Happening Today

Happy Halloween, non-compete contracts, online Lottery games, Tsongas honored

— Today is Halloween. Be careful of trick-or-treaters on the commute home.

— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg is interviewed on Boston Herald Radio, 9 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends a meeting of the Pension Reserves Investment Management board’s Investment Committee, 84 State St., 2nd floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.


Board of Higher Education meets at Westfield State University, with an agenda that includes votes on authorizing Massachusetts to enter into a state reciprocity agreement and revoking the degree-granting authority for ITT Technical Educational Services and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Scanlon Hall banquet hall, 577 Western Ave., Westfield, 10 a.m.

The Labor and Workforce Development Committee tackles the thorny issue of non-competition contracts between employers and employees, Room B-2, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies holds a hearing on 17 bills dealing with gaming and racing, including a bill to allow the Massachusetts Lottery to sell its products over the internet, Hearing Room A-2, 11 a.m.

Teens Leading the Way, UTEC and other groups gather for a lobby day to push the House to include in its criminal justice bill language that allows the expungement of juvenile misdemeanors, Room 428, 11 a.m.

Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government holds a hearing on bills dealing with municipal powers and duties, Hearing Room A-1, 11 a.m.

Joint Committee on Public Service hears testimony on bills dealing with retirement group classifications, Room A-2, 1 p.m. — Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development hears testimony on a number of bills, ranging from the establishment of a state poet laureate and architect laureate to establishing a disaster and emergency aid fund for Bay State artists, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas is honored at a women in military event, with state Reps. Colleen Garry and Linda Campbell attending, along with Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco Urena and Women Veterans’ Network Representative Gail Cavanaugh McAuliffe, Room 458, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Revenue holds a hearing on a number of bills, including a proposal to require a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House prior to making appropriations from the stabilization fund, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.

— The Cannabis Advisory Board’s Cannabis Industry Subcommittee meets, with an agenda that calls for discussion of how the subcommittee will tackle recommendations about marijuana packaging, social consumption, and a seed-to-sale tracking system, Saltonstall Building, 100 Cambridge St., 2nd Floor Meeting Room, Boston, 3 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker warns it may take ‘several days’ to restore power for many

Gov. Charlie Baker and other public- and private-sector officials cautioned yesterday that it may take a while longer for power to be restored to tens of thousands of customers who lost electricity due to yesterday’s freak wind and rain storm that barreled through the region, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Salem News. “The goal here obviously is going to be to get the trees that were downed out of the way, to get the wires that were downed back up and to work as quickly as we possibly can to get people back online,” Baker said. “This isn’t going to be a one-day thing. It may take most of the week to actually get where we’ll need to be.”

Michelle Williams at MassLive has an excellent summary, with a lot of stats, about the scope of the outages, when power might be restored and information on other woes associated with the storm. Meanwhile, MEMA has a town-by-town map of outages, as of this morning, showing that just about every area of the state has been hit.

Healey asks judge to halt museum’s sale of Norman Rockwell and other artworks

The fate of 50 pieces of art, including two prized Norman Rockwell paintings, set to be put on the auction block in less than two weeks may rest with a Berkshire District court judge, who will hear arguments Wednesday on a motion to halt the sale, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. In a filing, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey sided with family members who have sued to stop the sale and noted that on the same day museum trustees voted to sell the artwork, it also voted to change some of its own rules that appear to prohibit it. 

Berkshire Eagle

T passes on late-night bus service

Maybe running a bus line in the wee hours costs a wee bit too much. At the behest of new MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez, the T’s Fiscal and Management Control board on Monday passed on an opportunity to launch a pilot late-night bus service, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports. The T estimates that it would cost the T $2 million to provide the service to 75,000 riders annually, meaning each ride would be subsidized to the tune of $27. 


DeLeo and Rosenberg: Sexual harassment is not ‘unique’ to Beacon Hill

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Greenville Recorder: “The leaders of the House and Senate acknowledged Monday that their offices have received complaints of sexual harassment at the State House, but neither man would go so far as to blame a unique culture on Beacon Hill for the recent stories of women being abused by men in power. ‘It’s not only a State House issue,’ House Speaker Robert DeLeo told reporters. ‘You’re hearing stories in other states and nationally as well.’”

