Happening Today

Gaming Commission, electric vehicles, Collins at Tufts

— The Gaming Commission holds an agenda-setting meeting as commission members also grapple with the fallout from sexual-misconduct allegations against casino mogul Steve Wynn, 101 Federal St. – 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Committee on Public Service meets to hear five bills dealing with civil service law exemptions, public employee accidental death benefits and early retirement incentives, Hearing Room A-1, 11 a.m.

— Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu plans to join MassPIRG and Mass Energy officials to release a report, ‘Plugging In: Readying America’s Cities for the Arrival of Electric Vehicles,’ Boston Common near intersection of Park and Beacon streets, 11 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump chairs a meeting of the Municipal Finance Oversight Board, Room 230, 11 a.m.

Water Resources Authority‘s board of directors meets with an agenda that includes approval of an affirmative action plan, appointment of a COO, and appointment of a senior program manager at the Deer Island Treatment Plant, 100 First Ave. – 2nd Floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, 1 p.m.

— State Rep. David Linsky talks on ‘Radio Boston’ about his bill to establish extreme risk protective orders in Massachusetts, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Susan Collins visits Tufts University for an event focused on politics, bipartisanship and public service, ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Intercultural Center, Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, 6:30 p.m.

— Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steven Hoffman is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ as are Alliance for Business Leadership president Jesse Mermell and former Republican U.S. Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Suffolk DA Conley won’t seek re-election, Flaherty and McAuliffe eye office

After 16 years as Suffolk County district attorney, Dan Conley yesterday announced he won’t be seeking re-election this year, in a move that likely will draw more than a few contenders for his coveted post. Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty and defense lawyer Shannon McAuliffe are already being mentioned as likely candidates. Indeed, Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports that Conley’s decision came as McAuliffe was preparing to mount the first challenge to Conley in the 16 years since he won the post in 2002.

The Globe’s Danny McDonald and Travis Andersen and SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall) have more on how the Conley decision has shaken up the city’s legal and political landscape.

So what’s in store for Conley post-DA? Right now, he signaling he’s headed for private practice. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says that Conley, a former Boston mayoral candidate, is well positioned to run for higher office one day, perhaps for attorney general or lieutenant governor.

Troopergate Update: Worcester DA accused of participating in ‘nefarious plot’

Speaking of district attorneys, from James Russell at the Telegram: “Documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Boston allege Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. was part of a ‘nefarious plot’ to ‘destroy official documents’ in the case of a local judge’s daughter arrested in October. The documents allege the DA’s office attempted to replace an existing court document – a police report used to prosecute the woman – with a revised version, but was rebuffed in Central District Court by acting Clerk Magistrate Brendan T. Keenan, who allegedly advised Mr. Early’s office that action would be illegal.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson reports the same state trooper is accusing his former commanders of a “deliberate effort to obstruct justice” in the case.


Are we reaching a tipping point on gun control?

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey seems to be getting a little carried away by comparing potential gun-control victories, following last week’s Florida mass shooting, to movements for women’s suffrage, civil rights and same-sex marriage, as SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports at the Salem News. But there does seem to be increasing confidence that “modest” gun-control measures, as the NYT describes them, might be passed, after President Trump’s recent calls for action on bump stocks and background checks. 

Still, don’t look for major reforms. Less than a week after the shooting, Florida lawmakers yesterday overwhelmingly rejected a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles, according to a PBS News Hour report. The Globe’s Joshua Miller has more on Markey and the gun-control debate. 

Police chiefs back compromise ‘sanctuary state’ legislation

This is very interesting. From SHNS’s Colin Young at NewBostonPost: “The lead sponsors of a bill that would limit the ability of state and local police to work with federal immigration officials say they’ve struck a compromise with law enforcement organizations on a redrafted version of the legislation and are calling on the Legislature to pass the re-written bill into law. The Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association (MMCC) and the members of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association’s executive and legislative committees have endorsed the new version of the so-called Safe Communities Act.” Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has further details on the compromise.

New Boston Post

Romney: A future anti-Trump attack dog or more like poor Seamus?

