Happening Today

Housing preservation bill, Dem gubernatorial debate and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Senate President Harriette Chandler, Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. Joseph Boncore and other to sign ‘An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for Low and Moderate Income Residents,’ Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, 132 Chestnut Hill Ave., Boston, 9 a.m.

— Former Gov. Michael Dukakis is one of the keynote speakers at a day-long Suffolk University public service summit, Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont St., Boston, with Dukakis speaking at 12 p.m. and the day’s events starting at 8 a.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts State Retirement Board, One Winter St., 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Senate meets in formal session, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress’ Advocacy Day, Grand Staircase, 11:15 a.m.

— Massachusetts Cultural Council, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Adam Hinds hold an event to celebrate a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox, 1:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Receiving, Medical and Regional Lock-Up Facility for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, 5 Paul X Tivnan Dr., West Boylston, 2 p.m.

— Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Kimberly Budd leads a swearing-in ceremony for 22 Boston high school students who have been selected to participate in this year’s Boston Judicial Youth Corps (JYC) program, John Adams Courthouse, Seven Justice Courtroom, Boston, 3:30 p.m.

— Senate President Harriette Chandler receives the ‘Friend of Forsyth’ award in a closed-press event at the Forsyth Institute, an independent research institute, 245 First St., Cambridge, 4 p.m.

Jim Braude hosts a televised debate between Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie, Democrat candidates for governor, ahead of the state Democratic convention, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 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

Happy Longfellow Bridge Reopening Day

After years of construction work and traffic snarls, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that, yes, finally, the refurbished Longfellow Bridge linking Boston and Cambridge will reopen this morning, or, in DOT parlance, the bridge will reach its “full beneficial use.”


Lawmakers seek to rein in Meehan’s future empire building at UMass

As angry UMass-Boston faculty and students demand that university officials help the beleaguered Boston school, as the Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan reports, state lawmakers want to put a leash on UMass president Marty Meehan’s ability to spend millions of dollars on future real estate transactions and spending in general within the five-campus system, reports the Herald’s Hillary Chabot. Needless to say, it all ties back to the UMass-Amherst’s takeover of Mount Ida College.

Meanwhile, UMass defends its out-of-state admissions policy

On another UMass front, Michelle Williams at MassLive reports: “Following the release of a report critical of the number of out-of-state students accepted into the University of Massachusetts system, the school is defending its admission record. ‘The university’s enrollment of out-of-state students has increased as state support for UMass has stagnated,’ UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said.” Needless to say, it always comes back to state spending levels.


Rockland selectwoman withdraws from House race after asking for harassment probe of town official

This is a strange one. From Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger: “Selectman Deirdre Hall has withdrawn her candidacy for state representative after asking the board to open an investigation into the behavior of Town Administrator Allan Chiocca. The board announced Tuesday that Chiocca has been placed on paid administrative leave and an independent investigator has been hired. Hall took to Facebook on Wednesday to announce she asked selectmen to investigate after an incident she said involved inappropriate behavior toward her by Chiocca.”

She says she’s withdrawing from the race in order to “prioritize my needs and those of my family.” The folks at TurtleboySports.com are hinting at other possible motives.

Ironic aside: The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has a story this morning with the headline: ‘Voters favor women who will fight harassment, poll finds.’ Though apparently there won’t be a fight in Rockland this fall.

Patriot Ledger

Dear New Englanders: Feel free to blame Andrew Cuomo for your high natural gas and electric rates

Rob Ortt, a Republican state senator from western New York, writes at CommonWealth magazine that New England can blame New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the region’s high electric and home-heating prices because “our governor has been absolutely dead-set on stopping any and every natural gas pipeline infrastructure expansion.” We’re not sure if we can trust the word of an “unapologetic” Bills and Sabres fan, but at least he’s not a Jets and Rangers fan.


The curious case of Beacon Hill lawmakers allowing Charlie Baker to raise funds to his heart’s content

The Globe’s Frank Phillips takes a look at how Democrats on Beacon Hill could, if they so wished, throw a wrench in Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s fundraising juggernaut – but they aren’t doing so for reasons hard to explain.

