Happening Today

Special Senate election, Senate health care bill, Cannabis Control Commission

— Voters in the Bristol & Norfolk Senate District take to the polls today in a special election to decide who will replace former state Sen. James Timilty; the candidates are Republican Jacob Ventura, Democrat Paul Feeney and Independent Joe Shortsleeve.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant to visit Marlborough High School’s early college program and talk to students about their experiences with the program. 431 Bolton St., Marlborough, 9 a.m.

— The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture review bills dealing with toxic management and hazardous waste issues, Room B-1, 9:30 a.m.

— State Rep. Tackey Chan is among the speakers at the Asian American Commission’s first advocacy day at the State House, Great Hall, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a public hearing on the application to conduct six days of live horse racing next year at Suffolk Downs, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Housing hears testimony on more than a dozen bills covering condominium laws, Room B-2, 10 a.m.

— Lawmakers from the Massachusetts Asian Caucus, the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and the Caucus of Women Legislators join the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for an awareness day and to draw attention to problems some face in accessing domestic violence services, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Financial Services reviews about three dozen bills pertaining to homeowners insurance, including a proposal by stat Sen. Michael Barrett to increase transparency in homeowners insurance rate setting, Hearing Room A-2, 10:30 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss its first budget request, mission statement, organizational issues and an update of its activities since its last public meeting, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 21st Floor, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh discuss a major charitable goal set by Vertex CEO Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Vertex, 50 Northern Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Auditor Suzanne Bump speak at the Massachusetts AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention, Omni Parker House, 60 School St., Boston, 11:45 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Public Health reviews bills dealing with youth sports injuries, including efforts to establish commissions to study youth sports injuries, especially head and brain injuries, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— The group of senators that has been writing health care cost control legislation will release its report and draft legislation, Room 428, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government holds a hearing on home rule petitions and animal bills, including legislation filed by Sen. Bruce Tarr and Rep. Louis Kafka dubbed the “PAWS Act,” or an act to protect animal welfare in cities and towns, Room 222, 1 p.m.

— The Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee will hear testimony on a number of bills concerning spa regulations, liquor licenses and direct mailings, Room B-2, 1 p.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets to interview finalists for the position of executive director and the meeting will be open to the public, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 21st Floor, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 2 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano will attend a community meeting in Chelsea to hear from constituents, Chelsea Soldier’s Home Martin Auditorium, 91 Crest Ave., Chelsea, 6:30 p.m.

— NBC News correspondent and book author Katy Tur will discuss her career, politics and the future of political reporting at an event at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Columbia Point, Boston, 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Big Day: Senators to unveil long-anticipated health care reform bill

For health-care lobbyists, policy and budget wonks and others, it’s going to be a big day on Beacon Hill today. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “A group of senators that has been writing health care cost control legislation will release its bill Tuesday and one of its chief sponsors said the bill is ‘a very substantial piece of legislation.’ Sen. James Welch, who led the Senate’s health care cost containment working group, said the bill will balance short- and long-term cost control strategies.” Things to keep an eye out for: Medicaid reforms, pharmaceutical price controls and other hot-button issues.

SHNS (pay wall)

Baker confident that ‘one way or the other’ state will overcome subsidies setback

For a guy staring at a $100 million-plus hole punched into the state’s health-care insurance market, the governor doesn’t sound all that alarmed. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Telegram: “Gov. Charlie Baker is looking for ways to offset the expected loss of federal subsidies to health insurers through the end of the year, but deferring to Congress for now to put money behind 2018 Affordable Care Act payments that insurers rely on to keep plan costs lower. … ‘The first piece is the rest of this calendar year for people who currently have insurance, which runs through Dec. 31. I think one way or another we’ll figure out a way to make sure that that gets taken care of,’ Baker told reporters Monday.”


Lab chief fired after breathalyzer results withheld from attorneys

Yup, it’s another crime-lab scandal. The head of the Office of Alcohol Testing was fired Monday after a report found the office withheld documents from defense attorneys pursuing a lawsuit challenging the reliability of breathalyzer test results, report Aimee Ortiz and Maria Cramer at the Globe. Just as in past scandals, slews of defendants may soon be lining up to have convictions tossed as a result. One attorney tells the Globe “every single breathalyzer test case” since 2011 could be called into question. 

Boston Globe

In Worcester, the couple that runs together quits together

Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney—who had been expected to run for mayor right up until the filing deadline—and his wife, Coreen, both abruptly withdrew from the City Council race on Monday, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. The couple—who announced the decision on a blog they run under the heading “The Gaffneys have left the building”— said an unspecified “opportunity” had arisen that would make their political pursuits impossible. 

Bill Shaner of Worcester Magazine suggests the “opportunity” might have something to do with lousy internal polling numbers. 


