Happening Today

Health connector, Senate session, JetBlue strike, ‘Lucky’ the lottery terminal

— The Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation and A Better City co-host a forum to release ‘The Transportation Dividend: Transit Investments and the Massachusetts Economy,’ Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington St., 3rd Floor, 8:30 a.m.

— The Supreme Judicial Court will hear six cases, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders chairs a meeting of the Health Connector Board, 41 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 9 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito participates in the swearing-in ceremony for Appeals Court Associate Justice Ed McDonough, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, 1 Armory Square, Springfield, 9:45 a.m.

— Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash attends the MassDevelopment board of directors’ monthly public meeting, 99 High Street, 11th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Media are invited to the 100th birthday party of World War II veteran Anthony Barrasso, aka Tony the Kid Bambino, according to the VA Boston Healthcare System; Barrasso saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge, Don Orione Home, 111 Orient Ave., East Boston, 10 a.m.

— Children’s book authors Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Megan Dowd Lambert and Erin Dionne join Sen. Joseph Boncore and Rep. Michael Day for a briefing on bills to support early literacy, Room 222, 10:30 a.m.

— The Senate holds a formal session with plans to remove the word “acting” from Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler’s title and to consider a $3.55 billion borrowing bill for capital facility repairs and improvements, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

— The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts holds a lobby day to meet with legislators and advocate for the needs of brain injury survivors, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.

Striking workers who work for JetBlue subcontractors head to the State House to send delegations to Gov. Baker’s office and other offices, 12 p.m.

— State Library’s monthly author talk focuses on African American history with Rosalyn Elder, author of ‘Exploring the Legacy: People and Places of Significance,’ Room 341, 12 p.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump is the featured speaker at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Roundtable, 89 South St., 2nd floor, Boston, 12 p.m.

— State marijuana regulators from the Cannabis Control Commission hold a public hearing in Boston to give residents a chance to weigh in on draft marijuana regulations, One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker swears in members of the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth at their first meeting, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 1:30 p.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg holds an event focused on ‘Lucky,’ the Lottery terminal that generated the record $758 million winning Powerball ticket in August, Room 227, 2 p.m.

MassDivest Coalition holds legislative breakfast featuring speakers from the Sierra Club, Trillium Asset Management, and UMass Boston, House Member’s Lounge, 2:30 p.m.

— Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance spokesman Paul Craney talks about nonprofits and political donations on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— The Justice George Lewis Ruffin Society and the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association host an event to mark the installation of the exhibit ‘Long Road to Justice: The African-American Experience in the Massachusetts Courts,’ Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon St., Boston, 5 p.m.

— The Democratic State Committee meets as caucus season gets underway, with an agenda that calls for reports from the treasury and secretary, and a report on the party’s convention and caucuses, Framingham High School, 115 A St., Framingham, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Crosby: What did Wynn Resorts know and when did it know it?

Steve Wynn may be out as CEO of Wynn Resorts, but Wynn Resorts isn’t out of trouble. Despite calling Steve Wynn’s resignation a “significant development,” the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is plowing ahead with its investigation of the company itself – and of its remaining top executives – to determine who knew what regarding sexual-misconduct allegations against the former CEO and his multimillion-dollar sexual-harassment settlement with a woman.

Here’s the quote from commission chairman Stephen Crosby that caught our attention: “A central question is what did the board’s directors and staff know about the settlement and when did they know it.” The New York Times and CommonWealth magazine’s Jack Sullivan have more on what ultimately could lead to Wynn Resorts losing its Everett casino license. Then again, the Globe’s Mark Arsenault states in his lead: “The resignation of chief executive Steve Wynn may mark a substantial step toward getting Wynn Resorts out of the crosshairs of Massachusetts regulators …” 

It will all come down to how hard the commission pulls on the who-knew-what string.

Meanwhile, Dem gubernatorial candidates ask commission to probe Wynn’s financial ties to Baker

On yet another Wynn-related front: The three Democratic candidates for governor — Jay Gonzalez, Setti Warren and Bob Massie – are jointly asking the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to investigate campaign donations by Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts that were possibly “funneled through the Republican Governors Association” to Charlie Baker when he was running for governor in 2014, according to a letter released by the state Democratic Party, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. 


Quincy mayor bolts Democratic party over abortion stance

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch is no longer a registered Democrat.  Koch says the recent stance taken by the party’s national leadership on abortion is too far left for his tastes and that he is now registered as an unenrolled voter, Sean Cotter of the Patriot Ledger reports.  

Patriot Ledger

Chandler: ‘I am the president’

It’s such a simple solution, one that many didn’t see coming precisely because it’s so simple: Removing the word “acting” from Senate President Harriette Chandler’s title and letting her serve the rest of the year as the chamber’s president, rather than unleashing a full-scale donnybrook for the post in the middle of a legislative session – and that’s exactly what the Senate has done. Matt Stout and Chris Cassidy at the Herald, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine have the details on how a simple power-structure tweak appears to have calmed the Senate waters.

