The House today begins its week-long deliberations on the House Ways and Means Committee’s $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 budget, with tax policy amendments first up for consideration, House Chamber, 10 a.m.
National Cyber Crime Conference
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office hosts the National Cyber Crime Conference from Monday through Wednesday, with sessions starting this morning, Four Points by Sheraton, 1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike, Norwood.
New Democratic Coalition
Members of the New Democrat Coalition, including the group’s chairman, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, and Rep. Seth Moulton, will speak to some of the region’s top business leaders at a breakfast hosted by the New England Council, WilmerHale, 26th Floor, 60 State St., Boston, 9 a.m.
Lyons-Lombardo health plan
Republican state Reps. James Lyons and Marc Lombardo hold a press conference to detail their Lyons-Lombardo Healthcare Plan, which seeks to control spending growth in MassHealth, Room 443, 10:30 a.m.
Marijuana Policy Committee
The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy holds its final public hearing to accept testimony on marijuana bills previously not addressed at prior hearings, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 11 a.m.
Wage theft press conference
Attorney General Maura Healey, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and workers’ advocates hold a press conference to call for passage of “An Act to Prevent Wage Theft and Promote Employer Accountability,” Room 222, 12 p.m.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visit Quincy for an announcement on affordable housing, with Housing and Economic Development secretary Jay Ash, undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay, Sen. Joe Boncore and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch attending, Watson Apartments, 116 East Howard St., Quincy, 2 p.m.
UMass-Boston’s very own ‘Big Dig’ problem
The Globe’s Laura Krantz has all the back-and-forth emails between University of Massachusetts bigwigs about who should pay for a “dangerously unstable” underground parking garage that sits beneath UMass-Boston’s central plaza and many buildings. The price tag to demolish the garage and attached buildings: $150 million to $260 million. The Globe’s Adrian Walker says the whole controversy is “symbolic of something larger” at UMass-Boston: “Not for the first time, UMass Boston is being treated as a political stepchild. If the garage were at UMass Amherst, the university’s de facto flagship, this would get resolved in a month. Instead, the crisis is allowed to endlessly fester.”
Warren’s 2020 brand building
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren may say she’s not running for president in 2020, but her busy nationwide schedule sure points to 2020 brand-building campaign, he notes.
Massie joins Dem gubernatorial race
Robert Massie, a former candidate for lieutenant governor and briefly a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is throwing his hat into the Democratic gubernatorial ring, both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are reporting this morning. Massie is a longtime environmentalist and is joining former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez and Newton Mayor Setti Warren in the Democratic primary for governor.
Tito’s campaign manager bails
Tito Jackson’s mayoral campaign, running on financial and political fumes at this point, has now lost its campaign manager, Charles Onwuche, a Washington consultant who joined the Tito team in January. The Herald’s Jack Encarnacao writes the loss is a “sign of weakness Jackson can ill afford as he struggles to raise the funds needed to compete with powerful incumbent Mayor Martin J. Walsh.”
The highs and lows of taxing pot
State Sen. Patricia Jehlen, co-chair of the legislature’s marijuana policy committee, may want to keep marijuana taxes low in order to kill the black market for pot, as the Globe reported late last week. But Treasurer Deb Goldberg thinks the state should raise its taxes on marijuana to 15 percent “at a minimum,” rather than go along with the 3.75 percent rate as called for in Question 4, reports Michael Norton at SHNS (pay wall).
Meanwhile, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports how a Waltham security firm and other companies are all excited about the business prospects of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts.
Dukakis and Wu: Winthrop Square’s shady deal puts profits over public-space protection
Former Gov. Michael Dukakis and City Council president Michelle Wu are not happy at all about the process that may allow the Winthrop Square tower to be built, despite concerns that its shadows would further darken Boston Common. “From setting limits on private cow-grazing on the Common in 1646, to prohibiting building structures or streets through the park in 1877, to securing national landmark protection in 1987, previous generations diligently enacted legislation meant to forever guarantee the rights of future Bostonians to enjoy this historic and sacred space,” the two write at the Boston Globe.
Twelve-hundred reasons why the House will be burning the midnight oil this week
The House begins budget deliberations today, tackling more than 1,200 budget amendments that are expected to keep lawmakers busy through the evenings this week, the AP is reporting at WCVB. One of those amendments would slap a “sugar tax” on soft drinks, an idea pushed repeatedly by former Gov. Deval Patrick, to no avail, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall).
Encouraging revenue signs
Knock on wood, but it appears state tax collections over the first half of April were quite strong, surging by 31 percent over last year’s numbers and marking a “break from the long-running pattern of slow growth,” reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Lowell Sun. But administration officials, as well as a director at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, are cautioning not to jump to any conclusions about whether the final monthly numbers will be enough to plug a looming budget gap.
