Happening Today

RN-to-BSN program, World AIDS Day, Braude honored

— Greenfield Community College President Dr. Bob Pura, Westfield State University President Dr. Ramon Torrecilha, Rep. Peter Kocot, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and others hold a press conference about the colleges’ new RN-to-BSN completion program, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Northampton, 9 a.m.

Action Committee and Johnson & Johnson Innovation host a World AIDS Day event, with panelists including Dr. Dan Barouch of Beth Israel Deaconess, Nicola la Monica of Johnson & Johnson, former Rep. Carl Sciortino, now executive director of the AIDS Action Committee, and Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of International Partnership for Microbicides, Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School, 77 Ave. Louis Pasteur, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles and AAA will host a ribbon cutting event to announce that RMV license and registration services will now be offered to AAA members at its branch in Plymouth, AAA Plymouth Branch, 29 Home Depot Drive, Plymouth, 10:30 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh offers remarks at the gradution of 22 EMT recruits, and seven EMS staff promotions, Great Hall, Faneuil Hall, Boston, 10:45 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump attends the Cushing Gavin Awards gala, IBEW Local 103, 256 Freeport St. #1, Dorchester, 6 p.m.

— The fraternity Phi Alpha Tau will present its annual Dr. David Brudnoy Memorial Award to television and radio broadcaster Jim Braude, Bordy Theater, Union Savings Bank Building, 216 Tremont St., Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Stan’s last stand: Fight? Stall? Resign? All three?

The mere fact that Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler has to assert that Senate President Stan Rosenberg will remain in office (SHNS) – amid an independent investigation into the Boston Globe’s bombshell allegations that the president’s husband effectively used his position to sexually prey on those who work at the State House – speaks volumes about Rosenberg’s now shaky position on Beacon Hill. This morning, Rosenberg is clearly fighting for his political survival. Everyone knows it, even though few are saying so publicly.

The allegations in Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham’s piece – that Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually groped, grabbed or kissed men with ties to the State House — are bad enough in the current “zero tolerance” climate toward sexual harassment. But Hefner also, allegedly, used his position as Rosenberg’s husband to strike political fear in those he accosted and to cover his tracks – and this isn’t the first time Hefner has been accused of abusing his relationship with Rosenberg within political circles on Beacon Hill. Rosenberg now owns this scandal precisely because he previously promised that political abuse of power by Hefner wouldn’t happen again – and now, allegedly, it’s happened again.

No wonder Gov. Charlie Baker — who along with Attorney General Maura Healey is calling for an investigation, as reported by the Globe’s Michael Levenson and Frank Phillips – wouldn’t express confidence in Rosenberg when asked yesterday. No wonder the “resign” word is being whispered at the State House, though, of course, people are publicly saying it’s “too early” to talk about such matters. But that’s indeed what everyone is speculating about: Resignation, either before, during or after the investigation. Sorry, but there it is. Out in the open.

The Boston Herald’s Matt Stout and Bob McGovern have more on the controversy, including Rosenberg’s support for an investigation and his recusal from the probe. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has also been all over the issue, as has the SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall), WGBH’s Mike Deehan and AP’s Steve LeBlanc and Bob Salsberg at WBUR.

Capuano: Even Conyers deserves due process

Speaking of politics and sexual harassment charges: As U.S. Sen. Al Franken fights for political survival and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls on U.S. Rep John Conyers to resign amid sexual-harassment controversies swirling around both lawmakers (Washington Post), U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is effectively saying slow down and allow due-process to take its course, at least in the case of Conyers, as Tori Bedford reports at WGBH. “Even with the most credible allegations, people have a right to a due process,” Capuano said yesterday on ‘GBH. 

He’s technically right, of course, but in this environment, his call will mostly fall on political deaf ears.


Healey decries DPU’s approval of slimmed down Eversource rate hike

The Department of Public Utilities may have approved only 60 percent of Eversource Energy’s requested power rate hike, as reported by Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine, but Attorney General Maura Healey says rates shouldn’t have been raised at all, as reported by Brian Dowling at the Herald.

Republican tax plan hits snag over this thing called a ‘deficit’

It looked like smooth sailing for the $1.5 trillion Senate Republican tax-cut bill that few senators, we assume, had even read, due to the constant revisions and all the backroom deal-making. But late yesterday the momentum for passage stalled, perhaps only temporarily, as some senators pointed out it might increase the national deficit – by a lot. The New York Times and the Washington Post have the details. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe, in an editorial, is putting pressure on Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to “pick a side” in the debate, with the Globe making clear which side she should pick.