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz and the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins are warning rabid anti-Trump activists that Mitt Romney, now the heavy favorite to win the U.S. Senate race in Utah, probably won’t become the Republican face of resistance to President Trump. Atkins: “Those who expected Romney to use his campaign for outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seat as an anti-Trump crusade have likely misread the former Bay State governor’s motivations.”

Btw: The Globe’s Dan Wasserman has a funny cartoon this morning following Trump’s endorsement of Romney and Mitt’s return “thank you.” Poor Seamus. All these years later and his car-roof mishaps are still in the news. Here’s a recent HuffingtonPost item on Seamus, RIP.

State GOP stops pretending, scraps neutrality rule, now all-in for Baker

From Frank Phillips at the Globe: “The state Republican Party Tuesday night scrapped its long-standing neutrality rule governing primaries, ordering organizational resources to be directed to the re-election of Governor Charlie Baker and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. The resolution approved by the party’s 22-member executive committee also prohibited it from providing any assistance to GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively, a pastor who embraces antigay views in his writings and work.”

Boston Globe

Rep. Goldstein-Rose dumps Dems, declares himself an Independent

This has taken more than a few Dems by surprise. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at WWLP: “Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose of Amherst on Tuesday announced that he had changed his party registration to unenrolled, becoming the second House lawmaker to withdraw from a political party this session. Elected in 2016 as a Democrat, Goldstein-Rose joins Athol Rep. Susannah Whipps, a former Republican, as the only independent lawmakers on Beacon Hill. In an email newsletter, Goldstein-Rose said he made the move so that his registration would ‘align with the spirit of how I have always tried to work in the political arena.’”

Adam Frenier at New England Public Radio and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive have more on his surprise party move.


Stan still not ruling out future Senate leadership role

Speaking of Amherst pols, former Senate President Stan Rosenberg may be in a basement office now, but he’s clearly eyeing higher offices at the State House, literally and figuratively. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details.


Ranked choice voting gets a fresh look in Hadley and Amherst

Seems pretty clear that the folks who believe ranked-choice voting is a better way to run elections aren’t going away quietly. The latest battlegrounds over the idea are in Hadley—where a town meeting article in May would adopt the approach for municipal elections—and Amherst, where a larger charter-reform proposal includes formation of a commission to study it, Scott Merzbach reports in the Hampshire Daily Gazette. 


SJC has made it easier for police to use routine traffic violations as a pretext to search cars

Daniel Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University, discusses at WGBH how a Supreme Judicial Court ruling last week gives police the right to use routine traffic violations as a pretext to stop and search a person’s car, known as a “pretextual stop.” Such stops can be controversial partly because police can sometimes resort to racial profiling to warrant pulling a car over, says Medwed.


Immigration arrests rise sharply in Boston

New federal data confirms anecdotal evidence previously reported by the media, to wit: The arrests of undocumented immigrants in the Boston area rose sharply last year, by more than 50 percent, “signaling that President Trump is pushing to fulfill a campaign vow on bolstering enforcement,” as the Globe’s Akilah Johnson reports.

Boston Globe

Lawrence firefighter will seek L’Italien’s Senate seat

Michael Armano, an attorney and a lieutenant on the Lawrence Fire Department, says he’ll run for the 2nd Essex state senate seat currently held by Democratic Congressional candidate Barbara L’Italien, Jill Harmacinski reports in the Eagle-Tribune. Armano, a Democrat, is the third potential candidate to express interest in the seat, along with Barry Finegold—who previously held the seat—and Lawrence City Councilor Pavel Payano. 

Eagle Tribune

Lawsuit alleges UMass Club violated minimum-wage rules

A Boston woman who has worked at the UMass Club in downtown Boston has sued the facility’s operators, saying they denied her and other wait staff a basic minimum wage, Gintautus Dumcius of MassLive reports. The suit was filed by Kristin Hansen on behalf of all servers at the club—a regular meeting ground for Beacon Hill movers and shakers—and after consultation with the office of Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office issued a report last fall calling out wage theft in the restaurant industry. 