Partisanship at the nonpartisan March for Science
Thousands of scientists, students and others gathered on Boston Common over the weekend in support of the sciences amid proposed environmental and research budget cuts by the Trump administration. Though touted as a nonpartisan event, WBUR reports that many of those gathered at the rally said “the election of President Trump had pushed them into attending and even paying more attention to politics.”
Vertex’s Leiden and other top biotech chiefs to meet at White House
Perhaps stung by recent criticisms of proposed NIH and other budget cuts, the Trump administration is planning a summit next month of leading biotech officials, including Vertex Pharmaceuticals chief executive Jeffrey Leiden of Boston, reports the BBJ’s Max Standahl, citing a story by Bloomberg News. Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner will attend the May 8 summit.
Former N.H. legislator alleges she was sexually abused at Phillips Academy
Another day, another sexual-abuse allegation against a prestigious New England boarding school. From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “A former New Hampshire state representative on Friday filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a teacher at Phillips Academy Andover sexually abused her when she was about 15, court filings show. Marie Sapienza, now an attorney in private practice in Hampstead, N.H., is seeking $5 million in damages in the suit, which alleges that in about 1982, Alexander Theroux, then an English teacher and writer-in-residence at Andover, groped her breasts and buttocks, according to the filings.”
‘No compelling vision for DCR’
Whitney Hatch, chairman of the DCR Stewardship Council, says the Baker has gotten a few things right at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, but not nearly enough things right. “Other than the warning to ‘stay out of the news and work as efficiently as you can with what budget we give you,’ I know of no compelling vision for DCR,” Hatch writes at CommonWealth magazine.
Tom Brady’s best buddy arrangement with Best Buddies
Not surprisingly, some fanatical Pats fan are standing by their man amid a report by the Globe’s Bob Hohler that Pats quarterback Tom Brady’s charitable trust has received more than $3 million in payments from the non-profit Best Buddies International, apparently in return for Brady’s help in raising $20 million for Best Buddies. The payments support Brady’s own charitable giving, which happens to include donations to his children’s private school and charities operated by his football pals. The Herald says news of the charity-to-charity arrangement is getting mixed reviews from fans.
Moulton to play local tourist guide to ‘New Democrat Coalition’ pols
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is serving as host-in-chief this week as members of the “New Democrat Coalition,” touted as a moderate and pro-growth group of Democrats, hits Boston today and tomorrow for a crash course on the state’s booming innovation- and entrepreneur-driven economy, Moulton’s office has announced. The group, whose first stop is a presentation this morning to the New England Council, includes Representatives Jim Himes of Connecticut, Terri Sewell of Alabama, Kathleen Rice of New York, Ami Bera of California, Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, Ron Kind is Wisconsin, and Stacey Plaskett of Virginia.
Anti Semitic incidents on the sharp rise in Massachusetts
From a report at WCVB: “Disturbing numbers show anti-Semitic attacks are on a record-setting track with Massachusetts seeing one of the biggest jumps nationwide, according to the Anti-Defamation League. According to a new report there were 125 incidents in Massachusetts in 2016, which is up from 50 the year before.”
State police fail to keep ‘no-knock’ permission vow
State police are failing to keep a vow made in 2016—after a misdirected SWAT raid—to ask a judge and not a clerk magistrate to approve no-knock raids, following the new protocol only once since then in Worcester County, Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports, citing a review of court documents. The agency is also continuing to conduct surprise raids to arrest suspected marijuana dealers, even after voters essential legalized the drug in November.
Dracut ordered to release evidence room audit
The state’s Supervisor of Public Records says the town of Dracut must release the results of an audit conducted in September into the handling of evidence at the police department, Todd Feathers of the Lowell Sun reports. The Sun formally requested a copy of the audit in February, after the Middlesex County DA ordered a review of all pending case evidence from the department.
State’s mercury efforts called lacking
Environmental groups say the state isn’t doing enough to prevent potentially dangerous mercury from entering the state’s landfills when homeowners replace old bulbs and thermostats, Christian Wade reports in the Eagle-Tribune. While other states offer financial incentives to encourage recycling of mercury-laden products, Massachusetts has relied mainly on self-policing by the home improvement industry.
Mass. sees steady drop in number of abortions since ACA passage
The number of abortions performed annually in Massachusetts is down 11 percent since 2010—the year that the Affordable Care Act began covering birth-control as a preventative service, Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press reports. The Bay State data mirrors national trends, with abortions on the decline, and also shows that more than half of all abortions, 57 percent, in 2015, were performed at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Another run at making ‘Roadrunner’ the state’s official song
Rep. Dave Linsky has filed a bill that would make Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lover’s “Roadrunner” the official state song, an effort that has stalled out in the legislature twice before, Fred Hanson of the Patriot Ledger reports. Previous backers of the move include the now-mayors of Boston and Weymouth, who floated the idea when they were in the legislature. Linksky represents Natick, Richman’s hometown.
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