Special elections, Cannabis Control Commission, safe injection facilities
— Public defenders rally outside district courthouses this morning to demand the same collective bargaining rights as other state employees, Boston Municipal Court on New Chardon Street, Northampton District Court on 15 Gothic Street, and Fall River District Court on 186 South Main Street, starting at 8:15 a.m.
— Voters in parts of Attleboro will head to the polls today to narrow the field to fill the House seat last held by Mayor Paul Heroux, a Democrat from the Second Bristol District seat.
— Rep. Brendan Crighton is poised to be elected to the state Senate today because he’s the only one on the Third Essex District ballot in the election to replace former senator and current Lynn Mayor Tom McGee.
— The Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in four cases, including Chelsea Collaborative vs. Secretary of State Galvin, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Massachusetts Library Association holds a legislative day on Beacon Hill, with events scheduled throughout the day, starting at 9:30 a.m.
— The Cannabis Control Commission meets to review and vote on the final package of regulations that must be submitted to the secretary of state’s office by March 15, Gaming Commission meeting space, 12th Floor, 101 Federal St., Boston, 10 a.m.
— Board of Higher Education meets to hear details of a study on financial aid from researchers at Harvard Graduate School of Education, One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey holds a roundtable with members of ‘ethnic media outlets’ to discuss ongoing efforts to make her office a resource for communities across the state, One Ashburton Place – 20th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— Nam Pham, assistant secretary for business development and international trade, will deliver remarks at a ‘Massachusetts’ Thriving Relationship with the Francophone World’ event, with Mark Sullivan, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investments, moderating, Room 428, 10:30 a.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito participates in the Building Women in Construction Inspire Awards hosted by the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, Seaport Hotel, Lighthouse Ball Room, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, 12 p.m.
— House Federal Initiatives Working Group meets to consider Rep. Mark Cusack’s bill strengthening the state’s anti-SLAPP law and Rep. Josh Cutler’s bill regarding compelled disclosure of information by the news media, Room 350, 1 p.m.
— The Legislature’s Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus, chaired by Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Mary Keefe, and the AIDS Action Committee host a briefing on safe injection facilities as a tool to combat substance use disorder, Room 437, 1 p.m.
— Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern talks on ‘Radio Boston’ about the city’s new Immigrant Legal Defense Fund, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 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.
Here we go again: Another storm headed our way
As coastal areas continue to recover from last week’s nor’easter that roared through the region, another major storm – with the potential of up to a foot of snow in some areas – is headed our way tomorrow. David Epstein reports in separate pieces at WBUR and at the Boston Globe that tomorrow’s weather won’t be as bad as last week’s storm, but it should pack a punch. Wicked Local has more on how coastal areas have barely recovered from last week’s storm and are now bracing for another one tomorrow. The Globe’s Joshua Miller reports that Gov. Charlie Baker “absolutely” plans to seek federal disaster aid for last week’s storm.
Baker and DeLeo: It’s time to develop long-term storm strategies
From the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Gov. Charlie Baker said officials need to find ‘some different answers’ in steeling the state against the type of floods that have twice inundated the shoreline this year, signaling there may be a growing appetite on Beacon Hill to tackle climate change. ‘They’re just going to keep getting hit anytime there’s a big storm. That means we’re going to need some different answers,’ Baker said of areas along the coast. ‘We have a lot of work to do on this one.’” SHNS’s Colin Young and Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that House Speaker Robert DeLeo is also saying the state needs to do more to protect coastal area in the age of climate change.
Highly questionable state hiring: The DOR Connection
When you’re looking for a cyber-security and computer expert for new technology rollouts, who do you hire? If you’re former Massachusetts Tax Commissioner Michael Heffernan (and current state budget chief), you’d turn to your neighbor, friend and past campaign donor with experience as a portfolio manager and securities trader at financial firms. The Globe’s Frank Phillips has the details – including the Baker administration’s denial that one Kristin Lindquist had anything to do with a recent DOR data breach or DOR’s failure to deliver timely child support payments. Btw: She was hired, at $121,000 a year, during a “hiring freeze.”
Highly questionable state hiring: The State Police Connection
Speaking of questionable state hirings, the admitted drug dealer and money launderer who State Police hired as a trooper may end up causing yet another scandal involving tainted criminal-case evidence, according to defense attorneys, as the Herald’s Chris Cassidy reports. Leigha Genduso potentially joining the likes of Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan in the pantheon of bad state hires? Wow. Impressive.
T fare hikes in limbo
Potential MBTA fare hikes seem to be in limbo, somewhere in between off the table and on the table. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The MBTA’s general manager recommended on Monday that fares not be increased on January 1, but two members of the T’s oversight board said they weren’t ready to take hikes off the table yet because of the agency’s fluid budget situation.” One thing appears clear: T parking-lot fee increases seem far more likely in the short-term, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has more on the debate over fare hikes and fees.
Fyi: Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive reports the T didn’t get any bids back for its plan for free late-night bus routes.
Meehan outlines steps to make UMass more affordable
Less than a week after a new report warned of a huge spike in the debt burden among UMass graduates, University of Massachusetts president Martin T. Meehan yesterday vowed to make UMass more affordable, partly by expanding online education programs and strengthening partnerships with business, reports Laura Krantz at the Globe and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. We could be wrong, but the steps he points out sound like they’d barely make a pin prick in the decades-long problem of skyrocketing tuition increases at both public and private colleges.
With power back on, Attleboro voters head to polls
Ahead of the next storm, a blizzard of ballots is in the forecast for today in Attleboro. The city goes to the polls to settle primary elections in both parties ahead of the April general special election to fill the House seat previously held by the city’s current mayor, Paul Heroux. Jim Hand of the Sun Chronicle reports that some polling stations were still in the dark from the last storm as recently as Sunday night, but that all systems are go for voters to cull the field of three Democrats and two Republicans.
