Happening Today

Preliminary elections, Cannabis commission, DeNucci wake

Ten cities will hold preliminary municipal elections today in Fall River, Greenfield, Lynn, Medford, Newton, Peabody, Quincy, Salem, Woburn, and Worcester. … Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hearing on pending bills, including legislation establishing a ‘restoration center’ in Middlesex County, Room B-1, 9 a.m. … Gov. Charlie Baker delivers the keynote address at the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program Summit and makes an announcement about the program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, 10 a.m. .. A Massachusetts Teachers Association-backed package of reforms to the state’s schools system is among the 40 bills on the agenda for the Education Committee, Gardner Auditorium, 10 a.m. … State Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican, holds a press conference to discuss ‘the next step for his campaign’ for U.S. Senate, State House steps, 10 a.m. … The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture hears bills dealing with animals and agriculture issues, Hearing Room A-2, 10 a.m. … The Cannabis Control Commission holds its first business meeting, with members set to discuss its mission statement, elect officers, adopt a rules package, review immediate staffing needs, One Ashburton Place, 2nd Floor, bid room, Boston, 10:30 a.m. … Youth Villages Massachusetts staff and supporters plan to rally for ‘robust funding and strong policies for vital children’s services,’ Nurses Hall, State House, 11 a.m. … Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler and Chairman William Pignatelli hold a press conference on joint legislation to authorize a new class of dental therapists in Massachusetts, Room 428, 12 p.m. … Larry Tye talks about his book, ‘Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon,’ at the State Library’s monthly author talk, State Library, Room 341, 12 p.m. … The Judiciary Committee hears testimony on more than 100 bills related to civil actions, Room A 1, 1 p.m. … Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government takes up bills dealing with local zoning and municipal finance, Hearing Room B-2, 1 p.m. … The battle over how to expand dental care access resumes at the Joint Committee on Public Health, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m. … The wake for the late Joseph DeNucci, the longest serving state auditor in Massachusetts history, will be held today at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 573 Washington St., Newton, 2 p.m. … The Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure discusses the relationship between brewers and beer distributors and other alcohol-related legislation, Room B-1, 2 p.m. … Gov. Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito for the ceremonial swearing in of Appeals Court Justice Dalila Wendlandt, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Boston, 4 p.m. 

Today’s Stories

Pro-charter group hit with record fine for hiding identity of donors

So now we know. A New York pro-charter group that funneled $15 million into last year’s Question 2 charter-school expansion initiative – money that was hard to trace during the ongoing battle over the referendum – has been hit with a record fine of $426,466 by the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance for illegally hiding the identities of its donors, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson, the Herald’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy at CommonWealth magazine.

So who were some of the mystery donors? Two Baker administration officials — Paul Sagan, the chair of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, who gave $500,000, and Mark Nunnelly, Gov. Baker’s newly appointed technology secretary, who gave $275,000 – and a whole slew of millionaires and billionaires.  

Did they really think they would keep these donations secret? Apparently so — or at least until after the referendum.

Charlie hits his $10M mark

Speaking of Charlie Baker and donations: The as-yet-undeclared re-election campaign of Gov. Baker has hit its own goal of raising $10 million, Jim O’Sullivan of the Globe reports. Various accounts—including a federal fund that allows Baker to skirt state caps on donations—raised $1.5 million over the summer and now have $9.8 million in them.  For comparison sake, O’Sullivan notes that all three Democrats combined have so far taken in less money than team Baker-Politio raised in a single day in August. 

Boston Globe

Did donations to Dems work against would-be U.S. Attorney?

And yet more on the subject of donations: President Trump’s decision to pass over acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, and instead go with Andrew Lelling as Boston’s new top federal prosecutor, may have stemmed in part from Weinreb’s history of donating to Democrats, Christian Wade reports at the Gloucester Times. Weinreb actively sought the position and even ramped up enforcement of immigration laws while running the office but his past donations to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren may have doomed him, the story says.

Gloucester Times

State House question of the day: How much will DeLeo et gang add back to budget?

The House is poised to take up budget veto overrides tomorrow at the State House. But the question of the day is: How much of Gov. Charlie Baker’s $320 million in spending cuts will the House try to restore? House Speaker Robert DeLeo isn’t saying much, according to reports by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and Andy Metzger at SHNS (pay wall). But DeLeo did say: “”I feel good that the amount we’ll be taking up Wednesday will be well within where we are in terms of a balanced budget.”

