Happening Today

SJS’s millionaire’s tax ruling, Brighton Marine groundbreaking, MBTA Control Board and more

— The Supreme Judicial Court has reached a decision on the so-called millionaire’s tax and details of its ruling will be publicly released today at 10 a.m.

— State officials and fisheries representatives gather for a meeting of the Massachusetts Fisheries Working Group to discuss topics related to offshore wind development, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth – School for Marine Science and Technology, 706 S Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay gather for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Residences at Brighton Marine, a mixed-income housing development for veterans, 1465 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton, 11 a.m.

Committee on Labor and Workforce Development holds a hearing on a bill on prevailing wages in Wayland, Room B-1, 11 a.m. 

MBTA’s Control Board meets to discuss Focus40, the North-South Rail Link draft study, parking, the Green Line train protection program, a Cabot Yard and maintenance facility construction contract, and professional service agreements, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey makes her regular ‘Ask the AG’ appearance on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:45 p.m.

— Sen. Marc Pacheco hosts a clean energy future advocacy day, Room 428, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and other legislative leaders are expected to hold a regular leadership meeting, Senate President’s Office, Room 332, 2 p.m.

— Senate President Harriette Chandler participates in a Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund ‘speak out’ event on the Healthy Youth Act, Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, 90 Holden St., Worcester, 5:30 p.m.

— Former governor and presidential nominee Michael Dukakis discusses health care, transportation, immigration and elections with the organization South Shore Action, Old Ship Meeting House 107 Main St., Hingham, 6:30 p.m.

For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below

Today’s Stories

Tick tock: Supreme Judicial Court to announce millionaire’s tax ruling at 10 a.m.

The Supreme Judicial Court has indeed made a decision on whether the proposed millionaire’s tax can appear on the November ballot, according to its web site (Anderson v. Attorney General). But the ruling won’t be officially released till 10 a.m., according to the Globe’s Jon Chesto and Joshua Miller, who report: “If Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and the court’s six associate justices strike the question on constitutional grounds, it will be a crushing defeat for progressive activists and organized labor groups and will remove a volatile issue from this fall’s election. It would also be a boon for the business groups that brought the challenge of the tax question to the state’s highest court.”

Immigration protests, Part II: The opposition grows

The Trump administration’s policy (and, no, it’s not the Democrats’ policy) of separating immigrant children from parents at the border continues to draw criticism from leaders from across the political spectrum, including former First Lady Laura Bush and even Melania Trump, for slightly different reasons, the NYT reports.

Locally, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III was among those protesting at the Texas border yesterday, according to reports at the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is ripping into the policy, describing it as a “disgrace to our nation,” reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling the policy “immoral,” reports Jordan Graham at the Herald. But the Washington Post is reporting that, while Democrats intensify their fight, hard-core proponents of the separation policy appear to be digging in their heels. As we noted last week, this one has really hit a societal nerve.

Harvard’s Asian-American problem

The admissions discrimination lawsuit against Harvard, filed by a group representing Asian-American students, took a strange turn late last week, when it was revealed in court documents that Harvard actually rated Asian-American students lower on their “positive personality” traits compared to other students, reports the New York Times and the Boston Globe. The legal team representing the Asian-American students are now demanding a summary judgement in the case, saying the documents prove beyond doubt that discrimination occurred. We’d beg to differ – and so does Harvard itself and Janelle Wong and David Silver in an op-ed piece at the Globe.

We would hope that Harvard, as well as all other colleges, take into consideration all sorts of factors beyond students’ SAT and GPA scores. Admissions can’t, and shouldn’t be, strictly based on statistical merits alone, as the plaintiffs seem to be arguing. Diversity, and not just ethnic and gender diversity, does matter. But Harvard’s own statistical research into its admissions policies and results is still weird, leaving a trail of statistical stereotypes that doesn’t reflect well on its admissions process. Read the Times and Globe stories and decide for yourself. The BBJ’s Max Stendhal has more on the legal wrangling.

After harsh criticism, Whittier Street Health decides not to lay off 20 workers

The pressure from protesters worked. From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Three days after Whittier Street Health Center announced that it would lay off 20 employees in the midst of a unionization effort, the community health center reversed the cuts. In a statement on Sunday, the organization’s president and CEO,  Frederica Williams credited Mayor Martin J. Walsh.”


‘Globe’s Kevin Cullen suspended for three months for his big mouth after Marathon bombings, not his columns’

The headline from Universal Hub is actually accurate: Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, who’s been on paid leave of absence following controversies over his columns and public statements, was officially hit with a unpaid three-month suspension after an investigation found he fabricated tales of sorrow and heroics while giving radio interviews and making other public comments in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, as the Globe’s Michael Levenson reports. But the two-track investigation found no such problems in his actual newspaper columns, though he did make one whopper of a claim that wasn’t corrected immediately. The BBJ’s Don Seiffert has more.

