UMass board, Senate session, State Police awards, and more
— University of Massachusetts board of trustees meets at UMass Dartmouth with plans to vote on the 2018-2019 tuition for the UMass Medical School, UMass Dartmouth, Woodland Commons, 285 Old Westport Rd., North Dartmouth, 9 a.m.
— The Joint Committee on Revenue meets for a public hearing on four bills related to local matters, Hearing Room B-2, 10 a.m. Senate is scheduled to meet in formal session, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— The Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts plans to bring together Worcester’s college presidents, employees and others for a ‘Day on the Hill,’ with invited speakers including Senate President Harriette Chandler, Worcester State University President Barry Maloney, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and others, Room 428, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett and State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin at the Massachusetts State Police Spring Awards Ceremony, Grand Staircase, 11:15 a.m.
— Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition and other groups hold a protest calling on lawmakers to ‘protect immigrant families, 12:30 p.m.
— Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women holds its annual Unsung Heroines Awards Ceremony, with Senate President Harriette Chandler scheduled to speak, Great Hall, 1:20 p.m.
— A labor coalition pushing to pass a ‘wage theft’ bill expects hundreds of protesters to turn out for a march and rally in Boston, Boston City Hall, 3:15 p.m., State House steps, 4:15 p.m.
— MassINC’s Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and Dan Hodge of Hodge Economic Consulting discuss recent research on transit-oriented development potential around Springfield’s Union Station, Theodore’s BBQ, 201 Worthington St., Springfield, 6 p.m.
— Parenting Journey hosts its first Breakfast of Family Champions benefit dinner to honor members of the community who work to empower families, including Linda Dorcena Forry, the former state senator and current vice president for diversity inclusion and community relations at Suffolk Construction, and former city councilor and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson, The Lighthouse, 50 Milk St., 20th Floor, Boston, 6 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.
House approves health-care bill with $337M in new assessments
The House last night approved a sweeping health-care cost reform bill that includes a $337 million assessment on insurers and large hospitals to help struggling community hospitals, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton reports at New Boston Post. That assessment was smaller than the originally proposed $450 million, the result of an amendment offered by Rep. David Nangl during yesterday’s House debate. The bill is now likely headed for a conference committee with the Senate, which passed its own health-care bill late last year.
Before last evening’s vote, the insurance industry was warning that the larger assessment could spell trouble for insurers with low reserves, reports Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ.
Toward a grand bargain: A compromise is near on wage, family leave and sales tax issues
The Supreme Judicial Court’s rejection of the millionaire’s-tax ballot question appears to have cleared the legislative logjam at the State House, with lawmakers and interest groups now reporting they’re close to a ‘grand bargain’ that would avert separate referendums on a minimum wage hike, family leave and a sales tax cut, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller. The compromise, which could go before lawmakers later this week if all goes well, would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, eliminate higher Sunday and holiday pay for workers and, over coming years, implement family and medical leave. The deal also would institute a permanent annual sales tax holiday and leave the state’s sales tax at 6.5 percent, Miller reports.
Earlier yesterday, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka had hinted that a major compromise was in the works, reported SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the MetroWest Daily News. CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl had a smart take on the potential for a ‘grand bargain’ before news of a potential breakthrough leaked yesterday
Winchester senator vows to revive millionaire’s tax proposal after SJC’s ruling
Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, has announced he intends to push a new millionaire’s-tax proposal next session, following the Supreme Judicial Court’s rejection of a ballot question that would have slapped a new surtax on the wealthy, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall) and the Herald’s Brian Dowling.
With or without a millionaire’s tax, the Globe’s Shirley Leung writes that progressives and the business community need to work together to find a way to fund education and transportation programs. The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby, meanwhile, is praising the SJC’s rejection of the millionaire’s tax, writing the high court was merely following constitutional law that he says Attorney General Maura Healey had blatantly ignored. It’s not quite an endorsement of a revived millionaire’s tax, but more than half of Massachusetts voters say they’re willing to pay higher local taxes if the money raised was dedicated to improving education, a new WBUR/MassINC poll finds, Mark Degon reports.
