House budget unveiling, Hawkins swearing in, Student loan bill of rights
— Sen. Eric Lesser, Rep. Natalie Higgins, organizers from Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts and ‘millennial legislators’ hold a press conference on the bill that establishes a student loan bill of rights, Nurses Hall, 10:30 a.m.
— State Auditor Suzanne Bump chairs a meeting of the Municipal Finance Oversight Board, with requests from the city of Lynn and the town of Webster on the agenda. State Auditor’s Office, Room 230, 11 a.m.
— Senate Democrats gather in Senate President Harriette Chandler’s office for a private caucus, their first huddle since Chandler announced that she plans to hand the presidency over to Sen. Karen Spilka in July, Room 332, 11 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg speaks at a Massachusetts Collectors & Treasurers Association event, Sterling National Country Club, 33 Albright Rd., Sterling, 11:30 a.m.
— The House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, holds an executive session to vote out its fiscal 2019 budget proposal, A-1, 11:30 a.m.
— House leaders hold a press conference to detail the Ways and Means Committee’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal, Members Lounge, 1 p.m.
— EndHepCMA Coalition and Sen. Mark Montigny hold a legislative briefing to discuss ‘the Hepatitis C epidemic, a public health crisis intrinsically linked to the opioid epidemic,’ Room 428, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker will swear in Representative-elect Jim Hawkins of Attleboro to kick off the House’s formal session in which members will be asked to consider an order relative to the fiscal 2019 budget deliberations, 1:30 p.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a meeting of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Room 157, 2 p.m.
— The Senate meets in formal session with plans to take up Sen. Eric Lesser’s bill establishing a student loan bill of rights for Massachusetts borrowers, Gardner Auditorium, 2 p.m.
— Reps. Adrian Madaro and Aaron Vega, Sen. Joseph Boncore, Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett, Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross and Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo are among the speakers at ‘Community Safety Day on the Hill,’ Room 437, 2 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey on ‘Radio Boston’ discusses the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees’ questioning of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, members of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging and others gather to accept AARP’s designation of Massachusetts as an AARP Age-Friendly State, Sheraton Framingham, 1657 Worcester Road, Framingham, 3 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.
Dershowitz defends president on legal principle – and then visits the White House for dinner
Alan Dershowitz, the high-profile former Harvard Law professor who’s been an outspoken legal defender of Donald Trump during recent investigations, yesterday was once again raising legal alarms over the recent FBI raid on the offices of Trump’s lawyer, saying people should be very concerned about the possible violation of lawyer-client confidentiality. He has more at The Hill.
But Dershowitz, who says he personally doesn’t like Trump’s policies, was making other news yesterday, after visiting the White House yesterday and reportedly planning to have dinner with Trump last night, the NYT’s Maggie Habermann tweets.
Speaking of the FBI raid and lawyer-client privileges, the Globe’s Maria Cramer reports that legal specialists say such raids have to be “vetted through an arduous legal process approved at the highest levels of the Department of Justice.” Globe columnist Michael Cohen is more concerned about Trump’s tweet reaction to the raid.
Maine pot growers flocking to Massachusetts, welcomed with open arms by real estate brokers
It takes a while to get to the Massachusetts part, but Fred Bever at WBUR reports how Maine pot growers, frustrated with the slow pace of formulating marijuana regulations in their home state, are seeing greener fields (or greenhouses) in Massachusetts. Austin Smith, a Boston broker with Colliers International, says he’s working with a handful of growers in Massachusetts and says there are a “ton of cultivators” looking for space in the Boston area.
Baker ‘stunned, shocked, amazed’ by Mount Ida’s sudden collapse
From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is ripping leaders at Mount Ida College, saying they let down the students and staff who now feel left in the lurch as the University of Massachusetts moves to acquire the small private institution in Newton. ‘Like everybody, I was stunned, shocked, amazed, and really disappointed by the current state of play at Mount Ida,’ Baker told reporters on Tuesday. “I mean, the thing that bothered me the most about that was it was pretty clear that for the past several years, this deficit that they are dealing with now has gotten worse and worse.’”
No word on whether he was stunned, shocked and amazed by UMass-Amherst spending tens of millions of dollars to buy Mount Ida at a time when the entire UMass system is under pressure to lower costs and tuition prices.