Feeney: I did not robo call fans during Pats game

It’s special election day in the Bristol & Norfolk Senate District and Democratic candidate Paul Feeney wants to make one thing emphatically clear as voters head to the polls: He did attempt to commit political suicide by rob calling  voters in the middle of Sunday’s Pats-Jets game. No. Never. He’s not that stupid. Jim Hand at the Sun Chronicle has the details on what appears to be a very clever Heidi Game tactic by someone who has a good NFL memory.

Sun Chronicle

Walsh: Boston’s Amazon bid won’t include incentives

From a Bloomberg Radio release: “In an interview with Bloomberg Radio’s Bay State Business program (Monday night), 106.1 FM/1330 AM, 4 PM to 6 PM, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that in its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters due Thursday, the city will not include a detailed package of financial incentives and will wait to negotiate any incentives with the company if Boston makes it past the first round of Amazon’s selection process.” We don’t have a link to the story and interview, but here’s where you can hear Bloomberg Radio.

Is Healey stealing a page from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s playbook?

Here we go again. Talk of Attorney General Maura Healey possibly running for governor, not re-election as AG, as she insists she’s doing. But the Globe’s Joan Vennochi makes a good point about how Healey’s anti-Trump lawsuits crusade resembles the anti-Obama lawsuits crusade launched by former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is now Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Maybe a 2022 gubernatorial bid for Healey?

Boston Globe

Report on millionaire’s tax: Welcome back, Taxachusetts!

This is just one of many for-and-against studies we’ll be seeing over the next year, assuming the ‘millionaire’s tax’ question gets on the statewide ballot in 2018. From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The so-called ‘millionaires’ tax’ would dramatically increase taxes in Massachusetts on gains from the sale of stocks and other investments, making the Bay State the second-highest in the country for such taxes, according to the ioneer Institute.”


T union claims only one firm has bid for privatized bus-repairs contract, declares process ‘dead’

The union representing MBTA bus mechanics says the T has received only one bid for the privatization of bus-repair services at the agency, rendering the privatization push “essentially dead,” according to multiple media reports, including at SHNS (pay wall), the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. It’s not clear how the T will respond, though the Herald reports that “MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez appeared to indicate that the T could look in a different direction, saying that the T now has ‘analytical and other baseline data it had previously lacked.” Meaning? Meaning the union may be right about the privatization push being dead.

The Democratic Party’s ‘rural problem’

Tim Marema at the Daily Yonder talks with Matt Barron, who bolted the state’s Democratic Party over its attitude towards rural voters in western Massachusetts, and Jay Clarke, who briefly left the Virginia Democratic party for the same reasons, about Democrats’ problems in connecting with rural voters these days.  

Dailey Yonder

‘Don’t laugh: Planners look to make routes 9 and 30 on Natick/Framingham line pedestrian friendly’

As usual, Adam Gaffin’s headline cuts to the heart of the matter. He has the details on what looks like an impossible mission by planners in Framingham and Natick.

Universal Hub

Koh’s outside and outsized connections

From Christian Wade at the Gloucester Rimes: “Democrat Dan Koh is leading the money race among those seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas — but most of his campaign cash is coming from outside the district he wants to represent.” The donors include his former boss, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who chipped in $2,700. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan reports that about 95 percent of his donations are coming from outside the Third District.

Gloucester Times

No, the court study didn’t vindicate Felix D. Arroyo

The Herald’s editorial board isn’t buying the notion that a new trial-court report exonerates Felix D. Arroyo of mismanaging the office of Suffolk Probate and Family Court: “After a suspension, Felix D. Arroyo is back on the job as Suffolk register of probate, not because his value as a leader and manager was borne out by retired Judge Anthony Nesi’s review — quite the opposite, in fact — but because voters in 2014 elected him. Arroyo’s disturbing claims of racial bias in the office were indeed supported in the report. Nesi also determined that Arroyo was an ineffective manager. Hugely ineffective, if the substance of the report is to be believed.”

Boston Herald

What goes around comes around: Immigrant at center of landmark SJC ruling charged with robbery, assault and battery

The feds wanted him. Local authorities said no. Now he’s been arrested and charged by local authorities with taking “$2,000 by force from a 65-year-old woman in a wheelchair.” He’s Sreynoun Lunn, the 32-year-old immigrant at the center of the landmark Supreme Judicial Court ruling on immigration detention in Massachusetts. Shannon Dooling at WBUR has the details.


Vertex pledges $500M to charitable efforts, including workforce training

From the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “Vertex Pharmaceuticals is taking a big step toward bolstering its standing in Boston’s civic circles and addressing a local talent shortage by committing to spend $500 million on charitable efforts, including workforce training, over the next 10 years. The pledge, to be announced Tuesday, places the Boston-based drug maker among the largest corporate donors in the city and reflects Vertex’s standing as a major employer that makes life-altering medicines for people with cystic fibrosis.”

