MLK commemoration, Senate criminal-justice vote, Bryer at Tufts
— University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees‘ Committee on Administration and Finance meets, with representatives from the Joiner Institute at UMass Boston holding a pre-meeting ‘stand out’ to advocate for full funding of the institute, UMass Club, One Beacon Street, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Progressive Massachusetts holds a lobby day to advocate for the bills on its legislative agenda, with Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Rep. Mary Keefe, Rahsaan Hall of the American Civil Liberties Union and others expected to speak, Room 437, 9:30 a.m.
— Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition holds its 22nd annual Immigrants Day event, Great Hall, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and others gather for a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., State House front steps, 10:30 a.m.
— Legislative briefing on college access and affordability, with Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos E. Santiago and event sponsor Rep. Patricia Haddad attending, along with others, House Members Lounge, 3rd floor, State House, 10:30 a.m.
— The Senate meets in formal session to vote on the landmark criminal justice legislation, among other bills, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— The House meets in formal session with plans to take up Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill to finance municipal road and bridge improvements; session proceedings will start with a remembrance of the late Rep. Peter Kocot, who died in February, House chamber, 11 a.m.
— Amber Moulton, author of ‘The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts,’ gives the State Library’s monthly author talk, Room 341, 12 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. William Keating presents a Prisoner-of-War Medal to Onset resident Bradford Holmes, a World War II U.S. Army veteran who was captured during the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 17, 1944, Wareham Town Hall, Memorial Room, 54 Marion Rd., Wareham, 2 p.m.
— Special edition of ‘Radio Boston’ focuses on the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, with guests including author Joseph Rosenbloom, UNH professor Jason Sokol and former WBZ-TV journalist Sarah-Ann Shaw, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, Comptroller Thomas Shack and Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office, 3239 Main St., Barnstable, 3:30 p.m.
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer visits Tufts University for what’s been described as a discussion on hate speech and other constitutional matters, Cohen Auditorium, Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford, 6 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.
Pure Pandering Paranoia Alert: Trump plans to send National Guard to Mexican border
We briefly thought this must be a joke, a belated April Fool’s prank. It isn’t. From the NYT: “The White House said Tuesday night that President Trump planned to deploy the National Guard to the southern border to confront what it called a growing threat of illegal immigrants, drugs and crime from Central America after the president for the third consecutive day warned about the looming dangers of unchecked immigration.”
Any Trump supporters willing to defend this? We’d love to hear from you. Rep. Diehl? … Now on to local political and public policy news.
Democrat Hawkins upsets Hall in Attleboro representative race
In what is being described as a major local upset, Jim Hawkins, a first-time candidate and retired teacher and businessman, defeated City Councilor Julie Hall in the special election to replace former Rep. Paul Heroux, now mayor of Attleboro, reports Jim Hand at the Sun-Chronicle.
The final tally saw Hawkins, a Democrat, with 3,927 votes and Hall, a Republican, with 3,633 votes, for a 52-48 percent margin of victory.
Baker proposes mandatory ‘energy scores’ before homes could be sold
Pay attention, owners of older homes. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday proposed the creation of an easy-to-understand home energy score that could provide guidance for owners seeking to improve the energy efficiency of their residences and insight for buyers as they decide whether to make a purchase.” The score would be required for future home sales starting in 2021.
Environmentalists like the proposal, but the head of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board is warning that owners of older, draftier homes could take a hit on property values. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more.
Sanctuary church to Springfield inspectors: Get a warrant
They’re fighting City Hall – and so far they’re winning. From Peter Goonan at MassLive: “South Congregational Church, which is providing sanctuary for a Peruvian woman facing deportation, will not permit the city to inspect the site unless it obtains a court warrant, officials said Tuesday. Both Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Tara Parrish, a lead organizer of the sanctuary, said the church is denying entry to city inspectors without a warrant.”
Swampscott spares onetime summer White House from wrecking ball, for now
Calvin Coolidge’s ‘summer White House’ won’t fall to the wrecking ball just yet. The Swampscott Historical Commission voted Tuesday to delay demolition of the building for nine months, citing the waterfront structure’s significant historical ties to the former president, Gayla Cawley reports in the Lynn Item. The developers, who had floated a plan to raze the building and replicate its historic features as part of a larger plan to build multi-million-dollar condos, say the delay casts some doubt on how that plan will unfold.
