Happening Today

Criminal-justice compromise, Reebok HQ opening, March Madness in Boston

Nicola Benyahia, who son Rasheed was recruited by ISIS as a teen and later died, delivers the keynote address to a conference of more than 150 law enforcement professionals and educators presented by UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, 9:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III visits Child and Family Services Inc., 66 Troy St., Fall River, 9:30 a.m. — Gov. Charlie Baker holds a cabinet meeting at the State House, Room 360, 10 a.m.

— A reception is planned to celebrate the work of Massachusetts College of Art and Design students, who have conceptually redesigned their town seals to reflect their contemporary identity, Room 428, 11:30 a.m.

— Rep. Claire Cronin and Sen. William Brownsberger, the lead conferees on criminal justice reform, plan to file the House-Senate compromise criminal-justice bill with the Senate clerk, with Sens. Cynthia Creem and Bruce Tarr and Reps. Ronald Mariano and Sheila Harrington also participating, Senate Clerk’s Office, 11:30 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh offers welcoming remarks at the Reebok headquarters grand opening, 25 Drydock Ave., Boston, 11:30 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump is the featured speaker at a business and economic luncheon hosted by Sen. Marc Pacheco, 58 Grove St., Middleboro, 12 p.m. 

 — Attorney General Maura Healey makes her regular ‘Ask the AG’ appearance on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver and others celebrate the latest round of funding awards to cities and towns through the Complete Streets Program Grants, 45 Pauline Street, Winthrop, 1 p.m.

March Madness comes to Boston as Villanova and West Virginia, and then Purdue and Texas Tech, square off in a NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship East Regional games, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, starting at 7:27 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

So when is she going to start?

Senate President Harriette Chandler and Senate President-elect Karen Spilka met the media yesterday and they said all the right things about the need for a smooth and respectful transition etc. But there’s only one problem: There doesn’t seem to be consensus on when the transition should take place. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive have more. Fyi: Bruce Mohl notes how Spilka seems to have followed the ‘Rosenberg playbook’ in her rise to Senate power. He has the details.

About that hard-to-miss ‘27,000’ Globe editorial on gun control …

The Globe is once again giving free rein to its opinion-page editors and writers, this morning wrapping the entire front section of the print edition in a “special report from Globe Opinion,” with the hard-to-miss “27,000” number emblazoned at the top, i.e. the 27,000 lives the Globe says could be saved if other states adopted the strict gun-control laws that now exist in Massachusetts. The design approach isn’t as striking on the front of the Globe’s web page, but it’s still positioned in an in-your-face way.

A number of thoughts: 1.) If you support gun control, you’ll love this package. 2.) If you don’t support gun control, you won’t. 3.) This editorial won’t make a damn bit of difference in Wyoming. 4.) It’s bordering on being a vanity project. Wait. Scratch that. It is a vanity project at this point. 5.) You wouldn’t have seen this heavy-handed editorializing ten years ago (and hundreds of thousands of subscribers ago).

OK, as you can probably tell, we’re old school when it comes to separating the news and editorial pages at newspapers. Then again, we sling around the opinions ourselves and the Globe needs to find something that will get people to buy newspapers, i.e. desperate times call for desperate measures. So … let ‘em editorialize away.

Boston’s March for Our Lives this weekend …

Speaking of gun control, Hayley Glatter at Boston Magazine has a good round-up piece about what to expect locally and nationally tomorrow with all the scheduled “March for Our Lives” anti-gun rallies by students (and a more than a few adults, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Springfield).

Boston Magazine

Monitoring social-media posts to spot the next mass shooter …

Definitely check out this WBUR story by Lynn Jolicoeur and Lisa Mullins about: A.) The physical security in place at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School and B.) How schools like Shawsheen are now spending thousands of dollars to monitor social-media posts to detect potential threats against schools. The times they are a changin’, folks.


Florida shooting changes the company-town dynamic for Smith & Wesson and Springfield

One last gun-related post: Has the Parkland shooting changed how Springfield feels about Smith & Wesson? That’s the question Todd Frankel of the Washington Post seeks to answer after the company—a major employer in the city since the 1850s—saw one its own weapons used in the Florida school rampage. If nothing else, Frankel reports, the latest shooting and the surge of student activism that followed have caused many to rethink how they feel about the company’s presence in the city. 

