Health care costs, SJC charter-school hearing, Cannabis Control and MBTA Control meetings
— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Gov. Charlie Baker headline the opening of the Health Policy Commission‘s annual health-care cost trends hearing, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, 9 a.m.
— The Supreme Judicial Court will meet to hear several cases, including a high-profile effort to declare the cap on charter schools unconstitutional, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.
— The Cannabis Control Commission holds a hearing in which invited people and organizations with a known interest in the development of pot regulations will provide input into future rules, Hearing Rooms A-1 and A-2, 9:30 a.m.
— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey joins Puerto Rican community leaders, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups for a roundtable discussion on federal and local disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria, JFK Federal Building, 9th floor, 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III attends the launch of a children’s mental health awareness collaboration between Franciscan Children’s Hospital and the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, 30 Warren St., Brighton, 10:30 a.m.
— Committee on Higher Education travels to Westfield State University for a hearing on bills dealing with investment in higher education, Westfield State University, Dever Stage, Parenzo Hall, 577 Western Ave., Westfield, 11 a.m.
— First Lady Lauren Baker reads to students at Framingham’s Brophy School as part of the Read to a Child lunchtime reading program, Brophy Elementary School, 575 Pleasant St., Framingham, 11 a.m.
— Sens. William Brownsberger and Patricia Jehlen attend ‘Wrongful Conviction Day’ put on by the New England Innocence Project, Great Hall, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy, Sen. Sal DiDomenico and others join EF Education First CEO Dr. Edward Hult to break ground on EF’s third new building project in Cambridge’s North Point neighborhood, Intersection of Museum Way and North Point Boulevard, Cambridge, 11 a.m.
— A Senate task force convened to help the state’s retail sector holds its first meeting, Room 428, 11 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg holds a press conference ahead of a showcase of items from the state’s Unclaimed Property Division; the items will be displayed through this week and put up for sale on eBay on Oct. 7, Room 227, 11 a.m.
— The MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board meets with an agenda that includes discussions about the MBTA Retirement Fund, the positive train control federal mandate, a commuter rail service update and information on the Focus40 plan, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Ivory Free Massachusetts coalition holds a briefing to discuss results from an investigation of illegal ivory sales and urge the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to support ivory and rhino horn anti-trafficking legislation, House Members Lounge, 12:30 p.m.
— The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight hears about four dozen bills dealing with land, construction and procurement, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones hold a semi-regular leadership meeting, Governor’s Office, 2 p.m.
— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Rep. Kevin Honan attend a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the fall opening of Telford 180, an 85-unit condominium building, 180 Telford St., Allston, 2:30 p.m.
— Seekonk Public Access television holds a debate in the Bristol and Norfolk Senate special election between candidates Democrat Paul Feeney, Republican Jacob Ventura and unenrolled candidate Joe Shortsleeve, TV9 Seekonk Public Access, 6:30 p.m.
BREAKING NEWS: Death toll in Vegas rises above 50, more than 200 wounded, shooter identified as ‘lone wolf’
The grisly casualty county keeps rising in Las Vegas, via the Washington Post: “A gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and wounded more than 200 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, was later killed during a standoff with officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a news briefing. Media reports said Paddock was 64.”
Authorities have not, as of this morning, labeled it as a terrorist attack, though that’s obviously on everyone’s mind. There are media reports of a possible female accomplice. Here’s a YouTube video of the concert as the first shots rang out. Sure sounds like automatic fire to us.
As for local news …
No play, no pay: Group says towns that refuse pot shops should get no tax revenues
It probably won’t go anywhere on Beacon Hill. But there is an appealing simplicity to the idea: Towns that vote to ban pot shops wouldn’t get any state tax revenues from the sale of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, under a bill to be pushed by pro-pot advocates. The Globe’s Dan Adams has the details.
Patriots stand for national anthem – and patriots cheer
New England Patriots players stood for the national anthem yesterday, rather than kneel in protest, making patriots among Patriots fans mighty happy, as reported at Masslive.com and at the Boston Herald. There were few cheers after the game in Foxboro, though, as ESPN reports.
Step right up: Treasurer’s office to showcase gold and jewelry to be auctioned off this week
From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “High-end wristwatches, jewelry, gold and other items left in abandoned safe deposit boxes that have gone unclaimed for at least nine years by Massachusetts residents will soon be auctioned on eBay. Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will have items on display all week before the auction goes live starting on Saturday, Oct. 7. The traveling showcase will only feature a portion of the items up for auction.”
