Open-enrollment, climate change, Feeney swearing-in, governor on vacation
— Gov. Charlie Baker travels to California for vacation, returning to Massachusetts on Monday.
— The open enrollment period during which Massachusetts residents can buy their own insurance for 2018 through the Health Connector, without the requirement of a qualifying life event, starts today.
— House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets will hold a hearing on a $1.7 billion bond bill to support housing production, Room B-2, 10 a.m.
— Governor’s Council holds confirmation hearings today on Gov. Baker’s nominations to the Superior Court and the Pittsfield District Court, Council Chamber, at 10 a.m. and 1:15 p.m, respectively
— House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs holds a hearing with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, with the collaborative scheduled to give a presentation on ‘how Massachusetts has assumed, and will continue, its role as a global leader in the cybersecurity field,’ Hearing Room B-1, 10:30 a.m.
— The House meets in a formal session with plans to consider legislation that would commit Massachusetts to the standards of the Paris Climate Agreement, 11 a.m.
— Senate Democrats meet privately for a caucus, Senate President’s office, 11 a.m.
— The Cooperative Credit Union Association holds Massachusetts Credit Union Day at the State House, Great Hall, 10:30 a.m.
— The Jobs Not Jails Coalition plans to rally at the State House and meet with representatives as the House prepares its own version of a criminal justice bill, State House, 11 a.m.
— Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn discusses the economic impact of Wynn Boston Harbor at a luncheon hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston, 11:45 a.m.
— Health Policy Commission meets to consider a report on the proposed merger between Partners Healthcare and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 50 Milk St., Boston, 12 p.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito a meeting of the Governor’s Council with a tentative agenda that includes certification of election results and swearing-in of Paul Feeney as senator from Bristol and Norfolk, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on WBZ Radio’s ‘NightSide,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.
— Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Study and retired ICE special agent Walter Hempel are expected to appear at a forum held by Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, on securing borders, sanctuary cities and illegal immigration, 94 Lovers Ln., Groton, 7 p.m.
Newton man among injured in NYC truck-terrorist attack
This is a tragedy within a tragedy: A Newton man who hails from Argentina and who was in New York for a college reunion was among the injured in yesterday’s NYC truck-terrorist attack, but five of his college buddies from Argentina were among the eight killed, reports Danny McDonald at the Globe and Alexia Fernandez at the Herald.
The New York Times has full coverage of the attack and has a map graphic of where along the Hudson River the attack took place. Former Boston and NYC police William “Bill” Bratton is pessimistic about our chances of stopping similar truck attacks in the future, but he’s optimistic about the grit of Americans, the Herald’s Owen Boss reports. “There’s a resiliency among people nowadays. In Boston, after the marathon bombing you had Boston Strong — and New York, we have the same kind of resiliency.”
House to debate scaled-down criminal justice bill; Baker expresses ‘very significant concern’ with Senate measure
Amid pressure from progressives to pass the Senate’s sweeping criminal-justice bill, the House is expected today to set a Nov. 9 deadline to debate its own reform legislation, which likely will be a whittled-down version of the Senate plan, reports Jim O’Sullivan at the Globe. Then there’s Gov. Charlie Baker, who yesterday expressed reservations about the ambitious Senate legislataion. “I would say there are a bunch of things in there that cause us very significant concern,” said Baker, ticking off his problem with eliminating minimum sentences for drug traffickers amidst an opioid-abuse crisis, as SHNS’s Colin Young reports (pay wall). “There are a number of other elements in (the Senate plan) that just seem to not make a heck of a lot of sense.”
Power still out for hundreds of thousands across New England
About 36,000 customers were still without power as of early this morning in the Bay State, reports the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. That’s significantly down from the more than 300,000 customers who lost power earlier this week due to the nasty Sunday-Monday storm. But it’s a different story in Maine, where some 275,000 customers were still without power as of yesterday, 48 hours after the strong-wind and pelting-rain storm, the Globe reports. At one point, nearly two-thirds of Maine were without power and the governor has declared a state of emergency. In New Hampshire, about 52,000 customers were still without power as of early this morning, reports Eversource.
