Happening Today

Ed commissioner finalists, Markey presser, opioid bill

— State education officials plan to announce finalists for the post of elementary and secondary education commissioner.

— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Accenture Innovation Hub, Prudential Center, 13th Floor, 888 Boylston Street, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell and City Councilor Timothy McCarthy will attend the unveiling of the new Early Head Start program facility at the ABCD Mattapan Head Start & Children Services Center, 535 River St., Mattapan, 9:30 a.m.

Joint Committee on Education holds a hearing on four bills, one of which would create a literacy grant program to help school districts better find, screen and intervene with K-5 students experiencing reading difficulties, Room A-1, 10 a.m.

— The Financial Services Committee will solicit testimony on bills dealing with banking oversight, including legislation that would allow the commissioner of banks to limit fees imposed on check cashing, Room A-2, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey holds a press conference to announce a ‘major milestone’ in his battle with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, 10:45 a.m.

— Students at Framingham State University plan a press conference to address recent racial incidents at the university, Framingham State University, Framingham, 1 p.m.

— The Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s new opioid bill, with Baker and Health and Human Services Secretray Marylou Sudders expected to attend after the hearing gets under way, Gardner Auditorium, 1 p.m., governor at 2:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders gather for the groundbreaking of The Union, the conversion of the former Boston Young Men’s Christian Union building into 46 affordable housing rental units, 48 Boylston St., Boston, 1:30 p.m.

Charlie Carr and Dennis Heaphy of the Disability Policy Consortium and Bill Henning of the Boston Center for Independent Living speak at a Disability Caucus event about how MassHealth changes could impact long-term services, Nurses Hall, 1:30 p.m.

Joint Committee on Export Development holds an informational hearing on the state of international trade in Massachusetts, Hearing Room B-2, 2 p.m.

Today’s Stories

For those who missed MassterList yesterday …

MassterList indeed put out a newsletter yesterday morning, before taking the rest of the day off for the MLK holiday. Check out yesterday’s postings on our web page, where we covered state Rep. Cory Atkins’ announcement she won’t seek re-election, Mitt Romney’s private ‘I’m running’ pronouncement, state leaders reaching a revenue consensus for next fiscal year’s budget, Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s Fidelity probe and more.


‘Racist bully’ dominates MLK Day

As the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld notes, on a day meant to honor Martin Luther King Jr, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren stole the spotlight with a blistering attack on President Trump’s racist ‘s- -hole’ comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. Among other things, she called Trump a “racist bully” and his recent remarks “evil,” as Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports. 

Warren wasn’t the only one using the holiday to denounce the president’s vulgar comments. Mayor Marty Walsh said it was “absurd” for the president to claim he’s the “least racist” person, as WCVB reports. Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker, appearing in Springfield, related how his mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s in her final years, was often cared for by Haitian and African nurses, reports Phil Demers at MassLive. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” said Baker, speaking before a packed house at MassMutual Center. 

The Globe’s Joshua Miller and the Herald’s Laurel Sweet have more on yesterday’s Martin Luther King Day festivities – and the harsh criticisms aimed at Trump.

‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice’

There’s a lot of stories out there about Martin Luther King Jr. and MLK holiday commemorations yesterday in the Boston area. We really liked this slide-show presentation at WGBH, with photos of King’s time in Boston and audio excerpts from a 1963 speech he made at the Ford Hall Forum about Northern racism. Meanwhile, Universal Hub provides an interesting history lesson linking a famous King quote to a long-ago Boston minister and abolitionist. King admirably never took credit for the line, putting it in quotes in a speech, fyi. He also, typically, gave it more power and eloquence.

Report: Beacon Hill compromise close on non-competes

This is a huge deal within the business community, if a deal is indeed reached. From Jon Chesto at the Globe: “Negotiators on Beacon Hill say they’re closing in on a compromise to restrict the use of noncompete contracts, after a previous effort collapsed in the final hours of the Legislature’s last two-year session. Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Paul Brodeur, cochairmen of the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, said they are hopeful a version of the legislation will pass the House and Senate this year, ending a decade-long tussle over the issue.”

Boston Globe

MEMA: Bay State has more nuclear false-alarm safeguards than Hawaii

Massachusetts Emergency Management director Kurt Schwartz says it’s unlikely a false nuclear-attack alert, like the one seen in Hawaii over the weekend, can happen here. Why? Because it takes a total of three people at the state-level to send out emergency alerts in Massachusetts, not one, as was apparently the case in Hawaii. Bob Shaffer at WBUR has the somewhat reassuring details.


Net neutrality supporters sense potential victory in U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey today is expected to resume his attacks on Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who last month led efforts to gut the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules. The Washington Post is reporting that 50 senators have now endorsed a legislative measure to override the FCC ruling, leaving supporters just one Republican vote shy of the necessary votes to pass a Senate “resolution of disapproval.”

Washington Post

Warren hauls in another $2.8M in campaign funds

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign announced yesterday that she’s hauled in another $2.8 million in campaign funds, bringing her war chest total to a whopping $14.1 million, reports Chris Cassidy at the Herald. Needless to say, many, including the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, are speculating just how much of that money will be used for her re-election bid this year – and how much might be used to push a possible 2020 presidential bid.

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Warren backs Congressional efforts to protect states with legal marijuana

How far these efforts will go in a Republican-controlled Congress is not clear. But Congress clearly needs to do something about the standoff between the Trump administration and states, like Massachusetts, with legal marijuana. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now throwing her support behind efforts by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to protect states’ rights to legalize pot.


