Goldberg, Bump and Healey sworn in, three lawmakers take oath, and more
— A week after lawmakers and advocates detailed a funding reform bill focused on K-12 schools, students, educators, parents and community leaders will announce new higher education funding legislation, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m.
— Gaming Commission holds a meeting to determine which issues it will consider at which future meetings, 101 Federal St., 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka participates in a press conference to announce the merger of the Help Steps online product with the online version of the Mass2-1-1 database,’ Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.
— Governor’s Council holds a hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s nomination of attorney Terri Klug Cafazzo as a judge in the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, and then later meets to take possible votes on the governor’s nominations of David Sorrenti to the District Court bench and Gloriann Moroney to the Parole Board, Council Chamber, at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., respectively.
— The Massachusetts Cultural Caucus will hold a Cultural Caucus Kickoff, with Legislative Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Mary Keefe planning to attend, State House, Room 222, 10:30 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Tom Turco, Undersecretary for Law Enforcement Jennifer Queally, Sen. Michael Moore, Reps. Tim Whelan, Paul Tucker, Hank Naughton and Edward Coppinger and others for the ceremonial signing of bill that protects the confidentiality of first responders who seek help in coping with the aftermath of critical incidents., Room 360, 11 a.m.
— The three lawmakers who were absent from the Jan. 2 swearing-in of the Legislature — Sen. John Keenan of Quincy, Rep. Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton and Rep. Denise Provost of Somerville — will take their oaths of office during the Governor’s Council assembly, with Gov. Charlie Baker presiding, Council Chamber, 11:30 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is sworn in for her second term, with Attorney General Maura Healey, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker planning to attend, Senate Chamber, 12 p.m.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and representatives from local colleges, universities, and nonprofits hold a press conference to discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed changes to Title IX policies, Boston City Hall, 5th Floor, Eagle Room, Boston, 12:30 p.m.
— Auditor Suzanne Bump will be sworn in for her third term, with former Rep. Byron Rushing overseeing the oath of office and Rep. Claire Cronin serving as master of ceremonies, with Gov. Charlie Baker among those also attending, African Meeting House, 46 Joy St., Boston, 1 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey is sworn in to her second term, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg among those planning to attend, Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St., Boston, 4 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.
Healey: OxyContin maker unleashed a ‘blizzard of dangerous prescriptions’ linked to hundreds of deaths
This is a pretty amazing story that’s getting a lot of national play: In a court filing, Attorney General Maura Healey reveals internal emails at Purdue Pharma in which top executives, including members of the Sackler family, talked of blaming patients for their addictions to the company’s powerful opioid painkiller OxyContin and vowed to launch a “blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.” The emails also reveal, according to Healey’s memo, that company officials tried to mislead patients and doctors about the dangers of the powerful prescription drug.
Here’s a jaw-dropping graf from a story by WBUR’s Christine Willmsen and Martha Bebinger: “The memo claims to trace the overdose deaths of 671 Massachusetts residents since 2009 to prescriptions they filled for Purdue opioids. Holding individual members of the Sackler family or Purdue executives responsible for these deaths would set a new precedent.
Galvin ‘delighted’ by court ruling on census questions
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Gloucester Times: “A federal judge in New York has blocked the Trump administration from asking about citizenship status on the 2020 census, a move that left Secretary of State William Galvin ‘delighted.’ Galvin, who has led the state’s efforts around the U.S. Census since the 2000 count, has been warning against the possible effects of a citizenship question and what he describes as attempts to ‘sabotage’ the count in blue states like Massachusetts.”
Mount Ida Alert System: Hampshire College seeks merger, warns it may not enroll freshmen next fall
To head off expected financial troubles, Hampshire College has put out the word that it’s seeking a “strategic partner” (i.e. a merger) and may not enroll new freshmen next fall as it struggles within a suddenly changing higher-education market. Dan Glaun at MassLive and even the Washington Post have stories on Hampshire College’s plight.
Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker is praising Hampshire College for being upfront and proactive about its financial woes, at least compared to how Mount Ida College handled its own demise and merger with UMass-Amherst last year. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more on the governor’s remarks.
Walsh blasts partisan gridlock in Washington, touts housing and climate-change initiatives at home
From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Tuesday vowed to fight for the middle class at home and in Washington, D.C., lifting up the city’s efforts as an example for the nation and drawing a contrast with the paralysis that has permeated the federal government. ‘What happens in Washington, we feel on the streets of Boston,’ the mayor told thousands of residents who gathered at Symphony Hall for his annual State of the City address.”
