SJC hearings, MBTA budget, Baker in D.C., ‘State of the University’
— The Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in five cases, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Conference committee on capital needs bond bill meets with Reps. Jeffrey Sanchez, Patricia Haddad, and David Vieira and and Sens. Karen Spilka, John Keenan, and Donald Humason serving on the committee, Room 243, 9 a.m.
— Jay Gonzalez, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, appears on the Boston Herald Radio’s ‘Morning Meeting,’ Boston Herald Radio, 9:30 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker travels to Washington D.C. in the morning to participate in the International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Conference, Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 10:15 a.m.
— The advocacy group Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts holds its public higher education advocacy day, Great Hall, 10:45 a.m.
— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board will meet to discuss the proposed fiscal 2019 budget, Transportation Board Room, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— The Consumer Protection Committee hears bills that would grant Tyngsborough, Westport and Wareham additional liquor licenses above their quotas, B-2, 12:30 p.m.
— After returning from Washington D.C., Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones, Senate President’s Office, Room 332, 2 p.m.
— University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan holds the second annual ‘State of the University’ address, with Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Harriette Chandler and House Speaker Robert DeLeo expected to attend, One Beacon St. – 32nd floor, Boston, 5 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.
‘Storm to remember’
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reports that nearly 70,000 customers were still without power this morning following last Friday’s nor’easter storm that roared through the region. That’s down from about 400,000 outages at the peak of the storm, mostly in coastal areas. … Tragically, there were deaths over the weekend. The Patriot Ledger reports on one of them in Plymouth. … In Brockton, it’s a mess, reports the Enterprise. … On the Cape, residents and officials struggle to carry on, the Cape Cod Times reports. … Coastal commuter rail service will face likely delays today, reports the Globe. … The Cape Cod Times has a list of coastal school closings. … The Patriot Ledge has a photo slide show of the events of the past few days. … NECN has a bunch of storm-related video reports. … Universal Hub has a ton of storm-related photos too. … Gov. Charlie Baker, who declared a state of emergency over the weekend and called out the National Guard (WBUR), was yesterday trying to assess the overall extent of damage, reports MassLive.
Not doing enough?
Here’s some national perspective on the storm in Boston, via the Washington Post’s Darryl Fears, and whether Boston is doing enough to prepare for future mega-storms tied to climate change. Fears writes that city officials are among those “seriously considering” building a barrier in the mouth of Boston Harbor to protect the city. We’re not sure how serious they really are about the idea, but …
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Dylan McGuinness reports on a couple dozen people who yesterday protested outside the Aquarium MBTA stop, calling on the city to do a better job protecting residents from climate change.
Globe has had it with ‘faddish’ and ‘moral purity’ opponents of natural-gas pipelines
In a hard-hitting editorial, the Boston Globe is going after opponents of natural-gas pipelines – naming Attorney General Maura Healey and state Sens. Marc Pacheco and Jamie Eldridge, in particular – for putting the state in a position of relying on LNG imports from Russia, filthy oil-generated electricity during winter peak months and now, potentially, the hazardous transportation of LNG over local rail lines. “The counterproductive results of the state’s experiment with moral purity are becoming painfully clear. It shouldn’t take a gas train rolling through town to convince legislators that they’re steering the state onto the wrong track.”
Moulton to stay neutral in Capuano-Pressley showdown, saying he won’t be a ‘hypocrite’
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who knocked off long-time incumbent John Tierney in the 2014 Sixth House race, says he won’t be endorsing anyone in what’s shaping up to be one of most watched primary races in the state this year, i.e. U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano vs. City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “I remember when I took on a sitting incumbent, all the other members of the delegation got behind the sitting incumbent,” he tells CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl. “So I think I would be a hypocrite if I were to do that based on my own experience. So I’m going to stay out of it. It’s good to have people stepping up who want to run.”
Is it possible that the State Police controversies will actually stick to Baker?
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that all the recent State Police controversies – and he has the tally – has put Gov. Charlie Baker in a “politically perilous position” as he gears up for re-election. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr, acting as a sort of tag team with Battenfeld, focuses on Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito posing for photos with fellow Shrewsbury resident Leigha Genduso, the admitted drug dealer and money launderer who ended up becoming a state trooper. Somehow, Howie got hold of Polito on her cell phone number and proceeded to grill her.
Transgender Swampscott principal now on indefinite leave as parents push for her ouster
This story is trending in a troubling direction for Swampscott elementary school principal Shannon Daniels, who came out as transgender last month and who is now on an indefinite leave of absence amid a surge of pressure from parents to replace her, Gayla Cawley reports in the Lynn Item. Cawley and the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert report that the school committee received a petition from parents declaring a ‘lack of confidence’ in Daniels’ leadership, citing issues that predate last month’s headline-grabbing revelation.
‘The week of wild policymaking’
The NYT’s Peter Baker has a good piece on the ‘week of wild policymaking’ at the White House last week, as President Trump veered from one stance to the next on gun control and announced import tariffs and other measures that used to be anathema to the Republican party. But here’s the thing: Republicans, by and large, are standing by their “ideological shape-shifter” because they want to win. Especially in Texas, where candidates in one race are falling all over themselves to show who loves Trump the most, reports the AP at the Herald.
Btw: The Herald, in an editorial, is ripping into the president’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. The Globe’s Evan Horowitz says the tariffs are relatively small in scope, but they could turn out to be disastrous if trading partners retaliate – and that’s exactly what they’re threatening.