Koh’s campaign finance problem: Too much money from wired Boston developers?
This doesn’t look good for a candidate trying to prove his local chops in Lowell. The Globe’s Frank Phillips reports on the inordinate amount of donations from wired Boston City Hall developers (and their relatives and friends) to Dan Koh’s Third Congressional District campaign fund. Did we mention Koh used to work for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh?
Fyi: Phillips notes that other district candidates are also raising big bucks, much of it from out-of-district donors. Still …
Fyi II: In the Seventh District race, the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports that U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano raised more funds than Democratic primary rival Ayanna Presley in the first quarter. True, but it wasn’t that much more money. Pressley’s number, $364,000, is impressive for a challenger.
MBTA gives Red-Blue subway connector a fresh look
It’s only a study, but it’s encouraging. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is launching a study examining the costs and benefits of connecting the Red and Blue lines, a project it shelved years ago but that has found new life through Boston’s bid for Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters.”
Meanwhile, New Bedford-Fall River rail line gets the go-ahead
Though Gov. Charlie Baker has previously boasted that this project would get done, this is still big news: Matthew Beaton, the state’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, has given a thumbs up to the South Coast rail project that would one day phase in rail service from Boston to New Bedford and Fall River, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine.
Worcester resident hits Alex Jones with $1M lawsuit for erroneously fingering him as Florida shooter
A Worcester resident who says conspiracy theorist Alex Jones identified him as the Parkland school shooter has sued Jones and his InfoWars site, seeking $1 million in damages, Bill Shaner reports in Worcester Magazine. Marcel Fontaine says Jones defamed him and subjected him to emotional distress when he used an image of him wearing a “communist party” T-shirt in the wake of the shooting—a post that went viral within the alt-right community and was even cited by some elected officials as proof that left wingers staged the Florida shooting to foster anti-gun sentiment.
Chaos in the Senate? Hardly
Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine takes exception to reports at the Boston Globe that there’s chaos these days in the Senate. “Hardly,” he writes, noting that legislation is still flowing, despite various scandals, a power struggle for Senate president, and senators bolting office left and right. Well, the least Bruce could have done was to include us among the chaos peddlers. We’ve been exaggerating the “just a little chaos” angle for days!
Cannabis Commission: Worcester, here we come
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission is looking to move its headquarters to Worcester. The new marijuana regulatory body expects to soon issue a request for proposals for 13,000 square feet of space in the state’s second largest city and hopes to move into new digs by May 2019, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram.
A Worcester official has a specific suggestion for a headquarters: The city-owned Union Station, the one-time abandoned rail station that has been renovated into retail and office space, reports Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine.
Meanwhile, commission flooded with more than 200 applications for pot licenses
Pot regulators are certainly busy these days. From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “A day after essentially opening for businesses, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission said they saw 218 applications come in for retail pot shop licenses. The applications are for ‘priority certification,’ meaning they get the first chance at the retail licenses. .. Out of those 218, there were 89 applications from entities that operate nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. The rest of the applications come from ‘economic empowerment’ applicants.”
Fyi: The commission may be gunning to issue licenses before July 1, but it could take much longer, perhaps through the end of this year, before pot shops actually get up and running, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ. She explains why.
To fight addiction, Dem gubernatorial candidate backs insurance coverage for medical marijuana
From SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Salem News: “To address the extreme toll of opioid addiction, Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez on Tuesday said he would require health insurers and the state’s MassHealth program to cover the cost of medical marijuana when it is prescribed by a physician for someone suffering from addiction.”
On a roll, Healey is now trying to get second Exxon lawsuit dismissed
Now that a federal judge has tossed an Exxon Mobil lawsuit against Attorney General Maura Healey, the AG’s office is trying to convince the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to nix a similar local lawsuit filed by Exxon against Healey over her investigation about what the oil giant has known about climate change, reports Hillary Chabot at the Herald.
Legal spat over alleged ‘blackmail’ by Maine Gov. LePage tumbles down into Boston court
Lawyers were debating away yesterday at 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston over the merits of a lawsuit accusing Maine Gov. Paul LePage of blackmail for threatening to withhold state funding to force a charter school operator to rescind a job offer to a Democratic political opponent, reports Alanna Durkin Richer at WBUR. The issue is whether the suit should be dismissed. Never a dull moment with LePage, that’s for sure.