As for local matters, Mike Deehan at WGBH reports that Walsh’s speech highlighted an “upgrade of the school district’s physical assets and the continuing struggle for affordable housing.”
Road trip! Walsh and Baker to head to D.C. to preach the gospel of bi-partisanship
In his State of the City address last evening, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, announced that he and Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, will be heading to D.C. together to serve as an “example of bipartisanship on issues of transportation, housing and the environment,” reports Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive. WGBH’s Mike Deehan has more on the Walsh-Baker “bromance” and their planned road trip together.
Shutdown showdown: Local businesses lend hand to federal workers
Speaking of partisan gridlock in Washington, a number of area businesses are coming to the aid of federal workers struggling to make ends meet without paychecks during the federal government shutdown. From Mary Whitfill at Wicked Local: “Now, local businesses are stepping up to help.” From Cody Shepard at Wicked Local: “Easton restaurants offering up free meals for forulough workers.”
Meanwhile, from South Coast Today: “Government shutdown costing New Bedford fishing company $17,000 a week.” From WBUR: “As shutdown drags on, landlords in Mass. are asked not to evict affordable housing tenants.” From the Martha’s Vineyard Times: “Coasties enter the no-pay zone.”
Are co-ops the answer to more diversity in the cannabis industry?
It’s such an obvious idea, it makes you wonder why it wasn’t thought of before. From Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH: “Cooperative ownership of marijuana stores emerged Monday night as a possible new approach to involving more local entrepreneurs of modest means in the emerging industry. The idea drew immediate support from the chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.”
Charlton host agreement plan goes too far, AG says
Attorney General Maura Healey has rejected a rule by the town of Charlton that requires marijuana companies to have their host community agreements approved by Town Meeting, saying such a setup would be so “onerous” that no pot companies would come forward with proposals, Naomi Martin reports at the Globe.
Debbie LaPlaca reports at the Telegram that residents had hoped to use the bylaw to nullify an agreement selectmen struck with Valley Green Grow for a $100 million marijuana facility on a former apple orchard.
Lost and found: Framingham police discover weed vials in unlocked pot-lab dumpster
In other pot news, the city of Framingham has notified the Cannabis Control Commission that police found hundreds of vials containing marijuana residue in a dumpster outside MCR Labs, one of the first recreational pot-related businesses to be licensed by the CCC. Mayor Yvonne Spicer asked the commission to investigate, saying the lab did not appear to be following state law on how it handles trash disposal.
As Warren plans second trip to NH, Gillibrand announces bid for president
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is heading back to New Hampshire on Friday, for her second visit to the key presidential primary state in less than a week, reports the Globe’s James Pindell. Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York took a major step yesterday toward announcing a 2020 presidential bid, saying she, like Warren, is launching an exploratory committee for a White House run, reports the AP at MassLive.
But of course: Jesuits release new list of accused sexual abusers who worked at high schools, colleges, hospitals etc.
They were ultimately wolves in shepherds’ clothing. Nothing more, nothing less. From the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi and Michael Levenson: “The governing body for Jesuit priests in eight Northeastern states released a list Tuesday of 50 clergy who were credibly accused of sexual abuse against children dating back to 1950, including 22 who were affiliated with high schools, hospitals, churches, and colleges in Massachusetts. The list includes 16 Jesuits who worked at Boston College High School in Dorchester, and one priest who ministered in Fall River and Gloucester.”
As Baker tries to toughen up state’s ‘dangerousness’ law …
This was expected but it’s still important to note. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday re-filed a bill that would make it easier for judges to keep someone in jail on the grounds that they are dangerous. ‘Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government and in order to fulfill that duty, we must allow local police and district attorneys to effectively deal with people who repeatedly break the law,’ Baker said in a statement.”
… SJC rules the ‘dangerousness’ law doesn’t apply to accused statutory rapists
Gov. Charlie Baker may be trying to toughen up the state’s “dangerousness” law that makes it easier for judges to lock up accused criminals, but the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled yesterday that the current state statute doesn’t apply to accused statutory rapists. The Globe’s Travis Andersen has more.
‘Hatchet-happy’: In Cambridge, trees start to fall after mere mention of moratorium
Environmentalists in Cambridge are sounding the alarm, saying developers are moving to remove trees en masse after a proposal to put a moratorium on tree-cutting received strong support from residents at a public hearing, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. One advocate speculates that “even the talk about an enforceable tree ordinance has made developers go hatchet wild.”
