Happening Today

Representatives sworn in, Lawrence schools, SJC’s 325th anniversary

— The state Treasury holds its annual conference for investors and potential investors interested in purchasing state bonds, with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Gov. Charlie Baker scheduled to address the conference, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, 8:30 a.m., with Baker appearing at 9:15 a.m.

MassINC will hold its fourth annual Gateway Cities Innovation Awards and Summit, with U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera scheduled to attend, Riverwalk, 354 Merrimack St., Lawrence, 10 a.m.

— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will provide the House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs with a presentation on the importance of cybersecurity, Hearing Room B-2, 10:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds three hearing, starting with a review of the nomination of attorney Paul Pino to a district court judgeship, the second for a possible vote on the nomination of attorney Jennifer Tyne to the Pittsfield District Court bench and the third to review the nomination of attorney Robert Santaniello to the Springfield District Court bench, Council Chamber, Room 360, with meetings at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1:15p.m., respectively.

— Gov. Charlie Baker presents the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty to the family of Army Specialist Jonathan M. Curtis, Senate Document Room, 11 a.m.

— House meets in formal session with plans to possibly take up a major bond bill, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins House Speaker Robert DeLeo to swear-in Representatives-elect John Barrett and Andy Vargas, House Chamber, 11:45 a.m.

Massport, MassDOT and MBTA officials hold pre-Thanksgiving media event ‘as a one-stop shop for the traveling public to get travel tips and advice to make their travel easier,’ Michael S. Dukakis South Station Transportation Center, Train Terminal Rotunda, 12:15 p.m.

— Senate meets in a formal session without a calendar, Gardner Auditorium, 1 p.m.

— The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s board of directors meets, 100 First Avenue, 2nd Floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Education Secretary James Peyser, Elementary and Secondary Education Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent/Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley announce a new phase in leadership of the receivership of the Lawrence Public Schools, South Lawrence East Elementary School, 165 Crawford St., Lawrence, 1:30 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Polito gives remarks at the New England School of Law and receives a citation from Dean John O’Brien for her commitment to public service, Boston Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza, Boston, 1:30 p.m.

— Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president and CEO Eric Rosengren offers remarks on the U.S. economy at an economic policy forum hosted by Northeastern University, 40 Leon St., Boston, 4 p.m.

— Past and present Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justices convene to reflect on the state’s highest court in honor of its 325th anniversary, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Sq., Boston, 4:30 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is one of the recipients of the Boston Business Journal’s Power 50 awards for 2017, Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, 10 Avery St., Boston, 5:30 p.m.

— Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University hosts a debate on politics, partisanship and current events, between progressive Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and conservative Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, 6:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Don’t look now: Senate GOP eying yet another assault on ObamaCare

Just pointing it out. From they NYT: “Senate Republicans have decided to include the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance into the sprawling tax rewrite, merging the fight over health care with the high-stakes effort to cut taxes.” 


Baker outlines latest legislative initiative to fight opioid crisis

From Felice Freyer at the Globe: “Governor Charlie Baker proposed Tuesday a sweeping package intended to boost the state’s battle against opioid addiction, including an effort to ensure higher-quality addiction treatment and a new provision allowing doctors to commit unwilling patients to 72 hours in a treatment facility. Noting that the state has added 1,100 treatment beds since 2015, Baker said it is now time to address some of the gaps, particularly in the care provided after detoxification.”

The price tag has been pegged at $30 million, even more spread out over times, and the bill includes other provisions, as Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine report. 

Trooper-gate fallout: Second State Police commander steps down

Now the second in command at State Police has suddenly announced his retirement, amid calls for an internal investigation into how and why an arrest report about the daughter of a Worcester judge was changed, reports Andrea Estes at the Globe, Jeanette DeForge at MassLive and Matt Stout and Bob McGovern at the Herald .

As it so happens, State Police chief Richard McKeon, who previously announced he was retiring, moved up his retirement to yesterday to coincide with Deputy Superintendent Francis Hughes’s retirement departure. It sure looks like the two are trying to keep one step ahead of an internal-investigation posse, as Estes makes clear in her Globe story. 

So where are we in this scandal? This is no longer a DCF-level scandal. This is something more serious – and theoretically more serious for Gov. Baker as he gears up for re-election next year. … Btw: We’ve reverted back to referring to the controversy as Trooper-gate, under headline pressure from the Herald, rather than Scrub-gate.

Poll: Easy paths to re-election for Warren, Baker in 2018

Speaking of re-elections: Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren are enjoying massive leads over potential rivals in next year’s elections, a new poll from WBUR and MassINC finds. Warren polls in the high-50s and enjoys double-digit leads over all potential GOP and independent challengers, with Republican Geoff Diehl faring the best, if you can describe it that way, trailing 58 percent to 32 percent, Benjamin Swasey reports WBUR.

Meanwhile, the Republican Baker enjoys even more comfortable leads over Dem rivals, topping Setti Warren by a margin of 58 to 24 and up even more against other potential Democratic challengers. That’s a more than a 2-1 margin for Baker over the best the Dems can offer, assuming one can term the headline-chasing Setti as the “best.”


