Happening Today

Automatic voter registration, Governor’s Council, Rosengren lecture

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh provides remarks at the Colonial Theater Ribbon Cutting, Colonial Theater, 106 Boylston St, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Massachusetts School Building Authority Board meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg as chair, 40 Broad St., Boston, 10 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds three meetings today at separate times: The first on the nomination of attorney Michael Welsh to the Palmer District Court bench, 10:30 a.m.; the second for its weekly assembly, 12 p.m.; and the third on the on the nomination of attorney John McKenna as an associate justice of the Westfield District Court, 1:30 p.m. Council Chamber.

The House meets in a full formal session, with conversion therapy and automatic voter registration bills on its agenda, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

Senate Democrats meet privately for a caucus the day before they are expected to take up bills dealing with road safety, ID cards for homeless youth and families, and raising the tobacco age to 21, Senate President’s Office, Room 332, 11 a.m.

— Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company holds a briefing to highlight consumer benefits and value created by municipal utilities, with Senate President Harriette Chandler scheduled to speak, Grand Staircase, 10:30 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey and Everett School Superintendent Frederick Foresteire join middle school students and teachers for a roundtable discussion highlighting the use of Project Here, Whittier School, 337 Broadway St., Everett, 11 a.m.

— Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren provides the 2018 Annual O. John Olcay Lecture on Ethics and Economics, Bergsten Conference Center, 1750 Massachusetts Ave., Washington D.C., 12:30 p.m.

Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation holds a public listening session on land use and demographic trends, UMass Boston, Alumni Lounge in the Campus Center, 1 p.m.

MassDOT convenes the Allston I-90 Intermodal Project Task Force, a stakeholder group to discuss the Massachusetts Turnpike project in Allston, Fiorentino Center, 123 Antwerp St., Brighton, 6 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to join U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, state Sen. Brendan Crighton, Rep. Dan Cahill and Lynn Mayor Tom McGee to help turn on an illuminated public art installation with Beyond Walls, Washington Street-Central Square underpass, 519 Washington St., Lynn, 8 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

Baker’s son says he was asleep during alleged airline groping incident

A.J. Baker, Gov. Charlie Baker’s adult son, says he was asleep on the airline flight in which he’s now accused of groping the breasts of a female passenger. The “visibly shaken” woman and airline witnesses beg to differ, reportedly telling police the alleged victim kept telling A.J. “Don’t do that. … don’t do that” during the flight. The Globe’s Matt Stout and Andrea Estes have more on the conflicting (and somewhat weird) police-report stories on the incident.

Meanwhile, the Herald is all over the A.J. controversy this morning, blasting its main story on the front page and quoting Gov. Baker as saying it was “not my call” to withhold a State Police report that details his son’s alleged in-flight groping. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says the governor has a transparency problem on his hands. But the Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald says the governor shouldn’t be held responsible for the action of his adult son.

Boston Globe

Political earthquake in NY: Bigwig Dem upset by BU grad, tremors felt in Mass.

From the NYT: “Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, once seen as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader of the House, suffered a shocking primary defeat on Tuesday, the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country. Mr. Crowley was defeated by a 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, who had declared it was time for generational, racial and ideological change.”

The Globe’s Alana Levene reports that Ocasio-Cortez was a “strong voice for social justice” while attending Boston University.

Obviously, local Democratic incumbents facing primary challenges must be a little nervous this morning, including, first and foremost, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who’s facing a tough primary fight against City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. But U.S. Richard Neal is also facing a primary challenge, via Tahirha Amatul-Wadud, as is U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy, et gang, etc.


Non-political earthquake in Utah: Mitt glides to victory in U.S. Senate primary

As the Salt Lake City Tribune’s Benjamin Wood put it, Mitt Romney hardly broke a sweat yesterday in Utah, capturing 73 percent of the vote in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, all but guaranteeing he’ll be serving in the U.S. Senate early next year. But how will he serve? That’s the big question the Globe’s Annie Linskey tries to answer.

Hassan’s intern suspended for yelling ‘f*#k you’ at President Trump

An intern for U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has been suspended for a week for recently yelling at President Trump, “Mr. President, fuck you!” But many want her fired. Paul Feely and Dave Solomon at the Union Leader have the suspension story. Mary Markos at the Herald has the fire-her-now story.

Union Leader

Local pundits debate civility in politics

Re civility, or lack there of, in politics these days: The Globe’s Renée Graham takes a fight-fire-with-fire approach towards Democratic civility in the age of Trump. The Globe’s Michael Cohen takes the old he-started-it position. The Herald’s Howie Carr, typically, prefers a take-no-prisoners approach, even when two Democrats effectively respond they don’t like either the fight-fire-with-fire or he-started-it approaches towards civility in politics.