In an editorial, the Herald expresses hope that DeLeo and new House Ways and Means chair Jeffrey Sanchez put the brakes on many add-back requests, though the paper doesn’t sound too confident that will happen.

DeLeo eyes criminal-justice reform votes later this year

Speaking of the speaker, from Katie Lannan at SHNS (pay wall): “While a consensus bill has not emerged eight months into the session, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Monday he wants to see a criminal justice reform package pass both branches of the Legislature by the end of the year, including both widely agreed-upon proposals aimed at lowering recidivism as well as unspecified other measures.” DeLeo confirmed it would be a two-bill package.

SHNS (pay wall)

So who will Stan Rosenberg meet up with on his European trip? Tom Finneran

As the House gears up to override budget vetoes, SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local has the details on Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s rather quiet all-expenses-paid trip to Austria and the Czech Republic this week (quiet until Michael started asking questions, that is). So what’s Stan doing over there? Attending various governmental meetings and, starting today, attending the Senate Presidents’ Forum in Prague, where, we sort of assume, he’ll probably run into Thomas Finneran, the former speaker of the Massachusetts House who’s on the Senate Presidents’ Forum staff and who’s scheduled to run sessions at the forum.

Wicked Local

Springfield activist found murdered in Chicopee park

Jafet Robles, a well-known Springfield resident and political activist, was found shot to death in a Chicopee park yesterday, stunning the local political establishment and sending loved ones and admirers into deep mourning, according to reports at MassLive and Western Mass News and WMPI. A candlelight vigil was held in Robles’ memory within hours after his body was discovered. This is a big deal in western Massachusetts – and it’s a homicide mystery police are apparently all over.

Millennium cuts height of Winthrop Tower amid concerns over Logan air traffic

Coincidence? A day after CommonWealth magazine’s James Aloisi warned that the height of the proposed Winthrop Tower might impact air traffic at Logan International Airport, Millennium Partners announced it was slicing 73 feet from the proposed skyscraper, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. But was Aloisi’s piece really the catalyst for the sudden change? The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports the FAA also came out with a detailed report yesterday that said the previous 775-foot height had to go. The FAA said it “could” accept the new 702-foot height and requests “further study.”

Warren expresses concerns about Army nominee’s ties to military industrial complex

She’s not exactly saying ‘no,’ but U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is expressing concern about President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, a decorated veteran and long-time lobbyist for Waltham defense contractor Raytheon, the Globe’s Christopher Rowland reports. “I think the question about industry influence on Washington is always serious and presents a real problem,’’ said Warren.

Boston Globe

Mitt’s Utah dreams – and potential boredom nightmare

The Globe’s Matt Viser revisits the ongoing speculation about whether former Massachusetts Gov. and presidential candidate Mitt Romney will run for the U.S. Senate in Utah – if incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, 83, decides not to run for re-election. But Viser takes an interesting angle to the story: Could Mitt comfortably adjust to being one of 100 committee-attending senators after serving as a hands-on chief executive of a state? The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says Mitt should go for it no matter what, if only to help save the soul of the Republican Party in the era of Donald Trump.

Uxbridge to Amazon: Take a hike

No doubt, the Amazon folks are stunned. Selectmen in the Blackstone Valley town of Uxbridge decided not to formally pursue a bid to become the home of Amazon’s second headquarters, Susan Spencer of the Telegram reports. Officials acknowledged the former mill community’s lack of public transit and other drawbacks would make it a million-to-one long-shot in the e-tailer’s sweepstakes, while others thought the publicity of bidding would be worth the effort. 


Amazon sweepstakes, Part II: Boston makes it to Fantasy Final Four

Uxbridge may be out. But is Boston still in contention to become Amazon’s ‘second’ headquarters city? After weighing the economic and lifestyle pluses and minuses of various cities, the NYT gives Boston an excellent chance of landing Amazon’s much coveted ‘second’ headquarters, even putting the Hub in its final four top contenders. But Denver – that evil Denver – should win it all, the Times analysis concludes. We’ll see. Maybe Uxbridge will agree to a joint bid with Boston?