DA races attracting their share of crusading liberals
District attorney races are usually somewhat tame affairs, but not this year, not when so many are pushing for criminal justice reform and the ACLU is waging an all-out campaign to expose what it considers to be excessive powers wielded by prosecutors. So DA races across the state this year seem to be attracting more liberal candidates than usual, reports the Globe’s Maria Cramer.
Berkshire DA lets cat out of bag: He’s retiring early to help his underling win
Speaking of district attorneys: As CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas notes, we know this goes on, but rarely is it openly admitted: A politician retiring early so a pal/ally/fellow party member can get appointed to a post and then run as an incumbent. In the case of Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless, he’s made clear he’s retiring 10 months before his term ends so his handpicked successor, First Assistant District Attorney Paul Caccaviello, could run for a full four-year term this fall as an incumbent – and Gov. Charlie Baker is complicit in the “behind-the-scenes hand-off,” Jonas writes.
Assistant DA is the latest to run for Rep. Kulik’s seat
Of course, not all assistant district attorneys pine and scheme to run for the top prosecutorial job in their office. From Mary Serezze at MassLive: “A fifth Democrat has declared her intention to run for the Massachusetts House 1st Franklin District seat held by Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, who is not seeking reelection. Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Swihart announced her candidacy on Friday. …. Swihart says she is a ‘progressive Democrat’ who ‘sees the results of this community’s poverty every day.’”
FBI director to speak at BC on cybersecurity
Seeing how much the FBI is in the news these days over all things Russia, expect a cadre of national and local reporters to cover this event for any sign of further Trump-FBI friction. From the Associate Press at US News & World Report: “FBI Director Christopher Wray is coming to Massachusetts to discuss cyber threats and challenges. Wray will be the keynote speaker Wednesday at the second annual Boston Conference on Cyber Security at Boston College.”
Boston’s Fasten gets undone after Russia buyout
There’s always a Russian connection: Boston-based ride-hailing startup Fasten has halted operations in the city after it was acquired by Russia-based Vezet Group, Lucia Maffei reports in BostInno. The company had grown to about 30 Boston workers and last month moved into a new Back Bay office to accommodate its growth.
Meehan to emphasize affordability in ‘State of U’ speech
Just days after a report called out a huge spike in the debt burden among UMass graduates, system President Marty Meehan plans to emphasize affordability in his annual State of the University speech on Monday, Samantha Gross reports in the Lowell Sun. Amid a modest 1 percent budget increase in Gov. Baker’s spending proposal for the next fiscal year, Meehan will highlight ways students can trim the costs of their education such as through online courses or via partnerships with the state’s community colleges.
‘The marijuana lobby is growing like weeds’
Marijuana companies spent just over $1 million last year on lobbying efforts in Massachusetts, more three times the amount spent two years ago by mostly medical marijuana-related lobbyists, reports Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune. Wade provides the names of companies (many of them out-of-state firms) and their local lobbyists – and the amounts they’re individually spending.
Warren’s cherished consumer protection agency: Death by a thousand cuts
The Globe’s Liz Goodwin takes a look at how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who fought hard to create a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is virtually powerless as a Trump appointee sets about defanging the agency – and taunting her in the process. Fyi: The U.S. Senate is preparing to scale back other sweeping banking regulations passed after the 2008 financial crisis – and they’re getting help from some swing-state Democrats, the Washington Post reports. Once again, Warren is on the defensive on this one.
Others may not see it, but GOP challengers are convinced Warren is vulnerable
The Globe’s Victoria McGrane takes a look at how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appears to be a formidable incumbent as she gears up for re-election this year. But the three Republicans jockeying to challenge her are convinced she’s more vulnerable than people think. They have a point about the polls, but then you look at the $14 million that Warren has stashed away and … it’s going to be an uphill fight for them. Btw: McGrane also had a piece over the weekend about how Warren and other female pols and candidates – including Maura Healey, Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu – have been energized by the rise of Donald Trump.
Bill Weld: Our consistently – or is it usually? – quirky former governor
The Globe’s Frank Phillips has fun with the lawsuit filed a few weeks ago by former Gov. Bill Weld, seeking to overturn the state’s winner-take-all presidential electoral system, and how it’s part of a long pattern of quirkiness exhibited by Weld. Whether he’s been “consistently” or “usually” quirky is open to linguistic debate.
Raising a ‘red flag’ on gun purchases before it’s too late
Rep. Marjorie Decker is pushing legislation on Beacon Hill that would allow family members or law enforcement officials to raise a “red flag” about someone who “poses a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others” and to petition a judge to prevent them from buying or possessing guns. I.e. The bill is aimed at the mentally unhinged – our description, not Decker’s. The AP at the Eagle Tribune has more.
Herald’s new owner: ‘They will milk it’
After we ran a post last week on how Boston Herald staffers will start learning this week whether they’ll be keeping their jobs, someone sent in this American Prospect article by Hildy Zenger on the paper’s new owner, Digital First Media, and its track record after taking over papers. It’s grim reading for those who care about the future of the Herald.
The cost of those Senate promotions …
There’s more to all those Senate promotions announced last week by Senate President Harriette Chandler than mere title changes. The promotions are a “paycheck bonanza” for senators, reports Herald’s Hillary Chabot, who has all the paycheck details.
Senate votes to close UMass-Boston building insurance loophole
We missed this story late last week. From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the BBJ: “The University of Massachusetts lacks the authority to insure buildings that are owned by the state and used by the school, adding to the cost of rebuilding after disaster strikes. The Senate took a step towards changing that Thursday, passing a bill (S 2308) that would allow the university officials to make sure that all of its buildings are covered by insurance.”
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