Timing is everything: UMass-Amherst and UMass-Boston suspend and downsize programs, saying they don’t have enough money
As if on cue, from Don Seiffert at the BBJ: “As the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus prepares to assume up to $70 million in debt to buy (Mount Ida College), the system office has quietly suspended the awarding of two annual seed-grant programs intended to fund research that directly benefits the state’s economy, citing ‘stagnant state funding’ for public higher education.”
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Adrian Walker notices a similar belt-tightening trend at UMass-Boston — at the same time UMass-Amherst is proposing to spend tens of millions of dollars to buy nearby Mount Ida College in Newton.
In Sheffield, UFO monument keeps moving
Maybe it can be teleported? A monument that marks the spot of a reported 1969 close encounter with an other-worldly unidentified flying object may be on the move again after a survey found it was still sited on town property, Kristin Palpini reports at the Berkshire Eagle. The stone monument — which bears a plaque, it should be noted, with Gov. Charlie Baker’s name and signature on it — had been moved within weeks of its installation in 2015. Some of those who claim to have witnessed the UFO event are perturbed that the marker can’t be left alone.
Republican Senate candidates tout their fundraising mojo prior to GOP convention
The three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate all want to come across as serious players, so they’re touting how much they’ve raised in the first quarter of 2018 (all are hovering in the $300,000 range) before the Massachusetts Republican Party convention later this month endorses a candidate. The Globe’s James Pindell has the details.
Lottery: Step right up. Win a prize that’s not worth what we say it’s worth!
CommonWealth magazine’s Jack Sullivan looks at how the Lottery’s “second-chance drawing” prizes are not exactly worth what they’re touted to be worth, from the value of a Cuisinart Convection Microwave Oven & Grill to the value of a Dewalt 12V Max Li-lon 4-Tool Combo Kit. The spokeswoman for the private company overseeing the prize fulfillments digs a deeper hole for herself, the company and the Lottery as she explains how the firm’s business expenses are factored into the value of prizes.
Fyi: You’ll be seeing a lot of CommonWealth magazine posts today, with the magazine’s 2018 spring issue now out. Lot of good stories. Check ‘em out.
Fall River Mayor Correia’s bright future … if only for that FBI investigation
Another CommonWealth magazine spring-issue story: Ted Siefer takes a look at Jasiel Correia, the young, bright, ambitious and brave (check out the part about former Fall River mayor having a not-so-friendly chat with Correia with a handgun on the dashboard) mayor of hard-scrabble Fall River. Things are starting to go Fall River’s way … except for an FBI investigation of Correia and a running feud with a government agency seemingly intent on “operating as its own sovereign fiefdom.”
Lowell council approves $196K contract for Donoghue ahead of this morning’s swearing-in
It’s official: Sen. Eileen Donoghue will be sworn in this morning as Lowell’s next city manager following the city council’s 8-1 vote in favor of a contract for the state senator and former mayor that will pay her $196,000 during her first year on the job, Rick Sobey reports at the Lowell Sun. The four-year contract does not include automatic pay bumps or a severance package and the only councilor who voted against it did so because other department heads in city government are not extended contracts.
Tom Ashbrook to Boston: Is there room for redemption for me?
Tom Ashbrook, the former ‘On Point’ radio-show host who was canned by WBUR earlier this year for his toxic-boss ways, says he’s given a lot of thought about his work-place behavior, accepts he was offensive and overbearing to many, and now asks Bostonians: “Is there room for redemption and rebirth, in our time of Google trails and hashtag headlines? I hope so. The work that Boston and the country supported all these years is more important than ever. Is there a way back?”
Ex-MIT student apologizes to rape victim and gets away with no prison time
Speaking of forgiveness (sort of) and searching for a new way forward, the judge in this rape case wasn’t very keen on the “unusual” no-prison plea agreement worked out by the two sides, but the deal went ahead anyway, as the Herald’s Laurel Sweet reports: “A Boston University grad and the former MIT athlete who sexually assaulted her came face-to-face one last time in court yesterday — with the guilty 22-year-old forced to apologize for what he did two years ago in a dorm room.”
Here’s what the victim told him: ““The one thing about the past is it can never be changed … But the beauty of life is with each day, we are able to make new memories and make the necessary changes to live a better life.”
Btw: Samson Donick, the accused, didn’t get prison time, but he was sentenced to five years’ probation on GPS monitoring, ordered to seek sex-offender treatment, perform 1,000 hours of community service and register as a sex offender.
