Happening Today

Chandler in D.C., Gaming Commission, Cannabis Control meeting

— Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler travels to Washington, D.C. for a meeting of Milbank Memorial Fund’s Reforming States Group steering committee, Washington, D.C.

— The Public Health Council meets to hear a presentation about the DPH Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention and about collaborative Zika virus surveillance with the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St., Boston, 9 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets, 101 Federal Street, 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, Reps. Jose Tosado and Carlos Gonzalez, Springfield Community College president John Cook, Holyoke Community College president Christina Royal and student evacuees hold a news briefing to discuss higher education opportunities for students who evacuated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after hurricanes, Springfield Community Technical College, Scibelli Hall, Bulding 2, 7th floor, 1 Armory Square, Springfield, 10:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito participate in the National Guard’s 381st Birthday Celebration & Awards Presentation and announce the filing of new legislation, Memorial Hall, 11 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a weekly meeting of the Governor’s Council, Room 360, 12 p.m.

Governor’s Commission on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence meets with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders attending, Room 157, 1 p.m.

Cannabis Control Commission meets to continue policy discussions and debate on draft regulations for the pot industry in Massachusetts, Minihan Meeting Room, Hurley Building, 19 Staniford St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Massachusetts School Building Authority Board, MSBA Headquarters, 40 Broad Street, 5th Floor Suite 500, Boston, 10 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Moore loses in Alabama, Baker wins in Massachusetts

Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated controversial GOP candidate Roy Moore in the much-watched Alabama U.S. Senate race yesterday, the NYT reports, and that’s ultimately a win for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, reports the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, noting the Republican Baker will no longer be saddled with constant questions during next year’s gubernatorial election about his fundraising efforts that indirectly funneled campaign money to Moore.

Indeed, Democratic gubernatorial candidates yesterday were sharpening their knives in anticipation of a possible Moore win and holding Baker accountable for a state GOP fundraising committee that’s raised money for the Republican National Committee, which supported Moore, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise. With Moore’s defeat, Battenfeld writes, “Democratic candidates for governor have lost a powerful weapon to use against Baker.”

State House nativity display stirs controversy (again)

What would the holiday season be without a nativity controversy? From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “For the second year, Rep. Jim Lyons plans to set up a temporary Nativity scene inside the Statehouse but his intentions are drawing protests from a secular group that accuses the Andover Republican of a ‘politically motivated’ stunt meant to stir controversy. Lyons said the display depicting the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem will be put up Dec. 20 at an event featuring choirs singing traditional hymns and speeches by religious figures. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. in the Great Hall.”

Newburyport Daily News

Warren: Trump trying to ‘slut-shame’ Gillibrand

It’s pretty safe to say U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren may have gone overboard with her reaction to the latest over-the-top tweet from our Tweeter in Chief. Christina Prignano of the Globe and Shannon Young at MassLive report on Warren and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark jumping to the defense of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand after President Trump’s sexually suggestive tweet that Gillibrand would “do anything” for a campaign buck. The coarseness of today’s politics is depressing – and blame lies squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., though Warren isn’t helping matters much with these types of counter-attacks. Clark’s response was more restrained and, arguably, more accurate, calling Trump an ‘insecure sexual predator,’ reports Lisa Mullins at WBUR.

Meanwhile, Trump is so disappointed in Tom Brady

He’s disappointed with just about everyone else, so why not Tom Brady too? In between watching gobs of television news shows each day, President Trump apparently “expresses disappointment” to those around him that No. 12 has distanced himself from the president, reports the Globe’s Mark Shanahan, citing a snippet from a long profile of Trump in the New York Times. Gisele Bundchen is apparently giving Tom sound political advice these days.

