Special senate election, Neal on health-care, short-term rental hearing, film tax credit
Three Democrats are running in a special primary election today for the seat previously held by the late state Sen. Kenneth Donnelly. … U.S. Rep. Richard Neal holds a press availability following CBO report on the Senate GOP health care bill, U.S. Federal Courthouse, Springfield, 9 a.m. … Harness Horseman Association of New England holds a briefing for lawmakers on the horse racing industry and special fund, Room 437, 10 a.m. … Revenue Committee hears bills concerning film tax credit, corporate taxes, corporate tax amnesty and low-income housing tax credits, Room B-2, 10 a.m. … Proposed regulations on short-term rental companies like Airbnb will be the subject of a State House public hearing, Room B-1, 10:30 a.m. … Attorney General Maura Healey makes an ‘Ask the AG’ appearance on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7 12:30 p.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker and others participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Sarepta Therapeutics, 100 Federal Street, Andover, 4 p.m. … House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg are scheduled guests on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m. … More calendar items below in Beacon Hill Town Square.
Massachusetts dodges a bullet if GOP health-care bill collapses
The Senate GOP bill that would repeal ObamaCare was near collapse yesterday, after Maine. Sen. Susan Collins and other Republicans announced they wouldn’t vote for the legislation that the Congressional Budget Office says could increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million, reports the NYT. The crumbling support for the bill came after Gov. Charlie Baker, another Republican, informed the state’s Congressional delegation that the GOP plan could result in 264,000 Massachusetts residents losing their insurance and cost the state more than $8.2 billion in lost federal funds over the next eight years, reports the AP at the Telegram.
David Bernstein at WGBH takes a look at the political reverberations felt by the Senate plan across New England, with regional Republicans mostly feeling the heat: Baker in Massachusetts, Collins in Maine and Gov. Phil Scott in Vermont. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi wonders if Baker couldn’t be more of a leader on the health-care front: “It hasn’t been crickets from Baker. But it has been classic Charlie, which means cautious, clinical, and circumspect.”
Another Republican is speaking out against Senate plan: Jane Swift
Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, a Republican, explains in a Globe op-ed why she’s against the Senate GOP health-care plan. She has a very personal reason: Her daughter, Lauren, who’s battling juvenile arthritis.
AP: Feds looking into Bernie Sanders and wife over real estate deal
While Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was blasting away at the GOP health-care plan yesterday, the Associated Press was confirming that federal investigators are looking into the finances behind a real estate deal for a now-defunct college put together by Sanders’s wife. Sanders yesterday brushed aside questions from a Fox News reporter about the fed action, while a Sanders spokesman said the allegations that prompted the investigation were politically motivated attacks.
Baker’s SJC nominee catches flak from western Mass.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest nominee to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court is catching flak from critics in western Massachusetts, where local pols, activists and bar-association members had pushed for the appointment of someone from their part of the state. Baker yesterday nominated Scott L. Kafker, chief justice of the state appeals court, for a seat on the high court, Baker’s fifth appointment to the seven-member SJS, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. But the nomination drew swift criticism out west, according to reports at the Berkshire Eagle and at MassLive. “I’m sorely disappointed in the governor’s choice,” said Mary Hurley, a member of the Governor’s Council from the 8th District. “I feel that the administration has a bit of area code-itis, and is only appointing people from the other side of [Interstate] 495.”
Primary election today to fill late Sen. Donnelly’s seat
Three Democrats today face off in a special primary election to determine the party’s nominee to replace the late Sen. Kenneth Donnelly. The Globe’s Felicia Gans has a good run-down on the candidates: Cindy Friedman, who was Donnelly’s chief of staff; Rep. Sean Garballey; and Mary Ann Stewart, a member of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Since no Republican is running, today’s winner will run on July 25 against the Green-Rainbow Party’s candidate, Ian Jackson.
Special election set to replace late Rep. Cariddi
The House has set Nov. 7 as the day for a special election to replace state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who passed away earlier this month after a brief illness, reports Scott Stafford at the Berkshire Eagle. The primary will be on Oct. 10.
One Kennedy out, one Kennedy on the way
Connecticut state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., the son of longtime U.S Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, has decided he won’t be running for governor in the Nutmeg State, reports the Globe’s James Pindell. But there’s another potential Kennedy political star on the way: U.S. Rep Joseph Kennedy III of Massachusetts and his wife, Lauren, announced they’re expecting their second child, the Globe reports.
One-day nurse strike turns into three-day standoff in Greenfield
As expected, more than 200 nurses at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield went on strike yesterday, picketing outside the hospital and holding rallies, reports Joshua Solomon at the Record. But the planned one-day strike has turned into a three-day ordeal because the hospital, which has locked out nurses, couldn’t hire temporary replacements for less than three days.