Irony alert: College students rally for tougher campus sexual-assault policies
Considering the post above was about a rape that took place in a BU dorm, one can say it’s somewhat ironic that students and others were rallying yesterday for passage of bills on Beacon Hill that would toughen campus sexual-assault policies in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Michael Levenson has the details.
Tufts Medical CEO slams Beth Israel-Lahey merger, saying it will lead to higher medical prices
Though it can’t stop the already approved Beth Israel Deaconess-Lahey hospitals merger, the Boston City Council yesterday went through with a public hearing on the deal – and it actually produced substantive debate. Among others, Tufts Medical Center chief executive Michael Wagner warned the newly formed hospital network will merely lead to higher prices and siphon patients away from lower-price institutions like Tufts, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.
Suffolk DA contest: Another race with little policy differences between candidates?
At least it’s a contested election. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “The five candidates for Suffolk District Attorney took similar positions on issues ranging from reducing the number of people who go through the criminal system to protecting law-abiding immigrants from ICE at a forum sponsored by JP Progressives and the NAACP last night. Instead, they differed on their backgrounds and how that would help them change the DA’s office.”
Markey files bill to protect privacy after Facebook data-breach debacle
As Facebook’s Mark Zuckberg was preparing to get grilled on Capitol Hill yesterday, U.S. Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of New York announced new legislation designed to protect Amercans’ personal information from privacy breaches at Facebook and other companies, reports Shannon Young at MasLive.
As the clock ticks, small businesses scramble for referendum-averting agreement on minimum wage
From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “Time is running out for lawmakers to prevent a prolonged ballot battle over raising the minimum wage and small businesses are looking to the Legislature to stop what could be a costly campaign. Advocates for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour are charging ahead with the signature-gathering process needed to gain a slot on voters’ ballots in November.” As Deehan notes, polls show strong voter support for raising the minimum wage. So where’s the incentive for advocates to compromise much on Beacon Hill? They’re in the driver’s seat on this one.
Dan Kennedy: Hedge fund will crush Denver Post revolt by ignoring it
Media critic Dan Kennedy at WGBH says the Denver Post staff revolt against the newspaper’s ultimate owner, Alden Global Capital, now the owner of the Boston Herald as well, may be noble. But it’s probably doomed to failure, as Alden shows every sign of merely shrugging its shoulders and continuing to squeeze the paper for every nickel it can get.
Tougher background checks on the way for preschool, summer camp and day-care workers
Would-be employees of summer camps, preschools and day care centers may soon be subjected to more stringent background checks if a plan put forward by Gov. Charlie Baker is approved, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News. Prospective employees would be fingerprinted and have their information run through the National Sex Offender Registry under the plan, which the administration says is needed to comply with federal regulations and keep federal grant funds flowing to those institutions.
Lynch warns that U.S. troops in Syria are vulnerable
From Hillary Chabot at the Herald: “Vulnerable American troops stationed along Syria’s volatile northern border could be outgunned following an alleged chemical attack that’s skyrocketed tensions between President Trump and Russia, warned U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch. … ‘I’m just worried about the capacity of our people to defend themselves,’ said Lynch, the ranking Democrat on the House national security subcommittee.”
No consensus on Beacon Hill for taking guns away from some
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are discovering that it’s more difficult than it sounds to pass legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who are deemed dangerous to themselves and society. Christian Wade has the details at the Gloucester Times.
Most communities see no benefit from state’s film tax credit
The vast majority of movies and TV shows that accessed the state’s much-debated film tax credit kept their productions—and their economic impacts—within Greater Boston, and more than 40 percent of the state’s communities saw no such activity in the first 10 years of the credit, Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth, citing Film Office data.
Power Breakfast: Real Estate
Candidating with Leonard Golder, Rick Green, and Terry Ryan
On issues, few major differences among DA candidates at forum – Universal Hub
Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau criticized for lack of diversity in hiring – WGBH
Rep. McGovern named ranking Democrat on House rules committee – Telegram & Gazette
Framingham panel votes to delay recreational marijuana sales – MetroWest Daily News
Moulton: North-South rail link has momentum – Salem News
Vineyard Wind plans operations facility on island – Cape Cod Times
Berkshire Museum lists 13 works, including 2nd Rockwell, for May auction – Berkshire Eagle
Trump at crisis point on Mueller – The Hill
Despite failures, states can’t seem to ditch private prisons – New York Times
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