Lyons bill on immigrant detention, transportation spending, rate hearing
Gov. Charlie Baker returns from Aspen, Colorado, where he was attending the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable Quarterly Meeting. … Jeff Sanchez, the new House Ways and Means chairman, speaks at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network‘s 2017 Policymaker Roundtable Series, Associated Grant Makers, 133 Federal St., Suite 802, Boston, 9 a.m. … Immigrant activists visit state policymakers urging them to support extensions for temporary protected status, or TPS, for immigrants, State House, 10 a.m. … Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack testifies on MBTA and DOT capital spending before the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Hearing Room A-2, 10:30 a.m. … Governor’s Council holds judicial-nominee hearings at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with its regular meeting at 12 p.m., Council Chamber, State House. … Rep. Jim Lyons holds a press conference on a recently filed bill that seeks to clarify and effectively overturn a Supreme Judicial Court ruling earlier this week on immigration detentions, steps outside Room 443, 11 a.m. … Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is a guest on Boston Herald Radio’s ‘Morning Meeting,’ Boston Herald Radio, 11:15 a.m. … Attorney General Maura Healey is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m. … Health Policy Commission‘s Board meets to discuss Partners Healthcare’s planned acquisition of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, 12 p.m. … U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is a scheduled guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1:20 p.m. … Department of Public Utilities holds a hearing on Eversource’s request to raise its rates, DPU, 5th floor, Hearing Room A, One South Station, Boston, 7 p.m. … University of Massachusetts President Martin Meehan is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m. … Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson talks in-studio with Dan Rea about ‘Kate’s Law,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 9 p.m.
House poised to reject Baker’s Medicaid changes
SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Katie Lannan, writing at CommonWealth Magazine, report that Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed changes to the state’s Medicaid program are meeting stiff legislative opposition and “House leaders (are) preparing to ask members to reject the MassHealth reforms for now.” Meanwhile, Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s office yesterday said the Senate would continue to vet the governor’s proposals over the next month. The Herald’s Brian Dowling has more on yesterday’s State House hearing in which “skeptical lawmakers” grilled administration officials on the reform ideas.
Bottom line: The reforms aren’t dead, but it’s clearly not going to be smooth sailing between now and early fall, when the administration hopes lawmakers might act on the plans.
U.S. Senate health-care debate: It’s not over until it’s over
Speaking of Medicaid and health care, Senate Republicans won a preliminary victory yesterday when members narrowly authorized debate on repealing ObamaCare, but that’s all they got. The Senate proceeded to reject a comprehensive plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but the debate will go on for the rest of the week, the NYT reports.
So what’s going on? No one really knows, the Washington Post reports, but Republicans are expected to keep offering up bills and amendments until something sticks — or they give up. The Post is describing proceedings as a “legislative kaleidoscope scheduled to last for 20 hours of debate.” The Globe’s Christina Prignano reports on the reaction of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the Senate action yesterday. The Herald’s Owen Boss reports on President Trump’s “victory lap” yesterday on the debate motion.
Don’t get cocky, Dems
The NYT’s Paul Krugman had an interesting column earlier this week about the Senate health care debate, warning that Republicans may well get what they want, helped partly by the media having been distracted in recent weeks by the antics of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner et gang.
Friedman wins Donnelly’s seat with 89 percent of the vote
We knew she was heavily favored, but not Soviet-style heavily favored. Cindy Friedman, the former aide to the late state Sen. Ken Donnelly, won the Senate race in the Fourth Middlesex District against Green-Rainbow party candidate Ian Jackson, capturing 7,785 votes out of 8,833 ballots cast, reports Wicked Local Arlington. The Boston Globe calculates she ultimately captured 89 percent of the vote in an election with a 14-percent turnout. Maybe we’re being unfair with the Soviet comparison. The old Kremlin boys would have made it 99 percent.
But no free ride for Dems in Haverhill
Looks like the special election to replace Brian Dempsey in the House will be more of a contest than yesterday’s one-sided affair to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ken Donnelly. Shaun Toohey, a school committee member who was planning to run for city council, became the first Republican to indicate he’ll run for Dempsey’s 3rd Essex District seat, Peter Toohey of the Eagle-Tribune reports. He joins two Democrats already in the race.
Free pass: Northampton fast-forwards to general mayoral election
Back to free-ride elections: Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and challenger John Riley earned free passes to the November mayoral election when two other would-be candidates failed to return nomination papers on time, Amanda Drane of the Hampshire Gazette reports. With just two candidates, the city now avoids the need for a preliminary election in September, saving a cool $30,000 in the process.