In Boston, nurses and officials at the Tufts Medical Center are nervously eyeing events in Greenfield, as the two sides try to hammer out an agreement to avoid a similar strike/lockout. They’re not making much progress, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.
State budget talks will drag into July
Beacon Hill budget talks now seem certain to stretch well into July, after both the House and Senate’s yesterday swiftly passed a $5.15 billion temporary budget designed to keep state government operating beyond this Friday’s end of the current fiscal year, reports Michael Norton at State House News Service. House and Senate lawmakers have already passed new budgets, but they’re expected to make major revisions amid reports that previous revenue estimates could be off by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Baker and Warren: Dalliance or Détente?
Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine made a nice catch about how Republican Gov. Baker, who, appearing on Jon Keller’s Keller at Large show, is being particularly kind to Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying it was a “decision for the voter” whether she deserves re-election. We’re pretty sure state Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Republican thinking of challenging Warren next year, doesn’t appreciate even a hint of neutrality on Baker’s part.
But is Baker engaging in another typical ‘dalliance’ with a Democrat, in this case Warren, similar to his close relationships with Mayor Walsh and House Speaker DeLeo? The Charlie-Marty-Bob connection seems to fall within the mutual-admiration-society category of relationships. The Baker and Warren relationship strikes us more as a mutually-assured-destruction détente, i.e. two powerful and popular pols warily keeping the peace.
Sign of the times: Foxboro firefighters will gear up with bullet-proof vests
Thanks to state grant funds, firefighters in Foxboro will be among the first in the state to be equipped with bullet proof vests and combat-style helmets they can don before they plunge into dangerous situations, Rick Foster of the Sun-Chronicle reports.
Judge rips ex-assistant AGs over Sonja Farak, aka, the other Annie Dookhan
Hampden Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey, in dismissing cases involving Sonja Farak, the former state chemist who has pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from state labs and tampering with evidence, is lashing out at two former assistant attorneys general for their “intentional and deceptive actions” in Farak-tainted cases and accusing them of violating “their oaths as assistant attorneys general and officers of the court,” reports Buffy Spencer at MassLive.
Can 21,796 complaints really be wrong?
You can’t fight city hall, nor, apparently, the FAA or MassPort. From Neal Simpson at the Patriot Ledger: “Milton residents contacted Logan Airport 21,796 times last year to complain about loss of sleep, peace and quiet from jets coming in to land on a runway 8 miles away. It’s a significant number, yet the Federal Aviation Administration and the Massachusetts Port Authority do not consider jet noise over Milton to be ‘significant’ under federal guidelines.”
MBTA’s Wifi project tangled in confusion and protests
The T’s plan to install hundreds of 75-foot poles along commuter rail lines to provide WiFi service for passengers is generating opposition from the towns of Andover and Manchester-By-The-Sea. But wait: It turns out the MBTA’s oversight board has “learned accidentally” that the T is simultaneously installing two sets of fiber optic cable along the same tracks, one above ground, the other below ground. Huh? Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has the details.
The six key marijuana issues facing conference-committee members
As conference committee members yesterday began to hammer out a compromise bill on marijuana taxation and regulations, Steve Brown at WBUR has a good summary piece of the six main issues — taxation, local option, expungement, governance, safety/packaging, equity – members must resolve if they’re going to get a final passed by the end of this week. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is pushing to include language that helps minorities take part in the state’s nascent pot industry, reports the Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson. Fyi: Committee members will have to craft a bill without Sen. Vinny deMacedo, who on Monday withdrew from the body due to his serving on the budget conference committee and getting ready for his daughter’s wedding this weekend. Sen. Richard Ross is replacing him on the committee, reports SHNS (pay wall).
T pulls back a bit on alcohol ads
From Natasha Ishak at CommonWealth: “Wary of offending the public, the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board on Monday directed the agency’s staff to redraft an alcohol advertising proposal to reduce exposure to young transit riders.”
Worcester pumped over plan to convert courthouse to housing and retail
Finally! Worcester officials gleefully announced Monday they have struck a deal with Trinity Financial to redevelop a long-vacant downtown courthouse into a $53 million mixed-use project including 125 residential units and ground-floor retail, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. Trinity is a well-regarded firm, so this project looks like a definite go.
Markey blasts Conway’s comments about addicts lacking ‘will’
From the Globe’s Astead Herndon: “Senator Ed Markey issued a fiery statement Monday demanding an apology from White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, after she stated that persons suffering from drug addiction need “a four-letter word called ‘will’” in an interview about health care’s role in stemming the ongoing opioid crisis.”
Army-Navy game called potential windfall
College football isn’t exactly king around here, but state officials say pending bids to host the Army-Navy football game at Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy and help attract 50,000 visitors annually over a five-year run, Stephanie Murray of the State House News Service reports. The winner of the contract is expected to be announced any day. (paywall)
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