Happening Today

Campus sexual violence, Therese Murray portrait unveiling and more …

— Gov. Charlie Baker is vacationing in California and will be returning to Massachusetts on Monday.

Governing magazine hosts a Massachusetts leadership forum with speakers including retired Air Force Major General John Berling at 9:15 a.m.; Auditor Suzanne Bump, former state chief information officer Bill Oates and Wayland IT director Jorge Pazos at 12:30 p.m.; and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack at 1:50 p.m., Hilton Boston Back Bay, 40 Dalton St., Boston, conference starting at 9 a.m.

Environmental League of Massachusetts holds a lobby day to advocate for funding for the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Environmental Protection, Great Hall, 10 a.m.

The Senate is planning to meet in a formal session with plans to take up a bill addressing sexual violence on college campuses, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends a meeting of the Pension Reserves Investment Management board’s Administration and Audit Committee, at 10 a.m. and later its Compensation Committee, 11 a.m., 84 State St., 2nd floor, Boston.

— US. Rep. Michael Capuano is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m.

Bay State Wind, one of the groups seeking to build a wind farm 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard, opens its New Bedford office and makes an announcement regarding its commitment to the city., 628 Pleasant St., New Bedford, 4 p.m.

— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Auditor Suzanne Bump attend the unveiling of former Senate President Therese Murray‘s portrait, Great Hall, 5 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey and Rev. Liz Walker will discuss gun violence prevention, while the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence will discuss its work and present Healey with its Peace MVP Award, Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

House passes Paris Climate Accord bill, but senator says it doesn’t mean much

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The House on Wednesday voted 145-10 to pass a bill its sponsor said would send a message that ‘a handful of climate deniers in Washington, D.C.’ do not speak for Massachusetts. Rep. Dylan Fernandes’ bill (H 3994) would commit Massachusetts to meeting the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement, the international pact President Donald Trump withdrew from this summer.”

Still, Sen. Michael Barrett, co-chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, downplayed the House action, saying much more needs to be done if the state is going to meet even more ambitious emission-reduction goals, Lannan writes.

SHNS (pay wall)

Report: State workers have racked up $558M in unused sick and vacation time

With 30 percent of the state’s workforce already eligible to retire, the state better have contingency plans for this half-billion-dollar hit that’s coming sooner than many think. From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Massachusetts taxpayers are on the hook for a staggering $558 million in unused sick and vacation time for state workers, according to a top Beacon Hill watchdog who is warning the potential retirement payouts could turn into a massive budget hit. Equally ominous, more than 10 percent of the state government’s aging workforce has already racked up six months of unused sick time, Inspector General Glenn Cunha says in a letter urging lawmakers to rein in the looming benefits disaster.”

Boston Herald

Birth Control mandate would cost at least $5.3M

This smaller hit will ultimately cost premium payers, not the state. From Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times: “A proposed mandate requiring health plans to pay for birth control would drive up insurance premiums by at least $5.3 million over the next five years, according to a new report. The state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis report, released Tuesday, suggests that the mandate would cost individuals 7 to 20 cents more over the next five years. That’s lower than a previous estimate putting the increase at between 15 and 24 cents a year.”

Gloucester Times

Pac-Man: Wynn gobbling up nearby properties in Everett for non-casino purposes

He appears to be following the example of the Red Sox owners, who started gobbling up nearby Fenway properties after they acquired the Sox early last decade. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn said he has already spent $75 million buying up property near the Wynn Resorts hotel-casino complex in Everett and plans to spend a total of $90 million. ‘It’s property that we’re buying so we can turn Everett into a great example in America of how a business can change a neighborhood,’ Wynn told a meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.”

The acquisitions appear to be for Wynn’s non-casino businesses near the planned casino. The purchases also serve the convenient purpose of ridding the immediate area of future pesky neighbors who might complain too much, it should be noted.


