Happening Today

Ballot petition deadline, Governor’s Council, Steinem at conference

— Proponents of initiative petitions for the 2018 ballot must file the certified signatures of 64,750 voters with the secretary of state’s office to remain under consideration for the 2018 statewide ballot.

— Members of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance are set to hold their annual hearing to try to reach a revenue consensus for next fiscal year’s budget, 10 a.m., Gardner Auditorium.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump meets with officials from the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District to discuss a report recently released by her office that recommends modernization of laws and regulations within the regional school district structure, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, 210 Station Ave., South Yarmouth, 10 a.m.

Health Policy Commission staff will present select research from the upcoming 2017 Annual Cost Trends Report, 50 Milk St., Boston, 10 a.m.

— Officials from Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College host a press conference to launch the new Gaming School Training Program through the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield, 10:30 a.m.

— The Governor’s Council has three hearings today, the first to interview Colette Santa, who is Gov. Charlie Baker’s nominee for a position on the Parole Board, 10:30 a.m.; the second will be chaired by Gov. Baker as the council takes action on his nomination of Mark Green as chief justice of the Appeals Court, 12 p.m.; and the third to continue to interview Debra Squires-Lee for a Superior Court judgeship, 1:30 p.m., Governor’s Council Chambers.

ACLU of Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts hold a telephone press conference to support Attorney General Healey’s lawsuit against the Trump administration decision on contraceptive insurance coverage, 11 a.m.

— The Transportation Committee will hear Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal for enhancing safety in roadway construction zones and a slew of other transportation-related bills, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Immigrants and supporters participate in National Day of Action on DACA and TPS, Faneuil Hall, next to Samuel Adams statue, Dock Square, Boston, 3:30 p.m.

— Feminist Gloria Steinem is a keynote speaker at the opening night event ahead of the Massachusetts Conference for Women, 415 Summer St., Boston, 5 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker articipates in the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial 2017, Hynes Convention Center – Main Auditorium, 900 Boylston St., Boston, 8:15 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Republican Tran wins Senate special election

Wasn’t there supposed to be an intense anti-Donald Trump backlash that would sink all Republican ships in Massachusetts? Then again, Senate Democrats are experiencing a little turmoil these days. In any event, Republican Dean Tran narrowly defeated Democrat Sue Chalifoux Zephir yesterday in the Senate special election in the Worcester and Middlesex District, reports Amanda Burke at the Sentinel & Enterprise and Paula Owen at the Telegram. By flipping the seat, Republicans will now hold seven of 40 seats in the Senate

Senators look at hiring out-of-state investigator for sexual-assault probe

A day after Sen. Stan Rosenberg stepped down as Senate president, the chamber’s Ethics Committee officially convened on Tuesday and leaders made clear they’d like to see an out-of-state investigator heading the committee’s probe of whether Rosenberg’s husband sexually harassed and assaulted men with ties to the State House, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Salem News. 

The Senate Ethics Committee will be proceeding without one of its members: Sen. Sal DiDonenico, an Everett Democrat, who yesterday submitted a one-sentence letter resigning from the committee, citing media reports he’s jockeying to become permanent Senate president. He’s jockeying, all right, along with others. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more.

No kidding: Chandler says ‘no guarantee’ Rosenberg will get his job back

Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler said yesterday there’s “no guarantee” that Sen. Stan Rosenberg will be allowed to reclaim his old job as chamber president — even if he’s cleared by an ethics investigation, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. The Globe’s Michael Levenson reports how some State House players say Rosenberg faces a “daunting path back to power in the current political climate.” More like a “Mission Impossible” path, but he may defy the odds, just like Ethan Hunt always does.

Btw: Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports Rosenberg will be stripped of is $80,000 stipend while he’s on leave. He’s also getting the boot from his former ornate president’s office, as the Herald’s Stout notes. Btw II: Gov. Charlie Baker just wants lawmakers to “get down to business” no matter how the Senate drama plays out, reports Andy Metzger at SHNS (pay wall).

Defending Roy Moore, Bannon accuses Mitt of hiding behind religion and draft-dodging in 1960s

How does a U.S. Senate race in Alabama involving accusations of quasi-pedophilia tie in with a former Massachusetts governor’s religion and military-draft status during the Vietnam War? When former White House political strategist Stephen Bannon makes the connection. The raging bull of Republican politics yesterday accused the former GOP presidential nominee of hiding behind his religion and draft dodging during the 1960s – and it all ties into Romney’s criticism of the GOP for losing its “honor and integrity” by backing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s been accused of having a thing for young girls. 

 The Washington Post’s David Weigel and the Globe’s Annie Linskey have more on Bannon’s interpretation of what constitutes honor and integrity.

Time for Mitt to shove aside Orrin Hatch in Utah?

He did it to Jane Swift. Why not Orrin Hatch? Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant and a Daily Beast columnist, writes at the Washington Post that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should just shove aside U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and run for senator in Utah, arguing Republicans need a stronger voice of opposition to Donald Trump in Congress. “If we’re going to save the party from the trash fire it has become, Republicans need to start having it out, and this is as good a place as any to start,” Wilson writes. “If that means seven-term Hatch has to go, oh well.”

The Globe’s James Pindell takes a look at the rift between Trump and Romney, as it’s playing out in Utah, not to be confused with their rift as it’s playing out in Alabama.

Washington Post

It’s official: Bump seeking third term as auditor

Auditor Suzanne Bump made it official this morning, issuing a statement that she’s indeed running for a third term next year. “I look forward to talking to voters about the work we have done and my plans for the future,” said the Democrat and former state representative, as reported by SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall).

