Happening Today

PRIM board meeting

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Pension Reserve Investment Management board, PRIM Headquarters, 84 State Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Fossil fuel investment protest

MassDivest coalition, which is calling for the state to divest its pension fund from fossil fuel companies, holds a protest outside the Pension Reserve Investment Management Board meeting, 84 State St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Springfield school tour

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Education Secretary James Peyser, Sen. Eric Lesser, Reps. Carlos Gonzalez and Angelo Puppolo, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno at the Forest Park Middle School in Springfield to tour the school and hear about their efforts as part of the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, 46 Oakland Street, Springfield, 10:30 a.m.

Senate budget

The Senate Ways and Means Committee holds an executive session to vote on its fiscal 2018 budget recommendation, with a press conference following the vote, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

Walsh on the air

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh talks on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

Western Mass. broadband

Gov. Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito for a tour celebrating the impact of broadband connectivity for small businesses in Western Massachusetts, 1854 Town Hall, 11 Main Street, West Stockbridge, 12:30 p.m.

Environment Committee

A bill that will be heard by the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture seeks to bring Massachusetts into the Paris Climate Agreement, Room B-1, 1 p.m.

Legal age to buy tobacco

Joint Committee on Public Health hears testimony on about 20 bills on public health matters, including Rep. Paul McMurtry’s bill that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m.

Cap on cash welfare benefits

A bill filed by Sen. Sal DiDomenico to lift the cap on cash welfare benefits for children conceived while the mother is on welfare is among 17 bills related to the Department of Transitional Assistance that will get a hearing before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, Hearing Room B-2, 1 p.m.

Trump Working Group

The House’s Trump Working Group, created by Speaker Robert DeLeo to consider the House’s response to the Trump administration, meets to hear from Jim Rooney of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, JD Chesloff of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and an ACLU official, Room 350, 1 p.m.

Senate special election deadline

Today is the deadline for candidates in the special election to succeed the late Sen. Kenneth Donnelly to submit nomination papers and voter signatures to town and city clerks, 5 p.m.

Healey talks Title IX

Attorney General Maura Healey, a former basketball co-captain at Harvard College and one-time professional player, talks about the impact of Title IX and remaining work ‘to end gender inequality in sports’ at a panel hosted by WBUR and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Knafel Center, Radcliffe Yard, 10 Garden St., Cambridge, 7 p.m.

Baker assists Hughes

Gov. Baker Is billed as a special guest at Quincy City Councilor Kirsten Hughes’ campaign kickoff; Hughes also chairs the state Republican Party, Common Market Restaurant, 97 Willard St., Quincy, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Senate budget: More of the same?

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has a “preview” of what might be in the proposed Senate budget that’s expected to be unveiled today. Actually, it’s more like a guess. Still, the foundation thinks the more liberal chamber may pursue some somewhat minor tax increases, such as a tax on soda and Airbnb rentals, but otherwise it will follow the general budget guidelines established by the House and Baker administration. Why? The reality of time, anti-tax sentiment on Beacon Hill and the uncertainty over state tax revenues, the report concludes.

The Herald’s editorial board is bracing for various tax-increase proposals. We’ll see later today.


Baker doesn’t take the Gonzalez bait on millionaire’s tax

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez yesterday chided Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, for not taking sides on the proposed $2 billion millionaire’s tax, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ. “Once again, Gov. Baker has sat on the sidelines and taken no position on this issue,” Gonzalez, a supporter of the tax, said in a statement. “The people deserve to know where he stands. But Baker wasn’t biting and refused to take a position, though he did hint at his sentiments. “At this point in time it’s not before the Legislature or the administration, but as I’ve said before we shouldn’t be raising taxes on hardworking people in Massachusetts,” Baker said.


The shrinking middle ground under Charlie Baker

While not addressing the millionaire-tax question, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi thinks that Gov. Baker, sooner or later, will have to choose sides when it comes to his straddling the moderate middle between the Trump administration and those trying to fend off proposed federal budget cuts in health care and other areas.

Boston Globe

She’s dead serious: MIT scholar sues CIA to obtain info on its social-media jokes

Amy Johnson, an anthropologist and MIT PHD candidate, is suing the CIA for not responding to her Freedom of Information Act requests for its social-media policies after the spy agency made a joke on Twitter about Tupac and gave a shout-out to Ellen DeGeneres, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. Johnson is currently studying how government agencies use social media, particularly to make jokes, and that’s no joke.


