Happening Today

Baker in Washington, Cannabis Control, MBTA Board, Kocot calling hours

— Gov. Charlie Baker is in Washington, D.C. for the National Governors Association winter meeting.

— Attorney General Maura Healey plans to attend the National Association of Attorneys General winter meeting in Washington, D.C., Ritz Carlton, Washington, D.C.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss the feedback members received on proposed marijuana regulations, Room 437, 10 a.m.

— Rep. Stephen Kulik and Sen. Jamie Eldridge are scheduled to co-chair a budget hearing to review spending on the environment, energy and transportation accounts, UMass Amherst Old Chapel, Amherst, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey hosts a discussion with representatives from the fishing industry, tourism, environmental organizations, and academia, a day before a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meeting on a proposal by President Donald Trump that would allow new offshore drilling, New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Martin Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey attend a Working People’s Day of Action to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court hearings in the case Janus vs. AFSCME, which could affect certain rights of labor unions; similar events are being held across the state today, 125 Purchase St., Boston, 12 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett, Quincy Mayor Tom Koch, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey and others announce a partnership with the towns of Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth and Randolph through the Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative Program, Bay State Community Services, 1120 Hancock Street, Quincy, 12 p.m.

MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets to discuss the commuter rail, capital programs, bus service planning, a passenger survey, and The RIDE Transportation Network Company Pilot, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza – 2nd floor, Boston, 1 p.m.

— The Department of Public Utilities holds a public hearing on a joint petition of distribution companies to revise model tariff governing net metering, One South Station – 5th floor, Boston, 2 p.m.

— Calling hours for Rep. Peter Kocot, who passed away last week, will be held at Czelusniak Funeral Home, Czelusniak Funeral Home, 173 North St., Northampton, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of State William Galvin, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump and members of the Asian American Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus will attend a celebration of the Lunar New Year, Great Hall, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Black Economic Council of Massachusetts hosts a panel discussion on ‘solutions to address racial and economic inequality in the commonwealth,’ Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 6:30 p.m.

Cornel West, a prominent academic, will be part of a panel discussion on the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. that is co-sponsored by Boston Review, Harvard Bookstore, Mass Humanities and Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, 6:30 p.m.

— The three Democrats running for governor — Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie and Setti Warren — participate in a voter forum, Leo’s Ristorante, 11 Leo Turo Way, Worcester, 7 p.m.

Robert Reich, a former candidate for governor in Massachusetts and former labor secretary under President Clinton, discusses his new book ‘The Common Good’ with Jim Braude, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is a guest on ‘Nightside,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 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

Republican Baker stealing gun-control spotlight from Dems

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, seems to stealing the gun-control thunder from Democrats in the wake of the Florida mass school shooting earlier this month, announcing on Friday that the state will be joining a multi-state “gun safety” coalition, as Bob Shaffer at WBUR reports, and extoling the state’s tough gun laws at a National Governors Association conference in Washington over the weekend, as the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports. He sure knows how to drive local Dems up a wall, basically by agreeing with them.

Democratic Governors Association may bail on local Dem candidates

Speaking of driving local Democrats up a wall: With Republican Gov. Charlie Baker riding sky-high in polls, the Democratic Governors Association is sending signals that it may not dump much money into this year’s gubernatorial race in Massachusetts, effectively leaving Democratic candidates to financially fend for themselves, reports Joshua Miller at the Globe. A spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren is understandably upset, declaring “we’ll beat Charlie Baker” with or without the DGA help.

Boston Globe

Baker ‘extremely disappointed’ with another state agency he controls

If Dems can manage to make screw-ups like this stick, they might gain some traction on Gov. Charlie Baker, who is expressing disappointment in yet another state agency that he either directly or indirectly controls, this time the Department of Revenue, where a recent data breach turns out to have been much larger than previously disclosed. “I’ve been extremely disappointed by what’s happened,” Baker says. Joshua Miller at the Globe has more. Last week, the governor called a T derailment “unacceptable” (NECN). Last month, it was the GIC’s ‘very poor’ rollout of new health plans (MassLive), etc. etc.

