Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Senate housing bill, Sox opening game

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation holds a press conference to announce its participation in the US Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage Lender Program, with U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern and Niki Tsongas and others expected to attend, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, 9 a.m.

— State Auditor Suzanne Bump travels to Washington D.C. to participate in the Government Accountability Office’s Domestic Working Group meeting, GAO Headquarters, Washington D.C., 9 a.m.

— The Massachusetts State Retirement Board meets, MSRB Headquarters, One Winter Street, 8th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets with an agenda that includes the Wynn Boston Harbor quarterly report, the Region A Gaming School, the Finger Lakes racing request and the Executive Director’s performance review, 101 Federal St., 12th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey, Quincy Mayor Tom Koch and others will announce the results of a report commissioned by her office on competitive electricity supply for residential customers in Massachusetts, AG’s office, One Ashburton Place, 20th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Massachusetts Vietnam War Veterans Day 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony with Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Urena and Adjutant General Gary Keefe, with Reps. Harold Naughton and Joseph McGonagle also scheduled to attend, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Green Hill Park, 50 Skyline Dr., Worcester, 11 a.m.

Ascentria Care Alliance holds a legislative briefing featuring speakers from the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Room 428, 11 a.m.

— The Senate holds a formal session and is expected to take up a Ways and Means Committee redraft of a housing bond bill that’s already cleared the House, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

— Sen. Pat Jehlen and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier host ‘Not on the Menu,’ a look at sexual assault and harassment in the restaurant industry, House Members Lounge, 1:15 p.m.

— The Boston Red Sox take the field for the team’s opening game of the 2018 season, led by new manager Alex Cora, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg, FL, 4 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

Northern Pass gets no pass. State now going with Maine clean-energy project

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Massachusetts shifted gears on its multi-billion-dollar clean energy procurement Wednesday, dropping Northern Pass because of the project’s failure to obtain one last, key permit from the state of New Hampshire and opting instead for a Maine utility that has yet to obtain any of its key permits.” SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local has more on the state’s back-up Maine plan.


Sen. Brady checks into alcohol rehab; details of prior ‘lot of beers’ car crash emerge

Brockton state Sen. Michael Brady, arrested over the weekend for drunk driving, has admitted himself to an alcohol treatment program, but he vows he’ll be back at work in a week, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Setting aside the issue over whether a week in rehab is enough, Marc Larocque at the Brockton Enterprise got hold of a 1998 police report of a prior incident involving Brady. It isn’t pretty. While driving a vehicle, he reportedly “slammed through a utility pole at a ‘high rate of speed,’ and admitted to drinking ‘a lot of beers’ at a Quincy bar before the crash.” The Herald’s Howie Carr is showing no mercy toward Brady.

The final insult: Rosenberg to face primary challenge

She obviously senses an opening here, following Stan’s fall from power in the Massachusetts Senate. From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Massachusetts Sen. Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, appears likely to face a challenger this fall. Chelsea Sunday Kline, a Northampton resident and Democratic activist, on Wednesday said she is running for the state Senate seat that Rosenberg has held since 1991. ‘I’m running for Senate to be a voice for Western Massachusetts and a champion of working families, local businesses, and marginalized communities,” Kline said in a statement.” M.J. Tidwell at the Daily Hampshire Gazette has more.

Btw: In her announcement, Kline made no mention of the sexual-harassment controversy swirling around the former Senate president’s husband.


‘Rascal ghost of politics past,’ RIP

The Globe’s Frank Phillips makes an interesting connection to the 85-yeard-old man who suffered a gruesome death earlier this month in Andover, i.e. by burning himself up while using his oxygen machine. He was none other than Nick Rizzo, a ‘rascal ghost of politics past,’ a true rogue’s rogue who served time in federal prison for campaign fraud – and who may have dashed then-U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas’s presidential hopes. Phillips has the details.

Boston Globe

Sanctuary pastor is ‘afraid for the soul’ of Springfield Mayor Sarno

Rev. Tom Gerstenlauer, the pastor of a Springfield church that’s harboring an immigrant family and that’s now the target of a city crackdown, says he’s “afraid for the soul” of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has ordered city departments to inspect the church property, seek out any code violations and begin challenging the church’s tax-exempt status, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive.


