Happening Today

Tran swearing-in, Governor’s Council votes and more …

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Boston Planning and Development Agency director Brian Golden and Mass Innovation Labs CEO Amrit Chaudhuri join Related Beal for a groundbreaking at the new Innovation Square, 6 Tide St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Fitchburg’s Dean Tran, after winning a special Senate election earlier this month, will be sworn in as the seventh Republican member of the Massachusetts Senate, with Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr attending, Council Chamber, 11 a.m.

Energy Efficiency Advisory Council holds its monthly meeting with Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson chairing, 100 Cambridge Street, 2nd floor, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump is a guest on WBZ Radio’s ‘NightSide with Dan Rea,’ WBZ. 1170 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston, 8 p.m.

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

— The Governor’s Council plans to interview David Griffin, a nominee for a judgeship on the Essex County Juvenile Court, Governor’s Council Chambers, 11 a.m.

— The Governor’s Council could vote on the nominations of William Ritter for a Superior Court judgeship and Janine Rivers for a judgeship on the Suffolk Probate and Family Court, Governor’s Council Chambers, 12 p.m.

— Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative executive director Tim Connelly and others attend a grant funding announcement related to the recently-launched Defense Fabric Discovery Center at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 244 Wood St., Lexington, 11:30 a.m.

— State Rep. Jim Lyons hosts a nativity scene display and gathering in the Great Hall, starting at 12 p.m., with a speaking program set to begin at 2 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Three GOP Senate candidates embrace Congressional tax bill

The Republican-controlled Congress is now just three procedural votes away from passing the historic $1.5 trillion tax bill, after both chambers gave their general approval yesterday to the giant tax-cut package, as the NYT reports. Not surprisingly, local Democrats are denouncing the GOP action, with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton declaring yesterday “one of the darkest days in Congressional history.”

But what’s somewhat interesting is how all three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts have embraced the bill, even though Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has expressed strong reservations about the tax package, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports. The three are partly pandering to the more conservative base within the state GOP party. But it may also mean that the final compromise tax bill is not as unpopular as many Democrats think. Remember: 80 percent of residents here could see a tax cut under the bill, as the Globe’s Evan Horowitz has reported. We’ll see. 

Btw: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy missed the historic House vote yesterday. He had a more important matter to attend – with he and his wife imminently expecting the birth of their second child, as the Globe’s Astead Herndon reports.

Bernard Law, RIP

One is hesitant to attach the word “disgraced” to a genuinely pious man who just passed away and who once advocated for social justice for immigrants and the poor and who campaigned for civil rights in the segregated South in the 1960s. But, sadly, Cardinal Bernard Law, who died on Wednesday, will indeed be remembered as the disgraced former cardinal of Boston for tolerating and abetting a pedophile network within the church he ran here. There’s simply no way around that ugly and damning truth. The Boston Globe and the New York Times and the Boston Herald have more on the life and death of Bernard Law.

Male incumbents beware: Neal faces party challenge from female attorney, Capuano may be next

With U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch already facing a primary challenge from tech-activist Brianna Wu (Globe), U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is now facing his own inter-party opposition from a female candidate, Springfield attorney and Democrat Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, who has declared she’s running to replace Neal, reports Amanda Drane at the Berkshire Eagle.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joshua Miller and Politico’s Lauren Dezenski report that Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is sending signals, or so it appears, that she’s interested in taking on U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, also a Democrat.

All of this might be seen as part of the whole Trump-era/#MeToo flexing of female political muscle, particularly by woman of color. But it also can be seen as an example of progressives trying to purify the Democratic Party of heretical members. It’s actually a combination of the two, with a little bit of old-fashioned Young Turks impatience thrown into the political mix. Lynch, Neal and Capuano are obviously heavy favorites to win re-election next year, but Wu, Amatul-Wadud and possibly Pressley will certainly make things interesting.