The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave: Lawmakers fail to pass compromise budget, bump-stock bill
We’re talking about a supplemental budget that would close out last year’s fiscal budget – which ended four months ago. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WWLP: “The hopes of House and Senate lawmakers to complete a budget deal before Nov. 1 faded quickly on Tuesday afternoon as negotiations, initially stymied over a procedural dispute, have bogged down over a handful of issues, including a gun control measure and funding for youth violence prevention.”
Tito’s dilemma: Progressives are a dime a dozen in Boston
Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson has been running as a “full-throated liberal” this year in Boston, but there’s a small problem with that strategy, writes Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine: Practically everyone else in Boston can portray themselves as a progressive, including the incumbent, Marty Walsh. Convenient example: Jackson is pounding away at income inequality in Boston, as Anthony Brooks reports at WBUR. But notice how he has trouble outflanking Walsh on the issue: “Walsh recognizes the challenge, but he argues that it goes back generations, which is also true.”
Newton’s class-gender-partisan-native divide in mayoral race
Now here’s how you distinguish yourself in a mayoral race when there’s really no political distinctions per se: Bring up where candidates grew up, party loyalty, where and when candidates worked, etc. etc. That’s what’s happening in Newton’s mayoral race, reports John Hillard at the Globe.
For Gloucester mayoral candidate, asking for campaign funds crosses a creepy line
In another mayoral race: Francisco Sclafani, who is challenging Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken in next week’s election, tells the Gloucester Times’ Ray Lamont he has good reasons for raising exactly $0 for his campaign: He doesn’t want to deal with all the paperwork—or creep anyone out. “When you ask for donations, you have to fill out reports with their names, addresses, where they work—it can take hours. Plus, as a man, I don’t want to be out there asking women where they live, or where they work.”
‘Lucky’ the lottery machine takes a victory lap
They’re not quite putting Lucky out to stud. More like allowing the Massachusetts Lottery terminal that sold the recent $758.7 million Powerball winning ticket to take a victory lap around the state, from regional lottery office to regional lottery office. “Fame appears to have changed Lucky,” writes SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local. “Since vaulting into the public limelight in August, googly eyes, a mustache, a mouth and a tie have newly appeared on the blue terminal.” Check out the accompanying photo.
Gov. Baker is still Mr. Popular
Gov. Charlie Baker has maintained his position as the nation’s most popular governor, with an approval rating in Massachusetts of 67 percent, according to the latest Morning Consult survey. The Globe’s Joshua Miller has more.
Quincy hires law firm for likely suit against drug firms over opioid crisis
The city of Quincy has hired a Washington D.C.-based law firm, the first step toward filing a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for their role in the nation’s opioid crisis, Sean Phillip Cotter of the Patriot Ledger reports. The firm, Motley Rice—which helped wins billions for states from tobacco companies in the 1990s—will work on commission only and could receive 25 percent of any damages awarded to the city.
They’ve had it: T revenues down amid widespread rider dissatisfaction with service
We missed this the other day. Obviously, CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan didn’t: “MBTA officials are eyeing a nearly 67 percent spike in the agency’s projected structural deficit, a hole caused by lower fare revenues from people avoiding what they view as the unreliable service and continued cost overruns by the agency’s paratransit service despite privatization. Michael Abramo, the T’s chief administrator, told members of the Fiscal Management and Control Board on Monday that fare collections were down more than $7 million so far this year, caused mainly by people who say in surveys they can’t rely on the service and have cut back on its use.”
Bridgewater State University to face federal discrimination lawsuit
Attorneys representing the families of children raped at a Bridgewater State University daycare center say they will add a federal discrimination suit to ongoing legal actions against the college, Tom Relihan of the Enterprise reports. Lawyers plan to add Title IX discrimination allegations to their lawsuit in coming weeks, saying administrators did not do enough to protect victims.
Lafayette, we are here: Lawmakers to debate joining Paris Climate Agreement
House lawmakers today are expected to debate a bill that would commit Massachusetts to the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Donald Trump rejected only a few months ago. The Senate also plans to take up a climate-change bill later this week. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more at WGBH.
