Happening Today

Opioid treatment, pot rally, McGee bids farewell

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders for an interview with WGBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu to discuss the opioid crisis and new efforts in recovery and treatment, WGBH-FM 89.7, 9 a.m.  

MassDevelopment’s board of directors meets with Jay Ash, secretary of housing and economic development, attending, 99 High St., 11th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders visit Beverly Hospital’s recovery coach pilot program and highlight the role recovery coaches can play in long-term addiction treatment, Beverly Hospital, 85 Herrick Street, Beverly, 10:15 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin, Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja and Sen. Michael Moore announce a new grant from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rubin Campus Center – Odeum, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, 9 a.m.

MassVentures board of directors meet with Nam Pham, undersecretary of business development and international trade, attending, 308 Congress St. – 5th floor, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Led by the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, medical marijuana patients rally in protest of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent anti-marijuana moves, Moakley United States Courthouse, One Courthouse Way, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton is among the speakers at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s ‘Future of Transportation Symposium: Innovation, Technology and Policy,’ Alumnae Hall, Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford, 10 a.m.

— First Lady Lauren Baker, Massport CEO Thomas Glynn, Boston Globe managing director Linda Pizzuti Henry, authors Anna Alter, Jeff Kinney, Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Susie Rich celebrate the opening of a new Logan Airport exhibit celebrating children’s literature, Terminal C, Logan Airport, 1 p.m.

— Lynn Mayor Tom McGee, a former state representative and senator, will give a farewell speech in the House Chamber where his father presided as speaker from 1975 to 1985, House Chamber, 1 p.m.

— Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler delivers opening remarks for Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Room 428, 2 p.m.

— Former CBS ‘Evening News’ anchor Dan Rather is a guest on ‘Greater Boston’ with Jim Braude, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m., followed by Rather discussing his new book, ‘What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism,’ with WBUR senior political reporter Anthony Brooks, Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 8 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Just what we need: More flooding

It’s the price we pay for spring-like weather in January.  Fox 25 has the details on the coming big melt. We’ve noticed public works crews in our own towns busily clearing storm drains – and that’s exactly what 7News finds across the region as well.

Fox 25 Boston

Report: GOP tax plan would wipe out $7.5B in deductions for Mass. residents

We knew the GOP tax-overhaul bill stuck it to blue states like Massachusetts, but not to this extent. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “According to a new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Bay State residents in 2015 were able to deduct from their gross income $19 billion in state and local taxes under the tax structure in place before Congress and President Donald Trump last month capped those deductions at $10,000 per year. That means that about $7.5 billion in federal deductions taken by Massachusetts residents will no longer be available, according to a foundation analysis shared at the News Service’s request. The analysis shows about a third of taxpayers will be affected, with the largest impacts felt among the wealthiest.”

No wonder Beacon Hill lawmakers are now “exploring” ways to counteract the new tax laws recently passed by Congress, as the Herald’s Matt Stout reports this morning. House Speaker Robert DeLeo says lawmakers are specifically looking at state and local tax deductions, reports Stout.

SHNS (pay wall)

Tricky budget year ahead on Beacon Hill

With so many state residents about to get whacked by the GOP tax plan, this comes as no surprise: Two days after saying it was “much too early” to rule out new taxes, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, under attack by Republicans, said yesterday there will be no new taxes, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

With that election-year budget skirmish out of the way, Beacon Hill leaders must now turn their reality-based attention to the “trickiest budget cycle since the Great Recession,” reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller. Among the budget unknowns are the outcomes of various ballot questions this year, the loss of projected marijuana revenue if the feds crack down on the pot industry, the fiscal impact of the recent Congressional tax-overhaul bill and other factors complicating state revenue and spending estimates, Miller reports.

No cooperation: State and city won’t assist feds in pot raids

This is big — and it reminds us of local resistance to cooperating with the feds on immigration matters. From Jordan Graham and O’Ryan Johnson at the Herald: “If the feds bust any local pot shops, they’ll be on their own — state police and Boston cops won’t assist in any crackdown on businesses that are legal under state law, local authorities said. Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett, who oversees the state police, told the Herald yesterday, “We have a state law that we’re intending to enforce, and the state law was voted on by the people of Massachusetts. We have no intention of raiding a pot shop that is legal under state law.” Ditto for the Boston Police Department.

Boston Herald

Editorial: Time for Congress to step in

In an editorial, the BBJ argues that Congress needs to settle the growing dispute between the Trump administration and states, like Massachusetts, that have legalized marijuana, perhaps by exempting legal-weed states from federal anti-pot laws: “If nothing is done, you can be sure that uncertainty will doom the new industry as quickly as Sessions’ war on this drug.”


