Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Super Bowl security, Baker visits mosque, Anita Hill honored

Gaming Commission meets in a private executive session during which commissioners are expected to discuss litigation strategy related to the lawsuit by former Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins Police Commissioner William Gross host a public safety conference ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Boston City Hall, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. James McGovern is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 11 a.m.

— The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will hold a public listening event where attendees can present public testimony on draft regulations for paid family and medical leave, Department of Industrial Accidents, 3rd Floor, 436 Dwight St., Springfield, 11 a.m.

— The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce gives out its 2019 Pinnacle Awards, with honorees including Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, TD Garden president Amy Latimer, Massachusetts Port Authority Port Director Lisa Wieland and Wentworth Institute of Technology president Zorica Pantic, among others, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka attends a MetroWest Center for Independent Living legislative breakfast roundtable, 280 Irving St., Framingham, 11 a.m.

— Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell appears on ‘Boston Public Radio’ at the show’s studio inside the Boston Public Library, WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker visits the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in New England, in what is believed to be the first visit by a sitting Massachusetts governor to a mosque during a weekly congregational prayer, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, 100 Malcom X Blvd, Roxbury, 1 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy visits the Pine Street Inn to discuss the impacts of government shutdowns, Pine Street Inn, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, 2 p.m.

— Friday is the last day to add cosponsors to ‘seasonably filed’ House bills, or bills filed by the Jan. 18 deadline. 

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

Betting on the Pats – in Rhode Island

Now that sports betting is legal in Rhode Island, die-hard Pats fans are flocking to the Ocean State to place bets on you-know-who in this Sunday’s Super Bowl, forgoing the traditional Las Vegas gambling route, reports the AP’s Jennifer McDermott at the Lowell Sun. All we can say is: Our money is on the Pats. And also: Go Pats!

Lowell Sun

The House and Senate: They really are different

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth reports how the Massachusetts House and Senate really are different from each other, even though they’re both dominated by Democrats. The latest evidence: The Senate’s ban on non-disclosure agreements, often used in sensitive sexual-harassment cases, and the House’s refusal to go along. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the gulf between the two chambers.  


Beacon Hill’s gender-neutral language: Good-bye ‘chairman,’ hello ‘chair’ (ditto for ‘he’ and ‘they’ etc.)

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that state lawmakers, besides debating and voting on various legislative rules, have also made changes to how members and others are referred to at the State House, such as ‘chair’ instead of ‘chairman’ and ‘they’ instead of ‘he.’ And it’s now ‘Their Excellency the Governor,’ not ‘His Excellency’ – and no more ‘maiden’ speeches, please.


Meanwhile, female lawmakers keep getting mistaken for interns and aides on Beacon Hill

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that Reps. Tram T. Nguyen and Maria Robinson have a re-occurring problem on Beacon Hill: Lobbyists and others keep mistaking them for legislative interns and aides, not as, you know, actual lawmakers. Some of the misidentification is attributable to their youthful looks. But it doesn’t seem to happen as often to young male legislators, as Ebbert notes.

Boston Globe

No, Charlie Baker is not a ‘man without a party.’ He’s a Democrat

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi the other day wrote that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent embrace of new taxes means he’s now “a man without a party.” Peter Lucas at the Herald begs to differ. The governor’s new tax proposals prove he’s nothing more than a Democratic wolf in GOP sheep clothing.

Boston Herald

Question of the day: Can any Weld candidacy be taken seriously at this point?

As former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld mulls a possible/likely run for president, the Globe’s Michael Levensonasks the question that needs to be asked: “Can a former Republican governor of Massachusetts who ran for the Senate, tried to become ambassador to Mexico, ran for governor of New York, endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, and was the Libertarian Party nominee for vice president in 2016 be taken seriously as a presidential candidate in 2020?” The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby, who has voted for Weld in the past (most recently in 2016), makes his view clear in a column headlined “Bill Weld’s true north is that he has no true north.”

Baker spending bill calls for lower pay on certain holidays and penalties on EBT pot purchases

Technically, it’s a $165 million spending bill submitted by the Baker administration. But it’s also a bill with 65 “outside sections,” including a proposal to add New Year’s Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day to the list of holidays for which time-and-a-half pay will be phased out as part of last year’s “grand bargain.” It also has a provision that would “extend the same penalties to marijuana retail stores that apply to stores that allow customers to use EBT cash assistance to purchase alcohol or Lottery tickets,” reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. There’s also measurers dealing with short-term rentals and who pays for paid family and medical leave.

