Gannon funeral, Cannabis Commission, UMass-Boston rally
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh provides the keynote remarks at the North America’s Building Trades Unions 2018 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., 9 a.m.
— The Massachusetts Department of Transportation‘s Finance and Audit Committee will hold a hearing to discuss various MassDOT and MBTA issues, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
— Sen. Stan Rosenberg speaks at an Earth Day celebration at the Massachusetts Climate Leadership Summit at UMass, 551 N Pleasant St., Amherst, 10 a.m.
— MassDOT, MassRIDES and MassCommute will host the eighth annual Excellence in Commuter Options Awards to honor employers who have demonstrated leadership in encouraging transportation options, Fenway Park, Boston, 10 a.m.
— The Massachusetts Department of Transportation‘s Capital Programs Committee will meet and discuss capital investment issues in regard to the MBTA and MassDOT, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 10:30 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends funeral services for Sean Gannon, the Yarmouth police officer who was fatally shot in the line of duty last week, Saint Pius X Church, 5 Barbara St., South Yarmouth, 11 a.m.
— The Cannabis Control Commission meets with an agenda that includes approval of applicants for the commission’s ‘priority review’ pot-shop program, Health Policy Commission Conference Center, 50 Milk Street, 8th Floor, Boston, 11:30 a.m.
— Coalition to Save UMass Boston holds a community meeting and speakout to address ongoing cuts to campus programs and staff in the wake of the announcement that UMass Amherst will acquire the Mount Ida College in Newton, Ballroom A, Campus Center, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, 12 p.m.
— Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance holds a lobby day and rally outside the State House, State House steps, 12 p.m.
— Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s board of directors meets with an agenda that includes appointing a director of the Tunnel Redundancy Program and the awarding of seven contracts, including one for repairs at the Deer Island Treatment Plant, 100 First Avenue, 2nd Floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker is the keynote speaker at the Energy Storage Association’s 28th annual conference and expo, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, 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.
Oops: IRS computer glitch gives tardy taxpayers an extra day to file returns
The Internal Revenue Service is giving taxpayers through the end of today to file federal tax returns, after a computer glitch knocked the IRS offline yesterday, the Washington Post reports. Among many others, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal had urged the IRS to give taxpayers an extra day to file – and that’s what the IRS ultimately decided late Tuesday.
Barbara Bush, RIP
They’re mourning Barbara Bush in Maine this morning, reports the Boston Globe. The NYT has the main story on the death of the “widely admired wife of one president and the fiercely loyal mother of another.”
SJC shoots down state’s stun-gun law
From SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local: “The possession of stun guns and tasers is protected by the Second Amendment, the Supreme Judicial Court concluded on Tuesday, ‘reluctantly’ scrapping the state law banning civilians from possessing those weapons…. Tuesday’s ruling brings the Supreme Judicial Court’s view of non-fatal weapons like stun guns and tasers more in line with the U.S. Supreme Court, which has expanded the rights of gun owners around the country in recent years.”
Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive notes that the court is giving the Massachusetts legislature 60 days to revise the statute behind the prohibition so it meets constitutional muster. Here’s the full text of the ruling, via MassLive.
SJC to lawmakers: Can you be a little bit more specific about how much marijuana patients can grow at home?
Speaking of the state’s highest court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is urging lawmakers to clarify a state law that allows people to grow a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at home, or about 10 ounces. The court says the law is simply too vague for most amateur pot growers to follow. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details.
‘The Committee to Destroy Elizabeth Warren’
Jaime Fuller at Boston Magazine takes a look at the conservative forces lining up, and putting money down, to help defeat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren as she seeks re-election this year. Fuller takes a specific look at one Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund executive (of course), who seems particularly determined to politically terminate the state and nation’s top female progressive.
Tale of two police incidents, two newspapers, two reactions etc.