Two other things: Former Senate President Stan Rosenberg is out and investigations into sexual-harassment claims against his husband continue, including Attorney General Maura Healey’s criminal investigation, as SHNS reports at WBUR .

Yahoo asks U.S. Supreme Court to overturn SJC ruling on dead people’s emails

From the Herald’s Bob McGovern: “Yahoo is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to definitively declare what happens to our emails when we die and overturn a Massachusetts high court decision finding that federal law doesn’t bar disclosing the digital communications to representatives of someone’s estate. ‘The Supreme Judicial Court’s decision effectively eliminates personal privacy in email content after death by giving estate administrators complete control over those private communications,” wrote Marc Zwillinger, an attorney for Yahoo.” Question: So who controls those private communications of dead people if not the estate? Answer: Yahoo.

Boston Herald

Northeastern professor on Trump: ‘I wouldn’t mind seeing him dead’

Northeastern University professor Barry Bluestone, a highly respected political economist, has really stepped in it, saying of President Trump during a recent lecture: “Sometimes I want to just see him impeached other times, quite honestly — I hope there are no FBI agents here — I wouldn’t mind seeing him dead.” The university is distancing itself from Bluestone’s comments, according to a report at Boston.com.


Proposed dog-leash rule unleashes the critics of state wildlife plan

More than 200 people turned out for a public hearing this week on a proposal to require that dogs be leashed at all 210,000 acres of land controlled by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Bradford Miner reports at the Telegram. Among those pushing back: Professional dog-walkers who say the state is rapidly running out of open land for our canine friends to ramble freely. 


Budget buster: About that two-year Senate budget deal …

This is not about local politics per se, but it will impact us locally, to wit: Disregard all the talk about how a new two-year U.S. Senate budget deal might avert a government shutdown or whether it should or shouldn’t address the Dreamers immigration program. The Washington Post, under former Globe editor Marty Baron, is hammering away at the real story: The total hypocrisy of Senate Republicans backing a bill that raises government spending by $500 billion and that will only add to a growing budget deficit that Republicans were only recently bemoaning when another president was in office. Here’s another WaPo story making the same point. It’s brutal coverage – but it’s fair and classic cut-to-the-core coverage. 

Washington Post

Rep. Garry may draw primary challenger

Another day, another potential challenger to a Dem incumbent. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Dracut School Committee member Sabrina Heisey is weighing a primary challenge to long-time state Rep. Colleen Garry, one of the more conservative Democrats in the House. Heisey, who was elected to the town’s School Committee last year, opened a campaign committee as a Democrat Wednesday, and told the News Service she is ‘exploring the possibility.’”

SHNS (pay wall)

Ignorance is power: Why district attorneys almost always get election-year byes

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham ponders the eternal question about why district attorney races, whose outcomes are so important to society, are largely ignored by voters. One of the reasons, she finds, might be that voters are largely ignorant about the true power of district attorneys.

Boston Globe

Transgender principal comes out: I am now Shannon Daniels

A Swampscott elementary school principal has made a surprise announcement: Tom Daniels is now Shannon Daniels – and she’s no longer afraid to say so. NECN’s Caroline Connolly and Mesissa Buja have the details (and video) on Daniels’ announcement in a letter sent home to Swampscott Stanley Elementary School Parents earlier this week.


Framingham to change derogatory street names dating back to colonial times

From Jim Haddadin at MetroWest Daily News: “Wrestling with the region’s bloody past, city officials are seeking opinions from the public about whether Framingham should change two street names that could be deemed offensive to Native Americans. The City Council on Tuesday took the first steps to explore renaming Indian Head Road and Indian Head Heights, a pair of streets in a residential neighborhood on the Northside.”

The review was prompted by a young school student who said she interviewed Native Americans about their history — and about the hurt they feel all these centuries later about how their ancestors are portrayed in town history.

MetroWest Daily News

Business groups band together to push natural gas

There’s a new business-backed group in town, the Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy, and it’s pushing back against those opposed to increasing natural-gas supplies in Massachusetts, arguing the state is risking its economic viability and needs to ensure that power generation sources can deliver affordable electricity to customers, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton. The move comes after power generators recently had to switch to dirtier and more expensive oil to fire up power plants, due to a lack of natural gas.

SHNS (pay wall)

Digital future vs. historic Boston

File under: Only in Boston. The MBTA’s plans to install digital billboards outside five transit stations is running into opposition from preservationists, who object to the signs at the Park Street and Arlington stations, reports Adam Vaccaro at the Globe.

