Happening Today

UMass trustees, Health Policy Commission, Cannabis Commission

Mass. Health Connector Board meets with plans to discuss the long-term strategic plan for the Connector, 501 Boylston St., Suite 5100, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association holds its December meeting and its installation of its 2019 officers, including the swearing in of Hamilton Police Chief Russ Stevens as MCOPA president, with Attorney General Maura Healey planning to attend, Myopia Hunt Club, 435 Bay Road, South Hamilton, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs Francisco Ureña, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Gary Keefe and legislators to participate in the National Guard’s 382nd birthday celebration, Memorial Hall, 10 a.m.

— The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees meets in Amherst, with an agenda that includes approval of the university’s annual financial statements and hearing comments from two union leaders from UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, Old Chapel, Great Hall, 2nd floor, 144 Hicks Way, Amherst, 10 a.m.

Jay Ash, secretary of housing and economic development, attends a meeting of the MassDevelopment Board of Directors, 99 High St., 11th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Rail Vision Advisory Council hosts a meeting to discuss transforming the existing Commuter Rail system to ‘better support improved mobility and economic competitiveness in the Boston region,’ Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Students from Curtis Middle School in Sudbury perform a holiday concert at the State House, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.

— The Health Policy Commission meets to discuss key findings from its upcoming 2018 cost trends report, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 12 p.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets and could vote to issue additional marijuana business licenses, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— The Massachusetts State House Press Association hosts its annual holiday party, Press Gallery, Room 456, with guests without State House building passes asked to arrive prior to 5 p.m.

  — U.S. Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley participates in a moderated discussion at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, where she will preview her plans for the 116th Congress, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, 210 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, 6:30 p.m.

— Supporters of House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez plan to honor his 16 years of service to ‘preserving Jamaica Plain’s greatest jewels – its parks, its people and its conservation,’ Footlight Club, 7 Eliot St., Boston, 7 p.m.

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

Today’s Stories

After securing partial victory over Pelosi, Moulton pivots to all-politics-are-local matters

The Washington Post reports that Nancy Pelosi has made a “significant concession” over leadership term limits in the U.S. House as part of a deal with Democratic insurgents to drop their opposition to her becoming speaker next month. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, one of the ringleaders of the revolt, is claiming victory, even though he didn’t get everything he wanted (i.e. Pelosi gone), reports Adam Reilly at WGBH.

In a prominent Boston Globe opinion piece this morning, Moulton seems to have pivoted big time back to local politics, acknowledging the “contentious” nature of the fight while boasting leadership change is important to the party. Translation: Please don’t be too mad at me. The question is whether progressive activists, who are vowing to run a primary challenger against Moulton in 2020 due to his fight with Pelosi, will forgive and/or forget.   

Nightmare almost over: Officials announce ‘substantial completion’ of recovery efforts in Merrimack Valley

Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials yesterday announced that natural gas service has been restored to 98 percent of those hit by the September pipeline disaster in the Merrimack Valley, with the remaining 2 percent largely being do-it-yourself types still working on their individual homes and businesses. Zoe Matthews at the Eagle-Tribune has the details.

But Baker yesterday also stressed “it is still not mission accomplished,” noting more work needs to be done to get the region back on its economic and infrastructure feet, reports Alexi Cohan at the Herald.  


Sen. Barrett questions gas safety consultant’s ties to industry

Speaking of natural gas and pipelines, Sen. Michael Barrett at a State House hearing the other day questioned whether the consulting firm hired by the Baker administration to evaluate the state’s entire gas system might be biased in favor of industry players, considering the firm’s numerous business ties to major corporations. SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ has the details.

BBJ (pay wall)

It’s semi-official: Diehl plans bid for GOP chair, drawing Baker back into the ‘swamps of Massachusetts politics’

Fresh off his landslide loss to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Republican Geoff Diehl now believes he’s earned the right to lead the state Republican Party – and that’s not good news for the more moderate Gov. Charlie Baker, who the Globe’s Frank Phillips reports has been “forced to pivot back to the swamps of Massachusetts politics” to fend off a potential conservative takeover of the party.

Boston Globe

The anti-liberal lion of Beacon Hill may yet roar again

Speaking of right-wing local pols, Christian Wade at the Salem News talks with outgoing state Rep. Jim Lyons, the conservative Republican who was defeated in November by Democrat Tram Nguyen. Lyons, who owns a flower and ice cream shop, says he plans to stay active in politics and, yes, he’s been mulling his own possible run for state GOP chairman.