And they’re right: Sexual harassment occurs in other state capitals as well. Now, about those sexual harassment charges DeLeo and Rosenberg say they’ve handled over the years.  What action was taken? Were the complainants satisfied with the action and results?


Goldberg wants money back from lawmakers accused of cheating on stipends

File under: How does this happen? Treasurer Deb Goldberg says she’ll move to recoup $8,000 paid out to two dozen lawmakers who continued to charge taxpayers for per-diem commuting costs for weeks after the legislature phased the perk out in January, Eric Rasmussen and Erin Smith of Boston 25 report. Some lawmakers said they didn’t realize the reimbursements had already been shelved and most contacted by the station said they’d voluntarily repay any funds they received in error.

But the controversy looks like it goes beyond alleged confusion. In a separate story, Fox25 reported that it “found several legislators cheating the system after (a Fox25 reporter) spent the entire week of Thanksgiving 2016 at the State House – taking attendance on every lawmaker who showed up and later checking that against their daily commuting logs.”  


Suffolk Downs II?

Next season may well be the last season of horse racing at Suffolk Downs, as the new property owner angles to re-develop the site and maybe even attract Amazon.com to build its new HQ2 headquarters in East Boston. But that doesn’t mean Suffolk Sterling Racecourse, which now leases Suffolk Downs, is giving up on horse racing in Massachusetts, reports BloodHorse, an online racing industry site. Suffolk Sterling Racecourse has reportedly entered a partnership agreement with the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to build a new racetrack somewhere in Massachusetts. BloodHorse piece via Universal Hub.


Cersei’s Walk of Shame, MassHealth style

The Puritanism in us will never fully leave. From Jon Chesto at the Globe: “Many big employers should brace for some public shaming, if a measure in a new state Senate health-care bill becomes law. Senators tucked a provision in the bill that would require an annual report identifying the 50 employers with the highest number of workers who get publicly subsidized health insurance.” Supporters think shaming is a clever and valid method to achieve desirable goals. Others see shaming as a crude and unfair public policy tool that says more about the shamers than it does it about the shamed. Here’s the uncensored YouTube of Cersei’s Walk of Shame from the Game of Thrones, btw.

Boston Globe

Bump stock pushback by NRA affiliate

As State House conference committee members try to hammer out a compromise supplemental budget and gun-control measure by today, a certain lobbying group has suddenly entered the picture. From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “A local affiliate of the National Rifle Association is making a last-minute push to defeat a ban on the kind of rifle accessories used by the gunman who opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival. Members of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts have flooded lawmakers with phone calls in the past few days in an attempt to scuttle a House proposal they claim would outlaw basic modifications or maintenance of firearms, including simple lubrication of gun parts.”

Salem News

Expanded tolls: ‘Just follow the political breadcrumbs’

A Herald editorial follows the ‘political breadcrumbs’ of a bill that would impose new tolls on roadways throughout Greater Boston, not just on the Pike and Tobin Bridge, starting with bill sponsor state Sen. Tom McGee, who’s running for mayor of Lynn and whose constituents currently pay tolls. The trail then leads to Mayor Marty Walsh and other Dems and then Gov. Charlie Baker and, as of today, to Congressional candidate Steve Kerrigan, who reluctantly favors the idea as a ‘last resort,’ etc. We’re not sure where all this leads, but it’s fun to follow.

Boston Herald

‘Willie Lantigua is back. Yes, that Willie Lantigua’

The Globe’s Milton J. Valencia takes a look at the Lawrence mayoral race, starring incumbent Dan Rivera and former mayor Willie Lantigua, the James Michael Curley of Lawrence, for good and (mostly) bad. Of course, that make Rivera the comparative equivalent of Curley’s successor, John B. Hynes, for (mostly) good and bad.