Never mind: Sen. Boncore opts to run for re-election, not Suffolk DA
This is somewhat of a surprise, considering that some believed he had a good shot at winning: Sen. Joseph Boncore has decided he won’t be running for Suffolk DA and instead will run for re-election, according to reports at the North End Waterfront and at SHNS (pay wall). Boncore is the second high-profile pol this week to announce he won’t be running in the crowded Democratic primary. City Councilor Michael Flaherty on Monday also said he won’t be a candidate.
About Mayor Walsh’s parking-fine increases … they’re pretty steep
Details of Mayor Marty Walsh’s plan to increase parking fines were released yesterday and Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR finds they’re pretty hefty increases. The fine for an overnight street cleaning violation would rise by $50 to $90. The fines for over-time meter and posted-time parking violations would rise by $15 to $40. That’s right: Forty dollars for a parking meter violation. Here’s the full city list of the proposed fine changes.
Baker’s State Police reform obstacles: Labor opposition and other realities
The Globe’s Matt Stout reports how some of Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed reforms at the scandal-plagued State Police face a number of obstacles before they can be adopted. The challenges include labor opposition and technological difficulties. Stout explains.
Threats work: Grid operator to develop ‘incentives’ after power plant owner warns of shutdowns
The word ‘caves’ comes to mind. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The operator of the regional power grid said on Tuesday that it plans to take immediate steps to prevent two of Exelon’s power plants in Everett from retiring while it develops financial incentives to convince the company to keep the plants open in the future. Exelon recently announced that it would retire its four power plants in Everett in 2022 unless the power grid operator, ISO New England, compensated the company for the reliability and fuel security the plants provide.”
Btw: Gov. Charlie Baker is hemming and hawing a bit on Attorney General Maura Healey’s call to eliminate a class of businesses that sell electricity to residential customers, Mohl reports in a separate story at CommonWealth.
No, no, no, natural gas is not a ‘clean energy’
Speaking of energy matters, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton told lawmakers lawmaker that, no, Gov. Charlie Baker’s environmental bond bill is not a Trojan horse to support and designate natural gas as a form of ‘clean energy,’ calling the suggestion from some quarters of the environmental community ‘laughable,’ reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Telegram.
A month later, Pilgrim nuclear still offline
Still on the subject of energy: Don’t look now but the Pilgrim Station nuclear plant has now been off-line for more than a month due to a series of equipment problems, Christine Legere reports in the Cape Cod Times. The first of the issues arose in early March and, while it was being repaired, storm winds damaged another part of the plant. There is no firm date for the plant, which is already counting down to its impending decommissioning, to be restarted.
Do ‘red flag’ gun laws really work?
As lawmakers mull whether to adopt a so-called ‘red flag’ gun bill in Massachusetts, Maggie Penman at WGBH takes a look at Connecticut’s law that allows the confiscation of guns from owners if they’re considered at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. The law appears to have prevented some suicides, but it can never be known if someone who had a gun confiscated would have later shot others, she reports. It’s sort of a “known unknown,” as Donald Rumsfeld might put it.
Charter schools slowly regrouping after Question 2 thumping
The Globe’s Scot Lehigh writes about how the charter school industry, after its Question 2 thumping two years ago, are slowly trying to regroup in Massachusetts. He has the details.
Cambridge signals it could buy artist-loft building
The city of Cambridge is signaling it would be willing to discuss buying a building where scores of artists and musicians live and work, in the hopes of preserving the affordable housing the property provides, Marc Levy reports in Cambridge Day. The city council has indicated support for the possible purchase of the EMF building near Central Square, after the building’s owner began issuing eviction notices telling tenants to clear out by the end of this month.
Concord Medal of Honor winner to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery today
Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, awarded the Medal of Honor for attempting to save the life of another American during the Korean War, will be buried with military honors today at Arlington National Cemetery, reports Henry Schwan at Wicked Local. Hudner, a long-time Concord resident and the former commissioner of the state Department of Veterans’ Service, died last November at 93. Fyi: The U.S.S. Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer, is scheduled for christening in Boston later this year.
Author Talk and Book Signing with Amber Moulton
The Rule of (Online) Law: Cybersecurity and Management in the Digital Age
Candidating with Beej Das, Rufus Gifford, Barbara L’Italien, Juana Matias, Keith R. St. John, and Lori Trahan
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