Western Mass. loses clout on Beacon Hill after death, retirements and scandal

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has a good piece on how the recent death of Rep. Peter Kocot, the retirements of Reps. Stephen Kulik and John Scibak and the loss of the Senate presidency by Amherst’s Stan Rosenberg have “quite shaken” the political establishment in western Massachusetts. And that doesn’t include last week’s announcement by Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, who took office last year following the retirement of Rep. Ellen Story, that he’s bolting the Democratic party, Schoenberg also notes.

FYI: As mentioned above in our Happening Today section, calling hours for Kocot will be held today in Northampton and his funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Northampton, according to MassLive. 

FYI II: Franklin County Chamber of Commerce executive director Natalie Blais says she’ll be among the candidates hoping to succeed state Kulik in representing the 1st Franklin House District, Christie Wisniewski reports in the Hampshire Gazette. A Democrat from Sunderland, Blais is the second to enter the fray.

FYI III: Matt Szafranski at Western Mass Politics & Insight takes a look at the eventual race for Kocot’s seat – and when it should be held.


Security firm founded by Boston Public School’s CFO severs ties with NRA

The fallout from last week’s Florida mass shooting continues to be felt far and wide. From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “After a huge wave of criticism for its partnership with the pro-gun organization, Boston-based home security company SimpliSafe says it’s severing ties with the NRA. … Simplisafe, a firm co-founded by the current CFO of Boston Public Schools, Eleanor Laurans, had offered two months of free service to members of the National Rifle Association.”

Boston Magazine

Can the cannabis industry survive without the free flow of capital?

The Globe’s Dan Adams takes a look at how federal anti-pot laws are forcing many banks to back away from doing business with current and future legal pot dealers in Massachusetts. The Herald, in an editorial, doesn’t sound too sympathetic to such concerns, noting pot firms in other states have found ways to finance operations and it’s calling a proposed state-backed pot bank in Massachusetts a “lunatic” and “cockamamie” idea. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive notes pot finances and other regulatory matters will be taken up this week by the state Cannabis Control Commission.

Access to birth certificates: A question of equality

State Reps. Kate Hogan and Sean Garballey and Sen. Jamie Eldridge have co-written an op-ed in the MetroWest Daily News that calls for increased access to birth certificates for some adopted individuals, contending adoptees born between 1974 and 2008 are denied such access while other adoptees can access those records for medical-background purposes. They say the access-gap is discriminatory and violates basic civil rights.

MetroWest Daily News

TrooperGate update: Two more State Police commanders retire amid staff ‘restructuring’

Actually, it’s two controversies sort of merging into one: TrooperGate and the highly questionable hiring of a trooper who is said to have once been a drug dealer, money launderer and perjurer. The Globe’s Andrea Estes and Shelley Murphy have the details. The Herald’s Howie Carr is having a field day with the developments, barely knowing where to start. He had one column over the weekend tied to the retirements and a second column this morning about the hiring of Leigha Genduso.

Stunters vs staties: One shot, others arrested after police corner reckless dirt bikers on I-93

It was a crazy day on I-93 on Saturday – and State Police definitely had their hands full on this one. From Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin, who also has a video of the incredibly dangerous antics of the bikers and ATV drivers: “A large group of masked riders on dirt and quad bikes who spent the day stunting, blocking traffic and scaring pedestrians on streets around Boston had their trek ended by State Police on the Southeast Expressway at Mass. Ave, where troopers and other officers blocked them in – and shot one in the foot as he tried to flee arrest around 5 p.m.”

Universal Hub (videos)

Did MassMutual really need state tax incentives to move 1,500 employees ten miles?

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is pumped that MassMutual is moving 1,500 employees from Connecticut to his western Massachusetts city. But some critics wonder if it’s worth the $46 million in state tax incentives, considering the Connecticut jobs were only 10 miles away in Enfield. Tim Logan at the Globe has the details. It should be noted that an additional 700 jobs will be added in Boston’s Seaport as part of the incentives package.

Fyi: In another corporate move, Steward Health Care System is effectively moving its headquarters from Boston to Dallas, Candace Carlisle reports at the BBJ. It’s only a small number of jobs, but it does show how competitive it is out there in terms of corporate locations and relocations.

