Happening Today

SJC hearings, Cannabis Control meeting, life sciences bill, retail electricity

— Candidates for statewide office face a deadline today to submit nomination signatures.

— The Supreme Judicial Court will hear five cases, including those dealing with disgraced state lab chemist Sonja Farak, carbon dioxide regulations and the use of motels as emergency shelters, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets and is expected to discuss priority license review applications, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— The House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets will hold a hearing on a life sciences bond bill that would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the biotech industry, Room B-1, 11 a.m.

— The Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will hold a hearing dealing with local liquor licenses and photocopies of government IDs, Room A-2, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Rep. Russell Holmes gather for groundbreaking ceremony for a new $5.5 million facility at Brookview House, which provides homeless families with housing and support services, 35 Hansborough Street, Dorchester, 11:30 a.m.

— Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy holds an oversight hearing on Attorney General Maura Healey’s call for the Legislature to end the competitive electricity supply market for residential customers, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.

— The Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition hosts a rally urging lawmakers to pass bills establishing a $15 hourly minimum wage and a paid family and medical leave program by the end of June to keep those measures off the ballot, Grand Staircase, 1 p.m.

Edward Kennedy Institute hosts Harvard University professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt to discuss their new book ‘How Democracies Die,’ moderated by Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson, Edward Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, Columbia Point, 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.

Today’s Stories

Trump goes after Kerry’s ‘shadow diplomacy’ on Iran deal

As he prepares to scuttle the Iran nuclear-arms deal, President Donald Trump yesterday went after John Kerry, the former secretary of state under President Obama, for trying to salvage the deal. “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!” The Globe’s Matt Viser, who first broke the story about Kerry’s behind-the-scenes efforts to save the Iranian agreement he brokered while in office, has the details. The Washington Post also has more.

Boston Globe

Two candidates launch write-in campaigns for Rosenberg’s seat

It looks like Chelsea Kline, the only candidate to officially file to run for former Sen. Stan Rosenberg’s seat, will indeed have competition this fall. Ryan O’Donnell, Northampton’s city council president, and Steven Connor, Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services director, yesterday both pulled out of the House race to succeed the late Rep. Peter Kocot and instead threw their hats into the Democratic ring to succeed Rosenberg in the Senate, as write-in candidates. Bera Dunau at the Greenfield Recorder has the details.

Greenfield Recorder

Eliot Spitzer and now Eric Schneiderman …

Think Massachusetts is experiencing political and #MeToo turmoil due to the Rosenberg-Hefner scandal at the State House? New York is experiencing a political and #MeToo tsunami by comparison, after NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned last night, hours after four women accused him of physically assaulting them in an article published by The New Yorker, reports the NYT. Irony of ironies: Schneiderman, a long-time Dem champion of women’s rights, was legally taking on the figurative father of the #MeToo movement, none other than Harvey Weinstein. … Our mind hippity-hops back to the last prominent NY AG (and governor) to land in sexual-escapades trouble, Eliot Spitzer.


Investigation finds welfare cash withdrawals in all the wrong places (casinos, strip clubs, cruise ship etc.)

A review of 2017 state data found Massachusetts welfare recipients made millions of dollars worth of cash withdrawals against their accounts at out-of-state ATMs, including in tropical locations, as well as strip clubs, casinos and on a cruise ship, Eric Rasmussen and Erin Smith of Boston 25 News report. Gov. Charlie Baker said the Department of Transitional Assistance has shut down welfare recipients’ access to some ATMs—such as one at Mohegan Sun casino—and will continue to do so at it becomes of aware of inappropriate withdrawals. 

Fox 25 Boston

‘The myth of Kennedy’s so-called black-blue coalition endures’

The Globe’s Michael Cohen has a terrific column that turns a 50-year-old political narrative on its head. He argues that Robert F. Kennedy, rather than stitching together a strong coalition of working-class whites and blacks during his ’68 campaign for president, struggled not-so-successfully to win over white voters. Cohen isn’t advocating that Dems stop courting working-class whites. But he says courting them is easier said than done if racial issues are portrayed as a zero-sum game.

Boston Globe

SJC: MIT not liable for student’s suicide but …

We’re going with the NYT’s version of this story because of the intense national interest in this legal case. From the Times’ Katharine Seelye: “In a legal case closely watched for its potential implications for universities nationwide, Massachusetts’s highest court ruled Monday that M.I.T. could not be held responsible for the 2009 suicide of one of its students. Broadly, the Supreme Judicial Court said in 44-page ‘there is no duty to prevent another from committing suicide.’”

Still, the BBJ’s Matt Stendhal and the AP at the Herald report the SJC did say that schools can be held liable for student suicides in certain circumstances.


Calling all renters: Airbnb now phoning people to urge them to oppose city regulations

Tweets, emails and radios ads apparently aren’t enough for Airbnb. The short-term home rental company, battling city officials over proposed rental regulations in Boston, is now calling local users of its app, urging them to record messages to be sent to city leaders, reports Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine. Airbnb’s calls are causing some complaints .

Boston Magazine

Looking sharp: T unveils new Green Line cars of the future

They look pretty damn cool and could start running by 2028. But the T still needs to figure out the $3.5 billion financing for the new fleet of Green Line cars that would could boost ridership capacity on the line from 200,000 to 450,000. Bruce Mohl has the details, with accompanying concept photos.


It’s agreed: Robot can attend classes on behalf of disabled student

A robot that can see, hear and move around a classroom, remotely controlled by an off-site disabled student, will be allowed in Hudson Public Schools under an agreement between the school district and U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office. The Herald’s Laurel Sweet has more on the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance agreement.

