Governor’s Council, Mitch McConnell at Harvard, Dem candidates forum
— Rep. James Cantwell serves his last day in the House, after announcing that he’s resigning to work as state director for U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will speak at the Mayors’ Association monthly meeting, Martignetti’s Companies, 500 John Hancock Road, Taunton, 10:20 a.m.
— The Clean Energy Caucus, which is chaired by Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose and which has nearly two dozen members, holds its inaugural briefing, with speakers from Massachusetts General Hospital, the American Lung Association and the Harvard University Center of the Environment expected to attend, Room 348, 10:30 a.m.
— Mayor Marty Walsh offers remarks at the new food pantry ribbon cutting at Rosie’s Place, Rosie’s Place, 889 Harrison Ave., Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— Senate Democrats hold a private caucus, Senate President Chandler’s office, 11 a.m.
— Governor’s Council holds a confirmation hearing on Gov. Baker’s nomination of attorney Joella Fortier as clerk-magistrate of the Orange District Court, 11 a.m., followed by a regular meeting chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.
— Health Policy Commission meets for a hearing on setting the health care cost growth benchmark — a target for the rate of growth in total health care spending — for 2019, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 12:00 p.m.
— Special Senate Committee on Net Neutrality and Consumer Protection holds a media availability on its new report and proposed legislation, Room A-1, 1:30 p.m.
— U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will visit Harvard University’s Kennedy School for a discussion about the upcoming Senate elections, his political observations and his autobiography, ‘The Long Game,’ Kennedy School, Cambridge, 4:15 p.m.
— The three Democrats running for governor — Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie and Setti Warren — are scheduled to participate in a candidates forum at Northampton High School, 380 Elm St., Northampton, 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.
Cyber-attacks: Are people paying attention to what just happened in Atlanta?
As experts recently gathered in Cambridge to review cyber threats to the nation’s election systems, as the Globe’s Michael Levenson reports, something very ominous has been unfolding in Atlanta, where the “municipal government has been brought to its knees since Thursday morning by a ransomware attack — one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever mounted against a major American city.” It’s scary stuff. The experts are not exaggerating the threat, folks.
Despite cost concerns, Lottery moving its HQ from Braintree to Boston
The Massachusetts Lottery plans to move its headquarters from Braintree to Boston, near the JFK/UMass Station in Dorchester. But union officials are objecting to the move, questioning whether uprooting about 140 employees is worth the cost. SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the BBJ and the Globe’s Matt Stout have more on the controversial move that entails a 10-year lease totaling $15.2 million.
State Senator Brady: DUI and DAW
State Sen. Michael Brady of Brockton was charged with drunk driving over the weekend. So how bombed was he alleged to have been? He was given multiple sobriety tests by a police officer, including being asked to recite the alphabet. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the BBJ: “Brady, according to the (police) report, slurred the letters together to get to H, I, J and then repeated H, I, J before stating ‘Z.’” He also reportedly told police that he had been drinking at a “work event” before he was pulled over early Saturday morning, making it, we suppose, a drunk-at-work controversy too, though we suspect he might have been referring to an open-bar fundraiser.
Of course, he also handed the police officer a Massachusetts identification card “and stated he was a state senator,” as Joshua Miller writes at the Globe, citing police reports.
Springfield mayor orders all-out crackdown on sanctuary church
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno wants city agencies to crack down on a local church that has been providing sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant, calling for tougher inspections on grounds the church is violating local housing ordinances and seeking a review of the church’s tax-exempt status, Owen Boss reports in the Herald. A local advocacy group said on Monday that a Peruvian woman facing deportation and her two children would seek sanctuary at the South Congregational United Church of Christ.
The aggressive moves drew heavy flack locally, including from one city councilor who said he has taken to referring to Sarno as “mayor Trump” because of his vocal opposition to sanctuary policies and illegal immigration, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive.
Baker: RMV wait times will return to ‘new normal’ in a few weeks
The lines were still long yesterday for motorists trying to get new “REAL” driver’s licenses at Registry of Motor Vehicle branches, but Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday that he expects the hours-long waits to dwindle to more normal wait times over the next few weeks. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro have more on the rollout of the new federally-required REAL license program.