Hodgson rallies U.S. sheriffs to pressure Congress on wall funding

He’s at it again. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is rallying fellow sheriffs around the country to pressure Congress to secure the nation’s borders via a wall and crack down on illegal immigration, Curt Brown reports at the Standard-Times. A spokesman says Hodgson, who made waves immediately after Donald Trump’s election by offering to send prisoners to help build the border wall, oversaw the work of reaching out to scores of sheriffs and law enforcement organizations.

South Coast Today

Kopechne family hopes movie helps find truth about Chappaquiddick

Here we go. With the ‘Chappaquiddick’ movie opening in just a few days, People magazine’s Liz McNeil talks to members of Mary Jo Kopechne’s family and find they are hopeful that the film’s arrival will advance a search for the truth of what really happened on Martha’s Vineyard almost 49 years. For their part, the Kennedy family says that the movie is heavily fictionalized and that late Sen. Edward Kennedy confessed to his role in Kopechne’s death—and the emotional burden he carried as a result—in his own memoir. 


Is it possible the Herald’s new owner is worse than Gordon Gekko?

Bloomberg View’s Joe Nocera, the former business columnist at the New York Times, absolutely demolishes the new owner of the Boston Herald, Digital First Media, itself owned by Alden Global Capital, started by “vulture investor” Randall Smith, a sort of Gordon Gekko of ‘Wall Street’ movie fame, and run by Heath Freeman, a sort of Bud Fox protégé to Smith’s Gordon Gekko. And they seem to be bleeding their newspapers especially dry to prop up Alden’s other bad investments, Nocera writes, citing a recent lawsuit filing. Poor Boston Herald. It deserved better.


Harvard law professor: Repealing Second Amendment is a dangerous and dumb idea

Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, thinks the kids have it right and retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens has it wrong: Effective gun-control measures must be achieved by respecting the Second Amendment, not by repealing it. In an op-ed at the Washington Post, he makes a good case that a campaign to repeal the right to own guns will only galvanize the NRA and pro-gun types and actually harm gun-control efforts at state levels, even if a repeal effort is successful.

Washington Post

Heavily armed Texas couple nabbed with outlawed bump stock and may have been eyeing ‘March for Our Lives’

Speaking of gun control, we missed this story yesterday from the Herald’s Dan Atkinson: “State police are investigating a Texas couple with a hoard of high-powered weapons — including an AR-15 with a grenade launcher and bump stock — after Tewksbury police raised suspicions they were staking out the March For Our Lives last weekend.” Whether the pair was truly scouting out local March for Our Lives events is conjecture at this point. But what isn’t conjecture is that the two were arrested on one of the nation’s first bump stock violations, reports Kristin LaFratta at MassLive.

State Police now face a turf war with BPD

The BPD and others see a weakened foe and can’t resist. From Hillary Chabot at the Herald: “The relentless deluge of Massachusetts State Police scandals has revived a law enforcement turf war along Boston’s waterfront — with a Hub pol saying Boston cops should get shared oversight of the busy Seaport District in light of the trooper misconduct allegations.”

Boston Herald

Setti Warren calls for independent probe of scandal-plagued State Police

Speaking of the State Police, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren says enough is enough: It’s time to appoint an independent commission to investigate the slew of scandals that have hit the embattled State Police, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. It’s a good idea – and a commission should go much further by exploring and making recommendations on possible extensive reforms at State Police.


Sean Spicer to lend his star power to Geoff Diehl’s campaign

Technically, the Sean Spicer Show isn’t coming to Boston, for it’s already here, via a Harvard fellowship. This is a new episode involving former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who plans to help raise money for Republican Geoff Diehl’s U.S. Senate campaign. Shannon Young at MassLive has the details.


Feds seize equipment from two pirate radio stations

From David Harris at the BBJ: “Federal authorities seized radio transmission equipment from two Boston radio stations earlier this week they say had been operating without a license. According to court documents unsealed on Wednesday, one station called ‘Big City’ broadcasted at times on 100.3 FM, 105.3 FM, and 101.3 FM, from Dorchester, with a studio in Roxbury. The other, called ‘B87.7 FM,’ operated on 87.7 FM from Dorchester. Authorities say both were operating without a license from the Federal Communications Commission, despite multiple warnings to the operators.”


