Happening Today

Baker at BIO 2018, Cannabis Commission, nomination papers

— The 2018 BIO Convention continues today at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, with Gov. Charle Baker opening remarks at 9 a.m. and with Kraft Group president Jonathan Kraft and Bill Sibold, the head of Sanofi Genzyme, talking about ‘the business of biotech and sports’ at 12:30 p.m., among other events throughout the day.  

— The MassDOT Finance and Audit Committee meets to discuss the fiscal 2019 budget, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Sen. Michael Barrett, Rep. Jennifer Benson and members of the Climate Action Business Association speak at a carbon pricing lobby day, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m.

— The MassDOT Capital Programs Committee meets to discuss Focus40, the draft capital investment plan, a bridge replacement project in Agawam/West Springfield and the statewide pedestrian plan, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets, Health Policy Commission conference room, 8th floor, 50 Milk St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Secretary of Education James Peyser and Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Thomas Weber discuss educational progress in the western part of the state, 500 Easthampton Rd., Holyoke, 11:30 a.m.

— Sen. Sal DiDomenico and the Massachusetts Production Coalition hold a panel discussion titled ‘The Film & Television Industry: What it Means for Massachusetts,’ Room 428, 12:30 p.m.

Nomination papers with certified signatures must be filed with the secretary of state’s office for party candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer, by 5 p.m.

— State Auditor Suzanne Bump attends the Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems Conference Reception and Banquet, Cape Cod Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Ave., Hyannis, 5:30 p.m.

— The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health honors House Speaker Robert DeLeo with its Friend and Leader Award during an annual dinner event, Seaport Hotel, One Seaport Ln., Boston, 6 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito attend the BIO Convention’s Celebrating Leaders Reception, where Baker will receive the Governor of the Year Award in recognition of his contributions to the biotech sector in Massachusetts, Moakley Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, 6:15 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

Comptroller launches massive audit of untaxed state-employee perks

Afraid the state could get socked with a huge back-taxes bill from the Internal Revenue Service, Comptroller Thomas Shack has launched a “sweeping investigation to root out untaxed perks given to public employees across the Commonwealth, following revelations that the state had failed to pay taxes on tens of millions of dollars in commuting perks for State Police troopers,” reports the Globe’s Kay Lazar. We’re talking 151 state agencies that cover more than 96,000 employees.

Boston Globe

So how big of a deal is the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado ruling?

As the NYT reports, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Most agree the ruling was “narrow” in scope – but how narrow and what are the  implications?

The Globe’s Martin Finucane reports the case “sends a signal to state anti-discrimination officials to tread carefully” when it comes to issues involving religion. The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins writes that some worry the ruling could “spur more litigation in an effort to create much wider religious rights exceptions to state anti-bias laws — including those in Massachusetts.” The Rev. Irene Monroe tells WGBH’s ‘Boston Public Radio’ the ruling is more broad than many think. “What we see here is codifying discrimination,” Monroe said.  Kevin Franck at the Herald agrees the ruling is a major deal to the LGBT community. But Michael Graham at the Herald says the decision was actually a blow against “anti-religious” bigots.

MBTA takes another stab at last-night service

If at first you don’t succeed … From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The MBTA, which scrubbed its previous incarnation of late-night service in March 2016, is trying again, but this time using a cautious, incremental approach that will rely exclusively on buses and target employees working odd-hour shifts at the airport, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and other businesses that work through the night.” The T is also experimenting with early morning service. 

Fyi: Mohl has a separate story on how the T’s paratransit partnership with Uber and Lyft is continuing to grow. Fyi II: Mohl has yet another T-related story, this one about how Fred Salvucci, the state’s former transportation czar, traces the decline of the MBTA to the early years of the administration of former Gov. William Weld.


SJC justice refuses to block Wayne Chapman’s release

From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Marie Szaniszlo: “Serial child rapist Wayne W. Chapman can be let out of prison, a single Supreme Judicial Court justice ruled yesterday in a decision that a lawyer for four victims said she is refusing to accept. ‘We’re not done fighting,’ said Wendy Murphy, who filed an emergency injunction to put the case before the entire seven-member SJC. She said Chapman can’t be released until that appeal is heard.” In an editorial, the Herald is blasting yesterday’s ruling. The Associated Press at WBUR has more on the controversial case.

Should a drug relapse be a punishable offense?

