Happening Today

Cannabis Commission, House session, ‘Termeer Square’

Boston Opportunity Agenda releases its 7th annual report card looking at key indicators of educational readiness and attainment for all schools in Boston, Rabb Hall at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., 9:30 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission resumes its meetings on proposed regulations of the state’s future retail marijuana industry, Room B-2, 10 a.m.

— Assistant Senate Majority Leader Pat Jehlen, Elder Affairs Committee House chair Danielle Gregoire and Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities vice chair Aaron Vega are scheduled to speak at the home care workforce lobby day, Grand Staircase, State House, 10 a.m.

Coalition of Homeless Individuals hosts its annual advocacy event, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m.

Senate Democrats meet in a private caucus, Senate President’s office, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds a confirmation hearing on Gov. Baker’s nomination of attorney Tejal Mehta as an associate justice of the Concord District Court, Council Chamber, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds a regular weekly meeting, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.

House Democrats meet in a closed-door caucus before roll call votes during the day’s formal session, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 12:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Rep. Shaunna O’Connell and members of the Department of Veterans Services present a citation to Homes For Our Troops for the completion of their 250th custom home, Great Hall, 1 p.m.

— The House meets in a formal session with plans to take up a health care confidentiality bill that the Senate passed earlier this month, House Chamber, with recorded votes set for 2 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern and local business leaders gather for a tribute to Henri A. Termeer, renaming the North Plaza in Cambridge’s Kendall Square as Termeer Square to honor the former Genzyme chief executive, Genzyme Center, 500 Kendall Street, Cambridge, 4 p.m.

— National pollster Scott Rasmussen talks on ‘Nightside’ about trends in 2018, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 9 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

Lowell goes through motion of searching for new city manager before hiring Sen. Donoghue

Her days in the Senate appear numbered. From Todd Feathers at the Lowell Sun: “She was never mentioned by name, but state Sen. Eileen Donoghue loomed large over Tuesday’s City Council discussion about how to select the next city manager. Donoghue has expressed her interest in the job in private phone calls and conversations with city councilors over the past week and appears to be a strong front-runner to succeed Kevin Murphy when he steps down in April. While no councilor has publicly endorsed her, she is in a strong enough position that Councilor Rita Mercier suggested the council end the ‘charade’ of a search process and offer the job to Donoghue.”

Lowell Sun

To avert medical marijuana shortages, commission orders retailers to maintain weed reserves

Kind of like a blood bank? From SHNS’s Colin A. Young at MassLive: “Hoping to assuage fears that medical marijuana patients could find their medicine in short supply when dispensaries begin selling to the newly-legal retail market, state pot regulators on Tuesday agreed to a policy that will require dispensaries to hold some marijuana aside for medical patients.”

MassLive

Hundreds pay respect as Rep. Kocot laid to rest

It was a sad day in Northampton yesterday, as dignitaries from across the state, including Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, paid their respects at the funeral of Rep. Peter Kocot. MassLive has both a story and video of the funeral services. Separately, MassLive also has a lot of photos from Northampton.

MassLive

Confirmed: Amazon to hire at least 2,000 employees in Boston

Last month’s news that Amazon was looking to lease one million square feet of office space was the first indication that the tech giant had big plans for Boston. Now we have more details, via Mayor Marty Walsh: Amazon may hire at least 2,000 employees – perhaps as many as 4,000 by 2025 – for its new space in Boston’s Seaport, according to reports by the Globe’s Tim Logan, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and Kelly O’Brien and the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo. Note: The jobs are not tied to Amazon’s plans for a second North American headquarters, a decision Amazon hasn’t reached yet, Walsh stresses.

Are State Police in a leadership crisis?

The Globe, in an editorial, says the recent staff “restructuring” move at the Massachusetts State Police sure looks like a “leadership and institutional crisis at the agency,” tied to the recent TrooperGate controversy and the highly questionable hiring of State Trooper Leigha Genduso, an admitted drug dealer and money launderer. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr continues to pound away at State Police, saying the unfolding drama is starting to resemble scenes from ‘The Departed.”