Boston Globe

The Power of Incumbency Disease: It’s spread to Lawrence, Brockton and other smaller cities

Anyone who’s been paying attention to Boston’s mayoral race generally knows that incumbent Marty Walsh is crushing rival Tito Jackson in fundraising, with huge amounts of money streaming in from non-city donors. Isaiah Thompson at WGBH wondered if the same thing is happening in other smaller cities in Massachusetts. Answer: Yep. With one exception. He explains.  


Former lawmaker leads Framingham mayoral fundraising race

The same small-city pattern outlined by WGBH holds true in Framingham, if you consider a former state lawmaker the functional equivalent of an incumbent. Jonathan Dame at MetroWest Daily News reports that former state Rep. John Stefanini has out fundraised opponent Yvonne Spicer by a nearly two-to-one margin as Framingham counts down to its first-ever mayoral election next week.

MetroWest Daily News

Finally, welcome change is coming to much derided Medicaid

Lia Spiliotes, chief executive officer of Community Health Programs in Great Barrington, says it’s time to stop bashing Medicaid and start paying more attention to some of the innovative changes coming to the massive health-care program, namely the introduction of new Accountable Care Organizations that could change how care is provided and paid for in Massachusetts and across the nation.


Delta Dental: Sign on the dotted line – or else

Medicaid may be undergoing changes, but some things seem destined to never change, like the never-ending feud between dentists and Delta Dental, the latest skirmish occurring yesterday on Beacon Hill over DD’s new lower-cost insurance plan that dentists say was presented to them like a sign-it-or-else diktat. SHNS’s Andy Metzger has more at CommonWealth magazine.


Sanctuary hospitals?

Still on the subject of health care: There’s a lot of talk about creating ‘sanctuary hospitals’ (such as in this JAMA piece), but not a lot of action at local hospitals, Shannon Dooling finds at WBUR. Part of the reason for the inaction, it seems, is because even ICE considers hospitals ‘sensitive locations’ along with schools and churches. In other words, it wouldn’t exactly look good, from a PR standpoint, hauling away an immigrant while on a stretcher with attached IV tubes. 


Democrats’ crippling left vs left-center battles

There’s a lot of chatter going on over at Blue Mass Group – in this post and in this post – about a new Guardian article about the left and left-center divide within the Democratic Party (yes, think Bernie versus Hillary, if you will) and how it hurt Democrats in 2016 and will hurt them again in 2020 if they don’t get their act together. Even at the distinctly progressive-leaning Blue Mass Group, there seems to be a consensus that a truce must be forged, somehow.

The new-look, drive-thru Friendly’s

Finally, this has nothing to do with politics, but it still peaks the interest of more than a few news junkies: Massachusetts-based Friendly’s, trying to shed its tired image, is going hip (sort of) with a new colorful, drive-thru look. Noah Bombard at MassLive has the details (and accompanying photos) of Friendly’s new prototype store of the future.


Driving Down Demand for Diesel: Experimental Evidence from India on a Driver Training and Incentive Program

Harvard University

Research with Refugees: Pulling Back the Curtain

The Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security

Cocktails & Public Policy: Meet Stephanie Pollack – The State’s Transportation Czar

HKS Alumni Association of New England

New Americans Voter Registration Drive

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Christian Africa/Medieval Africa, 300-1600 CE

Harvard University

Top Women of Law

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Committing to Climate Action: A Sendoff to the UN Climate Talks

Climate XChange and Climate Action Business Association

EMBL in the USA

Beauport Hotel

Let’s Be Great Tour: Swampscott

Charlie Baker

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

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Blaming law, East Cambridge Petco to close – Cambridge Day

Suffolk operator, horsemen agree to launch new track – Blood Horse

Maura Healey endorses two more city council candidates – Boston Globe


Public paychecks: The highest-earning state employees so far in 2017 – Boston Business Journal

Lynn teachers endorse McGee – Lynn Item

Warren visits Salem to discuss opioid crisis – Salem News

Kinder Morgan denies protester’s claims about Otis pipeline – Hampshire Gazette

10 percent revived by Narcan in Mass. died within year, study says – Boston Globe


Kelly says Civil War was caused by ‘lack of compromise’ – Politico

Trump is said to have made ‘safe’ pick for Fed chair – New York Times

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