Happening Today

UMass board meeting, SJC hearings, Student Government Day, Warren presser on opioid crisis

— As the U.S. and China spar over trade tariffs, Harvard University kicks off the 21th annual Harvard China Forum, with former U.S. Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy among the roughly 80 confirmed speakers at the all-day event, Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center, Boston.

— The Supreme Judicial Court will hear first-degree murder appeals from Edwin Goitia, Steven Webster, Peter Deconinck and Patrick Waweru, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees meets to discuss UMass Amherst’s five-year strategic plan and to vote on changes to the capital projects list; in an executive session, the board plans to discuss tenure, honorary degrees and an ‘update on a real estate transaction,’ UMass Amherst Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way, Amherst, 9 a.m.

— The 71st Annual Student Government Day will draw students from throughout Massachusetts, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Harriette Chandler, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo participating in the House Chamber at 9:45 a.m. and Chandler, Auditor Suzanne Bump and Treasurer Deb Goldberg planning to speak at another event, Room 222, 11:45 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets privately with his Cabinet and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Room 488, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a press conference to discuss her plans to introduce legislation to tackle the opioid crisis and addiction, with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland attending, 780 Albany St., Boston, 1 p.m.

— University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, UMass President Marty Meehan, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Lauren Liss of MassDevelopment participate in a celebration of the Innovation Voucher Program, Institute for Applied Life Sciences, UMass Amherst, 240 Thatcher Rd., Amherst, 1:30 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark joins officials from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Revere Public Schools on a tour of the school-based health center at Revere High School, 101 School St., Revere, 1:30 p.m.

— Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is among those attending the New England Law Boston’s 2018 Law Day Banquet, Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton St., Boston, 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.

Today’s Stories

The bargain-basement infighting is over: Spilka to take over Senate this July

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Sen. Karen Spilka said on Thursday that she will take over as Senate president during the week of July 23 and indicated she will leave her former post as chair of the Ways and Means Committee vacant for the remainder of the year. In a joint statement, Spilka and Senate President Harriette Chandler said they would commence an orderly transition the week of July 23, which is the last full week of the legislative session and normally a very hectic time. The statement did not address why that date was selected.”

Whether it will be a truly smooth transition is somewhat arguable, as Gintautas Dumcius reports in a MassLive tweet, but the Globe, in an editorial, says the leadership-transition deal is a “reasonable compromise” that should lead to an orderly transition of power.

Alison Bosma at Wicked Local has more. For bargain-basement infighting explanation, check out Joan Vennochi’s Globe column from yesterday.

Is she or isn’t she? Warren says she’ll serve full Senate term but …

The cat-and-mouse game will never end. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren now bluntly says her ‘plan’ is to serve out her full six-year term if re-elected to the Senate later this year. But plans can change, as we all know, so there may be a ‘Plan’ B and the Globe’s Matt Stout, thank goodness, is on the parsing-words beat this morning.

Boston Globe

Baker confirms UMass is eyeing acquisition of Mount Ida College

Why UMass would want to take over a small Newton college is still a mystery. But the fact UMass is eyeing a takeover of Mount Ida College is no longer a mystery. Gov. Charlie Baker openly confirmed it yesterday. Gintautas Dumcius has the story.


Will too many progressive candidates let a ‘conservative’ white male win the Suffolk DA race?

David Bernstein at WGBH writes how Greg Henning, a prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the only white male running for the open DA seat, could benefit from a split progressive vote and win the district attorney election. An opponent of the just-passed criminal justice reform bill on Beacon Hill, Henning isn’t really a ‘conservative’ per se. He’s just not a pronounced progressive like the other candidates in the race.


‘Stop peeing in Walden Pond’

There’s all sorts of microscopic growth and summer phosphorus and slimy floating algae at Walden Pond in Concord, and we don’t know what it all scientifically means, but this much is clear: Too many swimmers are peeing in Walden Pond and they need to stop it, researchers say. Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub has more.

Universal Hub

Is Sheldon Adelson in line to buy Wynn’s Everett casino?

If this turns out to be true, it would be a major scoop for the small Everett paper. We’ll see. The ‘credible rumors’ reference is not reassuring. From Josh Resnek at the Everett Leader Herald: “Wynn Resorts is close to selling the Everett casino project according to credible rumors coming out of Las Vegas, a source has told the Leader Herald. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is said to be the buyer, according to the source. Adelson owns the Venetian in Las Vegas and casino interests in Macau.” He’s also a Dorchester native and major Republican donor.

In related news, the state’s Gaming Commission is hiring an outside agency to examine Wynn Resorts’ finances as part of its investigation into the now controversial company, the Herald reports.

