Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Senate session, ‘BoSTEM’

Northeast Clean Energy Center holds a discussion with industry experts on grid resiliency and reliability, Brown Rudnick, 1 Financial Center, Boston, 8:30 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets to vote on the commission’s enhanced code of ethics and other matters and to receive a workforce and diversity update, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

State Ethics Commission meets, One Ashburton Pl. – Room 619, Boston, 9 a.m.

— The Senate meets in formal session to take up three bills, with Ways and Means Committees redrafts pending on each, dealing with real estate appraisals, a uniform student financial aid ‘shopping sheet,’ and illegal hunting, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang join officials from the United Way, Boston After School and Beyond, and other organizations to announce a federal grant to ‘fuel a significant expansion’ of city-wide initiative BoSTEM, Mario Umana K-8 Academy, 312 Border St., East Boston, 11 a.m.

— House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Sanchez is the guest on WGBH’s inaugural edition of ‘Inside Boston with Joe Mathieu,’ a monthly Facebook Live session, 12 p.m. 

— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Report: US Attorney probably won’t treat pot dealers like the second coming of Pablo Escobar

Chill out, tokers and marijuana-industry entrepreneurs. U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling probably won’t aggressively pursue pot prosecutions in Massachusetts, even though he’s maintained he will uphold federal anti-marijuana laws, according to defense lawyers, friends, and colleagues who know Lelling, reports Maria Cramer at the Globe.

Meanwhile, members of the Cannabis Control Commission are mulling whether to pay a visit to Lelling to see if he views them and their regulations as the rough equivalent of Columbian narco-enablers and enabling. SHNS’s Colin Young at the Greenfield Recorder has the details.

Boston Globe

Massachusetts marijuana timeline (assuming Lelling doesn’t go anti-narcos loco)

Assuming U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling doesn’t seriously disrupt the state’s nascent marijuana industry, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has a good timeline, with lots of factoids, about how marijuana legalization has unfolded in Massachusetts – and how it may unfold in the not-too-distant future.


Even ‘conservative’ tax revenue estimates may not be enough to stabilize state budget

As SHNS’s Michael Norton reports, legislative and Baker administration budget writers are now premising next fiscal year’s spending plans on the smallest projected revenue increase in nine years, after years of overestimating tax collections. But as SHNS’s Colin Young also reports (pay wall), there’s still many unknowns out there, particularly hard-to-predict sales tax revenues and a pending U.S. Supreme Court case on taxing e-retailers.

SHNS (pay wall)

Electric grid operator warns of ‘rolling blackouts’ without new pipelines

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “A new study by the operator of the region’s power grid warns that without additional natural gas pipeline capacity New England will face a precarious energy future, where the likelihood of emergency actions such as rolling blackouts is likely to become a reality on several days a year.” What  can you say? That they’re lying?


‘Hard turn left’ by Warren and other presidential wannabes makes life difficult for other Dems

The New York Times looks at how the presidential aspirations of six Democratic U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are pulling them ever leftward – and making political life tough for other Democrats seeking re-election in purple and red-leaning states. The latest leftward lurch by the gang of six centers on the current immigration and government shutdown debate, the Times reports .

Btw: Does this mean Marty Walsh is now a government shutdown extremist? From WGBH: “Walsh Backs Dems On DACA ‘Even If It Means A Shutdown’”


Local nurses union to oppose staffing question proposed by another nurses union

This should clear things up for voters. The Massachusetts chapter of the American Nurses Association says it doesn’t support a push by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and others for a ballot question to require minimum nurse staffing levels at hospitals – and it’s even joined a coalition that’s opposed to the proposed measure, reports Emily Micucci of the Worcester Business Journal.


Baker-Polito ticket: Formidable but theoretically beatable – if Dems get their act together

Sure, the Baker-Polito team has more than 30 times the campaign cash of the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates combined – and, sure, the polls show Republican Charlie Baker with ridiculously high approval ratings. But David Bernstein at WGBH says Democrats may well rue the day they didn’t get behind a Democratic candidate early enough with lots of donations, if the gubernatorial race turns out to be closer than expected. He explains.