Speaking of the Supreme Judicial Court, the New York Times has a story this morning on the case of Julie Eldred, the Massachusetts woman who relapsed into drugs while on probation and who is now arguing the terms of her probation amounted to cruel and unusual punishment for an offender with a substance use disorder. The question is now before the SJC in “a case that may have widespread ripples, as hundreds of thousands of addicted people tumble into the criminal justice system,” as the Times reports.


Introducing UMass-Boston’s latest interim president: Katherine Newman

The Globe’s Laura Krantz takes a look at UMass-Boston’s soon-to-be (and latest) interim president, Katherine Newman, who doesn’t seem fazed at all about taking over one of the more dysfunctional public institutions in the state. “I think there is a lot of trust to be rebuilt; that doesn’t daunt me,” she says.

Boston Globe

Orchard owner issues ultimate threat if town backs off pot-farm deal: A 40B housing project

The owner of a 94-acre apple orchard in Charlton where a $100 million pot-growing operation is planned is letting the town’s leadership know he won’t be happy if they back out of their tentative agreement with the would-be buyer. The Telegram’s Debbie LaPlaca reports that in a letter to selectmen, property owner Nathan Benjamin pleaded with the board not to reverse its decision in the face of mounting public pressure and made it clear he’d find another use for the property if they do. His ultimate threat: a 40B affordable housing project on the site.


Anti-pot activist: West Springfield mayor should resign if tax-revenue projections are off

Speaking of commercial-pot controversies, West Springfield Mayor William C. Reichelt is aggressively pushing a plan to allow two commercial marijuana facilities in town. But an anti-pot activist says the mayor’s projection that the facilities will raise $1 million in annual tax revenue is “dramatically inflated” and he should resign if it turns out he’s wrong, reports Conor Berry at MassLive. The number does sound a little high.


Rockland town administrator denies inappropriate behavior toward selectwoman

The drama in Rockland continues. From a report at Wicked Local: “Town Administrator Allan Chiocca has denied behaving inappropriately toward a town selectwoman and says he supports the ongoing investigation into his conduct. In a statement issued Monday, Attorney Adam Shafran said Chiocca plans to cooperate with an investigator hired by selectmen and help the town reach an ‘honest and truthful resolution to this matter.’”

Wicked Local

Summers: Trump’s trade policies are a strategic mess

Larry Summers, an economist and former Harvard University president, puts aside the arguments for and against President Trump’s controversial trade policies, focusing instead on whether there’s a coherent strategic end game in mind. He finds none, unless Trump’s sole purpose is to divide friends and unite enemies.

Washington Post

Warren on Trump’s self-pardon claim: ‘No one is above the law, and that includes the president’

We have a hunch a former Harvard Law School professor probably knows more about these legal matters than a former real estate and casino developer. But we could be wrong. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “After President Donald Trump said he has the power to pardon himself, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, responded that no one is above the law. ‘President Trump seems to believe that he gets to make up all the rules,’ Warren told reporters in Boston. ‘He’s wrong. No one is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States.’”

Here’s a NYT story on the breath-taking claim by Trump and his lawyers.


Back to the campaign drawing board for Galvin? No way, he says

More than a few observers wonder how Secretary of State William Galvin, who was embarrassed over the weekend when Democratic delegates opted to endorse progressive upstart Josh Zakim over Galvin, might reboot his campaign between now and the September primary election. But Galvin says he isn’t into fancy campaign recalibrations, reports Milton Valencia at the Globe. “I’m going to do what I always do, which is run on my record,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peter Lucas at the Herald writes that Galvin actually has a major name-recognition problem on his hands. 

Delegate protests ‘extreme disparity’ in seating at state Dem convention

Speaking of the state Democratic convention, there’s a reason why tickets for arena football at Worcester’s DCU Center range from $72 to $7: Some seats are better than others – and Pablo at Blue Mass Group isn’t happy with the nose-bleed $7 seats assigned to Fourth Middlesex delegates at this past weekend’s convention, while the apparent fat cats from Worcester, Norfolk, Suffolk and other districts got the front-row $72 seats.

Blue Mass Group

Joyce’s trial delayed as he sells off his old law office

We’d be interested to see how he advertised the sale (if you know what we mean). From SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local: “As he awaits trial on a raft of corruption charges, former state Sen. Brian Joyce has reached an agreement to sell his Canton law office, has successfully petitioned the court to ease restrictions on his travel and has had his case delayed about two months.” Matt Stout at the Globe reports Joyce had a little help from his wife in the sale. He explains.

