‘Extreme risk,’ Governor’s Council and more
Note: Due to today’s expected storm, many planned events have been postponed or cancelled. Below are events that were proceeding as of last evening, but please double-check before attending.
— The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs hold a joint hearing featuring testimony on ‘critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals’ and the need to build a ‘cybersecurity eco-system,’ Room B-1, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a meeting to set the agendas for future meetings, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts alumni of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida hold press conference to call on Massachusetts lawmakers to pass an ‘extreme risk protective order’ gun bill, House Members’ Lounge, 10:30 a.m.
— Auditor Suzanne Bump chairs a meeting of the Municipal Finance Oversight Board, Room 230, 11 a.m.
— Governor’s Council holds a confirmation hearing on Gov. Baker’s nomination of attorney Daniel Roache as an associate justice of the Middlesex County Juvenile Court, Council Chamber, 11 a.m.
— Governor’s Council holds its weekly assembly, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.
— Revenue Committee members meet to consider two bills that would allow Salem to impose a local excise tax on short-term rentals and another that would authorize Hopkinton to establish a means-tested senior citizen property tax exemption, Hearing Room B-2, 3 p.m.
— Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel holds a public meeting on Cape Cod to provide federal, state and local elected officials with an opportunity to share their thoughts on the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, Tilden Arts Center, Cape Cod Community College, 6:30 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.
State Police in full crisis mode
Forced retirements of State Police officers tied to TrooperGate (CBS Boston). The highly questionable State Police hiring of a confessed drug dealer (Telegram). A State Police officer’s vile racist rants (Globe). A State Police officer accused of being drunk on the job (WCVB).
Now this, itself a ballooning offshoot of a previous investigation of overtime abuses at State Police: At least twenty State Police troopers (and counting) are facing possible/probable/likely disciplinary action tied to overtime scams. Read all about it at the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald and CommonWealth magazine and MassLive and … you get the picture.
As we noted earlier this month, before the latest State Police revelation: State Police are indeed in crisis. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is pointing the finger at Gov. Charlie Baker and the “culture on Beacon Hill” and he’s urging Attorney General Maura Healey to “jump all over this.” The Herald’s Howie Carr is in State Police-bashing nirvana this morning. The head of the State Police union is blaming the agency rot on the former State Police chief, reports MassLive. Meanwhile, Melissa Hanson at MassLive takes a look at new State Police chief Kerry Gilpin and the one tough job she’s inherited.
Week after rattling House leadership, DiZoglio eyes newly open Senate seat
State Rep. Diana DiZoglio, who’s made headlines for her open challenge to House leadership over the use of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases, said Tuesday she may seek the state Senate being vacated by Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, the Eagle Tribune is reporting.
DiZoglio, a Democrat from Methuen, confirmed her interest in the seat just hours after O’Connor Ives said she would not seek a fourth term in the 1st Essex Senate seat.
Meanwhile, DiZoglio says her elected-office harassers are still lurking at State House
Consider this her possibly parting thought for, and shot at, the House. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at New Boston Post: “Some of the gossip and harassment that preceded Rep. Diana DiZoglio’s termination from her job as a legislative aide seven years ago came from elected officials still serving on Beacon Hill today, the Methuen Democrat said in a television interview.” She made the comments on WGBH’s Greater Boston show (video), but didn’t name names.
Surprise: Donoghue a finalist in process called ‘sham’ by Lowell councilor
To the surprise of literally no one, state Sen. Eileen Donoghue was named one of the three finalists to be interviewed next week by the Lowell City Council for the job of city manager, Rick Sobey reports in the Lowell Sun. At least one councilor feels the planned interviews are a “waste of time” and, since one of the other finalists will have to be flown up from North Carolina for an interview, a waste of money. Councilor Rita Mercier called the council’s process a “charade,” saying it was a foregone conclusion the job will go to Donoghue.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Matt Stout reports that John M. Drinkwater, a top political hand and lobbyist at the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, is so sure Donohue will land the job that he’s already launching a bid for her Senate seat.
Brockton mayor to pot shops: Come on down!
As more communities move to ban recreational pot enterprises, Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter wants marijuana shops to know his city and its downtown are open for their business, Marc Larocque reports in the Enterprise. Noting the city’s schools are under a severe budget crunch, Carpenter said Tuesday that a package of ordinances he sent to the city council would enable the city to “reap millions of dollars of income while still protecting the quality of life for our residents.”
Baker and Healey agree: State’s fentanyl-trafficking law needs fixing
No, they’re not embracing President Trump’s call for the death penalty for some opioid dealers. But Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and law enforcement officials agree that the state’s current fentanyl-trafficking law needs technical tweaking because, as it’s written now, it’s virtually unenforceable, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller.
Meanwhile, Healey is ripping Trump’s proposal to air television commercials warning the public about the dangers of opioid abuse as a “senseless waste of money,” reports Evan Lips at New Boston Post.