Warning: Voters exercising their democratic rights may be a hazard to your schools

Some Amherst parents are concerned about the flood of voters that make their way to the town’s schools on election days, saying the unfettered public access makes schools and students less safe, Scott Merzbach reports in the Hampshire Gazette. The police department is conducting an assessment of the security issues raised by the voting-day practice, a custom followed by scores of communities across the state. 


Good, boy: New leash and poopie pick-up rules for wildlife-management areas

We would have thought there were already strict leash rules in state wildlife-management areas, but apparently not. Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger has the details of coming new rules, focusing on the impact at English Salt Marsh and Burrage Pond Wildlife Refuge in Halifax and Hanover.

Patriot Ledger

Sen. Rush pushing to amend Valor Act for not-so-valor acts

From Stephanie Ebbert at the Globe: “The legislator who authored the Massachusetts Valor Act is working to amend it so that military service could no longer be used as a defense against violent crimes, after a disclosure that a New Bedford man accused of assaulting his girlfriend was cleared of the charges based on his military service. State Senator Michael F. Rush, a West Roxbury Democrat, said through a spokesman he intends to push to amend the 2012 law, which the New Bedford victim’s attorney called a ;get-out-of-jail-free card.’”

Boston Globe

Accenture will add 400 new jobs in Boston

Another day, another major hiring announcement in Boston. Global accounting and consulting firm Accenture plans to hire 400 technology workers in Boston over the next three years, as it bulks up its new “innovation hub” that it will formally open in the Back Bay today, Kelly J. O’Brien reports at the Boston Business Journal. Gov. Charlie Baker is among those expected to be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Beacon Hill showdown over forced treatment for addicts

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to testify today at a legislative hearing in support of his latest anti-opioids legislation. But there was plenty of pre-hearing sparring yesterday over a provision that would let medical staff to lock up users for treatment, a measure supported by at least one police chief and opposed by the ACLU, reports the Herald’s Bob McGovern.

Boston Herald

Douchebag neighbor may prevail with his obnoxious sign

It may be offensive to some, but that doesn’t make it illegal. A rising chorus of Billerica residents is calling on the town to do something about a resident who has painted the word ‘douchebag’ on his barn as a protest against the expansion of a neighboring pizza shop, Rick Sobey of the Lowell Sun reports. Legal scholars seem to think the chances of getting around the First Amendment protections to have the word scrubbed are slim to none. 

Lowell Sun

Ex-Sen. Downing reflects on how there really is a life after Beacon Hill

Former state Sen. Benjamin Downing sat down with the Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow and reflected on his decade on Beacon Hill as he begins his new life as an executive for a solar company. Downing cites legislative progress made on issues important to western Massachusetts, reflects on being a new parent and admits that his time in the sausage factory left him with a mixed outlook. “If my 10 years in office taught me anything it’s that change is frustrating, but there are many reasons to be hopeful.”

Berkshire Eagle

The Chinese Connection

Universities across the country are increasingly taking note of this same connection. From Laura Krantz at the Globe: “A group of UMass Boston students, professors, and alumni as well as outside advocates are raising concerns about the Confucius Institute that operates on its campus, accusing it of promoting censorship abroad and undermining human rights. The Chinese government oversees the center, one of more than 90 on campuses across the United States and abroad and one of two in the state.”

Boston Globe

In Ware, selectmen learn of lawsuit the old fashioned way

At least we know elected officials are reading their local newspapers. A week after Methuen officials learned through their local newspaper that they had signed off on a lawsuit against drug makers, Ware Town Manager Stuart Beckley found himself apologizing to his board of selectmen after they learned through local news accounts that they were being sued by a contractor who says he wasn’t paid for work on a closed landfill, as reported by Jim Russell at MassLive. Beckley says he should have told the board directly.


Housing divergence

Gary Campbell, head of Gilbert Campbell Real Estate and president of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, is not impressed with a housing bill proposed by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. “It is our belief that the legislation would not result in more housing choices, sustainable communities, or prompt, predictable permitting,” he writes at CommonWealth. “Rather, it will largely strengthen ‘home rule’ by giving communities more power to engage in practices that stifle production and drive home prices beyond the reach of average families.” He’s reacting to this recent op-edat CommonWealth by Andre Leroux, executive director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, and Lisa Wong, the former mayor of Fitchburg.


Lawmakers ask Healey to probe firm closing nursing homes

From Jeremy Fox at the Globe: “Eight state legislators are asking the Massachusetts attorney general to investigate a health care company that plans to close four nursing homes and an assisted living facility in Greater Boston, accusing it of misusing state money at the facilities it plans to shut down. ‘The question that needs to be answered is, ‘Did Kindred lobby for and receive state funding while they were planning for the closure of nursing homes?’ said Representative Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat and one of the signers of the letter.”

Boston Globe

2018 NE/SAE Annual Management Conference

New England Society of Association Executives

Author Talk and Book Signing with Mimi Graney

State Library of Massachusetts

Democratic Campaign Institute

Massachusetts Democratic Party

Boston/Cambridge Women’s March: The People Persist

The January Coalition

Living Our Values: JALSA 2018 Annual Meeting

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Today’s Headlines


A cleaner Mystic River, thanks to new Wynn casino – Boston Globe

Silver Line is flawed but fixable – CommonWealth Magazine


Proposed urban farming zoning change triggers showdown – Salem News

Amherst charter opponents: Pledge cards being used by pro-charter group akin to scare tactics – Hampshire Gazette

A history lesson: Fitchburg’s Joe Ward and Billy Galvin – Lowell Sun


DNC overhaul sputters as Sanders-Clinton rivalries persist – Politico

Chances of shutdown grow as GOP turns to short-term funding fix – Washington Post

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.