Supreme Judicial Court hears the cases of 135 Wells Avenue LLC v. Housing Appeals Committee, Beacon Residential Management LP v. Kaylem Pipkin, Kiribati Seafood Company LLC v. Dechert LLP, Bharanidharan Padmanabhan v. Board of Registration in Medicine, and Virginia Smith v. the City of Westfield, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, 2nd Floor, Pemberton Sq., Boston, 9 a.m.
Healey on education and public service
Attorney General Maura Healey speaks about the importance of education and public service at Citizens School event, 308 Congress St., Boston, 9 a.m.
Hodgson, Curtatone on sanctuary cities
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and others discuss sanctuary city policies in a panel during a UMass School of Law immigration symposium, 333 Faunce Corner Rd., Dartmouth, 10 a.m.
Environment Massachusetts report
Environment Massachusetts releases a new report that presents city by city data on air pollution, State House steps, 10:30 a.m.
Massachusetts’ 16 regional tourism councils host their annual Tourism Day at the State House in partnership with the Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee and the Office of Travel and Tourism, Great Hall, 11 a.m.
Goldberg on financial literacy
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg speaks at a Citizens Bank event announcing $535,000 in donations to financial literacy programs at 15 Massachusetts nonprofits, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.
Digital Health Council
Massachusetts Digital Health Council, which is charged with helping set policy for the digital health industry, meets behind closed doors at the Vertex Headquarters, 50 Northern Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.
New international airline
Gov. Charlie Baker joins Massport CEO Thomas Glynn to announce that Avianca, a Colombian carrier, will start regular flights out of Logan Airport, Local Airport, Terminal E, 12 p.m.
Motley out at UMass-Boston
Amid mounting financial woes at his school, the University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley has announced he’s stepping down at the end of the academic year, reports the Globe’s Laura Krantz. The move comes after Motley met with UMass president Marty Meehan, who’s already brought in the former president of Bowdoin College to run day-to-day operations at the Dorchester campus. SHNS’s Michael Norton at WGBH reports that Motley will take a year’s sabbatical and then return to campus to teach. NBC Boston has more on the changing of the guard at UMass-Boston.
Of defects and delays …
CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has previously reported about the defects in the T’s 40 new commuter rail locomotives – and this morning the Globe’s Nicole Dungca writes how the defects have “left the system without enough trains to provide full service,” causing rail commuters to endure yet another round of delays.
Bogota, here we come
From the BBJ’s David Harris: “You’ll soon be able to fly directly from Boston to Bogota. Logan International Airport officials as well as Gov. Charlie Baker are expected to announce on Thursday nonstop flights to Bogota via Avianca, a Colombia-based airline, starting in June.”
Tito Jackson apologizes for grasping arm of WGBH reporter
The general manager of WGBH News shot off a quick letter of protest yesterday to mayoral candidate Tito Jackson for grasping and then pushing aside the arm of a station reporter who was asking him a question about his past work as a pharmaceutical salesman, reports WGBH. Jackson later called the station to apologize. “I’m sorry,” Jackson is reported to have said. “I really respect the long-term relationship with the station and I should have picked up the phone and apologized from the get-go.”
Meanwhile, Evans on WGBH calls on Tito to stop politicizing police
Tito Jackson was catching flak from another WGBH front yesterday. Besides his arm-grasping tussle with a WGBH News reporter, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans was on WGBH’s ‘Greater Boston’ last evening calling on Jackson to stop politicizing his department, WGBH also reports.
A pundit civil war, of sorts, has broken out at CommonWealth magazine over Sean Mulkerrin’s recent passing shot at former House Speaker Sal DiMasi and Jame Aloisi’s contention it was a cheap shot against a truly progressive leader.
State tax receipts fall short in March, budget gap widens to $220M
The odds of another round of budget cuts increased yesterday after the Department of Revenue reported that state tax revenues were off last month by $81 million, expanding the budget gap to $220 million with just three months left in the fiscal year. The Department of Revenue has a breakdown of the monthly tax receipts, while Matt Murphy at State House News Service (pay wall) notes how the Baker administration has previously said it wasn’t ruling out more budget cuts if March numbers were disappointing.
Rosenberg on taxes: For, for and against
On the same day DOR was reporting bad news on tax revenues, Senate President Stan Rosenberg was talking taxes at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event. The news media has taken so many different angles to Rosenberg’s speech that we’ll try to summarize them here: He’s for the millionaire’s tax (BBJ), for a service tax (SHNS–pay wall), against a sales tax cut (MassLive). CommonWealth magazine has posted the full text of Rosenberg’s remarks.
Rosenberg in favor of pot tax money for addiction
Speaking of the Senate president and taxes, Stan Rosenberg is also voicing support for using some of the state’s future pot-tax revenue for addiction programs, joining House Speaker Robert DeLeo in pushing for that course of action, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.
Bullseye: DOR’S sales tax move likely to draw swift legal challenge
One last item on taxes: The Department of Revenue’s new policy that would allow the state to start collecting sales taxes from out-of-state online retailers is likely to attract a court challenge, reports the Globe’s Curt Woodward. And the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports one potential challenger might be the trade group NetChoice, which has brought lawsuits in South Dakota and Tennessee against similar tax moves in those states.
Healey defends DuBois, sort of, on ICE raid warning
Attorney General Maura Healey defended state Rep. Michelle DuBois’ right to issue a warning that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were planning a raid in Brockton last week, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Assuming Healey was talking about free-speech rights, it’s not much of a defense of DuBois, whose warning turned out to be based on false rumors.
Meanwhile, Healey said Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson was wrong to say DuBois’ move was criminal. “People are entitled to First Amendment protection,” she said. Healey added the heated rhetoric of Hodgson and other Trump followers was making it harder for law enforcement to do its job. “Unfortunately, we have a situation where a lot of needless fear and anxiety is created.”