Healey: Facebook is cooperating in her Cambridge Analytica probe
On another front, Attorney General Maura Healey said yesterday her office is in “active communication” with Facebook as part of her “open and general” probe of the use of personal Facebook data by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. The NYT has more on a slew of federal and state actions targeting Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
Herald’s Joe Sciacca, Howie Carr etc. staying under new owner
We noticed this on the Herald’s masthead yesterday, but it took the Globe’s Jon Chesto to confirm it: Joe Sciacca will remain, at least for now, as editor of the Boston Herald under its new owner, Digital First Media. Joe’s continued presence at the paper is good news for political junkies who appreciate the Herald’s aggressive State House and City Hall coverage. As the paper’s former long-time political editor, he knows his stuff.
We assume, also, that political writers Joe Battenfeld and Kimberly Atkins are also staying for the time being, based on the fact they’ve had bylined columns since the new owner took over Monday. Ditto Howie Carr, who confirms he’s staying in a feisty exchange with the Globe this morning.
Meanwhile, Dan Kennedy at Media Nation catches the Herald’s new publisher, Kevin Corrado, recycling an old “I am thrilled to join” statement in the Herald yesterday, virtually the same statement he issued when he was named publisher of Digital First’s New England Newspapers Inc. five years ago.
Telegram territory: MassLive.com opening Worcester office as part of digital expansion
Speaking of the media: The digital cousin of the Springfield Republican, MassLive.com, is pushing eastward, opening an office in Worcester, home of the rival Worcester Telegram, as part of MassLive’s overall expansion, reports Ed Kubosiak of MassLive.com at the BBJ, now described as a “sister newspaper” to MassLive Media. Both are owned by Advance Publications, though the BBJ falls within a different Advance unit, i.e. American City Business Journals.
Btw: Western Mass. Politics & Insight was writing just the other day about MassLive’s recent growth.
Poll: Warren leads challengers who, who, and who by 30 points or more
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a lead of at least 30 points over potential GOP challengers, a field of candidates who most voters say they have never heard of, Fred Thys reports at WBUR. The MassINC poll also found Warren with a 53 percent favorable rating overall—and 61 percent among women—but her greatest advantage may be the lack of awareness of her challengers: 72 percent of those surveyed say they’ve never head of Geoff Diehl, 74 percent are unaware of Beth Lindstorm and more than 80 percent could only shrug at the mention of John Kingston.
Jeff Bezos takes a stroll with his Boston Dynamics robotic dog
As Business Insider put it: “Jeff Bezos has a new four-legged friend.” He’s SpotMini, the robotic dog made by Waltham’s Boston Dynamic, and Amazon’s Bezos was strolling with it the other day and even tweeted out a photo of himself and SpotMini. … Is there a hopeful Amazon HQ2 sign here? … Btw: Here’s more on SpotMini, via BD.
Lawmakers rush to pass bill to prevent huge premium spikes for retired teachers
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ: “House and Senate leaders said Tuesday they will try to quickly pass a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker, perhaps as soon as this week, in an effort to avoid steep health insurance premium spikes for nearly 1,000 retired teachers and elderly government retirees.” The legislation calls for merging retired teachers from one pool to another within the health plans overseen by the Group Insurance Commission. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more.
Cats versus dogs, nurses versus hospitals, etc.
Speaking of health care: The Globe’s Priyanaka Dayal McCluskey takes a look at what’s at stake in the ballot-question battle between a powerful nurses union and powerful hospitals. The Supreme Judicial Court plans to review whether the nurses-staffing issue will remain on the fall ballot. Assuming it does, this is good cheat-sheet summary of the contentious issues involved.
Making it official: Gardner Museum security chief running for secretary of state as a Republican
He previously said he would do it – and now he’s doing it: Anthony Amore, a Swampscott Republican who works as the security director at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, is launching a run for secretary of state, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. He’s the only Republican to declare for the office so far.
Baker to campaign for GOP candidate in special House race
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to make a campaign stop in Attleboro in the next two weeks to boost Republican candidate Julie Hall’s bid for the House in a special election to fill the seat previously held by Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux. Baker last week endorsed Hall, an Attleboro city councilor and Air Force veteran, in her race against Democrat Jim Hawkins, a retired Attleboro high school teacher.
Parkland shooting-survivor students to lawmakers: You work for us
Student survivors of the Florida school shooting were at Harvard yesterday and they had a message for members of Congress and local legislators on gun control: You work for us. Laura Colarusso at WGBH has the details.
Allen strikes again: The WWII ship in which the five Sullivan brothers perished has been found
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen made news earlier this month when a team he’s backing discovered the World War II wreck of the Quincy-built USS Lexington. His latest discovery, as reported by the Washington Post: The USS Juneau, the ship in which the five Sullivan brothers of Iowa served, and died on, during the war.
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