Happening Today

Naloxone announcement, Senate session, and more

Massachusetts Environmental Police launches a new initiative to equip officers with life-saving naloxone and connect individuals with substance use disorders to local treatment and support services, Mass. Environmental Police Training Headquarters, 183 Milk St., Westborough, 9 a.m.

— Mayor Marty Walsh attends the Massport Marine Terminal Parcel 6 groundbreaking, Massport Marine Terminal, 0 Fid Kennedy Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate holds its first non-ceremonial formal session of 2019, with plans to debate Senate and joint legislative rules proposals, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago and Framingham State University President Dr. Javier Cevallos to highlight the state plan to end youth homelessness, announce grant awardees and launch a college housing pilot, Framingham State University, McCarthy Campus Center, 93 State St., Framingham, 11:15 a.m.

— Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts Retirement Board, One Winter St., 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal joins Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos and Commander of the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base Brigadier General D. Scott Durham for a ‘major federal funding announcement from the Department of Defense,’ Hangar 9, Westover Air Reserve Base, 975 Patriot Ave., Chicopee, 1 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito administers the oath of office to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, Commonwealth College Center, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, 4:30 p.m.

— Former U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz will speak at the Anti-Defamation League’s Breaking Barriers Speaking Series, with Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan expected to attend, CIC Boston, 50 Milk St., 20th Floor, Boston, 6 p.m.

— State Rep. Chynah Tyler, who represents parts of Roxbury, Dorchester, the South End and the Fenway, will hold her third annual district town hall to discuss her legislative priorities, First Church of Roxbury, Putnam Hall, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury, 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

Despite cold, the count went on … but not schools

In the end, it was part homeless census count and part rescue mission for Mayor Marty Walsh and hundreds of volunteers who braved the cold weather last night to count the number of homeless people in Boston – and to urge them to get out of the cold. The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo and the Globe’s Danny McDonald and Andrew Stanton have the details.

Btw: Speaking of the cold, both MassLive and the Boston Globe have a list of school closings due today’s extreme cold weather.

Complete rout: House rejects rules reforms by progressives and Republicans

It’s back to the revolution drawing board for reformers in the Massachusetts House. From Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “An influx of new members is changing the atmosphere of the House chamber, but in the first deliberations of the 2019-2020 session on Wednesday, Speaker Robert DeLeo and his Democratic backers made sure the chamber’s rules remained the same. In the debate over a set of rules to govern the chamber, dissenting Democrats and Republicans pitched a range of different proposals with a general theme of extending the opportunities for review and public input on legislation. But the proposals were shot down by the majority Democrats who described those efforts as well-meaning but ill-advised measures that would jam up the legislative process.”


Bio industry launches counter-offensive against Baker’s price-control plans

The counter-offensive has begun. In a Globe op-ed, Robert K. Coughlin, president and CEO of MassBio, warns that Gov. Charlie Baker is engaging in a “dangerous game” and advocating “strong-arm tactics” with his new proposal to rein in Medicaid drug prices, arguing the plan will end up harming the biotech industry and consumers alike. In a state where the bio/pharmaceutical sector is a virtual economic king, those are fighting words.

Meanwhile, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that Baker’s Medicaid drug proposals got a “cool reception” at a MassBio policy breakfast yesterday, though most industry officials “didn’t appear to have their own ready-made alternative.” Perhaps an ominous sign for Baker’s proposals: “About 30 lawmakers attended the jam-packed breakfast, signaling the broad support in the Legislature for an industry that is thriving in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and also in Worcester.”

In an editorial, the Globe argues that “Medicaid (drug) spending is indeed a big ticket item that needs to be addressed,” though the editorial isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Baker’s plan.

Boston Globe

Opioids peddling update: Somerville sues drug makers, Insys trial reveals more dubious sales practices

Hey, speaking of the drug industry, Somerville has become the latest city to sue opioid-drug manufacturers and distributors, alleging negligence and fraud in pitching the various drugs to doctors and patients, reports Danny McDonald at the Globe. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Laurel Sweet has an update on the ongoing bribes-for-prescriptions trial of Insys Therapeutics executives in Boston, focusing on one sales rep’s admitted peddling of an opioid painkiller. And the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham has a column on Attorney General Maura Healey’s legal battle with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma – and what that case tells us about how opioid products were pitched by company founders and executives.

