Koh steps out, naturopathy law in effect
It’s getaway day for many ahead of the long holiday weekend, but more so for Daniel Koh: Friday will be the last day in Boston City Hall for Koh, who will leave his position as chief of staff to Mayor Marty Walsh to launch a Congressional election bid … The start of September means a law championed by legislative supporters of alternative medicine and opposed by the Massachusetts Medical Society is set to take effect. Gov. Charlie Baker in January signed the law establishing a Board of Registration in Naturopathy, which is tasked with licensing naturopathic doctors, who may use homeopathic medicine and botanicals in their treatment … Senate President Stan Rosenberg attends the Hampshire County Fire Chiefs Breakfast, 8 a.m., Bluebonnet Diner, 324 King Street, Northampton … Immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco guest-hosts “NightSide,” 8 p.m., WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM.
Legal-weed foe tapped to chair marijuana board
The group that pushed the state to legalize recreational marijuana seems chill about the decision by Treasurer Deb Goldberg to appoint a legalization opponent to chair the newly formed Cannabis Control Commission. Goldberg said Thursday she would appoint former Bain and Company exec Steven Hoffman to run the commission, making him the second ‘No’ appointee to date after Gov. Baker’s pick, Chris Villani and Matt Stout of the Herald report. Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the campaign to legalize weed, said the group is “concerned” but hopeful the rest of the appointments will strike more of a balance. And he said the treasurer “seems to have selected a chair with impressive credentials.”
Next up: Attorney General Maura Healey’s pick and then two more to be named jointly by Baker, Goldberg and the AG. One thing all sides agree on: The commission will have its hands full trying to get everything necessary in place to have pot shops open by next July. Watch for the Yes on 4 crowd to begin making more noise if it appears that deadline is in jeopardy.
Diehl backs state GOP resolution calling Black Lives Matter a hate group
These are strange times in the Republican Party, and not just at the national level. Call it the Trump effect or what you will, but a GOP state committeeman wants to include Black Lives Matter in an anti-hate speech resolution, equating it with right-wing hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, Frank Phillips of the Globe reports. The committeeman, Marty Lamb of Holliston, contends Black Lives Matter is a leftist hate group, citing the group’s portrayal of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians “as a form of genocide,” Phillips writes.
The resolution has would-be Senate candidates taking sides, or ducking for cover. State Rep. Geoff Diehl has thrown his support behind Lamb’s position. Yet-to-declare candidate John Kingston has sided with Gov. Baker and others in rejecting the labeling and Beth Lindstrom responded with a statement that neither rejects nor supporters the measure but denounces all violence from the far left.
Setti Warren: Baker criminal justice bill is flip-flop
A day after Gov. Charlie Baker sent a package of criminal justice legislation to lawmakers, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren said the proposals amount to a flip-flop from Baker on the issue of whether to ease mandatory minimum sentences, Michael P. Norton of the State House News Service reports. The Newton mayor said Baker’s proposals seem to fly in the face of earlier positions he took when running for governor. “Gov. Baker’s proposal to incarcerate more people in response to the opioid epidemic runs contrary to everything we’ve learned in the failed war on drugs, and to Baker’s own 2014 campaign promises,” Warren said in a statement.
Collision coming on criminal justice reform
Meanwhile, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports about the upcoming Beacon Hill clash over criminal justice reform, with the governor’s new proposals set to smash into a long-ruminating package of updates the legislature is expected to take up this fall.
How Mayor Walsh saw the (green) light
Commonwealth Magazine’s Jack Sullivan has an interesting story on Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s big shift on pot shops. Walsh, a recovering alcoholic, was an adamant opponent of the ballot question that legalized recreational pot in Massachusetts, opening the door to cannabis retail establishments across the state. While other mayors and local officials have been scrambling to formally ban pot shops, Walsh has decided to go the other way, seeing the budding legal marijuana sector as a potential driver of economic development and growth in the city, Sullivan writes. Under the new pot law, Boston could wind up with at least 41 shops, Sullivan notes.