Under pressure from lawmakers, MEFA severs ties with group supporting Trump’s student-loan policies

From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth Magazine: “A Massachusetts state agency in charge of making student loans found itself under fire on Wednesday for belonging to a national association that supports a move by the Trump administration to preempt state laws that protect student borrowers from unscrupulous practices by lenders and loan servicing firms. The (Massachusetts Educational Financing Agency) played down the suggestion that it contributed in any significant way to the effort by the national group, but announced that it was nonetheless ending its membership in the organization.”


Feds probing DOC’s opioid treatment policies for inmates

Do prison officials understand that there’s an actual chemical component to addiction? Anyway, from Felice Fryer: “The US Department of Justice is investigating whether Massachusetts prison officials are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing incoming inmates who had been taking medications for addiction to stop the drugs once behind bars. US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling revealed the investigation in a letter that was received by state health and public safety officials late Tuesday.”

Boston Globe

State’s ‘supermax’ prison cited for health violations

Speaking of state prisons, from Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “The state’s maximum security prison has been cited for hundreds of health code violations including filthy walls and toilets, discolored and scalding hot water in bathrooms, and a lack of ventilation in prisoners’ cells. Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, a Supermax prison that holds some of the state’s most dangerous inmates, was cited for more than 500 violations during a visit earlier this month by the state Department of Public Health.”

Daily News

Senators tangle with Internet providers over net neutrality

No neutrality here. The SHNS’s Colin Young at CommonWealth magazine has the details on a testy exchange between lawmakers and Internet provider representatives during a hearing yesterday on a Senate bill intended to promote net neutrality.

SHNS (pay wall)

Healey: Electricity supplier to pay $5M for bogus marketing claims

From the Globe’s Katheleen Conti: “An electricity supplier will pay $5 million to settle claims of deceptive marketing and sales tactics that resulted in consumers being overcharged, according to state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. In addition to the settlement payout announced Wednesday, Viridian Energy LLC of Norwalk, Conn., agreed it would not market its electricity supply door-to-door in Massachusetts for the next two years.”

Boston Globe

Health care watchdog outlines $4.7B in potential savings

From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “The state’s health care watchdog said Massachusetts can lower health care spending by $4.7 billion over five years — and outlined a series of policy changes to bring that about. The Health Policy Commission discussed ways to save money as part of a discussion of the health care benchmark, a spending goal set annually to reduce health care spending growth in the state.”


Ex-union chief sues Worcester transit authority over free speech violation

The former head of the union representing bus drivers at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority is suing the agency, saying he was fired because he talked to a Telemundo reporter about looming service cuts, Cyrus Moulton reports in the Telegram. The lawsuit alleges that a policy at the agency that forbids employees from speaking to the news media without authorization is a violation of free-speech rights.


Is Japan’s Takeda about to become king of the Boston biotech sector?

Takeda, the Japanese drugmaker that already employs 2,200 people in Massachusetts, could become a true local giant if it proceeds with a potential takeover of Shire PLC, which employees 3,000 in the state, reports the BBJ’s Max Stendahl, citing media stories that say Takeda is seriously considering a bid for Shire. If a deal ever goes through, it would represent a significant consolidation of the Massachusetts biotech sector, Stendahl writes.


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Science Shaping Our World-SHOW

Think Different: Class and Politics in Puritan Massachusetts

Partnership of Historic Bostons

MWPC Political Action Committee Kickoff Fundraiser

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus

Plunge into Politics

AmeriCorps Alums Boston

Politics and Pandemics: Exploring Global Health

United Nations Association of Greater Boston

Author Talk and Book Signing with Amber Moulton

State Library of Massachusetts

Immigrants’ Day at the State House 2018

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

The Rule of (Online) Law: Cybersecurity and Management in the Digital Age

Joshua Weissman LaFrance

Candidating with Beej Das, Rufus Gifford, Barbara L’Italien, Juana Matias, Keith R. St. John, and Lori Trahan

Carlisle Rising to Action

Today’s Headlines


Feds move to shut radio station operating out of abandoned Blue Hill Ave. theater – Universal Hub

Boston’s first medical pot shop looks to go recreational – WGBH


Staples lays off 177 after few months under new owner – Worcester Business Journal

Lawsuit charges Vineyard home used for porn – Cape Cod Times

Gov.Charlie Baker signs off on Lynn’s $14M loan – Lynn Item

US investigating treatment of addicted prisoners in Mass. – Boston Globe


Trump lawyer broached idea of pardons for Flynn and Manafort – New York Times

Scalise comeback fuels speakership talk – Politico

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