Walsh asks council to tax pot to the max

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who opposed legalization of pot in Massachusetts, is now urging city councilors to tax marijuana to the maximum allowed under state law, potentially raising millions of dollars for the city each year, reports Dan Atkinson at the Herald .

Boston Herald

Holyoke carves out space for pot businesses

Here’s a town that appears to be bucking the just-say-no pot shop trend, albeit in a novel way. The Holyoke City Council is poised to vote on a proposal that would limit retail marijuana businesses to existing industrial zones, Mike Pleasance of MassLive reports. The council is also recommending against a temporary moratorium, saying such a move could undermine efforts to generate economic development from the sector. 

The Holyoke moves come on the heels of a vote in Brewster earlier this week that would allow retail pot shops in town, reports K.C. Meyers at the Cape Cod Times. We have a feeling we’re going to see more communities opting to accommodate pot shops, if only for the financial benefits involved.


Was Boston sold a GE lemon?

We were wondering when someone would ask the question: Were the state and city sold a lemon when the two dished out $150 million in incentives to lure General Electric to Boston? That’s exactly what the Globe’s Shirley Leung is asking this morning, in the wake of all of GE’s recent woes and cutbacks and restructuring moves. But, like Leung, we’re not ready to say the state and city blundered by aggressively courting GE. The company’s former chief, Jeff Immelt, made it quite clear when he moved GE to Boston that a headquarters change, specifically to a tech hub, was desperately needed if GE was to survive and prosper in the new Internet of Things era. In other words, the GE move was a sort of gamble by the firm – one it still hopes will pay off down the tech road. Still, GE’s fall from investor grace has come faster and more dramatically than anyone envisioned a year ago, and it’s definitely alarming.

And, yes, the state should double down by pursuing Amazon’s HQ2, with a little more caution and realism this time around. After all, we’re No. 2 on the latest H2Q sweepstakes list.

Boston Globe

No hometown favoritism: Fidelity dumps its GE holdings by nearly a quarter

How bad is it for General Electric? The BBJ reports that GE has lost $100 billion in value since January 1, due to a massive sell off by investors. Among those partly bailing on GE is Boston’s Fidelity Investments, which has taken no mercy on its downtown corporate neighbor, recently selling off nearly a quarter of its holdings in General Electric, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ. 


State investigating Cambridge’s liquor license sales – and giveaways

From Beth Healy and Sacha Pfeiffer at the Globe: “A state agency is investigating the way liquor licenses have been issued in the city of Cambridge, officials said Tuesday, and is focusing on practices that may have violated state laws. State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who oversees the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, said she found “troubling” the findings in a Boston Globe story on Sunday that examined liquor license transactions in Cambridge.” The “troubling” findings concern an “opaque and arbitrary” process that allowed some to get licenses for free, while others had to pony up $450K. You might call that a slight “discrepancy.”

Boston Globe

House passes criminal justice package

As expected, the House last evening approved its own sweeping criminal-justice reform bill that pares back mandatory minimum sentences and other measures meant to reduce recidivism and post-prison employment problems for ex-inmates, the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan writes. 

Inevitably, the House’s bill will be compared to the Senate’s even more ambitious criminal-justice package. But as O’Sullivan notes: “The House bill, while not as progressive on many fronts as the Senate version, nonetheless reflects a sharp turn among policy makers on criminal justice. With (Gov.) Baker, the Senate, and now the House weighing in, criminal justice policy has marked arguably the largest joint effort of the two-year session.”  

As we’ve previously noted, many of these reforms were politically inconceivable only a few years ago. Sentiments have definitely changed.

Boston Globe

Senate passes free birth control bill, sends legislation to Baker

From Jaclyn Reiss at the Globe: “The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday to ensure access to free birth control in the state and shield state residents from changes to federal law regarding contraceptive coverage requirements. The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House last week, now moves to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for approval. … A Baker spokeswoman previously said the administration “fully supports access to women’s health and family planning services, is prepared to protect access to those services, and will carefully review any final legislation that reaches the governor’s desk.”

Boston Globe

Report: Bilingual education deal near on Beacon Hill

Sen. Sal DiDomenico says that a conference committee is nearing a deal with the House over legislation to overhaul bilingual education in Massachusetts, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton. “We’re close to getting it resolved,” DiDomenico said. “We hope that we can get it voted on by both branches by Wednesday.” Since September, lawmakers have been negotiating legislation that would loosen current laws to allow Massachusetts schools more flexibility to teach English language learners. WBUR had a good summary of the issue back in August.

SHNS (pay wall)

In Framingham, it’s in with the new (government) and out with the old (government)

Now for the tricky part! Framingham’s first-ever mayor and city council began the process of putting the city form of government in place, meeting with the boards they will soon replace and planning a series of meetings to set policy ahead of the official Jan. 1, 2018 changeover, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

Gun-rights lobby out to weaken Healey’s authority over firearms

This looks more like a publicity stunt, since they must know their legislative push is going nowhere on Beacon Hill. Anyway, from Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “Gun rights advocates are aiming to weaken Attorney General Maura Healey’s authority in light of her aggressive campaign to enforce the state’s assault weapons ban. One proposal, set for a public hearing at the Statehouse on Thursday, would eliminate provisions of the state’s 30-year ban on assault weapons that were used by Healey’s office last year to restrict ‘copycat’ weapons that look like or can be modified to mimic assault weapons.”