SHNS (pay wall)

Warren’s Billionaires Bonanza

The Globe’s Liz Goodwin and Jess Bidgood have a piece on how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who on February 9 is widely expected to announce she’s a formal candidate for president, is establishing herself as the “billionaire-slayer” in the early Dem primary for president, now that billionaires Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg have begun to take shots at her “uber-millionaire tax” proposal.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman at the NYT is calling Schultz and Bloomberg “fanatical centrists” for their opposing views on taxing the wealthy and on other issues. And David Bernstein at WGBH tries to sort out all the Dem presidential candidates, the majority of whom are women, so far.

But will Warren’s Billionaires Bonanza boomerang on Dems in 2020?

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call for a “uber-millionaires tax” may be playing well in the early Democratic primary race for president. But the Washington Post reports that Republicans are licking their chops over the prospect of labeling Democrats as radicals on taxes and other issues in 2020 – and some Democrats are growing increasingly nervous over the party’s drift to the left.

As if on cue, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports that President Trump’s former communications director Anthony Scaramucci says Warren would get “destroyed” by Trump if the two ever face off in a general election. Meanwhile, Betsy McCaughey, the former GOP lieutenant governor of New York writing at the Herald, is blasting away at Warren’s tax proposal and those of other Dems.

Washington Post

An inconvenient truth: The state’s booming bio-pharma industry is built on a dubious moral foundation

This isn’t going to win Dr. Vikas Saini, a cardiologist, many friends within the state’s booming life-science sector. Writing at WBUR, Saini argues that, sure, pharmaceutical companies are churning out amazing new drugs. But when they charge so much for those drugs and people die because they can’t afford them, well, you have to call into question the moral foundation of that industry.

Hey, what do you know. Christine Willmsen and Martha Bebinger happen to have a separate story at WBUR about how the Sackler family, founders of Purdue Pharma, have made $4 billion over the years via the firm’s highly questionable sales practices of the opioid-based OxyContin painkiller, according to new court filings by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.


Can a divided Partners HealthCare survive after CEO’s departure?

This could be a case of wishful thinking on the part of some people. But the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that several experts are openly wondering if the internal divisions at Partners HealthCare – divisions that apparently led to CEO David Torchiana’s surprise decision earlier this week to step down – could lead to a collapse or breakup of Partners, the state’s largest health-care provider.

BBJ (pay wall)

State will offer dorm rooms for homeless college students

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes reports on Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement yesterday that the state will start providing dorms to homeless public college students, as part of a pilot program at four schools. And there are more homeless college students than you might think, all of them struggling to obtain degrees while trying to survive. Fernandes provides a part shocking, part inspiring example of one student’s plight — until he got a dorm.

Boston Globe

Banned in Wellesley, no more: ‘Impeach Trump’ banner

The town of Wellesley is in full retreat. After ordering a homeowner to take down a large “Impeach Trump” banner festooned to his home (claiming the sign was too big and too high), the town has since rescinded its order, allowing the owner to keep the sign and claim a small free-speech victory. The Globe’s Emily Sweeney and Danny McDonald and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter have the details.

No parking: Boston embraces ‘car-free’ development policies

There was a time, not too long ago, when constructing new residential buildings without parking was considered development madness. No longer. Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports on how the city of Boston is now embracing “car-free” developments in neighborhoods, though the number of cars in Boston continues to relentlessly rise. 

 P.S. – While on the subject of housing, the Globe, in an editorial, is blasting city councilors who are trying to block redevelopment of the old Edison plant in South Boston, saying the “level of housing hypocrisy here is mind boggling.”


Michelle Wu: Free T rides, not fare hikes

And speaking of transportation: In a Globe op-ed, City Councilor Michelle Wu says to hell with another T fare hike. It’s time to make the T free, something other cities around the world are doing to promote public-transit ridership and reduce carbon emissions from cars. Meanwhile, the Globe, in an editorial, says the T is merely nickeling and diming riders with its most recent fare-hike proposal: “Ultimately, every jump in fares is a regressive move that puts the burden on the backs of people who can least afford it.”

Hampshire College students press board to delay votes on future of school

Students at Hampshire College staged sit-ins and rallies on campus Thursday as the school’s board of trustees met to make major decisions on the school’s future, including whether to admit a freshman class for the next academic year. Dusty Christensen at the Daily Hampshire Gazette writes that trustees could announce the school’s next steps as soon as today, while students said more time should be taken to allow for additional input. 


In small towns, many scales and pumps may go uninspected

More than 40 percent of the state’s smallest towns have no records that gasoline pumps, deli scales and other devices of weights and measures are being regularly inspected, according to the office of Auditor Suzanne Bump. The agency responsible for the inspections, the Division of Standards, said in response that it needs more staff to be able to complete its rounds, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive.  


