Happening Today

Portuguese Heritage Day

Portuguese American Legislative Caucus co-chairs Sen. Marc Pacheco and Rep. Antonio Cabral will celebrate Portuguese heritage at an event in the House chamber on Tuesday, 10 a.m.

Energy policy briefing

In the wake of the U.S. pullout from the Paris climate accord, Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Gailanne Cariddi host a briefing on energy policy, with speakers including Ben Hellerstein, state director of Environment Massachusetts, Eric Wilkinson, director for climate and energy policy for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, and Joel Wool, clean energy organizer for Clean Water Action, Room 428, 10 a.m.

Special Online Gaming Commission

Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports meets for a ‘discussion amongst the commission members on the various aspects under examination by the panel,’ Room 222, 11 a.m.

High Tech Council turns 40

Gov. Charlie Baker will speak to 200 CEOs and executives from the technology sector at the Mass. High Technology Council’s 2017 Annual Meeting that also celebrates the group’s 40th anniversary, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, 220 Morrissey Boulevard, Columbia Point, 11:30 a.m.

Rosenberg on the air

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg appears on WGBH’s ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH 89.7 FM, 11:30 a.m.

Common Cause lunch

Common Cause Massachusetts holds its annual ‘Building a More Perfect Democracy fundraising luncheon and awards ceremony, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg expected to speak, Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza, Boston, 12:30 p.m.

Healey accepts environment award

Attorney General Maura Healey will be among guests honored at the Environmental League of Massachusetts ‘Earth Night’ event, New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, 6 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Tax collections up, coffers still low

The state’s tax collections were actually up in May, ending a months-long slide in revenues that have contributed to a major state budget shortfall, reports the Associated Press at WBUR. Still, even though May’s revenues were $30 million above benchmark forecasts, the shortfall lawmakers are staring at stands at a revised $439 million, with just a month left in the fiscal year. So what’s the administration doing? Gov. Baker yesterday sounded confident that his team can handle it, saying the shortfall is “not that big a number” and that the administration has had months now to make adjustments, reports Matt Murphy at SHNS (pay wall). “Every year things happen, and because things happen there are many line items in the budget that don’t end up actually spending their full appropriation,” he said. 

‘Things happen’? With a slight variation, it sounds like a familiar T-shirt saying, not a budget strategy. But if it works for the governor …


High-tech CEO and economist break ranks, endorse millionaire’s tax

Carbonite’s Mohamad Ali is not going to be the most popular figure at today’s Mass High Tech Annual Meeting, assuming he goes. Ali and Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews are breaking ranks with other corporate officials and economists by endorsing the proposed ‘millionaire’s tax,’ saying in a Globe op-ed that it’s needed to get the state’s education and infrastructure systems back on track. Btw: House Speaker Robert DeLeo is saying there’s a “good possibility” that the House and Senate will vote next week to advance the income tax proposal.

Boston Globe

DeLeo: ‘We’re an inclusive party’

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is shrugging off recent criticism aimed at him by progressives who thinks he’s the Darth Vader of Beacon Hill, plotting and scheming to block everything they’ve stuffed into the state party platform. “I think fortunately we’ve been a party of people of many different views,” DeLeo tells SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Newburyport Daily News. “We’re an inclusive party of people of all views, so I think that’s a good place to be and that’s why I’m proud to be a Democrat.” 

He’s killing criticism with innocuousness. It can be quite effective.

Newburyport Daily News

Let the debate begin: Was Harvard right to rescind admissions to future Darwin Award winners?

First things first: Harvard wasn’t wrong to be grossed out by the Facebook “chat” of recently admitted students, who “sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson.” Believe it or not, the memes get worse – and so the young ones got the boot from Harvard before they even stepped foot on campus.

But did Harvard cross a line by rescinding their admissions? The Globe’s Nestor Ramos writes that it’s “easy to LOL at the supposedly brightest bulbs doing something so dim, but that response isn’t quite right” and it has something to do with teen brain development. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that there’s “something creepy” about Harvard’s move coming only days after its president gave a passionate defense of campus free speech. There’s also a rather robust debate going on at Universal Hub.

Criminal justice reform runs into DA roadblock

Many activists believe the time is ripe for major criminal-justice reforms. But some officials – including three district attorneys from Plymouth, Worcester, and Norfolk counties – are worried that the reform proposals may be going too far, reports Michael Levenson at the Globe. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more on yesterday’s legislative hearing and the “analysis paralysis” surrounding the reform push.

Atlantic Magazine: Can Boston’s Olympic-halting efforts be replicated elsewhere?

Shannon Sims of Atlantic Magazine’s CityLab takes a deep dive into how No Boston Olympics managed to derail the would-be bid to host the summer Olympic games, teasing out lessons for other cities. In a Q-and-A, No Boston Olympics co-founder Chris Dempsey credits WBUR’s decision to commission polling on the issue of hosting as a key factor in the decision to abandon the bid. Why? Because it showed that the more voters learned about hosting, the less they liked it. 

