DOT-MBTA meeting, Trump in N.H, DiZoglio hits the airwaves
— U.S. Reps. Niki Tsongas and Seth Moulton announce a bill to eliminate funding limitations for the Essex National Heritage Area, 97 Main St., Andover, 9:30 a.m.
— The Joint Ways and Means Committee Education will discuss local aid at the final scheduled public hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s fiscal 2019 budget, Wiggin Auditorium, Peabody City Hall, 24 Lowell Street, Peabody, 10 a.m.
— The MassDOT board of directors and the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board hold a joint meeting, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones hold a leadership meeting, Governor’s Office, Room 360, 2 p.m.
— President Donald Trump travels today to New Hampshire, where he’s expected to talk about the opioids crisis in Manchester, 2:30 p.m.
— Rep. Diana DiZoglio is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
— House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem are keynote speakers at the annual legislative reception co-hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations, with Attorney General Maura Healey, House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, Sen. Eric Lesser and Gov. Baker’s general counsel, Lon Povich, being presented with leadership awards, Great Hall, 3 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Sens. Eileen Donoghue, Vinny deMacedo and Michael Brady and Rep. Colleen Garry and others gather for the ceremonial bill signing of ‘An Act Establishing Regional Commissions on the Status of Women and Girls,’ and declare March 19 ‘Celebrating Women in Public Office Day,’ Room 360, 4:15 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont hosts a nationally-televised town hall focused on inequality in the United States, with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts serving on the panel, Capitol Visitors’ Center Congressional Auditorium in Washington, D.C., and online, 7 p.m.
— Rep. Diana DiZoglio is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ 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.
DeLeo defends his actions in harassment cases
From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo defended the chamber’s use of nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements in the face of blistering criticism from some fellow legislators, saying Friday the agreements are ‘just part of doing business.’ DeLeo, speaking a day after two lawmakers accused him of cloaking years of impropriety with the carefully worded agreements, doubled down on his office’s assertion that none were used to settle sexual harassment complaints.”
The Herald’s Chris Cassidy and MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius have more, as does SHNS’s Katie Lannan at CommonWealth magazine. Lannan digs deeper into the confusing numbers being thrown around by DeLeo and others regarding past cases. WCVB’s On the Record interviewed DeLeo over the weekend about sexual harassment charges at the State House.
The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham praises the House, and DeLeo, for moving forward on what looks like a solid piece of legislation to combat sexual harassment at the State House. But Abraham is wondering whether it will truly change the culture on Beacon Hill – and she wonders what the heck Rep. Pat Haddad was up to during last week’s tumultuous House proceedings.
The ‘gentler and more intimate’ St. Patrick’s Day
As the Globe’s Jeremy Fox notes, Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston appeared to be “gentler and more intimate than the gatherings of many past years,” but there was still plenty of bad jokes and ribbing. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive and SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram have more.
Of course, if you have time, you can always check out the clips at NECN, which broadcast the breakfast live yesterday. Here’s one clip with Elizabeth Warren and another with Attorney General Maura Healey etc. Just keep following the prompts for clips of other pols.
Baker’s shot heard ‘round the world: ‘He’s acting like a Kennedy’
Gov. Charlie Baker looks rather experienced at throwing back a shot of tequila with a lime at the end. You decide (Twitter video). In his story on Baker downing one over the St. Pat’s holiday weekend, Morgan Gstalter at The Hill casually notes, without elaboration, that Baker is the “country’s most popular governor, according to quarterly rankings from Morning Consult.” As City Councilor Michael Flaherty noted at Sunday’s St. Pat’s breakfast in South Boston, Baker’s pounding one is “bad news for Democrats, particularly his gubernatorial challengers from the Democratic side. Because, um, he’s acting like a Kennedy.” The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has more.
Heffernan sure likes his Wellesley and country club pals
Speaking of the governor: The Globe’s Frank Phillips has more on Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget chief Michael Heffernan and how his past tenure as the state’s revenue commissioner was a “bonanza for a half-dozen of his associates, including Wellesley residents, former co-workers, and Wellesley Country Club golfers.” The Baker administration is defending the hiring of so many of Heffernan’s pals at DOR, saying the agency has “attracted highly talented individuals with impressive professional credentials.” Keep in mind: Some of the hirings occurred during an alleged “hiring freeze.”