Marlboro resident latest to declare for Third Congressional seat

Then there’s the Third Congressional District – with its never-ending stream of newly declared candidates from across the political galaxy. Marlboro resident Keith St. John says he will join the crowded field of Democrats – now numbering 13 — vying to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas in the state’s 3rd Congressional district, Chris Lisinsky reports in the Lowell Sun. The 32-year-old, who runs an online business that sells socks, says his lack of political experience—he’s never run for office before—and business acumen will be differentiators in what could be the largest primary field for a federal seat in state history. 

Lowell Sun

Retired corrections officers want right to pack concealed guns

Other states allow it. A federal law permits it. Now Massachusetts corrections officers want it too: The right to carry concealed weapons in the Bay State, largely for protection against potentially vindictive ex-prisoners they used to guard in state facilities. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details.

Meanwhile, campus police in Massachusetts are asking lawmakers for the same retirement benefits as other police officers across the state, though they’re not asking for the right to pack concealed weapons (not yet), Schoenberg also reports at MassLive.

Law firm investigating Rosenberg dubbed ‘most politically connected’

Was the firm recommended by anyone in particular? From Matt Stout at the Herald: “The law firm tapped to lead the state Senate’s probe into self-demoted President Stanley C. Rosenberg was once dubbed ‘one of the most politically connected’ in Boston — with clients that included Rosenberg’s predecessor, Therese Murray — raising questions about whether retaliation-wary victims and witnesses will come forward.”

Boston Herald

Sexual-harassment ‘listening sessions’ scheduled for House

Speaking of sexual harassment on Beacon Hill, from SHNS’s Michael Norton at WWLP: “Saying he wants to hear directly from lawmakers and staff, House counsel James Kennedy on Tuesday informed House personnel of listening sessions planned for January where lawmakers and staff will be invited to talk about sexual harassment as part of the House’s review of its human resources policies.”


Vermont’s Leahy now says he regrets asking Franken to resign

Will any others from New England express similar regrets? Doubt it. From April McCullum at the Burlington Free Press: “Sen. Patrick Leahy now says he was too hasty in calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign following allegations of sexual harassment. The senior Vermont senator said Monday that his fellow Democrat should have been allowed to go through an ethics investigation.” Leahy’s Vermont colleague in the U.S. Senate, Bernie Sanders, also called for Franken’s resignation.

The Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman argues that Franken is a “liability for the Democratic Party and should follow through on his promise and resign.”

Free Press

Bay State schools now hosting 2,000 students from Puerto Rico

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at South Coast Today: “More than 2,000 students from Puerto Rico have arrived in Massachusetts schools after fleeing hurricane damage, acting education commissioner Jeff Wulfson said Tuesday. Wulfson told the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the pace of arrivals has accelerated in the last couple weeks. Education officials are now looking to see if there will be a considerable increase after the holidays, as many folks are expecting,’ he said.”

This is a financial burden, no question, but it’s also something the state can be proud of, as long as costs are shared equally.

South Coast Today

Hurry up and wait: Baker getting antsy about slow pace on Beacon Hill

The Globe’s Joshua Miller reports that Gov. Charlie Baker wants more bang for the buck from lawmakers, who Baker believes can move faster to address legislation: “As the Republican looks ahead to the end of the two-year legislative session in July, he ticked off a list of bills he wants to see reach his desk. The measures include updating the state’s wiretap laws, $500 million in spending for life sciences over five years, tougher penalties for so-called revenge porn, borrowing money for the maintenance of state facilities, and new taxes and regulation for Airbnb hosts who effectively run hotels out of their houses.”

Boston Globe

Globe property sold for $82M, more than Henry paid for the entire newspaper

It’s official: John Henry made a tidy profit (before ongoing expenses) by buying the Boston Globe for $70 million and then turning around and selling its Morrissey Boulevard property for $82 million. Catherine Carlock at the BBJ has unearthed what appears to be the final price paid by Nordblom Co. and Alcion Ventures paid for the 16.5-acre site at 135 Morrissey Blvd.