On second thought: Rockland selectwomen drops effort to block video release

Rockland Selectwoman Deirdre Hall has dropped her opposition to block public release of Town Hall surveillance footage that shows an encounter she had with the town administrator that has become the focus of cross-accusations of wrongdoing. Jessica Trufant of the Patriot Ledger reports Hall’s attorneys dropped her petition to the court just hours before a scheduled hearing before a judge on Friday. Meanwhile, the town says it must now investigate claims the surveillance footage was tampered with before it can respond to a public-records request from the newspaper to release the video.  

Patriot Ledger

Got it: It’s a ‘market-based compliance system,’ not a ‘carbon tax’

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that Sen. Marc Pacheco insists that what sure looks like a “carbon tax” in a Senate energy bill passed last week is actually a “market-based compliance system” that deals with “pricing.” Anyway, Mohl, in a separate story, has more on the Senate’s passage of the non-carbon-tax carbon tax contained in a comprehensive energy bill passed late last week.


How to win popularity contests: Run as moderate Republican in a Democratic state – or fire up the dominant base

It might seem odd that the state’s two most popular pols, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Elizabeth Warren, have little in common when it comes to temperament, style and policies. But the Globe’s James Pindell says it’s actually not that odd at all: “A look around the country shows that the Massachusetts experience is part of a trend. There are two ways a politician can be extremely popular: be a moderate Republican in a Democratic state or be someone with a strong appeal to the base of the state’s dominant party, whether Democratic or Republican.”

Boston Globe

Former state Democratic chairman: Baker can be beat, really, truly, no kidding

Speaking of Gov. Baker’s popularity, John Walsh, the former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and past campaign manager for former Gov. Deval Patrick, lists all the reasons why the Republican Baker is vulnerable in this year’s gubernatorial election. Writing at CommonWealth magazine, he makes some valid points, but seems to stretch the arguments more than a wee bit, like how the millions upon millions of dollars that Baker has raised actually reveal weakness. You decide.

Meanwhile, Kevin Franck at the Herald writes that Scott Lively, Baker’s rival in the GOP gubernatorial primary, is simply not ready for the Corner Office. Kevin’s right, of course. But does that matter to some Republicans? See post below.

Say what you will about Trump, he’s delivering the goods to his base

This is a terrific story by the Globe’s Matt Viser that shows why Donald Trump is now so popular among Republicans: He’s delivering the red-meat goods to the Republican base. Sure, he’s also delivering almost daily embarrassments and regularly veering off on non-GOP tangents. But the base doesn’t care – and that’s going to make it difficult for Democrats during this fall’s mid-terms and the 2020 presidential election, according to political observers.

Boston Globe

Historic portions of Calvin’s Coolidge ‘summer White House’ will be preserved

In exchange for allowing demolition work to start earlier than previously allowed, the re-developer of Swampscott’s White Court building, which once served as President Calvin Coolidge’s ‘summer White House,’ has agreed to preserve aspects of the historic structure for prosperity, reports William Dowd at Wicked Local. The compromise is being described as a “literally historic agreement” that officials hope will end controversy over the proposed redevelopment project.

Wicked Local

As Rhode Island legislative session draws to a close, Worcester continues to woo PawSox

With Rhode Island lawmakers preparing to wrap up their legislative session with no agreement on funding for a new Pawtucket Red Sox bill, Worcester officials continue to hold talks and host visits from team officials, Walter Bird Jr. reports in Worcester Magazine. PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino was in the city Friday for talks, Bird reports, adding that we could know soon whether such interactions were just meant to light a fire under Ocean State lawmakers or to actually hammer out a deal.

Worcester Magazine

With eye on casino opening, Springfield mulls vaping regulations

Some Springfield city councilors want the city to enact regulations that ban vaping in public spaces, including the soon-to-open MGM Springfield casino, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive. MGM says it does not plan to prohibit vaping in its facilities but adds it would comply with local regulations if they are put in place. 


Happy Father’s Day: Seth Moulton and his wife announce they are expecting their first child

Congratulations to the future proud parents. From the AP at WBUR: “U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton used Father’s Day to announce some personal news. Moulton said he and his wife Liz Boardman are expecting their first child — a girl — in the fall. The Massachusetts Democrat made the announcement in a not-so-cryptic post on Twitter on Sunday.” Check out the story for more on the “not-so-cryptic” hint.


The state’s emerging pot industry: High demand but low supply of banks, women and retail shops

As the Cannabis Control Commission struggles to get the first retail marijuana retail shop up and running by July 1 (a very tall order at this point), it looks like consumers, whenever they can legally start buying pot, will probably have to pay cash for their weed. The Globe’s Dan Adams reports on the ongoing reluctance of banks and other financial institutions to have anything to do with legal marijuana. Meanwhile, Mary Markos at the Herald reports that “women looking to break into the legal weed business are bumping up against a green ceiling.”