Wellesley College’s experiment with ideological diversity not going so well
From Annie Linskey at the Globe: “The founder and director of Wellesley College’s controversial Freedom Project, a program backed by the Charles Koch Foundation, is stepping aside amid an outcry from college alumnae uncomfortable with the libertarian billionaire Koch exerting influence on campus. … The shake-up occurred after the Globe outlined how Wellesley’s Freedom Project was pitched to conservative donors as a way to break through perceived liberal dogma on American campuses.”
It’s official: Sen. Donoghue to become Lowell’s city manager
From Rick Sobey at the Lowell Sun: “Eileen Donoghue will be Lowell’s next city manager. The state senator, lawyer and former Lowell mayor was unanimously chosen by the City Council after she and two other finalists were interviewed by the nine members Tuesday evening. She will be the city’s first female city manager. Donoghue was the clear favorite from the beginning of the process when City Manager Kevin Murphy last month announced his retirement.”
Now the fun part starts: The scramble for her Senate seat. But there’s a hitch, as SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports: “Whether there will be a special election to fill her Senate seat depends on the timing of her resignation. Senate Rule 5C states a special election shall be scheduled within 20 days after the vacancy occurs with the exception of any vacancy that occurs after April 1 in an even-numbered year. April 1 is this upcoming Sunday. The current city manager, former Rep. Kevin Murphy, is retiring on Sunday, April 1.” Got that?
State Police and MassPort reach logical payroll agreement eight years after the fact
Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? From Matt Stout and Matt Rocheleau at the Globe: “State Police troopers who patrol Logan International Airport, the Seaport, and other Massachusetts Port Authority properties will now be paid directly by the beleaguered law enforcement agency under a newly hatched agreement spurred by officials’ failure to disclose years of payroll records for the unit.” And years of probable/likely/alleged overtime abuses, it should be added.
The Herald’s Howie Carr says it’s time for state leaders to start thinking in terms of actual arrests of state troopers, not just suspensions and retirements on full pensions.
Mitt now says he’s ‘more of a hawk on immigration’ than Trump and thinks DACA kids should be sent packing
After ripping into President Trump’s vulgar comments about immigrants from “shithole countries” in January, Mitt Romney, who’s running for U. S. Senate in Utah, is now saying on the campaign trail he’s “more of a hawk on immigration than even” Trump and thinks “DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.” Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell, citing a report from the Daily Herald, has more on our ever shape-changing former governor.
Amherst: Farewell, Town Meeting
Local government is about to get a major makeover in Amherst, where voters Tuesday backed a charter revamp that eliminates representative town meeting in favor of a 13-member town council. Nearly 30 percent of voters cast a ballot in the contentious election, Scott Merzbach and Dusty Christensen report at the Hampshire Gazette.
Not everyone was in a charter-approving move Tuesday, however. Voters at a special town meeting in Tyngsboro said ‘no thanks’ to what would be the town’s first charter, a move municipal leaders said would help the community better handle its ongoing growth spurt. Amaris Castillo has the details at the Lowell Sun.
Moscaritolo says he’s not leaving soon, but tourism board is looking to the future
The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has been interviewing candidates for a new chief operating officer who would be heir apparent to long-time tourism chief Pat Moscaritolo, the popular head of the private industry group for nearly three decades. The board is also trying to find new revenue sources that would “reduce its reliance on the ever-changing funding streams from the State House,” reports Jon Chesto at the Globe.
Healey and Galvin blast Trump’s administration’s citizenship question in 2020 Census
Attorney General Maura Healey said yesterday she will be joining a lawsuit seeking to block the Trump administration’s decision to ask people if they’re U.S. citizens in the 2020 U.S. Census, saying the move “will result in an undercount of the population and threaten federal funding for our state and cities,” reports Meghan Kelly and Benjamin Swasey at WBUR. Meanwhile Secretary of State William Galvin said he has “no doubt that the Trump Administration is adding this question to try to suppress responses and diminish the count in states with large immigrant populations, like Massachusetts.”
Amazon’s jobs-for-tax-breaks record not so stellar in Stoughton
After the city of Boston recently approved up to $10 million in tax breaks in exchange for Amazon’s pledge to bring thousands of jobs to Seaport, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan decided to take a look at a similar pledge Amazon made to Stoughton. It’s not going so well. Ryan has the details.
