Marathon public safety exercise
MEMA and the Boston Athletic Association, along with the eight municipalities that host the Boston Marathon, conduct a ‘large-scale functional exercise’ with local, state and federal agencies, Multi-Agency Coordination Center, MEMA Headquarters, 400 Worcester Rd., Framingham, starting at 8 a.m.
Jobs for Mass
Senate President Stan Rosenberg attends the monthly Jobs for Mass meeting, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 8:30 a.m.
Public Service Committee
Joint Committee on Public Service holds a hearing on bills dealing with cost of living adjustments and legislation filed by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, Treasurer’s Office, and Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System, Room A-2, 11 a.m.
Local Government Advisory Commission
Mayors and local officials will hear an update from the Baker administration on state finances and the implications of proposed federal budget cuts at a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, Room 157, 1 p.m.
Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee
The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight holds a hearing on numerous bills, including a Rep. Byron Rushing resolve resolve that would create a commission to investigate the ‘features of the official seal and motto of the commonwealth including those which have been controversial or misunderstood or are no longer meaningful to the citizens,’ Room B-1, 1 p.m.
Marathon bombing book
WMEX talk show host Michele McPhee appears on WBUR’s ‘Radio Boston’ to talk about her new book, ‘Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
The UMass Board of Trustees’ Committee of the Whole meets, with an agenda featuring reports from the chair and UMass President Martin Meehan, along with a ‘University of Massachusetts Boston Update,’ UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston, 4 p.m.
House budget: Yes to assessments (sort of), no to Airbnb tax
House budget leaders yesterday unveiled their own $40.328 billion state budget at the State House. At WBUR, Martha Bebinger takes a close look at how the House plan effectively allows the Baker administration to proceed with its controversial proposal to slap some employers with a new health-care assessment, but House members are not giving specific financial guidance to the administration on the measure. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more on the assessment front.
Meanwhile, SHNS’s Matt Murphy has an excellent piece (pay wall) that breaks down the House budget into digestible components, including how the House plan left out Gov. Charlie Baker’s call to start taxing short-term room rentals through websites like Airbnb.
The Boston Globe notes that the House budget also nixed a plan by the governor to rein in health care spending by capping the prices charged by expensive hospitals. The Boston Herald reports how the House budget doesn’t include any broad-based tax increases. “Major changes, however, largely come on the health care front, offering insight to how leaders in the State House intend to approach scaling back the rising costs to the state,” as the Herald reports.
Mitt’s Senate hopes dashed by Hatch and Trump
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch yesterday said that he plans to run for re-election, putting the kibosh on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s hopes to fill Hatch’s seat had the long-time senator opted to retire, reports Talking Points Memo. Curiously, Hatch, a Republican, said that President Trump, who’s no fan of Mitt Romney, was “all over me to run again.” So Mitt’s harsh attacks last year against Trump came back to haunt him?
Mitt’s ‘binders full of women’ found
As the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan notes, it’s not exactly the same as finding an original copy of the Magna Carta or the Pentagon Papers, but a former aide to Gov. Mitt Romney has, in fact, stepped forward with an actual copy of the ‘binders full of women’ that Romney awkwardly bragged about during the 2012 presidential race, i.e. 15 pounds of cover letters, resumes and handwritten notes related to women applying for state-government jobs.
Amherst considers the largest town council in U.S. history
How they got from 13 council members to 60 council members, we’re not quite sure. But Diana Lederman at MassLive is sure about this: If Amherst ultimately adopts the recommendations of a commission, Amherst would have the largest town council in the country.
‘A come-to-Jesus moment for Marty Meehan’
The UMass board of trustees may get an earful today from supporters of Keith Motley, the embattled UMass-Boston chancellor who’s stepping down amid financial woes and concerns he’s being used as a scapegoat to cover up a board failure to oversee the Boston school’s troubled finances, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson. Supporters are demanding answers from the board and from UMass president Marty Meehan, in particular. “Hopefully they’ve been paying attention to the public outcry,” said Tony Van Der Meer, a professor of Africana Studies at UMass Boston. “This should be a come-to-Jesus moment for Marty Meehan.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker also wants explanations about UMass-Boston’s $30 million deficit, via Mike Deehan at WGBH: “The big question I think a lot of people have is ‘how did we get to where we are?’” Baker said in an interview.
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi takes a look at the years-long expansion at UMass-Boston and wonders if the school has lost touch with collegiate reality: “Those new state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories and a first-ever dorm are supposed to make UMass Boston better for everyone. Yet the university could be compromising its basic mission to provide urban students with a local, high-quality college education.”