Here’s our question: What is it about losing conservative candidates who fervently believe what their party needs is more of their own rejected politics? The ideological stubbornness is partially explained in ‘The Righteous Mind,’ but not fully explained.

Salem News

Elizabeth Warren’s bad week: A scratch or mortal wound?

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane surveys the media and political landscape, noting the recent bashing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has taken from pundits and pollsters, and concludes: “In reality, it is too early to tell what this negative media attention really means.” She’s right. It’s indeed too early. But this much is clear: Warren has been wounded. Whether it’s a mortal wound or just a scratch, or something in between, is the question.

Boston Globe

Another Arroyo is jumping into city politics

The Arroyos have sort of become the Bushes and Kennedys of dynastic inner-city politics in Boston. Yes, Riccardo Arroyo, the son and brother of two former city councilors, has thrown his hat into the ring for the District 5 city council seat. Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub has the details (and Arroyo’s announcement video). 

Universal Hub

One of the best political-business soap operas in Boston: The battle over a casino license

Rachelle Cohen at the Boston Globe says it’s even better than the “First Wives Club.” Pray tell, what? The epic battle by Elaine Wynn to take control of her ex-husband’s company, Wynn Resorts, and to save the firm’s Everett casino license. “It’s all rather delicious in a high-stakes soap opera kind of way,” Cohen writes.

Cash-hungry communities push for expansion of Plainridge Park casino

Speaking of casinos, you knew this would happen: the gaming industry’s equivalent of mission creep. Officials from Plainville and three neighboring communities are asking state gaming regulators to consider allowing Plainridge Park Casino to offer table games at what is currently the state’s only slots-only gaming parlor, Mark Arsenault reports at the Globe. The communities say the recent opening of a full-fledged casino just over the Rhode Island border is a threat to the revenue that is helping feed local budgets.

Cape Wind II? As feds prepare offshore wind auction, R.I. could yet block ambitious energy plans

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that the federal government today plans to auction off 390,000 acres of ocean areas for future wind farms south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. But the Globe’s David Abel reports how the state of Rhode Island, specifically R.I. fishermen, could still yet block the ambitious wind-farm plans in a sort of repeat of the Cape Wind debacle.

Schilling vs. Ocasio-Cortez vs. Rhode Island

U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really bothers conservatives, such as former Red Sox star Curt Schilling, who recently blasted a counter tweet to an Ocasio-Cortez tweet, prompting a counter-counter tweet from U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who took a shot at Schilling’s 38 Studios debacle in Little Rhody. The Globe’s Abbi Matheson has more on the erudite exchange of tweets.

Next up in climate-change fight: Your car, home and commercial buildings

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources yesterday released a much-anticipated Baker administration report on the future of energy in Massachusetts – and officials made clear that that the next phase in the battle to reduce carbon emission must focus on transportation and buildings, as well as addressing electricity issues. Mary Serezze at MassLive and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the details. Here the full report issued by the administration. We’re sure many will have more to say after they’ve had time to review the study.

About those higher electric bills: We’re still paying for last year’s cold snap

Speaking of the Baker administration’s new energy report, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine dug into the details and found an explanation for why electric prices are going up this winter: It’s because of last year’s cold snap and locked in costs that are now coming due. He explains.


Why doesn’t Massachusetts have an Eastborough?

Massachusetts has a Westborough, Northborough and Southborough. But why no Eastborough? Edgar B. Herwick III, head of WGBH’s crack Curiousity Desk, finds the answer. It all starts with the dismemberment of Marlborough. It’s quite fascinating. Btw: The freedom fighters of Hudson won their independence from the tyrannical Marlborough much later. But that’s a different story.


Political cage match: UMass-Boston professor versus Mass Fiscal

They’re going at it again over at CommonWealth magazine – and this time it’s not the pro- versus anti-pipeline types. It’s Maurice T. Cunningham, associate professor of political science at UMass-Boston, going after the recent “farcical declaration” by Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance that his conservative group is fighting for social justice in its battle over state campaign laws. Expect more broadsides in coming weeks, months and years.

Tick tock: More than enough signatures are certified to start mayoral recall process in Fall River

Fall River’s board of elections has certified 4,533 voter signatures calling for the recall of embattled Mayor Jasiel F. Correia, nearly double the number required to get the recall ball officially rolling in the city, reports the Herald News.

Herald News

With no campaign in sight, Lawrence’s Rivera continues to raise funds

The key word here is “currently.” Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera will hold his third fundraiser in just over a year, even though term limits mean he can’t run for re-election and despite his declaration that he has no plans “currently” to run for another office, Keith Eddings reports at the Eagle-Tribune. 