Survey: Loosen up those alcohol laws, please

As for the state’s already established liquor industry, Consumer First, a group backed by Total Wine & More, is touting a new online survey that shows an overwhelming a majority of respondents believe the state’s liquor laws are in desperate need of reform. Specifically, the survey shows support for retailer backed coupons and customer loyalty programs when purchasing beer, wine and spirits. If you recall, Total Wine, which is the nation’s largest retailer of beer, wine, and liquor, has effectively declared total war on the state’s alcohol regulatory system, as the Globe reported last year.

Selfless gift: Nucci to received lifesaving kidney from florist

Former Boston city councilor John Nucci has finally found someone willing to donate to him a lifesaving kidney:  Kerri Abrams, a 37-year-old florist from Arlington. Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald has more.

Boston Herald

Report: VA knew about its nursing homes woes

The Veterans Administration has known for years about the widespread problems at its nursing homes and yet failed to alert the public about their documented shortcomings, reports the Globe’s Andrea Estes and Donovan Slack. The release of nursing-home rating documents only came after the Globe and USA Today started asking questions about the secrecy surrounding what the VA knew – and the release came too late for World War II veteran Rosario “Russ” Bonanno.

Boston Globe

State trooper and firefighter harassment-allegation updates

From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “A state police sergeant is suing the embattled agency and one of its troopers over claims she’s being punished for blowing the whistle on files of porn she found while on the job at the academy. The officer, in the suit filed (Friday) in Suffolk Superior Court, accuses the state police of going after her for a ‘romantic relationship’ she broke off after the discovery of porn on a portable hard drive at the New Braintree academy in 2016.”

Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Meghan Irons: “An outside counsel hired by the city to independently review the Boston Fire Department’s handling of harassment and misconduct allegations has a long history of representing City Hall in employment disputes — including a current racial harassment case involving a black male firefighter.”

Climate-change flood watch: Hull, Nahant, Winthrop et gang, break out the life preservers

WBUR’s Simon Rios and the Globe’s Tim Logan reports that tens of thousands of homes in Massachusetts could face chronic flooding in coming decades due to rising seas, including homes in Hull, Winthrop, Revere, Nahant and Marshfield, based on the findings contained in a new report.

Of salaries and credit card charges …

The salaries of top brass at quasi-public agencies have ballooned under Gov. Charlie Baker, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot is reporting. Here’s a Herald sampling of some of the salaries, including one for the executive director of the state pension reserve system, who, unless we’re mistaken, actually falls under Treasurer Deb Goldberg.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that Comptrollerr Thomas Shack wants to start posting details of the credit card charges that state employees make on their so-called “P-Cards.” Meals at Davio’s, take-outs from Spinelli’s Ravioli, Uber rides, and JetBlue tickets have been charged in the past on the state cards, reports Dwinell.

Better late than never: Governor signs $500M life-science bill

They had hoped to sign the bill into law during the recent BIO International convention in Boston, but the timing was just off. Still, you can bet the local life-science sectors is happy that Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed the $500 million economic development bill for the life sciences sector. The BBJ’s Max Stendahl has more.


Maria evacuees face uncertain future as housing aid expires

Scores of Puerto Rico residents who fled the hurricane-ravaged island last year will see their state-backed housing subsidies run out at the end of June, and while other state assistance may kick in, many are not sure where they’ll go when the funds that pay for their hotel rooms run out in less than two weeks, Shannon Dooling reports at WBUR. 


2018 Growth Acceleration Summit

This isn’t your typical B2B conference. Here, sales & marketing alignment will be challenged by industry-leading experts who will share insights & tactics to unify teams & reach new business heights – as one.


The State of Our Transportation System with MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack

The State of Our Transportation System – A Briefing by MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack

NAIOP Massachusetts

Getting to the Point with Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Congressman Joe Kennedy III will visit the Institute for a wide-ranging conversation on issues facing our communities today. Congressman Kennedy is in his third term representing the Fourth District of Massachusetts in Congress.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Commonwealth Commentary with Senator Karen Spilka

Senator Karen E. Spilka is the State Senator for the 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway and Natick in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus

Chat & Chowder – Digital World War

This exploitation of social media has had a significant impact on the Muslim world and is often difficult to counter or monitor, raising a very valid concern: how do we fight in this digital war?


Today’s Headlines


Is this the end of the MidTown hotel? – Boston Magazine

Questions raised about City Hall ties of outside counsel investigating fire department – Boston Globe


DraftKings, tech sector lobby for sports betting in Mass. – Boston Herald

‘Grand bargain’ talks on ballot questions fail to produce deal – Eagle-Tribune

Sea level rise could threaten 90,000 homes in Mass., study finds – WBUR

Ad design shakeup sees four laid off at Daily Hampshire Gazette – Daily Hampshire Gazette


‘Zero-tolerance policy means zero humanity’: Democrats decry Trump policy after tour of detention center – Washington Post

Goodbye, Denver Post. Hello, Blockchain – New York Times

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