Happening Today

Bump stocks hearing, union rally, new T catamaran and more …

— Attorney General Maura Healey and Mass. General Hospital president Peter Slavin provide opening remarks at her office’s outreach day, Richard B. Simches Research Center, 185 Cambridge St., 3rd floor conference room, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 9 a.m.

Health Policy Commission holds a joint meeting of its Care Delivery and Payment System Transformation Committee and Quality Improvement and Patient Protection Committee, 50 Milk St., Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Led by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, organized labor and allied state-level elected officials rally for union priorities at All-Union Lobby Day, Omni Parker House, 60 School St., Boston, 10 a.m., later marching to the State House.

— MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez celebrates the addition of the Champion, the MBTA’s brand new catamaran, to the commuter boat fleet, Long Wharf, Boston, 10 a.m.

— A week after the House and Senate passed competing amendments aimed at banning bump stocks on firearms, a hearing led by Sen. Michael Moore is planned to gather input from the public in an effort to fashion a compromise, Room 222, 10 a.m.

House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets holds an oversight hearing, with testimony expected from Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton, among others, Room B-1, 10:30 a.m.

Senate Democrats gather for a closed-door caucus, Senate President’s Office, 11 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Horse Racing Committee meets to discuss the applications for live horse racing next year and to review how money from the Race Horse Development Fund is split between the Thoroughbred and standardbred racing, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 11:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks to the Massachusetts Councils on Aging annual fall conference, DoubleTree Hotel, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, 12:45 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is interviewed on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lynn Mayor Judith Kennedy, Sen. Tom McGee, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and MassDevelopment president and CEO Lauren Liss at an event to celebrate the 2017 MassWorks Infrastructure Program investments in Lynn, Lynn YMCA, 20 Neptune Blvd., Lynn, 3:15 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Polito joins Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, Sen. Mike Brady, Reps. Gerry Cassidy and Michelle DuBois, and others to make an announcement on the future of the 226 Main Street building in Brockton, Joe Angelo’s Café, Mulligan’s Function Room, 11 Crescent St., Brockton, 3:45 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the USS Constitution Museum Chairman’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony with First Lady Lauren Baker, Seaport Hotel, One Seaport Ln, Boston, 6:30 p.m.

Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman is a guest on ‘NightSide with Dan Rea,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 9 p.m.

Today’s Stories

New tests, lower scores

From James Vaznis at the Globe: “Massachusetts public school students in grades 3-8 performed worse on the state’s newly redesigned MCAS tests than the older version — often by eye-popping margins, according to a Globe review of MCAS results being released Wednesday. Significantly fewer students at each grade level scored in the top two categories in English and math last spring than their predecessors did in 2014, the last time all public schools in Massachusetts administered the old MCAS, the Globe review found.” You can look at this two ways: 1.) The new tests are unrealistic and unfair. 2.) The new tests raise the bar.

Boston Globe

Dems hold as Feeney wins special state senate election

That whooshing sound you heard last night was Democrats everywhere breathing a sigh of relief. Foxboro’s Paul Feeney came out on top in the hotly contested three-way race to fill the vacant Norfolk and Bristol state senate seat. Feeney took 47 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Republican Jacob Ventura and 9 percent for independent Joe Shortsleeve, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. In his victory speech, Feeney—who helmed Bernie Sanders’ state campaign in last year’s presidential contest—credited an army of volunteers with helping push to him to victory.

Sun Chronicle

Senate health-care plan: The details …

There’s so much in a Senate health-care cost containment report, unveiled yesterday at the State House, it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ll get one thing out of the way quickly: The plan doesn’t include many of the proposals that Gov. Charlie Baker had previously submitted to reduce Medicaid spending.

With that said, here are the leads of stories by media outlets, all of which seem to emphasize slightly different points:

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “A working group of the Massachusetts Senate unveiled health care legislation on Tuesday that promotes the treatment of patients in more cost-effective settings while laying the groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight of hospital readmissions and payments to pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals.”

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WBUR: “New oversight for pharmaceutical companies, the creation of a MassHealth ‘buy-in’ program and a target for hospital reimbursement rates are among the reforms and cost-control efforts contained in wide-ranging bill a group of Senate Democrats rolled out Tuesday.”

From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “State Senate Democrats who have filed a new health care cost-control bill that would create a MassHealth ‘buy-in’ program, a target for hospital reimbursement rates and new oversight for pharmaceutical companies are hoping the measure ultimately becomes the model for ‘Trumpcare.’” (Yes, we know: ‘TrumpCare’?)

From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Massachusetts state senators unveiled a far-ranging legislative package on Tuesday that seeks to save approximately $114 million by 2020 in the health care system. The package includes several areas of reform, including setting a three-year goal to raise the reimbursement for community hospitals to within 90 percent of the average reimbursement, setting benchmarks to lower readmissions, increasing oversight of the state’s pharmaceutical industry as well as launching commercial market and Medicaid reforms.”

