Happening Today

Streep and Davis at women’s conference, sports betting, energy storage

— The Massachusetts Conference for Women brings 13,000 attendees and more than 150 speakers to its all-day event in Boston, including keynote speakers Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and Diane von Furstenberg, BCEC, 415 Summer St., Boston, starting 7:30 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets to hear a report about national development on sports betting, vote on a midyear budget report, review a Plainridge Park Casino quarterly report, get an update on Wynn Boston Harbor and pedestrian bridge study, and vote on the 2018 community mitigation fund guidelines., 101 Federal Street, 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Energy and Environment Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Steve Pike announce funding for energy storage projects, UMass Memorial Hospital – Marlborough, Leahy Conference Room, 157 Union Street, Marlborough, 10:30 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg speaks at Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s annual meeting, 600 Washington St. – 4th floor, Boston, 10:40 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump attends the Association of Government Accountants Boston Chapter annual holiday and charity fundraiser, Maggiano’s, 4 Columbus Ave., Boston, 11:30 a.m.

Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets meets to consider a $3.5 billion long-term capital spending bill that the House passed in mid-November, Room 222, 11:30 a.m.

— Members of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination discuss anti-discrimination laws, reasonable accommodations, retaliation claims and more in a moderated discussion, One International Place, Suite 3700, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker gives remarks at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, BCEC, 415 Summer St, Boston, 1:30 p.m.

— Center for Health Information and Analysis Oversight Council meets with Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders attending, 501 Boylston St., 5th Floor, Boston, 2 p.m. — The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a public hearing on the proposed Equity Lab Charter School in Lynn, 10 Church St., Lynn, 4 p.m.

— The New England Society of Professional Journalists hosts a panel on covering sexual assault, featuring Boston Globe reporters Jenn Abelson, Kay Lazar and Devra First and attorneys Mitchell Garabedian and Robert Bertsche, and Diana Mancera, who oversees trainings in sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, Boston University College of Arts and Sciences, Room 522, 725 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 7 p.m.

— Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan discuss efforts to address the opioid epidemic on ‘The Take with Sue O’Connell,’ NECN, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Warren’s tardy call for Franken’s resignation?

Granted, it was more than a little odd not seeing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s name on the list of female senators who initially called for the resignation of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, as the NYT reported yesterday morning. But by the end of the day, Warren was indeed calling for Franken’s resignation amid new sexual-groping allegations against the Minnesota Democrat, as reported at WBUR. We’re talking about a delay of only a few hours. Still, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says it was a “political blunder” on Warren’s part and shows how she’s “not quick on her feet in an unscripted moment.” We’re not so sure voters really care, but you never know.

Steinem calls Trump ‘sexual harasser in chief,’ once again praises Baker

At the opening night of the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, feminist icon Gloria Steinem lit into President Donald Trump as the nation’s “sexual harasser in chief” and had surprisingly kind words for Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, reports Kaitlyn Locke at the Globe. “I’m also glad to be in a state whose governor keeps us from seeing the Republican Party taken over by the invasion of the body-snatchers,” said Steinem, who has previously praised  Baker for standing up to Trump.

Boston Globe

Baker faces Lively GOP primary

Gloria Steinem may like Gov. Charlie Baker, but not Scott Lively. The Springfield conservative is saying he plans to run against the popular Republican governor in the GOP primary.  Evan Lips of the New Boston Post had a lengthy sit-down with Lively, who garnered less than 1 percent of the statewide vote when he ran as an independent in 2014 and who says he plans to use the primary to highlight the governor’s not-so-conservative positions on issues. Says Lively: “I’m going to be bashing him and he needs to be bashed.” 

New Boston Post

Going for it: Donoghue, Forry and Spilka openly declare they’ll run for Senate president

Though they offered the obligatory caveat that it all depends on the final outcome of the investigation into sexual-assault allegations against former Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband, state Sens. Eileen Donoghue, Linda Dorcena Forry and Karen Spilka all openly declared yesterday that they’ll run for the Senate presidency, if the job permanently opens up. Because the job will almost inevitably open up, it means they’re candidates, now, not later, and the jockeying it just getting started. Curiously, state Sen. Sal DiDomenico hasn’t openly declared yet, even though he’s already a behind-the-scenes candidate. SHNS’s Michael Norton and Matt Murphy at WBUR, Mike Deehan at WGBH and the Globe’s Joshua Miller have more on the Senate presidential sweepstakes.

