Baker signs ‘grand bargain’ bill, Gender X vote, Mount Ida report and more
— State Ethics Commission meets, One Ashburton Pl., Room 619, Boston, 9 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the State Retirement Board, One Winter St. – 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Funeral Mass is said for Major Gen. George Keefe (Ret.), the state’s adjutant general from 2000-2005, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 99 King St., Northampton, 10 a.m.
— Before an expected Senate vote later today, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka holds a press conference on a bill that would allow residents to designate their gender as ‘X’ instead of male or female on driver’s licenses or state ID cards, with Sens. Pat Jehlen and Julian Cyr attending. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later in the day, Room 222, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker signs the so-called ‘grand bargain’ bill accompanied by Senate President Harriette Chandler and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Governor’s Office, 10:30 a.m.
— Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight holds an executive session to vote on approving its report into the acquisition of Mount Ida College by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a press conference following, Room B-2, 10:45 a.m.
— Senate meets in formal session, 11 a.m., Gardner Auditorium.
— House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs holds a public hearing featuring presentations by Patrick Larkin and Mary Rose Greenough of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Hearing Room B-1, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker announces a new round of First Responder Naloxone grants with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, and Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, the Champion Plan, 142 Crescent St., Brockton, 2:15 p.m.
— WBUR reporter Simon Rios moderates a panel discussion about the recovery challenges facing Puerto Rico after last September’s hurricanes, with Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción CEO Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Holyoke City Councilor Jossie Valentin, Harvard Puerto Rico Winter Institute director Pedro Reina-Perez and Gladys Rodrigues-Parker of U.S. Rep. James McGovern’s office participating, La Galeria, 85 West Newton St., Boston, 6:30 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey hosts a Climate Crisis Action Summit with Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator, Dr. John Holdren, the chief science and technology officer to former President Barack Obama, and Todd Stern, former U.S. chief negotiator for the Paris climate accord, Belmont High School, 221 Concord Ave., Belmont, 7 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.
Done deal: Baker set to sign ‘grand bargain’ minimum-wage and family leave bill
Even though it contains a new $800-million-per-year payroll tax on workers and employers, Gov. Charlie Baker, who has vowed to hold the line on taxes, today is expected to sign the massive “grand bargain” bill that will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, implement paid family and medical leave, institute a new annual sales tax holiday, eliminate time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays, and avert multimillion-dollar statewide ballot questions this fall over some of the issues, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller and SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). The Republican Baker is expected to sign the legislation at a ceremony attended by Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Harriette Chandler.
The arrest of three state troopers: ‘Just the beginning’
Three state troopers were arrested yesterday and charged with embezzlement related to the ongoing federal probe of bogus overtime claims by State Police personnel. And the feds ominously warned yesterday that the three arrests may be “just the beginning” of the fed’s crackdown on dozens of other state troopers accused of massive overtime abuses. SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local and Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive have the big-picture stories on yesterday’s action. MassLive’s Scott Croteau takes a closer look at the three troopers charged.
Meanwhile, Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine reports on the overtime ‘ghost tickets’ that troopers reportedly used to try to cover their tracks. The Globe’s Martin Finucane reports how the feds also followed the paper trail of when police cruiser radios were automatically turned on and off to determine who was, or wasn’t, working at specific times. The Herald’s Howie Carr is ripping into Gov. Charlie Baker this morning, saying his Sgt. Schultz “I know nothing!” claims are wearing thin when it comes to the multiple scandals now swirling around the State Police.
Beacon Hill lawmakers hope to ‘soften the blow’ of court’s ruling on union fees and free speech
SHNS’s Colin Young at CommonWealth magazine and the Globe’s Matt Stout and Jamie Halper report that House Speaker Robert DeLeo, as well as Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, hopes to craft a bill that would “soften the blow” of the Supreme Court’s ruling that it’s unconstitutional to require government employees to pay union fees. There are no set plans, but DeLeo is inviting unions to present ideas on how to offset the Janus v. AFSCME ruling.
This much is clear: The ruling was a devastating blow to public unions. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has a round-up of the negative reactions to the ruling from officials at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, SEIU Local 509, AFT Massachusetts, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and others. Shannon Young at MassLive has a summary of local Democrats’ reactions. At the BBJ, Jim Stergios, executive director of the conservative Pioneer Institute in Boston, is praising the decision as a free-speech victory for workers.
Capuano’s Ocasio-Cortez nightmare
The Globe’s Michael Levenson has more on how the stunning upset victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a BU grad and self-described democratic socialist, over U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York spells big trouble for U.S. Rep. Michael Capuana, a Democrat facing his own primary challenge from a progressive woman, Ayanna Pressley, in Massachusetts’ Seventh Congressional District.
The Herald’s Mary Markos and the Globe’s J.D. Capelouto report on Ocasio-Cortez’s local ties with Pressley and Boston in general. Politico’s Lauren Dezenski reports that Pressley’s campaign is pumped up by Ocasio-Cortez victory, with the campaign’s web site and Twitter traffic spiking and new donations and volunteers flowing into the campaign.
