Happening Today

National legislative conference, immigrant detention bill, substance-addicts treatment and more

The National Conference of State Legislatures continues in its third day with sessions on cybersecurity, police and community relations, disruptive innovation’ in higher education, the U.S. economy and workforce preparedness, among others, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., starting at 7:30 a.m. through the day. … The ACLU is joining with Massachusetts Jobs with Justice for a ‘day of action’ on Tuesday August 8, to protest Gov. Charlie Baker’s immigrant-detention legislation. …  Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the city Commission on Affairs of the Elderly host a panel discussion with the American Association for Retired People to highlight work to make the city and state welcoming places to live for people of all ages, University of Massachusetts Club, 1 Beacon St., Boston, 10 a.m. … Department of Public Utilities holds an evidentiary hearing on the petition by National Grid for approval of cost recovery for its Solar Phase II generation facilities, One South Station, 5th floor, Hearing Room C, 11 a.m. … Secretary of State William Francis Galvin speaks at a luncheon for volunteer State House tour guides and Doric Docents book award ceremony, Great Hall, 12 p.m. … Health Policy Commission hosts a discussion on strategies for implementing medication-assisted treatment for substance addicts in primary care settings, HPC Conference Center, 50 Milk St., 8th Floor, Boston, 3 p.m. … Today is the deadline for candidates running in the Bristol and Norfolk Senate special election to submit their nomination papers to local registrars or election commissioners for certification, 5 p.m. … Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, who as a legislator filed a bill for a ‘guilty-yet-insane’ finding in law, talks about insanity plea issues on ‘NightSide, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 9 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Is Deval Patrick among a ‘handful of minority Democrats being groomed by the centrist establishment’?

It seems some on the left, including The Week’s Ryan Cooper, are suspicious about former Gov. Deval Patrick’s presidential ambitions because he works at – the horror! – Bain Capital. And they’re also suspicious of two other potential minority candidates, Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, as being mere puppets of the scheming centrist establishment. One of the founders of BlueMassGroup, aka Charley on the MTA, is rightly going after Cooper’s piece as an example of ‘some unfortunate habits of mind in the very distinct culture of the left.’


Fed pot crackdown: More bark than bite?

Many are concerned that it’s only a matter of time before there’s a major confrontation between the federal government and states like Massachusetts that have legalized marijuana. But some experts at yesterday’s National Conference of State Legislatures in Boston say tight funding and other pressures should keep federal law enforcement at bay for a while, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local.

Fyi: Speaking of the National Conference of State Legislatures, local lawmakers are expected to play a more prominent role at the conference today in Boston. SHNS has the details (pay wall).

Wicked Local

Pot lobbyists burn through $300K on Beacon Hill

Speaking of pot, the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Beacon Hill’s monthslong, and often secretive, meetings to overhaul the state’s marijuana legalization law drew a flurry of lobbying from marijuana companies, advocates and other groups, who together ran up at least a $300,000 tab this year trying to influence policymakers.”

Boston Herald

Stop the presses: Brigham falls out of top 20 in US New & World Report ranking

Is this big news or non-news? When it comes to yet another rankings list, you have to wonder. But it’s apparently a big deal to Brigham & Women’s Hospital that it’s going to be knocked off of the top-20 list of hospitals nationwide. The Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk has the details.

Boston Globe

Game of Garages: Union strikes back over privatization

A seemingly casual promise has come back to haunt the T’s Fiscal Management and Control Board over its push to privatize three bus maintenance garages without first consulting the T’s machinist union, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. The result: Machinists are hounding Gov. Charlie Baker wherever he goes.


Rep. Straus proposes using Logan parking fees for harbor tunnel maintenance

From the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “The House chairman of the Legislature’s transportation committee is looking to use a cut of Logan Airport parking revenue to help pay for upkeep of the Boston Harbor tunnels. Representative William Straus said he is talking with the Baker administration about diverting a portion of revenue that Massport receives from its Logan Airport parking into a new fund established for maintaining the Callahan, Sumner, and Ted Williams tunnels.”

Boston Globe

Congress may cage state’s new farm-animal rights law

A law enacted by Massachusetts voters in November to prohibit the sale of products made from confined farm animals may be overridden by legislation making its way through Congress, Gerry Tuoti reports at Wicked Local.  

Wicked Local

Now that we have the clean-energy bids in hand, let’s not screw it up

Eric Wilkinson, director of energy and climate policy at the Environmental League of Massachusetts, is happy with companies that recently submitted dozens of bids for clean-energy projects in Massachusetts – and another round of bids is on the way. But he doesn’t sound optimistic that the proposals will be handled expeditiously, based on the state’s past review-process record. “The key is timing. There is real risk that this review process could bog down and result in unacceptable delays,” he writes at CommonWealth.


Paul Krugman on single-payer: ‘Is this really where progressives want to spend their political capital?’