Boston Herald

Juvenile-court investigators say 31 years without a raise is long enough

Investigators working for the state’s juvenile court system have not had a raise in more than 30 years and as many as one-fifth of the 200 investigators say they will refuse to take on new cases until they get a pay increase, Michael Levenson reports in the Globe. Help could be on the way in the Senate budget to be released later this week, with Senate Ways and Means Chairman Karen Spilka telling Levenson the issue is “one of the areas we’re looking at.”

Boston Globe

Baker’s minor ‘collaboration’ gaffe

If it’s indeed true that a political gaffe is when a politician speaks a truth that’s not supposed to be said, then Gov. Charlie Baker has committed a minor political gaffe by suggesting GOP supporters of gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively don’t like collaboration. It’s true. But Baker, a Republican, may need some of those 27-percent Lively supporters this fall, so … SHNS’s Michael Norton has more.

SHNS (pay wall)

So where is Gov. Baker’s death-penalty-for-cop-killers bill?

Here are two other issues that could further complicate matters on the right for Gov. Charlie Baker. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot is ripping into Baker for neither filing legislation nor, allegedly, supporting legislative efforts to impose the death penalty on cop killers, despite Baker’s “campaign-trail rhetoric.” Meanwhile, Baker says he’s open to supporting the so-called “red flag” bill that would let family members petition a judge to temporarily take away someone’s gun, if they’re deemed a danger to themselves or others, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Governor knocks Dems on tax hikes, then declines taking stand on a tax hike

Meanwhile, no gaffe here from Gov. Charlie Baker. He’s just not saying where he stands on the proposed millionaire’s tax that could be on this fall’s statewide ballot, while rapping Democrats for liking taxes. SHNS’s Michael Norton again has the details, this time at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

The Bush family is about to get a whole lot richer: Activist firm bids $6.4 billion to buy Athenahealth

Activist investor Elliott Management has made an unsolicited $6.4 billion offer to buy Watertown’s Athenahealth, now run by CEO Jonathan Bush, the “outspoken and controversial” cousin of former President George W. Bush and brother of Billy Bush, the American radio and television host, CNBC reports. In a “harshly-worded letter” to Aethenahealth shareholders, Elliott Management said it was seeking to acquire the health technology company on an “expedited basis,” reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.


Immigrant advocates want more than lip service from Beacon Hill

A rally outside the State House yesterday by immigrant advocates and lawmakers, including U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy and Jim McGovern, was not just about the Trump administration’s decision to end protections for Honduran refugees. It was also about pushing for some sort of sanctuary-state action on Beacon Hill, a week after House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he doesn’t see the proposed Safe Communities Act coming to a vote due to a lack of consensus in the House. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WCVB and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive have the details.

Massachusetts voting systems deemed ‘pretty secure’

Amid worries of cyber disruptions heading into the 2018 midterm elections nationally, experts and insiders agree that Massachusetts’ election system is largely secure and reliable thanks in part to its continued heavy reliance on paper ballots, Christine Lytwynec reports at the Sun Chronicle. The state also has an automatic system in place to check for irregularities—the last one done in 2016 found 99.16 percent of ballots cast were counted correctly.  

Sun Chronicle

In the Third, they’re running against the summer doldrums

Candidates in the crowded Third Congressional District race are going all out to grab voters’ attention, before Memorial Day and the onset of the summer doldrums, reports David Bernstein at WGBH. It’s especially key this year to have a strong spring because the primary election falls on the day after Labor Day, an earlier-than-normal date for a primary.


Meanwhile, all quiet on the Seventh District front

When you have a forum in which one candidate says “I agree with everything the congressman said” and the other candidate says “I agree with everything she said,” you haul out, as CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas does, the old saying: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” He has more on yesterday’s Seventh Congressional District forum featuring Ayanna Pressley and Michael Capuano.


Cultural and monetary appropriation make for a bad mix on City Hall plaza

Kristin LaFratta at MassLive reports how some paying customers at this past weekend’s Cinco de Mayo celebration on Boston City Hall Plaza are calling the event a big “rip off” because they only got one lousy taco. Some didn’t get any lousy tacos. “Customers bought $15-20 admission tickets, or $75 V.I.P. passes that promised beverage passes, taco vouchers, and 90-minute early entry to the festival,” LaFratta writes.


Mass. Medical Society: Self-induced abortions shouldn’t be illegal

In a somewhat surprise move, the Massachusetts Medical Society has taken a new stand in favor of the right of women to conduct self-induced abortions, reports Chelsea Conaboy and Carey Goldberg at WBUR. The society took the action to help national efforts to protect women criminally charged with self-induction.


Steve Wynn’s name officially removed from Everett license, but Wynn Resorts still in regulatory crosshairs

As expected, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has officially stripped Steve Wynn’s name from the Everett casino license, at the request of Wynn Resorts, which is desperately trying to distance itself from its former CEO now accused of being a serial sexual harasser. But Wynn Resorts itself remains on the hot seat with state regulators, according to an AP report at ‘BUR.


Can We Save Our Democracy?

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Author Talk and Book Signing with Kathleen Teahan

State Library of Massachusetts

The Public Conversation

Boston Public Library

Is Social Media Killing Journalism?

WGBH News and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Leonard Bernstein and President John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


Air Force’s new software lab in Boston aims for high speed – BostInno

Smith & Wollensky to close Back Bay location – Boston Globe


Bourne voters OK senior care overlay district – Cape Cod Times

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker open to considering ‘red flag’ bill – MassLive

Offshore wind developer, unions partner on workforce training initiative – Boston Business Journal

Republican challenges Speliotis for House seat – Salem News


New York attorney general resigns – New York Times

Trump grows frustrated with Giuliani as Stormy Daniels saga rages on – Politico

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