Washington Post

Poll shows Baker with commanding lead, so far

It’s a lead even U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren could envy: Gov. Charlie Baker leads his closest Democratic challenger by 34 points, according to a WBUR poll that shows the governor maintaining sky-high favorability ratings with voters. Baker enjoys a 66 percent favorable rating and leads Setti Warren by 34 points, Bob Massie by 37 points and Jay Gonzalez by 39 points, Anthony Brooks reports. 


Will anything ever stick to Charlie?

Speaking of the governor, the Globe’s Shirley Leung is wondering when something will stick to “our wonk in shining armor,” aka Charlie Baker, who’s had a bad week, fending off questions about DOR patronage hires and yet more scandals at the State Police, both in addition to a recent state data breach, a bond downgrade, a $100,000 bathroom, etc. She obviously didn’t have room to mention past DCR shenanigans, botched GIC and vehicle-inspection rollouts, etc.

Boston Globe

Chandler on trooper overtime scams: ‘They’re crimes’

Speaking of the State Police, from Evan Lips at New Boston Post: “Senate President Harriette Chandler is going where Governor Charlie Baker has yet to tread regarding an explosive Massachusetts State Police report accusing more than 20 state troopers of doctoring their overtime filings to haul in paychecks for work they never did. ‘They’re crimes, and it’s something that I assume that the proper authorities will deal with,’ the Worcester Democrat told Jim Braude and Margery Eagan during an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday.”

Btw: Yet another problem at State Police, via the Globe: “State Police dispatcher under investigation after alleged posts about fatal crash.” 

New Boston Post

So what the heck went wrong with the feds’ City Hall extortion case?

One thing is clear: Mayor Marty Walsh is smiling this morning, after a federal judge yesterday, as expected, dismissed the federal extortion case against two top City Hall officials accused of illegally strong-arming music festival organizers to employ union workers, as the Herald’s Laurel Sweet and Brian Dowling report.

Now the question is: How badly did the fed prosecutors screw up this case? The Globe’s Maria Cramer and Milton Valencia take a look at what went wrong. The Globe’s Scot Lehigh thinks the case was a Laurel-and-Hardy stretch from the start.  

Judge asks for slap on the wrist for his affair with courthouse employee

From Bob McGovern at the Herald: “An embattled western Massachusetts judge will fight for his job in front of the state’s highest court next month after admitting that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a courthouse employee. Judge Thomas Estes, previously the presiding judge at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, admitted in a filing with the Supreme Judicial Court that he had numerous sexual encounters with former specialty court clinician Tammy Cagle in his chambers and at her home.”

So what’s his attorney asking for? A four-month suspension without pay, an apology letter and “other sanctions.” But he’d get to keep his job. We’re not sure this is going to pass muster in the #MeToo era.

Boston Herald

McGovern draws a GOP challenger who wants term limits

A Millville businessman says he’ll run as a Republican in a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who has held the 2nd Congressional District office representing the central part of the state since 1997, M.J. Tidwell reports in the Hampshire Gazette. Kevin Powers says he’ll run on a platform that includes capping the number of terms members of Congress can serve.  


Holyoke asks Auditor Bump to review books

The Holyoke City Council voted to ask state Auditor Suzanne Bump to review the city’s finances, capping a wild few weeks that started with the city’s own auditor resigning last month, Mike Plaisance reports at MassLive. The city—whose school system spent three years in state receivership as a result of financial and performance woes—only recently managed to balance its budget, meaning taxpayers are seeing larger-than-usual combined tax bills. 


Trump’s China tariffs are going to cost Massachusetts

President Trump’s announcement yesterday that he’s slapping new tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese goods will likely end up costing consumers more money here and elsewhere across the nation, reports Jeff Jeffrey at the BBJ. The story is accompanied by an interactive map that shows Massachusetts imports from China amounted to $4.5 billion last year. And now China is hitting back with its own tariffs on U.S. exports, reports the NYT. It’s only going to get worse.


‘The Storm Hype Industrial Complex’

At the start of his piece, the Globe’s Mark Arsenault has a field day poking fun of yesterday’s “fake storm” and the “Storm Hype Industrial Complex” and the “four’easter’ that never materialized. But then he gets down to serious business: Restaurants lost a lot of business yesterday and many restaurateurs are fed up with wall-to-wall pre-storm media hype that they say costs them business.

Boston Globe

‘Time for the media to be taken to task for storm fear-mongering’

We could have rolled this item into the previous post, but we wanted to give Bob Luz, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, free rein to bash away at the media (read: TV stations) after this past week’s much-hyped non-storm storm. “It is time for the media to be taken to task for storm fear-mongering,” he writes at the BBJ, calling modern storm coverage “big business” for media outlets and bad business for everyone else. “The media frenzy around snow is out of control.”