Moulton in Iowa: I’m just here flipping steaks
No, no, no. He doesn’t have his eye on the White House. He was just in Iowa over the weekend because he was invited to the annual Polk County steak fry and thought it’d be a great idea to see what it’s all about, says U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. The Globe’s James Pindell and the Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble have more on what others consider a political event that’s become a traditional first stop for future Democratic presidential candidates.
Senate criminal-justice reform bill advanced out of committee
Keep in mind that this is the more ambitious Senate reform plan, not the alternative package generally favored by the House and Gov. Charlie Baker. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at MassLive: “Senate members of the Judiciary Committee on Friday advanced a 114-page criminal justice bill that would phase out the indigent counsel fee, require regular reviews to determine whether a prisoner should stay in solitary confinement, and allow people to effectively wipe old charges from a national database.” Senate President Stan Rosenberg has said he expects a floor debate on criminal justice legislation later this fall.
Baker knocks ICE raids, says the feds need to focus on criminals
From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “In the wake of federal immigration raids targeting ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he thinks the U.S. government should focus on arresting dangerous criminals who are here illegally, not those whose only offense was illegal immigration. ‘I really do think the focus of these should be on what I’d call convicted dangerous criminals,’ Baker, a Republican, told reporters at the Statehouse on Friday.”
Remember: Twenty of the 50 people ICE recently arrested in Massachusetts had no criminal records. None. Meanwhile, Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, says ICE was clearly targeting the Bay State because of a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling here. He explains in an interview with Barbara Howard at WGBH.
Authorities: Inmates use fake IDs to hide illegal immigrant status
But there are hardened criminals among the illegal immigrant population here – and they don’t want officials to know about it. From Hillary Chabot at the Herald: “Bay State prisons and jails could be housing hundreds of illegal immigrants posing as legal citizens — raising the risk that criminals who should be deported could be released back into the United States, law enforcement officials say.”
First Amendment concerns raised over Brockton and BSU controversies
Gerry Tuoti at Wicked Local reports that concerns are being raised about how government officials are responding to controversial remarks by a Brockton public official and a Bridgewater State University professor. “If the government wants to try to restrict speech, it’s got to have a pretty compelling reason to do it,” warns Dwight Duncan, a UMass School of Law professor who teaches courses on constitutional law and the First Amendment.
Harvard group backs off call to eliminate frats, sororities and other social groups
Speaking of First Amendment rights: After students, alumni and many faculty members vehemently objected to a plan to ban single-gender clubs at Harvard, the committee that initially recommended the ban has “watered down” its proposal and instead offered up various alternative plans for Harvard President Drew Faust to consider, the Harvard Crimson reports.
Local pols trash Trump’s trashing of San Juan mayor
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Marty Walsh, U.S. Rep. James McGovern and others are unloading on President Trump for his Twitter attack on the San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and for his contention that Puerto Rico residents “want everything done for them when it should be a community effort,” according to a report at the Herald. “PR needs help, not bullying, from the @POTUS,” Warren tweeted. “This is outrageous: Trump on golf course while #Puerto Rico suffers,” McGovern added on Twitter.
Additional communities make room for Puerto Rican refugees
More communities across the state are prepping to assist those fleeing Puerto Rico. The superintendent of the Lawrence public schools says the city is ready to help families displaced by Hurricane Maria, Paul Tennant of the Eagle-Tribune reports. The schools have already seen some children arrive from Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the Cambridge Housing Authority is also making room for those displaced, saying it can accommodate up to 20 families who are fleeing the aftermath of Maria as well as the storms that struck Florida and Houston in recent weeks, reports Sue Reinertat Cambridge Day. Activists and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey plan to gather in Boston this morning to discuss disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall).
As Baker and Walsh launch fund for Puerto Rico, Setti Warren lashes out at governor
Responding to the post-hurricane tragedy unfolding in Puerto Rico, Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh late last week announced a new fund-raising campaign for Puerto Rico, called Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund, in partnership with the Boston Foundation, reports Cristela Guerra at the Globe. The governor also announced that the state will be sending a six-person National Guard communications team to Puerto Rico, prompting a spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, who has pushed for the National Guard to be deployed, to respond, “Is this a joke?” Say this for Setti et gang: There isn’t a headline they won’t chase for political gain, even during an unfolding tragedy.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem issues unlikely praise for Baker
No, this isn’t a joke, Setti Warren. From Stephanie Ebbert at the Globe: “Consider it a sign of the times that Gloria Steinem, the feminist firebrand who has spent nearly five decades fighting the establishment, has lately been lauding centrist Republicans like Governor Charlie Baker as the greatest hope for politics. On a swing through Boston this week, Steinem urged Baker and his Illinois counterpart, Governor Bruce Rauner, to fill the leadership gap of a divided GOP, saying direction is needed ‘if the Republican party is going to rescue itself, and thereby rescue the Democrats,; who are mirroring the GOP’s extremism with a tug of war to the left.”