Do body cameras make police more civil when using brute force?

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas admirably cuts through the clutter of media reports on a new body-cameras report: “Preliminary findings from Boston’s study of police-worn body cameras point to a small benefit in reducing citizen complaints filed against officers, but no impact on police use of force against civilians. The mixed results of the study carried out by researchers at Northeastern University could prompt a fresh round of debate between advocates for body cameras and Mayor Marty Walsh, who has seemed skeptical of the idea of equipping all of the department’s 2,100 officers with cameras.”


U.S. chamber targets Elizabeth Warren, compares her to Steve Bannon

FromChris Cassidy at the Herald: “The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce vowed to wage war against Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and ‘extremes in both parties,” comparing her to Steve Bannon and suggesting the pro-business lobbying group will pour money into the 2018 Senate race to defeat the progressive champion before she can mount a White House run.”

Bloomberg News quotes the chamber chief as saying his group plans to be active in GOP primaries as well. Frankly, we’ll believe it when we see it. The chamber has become pretty partisan of late – and taking whacks at Bannon as he battles Donald Trump sounds like the chamber is merely doing the president’s bidding.

Feds accuse Healey of overreaching on loan-servicer suit

Are the feds more concerned about turf protection than consumer protection? You gotta wonder after the U.S. Department of Justice filed papers in Suffolk Superior Court this week that accused Attorney General Maura Healey of overstepping her authority by filing a lawsuit against a student loan servicer. The federal government and the U.S. Department of Education have authority to oversee the student loan servicers, not Healey, they feds argue. The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes has more.

Boston Globe

Republican AG candidate: Hand over the lab records, Maura

Republican attorney general candidate Dan Shores is trying to make hay out of the controversy swirling around the Sonja Farak crime-lab scandal, calling on Attorney General Maura Healey to disclose all records of the office’s alleged misconduct in the case, SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports.

SHNS (pay wall)

MassHousing’s new chief: An atypical choice

We missed this one yesterday, from the Globe’s Adrian Walker on the appointment of Christal Kornegay as head of MassHousing. She met Charlie Baker while he was running for governor – and the rest is history. She’s not your typical state government appointee, as Adrian notes.

Boston Globe

In New Bedford, families sheltering hurricane evacuees facing eviction

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. More than two dozen families living in public housing in New Bedford face eviction if they continue to shelter relatives who fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Jeannette Barnes reports in the Standard-Times. The director of the city’s housing authority said he has already allowed a 21-day limit to be extended to 90 days as the city absorbs nearly 500 people who fled the island. 

South Coast Today

‘Could This Man Be Your Next Governor?’

The ‘this man’ is none other than Setti Warren, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who’s profiled in Boston Magazine by Saul Elbein. To answer the question in the headline, the answer is: No, not if he or other Dem candidates can’t budge their poll and name-recognition numbers, as reported by SHNS’s Matt Murphy at Wicked Local. But endorsements, like yesterday’s endorsement by former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, can indeed help Warren in the Democratic primary.

Boston Magazine

Healey warns T about past history of contract bidder

A helpful hint from the state’s top consumer-protection advocate. From Matt Stout at the Herald: “Attorney General Maura Healey urged the MBTA yesterday to tap the brakes as it weighs hiring a contractor to take over its bus maintenance, saying the Ohio-based company reportedly seeking the bid once left taxpayers ‘in the lurch.’ Healey’s letter to MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez focused on First Transit, which reached a $7.3 million settlement with the AG in 2012 after it backed out of a contract to operate the Ride, the T’s service for disabled and elderly passengers.”

Boston Herald

Some friendly advice to MBTA GM: Leave the tweeting to PR pros

Speaking of advice for the T, Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell has gathered some social-media tips for MBTA general manager Luis Ramírez, whose testy tweeting of late has been raising more than a few eyebrows. “Anybody who comes into the job of general manager of the T is coming into the most difficult job in state government,” says Jim Aloisi, the former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary. “Twitter is just a forum. It’s an agora. That’s great. It’s informative. It can be fun. But ultimately it’s not driving anything. And so you just have to have that thick skin, let it wash over you, and stay focused on the job that you’re supposed to do.”

Boston Magazine

Is JP morphing into Southie when it comes to post-storm space saver fights?

Universal Hub has a photo of a hand-written windshield note – and a hand-written response – that starts out ‘You are an A**HOLE …’ The response: ‘I’m sorry to hear about your parking stress …’ Of course, it’s over a post-storm parking space and space saver. Our favorite reader comment: “Thanks Marty for bringing the city together by spreading Southie thuggery to every neighborhood!”