Boston Globe

Agawam business owner says he was ‘duped’ by White House and may have to close stores amid backlash

The saga of Dave Ratner, the owner of a (once) popular Agawam soda and pet supplies business, continues. Ratner now says in a letter to the Republican that he was ‘duped’ into attending a White House executive-order ceremony that led to the partial gutting of ObamaCare – and that subsequently led to angry calls for a boycott of his business. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that Ratner is saying the backlash against his company may lead to him closing stores and laying off employees. “Forty-two years of building a business over in a flash,” Ratner said.

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen is sympathetic to Ratner’s plight, saying he appears to be guilty of only one thing: Political naiveté. From the Herald’s Michael Graham: “If I told you that a successful Massachusetts business was being boycotted out of business over a single photograph, what would you assume: The owner paying a bribe? Caught on camera doing blow? Child porn? Nope.”

We’ll soon see what $500K can buy in Washington

Raytheon lobbyist Mark Esper’s nomination to become secretary of the Army is coming up for review by the Senate Armed Services Committee – and we’ll soon see if the Waltham defense company’s nearly $500,000 in donations to committee members was a good investment, reports Christopher Rowland at the Globe.

Boston Globe

SJC: Yahoo can let relatives access their dead brother’s email messages

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that Yahoo can indeed let siblings see their deceased brother’s email messages, saying federal law doesn’t block such access, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. But whether Yahoo, citing service agreements, will finally give the siblings access to the email account is still not clear, SJC ruling or not, reports Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub. 

Eversource and National Grid, we have a new job for you

John DeVillars, chairman of BWC Holdings LLC/BlueWave Solar and former New England administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says Eversource, National Grid and other utilities have to rethink their business models as the electric-car era finally takes shape. “Utility commissioners and industry executives are working together elsewhere in the United States and the European Union—sometimes happily, sometimes not—to develop business and regulatory models for the ‘utility of the future,’” he writes at CommonWealth magazine. 


Holyoke man accused of triggering a City Hall lockdown arrested on vandalism and gun charges

From George Graham: “A city man arrested on vandalism and gun charges Friday after he allegedly tagged buildings at Holyoke High School and triggered a lockdown at City Hall was ordered held without right to bail at his arraignment in District Court Monday. .. Police said 25-year-old Robert Barre spray-painted the letters ‘AIRA’ on several buildings attached to the school’s athletic center … Mayor Alex B. Morse said Barre also was the person his staff reported for ‘suspicious activity’ at City Hall Friday, sending the building into a lockdown.” Fyi: “AIRA” apparently stands for “American Irish Republican Army.”


Lowell elections approach gets day in court

A federal judge will hear arguments today on whether to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the city of Lowell that claims its at-large city council elections discriminate against minorities, Todd Feathesr of the Lowell Sun reports. The city filed a motion to dismiss the case in September, saying the 13 plaintiffs have not demonstrated that a majority-minority district could be drawn. The city council has also formed a committee to study whether to move to a district-based approach. 

Lowell Sun

LeadBoston! Engaging in Socially Responsible Leadership

YW Boston

Getting to the Point with Katy Tur, Author of Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Children’s Vision Advocacy Day

Children’s Vision Massachusetts

IBGC Speaker Series – Scott McDonald

Institute for Business in the Global Context

Massachusetts Councils on Aging Annual Fall Conference

Massachusetts Councils on Aging

What Does Arabness Mean in an Era of Revolution?

Middle East Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

RecruitCon Road Trip – Boston (BLR)

Event Promotions by New York Events List

Author Talk and Book Signing with Steven A. Rosenberg

State Library of Massachusetts

Women in Business – An evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning Globe Columnist, Joan Vennochi

Arlington Chamber of Commerce

Local Emerging Market Series: Transitioning to a Zero Waste Economy

Climate Action Business Association and Save That Stuff

Leaving Hate Behind Featuring Christian Picciolini

ADL New England

City of Worcester – Candidate Debates: District Council Candidates

City of Worcester

Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Grand Junction path, grad student housing lead MITs Volpe community benefits offer – Cambridge Day

Vertex pledges $500M to charities over 10 years – Boston Globe


Gov. Baker endorses Toohey ahead of special election – Eagle-Tribune

Plainridge banked $14.9 milion in September – Sun-Chronicle

Political notes: Flores considers run for Senate – Cape Cod Times

Grafton voters keep town clerk, planning board elected – Telegram & Gazette


GOP candidate for Georgia governor holds bump stock giveaway – The Hill

How a group of Florida tomato growers could help derail NAFTA – Washington Post

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