Head of powerful health-care union suspended after sexual harassment charges

They’re falling like dominos everywhere. From the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “The head of a large union that represents health care workers across Massachusetts has been suspended after allegations of inappropriate behavior. Tyrék D. Lee Sr. leads the Service Employees International Union’s Local 1199, which represents about 56,000 workers in Massachusetts. He faces accusations of sexual harassment, according to people familiar with the situation.” We’ll believe this is a union-boss trend of epic proportions when the Teamsters makes a similar announcement.

Boston Globe

Ex-workers sue McCormick & Schmick’s for alleged sexual harassment

Add McCormick & Schmick’s to the list of high-profile institutions and individuals getting whacked by the #MeToo movement, this time by former workers, all of them Latina women, at the restaurant chain’s Faneuil Hall location, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan. With celebrity chefs falling like dominos of late, this comes as no surprise, though the involvement of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice in the Boston case adds a new legal twist to the trend.


Remembering the infamous State House sex scandal of 1855

Speaking of sexual misconduct, the controversy swirling around former Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband doesn’t even come close to the mother of all State House sex scandals – an 1855 case involving state Rep. Joseph Hiss, who was expelled after an investigation into his visits to local nunneries and offers of trips to Montreal. The Lowell Sun’s Peter Lucas has the historic details of a case that still serves as the unofficial bar for sexual misconduct on Beacon Hill.

Lowell Sun

City Hall plaza set for multimillion-dollar makeover

Who cares if he waited to get re-elected first? It’s finally getting done, knock on wood. From Dan Atkinson at the Herald: “A five-year, $80 million plan to renovate City Hall and rip up the surrounding plaza is going out to bid as Mayor Martin J. Walsh checks off a campaign promise he first revealed to the Herald more than four years ago when he vowed to spruce up the drab concrete-and-brick seat of power. A single firm will be hired to lead design and construction that will eventually include trees on the plaza and a restaurant on the third floor of City Hall, according to a master plan for the site.”

Boston Herald

Not off the record: DeLeo promotes Gitell to chief of staff after two aides leave for lobbying jobs

Two longtime aides to House Speaker Robert DeLeo — chief of staff and chief policy advisor James Eisenberg and deputy chief of staff Toby Morelli – are joining Boston-based lobbying firms, prompting DeLeo yesterday to tap long-time press spokesman Seth Gitell as his new chief of staff, SHNS’s Michael Norton reports. The Globe’s Joshua Miller has a pretty funny lead on his story: 

“Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo is promoting communications director Seth Gitell, who for almost nine years has responded to reporters’ questions with deflections, no comments, ‘I’ve got nothing new on this,’ and pithy statements so self-evident, they sometimes contain barely any information at all (‘The House will review the bill after the Senate takes action on it’).”

SHNS (pay wall)

Local hospitals rush to issue debt ahead of GOP tax overhaul

Yet another local sector unnerved by possible Republican Congressional action on taxes. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “The threat of a congressional tax overhaul inching closer has providers in Massachusetts scrambling to issue debt before the end of the year, with over $1 billion in debt set to be refinanced or issued by Partners HealthCare, Boston Children’s Hospital and UMass Memorial Health Care in December alone.”


The stolen ID of Capuano’s wife and thousands of others used in bogus net-neutrality campaign

This could be happening to anyone of us — and it’s scary. From Eric Rasmussen at Fox25: “Thousands of Massachusetts residents have had their identities stolen and used to lobby the government to support new rules that could make the internet more expensive – a flood of fake comments one expert said is intended to drown out the very real public opposition. Many of the victims – including a 13-year-old North Shore boy, a Lexington realtor, a marketing professional from Jamaica Plain and the wife of U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano – were all unaware someone had used their names and addresses to urge the Federal Communications Commission to get rid of so-called net neutrality protections until 25 Investigates contacted them.”


Gardner Museum security chief declares for House race

Anthony Amore of Swampscott, whose role as director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has given him a front-row seat to one of the region’s most compelling art-theft mysteries, says he’ll challenge incumbent state Rep. Lori Ehlrich for the 8th Essex District seat in next November’s election. Thomas Grillo of the Lynn Item reports that Amore, a Republican, says that he wants to provide support for Gov. Charlie Baker and that he was motivated to join the race when lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise at the end of last year. 