‘If you’re being harassed by a legislator …’

More women are stepping forward with tales of sexual harassment at the State House and in politics in general in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, whose column last week on sexual harassment hit Beacon Hill like a bomb shell, relays the stories of other females this morning, including one lobbyist who’s quoted as saying “If you’re being harassed by a legislator, or another lobbyist, there’s not much recourse. … You can’t go to HR.”

Boston Globe

Russians exploited East Boston cop shooting in pro-Trump Facebook ad

Both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are reporting that the Russian-backed attempt to sow discord in last year’s presidential election involved a Facebook ad that tried to whip up anti-Hillary Clinton emotions over an East Boston shootout that left two cops injured.

Though much of the Russian-backed campaign was clearly aimed at boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports that the Russians generally tried to whip up emotions on both the left and right via social-media: “The ads that emerged, a sampling of the 3,000 that Russians bought during the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath, demonstrated in words and images a striking ability to mimic American political discourse at its most fractious.”

Casting a wary eye on the proposed Partners-Mass. Eye & Ear merger

Can Partners make it three in a row? As in rejected mergers with other hospitals? Looks like it’s a possibility, after the Health Policy Commission yesterday listed all the reasons why the proposed Partners- Mass. Eye & Ear merger might not be such a great idea for consumers. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has the details.


Another ‘I can’t take it anymore’ T rider allows himself to get arrested over faded ticket

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has a story on a fed-up T rail rider, Jim Yarin, who’s not wild about the T’s new ticket-check policy and who effectively allowed himself to get arrested over a faded monthly ticket that was nevertheless valid. Why? “I figured, OK, fine, I’ll make a principled stand,” Yarin said. “I’ve been dealing with commuting for so long, and this is just one more thing. It’s an aggravation, and I put my foot down.”

Boston Globe

City reaches out to voters over Chinatown ‘vote farming’ allegations

It took until the last few days but it looks like Boston’s municipal election has a full-fledged scandal brewing over ‘vote farming.’ From MassLive’s Gintautus Dumicius: “Two community groups are alleging voter fraud, saying elderly voters in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood were the victims of ‘vote-farming’ ahead of the Nov. 7 election. …. ‘Over the past two weeks, Chinatown’s elderly voters have again been victims of blatant voting rights violations, this time involving absentee ballots,’ the two groups said in a release.”


Newton mayoral candidate: Some of my best supporters are women!

Newton mayoral candidate Scott Lennon has been fending off charges of sexism over an ad he recently took out in a local newspaper. So he’s come out with a new ad, with a photo of him surrounded by women – lots and lots of women! – who want the voters to know: “WE’RE WITH SCOTT!” We’ll see how it plays out. His opponent, Ruthanne Fuller, is none too happy with the first ad that some say denigrated her years as a homemaker. The Globe’s John Hilliard has the details.

Boston Globe

Baker praises ‘strong set’ of proposals from Trump’s opioid commission

It won’t stop local Democrats from taking pot shots at him, but this may serve as a deflector shield of sorts. We’ll see. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker’s participation on President Donald Trump’s opioid crisis commission has been a flash point at home, but the popular Republican governor called the final recommendations produced by the group on Wednesday a ‘strong set’ of goals built on successes in state like Massachusetts. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, a bipartisan group led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Cristie and including former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, unanimously approved a final report on Wednesday.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Democratic Civil War Update

First, it was the left-versus-left-center piece by the Guardian – and the ensuing discussion/debate over at Blue Mass Group. Now it’s the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser writing about the “Democratic civil war” pitting left-centrists versus leftists. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets a nod in the story, but it’s really an overview at what’s at stake for Democrats, i.e. Trump out after 2020 or four more years. Definitely check out Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg’s biting comments about Hillary Clinton’s competency.

New Yorker

How a national anthem (and sex and spies) scandal almost doomed the BSO

This is one of those articles that confirm the old adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same, via the Globe’s Neil Swidey, who writes about a long ago controversy over the national anthem, sex, spies and other issues that could have been torn from today’s headlines, expect it happened a century ago in Boston during World War I.