Wicked Local

Christmas in June: Borrowing bill is stuffed with goodies

The House tomorrow plans to take up a $3.87 billion borrowing bill for various facility repairs and capital needs – and lawmakers have been busy packing it with all sorts of district and regional earmark goodies, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Fall River Herald News. Among other things, the legislation calls for $10 million for a final environmental impact report for the proposed North-South Rail Link. Fall River seems particularly excited about funding for the Bristol Aggie project.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Getting ready for Thanksgiving? State wants to know how many turkeys are in Massachusetts

From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “Turkeys are on the move in Massachusetts, and state wildlife officials want to know how many of them are out there. The state’s Division of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking hunters, bird enthusiasts and others to help them out with their annual turkey brood survey.”


More résumé padding in the Third?

Matt Stout at the Globe appears to have nabbed yet another Third Congressional District candidate padding her résumé, this time Lori Trahan, who has touted herself as a “founder of a women-owned company.” No quite, as Stout reports.

Boston Globe

As American Airlines adds second daily flight out of Worcester, Massport expresses concern about JetBlue service

American Airlines has decided it will launch not one but two daily flights between Worcester Regional Airport and Philadelphia, starting this October, in another sign of the airport’s rejuvenation of late, Lisa Eckelbecker reports at the Telegram. But Massport, which owns the airport, is “concerned with the cancellations and delays of the JetBlue flights” to and from Worcester and New York’s JFK Airport, reports Walter Bird Jr.at Worcester Magazine.

State officials trying to lure Army’s ‘Future Command’ headquarters to Boston

Amazon’s HQ2 isn’t the only headquarters sweepstakes that state and city officials are engaged in these days. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh planned to meet yesterday with U.S. Army officials in an attempt to convince the Army to located its new Futures Command headquarters in Boston. Boston is reportedly up against other cities for the prize, including, well, just about every major metropolitan area in the U.S.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Lively files suit against Baker and state GOP

Extreme conservative Scott Lively, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, obviously didn’t get the seven “concessions” he demand from state Republicans in return for him not filing a suit against the party. So yesterday, as he vowed, Lively filed a $7 million lawsuit against Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts GOP, claiming the party violated its own bylaws by helping Baker’s re-election campaign, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.


Wendell voters may send message on state seal

In addition to the usual town meeting fare, voters in the tiny Franklin County town of Wendell (population: 886) will take up an issue that stretches beyond the rural community’s borders — whether to support an effort to change the official seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mary Serreze reports at MassLive. If the non-binding resolution is approved, the town would lend its backing to legislation already filed that would alter the seal—which Gov, John Hancock adopted in 1780—on the grounds that it depicts native American Indians in a defeated, submissive posture. Btw: Voters will also take up a resolution that would call on the U.S. to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war. 


Those recycling blues …

The Globe’s David Abel takes a look at the growing recycling problem across the state – and we literally mean growing, as in tons and tons of non-recyclable waste now piling up a recycling plants due to changes in China’s policies toward importing such materials.

Boston Globe

AgTech Nexus USA 2018

AgTech Nexus USA is a two-day conference where agribusinesses, investors, and tech companies will be immersed in the innovations and investment opportunities surrounding this exciting sector.

AgTech Nexus

Educational Program on Guardianship Set for Brockton

Guardian Community Trust, a nonprofit created to improve the lives of seniors and individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts, is partnering with the VA Boston Healthcare System, Brockton Campus, to convene an educational program for local caregivers about resources and tools for enabling care in the community, including guardianship and alternatives to guardianship.

Guardian Community Trust

The Business of Pride

Join the Boston Business Journal as we present our second Business of Pride event. This celebration will recognize the LGBT businesses in our community and their commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce. This year’s program includes a brand-new component: The 2018 LGBT Corporate Ally Awards – recognizing a company that demonstrates commitment to the LGBT community. Don’t miss this event!

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Cambridge-based insurance marketplace EverQuote files for $75M IPO – Boston Business Journal

At UMass Boston a new interim chancellor faces daunting challenges – Boston Globe


Worcester chief says body cameras for police are still in the works – Telegram & Gazette

Pet shop bylaw rejected in Plainville – Sun Chronicle

Pioneer: UMass has a spending problem – CommonWealth Magazine


Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Attempted Witness Tampering – New York Times

Aide: EPA’s Pruitt sought used Trump hotel mattresses – WGBH

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