House session, Education Reform Act turns 25, Warren town hall, Red Sox home opener
— The Supreme Judicial Court hears a number of cases, including an unlawful firearm possession case and a first degree murder and a wrongful death suit, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Nine newly elected city leaders from Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Melrose and Salem participate in a listening session of the UrbanPlan Public Leadership Institute, Stantec, 311 Summer Street, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Students, educators, parents, policymakers and others celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1993 Education Reform Act in Massachusetts, with Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and others possibly attending, Great Hall, 10 a.m.
— Sens. Patricia Jehlen and Barbara L’Italien and Rep. Danielle Gregoire host a briefing with economist Paul Osterman of the MIT Sloan School of Management, the author of the book, ‘Who Will Care For Us? Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Workforce,’ Room 428, 10 a.m.
— House lawmakers gather for their second formal session of the week, with plans to vote on Gov. Baker’s roads and bridges bill and a midyear spending bill, House Chamber, 11 a.m.
— Sen. Cindy Friedman and Rep. Denise Garlick, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, host luncheon briefing to discuss funding mental health services, Room 350, 12 p.m.
— Treasurer Deb Goldberg will attend the 2018 Citizens Bank ‘Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money Awards’ ceremony, Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress Street, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins the Boston Red Sox at the 2018 Opening Day ceremonies, Fenway Park, Boston, 1:15 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90., 3 p.m.
— Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who served as the U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland between 1995 and 2001, will deliver a keynote address marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a cornerstone of the peace process in Ireland, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Columbia Point, Boston, 5:30 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren attends a town hall forum hosted by the Dorchester Reporter, the senior senator’s first town hall in Boston since 2016, Boston Teachers Union hall, 80 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester, 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.
UMass looking to take over Mount Ida College?
Perhaps this explains why the recent Mount Ida-Lasell College merger talks were recently abandoned. From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “The University of Massachusetts is looking to acquire Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., a source familiar with the proposal has told MassLive. Details of the proposal were not immediately available and officials with UMass and Mount Ida did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
Lawmakers approve major overhaul of criminal justice system
From the AP’s Bob Salsberg at Boston.com: “The most extensive overhaul of Massachusetts’ criminal procedures in several decades cruised to final passage in the Legislature on Wednesday, proposing changes in nearly every aspect of a justice system criticized by many for focusing too much on punishment and too little on rehabilitation.”
The 121-page bill is now on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk. It will be curious to see what he likes and dislikes in the bill. It does contain a crackdown on fentanyl trafficking, something Baker has pushed for recently. But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, while supporting most of what’s in the bill, says he would nevertheless veto the package if he were governor, precisely because it contains a mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in fentanyl, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).
But what about those reentry programs designed to reduce recidivism?
Many people are praising yesterday’s passage of the sweeping criminal-justice reform bill on Beacon Hill. But Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine writes that it wasn’t sweeping enough if lawmakers continue to underfund key reentry programs designed to reduce recidivism.
The Beacon Hill-Charlie Baker love fest is really starting to irk Dem gubernatorial candidates
The Globe’s James Pindell takes a look at how the “lopsided Democratic Legislature has spent much of the past three years looking for ways to work with (Gov. Charlie) Baker rather than make his political life difficult” – and how it’s not helping the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates who are desperately trying to gain traction against the popular Republican governor.
Hey, why not extend Blue Line to Kendall Square while you’re at it?
Now that the Baker administration is supporting a study of possibly linking the T’s Blue and Red lines at Charles Street, Ari Ofsevit of TransitMatters thinks officials should also look at extending the Blue Line across the Charles River to Kendall Square. He explains why at CommonWealth magazine.
Senate passes short-term rental bill, setting up talks with House
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The Massachusetts Senate on Wednesday voted 31-6 to extend the state’s lodging tax to short-term rentals offered through platforms like Airbnb, a move senators said would generate $34.5 million in new state revenue and $25.5 million from municipal taxes. The vote marks the third time the Senate has passed similar legislation and sets the issue up for negotiations by a House-Senate conference committee.”
Airlines sue Healey over state’s sick-time law, saying it causes flight delays
Greg Ryan at the BBJ reports that an industry group representing some of the country’s largest airlines has filed a new lawsuit against Attorney General Maura Healey that claims the 2015 Massachusetts sick-time law should not apply to flight crews, arguing the law leads to more flight delays and cancellations.
So let’s get this straight: If there wasn’t a sick-time law in Massachusetts, sick flight crew members would be working in close-quarter cock-pits and passenger compartments? We must have it wrong.
Wynn Boston Harbor worker dies from construction-site injuries
Joe Teixeira, 56, an employee of J. Derenzo Co., a subcontractor at the Wynn Boston Harbor casino construction site in Everett, has died after sustaining injuries while working on the project, reports the Herald’s Jordan Graham. “This is a very sad day for everyone at Wynn Boston Harbor,” Wynn spokesman Greg John said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences and heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and coworkers.”
Pundit: It may be ugly, costly and hard, but commission should yank Wynn’s casino license
Separate from yesterday’s tragedy in Everett, the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham says Wynn Resorts, due to its handling of founder Steve Wynn’s past sexual-harassment incidents, should have its Everett casino license withdrawn by the state Gaming Commission, even though it would be an “ugly, and costly, and hard” decision. Then again, there’s no guarantee the next owner would be any better, she cautions, citing the name of a certain past casino owner in Atlantic City.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Joseph Kennedy’s chapstick and more
U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III made an appearance last night on Jimmy Kimmel’s late show, talking about everything from his political future (he dodged a question about his possible presidential aspirations) to his being asked by Nancy Pelosi to give the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year. And, yes, the subject of chapstick did come up. Felice Gans at the Globe has more .