Moulton among those considering hiring ousted FBI deputy director
U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin are considering hiring Andrew McCabe, the FBI deputy director who was fired by the Trump administration just days before he was to reach his 20-years pension mark. Hiring him would let McCabe qualify for full retirement benefits, the Associated Press is reporting at the Salem News.
A twofer for Moulton: Getting Lamb elected and possibly getting rid of Pelosi
Speaking of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, he isn’t exactly doing victory laps, but he is mighty gratified by Democrat Connor Lamb’s victory last week in the special House election in Pennsylvania, reports Anthony Brooksat WBUR. An added bonus: Lamb, who was supported by Moulton, made clear during the campaign that he wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi as Democratic House leader. The New York Times reports that other Democratic candidates, both centrists and progressives, are distancing themselves from Pelosi on the campaign trail. Did we mention Moulton has been a frequent critic of Pelosi?
New Herald owner take over today, editorial-page editor Rachelle Cohen bids adieu
Dan Kennedy at Media Nation reports that the new owner of the Boston Herald, Digital First Media, officially takes over the Herald today, though it’s still not clear which staff members still have or don’t have jobs. He has a Herald memo outlining last-day procedures under the old owner, Pat Purcell.
He also points to a classy farewell column by Shelly Cohen, the Herald’s long-time editorial-page editor, who expresses confidence the Herald will survive the new downsizing era and recalls fond memories at the Herald, including “fighting a lot of good fights — especially with politicians,” one of whom, Ted Kennedy, ended up becoming a beloved friend.
Fyi: The Herald’s new owners are ending their printing deal with the Boston Globe, the BBJ is reporting.
Origins of Trahan’s gun plan called into question
Things have been relatively quiet out of the crowded race for the 3rd Congressional district seat, but that may be changing. Over the weekend, Chris Lisinski of the Lowell Sun reported that nearly half of a 12-point gun control plan candidate Lori Trahan released in the wake of the Parkland school shooting appears to have been lifted from other sources. Trahan’s campaign did not directly address the apparent lack of attribution in the plan but did acknowledge leaning on the ideas of leading gun-control groups.
Separately, ahead of the next filing deadline for campaign finance reports, Peter Francis of the Eagle-Tribune takes another look at Dan Koh’s impressive 2017 fundraising numbers and finds that the vast majority of the $1.6 million he had stashed away by year’s end came from donors outside the 3rd District.
Baker and Chandler: Hooker stays
The Herald’s Chris Cassidy reports that Gov. Charlie Baker and Senate President Harriette Chandler are among those rejecting Rep. Michelle DuBois’s call to reword the “General Hooker Entrance” sign outside the State House. “As the granddaughter of a Civil War veteran, I don’t believe in removing recognition of veterans from our building simply due to their surnames,” said Chandler.
Needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr and a Herald editorial are taking a blow torch to DuBois’s #MeToo-related rationale for changing the wording of the sign. As we’ve noted last week, DuBois had a good point about the silliness of the sign’s language, but that wasn’t her only point, and it’s those other points that have hurt her argument.
In New Hampshire, Trump to call for death penalty for opioid dealers
He once referred to N.H. as a “drug-infested den” and today President Trump will propose how to deal with some of those pushing illegal opioids in the Granite State and elsewhere: With the death penalty. The Globe’s Matt Viser has the details.
Of course, Trump’s visit is also about politics and the Washington Post, like the Globe did earlier this month, notes Trump arrives in the Granite State at a time when potential GOP presidential candidates are also barnstorming the state. The Post also reports that Vice President Pence plans to “plant the flag in New Hampshire later in the week” at a fundraiser and at a pro-Trump gathering. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Michael Graham is scratching his head over Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s appearance in N.H. a few days ago, wondering if it’s really a winning strategy for Flake to be attacking Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016.
Meanwhile, more evidence of Democrats drifting leftward …
As President Trump tries to fend off potential GOP challenges in NH today, Democratic candidates eying a run for president – including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren – are drifting ever leftward in an attempt to “grab the mantle as the party’s leader,” the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins reports. The latest evidence: Warren will join Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at a televised event this evening in Washington, where Sanders will push his “Medicare for All” single-payer idea that Warren once opposed, Atkins notes.
