Happening Today

Governor’s Council, Northeastern ICE protest, ‘Summer Nights Initiative’

— The Public Health Council meets to vote on the new 120-bed Sunbridge Healthcare facility in Dracut and Milford-Franklin Eye Center’s planned acquisition of Cataract Surgery Center of Milford, and the council will also hear on tick and mosquito-borne diseases, health care-associated infections and serious reportable events, Henry I. Bowditch Public Health Council Room, 2nd Floor, 250 Washington Street, 9 a.m.

— Sen. Eric Lesser joins local elected officials, business leaders, and transportation advocates to push for new tools for infrastructure funding, specifically regional ballot initiatives, Room 222, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Governor Karyn Polito to ceremonially swear in five Associate Justices to the Massachusetts Housing Court, Room 360, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds a hearing on the nomination of attorney Jane Prince as an associate justice of the Newburyport District Court, 10 a.m., and then the council meets with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito as chair for possible votes on the nomination of attorney John McKenna to the Westfield District Court bench and attorney Michael Welsh as a Palmer District Court judge, Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m.

— The Special Legislative Commission on Public Records will hold a public meeting, featuring representatives from the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, Massachusetts Town Clerks Association, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, MassPIRG, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and the Office of the Attorney General, Room B-1, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House plans to meet in a formal session as members await an overdue annual budget agreement and conference committee reports, 11 a.m.

Northeastern University students and faculty plan to protest against the university’s multimillion-dollar contract with ICE, Krentzman Quadrangle, Northeastern University, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy and local legislators to announce the 2018 Summer Nights Initiative to increase the summer hours at select pools and athletic complexes in urban areas across the state, Melnea Cass Recreational Center, 120 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Boston, 2 p.m. 

— The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women will inaugurate new members of its Eastern Regional, Plymouth County and Upper Middlesex County regional commissions, Great Hall, 3 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

Healey signals concerns about Beth Israel-Lahey mega-merger

And we thought this was a done deal. Obviously not. From Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe: “Attorney General Maura Healey is raising concerns about the  planned merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, a sign she may press for changes to the blockbuster deal. In a letter to the state’s health care watchdog agency, the attorney general said the hospital combination could increase health care costs and threaten access to care.”

Boston Globe

House approves extra $500M for education. But is it enough?

This is interesting, considering all the calls for increased state education funding and threats of lawsuits. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at MassLive: “The House gave initial approval Tuesday to legislation that would deliver roughly $500 million, and possibly more, in additional aid to cities and towns by 2023 to pay for special education and the cost of school district employee and retiree health benefits. The bill represents the House’s response to an education bill passed by the Senate in May that proposed a different approach to fulfilling recommendations of a special commission that found public education in Massachusetts to be underfunded by $1 billion to $2 billion a year.”


Rockland Town Hall investigation paints selectwoman as sexual aggressor

This is most definitely a gender twist in the ongoing #MeToo wars. A six-week outside investigation into allegations of sexual impropriety at Rockland Town Hall found that Deirdre Hall used her position as selectwoman and an upcoming contract extension vote to pressure Town Administrator Allan Chiocca into ‘engaging in sexual activities’ during a late-night encounter. Marty Whifill of the Patriot Ledger reports that Hall—who dropped her state representative bid when the controversy began leaking out—will step down from the board and that selectmen voted to release the video footage in question. 

Patriot Ledger

Methuen cop salary compromise: Less outrageous but still outrageous

Lisa Kashinsky at the Eagle-Tribune has the details on a compromise reached to reduce the ridiculously high salaries for police personnel in Methuen. Under the agreement, the pay for superior officers would increase by about 18.7 percent this year, a pretty high figure no matter how you cut it. But it’s lower than the 98 percent hike called for in a recently approved contract that sparked intense controversy and talk of municipal bankruptcy.


Coming soon to a TV screen near you: Baker’s media-broadcast blitz

From Joshua Miller at the Globe: “If you watch TV, get ready to see a lot of Charlie Baker. The governor’s reelection campaign on Monday reserved a whopping $4.3 million in television time for August through Election Day in November, according to a report detailing the effort that was obtained by the Globe. The reservation included time on stations in both the Boston-area broadcast media market, as well the much smaller Springfield market.” 

Boston Globe

Rose Garden strategy heads west: Baker touts $4B in capital investments

Until his airwaves blitz commences, it looks like the governor will stick to an incumbent’s tried-and-true method of campaigning, i.e. sprinkling capital goodies all around the state. Shannon Young at MassLive has the details on Gov. Charlie Baker’s trip yesterday to Westfield State University, where he touted billions of dollars in new capital investments, including millions for WSU.