Did you know the word ‘shithole’ can trace its linguistic roots back to Massachusetts Puritans?

After careful linguistic analysis, Ben Zimmer at the Atlantic magazine concludes that the word ‘shithole’ can trace its roots back to a 1600s Massachusetts court document that contains the first-known North American use of the word ‘shithouse,’ a word used centuries later by none other than James Joyce in ‘Ulysses.’ As Spock would say, fascinating. Via the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss, who has more on the startling linguistic discovery.


Number of erotic massage parlors selling much more than massages are overwhelming law enforcement

There are now hundreds of erotic massage centers in Massachusetts — and thousands across the nation, many engaging in providing sexual services – and can be easily found online. But law enforcement agencies simply lack the resources to take each one down, report Jennifer McKim and Phillip Martin at WGBH.


The worst-case scenario for GE isn’t that bad for Mass.

Fret not over the fate of GE, writes the Globe’s Shirley Leung. The worst-case scenario, if General Electric ever goes belly up, would mean the state assuming control over prime pieces of Seaport real estate. But Shirley doesn’t think it will come to that. She explains.

Boston Globe

Galvin goes after cryptocurrency offering, likening it to unregulated securities

This will catch the attention of a lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts and investors. From Andy Rosen at the Globe: “Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin on Wednesday revealed aggressive steps against what’s known as an initial coin offering, arguing that one company’s approach to the novel, high-tech corporate fund-raising technique amounts to an illegal sale of securities. Galvin’s office said it had filed administrative charges against the company Caviar, which is selling digital assets built on technology similar to that behind bitcoin.”

Boston Globe

DOT seeks to relieve Seaport gridlock with ‘adaptive’ traffic lights

The Internet of Things arrives on the streets of Seaport. From Donna Goodison at the Herald: “The state Department of Transportation will allocate up to $5 million for a new traffic light control system on the South Boston waterfront that would adapt signals to changing traffic patterns and volume to better move vehicles through the neighborhood.”

Boston Herald

The last bastion of blatant gender discrimination: disability insurance

We missed this story the other day, via SHNS’s Andy Metzger at WBUR: “Sponsors of a bill that has bipartisan support told lawmakers Tuesday that its passage would topple one of the last bastions of gender-based discrimination in the insurance industry. Legislation (H 482) sponsored by Newton Democrat Rep. Ruth Balser would require gender-neutral pricing for the roughly 182,000 people insured by state-regulated disability insurance policies.”


Judge compares plight of Indonesian refugees to those fleeing Nazi Germany

From Michael Levenson at the Globe: “A federal judge on Wednesday likened a group of Indonesian Christians facing possible deportation by the Trump administration to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Nazis. Judge Patti B. Saris compared the plight of the Indonesians, who are in the country illegally, to Jews fleeing the Third Reich in a boat — an apparent reference to the infamous case of the St. Louis, an ocean liner that left Germany with 937 passengers, most of them Jews, and was turned away by the US government in 1939.”

Boston Globe

Baker not wild about medically overseen injection sites

These comments by the governor at a legislative hearing sort of got lost amid all the attention focused on the forced-treatment-for-addicts issue. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday voiced skepticism about the idea of safe injection sites, where a person can come to inject themselves with illegal drugs in a hygienic environment with oversight by trained staff. … ‘The biggest problem I have with it is as far as the data I see is concerned, it has not demonstrated any legitimate success in creating a pathway to treatment,” Baker said.”

Fyi: Maia Szalavitz has a good op-ed at the NYT on why opioid treatments that stress abstinence over use of medications are failing addicts. She says nothing about designated injection sites. It’s just an interesting column.