Partners switches 100,000 employees and relatives to its own insurance firm, leaving Blue Cross in the dust

Now this is market clout, as exhibited by a giant institution frequently criticized for unfairly flexing its market-clout muscles in Massachusetts: Partners HealthCare is switching all its employees and family members – 100,000 of them — from Blue Cross Blue Shield to its very own Neighborhood Health Plan, reports Priyanka Dayal McCluskey.

Here’s our questions: Will Partners now start allowing non-Partners employees who are currently signed up with Neighborhood Health to use Partners’ vast network of hospitals and doctors? Current Neighborhood Health customers are frequently told they’re excluded from the Partners network. And will their Neighborhood premium rates be the same as Partners’ employees? Just wondering.

Boston Globe

Baker on huge Methuen police payouts: ‘There’s simply no precedent for the numbers’

Count Gov. Charlie Baker among those who think paying police captains in Methuen nearly a half-million dollars each is a bit too much. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has the details. Btw: It turns out Kiera Blessing at the Eagle-Tribune was the first to report on the outrageous pay packages in Methuen, not a certain other publication.


Let’s make a deal: Raise Up will drop minimum-wage referendum — if Baker signs ‘grand bargain’

From SHNS’s Colin Young at the Greenville Recorder: “The coalition of more than 100 labor, community and faith-based groups behind a proposed ballot question to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour has agreed to drop that question from the ballot – if Gov. Charlie Baker signs a compromise bill that would accomplish the same goal.” The governor has signaled he might sign it. But you never know. We’ll see.

Greenville Recorder

Worcester-area public transit sees nation’s steepest ridership drop

Talk about trending in the wrong direction. Ridership on the Worcester Regional Transit Authority system is down 13 percent so far this year, more than twice the next-largest drop among similar systems in the state and one of the steepest declines in the nation, Cyrus Moulton reports in the Telegram. Consultants told the authority’s board the drop was likely due to a fare hike put in place last summer to cover a budget deficit, but Moulton notes that the number of missed bus trips on the system is also up almost 25 percent year-over-year.


CLF’s Campbell denies he’s a disrespectful, combative obstructionist: ‘I don’t think it’s a fair characterization’

In an interview with the BBJ’s Greg Ryan, Bradley Campbell, the Conservation Law Foundation chief, brushes aside past criticism by Mayor Marty Walsh and other City Hall types that, as Ryan describes it, he’s “disrespectful” and overly “combative” in meetings, saying he’s getting along just fine with the mayor. He also talks about CLF’s “pitch a blanket” days on waterfront properties.


Cannabis Commission: No test labs, no pot shops

There won’t be any retail pot shops open by July 1 – even if, by some miracle, the Cannabis Control Commission approves a special license for pop-up shops on street corners. The reason: There are no legally required pot testing labs in Massachusetts and no applications for one have been submitted yet. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR have more the latest industry setback.

And there’s a shortage of marijuana applications from minority and low-income areas too

The Globe’s Dan Adams takes a look at how there are only a handful of recreational-pot applications from those in communities hit hard by the decades-long war on drugs. So the Cannabis Control Commission has now unveiled an “unusual training and mentoring program to help people from minority and low-income neighborhoods start or work in marijuana businesses,” he reports.

Boston Globe

Must be a misprint: Palmer board votes to lift pot moratorium, allow retail shops in town (eventually)

This is interesting, considering pot industry officials are more accustomed to local towns slamming doors in their faces. From Jim Russell at MassLive: “The Planning Board on Monday unanimously voted to discontinue a moratorium on recreational marijuana and to recommend zoning bylaws to the Town Council that would regulate where businesses may sell the drug. The recommended bylaws cap the number of commercial sellers in Palmer at five.”


Mass. Democrats denounce Supreme Court rulings on travel ban and pregnancy centers

Let’s put it this way: The Bay State’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation was most distinctly not happy with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions yesterday that upheld President Trump’s controversial travel-ban order and overturned a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to supply women with information about how to end their pregnancies. Shannon Young at MassLive pulls double duty, reporting on the reactions to both the travel-ban ruling and the California decision.

90-year-old Ethal Kennedy to go on hunger strike over immigration policy

From J.D. Capelouto at the Globe: “At 90 years old, Ethel Kennedy is joining the fight against the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant families at the border to Mexico. Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, plans to participate in a hunger strike in protest of the administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for immigrants who enter the country illegally, in conjunction with several activist groups and nearly 50 other members of the Kennedy family.” 

Boston Globe

CBO: U.S. headed for highest federal debt since WWII

Running up huge debts to fight fascism is one thing. Running up huge debts to fund tax cuts for the rich is another. Anyway, from the Washington Post: “Government debt is on track to hit historically high levels and at its current growth rate will be nearly equal in size to the U.S. economy by 2028, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.”  We just thought we’d let you know. Now back to local politics. …

Washington Post

Galvin endorses a Massachusetts switch to ‘ranked choice voting’

As David Bernstein at WGBH notes, Secretary of State Bill Galvin isn’t exactly known as an avant-garde type of guy, having only recently created his first campaign Twitter account. But the incumbent Democrat, who faces stiff primary opposition, has indeed endorsed the radically different “ranked choice voting system” that was used earlier this month in Maine, the first state in the nation to do so. 