Chandler vs. Spilka: ‘Like bargain-hunters battling over a markdown at Filene’s Basement’
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that Senate President Harriette Chandler’s eventual transfer of power to state Sen. Karen Spilka should be a “good-news story about women and their leadership.” Instead, they’re squabbling over the timing of the transfer. “Men might have settled this with a heart-to-heart stroll around the Hooker statue. Instead, Chandler and Spilka are fighting over the timing of a baton pass like bargain-hunters battling over a markdown at Filene’s Basement.”
Bottom line: Joan thinks Spilka needs to show more patience.
Springfield gets its warrant, plans ‘inspection’ today of sanctuary church
The folks at Springfield’s South Congregational Church, which is providing sanctuary to a Peruvian woman facing deportation, told Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s building inspectors they couldn’t enter the church without a warrant. Now the city has its warrant – and it’s planning an inspection this morning, allegedly looking for routine code violations but really looking for any way it can to crack down on the church. Peter Goonan at MassLive has more.
Do as we say, not as we do: ICE blocking detainees from appearing in state courts
Speaking of immigration matters, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal law-enforcement officials often bemoan how sanctuary towns and cities refuse to cooperate with them in upholding the laws of the land. But here’s an example, via the Herald’s Bob McGovern, of ICE not practicing what it preaches when it comes to cooperating with local officials on pending court cases dealing with the laws of the land.
Remembering Martin Luther King’s speech to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1965
There’s a lot of sad remembrances, across the state and nation, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. We found this audio tape at WBUR particularly interesting and moving. It’s of Reverend Conley Hughes Jr., of Concord Baptist Church in Boston, delivering an opening prayer yesterday on the steps of the State House, mixed with a three-year-old recreation of King’s address to a joint session of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1965.
Photo gallery of Medal of Honor recipient’s life and burial
Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics during the Korean War, was laid to rest with full military honors yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. MassLive has a photo gallery of the sad event as well as other photos of Hudner, a Concord resident, and others over past decades. RIP, Thomas Hudner.
Baker confirms that, yes, some State Police reforms may take a while to implement
Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged yesterday that some of his proposed reforms for the scandal-plagued State Police will indeed take some time to implement, but he’s still hoping they can be done relatively soon, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.
In related news: Saying he’s “encouraged” by the reforms proposed by Baker, Rep. Harold Naughton, House chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he does not anticipate holding an oversight hearing into the State Police overtime scandal – at least for now, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).
The BPD vs State Police Seaport feud: Is it nearing an end?
Speaking of the State Police: The Globe’s Matt Rocheleau has more on the seemingly never-ending dispute between Boston cops and State Police over who gets to patrol the Seaport area. Except this time there might (repeat: might) be resolution to the matter due to Gov. Charlie Baker’s new State Police reform recommendations.
Rep. Collins’ legislative aide hopes to succeed him in House
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “With Rep. Nick Collins a step closer to joining the Massachusetts Senate, his legislative aide on Wednesday announced plans to run for his House seat. David Biele posted in a South Boston community Facebook group that he had picked up nomination papers to seek the Fourth Suffolk House seat, which represents South Boston and parts of Dorchester.”
With state subsidy run dry, Narcan costs spike for cities and towns
A state plan to offer discounted Narcan to cities and towns to help deal with the opioid crisis has run out of money, leaving municipalities facing soaring prices to keep the overdose-reversing drug in stock, Matt Stout reports in the Globe. The state fund was started with a lump-sum from a settlement between tAttorney General Maura Healey and a pharmaceutical company and augmented with $100,000 approved by the legislature.
Report: Newton schools taught anti-Israeli history as recently as last spring
We have a feeling the school administrators in Newton must dread it when the Jewish Advocate comes calling. From Brett M. Rhyne at the Jewish Advocate: “Despite reported assurances by Superintendent David Fleishman that the Arab- Israeli conflict was not taught in Newton Public Schools during the 2016-2017 school year, course materials garnered through a Freedom of Information Act request suggest anti-Israel curricula appeared in world history classes as recently as last spring.”
Charter change may curb official business in Amherst
It will be eight months until Amherst’s new town council form of government takes effect, so officials are limited in what actions they can take between now and then, Scott Merzbach reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. A proposed bylaw to limit shooting hours at a local gun range, which will be taken up at Town Meeting later this month, is an example of the type of action the town may not be able to take until the council is seated in December.
On Martha’s Vineyard, worries about long-term impacts of ferry breakdowns
We would ordinarily never say this, but thank God it’s not summer: It’s now been three weeks since a series of problems began to arise on the Martha’s Vineyard ferries run by the Steam Ship Authority and George Brennan of the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports that businesses on the island are starting to feel the pinch. Hotel operators say they worry that reports about the ferry woes may be causing some would-be summer visitors to delay making reservations.
Mother of schizophrenic man shot by police sues city
From Antonio Planas at the Herald: “The mother of a schizophrenic man fatally shot by a Hub officer in 2016 has filed a federal civil rights suit, saying police and emergency medical technicians were inadequately trained to deal with people with mental health disabilities. Hope Coleman, mother of Terrence J. Coleman, 31, sued claiming her son’s constitutional rights — under the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments — were violated as well as his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
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