Bet on it: ‘Senate may see all sides of Mitt Romney’
The Herald’s Joe Battendfeld counts all the different Mitt Romneys we’ve seen over the years, from moderate Mitt in Massachusetts to conservative Mitt on the national stage, from anti-Trump to pro-Trump, and concludes we’ll probably see all of them after he enters the U.S. Senate next year.
Another scandal-mystery suspension in Rockland
Just in case all you political binge watchers were growing bored with the selectman-town-manager-videotape tryst at Rockland Town Hall, officials have introduced a new plot line: Town Accountant Eric Hart has been suspended for reasons even he doesn’t know, Mary Whitfill reports in the Patriot Ledger. Selectmen apparently voted to place Hart—who says he has done nothing wrong—on leave at a meeting held late Saturday afternoon that wasn’t posted in advance.
Could former Waltham taxi driver be next Supreme Court justice?
The Globe’s Michael Finucane has found a strong local angle to yesterday’s big announcement that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be retiring: Thomas Hardiman, a Bay State native and federal appeals court judge in Pennsylvania, is on President Trump’s list of 25 candidates who might be named to be replace Kennedy. Hardiman “once upon a time” drove a taxi in Waltham for his father’s cab and school transportation company, Finucane writes.
On a more national note, the Globe’s Travis Andersen reports that some fear that a Trump replacement for Kennedy, considered a key swing vote on the court, may tip the judicial balance in favor of abortion restrictions and even the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins writes: “There is no way to overstate this: The replacement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy by anyone on the conservatives’ judicial dream list held by President Trump will fundamentally change America.” The Globe’s Joan Vennochi agrees that it’s soon going to be Trump’s court and agenda moving forward. Shannon Young at MassLive reports that local Democrats want confirmation hearings to be delayed until after the 2018 elections. That’s not going to happen if GOP leaders have their way, the Washington Post reports.
Feds reject Baker’s attempt to rein in state’s prescription drug costs
From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The federal government on Wednesday rejected a bid by the Baker administration to rein in pharmacy spending by restricting which drugs would be covered under its MassHealth program. … The Baker administration sought a waiver from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to establish its own policies about which drugs would be covered.”
Bank to pot firms: Sure, we’ll do business with you – for a mere $5,000 checking fee per month
Can you blame Century Bank? No other bank will do business with pot companies in Massachusetts, as long as the feds keep rattling their pot-enforcement swords, so Century Bank is reportedly charging pot firms $5,000 a month solely for checking services. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has more on the not-so-mysterious ways of supply-and-demand economics.
Meanwhile, Healey tries to clarify her marijuana ruling
From the Globe’s Dan Adams and Alex Gailey: “Under sharp criticism from marijuana advocates, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey defended her decision to allow some municipalities to delay marijuana businesses until next summer without holding a communitywide vote, insisting it won’t lead to widespread prohibitions by communities across the state.”
Senate report will argue Mount Ida campus shouldn’t be operated by Umass Amherst alone
A state Senate report due to be released today will argue that Mount Ida College should be run directly by the office of UMass President Marty Meehan and not by the leaders of the UMass Amherst campus, Gintautus Dumcius reports at MassLive. The report is also expected to urge Attorney General Maura Healey to dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding Mount Ida’s decision to terminate a planned merger with Lasell College.
Leominster mayor threatens legal action against councilors over rezoning of his property
Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella tells Peter Jasinski at the Sentinel and Enterprise that he plans to pursue an appeal in federal court against specific city councilors for blocking a bid to rezone land he owns in the city. The mayor wanted to rezone land he owns from residential to commercial so he could move his flagpole business, but a group of residents filed a petition blocking the change. One councilor apparently in the mayor’s legal crosshairs is Sue Chalifoux Zephir—a Democratic candidate for state senate—who Mazzarella claims helped orchestrate the petition drive, an allegation she denies.
So why the heck are hospitals spending millions of dollars on housing?
Simón Rios at WBUR has a terrific piece on how hospitals – including Boston Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital and Springfield’s Baystate Medical Center — are now spending millions of dollars on housing. Why housing? In the case of BMC, it’s tied to a renovation of its campus and a state requirement that 5 percent of the cost be reinvested in community health. BMC chose to spend the money on housing because it is viewed as a key “social determinant of health,” Rios writes.
House action on automatic-voting registration could add 500,000 or more to voting rolls
As expected, the House yesterday approved legislation that would automatically sign up people to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses or Medicaid, a move that could add anywhere from 500,000 to 700,00 new voters to voting rolls, supporters say. The bill still needs Senate approval. The Globe’s Joshua Miller and SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall) have more.
House approves ban on ‘gay conversion therapy’
From the Associated Press at WBUR: “The Massachusetts House has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors. …Supporters of the ban say the therapy, which aims to alter a person’s sexual orientation, is widely discredited by medical and mental health associations.” The bill now goes to the Senate.
Report: One third of ‘crime guns’ linked to licensed dealers
From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “More than one-third of the guns involved in crimes and seized by police in 2016 were originally sold legally by firearms dealers, according to newly released data. The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security traced the origin of 514 of nearly 1,400 illegal guns taken off the streets by police in 2016 to the original sale by Massachusetts dealers. An agency report identified dozens of businesses and the firearms they sold that were later tied to criminal activity.”