After years of tilting at windmills, Falmouth finally gives up on turbines
It’s over. Falmouth selectmen have voted to ban the town from ever running two controversial wind turbines again, bringing an end to nearly a decade’s worth of lawsuits brought by neighbors worried about health and other issues, Christine Legere reports at the Cape Cod Times. Focus now turns to dismantling the turbines–which could cost up to $2 million–and to preserving a $3.5 million grant secured in part with the renewable energy the windmills generated.
Baker taps his deputy legal counsel to head the Gaming Commission
Cathy M. Judd-Stein, Gov. Baker’s deputy chief legal counsel, has been named by the governor as chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, following last fall’s surprise resignation of former chairman Stephen Crosby. Judd-Stein, who has been a legal adviser to five Massachusetts governors, takes over at a legally thorny time for the commission, as it grapples with a lawsuit filed by disgraced casino mogul Steve Wynn, the former CEO of Wynn Resorts, reports Catherine Carlock at the BBJ.
Lawmakers demand halt to Columbia Gas’s planned rate hike
Merrimack Valley residents may have had their natural-gas services restored, but the battles are far from over up north. From the Associated Press at the Telegram: “Members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation are criticizing Columbia Gas for planning a rate hike on Merrimack Valley customers affected by September’s natural gas explosions. U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren joined Reps. Seth Moulton and Lori Trahan on Tuesday in a letter asking the utility company to cancel a rate increase announced earlier this month.”
Legal jolt: CLF jumps into fray over redevelopment of old Edison plant
As if the redevelopers of the old Edison plant in South Boston aren’t facing enough problems, the Conservation Law Foundation is now jumping into the fray, firing off a letter to MassPort that questions the proposed residential component of the massive redevelopment project. The Globe’s Jon Chesto and the Herald’s Jonathan Ng have the details.
‘Gargantuan goodbye kisses’
More than 10,000 public employees cashed out on unused sick and vacation time as they left their government jobs last year, with one UMass-Boston provost receiving $185,700 for days never used, reports Joe Dwinell and Alexi Cohan at the Herald. In all, more than a dozen workers received “gargantuan goodbye kisses,” the paper says.
As part of its payroll, pension and buyouts jihad, the Herald is touting access to its “Your Tax Dollars at Work”database, fyi. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr is blasting away at the ever-growing size of individual pensions.
Trahan and Pressley land key committee assignments held by predecessors
They may not have as much seniority clout as their predecessors, but new U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan and Ayanna Pressley did manage to nab key House committee assignments yesterday, on the Armed Services Committee and Financial Services Committee, respectively. SHNS’s Colin Young at WGBH has more on the Trahan appointment, while the Globe’s Abbi Matheson has the Pressley committee assignment covered.
Campbell: City’s public safety agencies have long needed more diversity
Speaking of public safety: In the wake of a blistering new report on the locker-room atmosphere and lack of diversity in the Boston Fire Department, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell yesterday called on city leaders to improve diversity in all of the city’s public safety agencies, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH.
‘Come back, Joe, all is forgiven’
You know Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas is annoyed with current lawmakers when he looks back nostalgically on the days when Joseph Kennedy II had real political clout, particularly when it came to getting much needed heating oil to the needy in winters.
Teachers union blasts ‘novel’ charter school deal in New Bedford
From SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Telegram: “State and city officials are touting a ‘creative agreement’ to expand a New Bedford charter school, but the state’s top teachers union says the proposed deal is ‘unacceptable’ and will drain funds away from traditional public schools in that city.”
State officials make a stand against bullies
In the wake of high-profile school bullying cases, the Herald has been on anti-bullying crusade of late, with Sean Philip Cotter and Rick Sobey reporting today that Attorney General Maura Healey and Gov. Charlie Baker, among others, are open to toughening up anti-bulling laws in Massachusetts.
Remembering the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the tragic Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, with a number of commemorations around the city, including a gathering at the North End site where the infamous molasses tank burst, killing more than 20 people and heavily damaging huge swaths of the neighborhood. Universal Hub has a photo of the ceremony. The AP’s William Kole at Wicked Local and Mariam Wasser at WBUR also have more on the flood anniversary.
Plainridge Park posts best December ever
Plainridge Park casino brought in $14 million in gross gaming revenue in December, its best month since September and its most lucrative December since it opened in 2015, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle.
Power Breakfast: Economic Outlook
Join the BBJ for a panel discussion looking into 2019!
Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton
Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton, Author of The Black Cats of Amherst
Executive Forum – The State of Massachusetts Business 2019
Join us on January 25 as AIM presents the 2019 State of Massachusetts Business address and Economic Outlook Forum. AIM President Rick Lord and a panel of experts will discuss solutions to one of the most persistent challenge facing employers today: the shortage of qualified workers.
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