Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Cannabis Control Commission, and more

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Winter Meeting in Washington D.C. 

— The Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy this morning releases its annual Condition of Education in the Commonwealth report, which gauges state-level indicators of school performance.

— The Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors will meet to discuss the board counsel legal report, the executive director’s report, correspondence and other business, 1000 Washington St., Room 1-C, Boston, 9 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets and is expected to discuss the next steps in deciding whether to re-open bidding for a southeastern Massachusetts casino, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Board meets to hear a presentation on the 2018 Clean Energy Industry Report and an update on the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program, among other items on the agenda, 63 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants, bar association leaders and law students will join hundreds of lawyers from private law firms to advocate for a $5 million increase in funding for the Mass. Legal Assistance Corp., Great Hall, 11 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets and is expected to vote to authorize additional final and provisional marijuana business licenses, Transportation Building, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Rep. Andy Vargas, Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and Sen. Harriette Chandler join youths from Vote16 Massachusetts to announce support for legislation that would give cities and towns the option to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, Room 222, 1:15 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, House Speaker Bob DeLeo, Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Ruth Balser and a coalition of groups to participate in the ceremonial signing of a bill allowing for equitable gender coverage in disability policies, State Library, 1:30 p.m.

— The Commission on the Status of Women will hold a full commission meeting, 19 Staniford St., 3rd Floor, Boston, 5 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

Baker unveils $42.7B budget with education funding overhaul

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday unveiled a new $42.7 billion budget, up 1.5 percent, that includes a seven-year plan to spend $1.1 billion more on education, reports the AP’s Bob Salsberg at NECN.

Obviously, the big news was the governor’s proposed education initiatives – and his call for more money flowing to needier and poorer school districts. Fred Thys and Kathleen McNerney at WBUR and Michael Jonas at CommonWealth have more on the administration’s proposed overhaul of the state education-funding formula – and how some critics believe it doesn’t go far enough.  The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Matt Stout and MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg also have good budget/education overview pieces.

And, yes, the governor’s budget includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes

Technically, the increased aid that would flow to education under Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget doesn’t require new revenues, as Baker aides argue. But, technically, the entire state budget outlined yesterday depends on hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues to pay for state services, via boosting the costs of e-cigarettes, home sales, opioid prescriptions (perhaps), sports gambling, pot sales and acceleration of sales tax remittances (one-time) – all proposed and/or supported by a Republican who once ran on a no-new-(broad-based)-tax platform.

From Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “All of the revenue measures have put the Republican governor in a somewhat novel situation – explaining and defending his tax agenda.” From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Baker’s reliance on tax and fee increases to help finance some of his investments early in his second term has come as a surprise to some on Beacon Hill who have heard the governor time and again tout his opposition to broad-based tax increases.” The Herald’s Mary Markos has more on the all the tax measures.

Baker backs rate-setting for high-cost drugs

This was also tucked into the governor’s budget. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The Baker administration is seeking legislative authority for MassHealth to negotiate prices directly with the manufacturers of high-cost drugs that have little or no competition and, if that effort fails to produce savings, to put the companies through a rate-setting process followed by regulatory and legal penalties if the firm fails to charge the target price.”


There he goes again: Weld weighs run for president against Trump

Time to haul “quixotic” out of the old vocabulary storage locker. Former Gov. William Weld is, once again, yes, signaling he may run for higher office, this time for president, though it’s not certain as a Republican or Libertarian. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has the details on Weld’s highly sought after invitation to the New England Council and Saint Anselm College’s “politics and eggs” series on Feb. 15.

Boston Herald

Rosenberg spent nearly $150K in legal fees tied to Hefner case

The Bryon Hefner fiasco cost him more than just his job. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that former Senate President Stan Rosenberg paid nearly $150,000 in legal fees last year as a result of the ethics investigation and lawsuit he faced after his husband, Hefner, was accused of sexually harassing folks at the State House. Bottom line: Rosenberg paid $148,700 to the Boston law firm Clements and Pineault between January and September 2018, according to campaign finance reports, Schoenberg writes.


Blockbuster deal: State Street HQ lease clears way for massive redevelopment of Government Center Garage

This is a huge win for HYM Investment, the redeveloper of the hulking Government Center Garage near Haymarket and City Hall: State Street Corp. has agreed to move its headquarters from its namesake skyscraper in the Financial District to a new tower planned at what’s now being called One Congress. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and Greg Ryan (pay wall) and the Globe’s Jon Chesto and Tim Logan have the details. Bottom line: The 15-year lease allows HYM to proceed with construction of the 1 million-square-foot tower – and demolition of much of the garage.

Lesser bill would pay people $10K to people to move to western Massachusetts

It can’t be that bad in western Massachusetts. Then again, maybe it is. State Sen. Eric Lesser has filed a bill that would reimburse people for up to $10,000 in relocation and setup expenses if they move to western Massachusetts to work, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. The bill resembles Vermont’s attempt to lure residents with money to move to the Green Mountain state.