That’s a lot of space …

So how much is the eight million square feet of space that Amazon says it needs for a future second headquarters? About three more Prudential Centers and Hancock Towers (oops, sorry, 200 Clarendon), reports the BBJ’s Catherline Carlock, citing research by Aaron Jodka, director of research at Colliers International Boston. That’s a lot of space.


Election day is here—sort of

Voters in ten Massachusetts communities go to the polls Tuesday to narrow the fields for city leadership posts, and Matt Murphy of State House News Service says even cities with just two candidates destined for final election-day showdowns may offer some political intrigue. Races in Lynn and Newton will be closely monitored to see where candidates stand with voters, while Newton voters will narrow a field of seven candidates vying to replace outgoing Mayor Setti Warren, who’s running for governor.

SHNS (pay wall)

Baker seeks protections from potential Trump cuts to subsidies

This looks like the contingency plans the governor mentioned in his testimony last week in Washington D.C. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “Gov. Charlie Baker has requested federal permission to reconfigure how certain subsidies are handed out in the state, in an effort to protect the Massachusetts insurance market should Trump do away with federal subsidies. In a waiver request, submitted late Friday to the Department of Health and Human Services by Baker and the state’s online insurance market the Health Connector, state officials said they are hoping to reconfigure how federal money is handed out in the state if President Donald Trump stops funding what are known as ‘cost sharing reduction payments.’”


Nursing home officials: The system is on the ‘brink of collapse’

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at Wicked Local: “Nursing home administrators and staff sounded the alarm on Monday, telling lawmakers their industry is underfunded and needs help. ‘There has never been more urgency in the need to stabilize the commonwealth’s nursing facilities,’ Matt Salmon, the CEO of Salmon Health and Retirement and vice chairman of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association board, said at a Joint Committee on Elder Affairs hearing. ‘We’re facing an unprecedented financial crisis that is threatening the quality of care that we provide.’”

Here’s the press release from the MSCA.

Wicked Local

Local Teamsters chief mulls challenge to Hoffa

There are elections. Then there are Teamsters elections. And Bostonians would have a virtual front row seat to the next Teamsters national election if Local 25 chief Sean O’Brien decides to challenge Teamsters uber-boss James P. Hoffa. The Herald’s Jack Encarnacao has the details.

Boston Herald

Happy commuting: After Comm Ave. Bridge work, now it’s the Tobin’s turn

From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “State transportation officials approved a plan Monday to rehabilitate a major stretch of the Tobin Bridge into Chelsea, a project that is expected to cause lane closures and traffic disruptions into 2020. The $41.6 million project, approved by the board of directors for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, is scheduled to start in April.”

Boston Globe

Attention State House staffers: Free beer

After testifying at a Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure hearing, members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild will host a beer tasting featuring 12 local craft brewers, with Rep. Alice Peisch and Sen. Barbara L’Italien scheduled to speak at the event, according to SHNS’s calendar of daily events. The event is at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall. Remember: It’s a “tasting.”

BostonYPA After 5 Social: Last Chance for the Patio!

Boston Young Professionals Association

Norwell Democratic Town Committee Monthly Meeting

Norwell Public Library

Cambridge: Still in the Lead

NAIOP Massachusetts

Emotion AI Summit

MIT Media Lab

Lecture: Salt Marshes in the Age of Climate Change – Ecology and Conservation in Newburyport

Joppa Flats Education Center

Today’s Headlines


Barrage of violence around Central Square brings sudden action on police substation – Cambridge Day

Millennium promises shorter Winthrop Square tower – CommonWealth Magazine


Anti-war banner at Amherst College sparks 9/11 outrage – Boston Herald

Political notes: Fernandes files pesticides legislation – Cape Cod Times

Northampton’s Paki Wieland found guilty in Senate disruption – Hampshire Gazette

‘Only’ Attleboro Senate candidate a late comer to the city – Sun-Chronicle

Brockton candidates debate mayor’s proposed $78 million Aquaria deal – Brockton Enterprise

MBTA to issue $574 million in bonds – CommonWealth Magazine


Democratic foes of Trump flock to single payer ahead of 2020 – Politico

Steve Bannon’s nervous defense of Trump on Russia is telling – Washington Post

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