Rosenberg and Hefner hit with lawsuit over alleged sexual assaults
A former legislative aide is suing Bryon Hefner and former Senate President Stan Rosbenberg, saying that he was sexually assaulted at least three times by Hefner and that Hefner’s husband, Rosenberg, “knew or was aware” of the “lascivious conduct,” reports the Globe’s Matt Stout and the Herald’s Laurel Sweet. The civil suit by “John Doe” was filed last week by the man’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, best known as the attorney for victims in the Catholic priests sexual-abuse scandals.
Hospital hit with allegation of sexual misconduct against unconscious patients
We thought we’d seen it all. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “Southcoast Health System has fired two employees and completed a review of its workplace policies in the wake of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations that involved not only female employees but also unconscious patients at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. … One employee is alleged to have inappropriately touched female patients’ breasts while they were sedated, the (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) complaint said.”
Clark says she’d ‘politely decline’ campaign assist from Bill Clinton
Elsewhere on the #MeToo front: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark says she does not want former President Bill Clinton to help her campaign for re-election and says other Democrats should likewise ‘politely decline’ any assistance from the onetime Democratic campaign trail star. Clark told WGBH that Clinton has been ‘slow to apologize’ for his actions in the Monica Lewsinsky scandal and “like so many men of considerable power, just really doesn’t understand the ramifications of his actions,” Tori Bedford reports.
Binge worthy reality show: More accusations, animosity and mysteries in Rockland …
The plot continues to thicken in Rockland, where selectmen held a stormy meeting last night, amid the ongoing controversy over what recently transpired between the town administrator and a member of the board during after-hours at the town hall. Erin Tiernan of the Patriot Ledger reports there was even a brief attempted coup to remove board chairman Ed Kimball. One board member stormed out of the meeting, while shouting and heckling ensued after a motion to refer the matter to the police department failed.
After 111 years, GE bounced from Dow, replaced by Walgreens
Since the early 1900s, General Electric was considered such an integral part of the U.S. economy that it was included on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. No longer. The struggling General Electric, which only recently was lured with tax breaks to move to Boston, has been booted from the Dow. The final insult: It’s being replaced by Walgreens. Gina Hall at the BBJ has the details.
Meanwhile, Mass Mutual poised for expansion tax breaks
Let’s hope this tax-break deal works out better than the one handed to GE. From Tim Logan at the Globe: “Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is set Wednesday to receive major tax breaks for a planned expansion in Springfield and Boston. A state board will vote on an anticipated $46 million in tax credits over five years for the insurance giant, which is moving 1,500 jobs to its headquarters in Springfield, and planning to add 800 jobs at a new building in Boston’s Seaport District.”
Senate to debate adding a third ‘X’ gender to driver’s licenses
From Nicole Berlie at WCVB: “Massachusetts legislators are considering a third gender option for driver’s licenses and identification cards. The state Senate plans to debate a bill next Thursday that would allow Massachusetts residents to designate their gender as ‘X’ instead of male or female on driver’s licenses and state ID cards.” The legislation is being pushed by Senate President-elect Karen Spilka and transgender and civil rights advocacy organizations.
Foundation: That huge surge in state revenues may not mean huge budget surplus
Sure, state tax-collection revenues are running nearly $900 million above projections, as of the end of last month, meaning there could be a rather big budget surplus for the state at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, right? Not so fast, says the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which cautions that after mandatory reserve-fund set asides, various spending obligations and budget earmarks etc. the budget surplus may actually be only about $71 million, according to its latest fiscal report.
Immigration protests, Part III: Warren puts hold on nominee, Baker backed by governors, Healey’s condemnation
We’re not quite sure what the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has to do with immigration policies. But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting a hold on President Trump’s nominee to head the agency, saying, among other things, she wants to know if Kathy Kraninger, currently an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, had any role in the controversial policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at the border, reports the Associated Press at the Herald.
