Happening Today

Election to fill Donnelly seat, Comm. Ave Bridge woes, Medicaid reforms

Arlington Democrat Cindy Friedman faces Green Rainbow Party candidate Ian Jackson in a Senate Fourth Middlesex District election to fill the seat vacated by the recent death of state Sen. Kenneth Donnelly. … Department of Transportation holds a news conference about construction operations and significant transit changes tied to the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project, Turnpike Park, 807 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 8:15 a.m. … House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing convene a hearing on Medicaid funding tied to the 2018 budget and Gov. Baker’s proposed Medicaid reforms, Gardner Auditorium, 10 a.m. … Numerous other legislative hearings are scheduled for today at the State House. See separate post below. … Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable Quarterly Meeting in Aspen, Colorado. … Rep. Cory Atkins has reserved space for a Yoga Day, Great Hall, 11 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Fallout from SJC’s major immigration ruling

Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub wins best headline of the day for its blunt summary of the Supreme Judicial Court’s major immigration ruling yesterday: “Massachusetts court to ICE: We’re not going to hold people not facing criminal charges for you.” In effect, the court ruled that state law simply doesn’t permit local enforcement officials to detain people based on federal immigration detainers alone.

The Globe’s Milton Valencia writes that the ruling “provides a legal basis for sanctuary cities to refuse to cooperate with federal officials.” But Republican lawmakers are already planning to file legislation that would counter the SJC ruling, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall). Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson is planning his own legislative push to overturn the court decision, reports Jennette Barnes at SouthCoast Today. But a Boston Globe editorial advocates just the opposite: Legislation is needed to clarify and strengthen the SJC ruling. Attorney General Maura Healey is hailing the decision as a “victory for the rule of law and smart immigration and criminal justice policies,” reports MassLive’s Michelle Williams, who has a separate piece in which the ACLU’s Carol Rose is calling the ruling “the first of its kind in the nation.”

A venture capital firm for immigrants by immigrants

Speaking of immigrants: Gambrielle Healy at WBUR takes a look at Semyon Dukach — a refugee from the old Soviet Union, a prominent angel investor, a leader at TechStars Boston — who has founded One Way Ventures, a venture capital firm “for immigrants by immigrants.”


Superior Court judge strikes down state voter registration deadline

On another legal front yesterday, from the Globe’s Catie Edmondson: “A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Monday ruled unconstitutional a state law that forbids people from voting in an election unless they have registered 20 days beforehand. The law denies qualified citizens their right to vote, Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled.” The ACLU and other activist groups had backed the challenge to the state law. Patrick Johnson at MassLive and the AP’s Steve LeBlanc at CBS Boston have more on the ruling, which is expected to be appealed.

Baker’s three-front battle over Medicaid

Lawmakers today start reviewing Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed reforms of the state’s ballooning Medicaid program, changes some say are necessary to rein in Medicaid costs but which others say are unfair. At the same time, the Baker administration is taking the first steps toward seeking approval of health care policy changes from the Trump administration, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). And don’t forget: Senate Republicans today in Washington are expected to resume their push to repeal ObamaCare, a move that would have huge Medicaid-funding consequences for Massachusetts and other states, as the NYT reports.

It’s going to be a mess

Work on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge project in Boston is expected to intensify this week – and potentially lead to major traffic headaches for Pike motorists, subway and bus riders, and just about everyone else commuting near the project site. The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have the details. DOT officials this morning are holding a press conference on expected transit changes over the next three weeks, assuming the bulk of the project is finished as planned within the next three weeks. 

NRC says Pilgrim workers ‘deliberately’ violated security

If you thought Pilgrim Station was going to go quietly as it winds down operations, think again: A Nuclear Regulatory Commission report that the Cape Cod Times has obtained shows that workers there were deliberately evading security systems meant to control access to the plant.  Christine Legere has the full report. 

Cape Cod Times

Housing crisis? What housing crisis?

The median price for a single-family home last month rose to $410,000 in Massachusetts, the first time the median price has exceeded the $400,000 mark, according to Massachusetts Association of Realtors data, as reported by Kathleen Conti at the Globe. The cause: An “anemic” supply of homes on the market and high demand. Maybe working-class people can start moving to northern New Hampshire? That’s one solution to the housing crisis — though not a very attractive one.

Boston Globe

State: No review of wood-framed building codes at this time

Speaking of housing supply and demand: Despite recent fires that destroyed under-construction apartment complexes made entirely of wood in Waltham and Dorchester, the state’s Office of Public Safety and Inspections says it has no immediate intention of changing state building codes that permit all-wood construction, saying current state rules mirror those of the International Building Code, reports Donna Goodison at the Herald. Let’s hope regulators and lawmakers don’t jump to hasty conclusions on this issue. Safety comes first, of course. But affordability is also critical.

Boston Herald

GOP lawyer from Bourne to announce run for AG

Looks like Attorney General Maura Healey will have a Republican challenger next year, assuming she means it when she says she’s running for re-election and not for governor. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Berkshire Eagle: “Cape Cod attorney James ‘Jay’ McMahon plans to formally announce his campaign for attorney general this weekend at a chowder cook-off contest at the Westport home of Mary Lou Daxland, leader of the conservative Massachusetts Republican Assembly.”

Berkshire Eagle

Massachusetts gives Trump only the second lowest approval rating in the nation?