Motley will continue to collect his $355K salary while on sabbatical
Don’t shed too many tears for Keith Motley. From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “J. Keith Motley may be stepping down as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston in June, but he’ll continue to get the same salary he made as head of the school over the next year. Motley will remain at his current base salary, $355,059, for his upcoming one-year sabbatical, per the terms of his employment agreement with the institution, UMass spokesman Jeff Cournoyer confirmed.”
Controversial proposals back on the T table
Facing a projected budget gap, the MBTA board later this week will be mulling rehashed staff budget proposals that include “unspecified weekend commuter rail cuts, proposals to provide paratransit service at less cost, and the acceptance of alcohol advertising,” reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. Not all the proposals will win approval, but they do point to the bind the MBTA finds itself in, Mohl writes.
Muslim cemetery court case over, but Dudley drama drags on
Selectmen in Dudley say the town has upheld its part of a settlement agreement to allow a Muslim cemetery and now want the state’s land court to declare the case closed—even as town officials continue to wage a war of words with an attorney for Islamic Society of Greater Worcester. Debbie LaPlaca of the Telegram reports that one board member plans to appear on WBZ radio later this week to respond to unspecified comments about the town recently made by the society’s attorney.
Mayoral election season kicks off in Lawrence and Gloucester
Six people have pulled nomination papers indicating they will run for mayor of Lawrence, reports Keith Eddings at the Eagle-Tribune, including incumbent Daniel Rivera and former mayor William Lantingua. A member of the city council, a supervisor in the city’s public works department and an outspoken police officer are also potential candidates.
Meanwhile, Gloucester Mayor Romeo Theken says she will seek another two-year term, saying she wants to continue work under way to reorganize city government and enhance the city’s profile as a tourist destination, reports the Gloucester Times. Other candidates took out papers for council seats in the city.
New Bedford councilor reveals he was victim of sexual abuse
New Bedford City Councilor Kerry Winterson transformed a routine proclamation into a moving personal disclosure as he spoke publicly for the first time about being sexually abused as a teenager, Aimee Chiavaroli of the Standard-Times reports. “If I can help one person or anyone else … that’s why I’m here today,” said Winterson, who is 53 and was not originally scheduled to speak at the City Hall event.
Tackling ed-funding formula: ‘It’s a messy change’
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz yesterday outlined her bill to update the state’s 24-year-old school funding formula, an idea that appears to be gaining some traction on Beacon Hill, reports the Herald’s Meghan Ottolini. Chang-Diaz called the current Foundation Budget formula “broken” and “out of date.”
But as Tonya Mosley at WBUR reports, reforms are easier said than done. Kenneth Ardon, an economist at Salem State University, cautions that there’s a “reason the formula has been mostly unchanged” over the years: “It’s a messy change.”
It’s Putin’s nationalism, stupid
OK, we’re temporarily veering off all things Massachusetts to address this question that’s been bugging us for a while now: Why the sudden lovefest between some American conservatives and authoritarian Russia? Christopher Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, takes a (sympathetic) stab at answering the question, with his explanation coming roughly down to this: Putin’s nationalism appeals to those opposed to progressives’ push for more globalized governance. We stumbled upon the piece via the NYT’s new ‘Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss,’ an interesting feature by the newspaper. As for Caldwell’s piece, we winced at some of the things he writes, but he seems on target with the nationalism argument. … OK, now back to all things Massachusetts.
Here comes summer – and summer bridge construction woes
Expect a summer of major car and MBTA travel disruptions as a result of the state’s two-phase replacement of the structurally deficient Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, both this summer and next, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. Mohl has the details and there’s more at DOT’s web site on the project.
Baerlein unveils his new ‘virtual agency’
After breaking up with his former PR-firm partners Larry Rasky and Ann Carter, Joe Baerline is unveiling his own new ‘virtual agency’ that relies on a star-studded team of experts peforming more like hired consultants than full-time agency employees. The Globe has the details.
In Pittsfield, DPU gets an earful on Eversource rate hike
City leaders, business owners, residents and Attorney General Maura Healey were among those who slammed Eversource’s proposed $300 million rate hike during a Department of Public Utilities hearing in Pittsfield Monday, Carrie Saldo of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Businesses in western Massachusetts will see some of the highest rate hikes, while Pittsfield’s mayor said the increase would punch a $1.3 million hole in the city’s budget.
Now hear this: Rare bipartisan consensus on hearing aids
This might come as a shock to some of you: There’s actual bipartisan support in Washington for reducing regulations on the sale of hearing aids, in the hopes of getting higher-quality, less-expensive devices to a wider number of people, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane.
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