Environmental police to start carrying anti-overdose naloxone

One more opioids-related post: The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that that state’s environmental police will begin carrying naloxone, the opioid overdose-reversing drug, following the release of a study that “found fishing, farming and forestry workers were dying from overdoses at high rates.” 

Boston Herald

Report says Weld poised to announce he’ll run against Trump in primary

Janet Wu of WCVB is reporting that former Mass. Gov. William Weld has taken a leave from his law and lobbying job and could announce a presidential bid as early as today. The station says it’s not clear yet whether Weld would formally launch a bid or follow Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s lead and form an exploratory committee, but in either case Weld is expected to run as a Republican. Weld, of course, was the VP nominee on the Libertarian ticket in 2016. 


Charlie Baker: ‘A man without a party’

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker can pretty much kiss off any chance of one day running for president (if he’s so inclined) etc. due to his recent tax-hike proposals that leave him as “a man without a party,” floating somewhere in between the GOP and Democratic party.

Boston Globe

Appalled at what they saw at a Nazi memorabilia auction …

John Christie, who’s writing a book about his family and the Armenian genocide, and his wife, who is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust, hesitated to go to the estate auction, but decided to attend anyway – and what they saw shocked them: Hitler books and poster and Nazi flags, helmets, stick pins, insignias, etc. “But lot no. 181 turned my stomach. Inside the glass case were a half dozen armbands, including two with the Star of David and one from the Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

As they say, read the whole thing, including how auction organizers less-reverentially treated American GI memorabilia. Christie, whose father fought in WWII, wasn’t pleased.


‘Do-gooders out to make Boston commuting even more costly’

The idea isn’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. But that isn’t stopping the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld from blasting a recommended $5 “congestion fee” to drive/park in Boston as a way to reduce traffic and carbon emissions. 

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that Connecticut is thinking of slapping tolls on its own highways, something that would lead to higher prices for Bay State motorists traveling to and from New York (or Pepi’s Pizza in New Haven). But Connecticut isn’t doing it for environmental reasons. It’s all about m-o-n-e-y.

Boston Herald

SJC agrees to hear Globe’s request for ‘secret court’ records

From the Globe’s Todd Wallack: “The Boston Globe’s lawsuit to open up the records of thousands of closed-door criminal court hearings is expected to be heard by the Massachusetts high court this spring. Justice David A. Lowy, who heard initial arguments in the case in late December, decided to refer the Globe’s lawsuit to the full panel of Supreme Judicial Court judges in written ruling a  this week. Lowy said oral arguments should be scheduled for sometime in April.”

Boston Globe

Is the Sullivan dynasty coming to an end in Westfield?

Hope Tremblay at MassLive reports that Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, shaken by the recent death of school-board member brother, has decided not to run for re-election. Matt Szafranskiat Western Mass. Politic & Insight says the decision could “signal a paradigm shift for politics in the city where the Sullivan clan has been a fixture in politics for years.”


Lawmakers try new approach in push for sex ed bill: Linking it to #MeToo movement

SHHS’s Sam Doran at the MetroWest Daily News reports that backers are once again pushing a perennial bill to update sex education classes in Massachusetts, but this time they’re emphasizing the need to “put an end to the unacceptable violence and behavior” seen in recent high-profile sexual harassment cases.

MetroWest Daily News

Oh, never mind: Would-be bank robber gets cold feet, rips up ‘give me money’ note, walks out

Amanda Burke at the Herald Review reports that, according to Fall River police, a woman wearing a black cap and sunglasses walked up to bank teller, hesitated and then said “give me a minute,” started writing a note at a side counter and then ripped it up, throwing the pieces into a trash can and walking out. A suspicious teller later pieced together the “give me the money” note and called police.