Healey launches probe of Cambridge Analytica over Trump campaign’s use of Facebook data
From the Associated Press at NECN: “Massachusetts’ attorney general is launching an investigation into the data-analysis firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, which is facing allegations it kept inappropriately obtained user information after telling Facebook the company had deleted it. Maura Healey announced the probe Saturday afternoon. ‘Massachusetts residents deserve answers immediately from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,’ Healey tweeted. ‘We are launching an investigation.’”
SJC to review rule that erased Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction
From the Associated Press at MassLive: “Massachusetts’ high court will consider whether the state should get rid of a centuries-old legal principle that erased Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction after the former New England Patriots tight end killed himself. The Supreme Judicial Court recently announced that it will hear the former NFL star’s case and examine the legal principle under which courts typically dismiss the convictions of defendants who die before their direct appeals can be heard.”
Cash in hand, Berkshire Innovation Center still faces environmental hurdle
The Berkshire Innovation Center, which Gov. Charlie Baker delivered key funding for earlier this month, still faces a final environmental hurdle tied to the site’s past life as a GE manufacturing center, Larry Parnass reports in the Berkshire Eagle. The long-stalled project must still get the Department of Environmental Protection to lift a restriction that currently bans anyone form under the age of 18 from entering the property to avoid exposure to PCBs.
Former Gov. Jane Swift is quite happy in Florida most of the time, thank you
Margie Manning of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, writing at the BBJ, interviews former Gov. Jane Swift about her new gig running Ultimate Medical Academy, a nonprofit health care educational institution in Tampa. Among other things, Swifts says: A.) She will never run for an elected office again, period. B.) She’ll be in Florida about 15 days each month. C.) She likes being in a state with a lot of Republicans. D.) She now refers to herself as being a resident of Burlington, Vermont, where she moved to three years ago to run Middlebury Interactive Languages.
Study says wind jobs would die down after construction is done
The overwhelming majority of some 1,600 jobs that would be created by the proposed Vineyard Wind project would fade away after the construction phase, a study conducted by the University of Massaschusetts at Dartmouth finds. Jennette Barnes of the Standard-Times reports that just 80 jobs would last longer than the two-year construction timeline. Meanwhile, the Globe’s David Abel takes a look at how area fisherman are becoming increasingly concerned about future offshore wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts.
Ahoy there: Steamship Authority acknowledges communication breakdown over stalled ferry
The Steamship Authority is acknowledging it can do a better job communicating with passengers after an engine failure left scores of ferry riders stranded between Martha’s Vineyard and the mainline on Saturday night, George Brennan reports in the Martha’s Vineyard Times. Passengers spent more than five hours without heat while the boat was stalled before it was towed back to the island and many expressed open frustration to reporters once back on land. The ferry in question, the MV Martha’s Vineyard, had only been returned to service in recent weeks following a $17.5 million mid-life refurbishment.
The count is in: Majority of towns and cities have some sort of pot-sales ban
They were so enthusiastic about legalizing marijuana in 2016. But it seems many voters and local leaders have suffered a bad case of NIMBYism following passage of Question 4 – and now a majority of the state’s cities and towns have some sort of ban, permanent or temporary, on pot shops, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, reports Dan Adams and Margeaux Sippell at the Globe.
Well, at least they’re not hypocrites in Northampton, where the city council has given final approval to zoning legislation related to retail marijuana, reports Lucas Ropek at MassLive.
‘It was the curse of Tom Yawkey’
There are a lot of stories out there about last week’s city hearing on whether to drop the Yawkey Way street name in Boston, including Dan Shaughnessy’s piece that focuses on how former Red Sox players Reggie Smith, who is black, and Jim Lonborg, who is white, defended the late Sox owner Tom Yawkey. But it was Steve Buckley’s column at the Herald that left an impression on us, via his interview with Walter C. Carrington, 87, who is black and led a 1959 investigation by the Massachusetts Commission Against into alleged racism by the Sox at the time. Read the column. It’s pretty damning toward Tom Yawkey.
Report: Boston’s sea level could rise by 1.5 feet by 2050
They better make those proposed Boston Harbor seawalls a tad bit higher. Benjamin Swasey at WBUR reports that researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science predict that the sea level in Boston is projected to rise about 1.5 feet (19 inches) over 1992 levels by 2050.
Another dramatic photo of a Masshole in action
Check out the photo over at Universal Hub of a driver who actually parked his car in one of those parking-lot bins where you’re supposed to leave your shopping carts. It did require a certain amount of parking expertise, as UH notes.
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