Senate in session, criminal-justice presentation, Las Vegas statement
— Centro Presente lobbies state leaders to pressure the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain temporary protected status for immigrants who fled from war, natural disaster or crime in Honduras and Nicaragua, State House, Boston, 9 a.m.
— A relative of Las Vegas shooting victim Rhonda LeRocque reads a statement from her husband, Jason LeRocque, in advance of a funeral and memorial service scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Tewksbury Police Department, 918 Main St., Tewksbury, 10 a.m.
— Gaming Commission meets, 101 Federal St. – 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Animal Rescue League of Boston invites media to a photo opportunity with puppies transported from Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, 10 Chandler St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— Senate plans to meet in a full formal session, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Judiciary Committee Senate Chairman Will Brownsberger hold a press conference on the Senate’s criminal justice bill, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will engage with middle and high school students in connection with their program ‘Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership,’ Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker gives remarks welcoming the HUBWeek conference to the Commonwealth, the Green Dome – The HUB, City Hall Plaza, 31 Cambridge Street, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will speak at the 5th Annual New England Institutional Investor Forum, Harvard Club of Boston, 374 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 12:40 p.m.
— The Legislature’s Special Commission on Behavioral Health Promotion and Upstream Prevention, chaired by Rep. James Cantwell, meets to discuss preventing violence and serving at-risk youth, Room 428, 1:30 p.m.
— Committee on Election Laws will accept testimony on bills dealing with election-related issues, including legislation by Sen. Jamie Eldridge to provide a local option for ranked choice voting in city or town elections, Hearing Room B-1, 2 p.m.
— Former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. John Kerry sits for an interview with Bank of America Vice Chairwoman Anne Finucane to discuss diplomacy and the state of public-private partnerships, as part of the HUBweek ideas festival, the Green Dome, One City Hall Sq., Boston, 2:45 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, MBTA General Manager Luiz Ramirez, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and CRRC executives to participate to tour the near-completion of CRRC MA’s Springfield manufacturing factory, 655 Page Boulevard, Springfield.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno to announce a $3 million grant to replace the Swan Pond culvert at Main Greeting Road in Springfield’s Forest Park, 300 Sumner Ave, Springfield, 4 p.m.
— Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants will speak at the sixth annual Access to Justice Fellows event, Seven Justice Courtroom, John Adams Courthouse, Boston, 5 p.m.
— Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry is honored at the Irish International Immigration Center’s 28th annual Solas Awards Gala, Intercontinental Boston, 510 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 6:30 p.m.
House rushes through ‘bump stock’ ban. Next up: Senate
Without holding any public hearings, the House approved legislation yesterday that bans the same type of ‘bump stock’ devices that the Las Vegas shooter used to turn his arsenal of semi-automatic weapons into virtual fully automatic guns. The vote was 151-3, with the Senate expected to take up the legislation soon and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker having already said he’ll sign the measure.
As reported by AP’s Steve LeBlanc at WBUR, House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday defended the decision to vote on the bill without holding public hearings first. “I think it’s important for us to take it up and take it up immediately,” DeLeo said, noting the state’s long history of taking action to prevent gun violence. Considering the carnage in Las Vegas, most people probably won’t/don’t mind the rushed nature of the legislation. But …
Lookie what we got here: Casino criminal-background clause tucked into spending bill
This is why it’s generally not a good idea to rush through legislation on Beacon Hill. It turns out that, nestled in the somewhat routine $123 million spending bill passed yesterday by the House, there’s a provision that would effectively exempt some casino employees from criminal background checks, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Greenfield Recorder. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, apparently backed by the soon-to-open casinos in Springfield and Everett. But it would have been nice to review the provision first. The Senate must still approve the measure.
Fyi: State House News Service also reports (pay wall) on another provision tucked into the spending bill, this one aimed at determining which employers have a lot of employees on public health programs. In other words, they’re trying to figure out who should be paying more in employer assessment fees.
Finally, a debate – and they really debated
They held a debate last night and a debate actually broke out. Sounds like Tito Jackson, who’s far behind in the polls, was landing some punches and getting under the Mayor Walsh’s skin last evening at the first mayoral debate of the campaign season. The Globe’s Meghan Irons and Milton Valencia have more on how Tito is refusing to go down for the count.