Gabriel Gomez’s biggest cheerleader? Elizabeth Warren

The Globe’s Frank Phillips takes a look at how an independent run for U.S. Senate by Gabriel Gomez, a onetime GOP Senate candidate, might end up hurting Republican candidates – and pleasing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat.

Boston Globe

Achtung: Iconic Jacob Wirth’s restaurant and beer hall for sale

Someone, please, save and preserve this place. From Jacqueline Cain at Boston Magazine: “If you’ve ever dreamed of operating a historic restaurant in the heart of Boston, it could be a reality for just about $1 million. Jacob Wirth, the iconic German beer hall on the edge of Chinatown and the Theater District, is up for sale, and the parties involved are hoping a new buyer is interested in continuing its 150-year legacy.”

Boston Magazine

‘Framingham is in the midst of a residential building boom’

Framingham is doing its part on the housing front, with two additional development proposals unveiled just this week. As Jim Haddadin reports at Wicked Local: “After years of work to spur new development, Framingham is in the midst of a residential building boom, with much of that activity centered around its downtown.” In all, there are more than 600 planned units in Framingham.

Wicked Local

Now an Apple HQ2 sweepstakes, not to be confused with Amazon’s HQ2 sweepstakes?

From a report at the BBJ: “Apple is gearing up to build another corporate campus in a yet-to-be-announced American city and increase its workforce across the U.S. by 20,000 new employees over the next five years, the iPhone maker said Wednesday. The news comes packaged with Apple’s announcement Wednesday that it plans to invest a total of $350 billion into the U.S. economy between now and the end of 2023.”


Healey joins multi-state suit over net neutraility

From the Associated Press at MassLive:”Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has joined a coalition of 21 states and the District of Columbia suing to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net-neutrality rules.”


William Bain Jr., RIP

He was an incredible businessman. From Jon Chesto at the Globe: “William Bain Jr., a management consultant who started two Boston firms that became influential shapers of businesses across the globe and who helped propel the business career of former governor Mitt Romney, died Tuesday at his home in Naples, Fla. He was 80.”

Boston Globe

Lawyers: City Hall aides were merely working for constituents on Boston Calling

Attorneys representing the two Boston City Hall aides charged with extortion in connection with the Boston Calling music festival say their clients were simply doing the day-to-day work of public servants when they pressed organizers to hire union workers, Laurel Sweet reports in the Herald. 

Boston Herald

EPA: New Bedford Harbor prime for redevelopment

The Environmental Protection Agency has designated New Bedford Harbor as one of two Superfund sites in the New England region best positioned for successful redevelopment, Jeannette Barnes reports in the Standard-Times. Although the designation itself brings no funding, the city is hopeful it will help a pending $15 million grant application for cleanup and infrastructure construction win support. 

South Coast Today

Buyers may already be waiting to scoop up Berkshire Museum artworks

Deep-pocketed buyers may already be waiting to make quick purchases of art from the Berkshire Museum’s collection should an injunction holding up the proposed sale be allowed to expire, an attorney is warning. Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports attorneys arguing for a prolonged injunction say the artwork—which includes two Norman Rockwell paintings —could change hands in a matter of days if legal roadblocks are lifted. 

Berkshire Eagle

Author Talk and Book Signing with Mimi Graney

State Library of Massachusetts

Democratic Campaign Institute

Massachusetts Democratic Party

Boston School Finder’s School Enrollment Fair

Boston School Finder

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


Arbaje-Thomas tapped to lead METCO program – Dorchester Reporter

Walsh backs Dems on DACA, even if it means a shutdown – WGBH


After 53 years, Brockton City Council considers change in meeting time – Brockton Enterprise

Longtime Western Massachusetts prosecutor Jane Mulqueen confirmed as superior court judge – MassLive

Developer seeks to build retirement community at Marlboro Airport – MetroWest Daily News

State officials defend group home policies – Salem News


He leaked a photo of Rick Perry hugging a coal executive. Then he lost his job – New York Times

Kelly calls some of Trump’s campaign promises on immigration and wall ‘uninformed’ – Washington Post

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