As slain Yarmouth police officer Sean Gannon is laid to rest today on the Cape, the Herald’s Howie Carr is ripping into a political establishment still celebrating last week’s signing of a criminal-justice reform bill while irate police officers note that Gannon’s alleged killer was career criminal.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Adrian Walker focuses on yet another cop-related incident that casts police behavior in a completely different and negative light, i.e. the video of Cambridge police punching and manhandling a black Harvard student apparently high on drugs and running naked along Mass Ave.
Sorry for harping on these two incidents of late, but we’re merely pointing on the weird convergence of two disturbing police-related incidents so soon after passage of a criminal-justice reform bill, one incident pointing to the need for reforms, the other pointing for, well, the need for reforms.
The state’s new criminal-justice law comes with a hefty multimillion-dollar price tag
Speaking of the criminal-justice bill, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Sentinel and Enterprise: “Implementing a massive criminal justice reform law signed last week will cost the state an estimated $15 million this fiscal year and as much as $40 million next year, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.” The funding request is contained in a new bill Baker has filed to address provisions in the reform package that he says need minor and “significant modifications.”
SUV payment plan: State Police got a $40 per diem for driving their own cars to work
Speaking of police: It turns out that members of the State Police’s Troop F not only get lots and lots of overtime for working details at Logan Airport, they also get $40 per diem for driving their own cars to work, costing the state millions of dollars, reports the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau, in yet the latest story on previously undisclosed payroll data at State Police.
Let’s do the math: $40 per diem per work week equals $200, or $800 a month, or … more than enough to pay for that Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia, or, dare we say, a Lincoln Navigator or Land Rover?
Western Mass News will have studio within MGM’s new Springfield casino
They do indeed set aside space for the media at the State House, City Hall, Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, TD Garden etc. But this seems a bit different: Western Mass News, the TV news-sharing group, will have a standalone studio at the new MGM casino in Springfield, as reported by Peter Goonan at MassLive. Now if only the Globe, Herald, BBJ and Banker & Tradesman can convince Fidelity Investments to let them open a “studio” in its facilities, too.
The crumbling Albany Street bridge was built in 2005?
The Herald’s Dan Atkinson reports on the reaction of transit advocates to the massive chunks of concrete falling from the state’s Albany Street bridge onto commuter rail tracks – and how it points to the need for infrastructure improvements.
But what caught our attention is that the bridge in question was built only in 2005 as part of the Big Dig project, suggesting we’re not talking about your standard “aging infrastructure” problem – and our mind zips back to a not-so-long-ago $42 million settlement over substandard concrete provided to the Big Dig. OK, we’re probably just connecting random dot. But a crumbling bridge built in 2005?
Narcan-subsidy fund gets much-needed replenishments from AG and others
The state fund that enabled communities to buy the overdose-reversing drug Narcan at a steep discount—and which ran out of money recently, sending the cost of the antidote skyrocketing for cities and towns—is getting new funding from multiple sources, potentially including lawmakers who are looking to help state’s budget process moves forward, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News.
Meanwhile, Matt Stout of the Globe reports that the office of Attorney General Maura Healey has funneled an additional $250,000 received from a drug-company settlement to the Narcan fund, which is also poised to receive its first private-sector donation of $50,000 from RIZE Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, Patrick Kennedy stands to gain from the fight against opioids
Patrick Kennedy, the former Democratic Congressman and son of Ted Kennedy, has “emerged as the unlikely go-to player for companies seeking to benefit from the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar response to the opioid crisis, reaping well over $1 million in salaries and equity stakes in the firms,” Politico reports. It seems Kennedy, who sat on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission, also serves of as the CEO of the behavioral health nonprofit Kennedy Forum, which is funded in part by major drug makers and addiction-treatment companies.
AG says T broke law when awarding North Quincy garage contract
The MBTA needs to follow public-bidding laws for the construction of a parking garage at the North Quincy T station, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey ruled on Tuesday, rejecting the T’s argument that it was exempt from the requirement because the project is part of larger development being leased to private owners, reports the Patriot Ledger .
Beaty’s tweets are Stanton’s treats
From Geoff Spillane at the Cape Cod Times: “Barnstable County Commissioner Ronald Beaty’s recent Twitter comments disparaging Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg have led to a cash windfall for Jack Stanton, the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 5th Barnstable District. Beaty is also a candidate in the race.”