Report: T reaches $4.5M settlement over parking thefts
CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl is reporting that the MBTA is expected to get $4.5 million as part of a legal settlement with a parking-lot company over alleged thefts of money by employees at T parking garages. The deal has yet to be officially finalized with LAZ Parking, but T officials have confirmed the broad outlines of the agreement, Mohl writes.
Al Gore’s firm and others invest $110M in Boston start-up Toast
From Dylan Martin at BostInno: “Toast, a Boston-based restaurant technology company, just announced it has raised an oversubscribed $101 million Series C round to build upon its cloud-based platform. The round, which was announced Tuesday, was led by Generation Investment Management, a firm chaired and co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore, and Lead Edge Capital.”
DOT workers investigated for growing pot plant in state building
We know there may be confusion over the state’s new pot law. But we’re talking common sense here. Take it away, Adam Gaffin: “Two MassDOT workers at the Zipper Lane building on the Expressway have been placed on leave while State Police investigate whether that was a real pot plant they had in a window there, WCVB reports.”
From one reader at Universal Hub: “If the public thinks state workers are growing pot (or anything) on the taxpayers dime it sends a bad message. No supervisor should allow it and no employee should be so dumb. Grow it at home.” And from another: “Beer is legal but I’m pretty sure if someone had a keg in their state office, that would be unacceptable to most.”
Everything you always wanted to know about legalized pot and more
Maybe the two DOT workers hadn’t read Gintautas Dumcius’s excellent summary of all the do’s and don’ts of the state’s new pot law. See first item on “Homegrown and personal limits.” Notice there’s no mention of “workgrown.”
Docs can now bone up on medical marijuana via online tutorial
DOT workers aren’t the only ones who may need to bone up on all things marijuana. The Massachusetts Medical Society has now made available a new online Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum that physicians (or anyone else, for that matter) can reference to learn more about medical marijuana, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.
Galvin plans appeal of ruling on voter registration deadline
Predicting ‘chaos’ on voting days, Secretary of State William Galvin has signaled he will seek an expedited appeal of a court ruling that found the state’s 20-day voter registration deadline to be constituational, Scott Calzolaio of the Metrowest Daily News reports.
Meanwhile, some town and city clerks are worried whether they’ll be able to handle a no-deadline registration system, according to Laurel Demkovich of the Hampshire Gazette.
Hodgson’s next act: Banning in-person visits at jails in favor of video conferencing
Citing drug smuggling and the need for more efficiencies at his two county-run correction facilities, Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson is eliminating in-person visits to inmates at the Bristol County House of Correction and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Women’s Center, replacing them with video conferencing, reports Curt Brown at SouthCoast Today. The ACLU is opposed to the change, but video conferencing is apparently common in other parts of the country. The Globe’s Danny McDonald has more.
Trump administration reels in fishing recommendations
From the Globe’s David Abel: “The Trump administration, in an unprecedented decision, has rejected the recommendation of a commission that has long overseen fishing issues along the East Coast, raising deep concerns about political meddling in the ongoing preservation of fragile stocks from Maine to Florida.”
Stunning gaffe: Collins caught on hot mic speaking the truth
Hearing about Maine Sen. Susan Collins and R.I. Sen. Jack Reed getting caught on an open mic making disparaging remarks about President Trump and Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold merely reminds us of Michael Kinsley’s famous quote: “A gaffe is when a politician speaks a truth.” And, of course, it’s arguably true what Reed said about Trump (“he’s crazy”) and what Collins said about Farenthold (“He’s huge. He is so unattractive. Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny?”) She was referencing this Gawker photo. Check it out. We ask: Are her comments true or not?
Neal not optimistic about tax reform in 2017
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan can talk all he wants in Lawrence and elsewhere about tax reform and how Congress will overhaul the tax system in 2017. But U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, the top Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, isn’t so sure it’s possible in today’s hyper-partisan Congress, reports Shannon Young at MassLive.
DraftKings raises stink over being labeled ‘online gaming’
From the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien: “Boston-based DraftKings Inc. is not so happy with a state commission’s proposal that would classify daily fantasy sports under the broad umbrella of “online gaming,” a gambling classification the startup has fought to avoid in every state where it operates. The state’s Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports was set to officially adopt the recommendations at a meeting Tuesday morning, but delayed the vote until Monday, July 31.”
Worcester hopes to learn from past redevelopment mistakes
As Worcester moves forward with plans to redevelop its city center, Grant Welker of the Worcester Business Journal peels back the history onion on the last big downtown redevelopment effort—the one that resulted in the massive Galleria mall, which is now being undone to make the city feel more like cities used to feel.
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