Captive audience: Suffolk DA candidates make their pitches to inmates in jail

The Globe’s Maria Cramer and SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall) report on the unusual Suffolk County district attorney forum held yesterday at the South Bay House of Correction, where a few dozen inmates, dressed in jail scrubs and sneakers, got their chance to grill candidates on everything from plea deals to police behavior on the streets.

GE’s shares soar after it announces the spinoff of its huge health-care unit

This is a big deal to General Electric’s shareholders – and its Massachusetts health-care employees in Marlboro, Boston, Woburn and East Bridgewater: GE chief executive John Flannery announced yesterday that the company is spinning out its health-care business and selling off its stake in oil services company Baker Hughes.

As the NYT put it: “Mr. Flannery’s latest moves are a last farewell to a bygone conglomerate vision.” The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that Wall Street cheered the new, sending GE’s shares 8 percent higher during trading yesterday. Ryan also reports that Flannery is pushing ahead with GE’s headquarters plans in Boston’s Fort Point Channel area.

Alert: Conservatives actually spotted on Beacon Hill …

Believe it or not, the American Conservative Union Foundation has identified some conservatives on Beacon Hill. Not many of them, mind you. Among them: State Rep. Jim Lyons, an Andover Republican, who is given the highest conservative marks in the House by the organization, based on legislative voting records. New Boston Post has more.  Meanwhile, Wicked Local has a photo gallery of the endangered political species on Beacon Hill.

New Boston Post

Do disturb: Union plans pickets at hotels across the city today

It’s going to be busy today on the labor front in Boston. From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “Hotel workers in Boston will hold their biggest day of action in more than a decade on Wednesday, when hundreds in the UNITE HERE Local 26 union will picket outside seven Marriott-run hotels. Housekeepers, receptionists, cooks, and other employees that keep Boston’s booming hotel industry afloat plan to demonstrate outside the W, Westin Boston Waterfront, Aloft, Element, Renaissance, Ritz Carlton before gathering at the Sheraton Boston Hotel on Dalton Street at 5 p.m.”

Boston Magazine

Former for-profit college students: They’re still waiting for that promised debt relief

Kirk Carapezza at WGBH reports that thousands of former for-profit college students, saddled with student-loan debts tied to now defunct for-profit schools, are still waiting for debt relief promised to them in 2016. One of the problems to arise since 2016: Donald Trump has become president.


‘The bible for tens of thousands of people across the state’

Bob Katzen, publisher of Beacon Hill Roll Call, has kind words for the latest edition of “Massachusetts Political Almanac,” brought to you by the same folks who bring you MassterList and SHNS. “The Almanac is the bible for tens of thousands of people across the state — from government officials, movers and shakers and the media to political junkies, interested citizens and casual observers,” Bob writes. You can order your copy at Masspa.com or via Amazon.com.

Wicked Local

On third anniversary, Plainridge gets glowing reviews

Three years to the week after Plainridge Park Casino launched the state’s first foray into legal gaming, the casino is reporting is most lucrative quarter to date and getting high marks from the Mass. Gaming Commission, Jim Hand reports in the Sun Chronicle. 

Sun Chronicle

Free speech advocates drop suit as UMass rescinds rally policy

A student activist group has dropped its lawsuit against UMass Amherst after the school’s trustees voted to abolish a policy that limited where and when rallies could take place on campus, Luis Fieldman reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The school’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty had filed the suit in January with the backing of national conservative groups. 


Kennedy Library Foundation’s NFN Summer Celebration

Spend your Wednesday evening on the Kennedy Library’s ocean-front patio overlooking the Boston skyline & harbor, while enjoying delicious food, beverages, live music, lawn games & more!

New Frontier Network | John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute Happy Hour & Info Session

Come join us to learn about ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute and meet GLI alumni and ADL staff! Light refreshments will be provided. Registration required at http://www.adl.org/BostonGLIHappyHour

ADL New England

Climate Crisis Action Summit

Senator Ed Markey invites you to the Climate Crisis Action Summit.

Senator Ed Markey

Today’s Headlines


City council set to vote on proposed raises today – Boston Herald

Workers are planning a massive picket at 7 Marriot hotels this week – Boston Magazine


LL Bean opening new Mass. store in 2019 – MassLive

Worcester City Council defeats measure to put Community Preservation Act on fall ballot – Telegram & Gazette

Brother-in-law of former Gov. Patrick faces stalking charges – Patriot Ledger

10 apply for 5 retail pot licenses in Lowell – Lowell Sun


Trump takes aim at Harley Davidson in tax threat – Bloomberg News

Immigration outcry spurs Trump 2020 challengers – Politico

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