Former Gov. Patrick to give commencement address at Bentley
From Bentley University: “Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will deliver the keynote address at Bentley University’s 99th undergraduate commencement ceremony this May. Patrick, who spoke at the inauguration of Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson in 2008, will return to campus for what will be one of Larson’s final events at the university before she steps down in June.”
Boston lifts suspension on driverless-car tests
The Herald’s Jordan Graham reports that Boston officials have lifted a weeklong suspension of driverless-car tests enacted after the autonomous-vehicle tragedy in Arizona, saying they’re confident in the strict safety measures that have been imposed on the test programs.
State education board to Trump: No, we’re not arming school teachers
President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers may have support in some quarters, but the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education isn’t one of them. The board on Tuesday unanimously passed a non-binding resolution rejecting the arming of teachers as dangerous and a distraction from teachers’ core mission, Carrie Jung reports at WBUR. The board took the rare step in part because it hopes to encourage other states to follow suit.
DA and cops to students: You will be arrested for social-media threats
Reacting to a recent rash of unfounded threats against Hampden County schools, law enforcement and political leaders have had it and issued a blunt warning yesterday: “We are putting people in handcuffs and we are taking them out of schools,” Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni. “Don’t do it, don’t do it,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “You will be found, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.” George Graham at MassLive has more. It’s not just happening in Hampden County.
The Eagle Tribune reports that a 17-year-old Andover High School student has been arrested and charged with posting a threatening message on Snapchat that included photos of assault rifles.
Burning question of the day: So why didn’t the adult governor show up for a march by and for teens?
The Globe’s Shirley Leung is once again asking why our moderate governor, Charlie Baker, didn’t attend a largely liberal-backed/inspired political march in Boston. This time it’s over Baker’s decision not to attend this past weekend’s March for Our Lives, which, we were told, was supposed to be by and for outraged teens. On the other side of the political punditry divide, the Herald’s Michael Graham outlines, indirectly, why many non-liberals may not have wanted to go to this past weekend’s march.
Attention party-hearty types: Careful before you snort that cocaine
Martha Bebinger at WBUR reports that college students and 50-somethings trying to recapture their youth at parties had better think twice before rolling up that dollar bill: The cocaine they think they’re snorting might actually be laced with fentanyl – and people are overdosing and dying. It’s a major concern, as Bebinger explains in a story on what’s now being called the “fentanyl-cocaine crisis.”
John Hancock Insurance moving back to Back Bay, but not to the landmark formerly known as the Hancock Tower
Last decade, John Hancock moved its headquarters to Seaport from the Back Bay – and its old landmark home, the Hancock Tower, has since changed hands and its name. Now John Hancock is returning to the Back Bay, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ, but it won’t be moving back to what’s now called 200 Clarendon. So, alas, we’re still stuck with the drab 200 Clarendon name. Greg has more.
Aid-in-dying bill sent to the legislative graveyard again
From SHNS’s Colin A. Young at the Telegram: “For at least the fifth consecutive legislative session, bills that would open the door to doctors prescribing lethal doses for terminally ill patients were dropped from consideration by the Public Health Committee. Bills (H 1194/S 1225) that would have legalized medical aid in dying — sometimes referred to as doctor-assisted suicide or death with dignity — filed by Rep. Louis Kafka and Sen. Barbara L’Italien were sent to study by the Joint Committee on Public Health, effectively spelling the end of the issue for this session.”
From potential casino to four-season water park, Palmer has big plans for site
This is interesting. From CBS Boston: “The town of Palmer has been trying to develop a good sized piece of land for years, and now they’re getting close to announcing a deal. It could mean jobs and tax dollars, but could also bring crowds and cars. It would be an indoor-outdoor, 4 season water park that would bring in millions of tax dollars and create hundreds of jobs, and the location could draw people from across the region.”
In Charlton, too much of a good solar thing?
The central Mass. town of Charlton may press pause on new solar farms amid concerns the installations—which are helping to fill town coffers—are making the town less aesthetically pleasing. So far, 20 solar farms have been built and five more are in permitting stages, with the town looking at nearly $1 million in annual revenue from them by 2020. Debbie LaPlaca reports in the Telegram that a temporary moratorium, which would give the town time to draft new regulations, could go before voters in May.
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