From the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “Massachusetts Senate leaders unveiled sweeping health care legislation Tuesday that seeks to rein in prescription drug costs and hospital prices, an effort that proponents say would improve the state’s health care system and curb medical spending. The bill would require drug companies for the first time to submit price and other data to the Health Policy Commission, a watchdog state agency, for scrutiny.”

Bottom line: Take your pick.

House’s Sanchez expresses frustration with ‘podium banging’ Senate

While senators were unveiling their comprehensive health-care bill yesterday, state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, the House’s new budget chief, was fuming, accusing senators of causing an “unnecessary delay” with a seemingly routine budget bill and spending too much time on other matters, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. “There’s been a lot of press conferences in this building this week and lot of podium banging and at the same time we have pieces that are stuck that address a lot of those things that people are talking about and the clock is ticking to close these books right now,” Sanchez told SHNS. “Instead of wasting time on (budget) procedural matters, we should be working on important policy and fiscal matters.”

Care to respond, Sen. Spilka?

SHNS (pay wall)

Worcester’s bid for Amazon: $500M in incentives, 100 acres along Route 20

While Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says his city’s initial bid to land Amazon’s new headquarters won’t include any financial incentives, Worcester is going all out, offering $500 million in property-tax breaks and other incentives spread over 20 years, reports the Globe’s Shirley Leung. Meanwhile, Worcester, in a glossy 60-page bid package, is proposing that Amazon build its new ‘second’ headquarters on nearly 100 acres of land along Route 20 in Worcester, reports Nick Kotsopoulos at the Telegram.

All Amazon bid packages from across the country are due tomorrow – and it appears Massachusetts cities and regions will be submitting about 10 bids in all, even though Amazon asked for only one bid per metropolitan area, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto and Tim Logan. Chesto and Logan delve into the question a lot of people are asking these days: Has the Baker administration erred by not backing one bid on behalf of Massachusetts? Some people in the Globe story think the administration’s no-favorites approach may hurt the state. We’ll see.

DOR: State is ‘working amicably’ with Amazon to resolve legal dispute

As towns and cities across the commonwealth put the finishing touches on their Amazon HQ2 bids that are due by tomorrow, the Baker administration and Amazon are still trying to resolve a legal dispute over sales records that the state wants Amazon to hand over. But don’t worry: A Department of Revenue spokeswoman says “DOR is working amicably with Amazon” to work out a legal resolution, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.


L’Italien demands Koh return Kushner donation

State Sen. Barbara L’Italien sure looked like a candidate for the Third Congressional District seat yesterday, attacking fellow Democrat Dan Koh for accepting a campaign donatation from the brother of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald. L’Italien, who is currently exploring a run to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, demanded that Koh return the $2,700 donation from New York venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). As Matt notes of Kushner: “He has also given tens of thousands of dollars in recent years to Democratic state committees, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and even U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Salem.”

Meanwhile, Kerrigan and Ryan jump into Third Congressional race

As Sen. Barbara L’Italien was taking shots at Dan Koh yesterday, two more Democratic candidate jumped into the race yesterday for the Third District Congressional seat. Stephen J. King, the former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, announced he’s entering the race for the Third District Congressional seat, according to a report by Aaron Curtis at the Lowell Sun. Meanwhile, via Rick Sobey at the Lowell Sun: “Terence ‘Terry’ Ryan, the chairman of the (Westford) School Committee, announced on Facebook Monday morning he is running for Congress representing the 3rd Congressional District. … He has been a School Committee member for five years, and was last elected to a three-year seat in 2015.”

Lowell Sun

Diehl leads GOP pack in U.S. Senate fundraising but …

First, the good news for Geoff Diehl, via the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl raised more than $367,000 from donors in the last fundraising quarter, the most of any GOP candidate in the race, new reports show.” Now, the two-part bad news for Diehl: 1.) Another GOP candidate, John Kingston, has given his own campaign $3 million and 2.) U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, has $13 million in her campaign coffers.

Boston Herald

Bernie-mania hasn’t bitten the dust: Vermont senator campaigning in Somerville next week

Attention Bernie Sanders devotees: The Vermont senator is coming to Somerville next Monday to endorse progressive candidates for local city council, school board and aldermanic seats, according to an Our Revolution events page. “Bernie will be discussing how we can make local government work for ordinary citizens,” the site says. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has a bit more, including a mention that Sanders will apparently endorse Cambridge candidates as well.

Every spin you take, they’ll be watching you

CommonWealth Magazine’s Jack Sullivan takes a look at the Mass. Gaming Commission’s command center, where workers can track each and every play made on the electronic slots machines at Plainridge Park casino, watching for irregularities and ensuring the machines are paying out as often as they should. 


