Happening Today

Gaming Commission

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets and plans to discuss the Plainridge Park Casino New Employee survey report, receive quarterly reports from Wynn Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino, and gaming regulations, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Carnegie Medal

Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye, legislators and local officials participate in the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s presentation of the Carnegie Medal to the family of George Heath in recognition for his acts of bravery to protect others in Taunton last year, 50 Terrianne Drive, Taunton, 10 a.m.

Governor’s Council

Governor’s Council meets, with votes possible on the nominations of Mark Gildea to the Superior Court and Matthew McGrath to the District Court, Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m.

House vote on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The House takes up legislation and is expected to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, 11 a.m., roll calls start at 1:15 p.m.

Disabilities savings program

Gov. Baker and members of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority announce the launch of Attainable, a savings program for those with disabilities, Nurses Hall, 2:30 p.m.

Rosenberg addresses Taxpayers Foundation

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation holds its 84th annual meeting, with Senate President Rosenberg scheduled to speak at the closed-to-the-press event, 101 Huntington Ave., Boston, 4 p.m.

Israeli Independence Day

Gov. Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker and Consul General of Israel to New England Yehuda Yaakov participate in the Israeli Independence Day celebration, Great Hall, 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

The Comey Firing: ‘A political lynching’?

Only in Washington: A man hated by Democrats and loved by Republicans is now overnight being defended by Democrats and lambasted by Republicans. We’re talking, of course, of President Trump’s sudden firing yesterday of FBI director James Comey, prompting immediate criticisms that the Trump administration was trying to quash the ongoing probe into Russian ties to Trump associates and the 2016 election. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, said it’s time for “Congress to get their heads out of the sand” on the Russian matter, reports the Globe. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat, is comparing Comey’s ouster to the Watergate ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ reports CNN.

From the local punditry, the Globe’s Scot Lehigh: ‘Donald Trump has just pulled a Richard Nixon.’ The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld and Howie Carr are downplaying the Russian angle, though neither is shedding any tears for Comey. But the Herald’s editorial board is blasting the Trump move, calling it a clear ‘political lynching’ in a case that ‘cries out for a special prosecutor lest we truly become a banana republic.’

Polito distances herself from controversial state hire

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is denying she had anything to do with the hiring of the son of campaign donors, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). The son, one Anthony G. Virgilio, landed a cushy job at the office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton, a close Polito political associate, after Virgilio was charged with OUI and leaving the scene of an accident (and after he left his previous job as a court officer), as the Globe’s Frank Phillips originally reported.

Boston Globe

Baker talking with other governors about House health-care bill

Actually, it would be bigger news if Gov. Charlie Baker wasn’t talking with other governors about how to deal with the U.S. House’s gutting of ObamaCare, a move that could lead to the loss of billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds now going to Massachusetts and other states. But Baker is indeed talking with other governors and might even start ringing actual senators, reports Matt Murphy at State House New Service.

SHNS (pay wall)

Cambridge considers putting overdose drug in public

Officials in Cambridge are considering becoming the first city in the country to make the anti-overdose drug naloxone available publicly, using secure boxes that could be unlocked with codes received through a 911 call, Katharine Q. Seelye of the New York Times reports. The city recently ran a test of the setup, challenging passersby to follow the process to administer the drug to a mannequin. 


Earliest known recording of JFK released by Harvard

This is pretty cool: Harvard has found, and released, what it thinks is the earliest known recording of John F. Kennedy, speaking in 1937 at the age of 20 about President Franklin Roosevelt’s appointment of Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports Fred Thys at WBUR, which has the recording at its site. Kennedy’s long-ago voice sounds impressively mature for a 20-year-old.


No stopping it: Heart to Hub train keeps express status

The MBTA is backing off a plan to add stops to the year-old Heart to Hub commuter rail trips from Boston to Worcester in the evening, citing pushback from city officials and riders, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports. The T now says it will give the service more time to develop a ridership base before deciding whether to pursue additional stops.


This Bud’s for you: State regulators accuse Anheuser-Busch of tipping the wrong people

From Dan Adams at the Globe: “Massachusetts regulators Tuesday extended their crackdown on anticompetitive practices in the beer industry to the biggest target of all, Anheuser-Busch, saying the brewing giant gave illegal incentives worth nearly $1 million to hundreds of Boston-area bars and package stores to push sales of Budweiser and its other drinks while stifling those of other brewers.”

Boston Globe

Battle over sugary taxes anything but sweet

On another drinking front, public health advocates are once again pushing for a new state tax on sugary drinks (i.e. sodas) to “improve health, lower rates of preventable chronic disease and reduce health care costs over time,” as reported by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. But the Massachusetts Beverage Association says such a tax, based on the sugar content within individual types of drinks, would only harm local grocers and do “nothing to address the real cause of obesity and related conditions.”

Meanwhile, another tax is already on its way. Asma Khalid of WBUR notes that Massachusetts  will begin collecting sales taxes on additional online purchases—not just those from companies that have a physical presence in the state—starting on July 1.  


