Happening Today

House rules debate, Governor’s Council and more

— Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk and others attend an Economic Assistance Coordinating Council policy meeting, Boston City Hall, 9th floor conference room, 1 City Hall Sq., Boston, 10 a.m.

— After House Democrats caucus at 10 a.m., the House meets in a formal session to consider House and Joint rules that are expected to stir debate among members, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

— The Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus holds an event to announce the unveiling of the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative, in bills filed by Rep. Antonio Cabral and Sen. Brendan Crighton, House Members’ Lounge, 11:15 a.m.

Senate Democrats caucus privately ahead of Thursday’s rules debate, Senate President’s Office, 11:30 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a Governor’s Council assembly, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh signs a Racial Equity and Leadership Executive Order, African Meeting House, 46 Joy St., Beacon Hill, 12 p.m.

— House holds a joint caucus for mandatory harassment prevention training for its members, Room A-1, 12:30 p.m.

— Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition hosts a lobby day in support of legislation that would restrict local authorities’ cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, Room 437, 1 p.m.

— The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will hold a public listening event on draft regulations for paid family and medical leave, Gardner Auditorium, 2 p.m.

— ‘Radio Boston’ features an hour-long special on ‘A New Era for Boston Criminal Justice’ with Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— The Green Line Extension Project will hold a public meeting to provide information on new station designs, upcoming traffic detours and the Community Path, East Somerville Community School Cafeteria, 50 Cross St., Somerville, 6 p.m.

— Mayor Marty Walsh attends the WBUR CitySpace Ribbon Cutting, WBUR CitySpace, 890 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 6:30 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

Billionaires Schultz and Bloomberg take shots at Warren’s ‘uber-millionaire’ tax plan

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is probably, or ought to be, loving this: Two male billionaires, Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg, both mulling runs for president, are taking shots at Warren’s proposed “uber-millionaire tax” on the wealthy – with Shultz calling it ‘ridiculous’ and Bloomberg comparing it to something you might see in Venezuela.

The Associated Press at the Herald and Talking Points Memo and the Globe’s James Pindell have all the details, including Warren’s almost gleeful counter-attacks.

Polls still aren’t going Warren’s way …

Granted, it’s early in the election cycle. But it’s still surprising to see U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who most observers believe has had a good month since unofficially announcing she’s running for president, barely registering as a blip in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Then again, other Dems can’t break out of the single-digit category as well, it seems. Btw: The Herald’s Brooks Sutherland has more, well, disappointing poll news for Warren out of Iowa.

Washington Post

Worn down: Partners HealthCare’s Torchiana to leave amid tensions with hospital chiefs

From the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey and Liz Kowalczyk: “Dr. David Torchiana, the chief executive of Partners HealthCare, has unexpectedly announced his departure, after his push to integrate the sprawling health system encountered rising tensions from other Partners leaders. Over the past several months, the opinionated former heart surgeon had stirred internal concerns with plans to expand Partners and rethink the direction of the organization and its flagship teaching hospitals.”

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett (pay wall) has more on Torchiana’s departure, with the chairman of Partners effectively acknowledging that, well, it’s not easy dealing with all the big egos at Partners.

Boston Globe

Thank you, Sam Tyler

Speaking of departures: After 46 years acting as the city of Boston’s top fiscal watchdog, Sam Tyler has announced he’s retiring as president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the number-crunching non-profit that’s acted as an independent auditor of the city’s books stretching back to the administration of Kevin White. The Globe’s Milton Valencia has more.

House progressives and others mobilize to battle DeLeo over rules

It’s not a coup attempt. More like a Magna Carta moment. From Andy Metzger and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The Massachusetts House on Wednesday is expected to vote on the rules it will operate under the next two years, but don’t expect the usual ho-hum debate. A group of progressive dissenters are planning to use the rules to challenge the House’s power structure, a Republican is calling for term limits and the right for legislative aides to unionize, and the speaker’s team is making some modifications.” The Globe’s Matt Stout has more on the rules fight.


Pundit: Rep. McMurtry the ‘victim of a progressive hit job’

Speaking of those evil rabble-rousing progressives, political columnist Peter Lucas at the Lowell Sun is blasting away at progressive lawmakers and the Boston Globe, saying it’s “plausible” that Rep. Paul McMurtry was “set up” when he was accused of sexual misbehavior and it’s also “plausible” it was part of an attempt to weaken House Speaker Robert DeLeo.  

Lowell Sun

Baker to visit mosque, the first by a sitting Massachusetts governor

From the Associated Press at WGBH: “Gov. Charlie Baker is planning to visit a Boston mosque. Organizers say the visit Friday to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center — the largest mosque in New England — is the first by a sitting Republican Massachusetts governor. Organizers say Baker will sit among congregants for the sermon and observe the prayer, then speak briefly to the community.”