Herald News

Councilors call for halt to ‘irrational, illogical, premature’ redevelopment of old Edison plant

Despite the weather, it’s heating up in Southie. The Herald’s Jonathan Ng reports that city councilors are calling for a halt/delay/whatever to the massive mixed-use redevelopment of the old Edison plant on L Street, saying the permitting process has become “irrational, illogical, premature, and fundamentally unfair to the South Boston community,” as City Councilor Michael Flaherty puts it.

Boston Herald

Plans for $117M regional school up in the air after Yarmouth threatens to sue

Towns don’t always agree with each other on regional school-district proposals. Case in point: After a new $117 million Dennis-Yarmouth middle school was narrowly approved by only 25 votes in a district-wide election last month, the town of Yarmouth, where the measure failed, is threatening to sue because the decision wasn’t based on separate town meeting votes. The threat has now cast doubt on the entire projects, reports Kristen Young at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Now online: Steamship Authority’s $100K Club

Amid criticism that it and other quasi-public agencies have fallen short of transparency goals, the Steamship Authority, whose ferry services have been harshly criticized lately, posted online several years’ worth of employee salaries, George Brennan reports at the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The report shows 60 authority employees earning $100,000 or more, including General Manager Robert Davis, who had a 2018 salary of $175,000. 

Martha’s Vineyard Times

Baker urges MassHousing and other agencies to watch the perk spending

As part of the Herald’s continuing non-stop bombardment of all things MassHousing, the paper’s Joe Dwinell and Mary Markos report this morning that Gov. Charlie Baker is urging the agency and other government entities to watch their perk spending. For some reason, we get the impression the Herald had something to do with prying a reaction from the governor.

Martha Stewart to grace BC’s Chief Executives Club

This will pack ‘em in. From Catherine Carlock at the BBJ: “Legendary lifestyle guru  Martha Stewart will appear at the Boston College Chief Executives Club next week. Stewart, who founded Martha Stewart Living, Living Omnimedia in 1997, will be interviewed by Carol Meyrowitz, former CEO and current executive chairman of TJX Cos. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.”

And, yes, the story notes, as it should, Stewart’s past conviction on charges related to the ImClone stock trading scandal last decade. But we still believe Stewart, while doing wrong, got a raw deal on that one compared to financial-sector hucksters who did far worse and never saw a courtroom for their actions.

BBJ (pay wall)

Smith College reveals new policies to avoid repeat of racial incident

The ACLU is cheering changes that Smith College says it will make in response to last summer’s racial incident on campus in which police were called after a staffer said a black student looked out of place, Dusty Christensen reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The school says it made changes in policing, staff training and education and will hold a day-long immersive racial awareness event in April. 


High Times hero pleads guilty to federal pot charge

Peter Molle found out the hard way that the police sometimes read High Times magazine too. Molle, who was profiled as one of several “Patriot pot growers” in the publication, has entered a guilty plea on a federal marijuana cultivation charge and could face significant jail time despite the drug’s now-legal status in the Bay State, Brad Petrishen reports at the Telegram.


Is there a state government Pats-superstitions expert who Charlie Baker can consult?

Gov. Charlie Baker let be known yesterday that he’s mulling a trip to Atlanta this weekend to watch the Pats-Rams Super Bowl, reports Mary Markos at the Herald. But here’s the thing: Baker has attended two Super Bowls in the past, watching the Pats win one game and losing the other (“one of the worst days of my life,” he understandably admits). So he’s 1 for 1, not a good superstitious sign, if you ask us, and therefore it’s something he needs to seriously mull before saying ‘yes,’ if you ask us.

Btw: Practicing what we preach, we’re currently weighing our own superstitious practices for Sunday. We think everyone should.

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


On a frigid night, volunteers canvas Boston for the annual homeless census – Boston Globe

Brockton city council extends marijuana sales moratorium – Brockton Enterprise


Springfield councilor calls for meeting after jury awards $250,000 in police brutality case – MassLive

Amy Zuckerman, charged in newspaper threat case, ruled not currently competent – Telegram & Gazette

Cape schools stand to take hit in education funding – Cape Cod Times


FoxConn is reconsidering plant for manufacturing in Wisconsin – New York Times

Which Democrats are running in 2020 and which still might – NPR

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