Universal Hub

Markey gets the credit – and the pen

He may not trust President Trump having his finger on the nuclear button, but he did trust him with a pen. From the Globe: “President Trump signed legislation Wednesday aimed at giving Customs and Border Protection agents additional screening devices and other tools to stop the flow of illicit drugs. US Senator Ed Markey, along with fellow Massachusetts delegation member Representative Niki Tsongas, sponsored the bill, called the Interdict Act. ‘I’m going to give it to a Democrat,’ Trump said as he handed Markey the writing utensil. ‘That’s bipartisan, when I give it to a Democrat.’”

Boston Globe

Methuen councilors learn of their opioids lawsuit by reading newspaper

Methuen became the second Massachusetts community to file suit in federal court against pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid crisis, and the majority of the 9-member city council tells the Eagle-Tribune’s Lisa Kashinsky that they found out about the legal action only when they read about in the paper. Methuen follows Greenfield, which sued drug makers in December. 

Eagle Tribune

Legislative push to tighten porn laws after posting of nude photos of local women

Kudos to the Sun Chronicle for its excellent story on a disturbing subject. From Michelle Williams at MassLIve: “After a website was found to feature hundreds of photographs of nude and partially nude women, officials in Massachusetts are revamping an effort to strengthen revenge porn laws.  The effort was spurred by a 22-year-old North Attleboro woman. Partially nude photographs of herself that she’d shared with a previous lover were posted onto an anonymous porn website recently, she told the Sun Chronicle. Her photos were posted alongside photos of a friend and other women in Massachusetts and elsewhere.”


Bet on it: Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is the richest person in Massachusetts

From David Harris at the BBJ: “Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who was raised in Dorchester and has a home in Newton, tops the list of the richest people in Massachusetts, according to new data from a Boston-based research firm. Adelson, the founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. who technically calls Las Vegas home, has a net worth of more than $35 billion, according to the ranking by AffluenceIQ. Adelson.” Fidelity’s Abigail Adams and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft are also on the list. Check it out.


Ed reforms after 25 years: The progress and the disappointments

Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine takes a look at the state’s landmark education bill that was passed 25 years ago. By many measures, it’s been a smashing success, but Massachusetts still has “among the widest gaps in achievement between students from well-off homes and those living in poverty,” he writes.


L’Italien: I’d make wall-for-Dreamers deal

State Sen. Barbara L’Italien, one of the dozen or so Democrats hoping to fill Niki Tsongas’ seat in Congress, says she would vote to spend money on President Trump’s border wall in exchange for a long-term fix for DACA. L’italien, who met with the Lowell Sun’s editorial board on Wednesday, said she’d “tentatively” agree to such a deal, citing Trump’s history of changing the outlines of agreements as they evolve, Rick Sobey reports.  

The same conundrum is dividing Democrats already in Congress, Liz Goodwin of the Globe reports. Some are reluctant to give the president a win on a signature campaign promise while others see wiggle room around the question of what exactly a wall would entail. 

Lowell Sun

Tribe pledges to build on island as town lays down legal arms

Speaking for the first time since scoring a Supreme Court victory earlier this week, leaders of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah (Gay Head) say they will move forward with plans to build a “modest” bingo hall on Martha’s Vineyard while not giving up on dreams of opening a larger mainland casino in the future, John Kennedy and Steve Myrick report in the Vineyard Gazette. 

The town of Aquinnah also indicated Wednesday it would not file any more suits to stop the tribe’s plans and would instead seek common ground on outstanding regulatory issues, Rich Salzburgof the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports. Salzburg also reports that the tribe’s leadership plans to reach out to Gov. Charlie Baker before the end of this week in a bid to jumpstart talks about an off-island project. 

Webinar: Carbon Pricing & Transportation Emissions

Business Leaders for Climate Action

Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Rep. Mike Connolly to Tour Revolutionary Clinics’ Somerville Dispensary

Revolutionary Clinics

2018 NE/SAE Annual Management Conference

New England Society of Association Executives

Author Talk and Book Signing with Mimi Graney

State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Here’s what the early findings of Boston’s police body camera program revealed – Boston Globe

Should Boston banish its gondola dreams? – WGBH


Mass. congressional delegations urges GOv. Baker to reject Trump administration’s offshore drilling plan – MassLive

Worcester City Council seeks ways to curb prostitution, asks for police stings targeting johns – Telegram & Gazette

NOAA seeks $900K, all permits from Codfather in civil action – Gloucester Times

Councilors weren’t aware of opioids suit – Eagle-Tribune

UMass study shows problem gambling not so hard to shake – Hampshire Gazette


New York City plans to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue oil companies – The Guardian

Trump’s endorsement of earmarks intoxicates Congress – Politico

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