Happening Today

Free rides on the Fairmont Line

MBTA tries to entice potential passengers to take a free ride on the Fairmount Commuter Rail line, starting today and continuing over the next two weeks, courtesy of U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who is contributing more than $50,000 for the free rides.

GE groundbreaking

Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt are expected to speak at a ceremony marking the groundbreaking for GE’s planned Innovation Point campus on Necco Street in the city’s Fort Point area, Necco Street, Boston, 8 a.m.

Aging in Massachusetts

The Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, established last month by Gov. Baker, meets to develop a plan to improve public and private efforts to ‘support healthy aging in Massachusetts,’ One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Markey press conference

U.S. Senator Edward Markey holds a press conference at Health Care For All with health care, seniors, disability, and substance abuse treatment advocates to discuss the impacts of the proposed GOP health care plan, One Federal Street, 5th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Senate Twitter town hall

The Senate holds a Twitter town hall, inviting residents to submit questions using the hashtag #MAconvos or by directing them to @MA_Senate on Twitter, Twitter, 12 p.m.

MassDOT and MBTA meeting

The Department of Transportation’s board of directors and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board hold a joint meeting, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor, Board Room, Boston, 12 p.m.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee

Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hearing on 19 bills dealing with addiction treatment, Room B-1, 1 p.m.

Judiciary Committee

Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing to review legislation, including Rep. Antonio Cabral’s bills to prohibit the use of state resources on agreements with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and to restrict the use of prison labor on out-of-state projects, such as President Trump’s planned Mexican-border wall, as Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has proposed, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 1 p.m.

Leadership meeting

Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito hold a private leadership meeting, House Speaker’s office, 2 p.m.

Baker, Walsh address chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speak at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, reception at 5 p.m. and speakers at 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Obama takes swipe at Congress over health-care repeal

Appearing in Boston to accept the JFK Library’s ‘Profile in Courage’ Award, former President Obama took shots at Congress and President Trump’s attempt to repeal Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller and Laura Krantz. “I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential — but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm,” Obama said.

The New York Times and the Washington Post also have stories on Obama’s criticisms of Congress and his White House successor (though he didn’t name names), based on Obama’s Boston speech. The Boston Herald’s Antonio Planas reports that a number of political big-wigs attended last evening’s affair, including former Gov. Deval Patrick, former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, former Vice President Joe Biden and … David Letterman? Yep, David Letterman.

Can Democrats retake the U.S. House?

Speaking of Congress and health care, the New York Times lays out why Democrats are increasingly optimistic that they can regain control of the U.S. House in 2018, thanks partly to House Republicans’ vote last week to gut ObamaCare. But the Washington Post lays out why, despite that optimism, Democrats can easily screw it up, thanks largely to internal party divisions and ideological purification campaigns. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is mentioned, in not so flattering terms, in the WaPo piece.

Countering the ‘scare tactics’ of millionaire-tax opponents

Sean Mulkerrin, an engagement fellow at the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, accuses Suffolk Construction’s John Fish and am accompanying BBJ editorial of engaging in “scare tactics” over the proposed ‘millionaires tax’ being pushed by unions and progressives.


Are Trump’s tax cuts to blame for cratering state tax revenues?

This doesn’t explain why state revenues, over the past few years now, have been gyrating up and down and every which way. But the Globe’s Evan Horowitz does have an interesting, and very plausible, explanation about why this April’s revenue numbers, in particular, were so off from projections: “The mere prospect of falling tax rates (as proposed by President Trump) has already started changing people’s behavior, encouraging them to hold stocks a bit longer or claim their income a bit later.”

Boston Globe

State budget woes could prompt new look at tax-exempt organizations

State lawmakers have multiple bills pending that would make it easier for cities and towns to collect payments-in-lieu-of-taxes from organizations that have generally been considered tax-exempt, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News—and those bills could be given legs by the state’s sudden budget crunch. Nonprofit groups say the move would be short-sighted and dent a key part of the state’s economic engine.

Salem News

Summers to Massachusetts: Don’t get cocky, kid

Ex-Harvard president and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, in an interview with the Globe’s Shirley Leung, thinks the state might want to think about spending more, not less, in order to maintain its economic competiveness. He says the state needs to invest in key areas such as health care, the infrastructure and education.

Boston Globe

Six more protesters arrested over natural-gas pipeline project

Following the arrest of 18 natural-gas pipeline protesters at Otis State Forest last Tuesday, Massachusetts State Police say an additional six protesters were arrested over the weekend for trespassing into restricted areas in Sandisfield, reports the Associated Press at WCVB.


Republican Berry formally enters Senate race, faces fundraising hurdle as state employee

Former Walpole Selectman Michael Berry officially joined the race for the state Senate seat vacated by now-Norfolk County Treasurer James Timilty, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. But Berry, an employee with the state department of transportation who is the first Republican to declare in the race, will be unable to directly raise funds for his campaign because he is a state worker, Hand notes. At least three Democrats have also said they’ll seek the seat in the special election this fall. 