Report: Newton schools ‘stonewalling’ on releasing information about anti-Israel bias in classes

Ann Green at the Jewish Advocate reports that 300 people recently attended a conference on reported anti-Israel bias in Newton classrooms – and one speaker from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America says it’s been “difficult” to obtain information about what’s being taught in Newton due to “stonewalling” by school officials.

Jewish Advocate

Baker off to D.C. next week to testify about climate change

From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Gov. Charlie Baker will head to Washington, D.C., to testify alongside a Democratic colleague about climate change and how it affects communities at a hearing of a U.S. House committee. Baker plans to join North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Wednesday to testify before the U.S. House’s Natural Resources Committee.”

SHNS (pay wall)

SJC’s Gants says he let Baker know he was unhappy about judge comments

The state’s top judge says Gov. Charlie Baker “stretched beyond his reach” when he called for a district court judge to be sidelined pending an investigation into whether he helped a defendant evade federal immigration officers. Speaking to WGBH’s Jim Braude, SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants said Baker’s comments last month were a departure from his usual support for, and deference to, the judiciary. He said he let the governor know how he felt in a private conversation.


Three reasons why the governor should back a North-South rail tunnel

Dan McNichol, who last November drove former Gov. Michael Dukakis around in an old 1949 Hudson to make the point that the state needs to invest in a new North-South rail tunnel, notes that, so far, Gov. Charlie Baker hasn’t met with Dukakis about the N-S plan. So McNichol, in a piece at WBUR, cites three reasons why Baker should support the idea.

Markey blasts Facebook’s ‘inherently manipulative’ teen scheme

From Kathleen McKiernan at the Herald: “Sen. Ed Markey is taking aim at Facebook for a scheme he blasted as ‘inherently manipulative’ that paid teens to hand over data and personal information to the social media giant. ‘It is inherently manipulative to offer teens money in exchange for their personal information when younger users don’t have a clear understanding of how much data they’re handing over and how sensitive it is,’ Markey said in a statement.”

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Markey working with Ocasio-Cortez on ‘New Green Deal’ legislation

Speaking of the junior senator from Massachusetts, from Benjamin Swasey at WBUR: “Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are working together on legislation fleshing out the ambitious Green New Deal, his office confirms to WBUR. A spokeswoman says there’s no final legislative text yet, nor a date for a bill to be introduced.”


Judge orders firms to pay $675K for sexual harassment of female workers

Score another one for women pushing back against work-place sexual harassment, this time women working within the fish-processing industry in southeastern Massachusetts. Kevin O’Connor at the Herald News report that a judge has ordered Atlantic Capes Fisheries of Fall River and BJ’s Service Co. of New Bedford to pony up $675,000 to settle sexual harassment complaints filed by female workers. 

Herald News

Westover Air Reserve Base gets $46.2M for new hanger the size of two football fields

They were celebrating at the Westover Air Reserve Base yesterday, after U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and other officials confirmed that the base will get $46.2 million for a new hanger for its C-5M Super Galaxy cargo jets. How big is the hanger? The size of two football fields and more than 90 feet tall inside. Jim Kinney at MassLive has the details.


Sunday public affairs TV

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Kelly Fredrickson, president of Boston’s MullenLowe, on trends in this year’s Super Bowl ads; Upton Bell on the business of football and what builds a winning team; and Doug Banks of the Boston Business Journal reviews the top local business stories of the week.    

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Quadruple amputee Travis Mills talks about his foundation that supports veterans and their families at a retreat in the Maine.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Super Bowl entertaining Hollywood-style, with Paul Zahn, and a look at groups that recently were awarded grants.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Changing Black History.  

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

“How Does Cambridge Engage?” Opening Conversation & Annual Meeting

What does this story of everyday people in Cambridge and Boston, who took collective action to stop top-down highway projects, and envision a different future for themselves have to teach us today? What collective memory of this time lives on, and where does it live?

Cambridge Historical Society

Power Breakfast: Health Care

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


For GE, no news is very good news indeed – Boston Business Journal

Lynn seniors’ group protests closing of downtown Shaw’s – Lynn Item


State audit flags lack of fiscal transparency at PVTA – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Holy Cross professor on administrative leave after sexual harassment allegations – Worcester Magazine

In Fall River, a five-way fracas for mayor – WGBH


That time Donald Trump proposed a 14.5 percent wealth tax – Vox

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stopped putting every single story on social media and tripled its following – Poynter

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