And they’re almost off: Developers prep plans for massive Suffolk Downs redevelopment

Now that the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes are over (and with Boston left out of the winner’s circle), HYM Investment Group is now moving ahead with a variation of its original plans to redevelop Suffolk Downs into a massive mixed-use neighborhood. The Globe’s Tim Logan has the latest SD planning update.

Boston Globe

Four found guilty of abusing teens at DYC facility on Long Island

Yet another ugly chapter in the long and ugly history of institutional child abuse. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “A Suffolk Superior Court jury (Wednesday) convicted several workers at a former DYS facility on Long Island of sexual assault and beatings for incidents in 2014 involving teens under their care, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office reports.” SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more on the disgraceful case.

Universal Hub

If at first you don’t succeed …

Her first attempt to nab a seat on the Land Court sparked controversy over her qualifications and so her nomination was rejected. But Jennifer Roberts proves that persistence matters – and yesterday she got the Governor’s Council OK to serve on the Land Court, though some wonder what, if anything, changed between her first bid in 2015 and second bid in 2018. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more.  

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Eighth trooper charged in OT scandal

And it’s far from over. From Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “Heath McAuliffe of Hopkinton is the eighth Massachusetts State Police trooper to face charges in connection with a scandal of overtime abuse, officials said. McAuliffe, 40, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds.”


Lelling won’t bar ICE from courthouses, vows further action in Lawrence, declares victory over MS-13

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling had a lot to say yesterday, mostly focusing on immigration-related matters. Marilyn Schairer at WGBH reports Lelling is rejecting calls for federal ICE agents to stay away from courthouses, while muttering something about not having plans to prosecute certain judges who may or may not have let immigrants escape ICE justice. The Herald’s Laurel Sweet reports Lelling is vowing to wield immigration laws to keep “hammering away” at drug dealers in Lawrence. 

And the Globe’s Maria Cramer reports that Lelling believes the feds have effectively neutralized the notorious international MS-13 gang.

Neighbors blast Red Sox’ plan for a dozen Fenway concerts in 2019

The Licensing Commission heard an earful from worried neighbors of Fenway Park as the city considers a proposal from the Boston Red Sox to allow as many as 12 concerts at the hallowed ballpark next year, Brooks Sutherland reports at the Herald. But also raising their voices were business owners who say the events help boost their bottom lines.

Boston Herald

Northampton journalists formally vote to form union

Despite warnings from the newspapers’ publisher, journalists at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate have chosen to form a union, voting 40-29 in favor of the move, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. 


Ugly Sweater Party at ZooLights!

ZooLights at Stone Zoo promises to dazzle visitors of all ages this season.

Zoo New England

Press Dinner – Ujima Fund Launch

Journalists are invited to learn about the launch of the first democratic investment fund in the nation. The Ujima Fund is an initiative of the Boston Ujima Project, a member-led organization bringing together neighbors, business owners, grassroots groups and supporters to co-invest in a community-driven economy in Boston’s working class neighborhoods of color.

Boston Ujima Project

Getting to the Point with Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley

Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley will participate in a moderated discussion at the Institute where she will preview the issues she will be fighting for in the 116th Congress, share insights from her longstanding commitment to community-based policy reform, and reflect on her most recent history-making campaign.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Can We Bridge the Political Divide? Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop

Please join us for an intensive workshop that will bring together Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations, with a focus on listening and reflecting rather than debating and persuading.

Better Angels

Across the Aisle: Finding Common Ground in Congress

A bipartisan panel of Members of Congress will gather at the Kennedy Institute to discuss the state of affairs in Washington, opportunities for common ground in the 116th Congress, the political challenges they face, and how to foster a vibrant civic dialogue. This program is hosted in partnership with the United States Association of Former Members of Congress.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Today’s Headlines


Logan named TSA’s airport of the year – Boston Herald

What a Boston student’s deportation reveals about school police and gang intelligence – WBUR


As vote nears, Springfield mayor urges against ordinance ‘welcoming’ immigrants – MassLive

Prisoner’s lawyer seeks $75,000 from city of Lowell over police cellblock attack – Lowell Sun

Hyannis hearing shows future of canal bridges a regional concern – Cape Cod Times

Dell to go public more than two years after EMC deal closed – Boston Business Journal


AMI, publisher of National Enquirer, admits to hush money payments on Trump’s behalf – Washington Post

Congress to make members pay out of pocket for sexual harassment settlements – NPR

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