Bridgewater takes shot at nip-bottle deposit

Citing growing roadside trash, the Bridgwater Green Committee is joining statewide efforts to require sellers of nip-sized booze bottles to collect a deposit on the shot-sized containers, Sara Cline reports in the Brockton Enterprise. The committee is collecting signatures to present to lawmakers in support of a bill that would add nip bottles to the list of containers requiring a five-cent deposit. 


Electrifying plans for old Boston Edison site – and a new hotel

Just when you thought development in booming South Boston couldn’t get any hotter, along comes two mega-proposals on the same day. 

First, the redevelopers of the old Boston Edison facility in South Boston have unveiled details of their plans for the 15-acre site: 1,588 housing units, seven new buildings, a 150-room hotel, 339,000 square feet of office space, 68,000 square feet of retail, and a parking garage, reports Tim Logan at the Globe.

Next, business and political leaders yesterday gathered for the official announcement of a new $550 million, 1,000-room Omni hotel complex opposite the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, reports Chris Vilanni at the Herald. Among those attending the event were Gov. Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh.

Why should the state provide financial aid to students attending rich colleges?

Some lawmakers, it seems, gaze upon the huge endowments of some private colleges and see pots of gold to be raided. So they propose dipping into them via taxes, etc. But Rep. Christopher Markey, a Dartmouth Democrat, has a different approach: He thinks the state, via student financial aid, shouldn’t be adding to those pots of gold. The Globe’s Michael Levenson explains. One note: State officials better hope that one day activists don’t target another pot of gold: The state’s very own $60 billion pension fund. Hey, why not? It’s a big pot of gold mostly just sitting there, just like endowments, right?

Boston Globe

Boston’s CRA plan: ‘Insane … absolutely crazy’

A coalition of activists wants to call all the shots on how to divvy up $18 million raised through the city’s Community Preservation Act tax, including who sits on the board that will dispense the dough, reports Dan Atkinson at the Herald. The response of Paul Craney, executive director of the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance: “That’s insane, it’s absolutely crazy.” Well, he does have a point, since there’s this species of humans known as “elected officials” who are supposed to decide how taxpayer money is spent. Just pointing it out.

Boston Herald

Despite ‘meddling,’ House keeps land in play for Lowell High

Acting during informal session, the House has voted to move forward a controversial plan to remove conservation restrictions on property at Cawley Stadium, keeping alive a proposal to build a new Lowell High School there, Todd Feathers of the Lowell Sun reports. Yes, this is the same plan that Rep. David Nangle accused Chelmsford Rep. Cory Atkins of “meddling” in the other day.

Lowell Sun

Former mayor eyes comeback in Marlborough

Looks like Marlborough will have a robust mayoral election this fall, with former Mayor J. Michael McGorty saying he would enter the race to unseat incumbent Arthur Vigeant, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, Jeff Malachowski of the MetroWest Daily News reports. McGorty served one three-year term in the mid-1990s. Also in the race is former city council candidate Julia Lopez-Maldonado. 

MetroWest Daily News

Disabled homeless girl confronts Baker over shelter policy

The mother of a 2-year-old who suffers from spina bifida and who lives in a Lowell homeless shelter is asking a judge to force the state to move the family closer to Boston where the girls gets medical treatments, a legal move that challenges the Baker administration’s policy of moving the homeless out of hotels, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller. Let’s sort this out: There are legal courts – and then there are courts of public opinion. The administration may win the case in the former, but it doesn’t look good in the latter. 

Boston Globe

Warren: Comey firing ‘clearly obstructs’ Russia probe

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says President Trump’s firing of FBI head chief James Comey “clearly obstructs an ongoing investigation” – and she says even the president has admitted it, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. “Donald Trump himself has said that the reason he did it, in part, was to affect the investigation,” Warren said. “I mean, those are his own words. He said, it was what he was thinking about when he made the decision.”


Meanwhile, Harvard prof calls for Trump’s impeachment based on foreign emoluments clause

OK, we had to look up what the foreign emoluments clause was after reading Harvard professor Laurence Tribe’s Washington Post op-ed calling for President Trump’s impeachment based on the said constitutional clause (it’s in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, the one that bans the government from granting titles of nobility, among other things, according to Wikipedia.) Tribe was also interviewed on WBUR’s Morning Edition yesterday.