Moulton blasts state’s two-track plans for N-S tunnel and South Station expansion

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is ripping into transportation chief Stephanie Pollack’s comments that the state can, for now, proceed with planning for both a North-South rail tunnel and South Station expansion, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. Moulton, an ardent supporter of the North-South project, says the South Station project is a “massive waste of $2 billion.”  


Boston Latin ordered to hand over data in Harvard affirmative-action case

From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “In a victory for an anti-affirmative action group suing Harvard, a federal judge this morning ordered Boston Latin School to produce all data and ‘all internal communications’ related to any concerns at BLS about the racial composition of Harvard’s admission policies – and to have one of its officials made available to discuss the issue under oath.” Boston Latin had bitterly opposed turning over data, arguing it wasn’t party to the suit, which alleges discrimination against Asian-American applicants.

Universal Hub

Uber, Lyft and Everett mayor urge state to revise driver background checks

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are asking the state to revise its background-check rules for drivers, saying they punish drivers never technically convicted of motor-vehicle violations and go too far back in people’s driving histories, among other problems, writes the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro. Meanwhile, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria is also saying the background checks are too stringent, reports Jordan Graham at the Herald.

As its profits get shaved away, Gillette scrambles to counter Harry’s and other razor clubs

As much as you want to root for the home-town team, it’s hard to deny that Gillette, the Procter & Gamble razor maker based in Boston, has almost invited competitive trouble by charging so much for its multi-blade razor products. Now it’s desperately revamping its razor-club model to counter the growing popularity of Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, reports David Harris at the BBJ. 


Tribe objects to FERC’s ruling on tree cutting in Otis State Forest

Mary Serreze at MassLive reports that a Rhode Island Indian tribe is claiming federal regulators violated the law last month when they approved tree cutting in Otis State Forest for a natural-gas pipeline, saying regulators didn’t adequately consult with the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office about ceremonial stone landscapes in the forest.


Colleges object to proposed tax on endowment funds

Hey, we have an idea: As lawmakers contemplate slapping a 2.5 percent tax on private colleges’ endowment funds, those evil gold mines of money set aside mostly to fund current and future operations, maybe they should think of taxing the returns on the state’s own $60 billion pension system. After all, the pension fund serves roughly the same purpose as college endowment funds, i.e. money set aside for current and future expenses.  SHNS’s Colin A. Young at the BBJ has more on the endowment-tax proposal that critics call unconstitutional.


Rosenberg: Constitutional tax measure must come before education reform

From Matt Murphy at SHNS: “Senate President Stanley Rosenberg seemed to slam the door Tuesday on tackling significant education reform before the 2018 election, telling advocates that it would be a “mistake” to do anything that would distract from efforts to pass a ballot law next year to raise taxes on income over $1 million.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Think Revere is united in favor of ‘sancturary state’ legislation?

Think again Revere Councilor-at-Large George Rotondo may be a Democrat, but he’s most definitely not in favor of current Beacon Hill legislation that would declare Massachusetts a ‘sanctuary state.’ Simón Rios at WBUR reports how the issue is dividing the hard-scrabble city north of Boston. Meanwhile, Daniel Medwedat WGBH talks about the various sanctuary-state bills on Beacon Hill and their legal implications.


Public defenders push for bargaining rights in order to ‘move out of their parents’ homes’

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the BBJ: “Concerned about their ability to start families, buy homes and retain talented coworkers, attorneys who represent indigent clients urged lawmakers on Tuesday to give them the power to collectively bargain with their employer. ‘They don’t want to have to work two jobs,’ Jenn Coliflores told the Committee on Public Service. She said, ‘They want to move out of their parents’ homes.’” Lawmakers could have avoided this if they had paid the defenders decent salaries in the first place.

Gloucester Times

Taunton council takes pass on casino-racism claims

A divided Taunton City Council voted against taking an official stand in opposition to claims that residents fighting the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s First Light casino are “racists” and prejudiced against the tribe, Charles Winokoor of the Taunton Gazette reports. 

Taunton Gazette

Today’s Headlines


Cambridge may put anti-overdose drug in public boxes – Boston Globe

Ride-hailing co’s, Everett Mayor: Ride-hailing regs too onerous – Boston Herald

Small airline hopes to make a splash with flights to East River – Universal Hub


Easthampton school committee bans Confederate flag ‘at this time’ – MassLive

No new stops for Worcester’s Heart to Hub train – Telegram & Gazette

Worcester City Council backs $15 minimum wage by 2021 – Telegram & Gazette

Budget cuts did into clothes allowance for low-income children – Gloucester Times

Cape towns weigh cost of shark-spotting technology – Cape Cod Times

Dennis voters approve recreational pot retail ban – Cape Cod Times

The man who kept Wally the alligator in his West Springfield backyard for 26 years wants his remains – MassLive

Bars and packies got free equipment to push Budweiser, state says – Boston Globe


Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia – Politico

Echoes of Watergate in Trump’s decision – New York Times

Grand jury subpoenas issues in FBI Russia investigation – CNN

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