Sun Chronicle

Actually, Curt Schilling lost credibility at long time ago

The Herald’s Steve Buckley says that former Red Sox star Curt Schilling is way off base and has lost credibility by asserting that Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was “lying” when he said last week that a Fenway fan hurled a racial insult at him. You have to read Curt’s full quote to believe it. Anyway, one quibble with Buckley’s piece: Schilling lost credibility a long, long time ago. This was just his latest outrageous remark and post-baseball antic. SNL’s Michael Che over the weekend made mince-meat of Curt’s Adam Jones comments, the Globe reports.

Northampton group’s out-of-the-box approach to addiction

This is probably not exactly what the Massachusetts Medical Society has in mind when it talks of establishing clinics where opioid addicts can shoot up under medical supervision. But the Soldier On veterans group in Northampton is indeed taking an unorthodox approach toward addiction – an approach that’s won the respect of local police despite the problems associated with its “regulation-averse” style. Sort of reminds us of the no-classrooms approach of the Sudbury Valley School. It’s worth trying.

Boston Globe

Vets group, if you can call it that, goes after Warren

The same Dracut veterans group that seems to spend a lot of time bashing Democrats – and appearing on Fox News – is going after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for allegedly ignoring vets’ suffering in the Bay State, reports the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao. The Veterans Assisting Veterans has sort of become a go-to group for reliably negative soundbites about Dems on issues loosely tied to veterans, such as immigration (Fox News) or, in today’s case, the demise of ObamaCare.

Boston Herald

Answering the call to duty – in high school

The U.S. military is stepping up its recruitment to meet higher enlistment goals – and Christian Yapor at Wicked Local takes a look at young high school students who are answering the call to duty, some of them even before they graduate, via the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). The kids are really dedicated, including Milford High School student Justine Trautwein, who next month heads to Marine Corps basic training.

Wicked Local

Not even close: Consultant told MassDOT that property sale was a near ‘certainty’

They didn’t quite predict that the planned sale of state-owned property on Kneeland Street was a ‘slam dunk,’ but it was close to it. Massachusetts Realty Group advised MassDOT last fall that the sale of the 5.5 acres on the edge of Chinatown was a near “certainty” due to its prime location, reports Matt Stout at the Herald. The result? No bidders. Not one. Massachusetts Realty apparently believed what it said, though, for its pay was tied to a commission only if the land was sold. The firm was that confident – and that off base.

Boston Herald

‘Last call is proving to be a tough call’

The Associated Press’s Bob Salsberg, writing at Boston.com, reviews the issues and players behind the effort to allow casinos in Massachusetts to serve liquor to gamblers until 4 a.m. Though the provision was tucked into the House-approved state budget, it faces a tough time in the Senate, as Salsberg notes.


No more Mr. Nice Guy: Get an E-ZPass or pay the penalty

From the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “Bay State drivers who failed to pick up an E-ZPass could get hit with more than double the toll charges along the Massachusetts Turnpike starting tomorrow, when state officials end a grace period meant to help cash-only customers adapt to electronic tolls.”

Boston Herald

Update on the increase in women entering politics post-Trump election

Gerry Tuoti at MetroWest Daily News has an update on the surge of women who are entering local politics following last November’s election of Donald Trump as president. He has the latest Emerge Massachusetts stats.

MetroWest Daily News

Presence already felt as GE breaks ground

As General Electric formally breaks ground today on its new Fort Point headquarters, the company has already begun to forge partnerships and make strategic donations to educational and cultural organizations, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports. The moves, which include a pledge of $50 million in donations from the GE Foundation, have not silenced opposition to the massive incentive package the city and state rolled out to attract the company. Protests are expected at today’s event.  

Boston Globe

Ashland CPA project caught in church-state debate

A plan to give the Ashland Federated Church $5,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to fix its sagging foundation led to a lengthy Town Meeting debate on whether the move crossed the line dividing church and state, Bill Shaner of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Although several Massachusetts communities have used CPA funds on church projects, such moves regularly spark backlash and opponents in Ashland argue a yet-unresolved court challenge over a similar project in Acton means the issue remains unsettled. The Ashland bid was eventually defeated by a narrow margin. 

MetroWest Daily News

Today’s Headlines


Even before GE breaks ground,it’s making inroads in Boston – Boston Globe

Quincy not plagued by rats as in previous two years – Patriot Ledger

Reps roll the dice on last call – Boston Herald


Tax-exempt property faces state scrutiny – Salem News

Airport to update city on plans for new airline Monday – Standard-Times

Legislators fast-tracking bill to allow Cawley site for Lowell High School – Lowell Sun

‘Needle Park’ renovations miss the mark, advocates for homeless say – Brockton Enterprise

Lawrence High School shelves its library – Eagle-Tribune

State welfare restrictions are cutting fraud – Eagle-Tribune

Berry enters Senate race – Sun-Chronicle

Appeals court: Judge wrongly dismissed Chelmsford recall suit – Lowell Sun

Can MassHealth take money from my estate after I die? – MassLive


China pitch by Kushner’s sister renews controversy over visa program for wealthy – Washington Post

Scientists dismissed by EPA; roles may go to industry – New York Times

White House health care victory short-lived as Russia probe looms – Politico

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