Maple syrup treated like a sap by House

Maple syrup didn’t get named as the official sweetener of Massachusetts, as Rep. Stephen Kulik had hoped. Instead, it got only a Massachusetts Maple Month designation from the House. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Salem News has the bitter details.

Salem News

Massachusetts definitely in ‘Taxachusetts’ territory in this ranking

USA Today has a state-by-state ranking of how much a resident pays, as a percentage of income, in state and local taxes (not including federal taxes). Massachusetts comes in at No. 9 in the ranking (or 41st, if you measure from the lowest to the highest tax burden) at 10.3 percent. The state with the highest tax burden: New York, 12.6 percent. The lowest: Alaska, at 6.5 percent.

USA Today

Another agenda item for Cannabis Control Commission: Medical marijuana shortages

The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance is getting nervous that the introduction of retail pot later this year could lead to weed shortages for medical marijuana patients. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details. Btw: The commission is now on Herald columnist Howie Carr’s payroll radar screen.

Resisting street-name change, Framingham opts for a Native-American plaque

Call this a middle-of-the-road compromise: The Framingham City Council has voted against changing the names of two streets in the city that some say are offensive to Native American Indians and instead will install plaques honoring past tribes, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports.  The push to change the names of Indian Head Road and Indian Head Heights began with local middle schoolers but ran into fierce opposition from residents. 

MetroWest Daily News

Dems take aim at conservative group

From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “Democratic lawmakers are asking Massachusetts’ election finance regulators to crack down on a conservative group that they say is trying to influence elections without disclosing where its money comes from. The state Democratic Party is asking that instead of being classified as an educational organization, the group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance should be considered a political group and subject to laws about disclosing donors.”

Mass Fiscal’s Paul Craney is hitting back, saying Dems are trying to “harass, persecute and prosecute the generous members of our organization.”


Wentworth president stepping down after 14 years of dramatic change

From Max Stendahl at the BBJ: “Wentworth Institute of Technology president Zorica Pantic announced Tuesday that she plans to step down next year, ending a 14-year tenure during which the Boston-based school weathered the economic recession, expanded its academic offerings and obtained university status. The school, which is based in the Fenway neighborhood and focuses on engineering and science, said that Pantic will retire at the end of May 2019.”


Another Jumbo picked to head a college

Speaking of higher-education leaders: First it was former Tufts University president Lawrence Bacow getting tapped to oversee Harvard University. Now Tufts provost Stephen Ainlay has been named as the new president of Union College, becoming the school’s first black president, reports Stephen Williams at the Daily Gazette. Other colleges obviously like what they’re seeing at Tufts, it appears.


Iwo Jima Day photos from the State House

The MetroWest Daily News has a slideshow of yesterday’s Iwo Jima Day event at the State House, where veterans, pols, ROTC cadets and others marked the anniversary of the bloody World War II battle. Four veterans of Iwo Jima — George Vouros, 92, of Natick, Robert Lavios, 92, of Hopkinton, Larry Kirby, 94, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Walter O’Malley, 92 – were on hand. State Sen. Karen Spilka also received a Marine Corp League Semper Fidelis Public Servant award. The Herald’s Meghan Ottolini has more.

MetroWest Daily News

Bridging the Bonded: Faith, Politics, and Diplomacy in a Polarized Age

Fletcher Initiative on Religion, Law & Diplomacy

Starr Forum: Is Democracy Dying?

MIT Center for International Studies

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


Arrests of undocumented immigrants in Boston are up 50 percent – Boston Globe

Despite payroll drop, T sees OT costs rise – Boston Herald


Holyoke council votes to seek probe of city finances by inspector general – MassLive

Hospitalized state senator: ‘I’m getting a lot of legislative work done’ – MetroWest Daily News

Truro selectmen cleared of open meeting violation – Cape Cod Times

North Adams State of the City: Mayor talks economic development, infrastructure  – Berkshire Eagle


Romney faces a complicated path as he begins run for Senate – Washington Post

Kushner resists losing access as Kelly tackles security clearance issues – New York Times

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