Lap dance Rx, Part II: An ex-stripper hired as a ‘sales manager’?

An update on that exotic lap dancer who was reportedly employed by Insys Therapeutics to convince docs to prescribe a potentially deadly fentanyl pain reliever to patients: She’s Sunrise Lee, an ex-stripper who served as a “sales manager” for Insys, as reported by Laurel Sweet at the Herald. One doc apparently couldn’t keep his hands off Sunrise. And we repeat: Release the names of physicians allegedly partaking in these pathetic opioid-prescription schemes, please.

Boston Herald

You are now entering Boston: That will be $5, please

Mayor Marty Walsh is putting distance between himself and a new Carbon Free Boston Working Group recommendation calling for a $5 “congestion fee” to drive into downtown Boston, reports the Herald’s Jonathan Ng and Brooks Sutherland.

One can argue over the five-dollar figure. But our hunch is that some sort of downtown congestion fee will be needed — and not congestion fees on merely a few roadways entering the city, i.e. higher tolls for Pike and Tobin drivers (again) while letting I-93 and Route 2 motorists etc. skate free without paying any tolls (again).

Boston Herald

Tom Ashbrook’s parting gift to WBUR: A unionized newsroom?

From Martha Bebinger at WBUR: “Ninety-four employees at WBUR, an NPR affiliate in Boston, filed notice Tuesday of their intent to form a union, according to staff organizers. The radio and multimedia producers, reporters, hosts and editors say they represent 80 percent of station staff members who create content online and for the radio.”

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert (pay wall) reports that the recent controversy over former radio-show host Tom Ashbrook, who was shown the station door after complaints about his toxic-boss ways, apparently spurred some employees to unionize.


Reports: Related Beal poised to buy prime Gillette parcel along Fort Point Channel

The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) and the Globe’s Tim Logan report that Related Beal is in line to purchase a coveted waterfront Gillette parcel along Boston’s Fort Point Channel, a move that could spur a wave of yet more development in the area. The immediate question is how much Related Beal might end up paying for the 6.5 acres. The BBJ bandies about figures ranging from $216 million to $300 million.

Kenmore Square’s latest ‘renaissance’ …

In other development news: There’s a running joke within business-journalism circles about how certain areas of Greater Boston seem to always be on the cusp of a “renaissance” that never quite arrives, such as Revere Beach, Chelsea, etc. One of them is Kenmore Square, which, by our count, has seen about four “renaissances” on the horizon over the years – and the fifth may be on the way. The Globe’s Tim Logan has the details on a developer’s plan for a major new hotel tower that could transform traffic patterns in the congested area.

Quick question: Wasn’t the relatively recent land/streetscaping around the T station in Kenmore Square supposed to address some of these traffic concerns?

Boston Globe

Healey to Trump: Up for a game of H-O-R-S-E or any other sport?

Attorney General Maura Healey, in an interview with Colman Herman at Boston Magazine, couldn’t get pinned down on whether she might run for governor in 2022. So there’s always the fallback question to the former basketball standout: Who would she like to play H-O-R-S-E against next, besides Charlie Baker? “I’d love to challenge Donald Trump on anything, any sport, anytime, including driving a golf ball. He has terrible form.”

Boston Magazine

Seventh state trooper pleads guilty in OT scandal

Seven down, more apparently to go. From a report at Wicked Local: “A retired state trooper pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to stealing thousands of dollars in the State Police overtime scandal. Daren DeJong, 57, of Uxbridge, admitted that he collected $14,062 in overtime he never worked in 2016. Prosecutors say he submitted fraudulent tickets to conceal the fraud, left overtime shifts early and simply didn’t show up for some of the shifts for which he was paid.”

Wicked Local

Jacqueline Steiner, co-writer of ‘Charlie on the MTA,’ RIP

The Globe’s Bryan Marquard reports on the death of Jacqueline Steiner, 94, writer of most of the lyrics of “Charlie on the MTA,” a ditty she initially considered a “toss-off, an occasional song that would soon be forgotten.”

Seniors call for expanding Medicaid to avoid ‘falling off the cliff’

SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Telegram reports on a State House rally yesterday by seniors pushing for state expansion of Medicaid coverage to help the elderly make ends meet. Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine has a good explainer piece on why many consider expanded Medicaid necessary to avoid “falling off the cliff.”

Lawmakers push for rail service to shuttle passengers back home from late-night concerts and Sox games

From Mary Whitfill at Wicked Local: “Local lawmakers are pushing for expanded commuter rail hours along the Kingston/Plymouth, Greenbush and Middleboro/Lakeville lines, hoping to see a train run late enough to shuttle residents back from late-night concerts, Red Sox games and other Boston activities. Eleven local state senators and representatives recently signed a letter addressed to Joseph Aiello, chair of the MBTA’s fiscal management and control board, supporting the proposal.”