CityLab (Atlantic)

Legislative committees in overdrive

We can’t fit everything in our ‘Happening Today’ section above. But with legislative committees going into overdrive at the State House, we’ll occasionally run separate posts on hearings on particularly busy days (and this is one of them). So here goes:

— The Joint Committee on Education holds a hearing on bills dealing with school safety, student discipline and extracurricular activities, as well as bills by Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Jack Lewis seeking to address the ‘school to prison pipeline,’ Room B-2, 10 a.m.

— Joint Committee on Health Care Financing holds a hearing on a number of bills, including one by Sen. Bruce Tarr to change the makeup of the Health Connector Board, Room B-1, 11 a.m.

— Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will hold a hearing on a number of bills, including Sen. Vinny deMacedo’s proposal for state parks officials to encourage the growth of campgrounds, 1 p.m., Room 437.

— Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities handles six bills dealing with a variety of issues, Hearing Room B-2, 1 p.m.

— Joint Committee on Revenue solicits testimony on House bills and 14 Senate bills pertaining to personal income tax bills, including a Rep. Marjorie Decker’s bill that would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.

— Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a public hearing to discuss eight bills with topics ranging from Alzheimer’s to flame retardants to robotic surgery to diabetes prevention, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure holds a hearing on miscellaneous consumer protection bills and legislation dealing with granting alcohol licenses over municipal quotas, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— House Trump Administration Working Group meets with plans to revisit the issue of digital privacy, Room 350, 1 p.m.

— Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs will take up about a dozen bills dealing with military recognition and veterans remembrance, including bills upping funeral and burial expenditures, Room 222, 2 p.m.

Native American school mascots would be banned under bill

Speaking of committees, things could get interesting at today’s Education Committee hearing. From the AP at WCVB: “A bill that would ban the use of Native American mascots in public schools in Massachusetts is heading to a public hearing. The bill defines a Native American mascot as a ‘name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition that is used by a public school as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name.’”


Bill aims to ease inheritance-tax burden on farmlands

On another legislative front, Fox 25 has a piece on a bill pushed by state Rep. Kate Hogan that would ease the tax burden on those who inherit agriculture property and want to continue farming the land. The current tax, based on the “highest and best use” value of property, is financially crushing and forcing many to sell off land just as the “eat local” movement is taking off, Hogan and others argue. The owners of Bolton Orchards are featured in Kerry Kavanaugh’s story.

Fox 25 (video)

‘Sclerotic troika of septuagenarians’

Appearing at the New England Council yesterday, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark bashed away at President Trump, as one might expect, warning of the “unraveling our democracy” etc. etc. But then former U.S. Rep. Michael Harrington, a Democrat who served in the U.S. House from 1969 to 1979, grilled Clark about when the younger generation will take on Democratic House leadership, which Harrington described as “sclerotic troika of septuagenarians.” As Katie Lannan reports at SHNS: “Clark said she did not know who would emerge as the party’s standard-bearer but said the party is showing ‘good signs of life’ after Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton last year.’” We suspect Harrington didn’t get the answer he wanted.

SHNS (pay wall)

Elizabeth Warren action figure to join forces with other political superheroes

Can they work together to save the world? We’ll soon find out, now that product design company FCTRY is set to launch a Kickstarter campaign today to produce Elizabeth Warren action figures, reports Cristela Guerra at the Globe. The company has already rolled out pint-sized action figures for Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton. What a team!

Boston Globe

Shocking: Government-worker appointees back Baker’s Commonwealth Corporation coup

After the surprise dispatch of the long-time head of MassDevelopment, the Baker administration decided to make a similar leadership change at the Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public authority engaged in workforce training. The final board vote for a new president: 7-4. “Of the seven yes votes, six were state government officials; the seventh was the legislative political director of the Massachusetts Laborers District Council,” writes Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. “The four abstainers were all nongovernment employees.” What a curious breakdown of votes. Anyone have a wild-guess explanation for this?


NIMBY brawl alert: Councilors look for site for opioid shoot-ups

This is actually a great out-of-the-box idea, but we can only imagine the NIMBY fight when and if a site is ever selected. From Universal Hub: “City Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) and Frank Baker (Dorchester) say that with opioid deaths continuing to rise, it’s time to look at possibly setting up a place where addicts could inject themselves while under the supervision of healthcare workers who could administer emergency aid.”

Universal Hub

Ex-Revenue Commissioner: IRS and DOR are killing the earned income tax credit with audits

Amy Pitter, the state’s former commissioner of revenue and the current head of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, says the IRS and state Department of Revenue are undermining the highly successful earned-income-tax-credit program with too many automatic audits of recipients. Their intentions may be good, but the results are bad, she writes at CommonWealth magazine


Tom Bernard first to announce for North Adams mayor

That didn’t take long: Just days after the incumbent said he wouldn’t seek re-election, North Adams has its first official mayoral candidate. Thomas Bernard, who works at Smith College and previously served as development director at the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, announced his bid Monday, drawing praise from several city councilors in the process, Adam Shanks reports in the Berkshire Eagle. 