Washington Post

SJC: Stress tied to breaking up prison fights is not a qualified disability

From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a state law intended to financially help jail guards injured by inmates only applies to physical injuries, not mental ones. The ruling comes in the case of a Suffolk County corrections guard who sued to get benefits after the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department stopped paying him workers’ comp for the racing heart, heavy breathing and light headedness he experienced after he broke up a series of inmate fights in 2010.”

Universal Hub

Setti Warren gets a shout-out in NYT piece

Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who’s an undeclared Democratic candidate for governor, gets a brief mention in a New York Times piece on up-and-coming African-American candidates eying higher offices and wanting to forge unstinting left-wing opposition to President Trump. But is this how Warren is actually running here? He’s arranged meetings between Trump and Clinton voters to try to smooth over harsh feelings and to downplay stereotypes people might have about each other. He’s not calling for compromises, but he’s also, admirably and obviously, not calling for total political war.


And now Anna Jaques Hospital wants to jump on the merger bandwagon

First it was Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Clinic announcing a merger. Then New England Baptist wanted in. Now Newburyport’s Anna Jaques Hospital has signed a letter of intent to join the threesome, subject to state regulatory approvals, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ. The four institutions seem to be putting together a rather formidable provider network with this four-in-one merger.


Bill would close loophole that shields doctors accused of sexual assault

Boston 25 News has run a pretty damning story about how doctors accused of sexual assault during routine medical exams often get off due to a legal loophole in state law. The issue centers on what exactly constitutes “consent” when it comes to medical exams. Rep. Kate Hogan and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan are pushing legislation on Beacon Hill to toughen the language surrounding what is, and isn’t, proper “consent.”

Fox 25

Meanwhile, activists want to close another sexual-assault loophole

From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “Advocates want to close loopholes in a law, intended to protect victims of domestic violence, that may unintentionally give rapists the ability to seek parental rights over children conceived during a sexual assault.” Lawmakers are currently weighing several bills that would clear up the ambiguity, writes Wade.

Salem News

State audit gives broadband agency passing marks despite bankruptcy furor

State Auditor Suzanne Bump said her office found no issues with the financial controls and project management oversight of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, Larry Parnass reports in the Berkshire Eagle. The audit included the MBI’s handling of the so-called middle-mile connection, the operator of which recently claimed bankruptcy and sought to lay some of the blame for its financial problems at the feet of the MBI. 

Berkshire Eagle

Go Celts!

Can you believe it? The Celtics have advanced to the Eastern Conference Championships after a dramatic Game 7 win last night over the Washington Wizards, thanks largely to Kelly Olynyk’s spectacular performance. We’re not supposed to say this with the big showdown looming with LeBron. But if the Celts can go this far in the playoffs, can you imagine what they’ll be like if they add another top-notch player in the off-season? Fun times for Celts fans. NESN has last night’s highlights.


Massachusetts Clean Energy Day

NECEC will hold its sixth annual Massachusetts Clean Energy Day to showcase the growing vitality of the clean energy industry and the importance of consistent policy support as a means of catalyzing the Commonwealth’s economy. A short speaking program will feature legislative and clean energy industry leaders and NECEC will honor its 2017 Clean Energy Champion, Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr.


Today’s Headlines


Is this the biggest project to hit Southie yet? – Boston Globe

ACLU files complaint with state against Malden school’s hair policy – Boston Globe

Plan to control $18M city fund’s honcho hit – Boston Herald

High costs and empty seats: Why Boston spends millions on bus transportation – WGBH

Boston’s clean-tech cluster is third strongest in country, says report – Boston Business Journal

Brockton salaries surge—533 city employees make at least $100,000 – Brockton Enterprise


Here’s what Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker says about the so-called millionaire’s tax – MassLive

Hospital plan highlights struggle to meet mental health needs – Telegram & Gazette

AG: Company cheated workers in Quincy again – Patriot Ledger

Amherst town meeting approves first single-room occupancy project – Hampshire Gazette

Rivera fires cop who took home gun he seized – Eagle-Tribune

Mass. mulls raising smoking age – Eagle-Tribune

Stress caused by breaking up jail fights doesn’t warrant extra disability payments for guards, court rules – Universal Hub

SJC Chief Gants and US Rep. Clark say end mandatory minimums – WGBH

Study: Bristol County per-inmate cost low, healthcare high – Standard-Times


Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats – Washington Post

Democrats divide on Bernie’s 2020 plans – Politico

Clinton launches new political group: Onward Together – Politico

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