Background checks bounce 51 sexual offenders from driving for ride-hailing firms
The state’s new background checks for ride-hailing drivers seem to be working, as more than 8,000 drivers were denied licenses to operate here, as reported by Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR. While the vast majority of license denials were tied to driving-related charges, data also shows rejections stemmed from more serious offenses – including 51 applicants registered as sex offenders, 1,110 for having violent-crimes records, 152 with OUI convictions and 342 charged with felony fraud, according to a Department of Public Utilities chart of data accompanying Enwemeka’s piece.
Sanctuary State, anyone?
From WGBH’s Mike Deehan: “As the Trump administration cracks down on illegal immigration, there’s mounting pressure for Massachusetts to enact so-called sanctuary policies at the state level. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone told the crowd of several hundred who gathered to lobby lawmakers that the nation is in crisis and now is the time to pass legislation to make Massachusetts “a sanctuary state.”
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Maria Cramer reports how Sen. Jamie Eldridge, who has previously filed Safe Communities Act bills on Beacon Hill, is “more optimistic than ever” that the legislation can pass this year, even though Gov. Baker has expressed his opposition to the idea and House Speaker Robert DeLeo hasn’t stated his position on the measure.
Diehl candidacy could hurt Baker if it energizes Dem base
State Rep. Geoff Diehl’s move to possibly run against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren could end up hurting Republican Charlie Baker’s re-election bid next year, the Herald’s Matt Stout reports. “To the extent that Warren gets a lot of attention and a Republican candidate raises and spends a lot of money, you have to worry that Warren will crank up Democratic turnout,” said Republican strategist Rob Gray.
SJC to Finneran: No pension for you
From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “The Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Wednesday that disgraced House Speaker Thomas Finneran is not eligible for his state pension because of his conviction for lying under oath. Justice Barbara Lenk wrote on behalf of the court that Finneran’s crime was ‘inextricably intertwined with his position’ as Speaker of the House, and therefore he does not deserve to get his state pension.” The Herald is reporting that the ruling is forcing some number-crunching on how much in back retirement payouts Finneran may owe the state. He was receiving a $33,000-a-year pension.
Can you pass the salt and pepper and Green Line extension, please?
Remember that National Governor’s Association dinner in February in which Gov. Baker sat next to Ivanka Trump? On his other side was Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who apparently got a dinner-time earful from Baker on the merits of the Green Light extension – the same project that won federal financial approval earlier this week, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout.
Walker: The state’s high jobless benefits put unemployment fund at risk
Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ron Walker is warning that a recession could jeopardize the solvency of the state’s unemployment insurance fund – and the state’s highest-in-the-nation benefits are largely to blame, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at WWLP. “While rates are frozen and claims volume is low, the Massachusetts maximum benefit rate continues to rise and currently sits at a national high of $722 per week,” Walker said at a budget hearing yesterday.
Meanwhile, more than 150 destitute millionaires collect unemployment benefits in Massachusetts
They may not be causing the unemployment insurance fund’s structural problems. But they’re certainly not helping. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “In 2014, the most recent year for which IRS data is available, 160 tax filers with an annual adjusted gross income of $1 million or more collected unemployment benefits in Massachusetts.”
The no-ad zone: Wayfair, Constant Contact pull ads from ‘O’Reilly Factor’
Two local firms, Wayfair and Constant Contact, have joined other companies in pulling advertising from Fox News’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ due to numerous sexual harassment allegations against host Bill ‘The No-Spin Zone’ O’Reilly, Dylan Martin reports at BostInno. The number of local firms yanking their ads climbs to three, if you count Paris-based Sanofi, owner of Cambridge’s Sanofi Genzyme, as the BBJ reports.
Not so fast, Framingham
Opponents of Framingham’s efforts to convert to a city form of government began the process of asking for a recount after the government-change question passed by less than 1 percent of the votes cast on Tuesday, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Residents who had formed a ballot committee to campaign against the switch pulled the required papers Wednesday and have until 10 days after election day to formally request a recount.
Medical pot funds puff up state coffers
Massachusetts collected $7.2 million in fees from the four-year-old legal medical marijuana program, while spending just under $3 million to administer and oversee the industry, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. Revenue is expected to double this year, as the number of patients authorized to purchase medical weed continues to grow and now stands at just under 40,000 statewide.
… as Stoughton becomes latest ‘No’ town
Meanwhile, voters in Stoughton have made that community the latest to adopt an outright ban on recreational marijuana shops, Paula Volger of the Brockton Enterprise reports.
Cambridge ups affordable housing requirement for new developments – Universal Hub
A park beneath the I-93 overpass will open in June – Boston Magazine
Motley to step down as UMass Boston chancellor – Boston Globe
New study finds market for engineered wood products in Mass. – Hampshire Gazette
April Fool’s storm adds to local budget woes – Eagle-Tribune
Trump immigration actions prompt renewed call for Mass. Safe Communities Act – WGBH
Provincetown voters back affordable housing bylaw – Cape Cod Times
AG Healey praises Taunton overdose response – Taunton Gazette
Paid internships could help eliminate workforce skills gap, Baker administration says – MassLive
Rosenberg: We are no longer rolling in dough – CommonWealth Magazine
GE reportedly looking to sell its consumer lighting business – Boston Business Journal
Stoughton won’t go to pot—voters ban marijuana shops – Brockton Enterprise
Straus: Baker to name MassDevelopment state pier manager – Standard-Times
GOP and Democrats set to collide on filibuster – New York Times
Mega-donor urged Bannon not to resign – Politico
Legal marijuana advocates are uneasy with Sessions’ stance – NPR
High school journalists land a scoop and the principal resigns – New York Times
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