Happening Today

College closure rules, Spilka on the air, Warren in Puerto Rico

— The Board of Higher Education meets at Framingham State University and plans to review recommendations on how to prevent abrupt college closures, McCarthy Center, Forum Room, 100 State St., Framingham, 9 a.m. 

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, 1 Ashburton Place, 12th Floor, Crane Conference Room, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— The Arc of Massachusetts holds its third annual Supporting Families Day and new legislator reception, with Rep. Denise Garlick and Sen. John Keenan planning to address attendees, Grand Staircase, 10:30 a.m.

— About 200 students and teachers from Boston-area schools will celebrate ‘National School Choice Week,’ Great Hall, 11 a.m.

Group Insurance Commission holds a listening session to discuss its proposed plan design for fiscal 2020, One Ashburton Pl., 21st floor, 11:30 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren makes a campaign visit to Puerto Rico for a ‘community conversation’ about hurricane recovery, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera Theater, Calle Fortaleza, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 6 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

In case you missed it …

For those of you who may have missed MassterList yesterday due to the MLK Jr. holiday, check out our website to see what we covered, from Gov. Baker’s proposed $1 billion real estate tax to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren becoming the latest star on SNL.


It’s begun: Rollins vs ICE

This didn’t take long. From the Globe’s Maria Cramer: “Rachael Rollins, the new Suffolk County district attorney, is blasting Immigration and Customs Enforcement for arresting an undocumented immigrant in a Boston courthouse this month when he showed up for an arraignment on cocaine trafficking charges. Rollins vowed to launch an investigation to find out how ICE learned about the man’s whereabouts when he went to Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 7.”

Read the article. The case isn’t as simple you might think. Both sides have good points.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, a star is born: Rollins is subject of possible Netflix documentary

As she battles ICE, it’s also lights, camera and action time for Rachael Rollins. From the Herald’s Laurel Sweet: “Rachael Rollins has been Suffolk County’s first black female district attorney for less than a month, but a group of filmmakers recognized last year a star was born. All eyes were on the prosecutor Monday as a French film crew she said is making a documentary for Netflix recorded her every move, conversation and fan interaction at festivities honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. ‘So it’s exciting to have them here, but it’s awkward for sure sometimes,’ she said.”

Boston Herald

Decisions, decisions: With so many Dem women running for president, it’s getting tough for feminists to choose

Now there’s three: Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and, as of yesterday, Kamala Harris, and more female Dem candidates for president may be on the way. But that poses a problem for some feminists: Who to support? The Globe’s Liz Goodwin has the gender dilemma details. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman says the real dilemma is for the Democratic party as a whole, now that “three hard-left progressive women” are running and making Donald Trump’s re-election more likely.

Warren blasts Trump, welcomes Harris, and heads off Puerto Rico

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a busy holiday schedule on Monday, appearing at a local MLK Jr. event and a rally with workers at Logan Airport, and blasting away at President Trump for the ongoing federal government shutdown, reports Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH. Warren also found time to welcome U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris to the Democratic presidential race, saying it’s “terrific” that so many other Dems are running for president, reports the Herald’s Laurel Sweet. Now the Democratic presidential wannabe is headed to Puerto Rico today and to South Carolina later this week, reports Shannon Young at MassLive.

Lyons’ first priority as GOP chairman: Going after urban voters

This strategy worked for Charlie Baker in 2014 and, so, newly elected state GOP chairman Jim Lyons is right to pursue roughly the same strategy, i.e. reaching out to cities and developing a plan to rebuild the party’s infrastructure in urban areas, as SHNS’s Michael Norton reports. It’s easier said than done – and the conservative Lyons is no moderate Baker. But it’s good to see Republicans not conceding urban areas to Democrats. Competition is good.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Mega-MAGA hat controversy and, of course, outrage

One incident. Two political universes. Here’s competing coverage of the controversy over that viral video showing Kentucky students facing off against a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Starting off with the Herald, Sean Philip Cotter reports that Massachusetts conservatives say they’ve experienced similar hostile reactions for wearing MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats and other pro-Trump garb. The Herald’s Adriana Cohen says every American should be alarmed – yes, alarmed! – by the way the students are being treated.

Meanwhile, the NYT applies its patented big-think approach toward controversies, coming from the opposite political spectrum, by declaring that the students’ hometown has been “ripped out of its overwhelmingly white, heavily Catholic, and largely Republican world and thrust into a national firestorm that touched seemingly every raw nerve in this polarized country — race, President Trump and the behavior of young white men.” A “firestorm” hitting a “raw nerve”?

For some reason, our mind drifts to this NY Post headline from the other day: “How the media convinces us we’re all outraged – even when no one cares”

Trump congratulates Pats and … plugs Curt Schilling for Hall of Fame

Speaking of President Trump, Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine reports that the Republican president was among those all excited yesterday by the Pats’ big win on Sunday, tweeting his congrats to best buds Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, as well as the entire team. Trump obviously had Boston on his mind yesterday, because he also put in a plug for former Red Sox star (and conservative radio/Internet gabber) Curt Schilling to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as Buell notes.

Boston Magazine

MLK memorial effort gets a $750K funding boost

This was a great gesture on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. From the Globe’s Andy Rosen: “Efforts to memorialize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in Boston got a significant financial boost Monday, as the Boston Foundation and Boston University marked Monday’s holiday by announcing a combined $750,000 in support.” The story is accompanied by design sketches of the five finalists for the memorial. We happen to like the one at the top left, just fyi. It’s striking – and memorable.

Making her point: Weymouth compressor station foe resumes sit-ins at governor’s office

Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration had “no choice” when it recently issued an air-quality permit for a proposed natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth. And now Andrea Honore is effectively saying she has no choice but to resume her daily sit-ins outside the governor’s office in protest of the controversial compressor. Jessica Trufant at the Patriot Ledger has the details.