SHNS (pay wall)

Twofer: Moulton calls for Franken and Pelosi to step down

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s has long hinted/suggested/called for new leadership in the House, i.e. that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should step down. But Moulton outdid himself yesterday by calling for both Pelosi to step down and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, to resign, the former for allegedly mishandling the John Conyers sexual-harassment affair and Franken for allegedly sexually groping women. The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has more.

Threefer: Stoughton voters give the recall boot to three selectmen

See, it’s not always best to be an incumbent. In a special recall election, voters elected three new members to the Stoughton Board of Selectmen, giving the heave to three sitting selectmen in the process, Joe Pelletier reports in the Patriot Ledger. The recall push began last summer in part because of voter anger over the board’s treatment of a former town manager now suing the community. 

Patriot Ledger

Tufts professor ‘broke Twitter’ with tweets on Trump’s toddler status

This is impressive. Daniel Drezner, a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, believes he may have broken Twitter with a 166-tweet thread on how Donald Trump’s White House staff feels like they’re taking care of a toddler. Seriously, Twitter is trying to fix issues related to the thread, reports Boston.com’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa. Btw: The Tufts prof does more than just teach and break Twitter. Drezner is also a regular writer at the Washington Post.


Retail chief says unions want minimum-wage initiative on ballot to drive turnout

Even if lawmakers came up with a minimum-wage compromise, the head of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Jon Hurst, says an initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour will still be on next year’s statewide ballot “regardless of what the Legislature does.” And why is that? For “political reasons” by organized labor to drive turnout for their preferred candidates, Hurst said, as reported by SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Boston Business Journal.


Suffolk Downs developer wants environmental relief – just in case Amazon picks Hub as HQ2

We’re entering the hurry-hurry-hurry phase of the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. From Tim Logan at the Globe: “HYM Investment Group, which owns the East Boston horsetrack that city officials are pitching to Amazon for its ‘second headquarters,’ is asking the Baker administration to waive lengthy state environmental reviews on the part of the city so they can start construction by next spring on two office buildings near the Suffolk Downs Blue Line stop.” The developer wants to “make sure” Amazon knows we’re serious if it picks Boston.

Boston Globe

Maybe craft pot bars too?

Borrowing from existing regulations governing alcohol and tobacco, a Cannabis Advisory Board subcommittee is recommending the state allow “onsite social consumption” facilities for pot smokers, arguing they’d be fundamentally no different from booze consumed at taverns and tobacco smoked at cigar bars. “The package store model is old fashioned and the consumer really wants an outlet, a place to consume cannabis and do it safely,” said Michael Latulippe, an official with the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance and a member of the Cannabis Advisory Board. CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan has more on the issue.


Michael Dukakis’s last hurrah? Perhaps

Robert Huber at Boston Magazine has a big profile of former Gov. Michael Dukakis, covering a wide range of all things Dukakis, including his most recent push for a North-South rail tunnel in downtown Boston. One could say the tunnel project may indeed be Dukakis’s last hurrah of sorts, but the guy is like the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going. So don’t assume this will be his final cause.

Boston Magazine

Plan to move housing court out of Lynn hit from both sides

Landlords and renters alike filled a Lynn courtroom to give an earful to the judge who has floated plans to move the city’s housing court to neighboring Salem, Tom Grillo reports in the Lynn Item. Chief Justice Timothy F. Sullivan says the soaring workload at the court—up 40 percent since 2014—has led to overcrowding and the need to find more space. 

Lynn Item

Warren and Markey ask for delay in net neutrality vote

We have a hunch the FCC isn’t going to take their advice. From Jim Haddadin at the Milford Daily News: “The Bay State’s two U.S. senators are asking the Federal Communications Commission to postpone a vote next week to dismantle net neutrality rules, saying the group is ignoring the will of the public. Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey were among 28 senators who called on the FCC Monday to delay the Dec. 14 vote, which is expected to kill Obama-era regulations that ensure equal access to web content.”

Milford Daily News

Warren ‘very concerned’ about CVS-Aetna merger

Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, from the AP at Fox25 Boston: “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she’s ‘very concerned” about drugstore operator CVS’s $69 billion offer for insurer Aetna, saying the proposal would create another industry behemoth. The Massachusetts Democrat said Monday the country has already seen great concentration in the pharmaceutical industry, drugstores and health insurers. She says the deal could cut down on competition and drive up prices for consumers.” 

Fox 25 Boston

Is it a violation of the open meetings act to ban a former selectman from even setting foot in town hall?

A former selectman barred from Southborough Town Hall by the current administration is asking the state to intervene on his behalf, saying his exclusion from the building where public meetings take place amounts to a violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law, Jonathan Phelps reports in the MetroWest Daily News. 

MetroWest Daily News

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

Hospitals & Housing Investments Forum

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, and Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

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


Departing GE executive sells Back Bay townhouse for $13 million – Boston Business Journal

Tito Jackson slams BPS ‘home base’ assignment plan – Boston Herald


Worcester tax rate makes another shift to the business side – Telegram & Gazette

Framingham selectmen honored for years of service – MetroWest Daily News

Largest Mass. companies are mostly silent on GOP tax plans – WBUR

First medical marijuana dispensary in Worcester County opens its doors in Leicester – Telegram & Gazette

Racist graffiti found in Needham High bathroom – Boston Globe

Judge dismisses two counts against UMass in confidential informant case – Hampshire Gazette


‘Holy crap’: Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches – Politico

Tax plans crown a big winner: Trump’s industry – New York Times

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