‘We love Stan’

They’re standing by former Senate President Stan Rosenberg in his home district in western Massachusetts. Diane Lederman at MassLive the details.


Calling Dr. Chandler?

We didn’t know Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler has a PhD in international relations. Can we start calling her doc? Anyway, the Globe’s Michael Levenson has a nice profile of Chandler, a Worcester Democrat who will have her hands full in coming days, weeks and months, especially with so many of her colleagues jockeying for the full-time presidency, assuming ex-president Stan Rosenberg isn’t coming back. Chandler has made clear she will not seek to become the chamber’s permanent president.

Boston Globe

Abortion foes fall short on ballot push

The measure would have been rejected by voters anyway. From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “A controversial proposal seeking to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions has fizzled. … Wednesday was the deadline to submit the requisite 64,750 signatures, but (Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover) said the effort appears to have fallen short. He said 57,400 certified names were collected ahead of a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline.” But it looks like clear sailing, petition wise, for the other major ballot initiatives out there. 

Newburyport Daily News

Deval Patrick to campaign for Jones in Alabama

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is among the big-name African-American politicians who plan to campaign for Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones in Alabama, where Jones is trying to defeat Republican candidate Roy Moore, who’s backed by President Donald Trump and other GOP stalwarts, the Washington Post reports.

Speaking of the Alabama race, the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis has a piece about who has more honor and integrity: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Stephen ‘Raging Bull’ Bannon, amidst their ongoing battle over the Moore candidacy. It’s no contest, Peter writes. And speaking of the shadow sparring between Trump and Romney, Politico is reporting that presidential aide Kellyanne Conway says the president and Mitt talked by phone just Tuesday night and that the two have a “great relationship.” She said it with a straight face.

Washington Post

Meanwhile, Trump encourages LePage to run for U.S. Senate in Maine

President Donald Trump has his eye on yet another U.S. Senate race – in Maine. The president is reportedly encouraging the vacillating Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, to challenge U.S. Sen Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, next year, the Washington Post is reporting. The temperamental Page said last May that, no, he wouldn’t take on King (Bangor Daily News), but then this summer said he might (Portland Press Herald). So: Will he or won’t he?

Washington Post

Mass. delegation split on first Trump impeachment vote

Of course, it means nothing, as long as Republicans control Congress. But we can dutifully pass along that the first vote on moving forward with possible impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House is in the books and that the roll call shows the Mass. delegation split on the question. Reps. Michael Capuano, Seth Moulton and Jim McGovern voted against a motion to table the impeachment action brought forward by a Texas Democrat, while the rest of the delegation voted in favor of tabling or did not record a vote. Cristina Marcos at the The Hill notes that Capuano’s vote was a shift—he warned as recently as last summer about the political risks  of moving too soon to impeach Trump.

The Hill

Special guest: Biden to preside over Walsh’s mayoral inauguration

Now we know for certain who Mayor Walsh will endorse for president in 2020, if a certain person runs. From the Herald’s Dan Atkinson: “Former Vice President Joe Biden will preside over Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s second inauguration — a ‘showstopper’ of a guest that shows the mayor is stepping out onto a larger political stage, observers said. Biden will preside over Walsh’s New Year’s Day swearing-in ceremony at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Boston Herald

Are we all going stark raving mad on transportation?

Gondolas over Seaport. A transit-oriented project in Allston without a mass-transit component. James Aloisi, a former state secretary of transportation, wonders at CommonWealth magazine if a “type of madness has infected our thinking in Greater Boston.” Meanwhile, Eastern Bank’s Quincy Miller, also writing at CommonWealth, says it’s time for the state to start addressing “transportation equity.” He explains.  


The coming ‘rude awakening’ for wealthy suburban families

Yet more provisions in the GOP tax plans that impact mostly blue states: Elimination of federal write-offs for home mortgages, student loan debt, and state and municipal taxes, all of which, as the Globe’s Tim Logan and Evan Horowitz report, will cost “well-paid, white-collar, suburban families” in the Boston area. “It’ll be a rude awakening,” Jim Cote, a financial adviser at Concord Wealth Management, said of the loss of such deductions. “In our market, a lot of this stuff is going to hit hard.”