Boston Globe

Brockton’s November Surprise: Mayor says controversial power plant plan is ‘dead’

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter says a controversial plan to build a gas-fired power plant in the city is dead and he seems eager to make sure voters know it ahead of Tuesday’s election. Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports that Carpenter’s declaration on the plant—which has seen him sued by the city council—reverses his position from earlier this year that the project would move forward.


Betting on the future: Bristol Community College’s ‘casino lab’ trains students for future gambling jobs

Stephanie Leydon at WGBH has a good story and accompanying Greater Boston video about Bristol Community College’s newly-opened “casino lab” where students angling for jobs at future area casinos can learn the fine art of poker, roulette, craps and blackjack. Don’t roll your eyes. Casinos are going to need thousands of workers soon – and dealers can make $40-$50,000 a year, including tips, “and it’s up from there,” Paul Robillard, an instructor at the state-certified casino lab.


She’s watching: Healey monitoring utilities’ response to outages

As of this morning, there were still 13,000 customers without electricity in Massachusetts, due to the freak Sunday-Monday storm that whipped through the region, and the Herald’s Dan Atkinson reports that Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is closely monitoring the response of utilities to make sure there’s no repeat of their generally dismal performance after Hurricane Irene in 2012.

Boston Herald

Warren and Neal urge review of Trump’s ‘sabotage’ executive order

From Shannon Young at MassLive: “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth, D-Massachusetts, and Congressman Richard, D-Springfield, called on the federal officials Wednesday to review the implementation and impacts of President Donald Trump’s   recent Affordable Care Act executive order  — a measure which the Democrats argued aims to ‘sabotage’ the controversial health care law.”


Clearing up the confusion over the open Health Connector enrollment now under way

Despite Republican attacks on ObamaCare, President Trump’s cutting of subsidies and several insurers pulling out of the Massachusetts market, yes, the Massachusetts Health Connector is open for business and, as of yesterday, started enrolling people in insurance plans for next year, Martha Bebinger reports at WBUR. “We are still here, we are full force,” said Audrey Gasteier, the Health Connector’s chief of policy and strategy, “and nothing has changed with respect to our commitment to universal coverage.” 


Baker urges Ryan to reauthorize two health-care programs

Speaking of health care, from Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Gov. Charlie Baker sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urging Congress to reauthorize funding for two health care programs. Federal funding has already expired for both CHIP, the children’s health insurance program, which funds insurance for low-income children, and for community health centers.”


Berkshire art sale fate is now in judge’s hands

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office filed an emergency motion Wednesday after a lengthy hearing before a Berkshire Superior Court judge that seemed to cast doubt on whether other plaintiffs suing to stop the Berkshire Museum’s art sale have any legal standing, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. The judge promised to make a prompt ruling as the first of the pieces of art are slated to be put on the auction block in less than two weeks. 

Berkshire Eagle

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

Library and Archives Open

Otis House

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

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


As election day approaches, reports of monkey business swirl while Boston TV takes it on the chin – WGBH

Election officials to hold meeting in Chinatown on ‘vote farming’ issue – Universal Hub

Dell CEO may be buying Boston’s priciest penthouse ever – Boston Globe


AG eyes utility’s power restoration efforts after storm – Boston Herald

Former Worcester mayor Paul Mullaney dies at 97 – Telegram & Gazette

Insurance costs spike after subsidies axed – Gloucester Times

Bump stock ban debated on Cape Cod – Cape Cod Times

Bill would require wide public notice of sewage spills – Eagle-Tribune

Sign removal causes political stir in Easthampton race – Hampshire Gazette

Dumas outspends Heroux in Attleboro mayoral race – Sun-Chronicle


Polls: Americans are buying White House arguments for tax overhaul – NPR

Impeachment calls grow louder – The Hill

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