Thanks, Sonja: Thousands of drug cases to be dismissed due to disgraced state chemist

Anywhere from 6,000 drug cases, as reported at MassLive, to 7,500 cases, as reported by the Boston Herald, will be dismissed as result of prosecutors deciding that the charges were tainted due to the misconduct of disgraced state chemist Sonja Farak, not to be confused with another disgraced state chemist, Annie Dookhan, whose own shenanigans led to the prior dismissal of 20,000 criminal convictions. So we’re looking at nearly 30,000 botched cases in recent years, all because of two state lab people. Fyi: The discrepancy in the numbers above is apparently tied to some prosecutors reporting their planned dismissals late in the day. Six thousand cases. Seventy-five hundred cases. At this point, same difference.

Right up the chain of command

Special treatment for a judge’s daughter? You decide. From Matt Stout at the Herald; “A State Police captain alerted a superior at the center of the Troopergate scandal that Alli Bibaud had been ‘locked up’ less than 40 minutes after her arrest, newly released documents show, highlighting the swiftness with which it reached the highest ranks of the department. … ‘C-6 Trooper just locked up Judge Bibaud’s daughter for OUI,’ Capt. Robert Johnson wrote in a text message to Major Susan Anderson’s department-issued cell phone.”

Boston Herald

CVS could announce Aetna takeover as soon as Monday

This is huge news in the health-care world, involving two prominent New England firms. From Bloomberg News: “CVS Health Corp. is nearing an agreement to acquire health insurer Aetna Inc. for more than $65 billion, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, in a deal that could reshape the pharmacy and health insurance industries. An announcement could come as soon as Monday, said the person.”  


Baker’s ‘no brainer’ biotech bill receives warm welcome

Speaking of pharmaceuticals and similar matters, from the BBJ’s Max Stendahl: “Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill to reauthorize a life sciences investment program earned high marks during an inaugural hearing on Thursday, with state lawmakers and chancellors in the system throwing their support behind the effort. Members of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies convened a hearing at the UMass Medical School in Worcester to discuss Baker’s bill, which would invest up to $500 million over five years in the life sciences sector.”


Millennium Partners in talks with state agencies over giant Seaport gondola

Definitely check out the accompanying design images of the envisioned Seaport gondola system that, if ever built, would become an instant iconic feature of Boston. Anyway, from the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “The project is still in its nascent stages, and hasn’t yet been formally introduced at the municipal level. But Millennium Boston officials have begun conversations to discuss the gondola system with a number of stakeholders and public players, including the MBTA, MassDOT, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Massachusetts Port Authority, local and federal elected officials as well as a smattering of private partners.” 

At this point, the gondola plan, which was first floated earlier this year, is far from reality, but it’s nice to dream.


Dukakis on MassDOT tunnel report: ‘We’re not satisfied with the scope of the study’

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis and other advocates for the long-discussed North-South Rail Link turned out earlier this week in Quincy for a meeting on the subject — and Dukakis made clear he doesn’t think a $1.5 million contract awarded by DOT to study a north-south tunnel is enough. “We’re not satisfied with the scope of the study,” Dukakis said, “but at least we’ve got the (Baker) administration looking at this.” The Patriot Ledger’s Sean Philip Cotter has more.

Patriot Ledger

Lawmakers approve higher budget for new Cannabis Commission

They rushed this one through fast. From SHNS’s Colin A. Young: “The Cannabis Control Commission has an executive director, temporary office space and soon it will have the money it needs to build out a legal marijuana market in Massachusetts. The Legislature on Thursday passed a supplemental budget (H 4052) appropriating $2.7 million for the operations of the CCC and sent it to Gov. Charlie Baker. The amount approved Thursday is less than the $3.6 million in operating funds the CCC had requested in early November but is expected to satisfy the commission’s needs.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Is the competitive Third Congressional race too competitive too early?

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas writes that some voting activists wonder if the crowded Third Congressional District race – which now counts 12 Democratic and three Republican candidates – is actually a textbook case of how today’s winner-take-all primary system actually leads to winners who fall far short of winning a majority of votes. The activists prefer a “ranked-choice” system. It’s a fascinating argument, but count us among the unconvinced. It sounds more like certain losing factions wanting their preferred candidates to stand a better chance of winning in crowded races.


Does statewide campaigning history give Kerrigan a leg up in 3rd?

Been there, done that—sort of. Peter Lucas of the Lowell Sun notes that of the even dozen Democratic candidates in the race to follow Niki Tsongas in Congress, only Steve Kerrigan has experience campaigning for votes in the district. Kerrigan gained the experience during his unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 2014, when he carried Lowell and a number of the district’s other communities during the Democratic primary. 