T commuter trains to start accepting credit and debit card payments
The T leaps into the 1990s. From a report at the MetroWest Daily News: “Beginning this fall, all commuter-rail passengers will be able to pay their fares on-board with a credit or debit card, according to Keolis Commuter Services, the MBTA’s operating partner. In a press release, Keolis and MBTA officials said a new mobile point of sale (POS) system has been tested and refined since February, and over the next two months will be expanded to include all conductors.”
National Grid lockout prompts pickets and hard feelings across region
A gathering of protesters upset with National Grid’s lockout stalled traffic yesterday in Dorchester, reports NBC Boston, while union pickets have been thrown up in Amesbury and Haverhill, reports Jim Sullivan at the Newburyport Daily News. Rick Sobey at the Lowell Sun reports that the city council has deferred action on National Grid gas-main projects, citing the employee lockout. The lockout, over contract issues, is now in its fourth day.
Poll finds party-line divide among Mass. voters on Trump immigration approach
File under: No kidding A WBUR/MassInc poll of voters’ opinions on President Trump’s immigration policies finds a stark divide along party lines, WBUR’s Anthony Brooks reports. While 92 percent of voters likely to take part in the Democratic party oppose Trump’s family-separation policy, just half of GOP voters thought the policy was misguided. A similar divide emerged when voters were asked about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), with 65 percent of Republicans having a favorable view compared to just 17 percent among Democrats.
Seth Moulton: Democratic recruiter extraordinaire
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s political action committee is expanding its purview, moving beyond supporting fellow military veterans to include others who have been involved in public service, a move that The Hill’s Ben Kamisar describes as a bid to “seize on unrest among a faction of the Democratic party” unhappy with current leadership. Moulton’s chosen candidates are enjoying some success—13 hopefuls he backed have won their primaries — and Moulton himself is set to travel to New Hampshire next month in a move sure to spark new speculation about whether he’ll launch a presidential bid.
Attention conference committee members: Go with the House version of the Airbnb bill, please
Dan Bucks, the former executive director of the Multistate Tax Commission and ex-Montana revenue director, analyzed both the House and Senate versions of the Airbnb bill and finds the House legislation is far superior because it treats short-term rental outfits like real businesses, not Airbnb’s preferred “people as businesses” mumbo-jumbo. He explains at CommonWealth magazine.
Former Milton Academy teacher held without bail on child rape charges
He thought he was safe in Thailand. He wasn’t. Reynold Buono, 72, a former Milton Academy teacher, was hauled back from whatever he was doing in Thailand and is now being held without bail after his arraignment in Norfolk Superior Court yesterday on three counts of child rape with force and three counts of child rape, according to a report at Wicked Local. He’s been accused of rape by as many as 18 students.
Worker’s comp rate falls for fourth straight year in Bay State
The economy is rocking, the state’s workers-comp fund is filling up, and so, for the fourth straight year, Massachusetts employers next year will pay a lower workers’ compensation rate. Greg Ryan at the BBJ has the details.
Climate Crisis Action Summit
Senator Ed Markey invites you to the Climate Crisis Action Summit.
Candidate’s Forum: Jeffrey Sanchez and Nika Elugardo (Suffolk 15th District)
On July 9th, JP Progressives, Our Revolution Boston, NAACP Boston, and Amplify LatinX will host a forum with State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez and Nika Elugardo, his challenger to represent the Suffolk 15th District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.The Suffolk 15th District includes parts of Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale and Brookline.
Space Spotlight at Pier 4
Join NAIOP on Pier 4’s expansive rooftop terrace as we hear from Jessica Hughes, Brooks Brown and Dave Wilkinson.
The Climate Action Business Association’s Annual Cookout
Join the Climate Action Business Association for an evening of grilled cuisine, refreshments, and lawn games. Learn what our organization has been involved with this year, and engage with fellow member businesses and environmental professionals
5th Annual Strategic Internal Communications–East Coast
For the past 4 years this highly anticipated conference has continued to bring over 100 internal communication professionals together to benchmark best practices. Together, over 3 days, attendees have brainstormed solutions for their biggest challenges, shared cost-effective resources, and gained an inside look at internal communication strategies from leading organizations.
South End By Foot: A NAIOP Summer Walking Tour
Visit some of the South End’s most exciting commercial & residential projects, including completed developments & those to come. Following a presentation by Jonathan Greeley of Boston Planning & Development Agency, attendees will be guided on a walking tour to hear from developers of the Flower Exchange, Harrison /Albany Block Developments & AC Hotel / 7INK by Ollie at Ink Block.
Suffolk County Candidate’s Forum: District Attorney & Registry of Deeds
Please join Boston’s Ward 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 19 Democratic Committees for a joint forum with the candidates running for Suffolk County District Attorney and Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.
CFO of the Year Awards 2018
Don’t miss your chance to meet & learn from Boston’s top CFOs at the 10th annual CFO of the Year Awards!
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