Lynn Item

Framingham State seeks FBI’s help in investigating racist messages

The FBI has apparently joined the fray as a series of racial incidents are investigated at Framingham State University, the Metrowest Daily News reports. It’s not clear how involved the agency is, but school officials said the FBI has been kept updated on recent racist messages sent to a student.  

Meanwhile, three swastikas were found drawn on a desk in the classroom of a Jewish teacher at Andover High Tuesday, mere hours before the start of Hanukkah, prompting a hate-crime investigation, writes the Globe’s Danny McDonald.

MetroWest Daily News

Commission looks at how to get pot business to minorities and the poor

From the Herald: “State marijuana regulators focused yesterday on how to give minority and poor communities — and people once convicted of dealing pot — a slice of Massachusetts’ newly legal marijuana industry. The Cannabis Control Commission adopted the frameworks for a priority review process for license applicants that demonstrate they will promote economic empowerment in communities harmed by the illegal pot drug trade and for a program to help people from those communities establish themselves in the business.”

Boston Herald

Lawmakers eye mental-illness reforms within criminal justice overhaul

This is welcome and long overdue. From Maria Cramer at the Globe: “Lawmakers are calling for expanded programs to divert mentally ill people from jail, stronger oversight of solitary confinement policies, and more training to help police officers deescalate confrontations with those who have mental illness. Legislators also plan to study establishing a crisis center in Middlesex County where police officers and other first responders from that region could bring people in psychiatric or drug-induced distress.”

Boston Globe

Breath test results still on hold amid legal challenge

Robert Mills at the Lowell Sun reports that district attorneys across the state continue to avoid using breath test results from machines that are the subject of a legal challenge, even though the SJC has ruled that the technology behind the machines is scientifically sound. 

Lowell Sun

Idled fishermen reel in wake of Codfather fallout

Michael Bonner of the Standard-Times talks with professional fishermen who are stuck in port and facing a dismal holiday season thanks to the fallout from the recent prosecution of Carlos ‘Codfather’ Rafael. Federal authorities have banned 22 vessels connected to Rafael from groundfishing, a ban that could last until the end of the season in April, putting as many as 80 people out of work in the process.  

South Coast Today

Massachusetts nudges aside Hawaii as healthiest state in the union

It must be the New England weather. From Hayley Glatter at Boston Magazine: “Dust off your mantelpiece, Massachusetts, because we just won yet another national accolade. The Bay State—home to some of the top docs in the country—was named the healthiest state in America by the United Health Foundation in the group’s annual benchmark assessment, which is based on 35 measures of behavior, environment, and policy.” The Bay State shoved aside long-time winner Hawaii for the distinction.

Boston Magazine

The Possible Project’s Winter Marketplace

The Possible Project

A Conversation with Mayor Warren about the Opioid Epidemic

Mayor Setti Warren

Author Talk and Book Signing with Michael Holley

State Library of Massachusetts

Help Us Stop Propaganda Teaching at Newton High

Americans for Peace & Tolerance

Today’s Headlines


Harvard loses appeal in dispute over graduate student union – Boston Business Journal

Parents question educational benefits of early school starts – Boston Globe


North Adams residents, officials wary of marijuana delay – Berkshire Eagle

Resident eyes pot-friendly coffeehouse in Easthampton – Hampshire Gazette

Lynn’s about to hire 9 new cops thanks to a federal grant – Lynn Item

Lawmakers are looking at treatment of mentally ill in courts, prison – Boston Globe

State panel to vote Wednesday on Worcester’s South High project – Telegram & Gazette


Trump suffers ‘big black eye’ in Alabama – Politico

GOP negotiators move closer to reducing the top tax rate for high-income households – Washington Post

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