Single-payer health care becomes lightning rod in Senate debate
And yet another debate broke out at a debate last night: The three candidates seeking the vacant state Senate seat took turns attacking one another during their first debate Wednesday night, with Democrat Paul Feeney taking the most flack for his support of a single-payer health care system, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. But Republican Jacob Ventura was hit for his decision to move into the district after the departure of former state Sen. James Timilty, which set up the special election, while independent candidate Joe Shortsleeve was whacked for his embrace of Donald Trump and his decision to leave the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Lantigua refuses to debate
Looks like the city that recently gave us an actual boxing match between two candidates won’t be offering up an actual mayoral debate. Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports that former Lawerence mayor William Lantigua declined an invitation to debate Mayor Daniel Rivera ahead of their big Nov. 7 rematch. It’s not that surprising: Lantigua has skipped debates throughout his political career, including in 2009 when he was elected mayor and in 2013 when Rivera ousted him from the corner office.
Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here!
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The gang got back together in Cambridge Tuesday night when the four most recent, living Republican governors, including Gov. Charlie Baker, all attended a MassGOP fundraiser to benefit the party. Former Govs. Bill Weld, Jane Swift, Mitt Romney all joined Baker at the fundraising event which turned into a photo opportunity not to be missed for former party executive and Romney aide Beth Lindstrom, who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2018.”
Speaking of Beth Lindstorm: She’s headed to Washington later this month for a big fundraiser, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan.
Diehl demands Warren return Ben Affleck’s donations!
Thank you, Geoff Diehl. We were looking for a way to get a piece of the Harvey Weinstein/Matt Damon/Ben Affleck controversy – and the Senate candidate provided us one yesterday by demanding, along with a Republican super PAC, that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren return at least $10,400 donated to her campaigns by Ben Affleck after the Cambridge native apologized Wednesday to an actress that accused him of groping her, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. No word from Warren’s camp yet. If we’re lucky, she’ll let this drag on for days and days. …
New York Mayor de Blasio stands by his Sox
Out of the goodness of our hearts, we, the people of Massachusetts, have given New Yorkers their last two mayors, Michael Bloomberg of Medford and Bill de Blasio of Cambridge, and what do some New Yorkers do? In a mayoral debate, one of them mocks the fact that de Blasio is standing by his Sox. Their ungratefulness is breathtaking. The Globe’s Martin Finucane has the details.
Somerville mayor performs governor’s job, offers up regional Amazon bid
Someone else should have brought a realistic, regional focus to the state’s Amazon bidding process. But we’ve been over that before. So via Jordan Graham at the Herald: “Somerville is preparing a regional proposal for Amazon’s new headquarters that will also include sites in Cambridge and Boston, which will submit its own separate bid for the e-commerce giant’s new sprawling campus. ‘We need to break out of our provincial and parochial mindset,’ Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said yesterday. ‘We’re not a region of vast land, our neighborhoods permeate across our city boundaries.’”
Fyi: Congressional candidate Dan Koh is offering up his Third District as a potential Amazon home, but he admits the area may not have the infractstructure needed, the Herald also reports.
Amazon’s spotty tax-break record in Massachusetts
As cities and towns put the finishing touches on their bid applications to attract Amazon to their communities, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that Amazon’s past track record in Massachusetts shows that it “doesn’t always live up to the terms of its tax breaks” as agreed upon with government officials. He specifically looks at job-creation numbers in Stoughton (below estimates) and Fall River (above estimates).
The MBTA is the national leader in … breakdowns
All you can do is sigh. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “More commuter rail trains broke down on the MBTA last year than any other transit system in the country — even though the T runs less than half the number of miles of its New York and New Jersey counterparts, according to stunning new federal data.”
‘Like Christopher Columbus, DiMasi’s legacy is complicated’
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi doesn’t sound exactly thrilled with the North End Columbus Day Celebration Committee’s decision to honor former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who served time in prison for public corruption. “Past and future honorees now share this public service award with someone who dishonored the public trust — no matter what other good he did.”