Meanwhile, Amanda McGowan at WGBH reports that the governors of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire are backing Gov. Charlie Baker’s refusal to let National Guard troops patrol the southern border as long as the controversial family-separation policy is in place, saying they too would not comply with any request to send guards to the border. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is condemning the Trump administration’s family-separation policy as “immoral and reprehensible,” reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.
He’s back: Hodgson accused of illegally detaining man solely on his immigration status
Speaking of immigration controversies, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is in the immigration news again. From Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “A new civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in Boston’s federal court says Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson detained an immigrant based solely on the man’s immigration status — which is illegal under current law. The complaint also charges that Hodgson has encouraged and condoned his employees detaining immigrants without the clear legal authority to do so.”
Lesley president to step down, citing unspecified health reasons
After just two years serving as president of Lesley University, Jeff Weiss announced yesterday that he will step down at the end of August, due to unspecified health and personal reasons, reports Don Seiffert at the BBJ. Lesley’s interim provost, Richard Hansen, will serve as the interim president effective Sept. 1 .
‘Mayor of Massachusetts’
Peter Lucas at the Lowell Sun detects more than a little statewide political jockeying by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who he dubs the ‘Mayor of Massachusetts,’ not to be confused with the ‘Mayor of America,’ i.e. the late Kevin White.
And the lucky first recipient of a pot license may be … a Milford marijuana grower
Did you really think the first growers license would go to a startup mom-and-pop operation? From SHNS’s Colin Young at the Milford Daily News: “State marijuana regulators are poised Thursday to grant the state’s first legal marijuana business license to a cultivation facility in Milford. An agenda for Thursday’s Cannabis Control Commission meeting includes a vote on granting a license to grow between 10,001 and 20,000 square feet worth of marijuana to Sira Naturals, a company that already grows medical marijuana in Milford.”
After hiring S.C. law firm, Walsh eyes opioids lawsuit by fall
From NBC Boston: “The city of Boston has retained a South Carolina law firm in anticipation of a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies to recover damages stemming from the opioid epidemic, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Tuesday.Motley Rice LLC was selected after Boston heard from nine firms interested in representing the city following a request for information issued in February.” The suit could be filed this fall.
Tired of paying high prices for prescription drugs? Here’s who to blame: PBMs
As lawmakers strive to pass compromise health-care cost reforms this session, Rich Pezzillo, executive director of the New England Hemophilia Association, and Carl M. Sciortino, executive director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, have a suggestion: Focus on Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their insurance company enablers. “Despite the fact that Massachusetts consumers are playing by the rules, paying premiums, trying to stay healthy, the insurers and PBMs are re-writing and breaking the rules” on prescription drugs, they write at CommonWealth magazine.
50th Anniversary Open House Celebration
Join us for refreshments and drinks as we watch short videos, connect with friends, hear from people who’ve been with the UCEDD from the beginning, and learn more about today’s ICI.
Best Places to Work 2018
Join us on June 20th to honor the 2018 Best Places to Work!
Fenway Ball Gala
This event will connect corporate executives and professionals from the real estate industry, business sectors, and Fenway’s renowned institutions – the crucial economic drivers of our region.
Educational Program on Guardianship Set for Holyoke
Guardian Community Trust, a nonprofit created to improve the lives of seniors and individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts, is partnering with WestMass ElderCare in Holyoke, to convene an educational program for caregivers about resources and tools for enabling care in the community, including guardianship and alternatives to guardianship.
Author Talk and Book Signing with Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Author talk and book signing with Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of the new book: Historic New England: A Tour of the Region’s Top 100 National Landmarks
JALSA Distinguished Leadership Award Presentation to Larry Rasky
We are thrilled to share with you the news that Larry Rasky has been named the recipient of the JALSA Distinguished Leadership Award, to be presented by the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action.
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