In a piece headlined ‘Is Ed Markey Really the Best We Can Do?’ Michael Damiano at Boston Magazine portrays our ‘other’ senator as … well, like our very own Joe Biden. “It’s remarkable how anonymous Markey is. Yes, the electorate knows his name—the guy’s been representing Massachusetts in Washington since the Gerald Ford administration—yet the average voter probably can’t tell you a single thing he’s done.”
EPA calls for additional 40 miles of Northern Pass transmission line to be buried underground
More than half of the planned 192-mile long Northern Pass transmission line, which would transmit hydro-produced power from Canada to southern New England, would ultimately be buried underground, if a new EPA demand is met. CommonWealth magazine’s Jack Sullivan has the details on what is now turning out to be a far more costly project than Eversource and Hydro-Quebec initially envisioned.
Rep. John Velis doesn’t need to read about tensions in Korea. He’s experienced them firsthand
Most of us only read about the tensions between North Korea and the United States. But state Rep. John Velis, as a U.S. Army Reservist, recently saw and felt the tensions while spending a month participating in military exercises in South Korea, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. “Here you are in a city of 24 million people less than 20 miles away from 8,000 artillery batteries. And the sense you get from the Korean people is it is what it is,” said Velis, a Westfield Democrat. “It was absolutely remarkable for someone like me to experience that mentality.”
Tax board rules Lancaster must refund taxes paid by idled college
Refund time! The town of Lancaster must repay $400,000 to a local college after the state’s Appellate Tax Board ruled the institution was exempt from paying local property taxes even during years when it wasn’t fully operational and able to award degrees, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports. Atlantic Union College, a Seventh Day Adventist institution that had been shut down briefly for financial reasons, cheered the ruling while the town says it is exploring possible next steps.
Lydia Edwards vs ‘Our Own’ in council race
Lydia Edwards is poised to make history if she wins the First District Council seat, becoming the first African-American woman to represent the sprawling district that stretches from East Boston across Charlestown and into the North End. But she’s up against Stephen Passacantilli, a North End native whose grandfather represented the North End for decades, reports Milton Valencia. Hand-written notes on a Passacantilli sign read ‘Our Own’ and ‘Good Kid, Local Kid.’
John Fish’s Suffolk Construction fined $34K for Clinton super-PAC donations
From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Federal campaign finance officials have fined the John Fish-led Suffolk Construction Company $34,000 for a pair of improper six-figure donations it made to a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, a political finance watchdog said. The fine and decision were detailed in an 11-page letter, dated Sept. 25, that Federal Election Commission officials sent to the Campaign Legal Center, the non-partisan watchdog group that filed a complaint with the FEC alleging Suffolk improperly donated $200,000 to Priorities USA in two installments in 2015.”
The forever war that might not last forever: Dentists vs dental therapists
When it’s not optometrists versus ophthalmologists or community hospitals versus large teaching hospitals on Beacon Hill, it’s dentists versus dental therapists, with the latter looking to perform more procedures typically done by dentists, as reported by the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, who takes a look at how Minnesota is faring since it loosened its dental-therapist rules.
T keeps lid on lost-train-car investigation
The MBTA is denying media requests for records related to the investigation into the Sept. 6 uncoupling of a commuter rail coach from a moving train, Matt Stout of the Herald reports. The Herald had asked for emails and other written communications among T leadership, but the agency says those records are being used to help figure out what went wrong.
Open Meeting Law tweaks take effect
Tweaks meant to give the state’s Open Meeting Law more teeth are slated to take effect Friday. The Associated Press reports, via the Lowell Sun, that changes announced by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey include a requirement that officials found in violation demonstrate within 30 days that they have addressed the issues that led to the lapse.
City of Worcester – Candidate Debates: School Committee Candidates
Feast of St. Francis
Legislative Breakfast – Secretary Jay Ash
Gonson Daytime Lecture Series: Fall 2017
Navigating Market-Based Environmental Regulation: Lessons from the U.S. Acid Rain Program
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