Silverglate: How the non-choirboy Robert Mueller once tried to entrap me

Civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate isn’t buying into the notion that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, now investigating the Trump administration’s Russian ties, is some sort “choirboy” fighting the good fight. “I have known Mueller during key moments of his career as a federal prosecutor,” he writes at WGBH. “My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with a requisite degree of skepticism or, at the very least, extreme caution.” In fact, he claims Mueller’s office once tried to entrap him when Mueller was the acting United States Attorney in Boston. Harvey explains.


‘I’m serious, I’m serious. … Everywhere you go, you sort of smell it’

What? Napalm in the morning? Nope. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans smells something else. “I can tell you everywhere I go, all I smell is pot now, I hate to say it,” Evans told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. “I’m serious, I’m serious,” Evans said after the hosts chuckled, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. 

In the same interview, Evans also defended the department’s recent purchase of three aerial drones, though he emphasized the drones won’t be deployed until after public input, reports WGBH. Fyi: Over the objections of activists, Los Angeles has just approved a pilot drone program in the city of Angels, according to Patch.


Marshfield voters buck the trend on pot sales

Speaking of pot: Outlier alert! Voters in Marshfield rejected a proposed plan to exclude recreational marijuana shops in town, James Kukstis of the Patriot Ledger reports. Although a majority of the 250-plus voters at the special town meeting backed the ban, the proposal fell short of the needed two-thirds supermajority. More than 100 cities and towns have passed temporary or permanent bans on pot stores, including a new wave this fall as town meeting season kicks into gear across the Commonwealth.   

Patriot Ledger

Mass. police officers ordered home by Puerto Rican officials

This is an odd one. From Jeanette DeForge at MassLive: “A team of seven Massachusetts police officers providing humanitarian assistance to Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico was suddenly sent home after a miscommunication about a side mission they ran to a school and some neighborhoods and families about 80 miles south of San Juan.” The seven bilingual officers from four separate police departments apparently made a side trip to “check on family members and assist in relief efforts” elsewhere on the island but Puerto Rican State Police later decided to send the seven officers home afterward. The whole thing doesn’t make sense.


Logan to launch first-ever direct flights to Brazil

Considering the state’s large and growing Brazilian population, it’s surprising this didn’t happen sooner. From David Harris at the BBJ: “For the first time ever, Bostonians will be able to fly nonstop from Logan International Airport to Brazil starting next year. Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group S.A. said on Tuesday that it will offer nonstop flights from Boston to its hub in São Paulo, the most populated city in the southern hemisphere with over 12 million residents. Massachusetts is home to the second largest foreign born Brazilian population in the United States with over 60,000 residents.”


Sudbury’s sticking to ban on plastic water (and not soda) bottles, damn it

Town Meeting voters in Sudbury have re-affirmed a previous vote to ban the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles in town, despite complaints from local restaurants and shops that bottled water is both healthy and among their most popular (and profitable) items. Jonathan Dame at MetroWest Daily News diplomatically describes the ban, effective next year, as “unusual.” That’s putting it mildly, considering the sale of plastic soda bottles of one liter or less haven’t been banned. From a public health standpoint, it’s definitely a head scratcher.

MetroWest Daily News

And in Newton, it’s war over leaf blowers …

Newton police have responded to about 320 leaf blower complaints since new leaf-blower restrictions took effect earlier this year. But according to a report at CBS Boston, city records show that just 15 callers account for 42 percent of complaints — and more than a few of the complaints have proven to be unfounded. Police are not exactly happy with the flood of calls. Nor are landscapers. “From what I gather, people have been calling every time they see a landscaping truck,” said Mike Caruso, a landscaper. “It makes me frustrated. It makes me just want to say, ‘The heck with Newton.’”

CBS Boston (video)

Handicapped parking fraudsters, beware

State lawmakers are advancing a bill that would set stiff new penalties for drivers who park illegally in spaces designated for the handicapped, including a potential year-long license suspension, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. The senate has already approved the legislation, which also carries beefed-up fines for abuse of handicapped-parking placards. 

Salem News

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


Bill Evans defends police department’s purchase of drones – WGBH

Massport to fund operation of new senior center, park expansion in East Boston – Universal Hub


McGovern breaks down Democratic party’s future at Amherst event – Hampshire Gazette

The richest people in Mass. are getting even richer, according to Forbes – Boston Business Journal

Settlement clears way for center for women with eating disorders in Lenox – Berkshire Eagle

New tests bring worse scores for Mass. students – Boston Globe

Lowell firearms licensing policy under fire at Council meeting – Lowell Sun


Why Trump will regret passing tax reform – Politico

Kelly tried to keep his son’s death out of politics. Trump had other ideas – Washington Post

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