Boston Globe

GOP tax plans creating ‘great uncertainty’ for state budget planners

Speaking of the negative effects of the GOP’s tax plans, from Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Efforts in Washington, D.C. to reshape the nation’s tax code are threatening to throw a wrench into Massachusetts’ budget forecasting. ‘We are experiencing a time of great uncertainly,’ said Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, opening the hearing that marks the first stage of Massachusetts’ fiscal 2019 budget process.” Meanwhile, Treasurer Deb Goldberg is warning of weaker Lottery revenues, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall).


To achieve gender balance on Beacon Hill, women will just have to start challenging male incumbents

MassINC’s Steven Koczela and Jake Rubenstein note how female gains on Beacon Hill, in raw numbers, have stalled over the past 15 years and they conclude that the only way to increase their numbers is for women to start challenging sitting incumbents in primaries and general elections, rather than waiting for open seats. They don’t say so, but, mathematically, that means knocking off a lot of incumbent Democratic males in a Legislature overwhelming dominated by Democrats. Just pointing out the obvious.


Suffolk Law School to offer two-year degree program

This is all about the changing legal-industry landscape and falling enrollments at many law schools across the country. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “In a first for Massachusetts, Suffolk University Law School is launching a program that will allow students to earn their degrees in 24 months. The Boston institution will offer enough evening classes in the summer so that full-time students can compile the 84 credits they need to graduate in as little as two years. Only 20 other law schools nationwide offer the option, none of which are in the Bay State, according to Suffolk Law.”


More than 7,000 UMass student inoculated against meningitis

From Diane Lederman at MassLive: “The University of Massachusetts vaccinated 5,540 people against meningitis during a four-day clinic on campus that ended Tuesday. That brings the total number of students vaccinated this fall to about 7,040, according to UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski.” The inoculations come after several UMass students were reported to have come down with meningitis.


Meanwhile, Massachusetts hit early with widespread flu activity

From Boston.com: “The flu season is off to an early start in Massachusetts this year amid mounting concern that the flu vaccination might not be effective against the most dominant strain. The state has seen a ‘very rapid increase’ in influenza-like illness and a surge in confirmed flu cases, the state’s public health commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement Tuesday.”


Activists: Reclaim the proud Tea Party heritage! No, wait, the 1773 protesters embraced colonialism, racism, slavery and murder

Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell has a head-shaking post about a move to hold a local protest against Congressional Republicans’ tax-cut plans, basing the protest on the Boston Tea Party theme and boasting they were taking back the Tea Party name from right-wing protesters. Then organizers dropped the name, changed the theme and pronounced the original 1773 protesters was steeped in colonialism, white supremacy and murderous intent against Native American people.

Boston Magazine

After sale, Crane’s currency-paper operations to remain in state

The paper money trail will still start in Massachusetts.  A day after Crane Currency in Dalton was sold to a Connecticut company for $800 million, the company says its facility that makes the paper on which U.S. currency is printed will remain in the Bay State and likely grow over time, Tony Dobrowoiski of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Crane has been producing the specialty currency paper to the U.S. Treasury since the early 1800s. 

Berkshire Eagle

Former Holy Cross athletes oppose dropping Crusaders nickname

An alumni group representing hundreds of former Holy Cross student athletes has formally taken a stance against a proposal to drop the Crusaders nickname, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports. The school’s leadership will begin debating a possible name change after the holidays. Also weighing in: Holy Cross alum and Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who also arrives (eventually) at the conclusion that he, too, wants to keep the nickname intact. 


Legal Considerations for Blockchain Innovations and ICOs

Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds & Galebach Law

Measuring School Climate in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness, Boston College, Boston University, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MassINC, the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Women Who Mean Business

Boston Business Journal

2017 MHSA Annual Meeting

Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA)

A Conversation on the State of American Diplomacy with Ambassador Nicholas Burns

Foreign Policy for America (fp4america.org)

Today’s Headlines


Inside Boston City Hall’s roving, rolling office – WGBH

BU biolab gets final approval to begin research on deadly microbes – Boston Globe


Ballot initiatives anger retailers’ group – Gloucester Times

Lynn’s budget hole just got deeper – Lynn Item

Hampshire College cancels speech by gun rights advocate – Hampshire Gazette

Worcester attorney Blake Rubin to run for DA – Worcester Magazine


Politico survey: Insurers on pace to record Obamacare profits for first time – Politico

Trump Jr. won’t provide details of call with his father – New York Times

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