Kingston: I was for Trump before I was against him and then for him

The Globe’s Frank Phillips tracks the zigzagging trail of Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Kingston’s anti-Trump/pro-Trump/pro-before-anti-pro-Trump record.

Boston Globe

Markey and Kennedy: Facebook needs more oversight

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is calling for a ‘privacy bill of rights’ in the wake of disclosures of a massive release of Facebook data, reports the Herald’s Brian Dowling, while U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III says Facebook’s privacy crisis “opens the door” to government regulation of the social-media giant, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot.

Holy Cross dean defends prof whose writings depict Jesus as ‘drag queen’ with ‘queer desires’

Though the professor’s writings apparently have been long known, they were making the alt-right rounds during the lead up to Sunday’s Easter holiday, so suddenly it’s news again. From Mark Sullivan at the Telegram: “The chief academic officer at the College of the Holy Cross is defending a religious studies professor at the college whose earlier scholarly writings depict Jesus Christ as a ‘drag king’ with ‘queer desires.’ ‘Here at Holy Cross academic freedom is a foundational principle, as it is for all academic institutions,’ Margaret N. Freije, provost and dean of the college, writes in an email sent to Holy Cross faculty on Tuesday.”


Stop the presses: Is Brad Pitt dating an MIT professor?

You mean, he was here? Actually here, in Cambridge? Apparently so, and ‘spending time’ and ‘working’ with MIT professor Neri Oxman. Highbrow resistance is futile: Details at Page Six and the Globe.

Brilliant: T planning to hire more drivers to fill in for chronically absent drivers

We should have caught this before, when it was first reported at CommonWealth magazine and elsewhere that the number of cancelled bus trips at the T was rising due to unscheduled absences by drivers. Still, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports this morning that frustrated T officials are now reviewing attendance and medical leave policies and planning to hire dozens of news drivers. Our question: What happens if the new drivers succumb to the same unscheduled-absences illnesses plaguing the T now?

You don’t say: Baker says he’ll have a ‘lot to say’ about criminal-justice bill, but can’t say now

Gov. Charlie Baker is signaling that, well, we’re not quite sure what he’s signaling. But he does say he will have a “lot to say” later about the criminal-justice reform bill passed earlier this week by the House and Senate, after he and his staff review the 121-page bill and have more to say, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan.

SHNS (pay wall)

So who’s writing the Herald editorials these days?

Michael Jonas tries to get to the bottom of who’s writing the Boston Herald’s editorials these days under the paper’s new owners, now that long-time editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen and assistant editor Julie Mehegan are gone. One quibble with the piece: Michael thinks the Herald’s editorial page “hasn’t skipped a beat” since Digital First Media took over. In contrast, we find the editorials are often too long and milquetoast mush for a true tabloid.


CDC to help state investigate spike in HIV cases in Lawrence and Lowell

From NECN: “Federal public health officials are joining Massachusetts health officials in investigating a large cluster of reported HIV cases in Lawrence and Lowell. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed to help the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with investigating the cases, which it said involves people who inject drugs and are homeless.”


Thanks, Sonja: SJC justice orders dismissal of 7,500-plus cases tied to disgraced ex-state chemist

It’s still amazing that just one person can do so much damage to the criminal justice system. From a report at WBUR: “A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice on Thursday ordered for dismissal more than 11,000 convictions in more than 7,500 cases. The cases are connected with former state drug lab chemist Sonja Farak, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to charges of stealing and using drugs from the Amherst lab where she worked for almost a decade.” Previously, many assumed thousands of cases would ultimately be dismissed, but not necessarily this many.


Not so sweet: Creditors seek to force NECCO into bankruptcy

Things keep going from bad to worse for poor NECCO. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that three companies owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by New England Confectionary Co. are asking a judge to force the candymaker into bankruptcy. The company has already defaulted on $100 million in loans.


SJC ruling clears way for Berkshire Museum to sell Norman Rockwell paintings and other art

Supreme Judicial Court Justice David A. Lowy has approved a compromise plan by the Berkshire Museum and backed by Attorney General Maura Healey that will allow the cash-strapped museum to raise more than $55 by selling off valuable artwork, including paintings by Normal Rockwell, Larry Parnass the Berkshire Eagle reports. Opponents of the sale, needless to say, are not happy about the decision.

Berkshire Eagle

Nahant residents roll out the unwelcome mat for Northeastern expansion

Bridgette Turcotte of the Lynn Item reports on the growing grassroots effort to reject two proposed projects that would expand Northeastern University’s footprint in the state’s smallest municipality. The university wants to build a new classroom and research building on property it already owns and is seeking permission to increase the amount of seawater it uses for research purposes. The school says local opposition is based largely on misinformation that it is working to counter. 