With axe raised GE, Boston assured on jobs target
Cuts are coming to GE and the company’s recently established Boston headquarters will likely not be spared from the axe. The Globe’s Jon Chesto, citing a Reuters report, writes that GE won’t preclude the HQ staff from what is expected to be a 10 percent chop in headcount. GE has about 250 employees in Boston at this point.
How does all this fit with the hiring promises GE made to secure a lucrative relocation package from the state and city? Matt Stout and Jordan Graham of the Herald report that Mayor Marty Walsh has been assured that GE will keep up its part of the $25 million bargain made to cut city property taxes, which requires bringing 800 jobs to Boston by 2025.
In every corner of state, pausing to remember opioid victims
Thousands of Mass. residents turned out for vigils meant to honor victims of the ongoing opioid crisis and bring attention to the continued battle. The events come amid some hopeful signs that efforts to contain the crisis are having an impact, including a decrease in OD deaths in most major cities. Vigils were held Thursday in at least a dozen Mass. communities, including Marlborough and Worcester, where Steven H. Foskett Jr. of the Telegram reports hundreds turned out. Vigils were also held in cities ravaged by the crisis such as New Bedford and Lowell, and communities that don’t necessarily spring to mind, such as Quincy and Northampton.
Brockton pols slam city hiring of fired Boston cop
Members of the Brockton city council blasted Mayor Bill Carpenter’s decision to hire a former Boston police officer who was fired for assaulting a civilian, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. The mayor approved the hiring Noel Doconto to serve as a code enforcement officer for the board of health.
Healey: Mass. should show the way on student debt help
Attorney General Maura Healey wants Massachusetts—land of a thousand colleges—to take a leadership position in dealing with the issue of mounting college debt, Jack Encarnacao and Kathleen McKiernan of the Herald report. The average college grad in the Bay State lugs around $29,000 in debt into the real world and Healey said it’s time for Massachusetts to flex its educational and economic muscle to show the rest of the country how to address the crisis. “We need to be leading here,” she said.
Get it together, Lowell
You know it’s getting bad when city officials are suing other city officials. In the latest volley in the long-running dispute, Lowell School Committee has filed suit against city government/City Council, seeking to halt plans to build the new school at Cawley Stadium, the Lowell Sun’s Todd Feathers reports. Lowell school officials want a freeze on the move until a judge rules whether school officials have the right to decide where to place the school.
The City Council voted in favor of the Cawley Stadium location and the city’s legal chief, Christine O’Connor, contends it is the council, not the school committee, who has the ultimate say. But the state’s school building authority has said it wants clarity on the issue before it will decide on how much to reimburse the city for what is likely to be the most costly high school building project in state history, so the most likely losers long-term have to be the students.
Warren calls for more firings after latest Wells Fargo disclosure
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter to renew her call for members of the board of Wells Fargo to be removed after the bank admitted Thursday that 3.5 million accounts fraudulent accounts had been opened, 1.4 million more than originally stated, the Globe reports. Warren famously slammed Wells Fargo’s now-former CEO John Stumpf during Senate hearings earlier this year.
Worcester Mag: Fault on both sides
Worcester Magazine says its review of Facebook messages sent by its editor to women he came in contact with while working on stories were “inappropriate,” but also slammed the Worcester City Councilor who worked with a local blog to release the messages, calling that move “sordid and malicious.” Dan Glaun of MassLive has details.
The magazine’s own editorial on the issue says it is still investigating and suggests that editor Walter Bird Jr.’s fate has yet to be decided.
Millionaire mascot’s fate may be in voters’ hands
The town of Lenox may let its residents decide whether to keep the Millionaires as the mascot of its school sports teams, Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
So long, summer.
Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. MASSterList will return Tuesday to bring you the latest news and set the table for what is certain to be a busy and interesting political and legislative fall season.
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