Which state could possibly dislike Donald Trump more than Massachusetts, where the president’s approval rating is now at a low 29 percent, as reported by the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss? Answer: Vermont. Well, OK. That makes sense.

Boston Globe

Kennedy: Dems need to focus more on issues that won Trump election

Speaking of Donald Trump’s appeal (or lack thereof), U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III says bashing President Trump is all fine and dandy, but Democrats still need to focus more on issues that matter to voters and that Trump, not Dems, exploited in last year’s election, reports Brian Dowling at the Herald. For some reason, we’re not sure Chuck Schumer’s ‘Better Deal’ rebranding is going to cut it.

Boston Herald

Health-care costs, online gaming and more at today’s legislative hearings

Once again, we’re breaking out all of today’s scheduled legislative hearings and putting them in one convenient post. So here goes:

— Committee on Housing holds a hearing to accept testimony on two housing bond authorizations bills, including one filed by Gov. Baker that seeks $1.287 billion in additional capital authorization to allow the state to continue support construction and preservation of affordable housing, 10 a.m., Hearing Room A-2)

— Joint Committee on Education holds a hearing on more than 30 bills dealing with school finance, including the Chapter 70 aid, 10 a.m., Room B-2.

— The House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing will convene in Gardner Auditorium for a hearing on Medicaid funding and other related issues relative to the fiscal 2018 budget, 10 a.m., Gardner Auditorium.

— The Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government will hold a hearing on a dozen local bills, Room B-1, 11 a.m. — Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports plans to meet to discuss its draft report and potentially vote to accept the report, 11 a.m., Room 222.

— The Committee on Health Care Financing will hold a hearing on a Gov. Charlie Baker bill to rein in health care costs, which is paired with the MassHealth reforms he sent back to lawmakers as a budget amendment, 1 p.m., Room 437.

— Transportation Committee hears a number of bills, including one that would require parasailers to wear life vests and legislation that names a portion of Causeway Street in front of TD Garden after Celtics legend Bob Cousy, 1 p.m., Room B-1.

— Joint Committee on Public Health takes up tobacco legislation and bills dealing with state agencies, 1 p.m., Room A-2.

— Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development hosts an informational hearing on funding, 1 p.m., Room 428.

Bob Farmer, legendary Dem fundraiser, RIP

Democrats across the state, and even country, are mourning the death of Bob Farmer, the famed Dem fundraiser and treasurer for the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Michael Dukakis and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, not to mention for the presidential campaigns of John Glenn and Bill Clinton as well, reports Bryan Marquard at the Globe.

Boston Globe

Exporter of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns charged in Boston

This really bugs us, and it isn’t just about a Chinese national using a Concord-based shipping business to illegally send $700,000 worth of elephant ivory, rhinoceros horns and coral to Hong Kong for re-sale, as Alban Murtishi reports at MassLive. The case also involves sales of wildlife artifacts from U.S. auction houses in California, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Texas – all of which, one way or the other, are contributing to the demand-side slaughter of wildlife in Africa and elsewhere.


Photography school leaving Kenmore Square with a ‘heavy heart’

Sitting in the shadow of Kenmore Square’s famous Citgo sign, the New England School of Photography is leaving its longtime Kenmore Square home with a “heavy heart,” after the developer Related Beal exercised an early termination clause on its lease, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports. The school has been at 537 Commonwealth since the 1960s.


Worcester woos PawSox chief Larry Lucchino

We think this is more flirting-with-a-purpose than serious interest, but: Larry Lucchino and other Pawtucket Red Sox brass were in Worcester Friday touring the Canal District, where the city has ample vacant land to build a new minor league stadium. Bill Ballou of the Telegram reports the team left impressed with the work that’s been done in the area, but isn’t it more likely the PawSox are just using Worcester’s interest as leverage to get a better deal in the Ocean State? Time will tell. 


MBTA’s WiFi tower plan takes more hits

Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation are asking the Federal Communications Commission to review the MBTA’s plan to install scores of 74-foot towers to boost WiFi signals on commuter trains, Ryan Kath of CBS Boston reports. Meanwhile, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News that the plan is uniting communities north of the city in opposition.

CBS Boston

City switch has Framingham pondering pot delay

Officials in Framingham could put a local moratorium on marijuana sales before voters in November, saying the impending switch to a city form of government, coinciding with the arrival of weed shops in the state, may justify a delay, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

NAIOP @ Night


Business of Beer

Boston Business Journal

Emerging Trends Series: State & Federal Perspectives on Energy Storage


Today’s Headlines


Boston to consolidate bus routes, lay off dozens of drivers – Boston Globe

Tito Jackson, activist rip mayor on crime – Boston Herald


Dudley spent $47,000 on cemetery proposal – Telegram & Gazette

Communities rally to fight MBTA’s 74-foot towers – Salem News

Following murder, Brockton mayor wants to cede authority on block parties – Brockton Enteprise

Despite company shortcomings, Worcester kept tax breaks in place – Worcester Business Journal

Hodgson vows to counteract SJC immigration ruling – Standard-Times

Framingham voters could see pot ballot question in November – MetroWest Daily News


Trump just can’t stop running against Hillary Clinton, even in a speech before the Boy Scouts – Washington Post

McCain returns as Senate braces for health bill vote – New York Times

Trump accuses Washington Post of being a ‘lobbyist weapon’ for Amazon – The Hill

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.