So when does the Dem cavalry arrive?

Speaking of the gubernatorial race, the Globe’s Adrian Walker wonders when Democrats will start helping out their two gubernatorial candidates trying to unseat Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who holds huge leads in polls. “Surely the Democratic Party — if only out of institutional pride — would put up a good fight against his reelection,” he writes. They’ll help when they’re not attending Baker’s ceremonial bill signings, we assume.

Boston Globe

Kavanaugh kerfuffle

All political hell — or, at least, theatrical versions of political hell – has broken out over President Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, a move expected to tilt the nation’s high court further to the right. Or will it really tilt the court further right? The New York Times has a piece on how Kavanaugh is actually less conservative, by some measurements, than Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. No matter. Dems have launched an all-out blitz against Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Washington Post reports.

Locally, the Democratic establishment is lining up against Kavanaugh, including Attorney General Maua Healey and Congressional candidates such as Barbara L’Italien, Juana Matias and Dan Koh. State House News Service (pay wall) has the round-up of local reactions.

Curiously, Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate and pro-choice Republican, says Kavanaugh needs to be asked about his views on Roe v. Wade during the Congressional vetting process, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). The Globe’s Matt Viserreports on Kavanaugh’s time spent teaching at Harvard Law School.

U.S. Attorney establishes parameters for pot sales in Massachusetts

To avoid a federal-state clash over enforcement of pot laws still on the federal books, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling yesterday made his clearest statement yet on what his office would and wouldn’t prosecute in Massachusetts, where recreational pot is now legal. The marijuana-enforcement areas the feds will now focus on: Overproduction (which is a fancy way of saying pot legally grown under Massachusetts law that’s exported to other states), sales targeted at minors and organized crime involvement in the industry. The policies should help pot-related entrepreneurs, but keep in mind the polices could easily change with a new U.S. attorney in office. Anyway, SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ has more.


Pot heads now have comfy places to crash in Boston

We assume the US attorney’s new don’t-hassle rules apply to this emerging pot-themed business as well: Providing short-term lodging for visiting pot heads who need a place to crash once retail marijuana sales get up and running in Boston. The Globe’s Dan Adams has the details, including how there’s technically no smoking in rooms. We also wonder: How is this going to square with the city’s avowed future crack down on short-term rentals in Boston?

Want to sound hip when referring to pot? Try ‘Smoochy Woochy Poochy’

The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has a fun story on the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s new list of slang terms for narcotics on the streets, including street names for illegal (outside Massachusetts) marijuana. Samples: “Shrimp,” “Smoochy Woochy Poochy,” “My Brother,” “Popcorn,” “Fluffy,” “Mowing the Lawn” and a lot more.

Meanwhile, Charlton residents sue over Smoochy Woochy Poochy-growing facility

See? We’re hip. From SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR: “Residents in Charlton are suing the town, alleging selectmen there violated the open meeting law when they approved a host and development agreement for a marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility planned for an old apple orchard.” Fyi: Easthampton last evening was poised to take action on a proposal to build a new 3,000 square-foot hemp cultivation space in the lower level of a mill building. 


Sal ‘The Hitman’ Piacente: The Gaming Commission’s secret weapon against casino cheaters

He sounds like someone straight out of central casting. He’s none other than Sal “The Hitman” Piacente, a consultant who learned his trade playing Three Card Monte on the streets of Brooklyn and who’s been tapped by the Gaming Commission to teach state agents how to catch casino cheaters. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has the details.


National Grid workers tough it out as lock-out showdown drags on

The Globe’s Katie Johnston has an update on one of the state’s biggest and most prolonged union-management showdowns in recent years: National Grid’s lock-out of more than 1,000 workers – and the utility’s hardball tactic of yanking health-care benefits from workers during the contract battle.

Boston Globe

Hampden Register Donald Ashe, father of state Rep. Ashe, RIP

Hampden Register of Deeds Donald Ashe, 83, died “after a short, but serious illness,” shocking the political establishment in the Hampden region and prompting Secretary of State Bill Galvin to appoint Kelly Cavanaugh-Kelly as acting register of deeds and assistant recorder of the Land Court. Dan Glaun at MassLive, SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and Matt Szafranski at Western Mass Politics & Insight have more on the sudden death of Ashe, father of state Rep. Brian Ashe .