Boston Globe

Ex-State Police chief says Troopergate suits contain ‘scurrilous allegations’

From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “Former State Police Col. Richard McKeon, who retired after he issued orders to have troopers redact the arrest reports of a judge’s daughter, said the federal lawsuits filed against him by the troopers contain ‘scurrilous allegations’ and should be dismissed. McKeon has been named in lawsuits filed by Troopers Ryan Sceviour and Ali Rei after they say supervisors in the State Police forced them to redact and destroy reports in the October arrest of Alli Bibaud, the daughter of Judge Timothy Bibaud.”


Athenahealth taps Jeff Immelt as chairman

Former General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt may have landed a gig on the West Coast, but he’ll maintain a strong Boston presence with his appointment yesterday as chairman of Athenahealth, the Watertown cloud-based software company that’s under pressure from activist investor Elliot Management, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien.


Tito Jackson lands gig at Somerville nonprofit

Former mayoral candidate and city councilor Tito Jackson has found a new post at a Somerville nonprofit, Parenting Journey, serving as a social and family justice fellow, reports the Globe’s Meghan Irons.

Boston Globe

Along with ever-smaller pay checks, dairy farmers get suicide prevention info

Whatever struggles you face in your day job, just know it could be worse: You could be a dairy farmer. Jim Kinney of MassLive reports that western Massachusetts farmers are among those who received information on suicide prevention along with the latest (paltry) checks for their product from the cooperative that buys and markets milk. In general, farmers have the highest suicide rates of any profession, as Kinney notes, and milk prices have been steadily dropping of late and the slide is expected to continue.


Brighton’s finest: John Kelly is not having a good week

White House chief of staff and Brighton native John Kelly appears likely to be spending some time in the hot seat after a tumultuous week. Kelly’s on-mic comments about some of those eligible for DACA made things somewhat hot, but now his full-throated defense of staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned from the White House yesterday amid allegations of spousal abuse, has made things really hot. Kelly called Porter a man of “true integrity and honor” amid the spousal-abuse controversy. Writes Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman of Kelly: “He was supposed to be the West Wing’s resident grown-up, but staffers are increasingly questioning Kelly’s judgment.”

Vanity Fair

The Riley appointment: The ‘inside male’ wins again

The debate over Jeff Riley’s appointment as commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows no sign of abating. The latest salvo comes from Cathy Minehan, the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, a former state education board member, who write at the Globe that, once again, an ‘inside male’ candidate has triumphed.

Boston Globe

Warren straddles fence in Capuano-Pressley race

This is interesting – and it can’t please Michael Capuano. From Jennifer Smith at the Dorchester Reporter: “The Democratic Party may stand to gain from an infusion of young up-and-coming political hopefuls, but US Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not picking a side just yet in the race for Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District, where Boston City Councillor at-Large Ayanna Pressley is making a run to unseat US Rep. Michael Capuano.”

Dorchester Reporter

Dorcena Forry vows to carry on advocacy from the private sector

Former State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, who resigned her State House post last month to take a job at Suffolk Construction, says she plans to advocate for access and opportunity in the private sector and denies she left the Senate due to her failure to round up enough support to become the next Senate president. Instead, she said she stepped down in order to financially support her four children and ailing parents. Brendan Deady has more at WGBH.


A year later, Elizabeth Warren says of Sessions appointment: I told you so

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren marked the one-year anniversary of the appointment of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general – a nomination process that included Warren being silenced by GOP leaders on the floor of the Senate – by bashing Sessions’ record on civil rights, criminal justice and immigration, reports Shannon Young at MassLive.


One of state’s last survivors of Pearl Harbor attack dies

William “Bill” Keith, 95, believed to be one of the last of three Massachusetts residents who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, died Tuesday morning at the VA Hospital in West Roxbury after a short illness, reports Sue Scheible at Wicked Local. “He was just out of boot camp in December 1941 on the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Navy Base on Dec. 7. He was able to open a hatch to get off his ship and get on shore as a number of torpedo destroyed the ship.” RIP, William Keith.

Wicked Local

Harvard National Model United Nations Conference in Boston

Harvard University

Mass. Marijuana Summit II: New regs, federal threat, financial hurdles

A dynamic and controversial industry is only months from launching in Massachusetts. The regulations are complex and the barriers to entry formidable. How can we make sense of the arrival of recreational marijuana, an industry that may soon exceed $1 billion annually?

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Eight groups vie for space in the Seaport – Boston Herald

Boston public schools ask for modest increase in spending – Boston Globe


Dog leash regs for MassWildlife land spark debate – Telegram & Gazette

North Attleboro gets $115K from sale of Hernandez home – Sun Chronicle

Dunkin’ Donuts Is Finally Ditching Foam Cups – Boston Magazine


Pelosi’s Dreamers protest leaves some Democrats wanting – Politico

Military parades are about ego and power. Of course Trump wants one. – Washington Post

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