Andrea Campbell on criminal justice reform and who she’d call to change a flat tire

Lisa Weidenfeld at Boston Magazine has a fun and informative Q&A interview with new Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, who talks about why she’s so devoted to criminal justice reform, what it’s like being the first African-American woman to head the council and how Councilor Tim McCarthy would be her go-to-person if she had a flat tire that needed changing.

Boston Magazine

Feds and utilities reject environmental group’s claim of price rigging

From SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “Federal regulators and a major utility on Tuesday refuted claims an environmental group made last summer that suggested New England energy prices were jacked up because of the behavior of two companies. … Researchers commissioned by Eversource said the paper ‘failed to account for the basic principles underlying Eversource’s obligation to its customers’ and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission determined the study was ‘flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.’”

SHNS (pay wall)

Democrat challenging ex-Dem Rep. Goldstein-Rose in Third Hampshire

As they say, it’s easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. From Diane Lederman at MassLive: “Stressing the importance of being a Democrat, Eric Nakajima has made it official – pulling nominations papers to run for the Third Hampshire District seat currently held by Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose. Earlier this month, Goldstein-Rose announced that he was leaving the Democratic party to become unenrolled.” Nakajima, chairman of the Amherst Regional School Committee, finished second to Goldstein-Rose in the six-way Democratic primary race in 2016.

MassLive

Worcester has invested $54K in PawSox pursuit, including $525 per hour lawyers

The city of Worcester has spent more than $54,000 on consultants—including a $525-an-hour attorney—on its efforts to woo the Pawtucket Red Sox, Melissa Hanson reports at MassLive, citing public records. Most of the money has gone to two high-profile consultants: UMass economic Andrew Zimbalist, who bills at $225 an hour, and former Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan, whose law firm bills the city $525 for his time. 

MassLive

Millennium is dead serious about that seemingly crazy gondola idea

Rather than retreat in the face of ridicule, Millennium Partners and Cargo Ventures are pushing ahead with designs for a private gondola “whisking thousands of commuters over the traffic-clogged South Boston Waterfront,” reports Jon Chesto at the Globe. If anything, they now believe the gondola idea is more feasilbe than originally thought. All we can say is: Good for them. It may or may not be a sound idea. But at least they’re dreaming – and a gondola would indeed look pretty cool.

Boston Globe

Sessions — and Lowell — target opioid companies

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday that the Justice Department is setting up a new task force that will target companies that make, market and distribute opioids to determine if they’ve contribute to the opioid epidemic, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, the city of Lowell is poised to join the growing number of local towns and cities suing prescription opioid manufacturers over their role in the opioid crisis, reports Todd Feathers at the Lowell Sun.

‘House members can now spend taxpayer funds on bulletproof vests’

Will average Americans get taxpayer-funded bullet proof vests too? Doubt it. From the Washington Post: “A House panel on Tuesday voted to expand the range of permissible uses of public funds for lawmakers’ security — making clear, among other things, that members can be reimbursed by taxpayers if they purchase bulletproof vests for themselves.” Btw: We’re talking U.S. House here, not the Mass. House.

Washington Post

Anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in Mass. and across the nation

The number of anti-Semitic incidents and hate groups have risen over the past year across the United State, including in Massachusetts, coinciding with President Donald Trump’s first year in office, according to two watchdog groups, reports Meghan Irons at the Globe. In Massachusetts, there was a 42 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents last year over 2016. Globe columnist Michael Cohen has no doubt Trump is to blame. 

Boston Globe

The empire strikes again: Partners now in merger talks with R.I.’s largest hospital system

Fresh off its approved takeover of Massachusetts Eye & Ear, you-know-who strikes again. From Max Stendahl of the BBJ: “Lifespan, the largest hospital system in Rhode Island, says it has joined merger discussions between another health system in the state and Boston-based Partners HealthCare. Lifespan, Partners and Care New England issued a joint announcement on Tuesday, saying they would ‘begin formal discussions to explore how all three health care providers might work together to strengthen patient care delivery in Rhode Island.’”

BBJ

Stay calm: House harassment report due tomorrow

Don’t panic, Beacon Hill. Names will not be named (we believe). From Matt Stout at the Herald: “Beacon Hill is poised to plunge back into the sexual harassment spotlight tomorrow, when House attorneys release a raft of recommendations to improve the chamber’s harassment policies in what one lawmaker called the ‘most comprehensive’ dive he’s seen in decades.”