Northampton council president will vie for Kocot seat
Ryan O’Donnell, the president of the Northampton City Council, says he’ll run to succeed the late Rep. Peter Kocot in representing the 1st Hampshire District, pledging to mount a progressive campaign in the process, Bera Dunau reports in the Hampshire Gazette. O’Donnell, 38, joins fellow Democrat and current Kocot district director Diana Syznal in announcing for the seat.
Finegold running for old Senate seat that he previously didn’t want
It’s official. From SHNS Matt Murphy at the Lowell Sun: “Four years after losing a Democratic primary for state treasurer to Deborah Goldberg, Andover attorney Barry Finegold is seeking to revive his political career and return to the state Senate where he spent four years before launching his statewide campaign. Finegold announced Monday that he would be running for the Second Essex and Middlesex district Senate seat that he held from 2011 through 2014.” So now voters will get to decide whether he should get a seat that he’s made clear wasn’t good enough for him in the past. He also ran for Congress when he was a state representative. Is there a pattern here?
It’s now safe to say that, yes, Suffolk Construction’s John Fish is a major Dem donor
First he hires state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. Now we learn Suffolk Construction chief executive John Fish has made his biggest-ever one-time campaign contribution, donating $500,000 to Senate Majority PAC, the political action committee seeking to help Democrats win a majority in the U.S. Senate, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.
Are incoming state revenues returning to norm?
After several months of impressive state revenue gains, state tax collections dipped in February, suggesting that previous revenue surges were indeed temporary aberrations, perhaps tied to recent federal tax code changes. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the details.
Retaliation claim leads to $1.6 million payout at DCR
The state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation paid out a $1.6 million settlement last year to a former clerk who said she was retaliated against for filing a sexual harassment claim, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. The quiet settlement with Jeannie Kelley came nearly a decade after she first complained about a supervisor at DCR.
‘The Pope of Beacon Hill’
The Globe’s Kevin Cullen introduces the rest of the world to Michael ‘Mikey’ Henry, one of the friendliest panhandlers around and a fixture on Beacon Hill. Fyi: He’s also known by some as the “Boston Common Tollway Authority” and he usually approaches one MassterList author with a friendly, “Hey, big guy.”
Meanwhile, Lowell struggles to put panhandling on ice
Speaking of panhandling, Lowell is finding out what other cities already know: Curbing panhandling is much easier said than done. The city’s Change for Change effort—which seeks to use modified parking meters to enable donations to support homeless programs—has had a slow launch, with the parking department yet to put the old meters in place, Todd Feathers reports in the Sun. Lowell is one of several Mass. cities to have their attempted bans on panhandling overturned in federal court.
Is saying ‘God bless you’ after a sneeze a sign of Islamophobia?
This is high-grade political red meat that Fox News is throwing at its viewers: “If you’ve ever wished someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ or said ‘God bless you’ when someone sneezes, you’ve committed an act of ‘Islamomisic microaggressions,’ according to college librarians at a Massachusetts college. The Anti-Oppression Library Guide at Simmons College in Boston is a collaborative effort among the school’s librarians, reported CampusReform.org.”
Two things: 1.) Simmons says this is a not a school-sanctioned policy. 2.) The library guide really does point out ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘God bless you’ after a sneeze as potential micro-aggressions.
Angered over non-endorsement, Galvin tells Rivera: ‘I made you mayor’
If Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is to be believed, it seems Secretary of State William Galvin didn’t take kindly to Rivera’s recent endorsement of Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim in the Democratic primary race for secretary of state. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at CommonWealth magazine: “Hours after Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera endorsed Zakim two weeks ago, Galvin called the mayor to voice his displeasure with the decision. The conversation, according to Rivera, devolved into a heated exchange during which both men cursed at one another and Galvin accused Rivera of disloyalty, suggesting that the mayor owed him his political career. ‘Verbatim, he said, ‘I made you mayor.’ You don’t forget words like that,’ Rivera said.” The Herald’s Dan Atkinson and Matt Stout have more.
Baker seeks funds for public-health campaign before retail pot rollout
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “A $5.4 million spending bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker late Friday would set aside $2 million for the Department of Public Health to run a public awareness campaign ahead of the start of retail marijuana sales in July, and make ‘minor amendments’ to recreational and medical marijuana laws.”
State Street Corp. goes on hiring spree … in ‘low-cost locations’
After laying off workers only a few years ago, Boston-based State Street Corp.’s headcount rose by nearly 3,000 employees last year. The only problem: They weren’t hired in Boston. Instead, they were hired “primarily within low-cost locations” outside the area, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.
Kennedy meets with Florida students who escaped last month’s deadly shooting
From Tori Bedford at WGBH: “Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass) met with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of last month’s deadly shooting that killed 17, speaking at the Broward Democratic Party’s annual Obama Roosevelt Legacy Dinner Saturday and offering his support to student activists who are fighting for stricter gun regulations across the country.”
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Finally, an excellent opportunity arose for us to show off our online Morse-code translator prowess – and we couldn’t resist. Ally Jarmanning at WBUR has more on the Red Sox’ bold plan to keep the Morse code tribute to Tom and Jean Yawkey on the Green Monster, while pushing to eliminate the Yawkey Way street name outside the park. She has their bend-themselves-into-pretzels explanation. .. -… ..- .-. .. . -.. .–. .- ..- .-.. .-.-.-
Author Talk and Book Signing with Brooke Barbier
Persuasive Business Writing Workshop
Nature for Water: Exploring Water Challenges in Our Commonwealth
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