Patriot Ledger

Is the state’s tax revenue situation getting worse?

State officials expressed hope that December’s huge decline in tax revenues might be only a one-month affair. Halfway through January, it doesn’t look that way, with tax collections down by $531 million, or 32.2 percent, in the first two weeks of the new year, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall)

‘Walsh hears footsteps’

Peter Lucas at the Herald wrote over the holiday weekend that Mayor Marty Walsh shouldn’t run for higher office, but he knows why he may be thinking of running for higher office: “Walsh hears footsteps, which is understandable given the changing demographics and diversity of a city where minorities now make up the majority.” Peter suggests Walsh might be better off waiting for a higher-office offer (hint: Kevin White almost got one 1972).

Meanwhile, Lucas has another Herald column this morning, chronicling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley’s first days in Congress – and he thinks the Republic may going the way of Rome.

Boston Herald

Avoiding the next Mount Ida …

From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Citing a need to boost confidence in higher education, state officials are ready to begin erecting a new process to screen, monitor and, if necessary, intervene to protect students when officials determine a private college or university in Massachusetts is at risk of closing within 18 months. After meeting since May and following talks with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, Board of Higher Education (BHE) members who served on a working group are set to make their recommendations, which call for a new Office of Student Protection, to the full board Tuesday during a meeting at Framingham State University.”  

Few taking advantage of new juvenile expungement law

Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune reports that a new law that allows juvenile records and some crimes for young adults to be expunged from the books isn’t getting many takers. One of the main reasons for the lack of interest: Individuals seeking to expunge a previous conviction can only get one charge removed, which advocates say does little to help those with multiple offenses in their past, Wade writes.


Uber: New fees would be an unfair burden on passengers

From the AP at WBUR: “Uber says legislation calling for higher fees for ride-hailing companies would place an unfair burden on Massachusetts residents who rely on the service. Three state lawmakers and a regional planning group are calling for the higher fees on Uber and Lyft, saying they could help reduce traffic and raise revenue for cities and towns for transportation projects.”


Boston’s working port needs a little TLC

Jill Valdés Horwood, director of policy for Boston Harbor Now, and James Aloisi, a board member at TransitMatters, write at CommonWealth magazine that Boston’s working port, run by Massport, needs more attention if it’s ever going to live up to its true potential. They have a bunch of recommendations, including updating regulations and not walling off the working waterfront.


BU media researchers are now studying your biometric signals, not just what you say

SHNS’s Craig Sandler at Wicked Local visited the Boston University Communication Research Center and discovered that researchers are no longer just listening to what people say about advertisements, news stories and other media-related products. They’re now regularly using biometrics — heart rate, blood pressure, eye movements, galvanic skin response – to test engagement and reactions. “We are interested in not just what your mouth says, but what the rest of your body is saying,” says Jim Cummings, a center director.

Wicked Local

Meanwhile, BU survey shows mayors view affordable housing as top issue

Speaking of BU, a new study by the Boston University Initiative on Cities shows that high housing prices are not just a local concern. Mayors across the country are increasingly concerned about rising home values and rents. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has more.

Boston Globe

Then again, mayors aren’t exactly helping some homeowners

From Chris Burrell at WGBH: “Some cities in Massachusetts are cashing in on homeowners who have failed to pay tax bills by running auctions that pull in thousands of dollars more than they’re actually owed in taxes.


‘Looks like Massachusetts is wicked smart’

Don’t let it go to your head. From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “A new report from WalletHub lists Massachusetts as the most-educated state in the country. The report, which reviewed a number of metrics including attainment of high school diplomas and college degrees, has three New England states in the top 5 most educated states with Vermont ranked 3rd and Connecticut 4th. New Hampshire ranked 7th. Maine came in at 17th and Rhode Island ranked 21st.”


Factoid of the day: 8,158

Just for the record, from the Washington Post: “Two years after taking the oath of office, President Donald Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That includes an astonishing 6,000-plus such claims in the president’s second year.”

Fyi: That averages to 16.5 non-truthies a day in his second year.

Washington Post

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.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Get New Insight and Practices for Boosting Revenues

Are you ready to infuse your product, marketing and sales efforts with fresh ideas that work? Past Summits have won rave reviews. Learn more and register at StrategicMarketingSummit.com

MarketReach, Inc.

Instant Issues After Hours: Eric Lesser on Leadership & Negotiation Challenges in the World of Politics

The World Affairs Council will present Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser in conversation with Dr. Joshua Weiss, program director for Bay Path University’s Master of Science in Leadership and Negotiation, at an Instant Issues After Hours event on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 5:30 p.m at Merriam-Webster, Inc.

The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts

Live Webinar: Brown Bag – Policy Update

John Regan, AIM’s executive vice president for government affairs, will give an update on the Associations’ legislative agenda for 2019/2020 and provide a brief update on the state’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave law.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series with Carmen Ortiz

What to expect at this event? The event will begin with a brief networking reception followed by a conversation between Carmen Ortiz and ADL New England’s Regional Director, Robert Trestan. Time will be reserved at the end to take questions from the audience. Light appetizers and soft drinks will be served.

ADL New England

Today’s Headlines


ICE’s arrest at Suffolk court rankles new DA – Boston Globe


Massachusetts is the most educated state in the country, according to WalletHub report – MassLive

Elizabeth Warren at Logan Airport: ‘Open Our Government and Pay People’ – Boston Magazine


Shutdown in U.S., slowing growth in China fuel concerns over global economy – Washington Post

President Donald Trump marks MLK holiday with brief, unannounced visit to civil rights leader’s memorial – MassLive

Giuliani Says His Moscow Trump Tower Comments Were ‘Hypothetical’ – NYT

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