Boston Globe

One toke over the line in Lowell could cost you $300

Under the state’s new legalized marijuana law, you can smoke joints to your heart’s content at home, but not in public – and certainly not in public in Lowell. Rick Sobey at the Lowell Sun reports that the city council has approved a measure that would slap a fine of up to $300 on anyone caught smoking marijuana while walking through a park, standing on a sidewalk or bogarting a joint in other public places.

Lowell Sun

Hampshire Council of Governments member: Time to close shop

You know things aren’t going well when the person who’s supposed to find a way to keep an entity solvent effectively concludes the situation is hopeless. From Jim Russell at MassLive: “Russell Peotter, who chaired a Hampshire Council of Governments committee charged with figuring out a way to keep the financially struggling agency afloat, announced his resignation last week and recommended dissolving the organization, saying, ‘no one is coming to the aid of HCG.’”


The mice that roared: Warren’s GOP opponents gird for battle

As U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren prepares to officially launch her re-election campaign tomorrow, her Republican opponents are planning to attack her on “everything from her divisive rhetoric to missing out on Memorial Day parades,” reports the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld. Missing out on Memorial Day parades? No, not that!

Actually, Republican Senate candidate John Kingston says he’ll do more than criticize Warren over her Memorial Day parade attendance. He plans to launch a $500,000 ad campaign this summer directly aimed at Warren’s ‘divisive’ style of politics, Matt Stout reports at the Globe.

State Reps. Moran and Holmes question Beth Israel-Lahey merger

It’s a little late in the merger process, but they’re not giving up. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “Two state representatives are calling for a more transparent review of the planned merger between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health and three other hospitals, saying they’re concerned the deal will raise health care costs in the state. State representatives Frank Moran, from Lawrence, and Russell Holmes, from Mattapan, both wrote letters to Attorney General Maura Healey and to the Health Policy Commission saying the deal would affect residents in their districts.”


Poll: Voters back ‘millionaire’s tax’ and sales tax rollback

The so-called millionaire’s tax proposal possibly headed to voters in November continues to have strong support, Steve Brown reports at WBUR citing a new poll conducted by MassInc. In the latest poll, 77 percent of voters say they back the 4 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million, with just 18 percent opposed. A proposed sales tax rollback, meanwhile, has the support of 67 percent of voters. As Brown notes, if both questions pass it would mean a new mix of revenue sources for the state but could actually be a wash revenue-wise. 


Upon further examination: Medical Examiner director’s questionable credentials

Another day, another false credentials claim, or so it appears. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “A top official at the taxpayer-funded agency responsible for investigating violent and unexplained deaths asserts she has a master’s degree from Northeastern University, but the school says it has no record of her earning a graduate degree.”

Fyi: The other day Stout was revealing the questionable claims by Juana B. Matias, a Democratic candidate in the Third Congressional District, that she’s a practicing attorney.

The Chapman fallout: Baker to seek tougher penalties for serial sex offenders

Amid the furor over the planned release of serial child rapist Wayne Chapman, Gov. Charlie Baker says his office will make recommendations to toughen state laws regarding serial sex offenders, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more.

Separately, the Department of Corrections says it does not support the release of Chapman but emphasizes it is legally barred from opposing him being set free, Jill Harmacinski reports in the Eagle-Tribune. Meanwhile, a judge is ordering that officials file a clear, non-redacted report explaining exactly why Chapman is psychologically fit to be released back into society, reports the Herald’s Joe Dwinell.

House and Senate split over civics-lesson legislation

Lawmakers agree that children need to be taught old-fashioned civics lessons in school, but the House and Senate are now in disagreement over whether it should be a requirement for graduation, the Associated Press is reporting at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Tale of two governors: Mitt Romney’s reboot on Trump … and Baker’s non-reboot on Trump

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is going after former Gov. Mitt Romney for his latest reboot, i.e. not wanting his grandkids to view Donald Trump as role model while praising Trump’s policies at the same time. From Joan: “And so it goes. Another Republican, once horrified by Trump, now buys into his party’s deal with the devil.”