Medford and Northampton mayors: How about using that $75M from VW to jumpstart electric-bus services?
Stephanie Burke, mayor of Medford, and David Narkewicz, mayor of Northampton and chair of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority Advisory Board, say the state can do much more to promote the expansion of electric transit buses in Massachusetts – and they say it can start by earmarking that $75 million in settlement money from Volkswagen for electric-bus programs here.
State’s transgender ballot-question battle will be closely watched nationwide
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports how both conservative and liberal forces nationwide will be closely monitoring this fall’s ballot-question fight over transgender rights, particularly since Massachusetts is one of the bluest of blue states and if basic transgender rights can’t be protected here, they can’t be protected elsewhere.
The Great Debate: Will millionaires flee Massachusetts if voters approve the millionaire’s tax?
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has yet to rule whether the so-called “millionaire’s tax” will be on this fall’s statewide ballot, but that hasn’t’ stopped supporters and opponents from arguing over whether such a tax would cause millionaires to flee Massachusetts if it’s ever approved by voters. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan presents all the wonky point and counter-points arguments of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Pioneer Institute.
Former CEO launches crowdfunding campaign to save NECCO but …not much of a crowd yet
As Katheleen Conti reports at the Globe, the former CEO of New England Confectionery Co. (NECCO) has launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising $20 million to save the trouble candymaker. Only one problem: The campaign has raised only $565 so far.
Bertucci’s closes six stores, but George Heath’s barstool will live on
Speaking of struggling local companies, Northborough-based Bertucci’s, which declared bankruptcy over the weekend, has closed six of its 35 stores in Massachusetts – in Amherst, Longmeadow, Randolph, Taunton, Wayland and West Springfield, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.
But a Bertucci’s district manager did something special earlier this week: He called up the widow of George Heath, who was stabbed to death while rushing to the aid of a pregnant waitress being attacked in the Taunton Bertucci’s in 2016, to say she could have “barstool number four,” or “George’s chair.” Rebecca Hyman at the Taunton Gazette has more on the kind, and classy, gesture.
Thanks to victim, cop who punched and screamed racial insults at Uber driver gets no prison time
Speaking of moving gestures: Michael Doherty, a Boston cop who was convicted of assaulting an Uber driver and stealing his car, won’t be serving prison time partly because the victim, Luis Blanco, showed he’s a better man than Doherty. Blanco told the court he didn’t “want the worst for Mr. Doherty. I truly don’t. . . . An apology would be great” – and the judge then sentenced Doherty to three years of probation. The Globe’s Travis Anderson and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more.
Just how much money is being raised in the 3rd District?
By now, we all know the candidates for the 3rd District Congressional seat are raising a lot of money. But just how much? Chris Lisinsky of the Lowell Sun helps put it into some perspective: The $6.4 million raised so far exceeds the amount raised and spent in the entire 2007 special election cycle that put Niki Tsongas in the seat—and there are still six months to go before the primary.
Rep. Jim Lyons faces a challenger – and a possible historic first
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Lowell Sun: “Conservative Republican state Rep. Jim Lyons is no stranger to ballot competition, but even for him the 2018 campaign will be a first, with his opponent positioning herself as an historic candidate. Tram Nguyen, a staff attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, announced Tuesday that she will run for the 18th Essex District House seat that has been held by Lyons since 2010. Nguyen said she will be the first Vietnamese woman to run for office in Massachusetts.”
Go west, older man, go west
The Berkshires region is establishing itself as a leader in the age-friendly movement, Larry Parnass reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Advocates began working several years ago to plant the seeds for work, transportation and education programs aimed at older residents in Berkshire County, which has the state’s second-oldest population, trailing only Cape Cod.
Educational Program on Guardianship in Worcester
Educational Program on Guardianship in Pittsfield
Innovation Bioscience: Solve-It, Open Innovation Challenge
Exploring the Future of Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities
Grid Modernization in Massachusetts: International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals
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