Sturbridge woman accused of stealing $2.7M from Medicaid
From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “A Sturbridge woman who owns a home health agency was arraigned in court Wednesday on charges she stole $2.7 million from the state’s Medicaid program by overbilling and falsely billing for unauthorized services, according to the state attorney general’s office. Hellen Kiago, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning by Massachusetts State Police after a grand jury returned indictments against Kiago and her company, Lifestream Healthcare Alliance. The indictments were returned on Sept. 28.”
Camera shy: Southampton board chairwoman won’t attend meetings if they’re videotaped
The chairwoman of the Southampton Conservation Commission says she’s willing to put in long volunteer hours on the board, even adjusting her vacation time to make sure commission business gets done. But there’s one thing she won’t do: Preside over meetings if they’re being videotaped for later showing on community-access TV and on the web. “I will leave,” says Marla Hanc, citing “personal” privacy concerns, reports Caitlin Ashworth at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. We side with government transparency on this one, but we can see where she’s coming from in this digital age.
And here’s a billion for you … and here’s a billion for me …
They say they have safeguards in place to minimize self-dealing. Still, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl takes a look at a rather odd arrangement in which Eversource Energy and National Grid are charged with procuring billions of dollars worth of clean energy through two separate contracting processes – even though the utilities are also part of groups bidding on the clean energy deals. Some rival bidders are nervous. Bruce has the details.
Environmental group: Utilities drove up winter electric prices
Speaking of utilities, from Jon Chesto at the Globe: “An environmental group is contending that utilities Eversource and Avangrid drove up electric and natural gas rates over several winters by buying up shipment capacity on a major pipeline that they ultimately did not use. The Environmental Defense Fund said both utilities routinely reserved big deliveries of natural gas on the Algonquin pipeline system for frigid days, but then sharply reduced those orders too late in the day for others to use that capacity.”
Wheelock College and BU seal deal on merger
That was fast. Only weeks after it was revealed Wheelock College and Boston University were discussing a merger, the two schools officially announced yesterday that, yes, they have reached an agreement for BU’s effective takeover of the financially struggling Wheelock, reports Max Larkin at WBUR. At Universal Hub, some readers raise an interesting question: Who will get Wheelock’s Fenway campus assets? Answer: BU. Here’s a map of the Wheelock campus. That’s a decent array of properties.
Northeastern School of Law wins bragging rights over BU and BC
It’s sort of the Beanpot tournament of local law schools: Harvard, BC, BU and Northeastern duking it out to see who has the highest percentage of graduates passing the bar exam on the first try. Unlike the hockey Beanpot, Harvard is king of the law school Beanpot. But this year Northeastern edged out BC and BU for the first time in years, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan, who has the details (with an accompany slide show) of all the local law-school scores.
Still undeclared, Gov. Baker’s campaign chest grows and grows …
Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign coffers have swelled to $6.5 million, boosted by recent fundraising event, as the governor has yet to officially declare he’ll run for re-election next year, Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press reports, via South Coast Today. That’s at least ten times what the two previous governors had on hand at this point in their terms and makes the combined $100,000 or so the three would-be Democratic challengers have in their accounts look like chump change.
Gonzalez picks up another legislative endorsement
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez may not have a lot of dough in his campaign coffers, but he is on a roll, picking up another legislative endorsement, this time from Rep. Jerald Parisella, a Beverly Democrat and Army reservist who will be the fourth legislator to sign onto Gonzalez’s team, reports State House News Service.
‘Codfather’ ordered to forfeit fishing boats and permits
A federal judge has ordered Carlos Rafael—whose aggressive and ultimately illegal approach to dominating the state’s fishing industry earned him the nickname ‘Codfather’— to forfeit two fishing boats worth $2.2 million and 34 permits, Michael Bonner of the Standard-Times reports. But it remains unclear whether a proposed sale of Rafael’s fishing fleet can go through as planned.
Advocates cast doubt on Cape’s low poverty ranking
Barnstable was named the city with the second-lowest poverty rate in the country by 24/7 Wall Street this week, but local advocates say the data paint a misleading picture, Geoff Spillane of the Cape Cod Times reports.
4th Annual Education Party
Coffee with Colleagues
Big Data Bootcamp
Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization
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