We know that forecasters can get it wrong. But they were largely unapologetic yesterday on TV, still issuing dire warnings as less than an inch of snow fell on the area yesterday morning. It was pathetic.


Mass. employers to share in $150M cut in workers’ compensation rates

Here’s some good non-storm news for businesses. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Berkshire Eagle: “The insurance industry last year sought an 11.1 percent cut in workers’ compensation rates, but a settlement that was announced on Thursday calls for an average 12.9 percent reduction that officials say will save employers $150 million.” Attorney General Maura Healey made the announcement yesterday.

Berkshire Eagle

Happy birthday to you. Happy legal fundraiser for you …

This is one way to pay off expensive legal bills. From Milton Valencia at the Globe: “Cue the balloons, candles, cake . . . and checks to pay off the bills? Felix D. Arroyo, register of probate for Suffolk County and a former city councilor, is throwing himself a 70th birthday bash and asking for $70 to attend — to help lessen his tab against ‘my unjust suspension last year.’” And he was indeed unjustly suspended, so crowd-fund away, we say.

Boston Globe

Report: Three out of four Bay State firms haven’t taken steps yet to prepare for new equal-pay law

Cape Air owner and former state Sen. Dan Wolf is prepared for the state’s new Equal Pay Act, set to go into effect on July 1. But the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that three out of four Bay State businesses haven’t taken the necessary steps to comply with the law, based on estimates from Michael Mankes, managing partner of employment-law specialist Littler Mendelson PC’s Boston office. Ryan has the details.


Galvin endorses automatic voter registration, urges passage this year

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin on Thursday endorsed a bill to implement automatic voter registration and stressed the importance of passing it this year. Galvin, the state’s top elections official, said his office will need time to implement the change, in order for people to be automatically enrolled to vote in time for the 2020 presidential election.”


CCN’s Jake Tapper to give UMass commencement address

The Fox News-watching alum of UMass are not going to like this one: CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper will be the commencement speaker at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on May 11, the university announced yesterday. Western Mass News’s Ryan Trowbridge has the details.

Western Mass News

House approves Airbnb regs and taxes, Senate passes civic lessons and financial literacy

Both of these actions were expected but need to be noted: First, the House yesterday did indeed pass legislation to regulate and tax the short-term rental industry, though Gov. Charlie Baker and the Senate have their own similar Airbnb-related bills, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at CommonWealth magazine. Second, the Senate OK’d two bills that require that civics education and financial literacy be taught in schools, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall).

After four overdose deaths in 12 hours, Lowell issues warning on a ‘lethal batch’ of opiates

The death penalty may not be the answer. But something’s got to be done about these low-life dealers putting poison on the streets. From WBUR: “The Lowell Fire Department on Thursday warned of what appears to be “a lethal batch of opiates” in the area, after four fatal overdoses in 12 hours. In a release posted to Facebook and Twitter, Chief Jeffrey Winward said the department believes the overdoses resulted from ‘a mix of heroin-fentanyl and cocaine-fentanyl.’ He’s warning users to be extra vigilant.”


Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who talks with host Jon Keller about the just-passed federal spending bill, the impact of tariffs on the state economy and primary election challenge.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.  

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: The NBC 10 Boston weather team discusses the changing climate in New England.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: ‘Women in the Publishing Space,’ with Herself360 co-founders Renée Greene and Cathie Briggette and other guests.

March For Our Lives Boston

March For Our Lives Boston

Fun in the Tropics at Franklin Park Zoo

Franklin Park Zoo

2018 Investment Conference

HBS Investment Club

Senator Ed Markey Town Hall at Boston College

College Democrats of Boston College

Gun Sense Activist’s Toolbox Event

Boston Metro Moms Demand Action

Women on the Rise: On Intersectional Leadership in Boston

YW Boston

Today’s Headlines


Report shows jump in students living in private Dorchester housing – Dorchester Reporter

A case is dismissed, and the cloud that loomed over Walsh dissolves – Boston Globe


Mass. lawmakers split in their support for omnibus spending bill – MassLive

Attleboro mayor against giving up his hiring authority – Sun Chronicle

Charter campaigns in Amherst raise $28K – Hampshire Gazette

Art expert files last-minute amicus brief in Berkshire Museum case – Berkshire Eagle

Mechanical issues plague Woods Hole ferry – Martha’s Vineyard Times


Bolton pick underscores Trump’s foreign policy confusion – Politico

Congress passes $1.3 trillion spending bill, averting a shutdown – New York Times

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