Ex-Ambassador to Denmark eyes Third Congressional race?
He’s apparently a huge hit in Denmark, but now Rufus Gifford, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, may soon see if he’s a hit in the Third Congressional District, where he’s reportedly eying a run to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, according to long piece by Amy Weiss-Meyer at the Atlantic.
Salem’s Seth Moulton gives Trump a Halloween tutorial on ‘witch hunts’
Coming on Halloween, this was pretty funny, with the Witch City’s U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton effectively denouncing President Trump’s denunciations of the special prosecutor’s Russia-campaign investigation as a “witch hunt.” Via Shannon Young at MassLive, here’s a sampling of Moulton’s tips to the president to determine if a witch hunt is really underway: “Step 1: Are you an actual witch? Symptoms include being able to fly on a broomstick, cast evil spells, & being surrounded by flying monkeys …” You get the picture. Read the entire story.
Another health insurer is leaving the Massachusetts market
This isn’t a good sign on the first day of the state’s open enrollment, even if it is a small insurer. From Jessica Bartlett: “When open enrollment begins Nov. 1, Massachusetts residents will have two fewer options for insurance, becoming the latest state to lose insurers on the state’s marketplace amid federal upheaval. Not only will Minuteman Health not be available for the 2018 enrollment year, but CeltiCare Health Plan has also withdrawn from the Massachusetts market, the state confirmed.”
Baker appoints Anderson as insurance commissioner
Speaking of insurance, from Rob Lenihan at Business Insurance: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has appointed Gary D. Anderson as commissioner of the state’s division of insurance, the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation said Tuesday. Mr. Anderson, who joined the division in 2014 as first deputy commissioner, has been the acting commissioner since February, when former Commissioner Daniel Judson stepped down to become president of the Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau.”
Tight gun control in Massachusetts? Think again
Some gun-control opponents say the Bay State has almost become an anti-Second Amendment bastion of strict gun laws and measures. But a new report from Northeastern University and UMass Boston shows that the percentage of people denied access to firearms in Massachusetts is actually in line with the national average – or 97 percent. Hayley Glatter at Boston Magazine has the details.
Montague police chief relieved of duty amid controversy over missing narcotics
Following no-confidence votes and signals from rank-and-file police officers and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, Montague Police Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge has been put on paid leave by the board of selectmen while the town conducts an “internal investigation,” reports Jim Russell at MassLive. The investigation is apparently tied to missing narcotics from the department’s public drug drop-off box and what rank-and-file police believe is an attempt by Dodge to shift suspicion away from him to them.
Bump has ‘waved the white flag of surrender’ on investigating corporate tax incentives
State Auditor Suzanne Bump told lawmakers yesterday that she’s given up trying to get legislative approval to review the effectiveness of corporate tax incentives, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger. “I have admittedly waved the white flag of surrender on that, at least for now,” Bump said at a committee hearing. But Bump is now trying to get lawmakers to allow her office to review (but not audit) individual tax returns to “assess whether the Department of Revenue is properly remitting local option tax revenue to cities and towns, whether welfare programs are effectively determining income eligibility or whether the state is garnishing wages of people who owe child support,” Metzger writes.
In Attleboro, missing tapes raise eyebrows
Maybe someone is making a mix tape? The president of the Attleboro City Council says a dozen or more recordings of past council meetings have gone missing from City Hall and he’s convinced it was no accident—and no coincidence they turned up missing just days before the city goes to the polls to elect a mayor and councilors, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. They can’t blame Rose Mary Woods for this tape caper.
Oh, no! Not Casey Affleck too!
They’re falling like dominos in Hollywood. From Lisa Weidenfeld at Boston Magazine: “A director in New York has now introduced a petition to stop Casey Affleck from participating in the 2018 Academy Awards because of (past) sexual harassment allegations against him.” And it comes less than a year after Affleck won the Best Actor Oscar for arguably the worst Best Actor Oscar performance in the history of Best Actor Oscar awards, we might add.
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