Lowell Sun

Lawmakers named to criminal-justice conference committee

They have a lot of haggling to do. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Telegram: “The task of reconciling two major criminal justice bills is ready to get underway after lawmakers on Thursday appointed a conference committee led by Rep. Claire Cronin and Sen. William Brownsberger, the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee. The conference committee is charged with forging a compromise that, if adopted, would represent one of the biggest overhauls of criminal justice laws in modern history.” Andy has the names of the other members.  


Boston taps accounting firm to review school books

One good audit deserves another?  Boston officials said they’ll ask Ernst & Young to review all student activity funds in the wake of the IRS audit that resulted in the city paying $1 million in back taxes and $2,000 in fines, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Some critics say a more independent review is needed—Ernst & Young has a standing contract with the mayor’s office that pays it $600,000 a year. 

Boston Herald

Dozens of Brookline High students hold walkout over racist videos

This was nasty stuff they were protesting. From Max Larkin at WBUR: “Dozens of students of color and their allies walked out of class Thursday morning at Brookline High School, after Snapchat videos surfaced showing current and former students repeating racial slurs. … In one of the videos shared with WBUR, a former Brookline High student can be heard saying that he equates ‘African-American scholar’ with the N-word.” Yes, they were targeting members of a scholars group at the school. Here’s two of the videos accompanying the ‘BUR story.


Supporters of minimum-wage and paid-leave ballot initiatives say they’re locked and loaded

From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The group Raise Up Massachusetts said it has collected enough signatures to advance two ballot measures, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and require employers to offer paid family and medical leave, towards the 2018 ballot… The signatures must still be officially submitted to Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin for inspection. Raise Up is planning to hold a rally in front of Galvin’s office on Tuesday when they submit the signatures.” The Retailers Association of Massachusetts has also indicated that it has enough signatures to put a sales-tax-cut question on the ballot next year.


Why are Massachusetts schools ignoring U.S. history in classes?

Tom Birmingham, the former Massachusetts Senate president who spearheaded the landmark Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, says it’s time to reinstate student graduation requirements in U.S. history and the U.S. Constitution – otherwise “we risk a generation that will be unable to fully participate in America’s democracy.” Why this would be at all controversial, we have no idea. The costs, as cited by Birmingham, seem so modest compared to the obvious civic gains.


Bill supporters: A little more notice of raw sewage overflowing into rivers would be nice, thank you

From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “Lawmakers and environmental groups are pressing for quicker, more widespread notifications of raw sewage overflows into local rivers and waterways, saying the current hodgepodge of notification rules puts the public at risk.”

Newburyport Daily News

Sunday public affairs TV

This is New England, NBC Boston, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: Reporter Community Features.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Massachusetts Retailers Association president Jon Hurst on prospects for the holiday season; 128 Technology co-Founder and CEO Andy Ory on his company’s mission to fix the Internet; and Doug Banks of the Boston Business Journal on the top business stories of the week.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Akcea Therapeutics president and CEO Paula Soteropolous on taking the biopharma firm public; plus, seeking cures for rare diseases that have broader implications for overall healthcare.  

Boston College Chief Executives Club, NECN, 1 p.m. In a recording of an event held earlier this week in Boston, the Globe’s Linda Henry interviews Michael Dell of Dell Technologies at the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who speaks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.  

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. This week’s main focus: Social Media and Social Justice .

Construction Fire Safety + NFPA 241: What Owners and Developers Need to Know

NAIOP Massachusetts

North/South Rail Link Town Hall – Everett

Citizens for the North South Rail Link

Help Us Stop Propaganda Teaching at Newton High

Americans for Peace & Tolerance

19th Annual NEEBC Best Practices Conference

New England Employee Benefits Council

FDA’s Software Monsters: Cybersecurity, Interoperability, Mobile Apps and Home Use (NTZ)

Embassy Suites by Hilton Boston at Logan Airport

NAIOP Annual Holiday Party

NAIOP Massachusetts

Legal Considerations for Blockchain Innovations and ICOs

Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds & Galebach Law

Today’s Headlines


Noncommittal Mayor Walsh avoids saying ‘veto’ about Boston plastic bag ban – WGBH

Is Canal Street the next pedestrian way in Boston? – Boston Globe


Leahy says he has the votes to be Lowell’s next mayor – Lowell Sun

MassDevelopment votes to manage New Bedford state pier – Standard-Times

Ashland gets national finance award – MetroWest Daily News

Contaminated soil from Barnstable Airport moved and missing – Cape Cod Times

Group: best passenger route from NYC to Berkshires might be through Albany – Berkshire Eagle

Firm says it will spend $100 million to redevelop Benny’s properties – Sun Chronicle


Sessions blasts sanctuary cities after Kate Steinle murder trial ruling – The Hill

Trump urged GOP leaders to help end Russia inquiry – New York Times

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