In contrast, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who has long been horrified by Trump, is still horrified by Trump, or at least he agrees with the notion that Trump has contributed to the crassness of public discourse, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.

Flake at Harvard Law commencement: ‘We may have hit bottom’

Speaking of our glorious leader in the White House (without actually naming him), we missed this one from the other day at WBUR, i.e. U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s commencement address at Harvard Law School, where he told grads that the “good news” is that “we may have hit bottom” and that our nation’s leadership “can’t get much worse.” 


The tally is in: Lawmakers back $50M in new fees

The Globe’s Joshua Miller has added up all the new fees contained in the recently passed House and Senate budgets and the grand total comes to … drumroll, please … $50 million. Gov. Charlie Baker is not expected to go along with some, if not most, of the fee increases, Miller notes.

Boston Globe

Offshore wind farm will offer ‘terrific pricing,’ Baker says

One of the big knocks against the now defunct Cape Wind project was its exorbitantly high costs and electric rates. But Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday sounded like that won’t be the problem after the new Vineyard Wind project is up and running. “I think people are going to be really surprised by what they see here,” Baker said on WGBH radio. “We’re going to be able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time give homeowners and businesses in Massachusetts terrific pricing.” SHNS’s Colin Young has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Another sheriff’s department launches drug-addiction treatment program

This is becoming a trend (and a welcome one). Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi yesterday announced his office is launching the area’s only treatment facility for opioid addicts seeking recovery, including making 86 beds available for treatment in Springfield and Ludlow, reports Patrick Johnson at MassLive.

The western Massachusetts initiative came a day after Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins announced his office has teamed up with AdCare to provide peer-led recovery groups, mental and physical health education, and referrals for anti-opioids medication, as SHNS’s Andy Metzger reported at the Berkshire Eagle.

Hold off on those gondola plans …

No development, no gondola. That’s the bottom line. From Globe’s Jon Chesto: “Millennium Partners, which has proposed running a gondola from a massive new “innovation” campus it wants to build in the industrial park to South Station, has been unable to reach a deal with a major business partner and is at risk of losing its development rights to another parcel that is part of its sprawling development plan.”

Boston Globe

New business coalition to target health-care costs, starting with unnecessary emergency-room trips

Every little bit helps. From Martha Bebinger at WBUR: “Business leaders in Massachusetts often list rising health care costs as a top concern. Now 20 groups — representing restaurants, retailers, manufacturers and bankers — have formed a coalition to reduce health costs. And they’ve selected their first target: avoidable emergency room visits.” 


Mohegan Sun asks court to yank Wynn’s casino license

Granted, this is a legal crap shoot by a casino rival, but it’s still an interesting crap shoot. From Jordan Graham: “Mohegan Sun is asking a judge to throw out the coveted casino license awarded to Wynn Resorts nearly four years ago, claiming the Gaming Commission failed to properly investigate the casino company and its now former CEO, Steve Wynn, including rumors of rampant sexual harassment.”

Boston Herald

So sad: Smith & Wesson CEO shoots down students’ prom invite

A group of student activists spurred into action after the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting returned to the Springfield headquarters of Smith & Wesson on Wednesday hoping to invite the company’s CEO to prom—and an open discussion about gun violence. But they only got as far as the lobby before they were asked to leave the property, Dave Canton reports at MassLive. 


Apollo Club of Boston in Concert

Friends of Nahant Public Library

Boston Wear Orange Party at Lena Park Community Development Center

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Today’s Headlines


Mattapan trolley report delayed again – CommonWealth Magazine

Millennium’s grand vision for Boston industrial park hits a snag – Boston Globe


Layoffs begin amid Methuen school budget battle – Eagle-Tribune

Salem officials question pot commissioner – Salem News

Seth Moulton endorses Josh Zakim in race for secretary of state – Boston Globe

City Council president: Loan may not cover Lynn’s budget deficit – Lynn Item


Trump’s ‘spy gate’ offensive loses steam – Politico

After years of GOP resistance, Virginia assembly approves Medicaid expansion – Washington Post

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