When Paul Krugman speaks, many liberals often listen. So it will be interesting to see if progressives in Massachusetts and elsewhere heed his advice to stop pushing for single-payer health and instead focus on fixing ObamaCare so it’s comparable to the high-quality Dutch insurance-based system and focus more on child-care issues. He’s not against single-payer per se. He just doesn’t think it’s politically pragmatic.


President Deferment does it again

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is not shocked, just depressed, by the latest criticism lobbed by President Donald Trump, who took five military deferments during the Vietnam War, at a military veteran, this time Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a fellow deferment baby who recently got into trouble for fibbing about serving in Vietnam (he didn’t). There’s no low too low enough for this president, it seems.

Boston Globe

When NFL players pay respect to those joining another team …

Speaking of military service, Kevin Dillon at MassLive has a nice story about how Joe Cardona, a long snapper for the New England Patriots and an ensign in the U.S. Navy, donned his Navy uniform to perform a reenlistment ceremony for two fellow naval members outside of the Patriots’ practice in Foxboro, a ceremony that attracted more than a few respectful Pats and Carolina Panther players.


‘Petrified … terrified’

Tell us when it’s over (literally): The government wraps up its evidence today in the ‘Top Chef’ trial in Boston, a day after television star Padma Lakshmi testified she was ‘petrified’ and ‘terrified’ by bullying Teamsters now charged with trying to shake down producers of the TV show. Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe plastered the Lakshmi testimony on their print front pages this morning. Such attention is the last thing Mayor Marty Walsh needs with the city elections just around the corner.

Spotted: Publicity shy Lorrie Higgins, Gal Pal No. 1

We feel like The Track on this one, but here goes: Lorrie Higgins, Mayor Walsh’s publicity shy gal pal, was spotted, yes, on the mayoral campaign trail yesterday for her beau, specifically at a boisterous rally, where former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy said Higgins’ appearance meant Team Walsh wasn’t taking victory for granted. Does that cover it? 

Boston Herald

Do they need a bigger boat? Boaters warned of underwater robots

From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Fishermen and mariners are asked to use extra caution in waters off Nantucket this week as two vessels conduct surveys to identify the best locations to run cables to and from a proposed offshore wind farm. Vineyard Wind, which is competing with Deepwater Wind and a partnership between DONG Energy and Eversource to build major wind energy installations in leased tracts 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, began geophysical surveys last week of the ocean floor ‘to identify best cable locations.’” 

SHNS (pay wall)

Walsh and Kraft: All aboard on Foxboro rail extension?

The Globe’s Jon Chesto notes that Mayor Walsh and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft may be on a collision course over plans to extend regular rail service to Foxboro, even though the two of them support the idea in concept. The catch: Would a pilot Foxboro test disrupt bringing subway-style service to the Fairmont Line?

Boston Globe

Per diem payouts draw fire

They’re practically lining up to lob criticism at lawmakers who have accepted $67,000 in travel per diems, even though legislators earlier this year passed pay raises for themselves, reports the Herald’s Antonio Planas.

Boston Herald

Berkshire Innovation Center delay hits two years (and counting)

How soon is now? State officials still aren’t committing to a firm timeline for the final piece of funding needed to build the Berkshire Innovation Center in a Pittsfield business park, some two years after construction work was supposed to begin, Tony Dobrowoiski of the Berkshire Eagle reports. It’s been more than a year since a $3 million project shortfall was discovered. Maybe Berkshire people should take the delay as a hint?

Berkshire Eagle

Trust me: Mayor seeks backing for PawSox move to Worcester

Put me in, coaches: Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty will ask the City Council to give him and the city manager authority to do whatever they can to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester, Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports. The mayor said the authorization would not include dangling public funds, but some councilors appear to be balking at the broad language of the request.


Hospitals’ community benefit spending drops

Hospitals on the North Shore spent 25 percent less on required community-benefit programs last year than they did in 2012, a decline some of the hospitals attribute to the passing of the Affordable Care Act, Paul Leighton reports in the Salem News. 

Salem News

7th Annual Rock ‘N Real Estate Harbor Cruise

NAIOP Massachusetts

Refugee Crisis in Europe in Boston

Beacon Hill Friends

Today’s Headlines


Publicity-averse Lorrie Higgins goes to bat for mayor – Boston Herald

Cheung takes offense to election reform try, delivers potentially fatal blow – Cambridge Day


Bristol County awarded $100K in opioid treatment for exiting inmates – Standard-Times

Worcester Airport officials believe $32 million investment will pay off – Worcester Business Journal

Northampton police pepper-sprayed protestor off city hall steps, video shows – MassLive

Still without contract, Worcester teachers lean toward work-to-rule – Telegram & Gazette

Brewster voters to decide on ban of pot sales – Cape Cod Times


Anti-Trump independents are starting to organize – Politico

Scientists fear Trump will dismiss climate change report – New York Times

Chicago to sue feds over funding threats to sanctuary cities – NPR

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