Boston Globe

GE says it will restate two years’ of earnings — downward

Speaking of companies that have received state tax breaks: General Electric will show reduced profits when it restates earnings for 2016 and 2017 amid an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hallie Detrick reports in Fortune, citing a late Friday SEC filing from the Boston-based conglomerate. The move could present another challenge for GE’s share prices, which tumbled by nearly 50 percent over the course of 2017. 


On pain of death: Don’t tell anyone but Obama was in Boston the other day

Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive and Steve Annear at the Globe report on how former President Obama spoke on Friday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference – and how organizers slapped on all sorts of restrictions about what could be muttered, reported, posted, tweeted and photographed regarding the event. From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “What’s next? A gag order on Obama’s golf scores?”  

In Saugus, open meeting law conflict gets personal

Speaking of reporting the news (or not): Members of the Saugus School Committee said a reporter who has filed a second complaint alleging violations of the state’s Open Meeting Law is doing the work of ‘disgruntled’ former board members. The committee was called out by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey after Saugus Advocate reporter Mark Volger’s first complaint and a follow-up complaint brought strong pushback from board members, Bridget Turcotte reports in the Lynn Item.  

Lynn Item

The state’s ticking overtime time bomb

Back to the general subject of State Police: The city of Boston has its police overtime problem. And the state of Massachusetts has its own ticking overtime problem as well at State Police and the MBTA, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot warns.

Boston Herald

DOC to cap number of visitors to prisoners

In an effort to clamp down on drug smuggling, the Department of Correction plans to cap the number of visitors that inmates can have at state prisons, but prison advocates say the move will merely weaken family and community bonds and possibly increase recidivism, reports Mark Arsenault at the Globe.

John Nucci is asking for help

He doesn’t like doing it, i.e. asking for help. But it’s literally a matter of life and death for him, as John Nucci, the former city councilor and school committee member now at Suffolk University, seeks a life-saving kidney transplant. Bottom line: He needs a donor. The Globe’s Adrian Walker and the Herald’s Antonio Planas have the details.

Time to reassess T’s town-and-city assessments?

From Dan Atkinson at the Herald: “Officials in area cities and towns say they agree with Boston city councilors that the MBTA’s yearly assessments aren’t buying the service they need, and it’s time to revisit the formula that hauls in millions of dollars from municipal coffers.” Mayor Walsh isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea, reports Laurel Sweet at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Mount Ida and Lasell colleges mull merger amid growing pressures on smaller schools

Tufts University takes over the struggling School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The struggling Wheelock College signs an agreement to merge with Boston University. Now Mount Ida and Lasell colleges are mulling a merger. Yep, you can call it a trend. Max Stendahl at the BBJ and Laura Krantz at the Globe have details on the proposed merger of yet two more small schools struggling to make it on their own.

The Boston Athenaeum’s dark days

The Globe’s Malcom Gay had a big story over the weekend about the turmoil that’s overtaken the venerable Boston Athenaeum, the private Beacon Hill library. We’re talking staff departures, major donors withholding funds and general fury aimed at director Elizabeth Barker as she seeks to modernize the historic institution.

Boston Globe

Strategies for a debt-free workforce: How business and higher education can collaborate to address college affordability

Boston Business Journal

Beyond Standardized Tests: Assessing Learning and School Quality for Student Success

The Massachusetts Consortium of Innovative Education Assessment (MCIEA), the Center for Collaborative Education, and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless Legislative Action Day

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and Representative Jim O’Day

A Board of Directors – Making Your Company More Successful and You a Better Leader

North Shore Technology Council

Grassroots Speaker Series: Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc.

TSNE MissionWorks

Leaders in the Law

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly and New England In-House

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


Harvard’s long march across the Charles River – WGBH

New England Alumni Of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Join Student Movement To End School Shootings – WBUR


Congressional candidates address voters at Haverhill forum – Eagle-Tribune

Parties consider mediation to resolve differences on rest of river cleanup – Berkshire Eagle

Baker seeks to ease transition off welfare – Eagle-Tribune

Interior Dept. promises update on Mashpee land trust in Taunton within 30 days – Patriot Ledger


Senate pivots to stopgap Dreamers’ deal – The Hill

Mueller is gaining steam. Should Trump be worried? – New York Times

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