Nasty bosses, expectant moms. Hmmm. Which side will lawmakers come down on?

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine that some women still face job harassment, discrimination and firing for being pregnant, but it obviously does happen, as the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development learned yesterday while taking testimony on the proposed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. 


That was easy: Staples’ shares soar on sale rumors

From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “Shares of Staples Inc. rose 15 percent in trading Tuesday morning after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was considering a sale. The Framingham-based office supplies retailer (Nasdaq: SPLS) has entered discussions with a small number of private equity firms, the Journal reported.”


Bad guys, beware: Springfield police unveil casino security plans

More than three dozen new officers trained in community policing will be assigned to the neighborhood around the MGM Springfield casino and start work months before the casino is slated to open its doors in the fall of 2018, Brian Steele of MassLive reports. Mayor Domenic Sarno said residents will have to worry less about crime anyway, because the area will be bustling. “The bad guys don’t want to be around a well-lit, clean area where there are a lot of people and a positive atmosphere.”


Today’s Headlines


Walsh to propose $3.14 billion budget to city council – Boston Globe

Tito Jackson slams BPD brass – Boston Herald

Aquarium softens opposition to Chiofaro waterfront tower – Boston Globe


Pittsfield schools budget slashing 73 positions heads to school committee – Berkshire Eagle

Why a war on drugs in Lawrence isn’t the answer and could create more problems – WBUR

Fewer foreclosures suggest homeowners in better shape – Salem News

Wollaston residents worry about 20-month T station closure – Patriot Ledger

Springfield police plan new public safety measures before MGM opening – MassLive

Seeds planted for Worcester farm zoning – Telegram & Gazette

Lawmakers consider bill requiring accommodations for pregnant workers – MassLive

Springfield taxpayers’ lawsuit claiming low values for billboards, cell towers gets OK for trial – MassLive

Lowell Council won’t put new high school decision before voters – Lowell Sun


Senate plunges toward historic, bitter showdown over Supreme Court nominee – Washington Post

Gorsuch’s writings borrow from other authors – Politico

O’Reilly sexual harassment furor intensifies – New York Times

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