Boston Herald

Point-Counterpoint: Janus v. AFSCME, good or bad?

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Steven Tolman, head of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, co-author a Globe op-ed blasting the “pernicious assault on public sector workers” via the Janus v. AFSCME case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby says good-riddance to a past legal ruling that allowed public unions to collect dues from non-union employees.

SJC says school districts protected from negligence in bullying

The family of a Lynn boy who was paralyzed after being pushed down the stairs by a fellow student cannot sue the school district for monetary damages even though school officials failed to protect the victim, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled. The ruling gives school districts cover under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, John Ellement and Danny McDonald report in the Globe. 

Boston Globe

Sanctuary state compromise: Breakthrough or continued stalemate?

Massachusetts police-chief groups yesterday officially endorsed what they unofficially endorsed last week: A compromise on Rep. Juana Matias and Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s legislation that would effectively make Massachusetts a sort of ‘sanctuary state’ for immigrants, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy and the Globe’s Akilah Johnson report. But the compromise is still opposed by Gov. Charlie Baker and by many rank-and-file lawmakers who want nothing to do with a ‘sanctuary state’ bill in an election year. Matias and Eldridge are urging Baker, who has his own immigration-law enforcement bill, and others to come to the bargaining table.

All glory is fleeting: Massachusetts loses top state ranking

The shame! From Dialynn Dwyer at Boston.com: “Bragging rights for living in the best state in the U.S. no longer belong to Bay State residents. Massachusetts, which was named the top state in the country last by U.S. News and World Report, has dropped down in the rankings for 2018 to No. 8.” The state was dragged down by its poor rankings for infrastructure and fiscal stability.

Who can we blame for this unmitigated disaster? Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren is pointing the finger at Gov. Charlie Baker.

Boston.com

Pressure builds to dump the Wynn Boston Harbor name

From Jordan Graham at the Herald: “Explosive new allegations — including rape — against toppled casino mogul Steve Wynn come as the state Gaming Commission has been flooded with unsolicited calls to drop the magnate’s name from the $2.4 billion Everett gambling palace. Two new accusers have come forward, including one who told authorities Wynn raped her at least three times in the early 1970s, The Associated Press reported.”

Boston Herald

Trump victory sparked Manchester woman’s challenge for Hill’s House seat

After delving into political activism in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Allison Gustavson will make it official by launching a bid to unseat Republican Brad Hill in the 4th Essex District, Joann Mackenzie reports in the Gloucester Times. Gustavson, who founded a local chapter of Indivisible last year, makes it clear she plans to hit Hill on his right-leaning policies, calling out his A rating from the National Rifle Association. 

Gloucester Times

Mashpee selectman offers financial support for gun-march students

Mashpee Selectman Andrew Gottlieb says he’ll offer political advice and even financial support to local students looking to join the nationwide march in support of gun control legislation scheduled for next month. Tanner Stening of the Cape Cod Times reports that Gottlieb urged students wanting to attend who cannot afford transportation to Boston to reach out to him for help with fundraising.

Cape Cod Times

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

The European Conference 2018

European Clubs of the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the European Affairs Society at The Fletcher School

Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education White Paper Release

Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education

2018 MIT Latin American Conference

MIT Sloan Latin American Business Club

Nahant Reads Together: Caleb’s Crossing, a town-wide read of one book to encourage dialog about current issues

Town of Nahant

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Wynn resort name under fire amid new sex claims – Boston Herald

Commuter rail every 15 minutes? That’s one group’s vision – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Charlie Baker and the Boston Teamsters – Wall Street Journal

Timilty announces Senate re-election bid – Patriot Ledger

State appeals court upholds newspaper delivery ruling – Cape Cod Times

UMass, Amherst prep to prevent Blarney Blowout problems – Hampshire Gazette

Swampscott principal’s leave came after receiving ‘hurtful’ messages – Lynn Item

Nation

Kushner’s security level downgraded – New York Times

Justice Department seeks reimbursement from manufacturers, distributors for opioid crisis – The Hill

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