Lynn Item

State Firearms Review Board faces suit from former lawyer

A state board that hears appeals from would-be gun owners who have prior misdemeanor convictions hasn’t met since last summer and is now facing a suit filed by its former lawyer, who says the agency is violating its own rules requiring it to meet quarterly, Bob McGovern reports in the Herald. 

Boston Herald

Republican group files complaint against Hawkins, outside group

Sore losers? The conservative political action group Jobs First has filed a complaint with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance alleging Democrat Jim Hawkins improperly coordinated with an outside group that mailed postcards to voters in the district, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle. Hawkins defeated Attleboro City Councilor Julie Hall in a special-election upset on Tuesday. 

Sun Chronicle

Taunton rent-rebate program for stores makes way into state economic development bill

This is interesting. Gov. Charlie Baker’s economic development bill includes a provision that is based on a successful rent-rebate program the city of Taunton launched to help lure businesses back to vacant downtown storefronts, Charles Winokoor reports in the Taunton Gazette. The local version of the program gives direct rebates on rents of up to $7,500 over two years and so far, 10 businesses have enrolled. 

Taunton Gazette

Ryan quits Third race to run for Donoghue’s Senate seat

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The crowded Democratic field to succeed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas in Congress dropped back down to an even dozen Thursday, as one contender switched course to mount a state Senate bid instead. Westford Democrat Terry Ryan announced he had left the Third District race and will now run for the seat Sen. Eileen Donoghue is vacating to become Lowell city manager.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Healey joins in suit against EPA over methane emissions

From Shannon Young at MassLive: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined more than a dozen states and the city of Chicago Thursday in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its control of methane emissions.  Healey and the other attorneys general, who filed suit against the agency in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said they hope to compel EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to comply with the Clean Air Act.”


Report: Boston cameraman’s death in the Philippines wasn’t caused by suicide

From Reuters: “An American cameraman and filmmaker who died in December in a jail in the Philippines suffered blunt-force trauma, and his body had markings inconsistent with the official account by Philippine authorities that he hanged himself, a private U.S. pathologist said. The findings raised new questions about the death of Jesse Phinney on the Philippine island of Cebu. Law enforcement officials there said they found the 42-year-old Boston native hanging in the bathroom of a detention facility where he was being held on Dec. 5, and declared it a suicide.”

Phinney’s family had previously suspected foul play and had been making the media rounds since his death, as WCVB reported in December.


Dr. Evil gives a shoutout to Wayfair

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III isn’t the only one making appearances on late-night shows. Dr. Evil, aka Mike Myers, was on Jimmy Fallon’s show Wednesday and gave a big shoutout to Boston’s Wayfair. It wasn’t about the company’s recent pulling of ads from Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. Instead, Dr. Evil said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson could have gotten his $31,000 dining set for a lot less at Wayfair. Watch the video. It’s good to see Dr. Evil doing well.


Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: State Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, chair of the House Committee on Revenue, who talks with host Jon Keller about the state of tax policy on Beacon Hill, potential impacts of the federal cap on SALT deductions and the proposed millionaire’s tax.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Lowell of Adviser Investments discusses the China trade war and market volatility; Belmont Savings Bank chief executive Bob Mahoney on his bank’s growth; Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal discusses cannabis business applications, the step forward for the Lahey-BIDMC merger and more.    

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Greg Mark, the CEO and founder of Markforged, on the 3D printing revolution and how it is making a huge difference in all types of industries.

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

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. Main Topic: Autism and how Teamsters Local 25 is trying to bring awareness to the issue.

2018 NAMI Mass Advocacy Day

NAMI Massachusetts

Candidates’ Forum: Suffolk County District Attorney

JP Progressives and NAACP Boston

Listening to the Voice of the Customer Workshop

Applied Marketing Science (AMS)

What would Frances Perkins do?

Frances Perkins Center

Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference

Wellness Workdays

Power Breakfast: Real Estate

Boston Business Journal

Candidating with Leonard Golder, Rick Green, and Terry Ryan

Carlisle Rising to Action

Today’s Headlines


Boston schools place two headmasters on leave – Boston Globe

Outsiders tapped in Wynn probe – Boston Herald


SJC ruling faults Wayland board’s action in 2012 – MetroWest Daily News

State senate colleague voices support for Brockton’s Brady – Brockton Enterprise

Veterans picket against VA privatization in Bedford – Lowell Sun

Advocates hail criminal justice bill as victory, but Sheriff Hodgson sees problems – Standard-Times


Conservatives fear trade war could cripple tax cuts message – The Hill

Trump says he didn’t know his attorney paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels – Washington Post

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