Berkshire Eagle

Now hear this: Noise complaints down in Amherst

Officials in Amherst say a comprehensive community policing program is behind a steady decline the number of noise complaints and resulting arrests in the college town, Scott Merzbach of the Hampshire Gazette reports. 


Regulations, not just taxes, are needed for Airbnb

There seems to a general consensus, though details still have to be worked out, over taxing home-rental companies like Airbnb. But don’t forget the regulations, urges the Globe’s Shirley Leung.

Boston Globe

T to accept private sector boost

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board has moved forward a proposal that allows the T to accept donations and staff assistance from private businesses to help improve its workforce, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. Businesses would be able to ‘loan’ workers for as long as 18 months to the T while keeping them on their own payrolls.  


Mushrooms on the front lawn?

From severe drought to Noah’s Ark, Dave Epstein at the Globe has the meteorological explanation for all the damp and dank weather we’ve been experiencing of late, in sharp contrast to last year’s dry-as-a-bone weather. But mushrooms growing on the front lawn of a MassterList author? Maybe it was the Scotts Weed It and Feed It turf builder we tried for the first time this year. But it’s more likely Mother Nature’s latest anti-turf-builder curveball, we’re convinced.

Boston Globe

Seventy-five years later: Alarming press leak after Battle or Midway revealed for first time

This has nothing to do with local politics, but, for history and media buffs, this is cool stuff, with this week’s 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway: The day after the climatic WWII naval battle in 1942, the Chicago Sunday Tribune ran a detailed, front-page story revealing that the U.S. “Navy had word” of the attack in advance and had ambushed the Japanese fleet. The Roosevelt administration and the Navy went ballistic, knowing the story was true and based on top-secret intercepts of Japanese messages, and launched an FBI and grand jury investigation into the leak, reports the Washington Post’s Michael Ruane. Why it took so long – and a court battle – to reveal the leak controversy 75 years later is dumbfounding. But, like we said, it’s cool stuff.

Fyi: The USS Constitution in Boston yesterday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The Globe’s Maddie Kilgannon has the details.

Washington Post

ELM Earth Night 2017

Friends, supporters, and colleagues are invited to join us for hors d’oeuvres and drinks while enjoying the Aquarium. With national environmental policy looking grim, it’s important we celebrate our achievements here in Massachusetts.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Immersive Storytelling: Transforming Brand Experiences Online

Great brands do it, and now you can learn their secrets. Join PRSA Boston for Immersive Story Telling: Transforming Brand Experiences Online. This is your chance to get insights on the latest strategies and tactics of building an immersive story with authenticity and integrity through multiple platforms.

PRSA Boston

NAIOP / SIOR Mid-Year Market Roundup

Please join NAIOP and SIOR for one of the industry’s premier market forecasts. This program is eligible for two CEUs for licensed real estate brokers and salespeople. RE92C14: National Economic Commercial Trends and the Commercial Real Estate Professional


2017 Massachusetts Conference on Service and Volunteering

The conference will explore innovative ways to harness the power of service and volunteerism and turn the energy of volunteers into efforts that directly impact our most pressing community needs. Attendees will leave the conference with new skills, insights into best practices, connections to potential partners, and increased enthusiasm for tackling issues that concern us in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Service Alliance

Today’s Headlines


Silver Line service to Chelsea to begin next spring – Boston Globe

Boston eyes safe sites for addicts – Boston Herald

Boston Consulting CEO “currently expects” to stay on Trump panel – Boston Business Journal


Nicole LaChapelle to formally launch Easthampton mayoral campaign June 20 – MassLive

Battle looms over $3 million budget cut in Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Southbridge manager says school chief’s leave remains unexplained – Telegram & Gazette

MBTA officials, busing plan get chilly reception – Salem News

Quincy City Council OKs $300M budget – Patriot Ledger

Judge allows aid-in-dying lawsuit brought by cape doctors to continue – Cape Cod Times

Lenox sounds the alarm, wonders how to enforce regs on short-term rentals – Berkshire Eagle

Worcester beach to be renamed in honor of John Binienda – Worcester Magazine

Rosenberg sees millionaire’s tax as a solution to revenue woes – WGBH

Group scrambles to reinstate Townsend recall – Lowell Sun

Lowell officials work to balance bar enforcement, vibrant downtown – Lowell Sun

Worcester joins national climate mayors agreement – Worcester Business Journal


White House ices Russia war room idea – Politico

Senior U.S. diplomat in China resigns over Trump’s climate change decision – Washington Post

Contractor charged with leaking, in a first under Trump – New York Times

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