Photos tell the story of filthy foster group homes cited in fed audit

Warning: Mild gross-out photos accompany this story by MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg, who reports on the recent fed audit that found unsanitary and unsafe conditions in group foster homes for kids taken into state custody due to neglect or abuse. The moldy mattress photo is more than mildly gross.


Everett man who plotted to behead conservative blogger sentenced to 28 years

From the AP’s Alanna Durkin Richer at WBUR: “A man convicted of leading an Islamic State-inspired plot to behead a conservative blogger who upset Muslims when she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest was sentenced Tuesday to 28 years in prison. David Wright, who’s 28 years old, was sentenced by a judge in Boston’s federal courthouse two months after jurors found him guilty of conspiring with his uncle and a Rhode Island man to kill blogger Pamela Geller on behalf of the terror group.”


Tiny western Mass. town moves to ban wind turbines nine years after welcoming them

Apparently concerned about low-frequency noise from wind turbines in nearby towns, voters in Savoy, population 700, are poised to overturn a 2008 zoning bylaw that encouraged wind development in the town. If a ban is approved in two key votes this week, it would be the latest setback to Minuteman Wind LLC’s plan for a $31 million, five-turbine project in Savoy. Mary Serene at MassLive and Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle have the details.

Worcester looming larger over PawSox deal

The deal is real. Or so said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien yesterday about a bid by Worcester to snatch away the Pawtucket Red Sox if the Rhode Island legislature doesn’t act quickly to free up public funds to build a new ballpark. Melissa Hanson of MassLive reports that Worcester and state officials were mum regarding Grebien’s claim that a formal offer is already on the table. “The Worcester, Mass., deal is real and make no mistake about it,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Kate Bramson of the Providence Journal reports that Mayor Grebien has come up with an alternative plan if the state doesn’t want to pony up its $23 million share of the public portion of the project: Step aside and let the city borrow all the money itself, with repayment coming from added tax revenue from the facility.

Hold the mercy, hold the let-us: Burger King franchisee fined $250K for child-labor violations

From the BBJ’s David Harris: “A Burger King franchisee with 43 stores in Massachusetts has agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty after an investigation found more than 800 child-labor violations at stores across the state, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office office announced on Tuesday. Healey’s office said the franchisee, Texas-based Northeast Foods LLC and owner Shoukat Dhanani has come into compliance with state law.”


Derailment-prevention technology still not in place on T lines

Following the derailment tragedy in the state of Washington, the MBTA says GPS-based technology meant to stop runaway trains here won’t be fully implemented on Massachusetts rail lines until 2020, Dan Atkinson of the Herald reports. Currently only 10 percent of the rail lines in the state are equipped with the technology.

Boston Herald

Statewide police body-camera legislation comes into focus

A bill that would mandate that all police officers statewide be equipped with body cameras got a hearing before the legislature’s’ Public Safety Committee Tuesday, Mike Deehan reports at WGBH. While the proposal received some support, it appears likely lawmakers will wait for more test data on the technology from towns and cities, such as Boston, before taking the statewide plunge. 


Related Beal to Break Ground on Innovation Square

Related Beal

Stay tuned in 2018 for more Beacon Hill Town Square events!

Today’s Headlines


Boston Globe will pocket $82 million from sale of former Dorchester HQ – Boston Business Journal


Vargas, L’Italien file bills to preserve net neutrality – Eagle-Tribune

State to give $4.5 million to boost affordable housing stock on Cape – Cape Cod Times

Mass. labor union backs Eversource transmission line through New Hampshire – MassLive

A high-profile media clash inspires a student journalist – Reporter Newspapers

Council approves Quincy Center T development – Patriot Ledger

State suggests Lowell reconsider high school options initially rejected – Lowell Sun


Confusion and chaos ahead as new tax rules take immediate effect – Politico

Democrats win recount by one vote, creating 50-50 tie in Virginia legislature – Washington Post

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