Walter J. Hannon Jr., former Quincy mayor, RIP

Another sad death. From Erin Tiernan and Neal Simpson at the Patriot Ledger: “Walter J. Hannon Jr., a former mayor of Quincy seen as a visionary planner whose brief time in office in the 1970s set the course for the city’s ongoing redevelopment, has died. He was 86. Hannon served as mayor for just four years, from 1972 to 1975, but he was the first in a long line of mayors who pursued a vision for a revived Quincy Center just now coming to fruition.”

Patriot Ledger

‘I just can’t see a blue-collar, Rust Belt guy voting for her’

The Hill reports that some Democrats are privately expressing doubts about whether U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the right Democrat to represent the party against President Trump in 2020, questioning whether she’d appeal to blue-collar voters in the key swing states of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Needless to say, the progressive Warren has her share of enthusiastic progressive supporters among Dems, the Hill notes.

The Hill

Trump’s DNA jab at Warren not finding much support among local Republicans

Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, State Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican running for U.S. Senate as a rip-roaring Trump supporter, appears to be backing President Trump’s joke/call for Warren to take a DNA test to prove her ancestry. But GOP U.S. Senate candidates Beth Lindstrom and John Kingston are not that wild about Trump’s idea. Nor is Gov. Charlie Baker, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Trump gives Emerson poll a cherry-picked shout-out

Speaking of the president, the Globe’s J.D. Capelouto reports that President Trump gave Boston’s Emerson College a Twitter shout-out yesterday over a poll finding he liked. The only problem: The president sort of cherry-picked the results and his tweet didn’t tell the whole story, Capelouto writes.

Boston Globe

House nixes Baker’s hold-‘em proposal for opioid addicts

From the Globe’s Felice J. Freyer and Joshua Miller: “Leaders of the state’s House of Representatives have nixed Governor Charlie Baker’s controversial proposal to give physicians and other clinical professionals the power to involuntarily hold, for 72 hours, drug users who pose a danger to themselves or others. Instead, the House version of Baker’s wide-ranging legislation, released late Monday, requires hospital emergency departments to offer medications to treat addiction — buprenorphine or methadone — to patients who have overdosed, a mandate that would entail physician training and changes to hospital procedures.”

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Boston EMS handled record number of overdose calls in 2017

Speaking of the opioid crisis: Ambulance crews in Boston handled a record 3,557 overdose-related calls in 2017 and nearly 30 percent of the patients treated were non-Boston residents, suggesting drug users are coming to the city to find their fix, Joe Dwinell reports at the Herald. Emergency Medical Services also reported administering 1,913 doses of Narcan, which is credited with helping to save scores of lives. 

Boston Herald

Again? Gatehouse Media offers buyouts across New England

One day it’s the Herald. The next it’s the Globe. Today it’s GateHouse Media, owner of 126 newspapers in Massachusetts and additional holdings across the region. Dan Glaun at MassLive reports the company has offered buyouts to employees at its newspapers across New England. The current buyout is not to be confused with GateHouse’s 2016 New England-wide buyout program, which was followed by dozens of layoffs a few weeks later.


Meanwhile, Springfield Republican snaps up local publisher

While GateHouse and other media outlets retrench, the Springfield Republican/MassLive juggernaut (so to speak) continues its expansion. From Matt Szafranski at Western Mass Politics and Insight: “The Greater Springfield media landscape experienced a shakeup after the region’s largest news organization scooped up an area weekly. The Republican has purchased Reminder Publications, which publishes two weeklies and two monthly magazines under The Reminder name, ending 56 years of family ownership.” MassLive has more.


The pride of Stoughton: With ‘bold move,’ local comedian becomes Jeopardy champion

He counted on his opponent blowing the final answer – and she did. As a result, Wes Hazard, a Boston-based comedian and Stoughton native, became the new Jeopardy champion and even got to shake host Alex Trebek’s hand. Joe Pelletier at the Enterprise has the glorious details.


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.

NAIOP Massachusetts

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

The Climate Action Business Association

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.

Advanced Learning Institute

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.

NAIOP Massachusetts

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.

Boston’s Ward Committees (Wards 8,9,10,11,12, and 19)

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!

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Boston firm offers marijuana-friendly lodging – Boston Globe

Idea on non-citizen voting at standstill – Boston Herald


Group seeking to save Notre Dame church turns to state – Telegram & Gazette

Devens says it is fighting environmental lawsuit – Worcester Business Journal

McGovern endorses Jimmy Tingle for Lt. Governor – MassLive

Liquor coupon add-on yanked – Salem News


Could legal marijuana tip the Senate for Democrats? – Politico

Ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is still cooperating with Mueller and eager to have case wrap up, court hears – Washington Post

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