Wicked Local

ICE deal: ‘An unusual act of collaboration’

The Globe’s Adrian Walker has a good column this morning on an unlikely deal stuck between the ACLU, ICE and others to end the “unfair Catch 22” practice of detaining immigrants on state charges – and then not letting them out of jail to confront those state charges. Read the column. It’s an eye-opener on a clearly unjust practice, no matter where you stand on the issue of immigration.

Btw: This might partially explain a motive for keeping some immigrants locked up, via Shannon Dooling at WBUR: ‘County Jails Bring Millions Of Dollars To Mass. By Housing ICE Detainees.’

Big spenders: DeLeo, Sanchez and Finegold top of the list of lawmakers who dropped the most dough in 2018

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the names and numbers of legislators who spent the most cash during last year’s election cycle, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo (uncontested election), now former Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (upset by Nika Elugard) and Sen. Barry Finegold (reclaiming his old seat).


From Lizzie Borden to the Boston Massacre: Historic records have found a new home

Jacqueline Temera at MassLive reports on yesterday’s unveiling of new storage space at the Massachusetts State Archives that will house nearly 400 years of state records. Files from the Lizzie Borden case and the Boston Massacre trial were available for viewing yesterday, among other historic documents.


Why not craft marijuana grown right here in Boston?

Well, they do have locally brewed craft beers. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “The Zoning Board of Appeals (Tuesday) unanimously approved a potrepreneur’s proposal for a three-story building in Newmarket Square in which to grow what he says will be craft marijuana for both recreational and medicinal uses. Green Line Boston’s nearly 20,000-square-foot indoor-grow facility would be the first in Boston, if it can win approval of the state Cannabis Control Commission.”

Universal Hub

In Lowell, pot tax will help fix city buildings

Speaking of pot: In what appears to be a first in the state, the Lowell CIty Council has voted to set aside 25 percent of all local marijuana tax revenue for use in maintaining and repairing city buildings, Rick Sobey reports at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Kennedy and other lawmakers push for higher minimum wage for ‘tip’ workers

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinsky at South Coast Today: “Less than a year after lawmakers struck a so-called ‘grand bargain’ to increase minimum wages for all workers, advocates are mounting a new push to ensure tipped workers receive the same base wage as all other hourly employees.” 

South Coast Today

Will trashing purple bags help Correia keep mayor’s office?

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia may be under indictment and facing a March recall election, but he predicted voters would be “celebrating in the streets” after he announced an end to the city’s pay-as-you-throw solid waste program on Tuesday. Citing improved budget figures, Correia said residents will no longer have to purchase the distinctive purple bags used to toss away their trash, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald News. 

Herald News

State to pay $1 million to wrongly convicted man

Attorney General Maura Healey has finalized a deal to pay $1 million to Fred Clay, who spent 38 years behind bars after being wrongly convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, the largest payout allowed under a recently revamped state law, Chris Burrell reports at WGBH. The sum works out to $26,000 for each year Clay spent behind bars.


Designers give first glimpse of Worcester’s Polar Park design

There will be no Green Monster West. The firms charged with designing Polar Park in Worcester, where the now Pawtucket Red Sox will start playing in 2021, say the new stadium won’t necessarily look like Fenway or other traditional parks and instead may include flexible seating, an outfield that is open and accessible when games aren’t being played, and even a rail car diner, Melissa Hanson reports at MassLive. 


Q1 Briefing: HR Technologies Changing the Workplace for the Better

The BWWC, Mayor’s Office of Women Advancement, and Boston University’s Hariri Institute invite you to kick off the new year with us and gain a deeper understanding of tech solutions advancing women in the workplace!

Boston Women’s Workforce Council

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

Changemakers: How Women Can Change The World

We can change the world but we can’t do it by ourselves. In this BostonSpeaksSeries, we chat with leading changemakers in Boston about lessons they have learned in their personal and professional journeys while fostering real and honest conversations about what it takes to lead and create impact.


2019 Pinnacle Awards

The annual Pinnacle Awards have become one of the premier business gatherings in the region, attracting more than 1,200 attendees annually.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Today’s Headlines


Developer offers vision to get Kenmore Square moving – Boston Globe

Health officials warn of HIV spike among Boston drug users – Boston Herald


Amherst College aims for carbon neutrality by 2030 – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Trahan lands another committee assignment – Lowell Sun

Connector: Health coverage signups stronger than a year ago – Standard-Times


Trump met Putin without staff or note-takers present–again – Vox

Big border deal fades before talks even begin – Politico

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