Newburyport News

Berkshire Museum says millions at risk as Sotheby delays auction

Lawyers for the Berkshire Museum are seeking a quick trial after a judge halted its controversial sale of art from its collection, saying a delay could potentially cost it millions of dollars, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

Moulton on Biden: Dems need ‘breath of fresh air’

He didn’t quite say ‘no’ to a potential presidential run by former Vice President Joe Biden, but U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton yesterday was downplaying a Biden bid in 2020, saying Democrats need a ‘breath of fresh air.’ Moulton, who many believe has his own eye on the White House, refrained from mentioning other potential Dem candidates. The Herald’s Chris Villani has more.

Boston Herald

Nation’s top general comes home, talks Red Sox and North Korea

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a South Boston/Quincy native, returned to his alma mater last night at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The topics: the Red Sox, his fond days at Tufts and … North Korea, unfortunately. Martha Schick at the Globe has more on Dunford’s talk before a rapt audience at Tufts.

Boston Globe

The List

This is a pretty amazing list that Ray Kelly at MassLive has put together of all the prominent actors, producers, directors, journalists, politicians and others who have been accused in recent weeks of some sort of sexual harassment/misconduct, all the allegations surfacing since the Harvey Weinstein revelations.


‘The Gangs of Nantucket’

Don’t laugh. It’s a real problem on Nantucket. In the second story of a multi-part series, Phillip Martin at WGBH looks at Henry Lemus Calderon, accused of being a gang member and now sitting in a detention center awaiting possible deportation to El Salvador. Here is Martin’s first story.


Simmons College names new school after journalist Gwen Ifill

From David Harris at the BBJ: “Simmons College announced on Tuesday that its new College of Media, Arts, and Humanities will be named in remembrance and honor of the late journalist Gwen Ifll, an alumnus of the school.The Gwen Ifll College of Media, Arts, and Humanities will be one of four newly-reconstituted colleges of study under the Simmons academic umbrella that will be launched in 2018, the school said. After Ifll died a year ago, Jenna Perlman at Boston Magazine penned a nice remembrance of Gwen, a former Boston Herald staffer and co-anchor of the “PBS NewsHour” and moderator of the network’s “Washington Week.”


Tom Hudner, Medal of Honor recipient, RIP

We missed this one yesterday, but Henry Schwan at Wicked Local didn’t and he has a good write up on a good man, Tom Hudner, 93, who passed away on Monday: “Hudner, a Concord resident, was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor for valor, for attempting to save the life of (Jessica Knight) Henry’s grandfather, Jesse Brown, on Dec. 4, 1950. Brown and Hudner were Naval pilots, on a mission behind enemy lines during the Korean War. Brown, the first African-American Naval aviator, was shot down, and Hudner purposely crashed his plane, jumped out, and rushed over to Brown. He tried to save his wingman’s life, but Brown died in the wreckage.”

Wicked Local

Bobby Doerr, RIP

And, finally, yet another sad death: Bobby Doerr, the Hall of Fame second baseman for the Red Sox and long-time friend of Sox teammate Ted Williams, has died. He was 99. ESPN has more. Of course, you can learn much more about the “Silent Captain” by reading David Halberstam’s mini-classic ‘The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship,’ a moving tribute, ultimately, to Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and, of course, Williams.


Lecture: Managing the Non-Profit Using the Operating Model Canvas

Cape Cod Community College

MassInc Gateway Cities Innovation Institute: Fifth Annual Awards



Boston Business Journal

‘The Scrum’ tapes at the Banshee

Calling all politics fans! WGBH News’ The Scrum podcast invites you to talk about Marty Walsh’s big win, the ongoing transformation of Boston’s City Council, and more. Our all-star panel includes The Boston Globe’s Meghan Irons, the Bay State Banner’s Yawu Miller, and the Dorchester Reporter’s Jennifer Smith. We’ll gather upstairs at the Banshee (934 Dorchester Ave.) Thursday at 6 p.m. and start taping at 6:45 p.m. We’re hoping for as many politicians, operatives, journalists, and #mapoli devotees as we can get, so please join us! All ages are welcome.


Today’s Headlines


Simmons will name a school after Gwen Ifill – Boston Magazine

Suffolk ‘stopgap’ plan: Brighton – Boston Herald


PawSox brass, courted by city, take in Railers game – Telegram & Gazette

Lowell councilors want report on homeless woes in neighborhoods – Lowell Sun

Many questions, few answers in fatal police shooting of New Bedford teen – Standard-Times

Feds target pension of convicted Quincy police lieutenant – Patriot Ledger


Senate GOP adding Obamacare mandate repeal to tax bill – Politico

Key takeaways from Session’s memory-lapse filled hearing – Washington Post

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