Boston Globe

Another one bites the dust: Green Mountain College in Vermont will shut down

Speaking of Vermont: First it was Wheelock College, then Mount Ida College, then Hampshire College — and now it’s Green Mountain College’s turn. The Vermont school is the latest financially struggling higher-ed institution to face closure and/or a disappearance via merger. The Globe’s Laura Krantz has the details. Btw: A MassterList reader recently reminded us of the 2016 takeover of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts by Tufts University, yet another funky higher-education deal ultimately driven by new economic realities. Just pointing it out.

Baker takes aim at stoned drivers, but will his proposals pass legal muster?

When it comes to the governor’s road-safety priorities, it’s not all about hand-held phones and wearing seat belts while driving. From the Globe’s Naomi Martin: “Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill Wednesday to adopt a state panel’s recommendations to combat impaired driving, as Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana industry takes off.  Under the proposals, some of which were opposed by civil liberties advocates, suspected stoned drivers who refuse police demands for a biological test would lose their driver’s licenses for at least six months, the same penalty for alleged drunk drivers who refuse a breathalyzer.”

As Martin notes, civil liberties advocates oppose some of the governor’s measures. And as Jack Lepiarz and Lynn Jolicoeur report at WBUR, there’s this problem: “It includes testing that is still being developed for the marijuana compound THC in the driver’s system.”

Boston Globe

Lawmakers renew push for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

Speaking of driving, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski at WBUR: “Lawmakers are renewing a push to pass legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants residing in the state to acquire driver’s licenses, despite the failure of similar legislation in the past and opposition from Gov. Charlie Baker. Sen. Brendan Crighton, of Lynn; Rep. Christine Barber, of Somerville; and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, of Pittsfield, flanked by dozens of advocates, unveiled their bill Wednesday morning outside the House chamber.”


Would you like some hemp-derived CBD in your coffee?

And speaking of pot (sort of), the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that a number of establishments, such as Cambridge’s Noca Provisions, are now adding cannabidiol (CBD) to beverages, an active compound found in cannabis and hemp and one that fans swear helps with muscle pain and relaxation, though not with getting high. It’s all perfectly legal and unregulated. Bartlett explains why.

BBJ (pay wall)

Boston’s Cambridge Street: ‘A public policy war zone’

It seems like only yesterday that work crews finally completed a major sidewalk and roadway beautification project of Boston’s once-scruffy Cambridge Street – and now both MGH and public transit advocates are eying major projects along and under the streets. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth takes a look at how Cambridge Street may soon again become a “public policy war zone.” And, oh, don’t forget: The Longfellow Bridge restoration project, which created traffic chaos at the foot of Cambridge Street for years, was only recently completed too.  


Failing grade: Longmeadow’s school committee thrown into turmoil following four resignations

Facing a possible recall election over their refusal to rehire an apparently very popular school superintendent, four members of the Longwood School Committee suddenly resigned earlier this week, throwing into doubt what the remaining board members can and can’t do. Jeanette DeForge at MassLive and Matt Szafranski at Western Mass. Politics and Insight have more on the political brawl in Longmeadow.

Food fight: Advocates and restaurant industry battle it out over minimum wage delay

The coalition behind last year’s successful bill raising the minimum wage says the restaurant industry is trying to break terms of the legislative “grand bargain” agreement by seeking a delay in implementing the law as it applies to restaurant workers. SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Worcester Business Journal has the details.

Worcester Business Journal

Walsh ‘very impressed’ with safe-injection sites he saw in Canada

From the Globe’s Felice Freyer: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared himself “very impressed” by what he witnessed during last week’s visit to so-called safe injection sites in Montreal and Toronto — but he stopped just short of endorsing the idea for Boston. Walsh and staff visited several centers where people inject illicit drugs obtained elsewhere, while being monitored by trained professionals who can rescue them from overdoses.”

Boston Globe

No more ‘acting’ before her title: Carol Mici named DOC commissioner

Carol Mici, the acting commissioner of the Department of Correction for the past month and former assistant deputy commissioner at the agency, has been tapped by Gov. Charlie Baker to replace Thomas Turco, who stepped down as DOC commissioner in December to become Baker’s public safety secretary, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton. As commissioner, Mici, who started her career as a correction officer in 1987, will oversee 16 correctional facilities that employ 4,500 staff members and house 8,500 inmates.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

City Council races 2019: ‘Cue the candidate floodgates’

Inspired by the electoral success of Ayanna Pressley and other underdog candidates in last year’s elections, there appears to be no shortage of city council candidates dreaming of knocking off incumbents and climbing the political ladder in Boston. The Globe’s Milton Valencia has the details. WGBH’s David Bernstein had a similar piece last week.

Feds agree to delay relicensing of NH’s Seabrook nuclear plant

At the apparent urging of members of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire congressional delegations, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday agreed to temporarily delay issuing a new operating license for Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in the Granite State. Mary Serreze at MassLive has the details.


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


Boston’s State Street Corporation plans to move headquarters to One Congress Tower – WCVB

Back from Canada, mayors impressed with safe injection sites – Boston Globe


Sale of Papa Gino’s, D’Angelo parent to Wynnchurch Capital approved – BBJ (pay wall)

Baker unveils $42.7B budget with education funding overhaul – Western Mass News


Trump Says He’ll Delay Speech Until After Shutdown – NYT

Feds agree to delay relicensing New Hampshire’s Seabrook nuclear power plant – MassLive

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