Happening Today

Patriots victory parade, President’s State of Union, and more

— Family shelter providers, families overcoming homelessness and others rally to ask the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker to fund the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program at $130 million in the fiscal 2020 state budget, Great Hall, 10 a.m.

— The Patriots’ Super Bowl victory parade through Boston’s downtown streets get under way today at 11 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Gary Keefe to participate in the deployment ceremony for C Company, 1st Battalion, 181 Infantry Regiment as it heads to the Horn of Africa, conducting security force assistance missions in Djibouti, Cambridge Armory, 450 Concord Ave, Cambridge, 11 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg hosts a luncheon with the women from Pension Reserve Investment Management Board, PRIM Headquarters, 84 State St., Room 250, Boston, 12:30 p.m.

— MBTA hosts an open house to discuss the Better Bus project and secure public feedback, Wonderland Station, 1300 North Shore Road, Revere, 4 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg for their monthly sit-down meeting, Room 227, 4 p.m.

— U.S. Mint hosts a coin forum at Lowell National Historical Park, the night before it launches the Lowell National Historical Park Quarter, Visitor Center Theater, 246 Market St., Lowell, 6:30 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka plans to speak at an education forum, Franklin High School, 218 Oak Street, Franklin, 7 p.m.

— President Donald Trump reports to Congress on the affairs of the country in the annual State of the Union Address, U.S. House Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., 9 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

UMass Memorial unveils new Pats fan production line …

Want to start the day off on a cheerful note? Check out the Telegram photo of the “good luck charms” outfitted in Patriots blankets and pom-pom hats at the UMass Memorial Maternity Center during Sunday’s Super Bowl. It’s an almost impossibly cute and hilarious photo of the commonwealth’s newest lifelong Pats fans, although they’re probably a little too young for today’s Duck Boats parade.


It’s time: #DraftBelichick2020

The Herald’s Michael Graham swears he’s not joking when he says it’s time: #DraftBelichick2020. Yes, Bill Belichick for president, based on the “ultimate Belichickian brilliance” on display Sunday night at the Super Bowl. Graham notes if former football star Jack Kemp could rise to political prominence, why not Bill?

Boston Herald

The audacity: Is Elizabeth Warren distancing herself from the Pats?

While Michael Graham promotes Bill B for president, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld wants to know why U.S. Senator and presidential wannabe Elizabeth Warren was silent – yes, silent! – after Sunday’s big Super Bowl win by the Pats. Is it because of Bob Kraft, Bill B and Number 12’s support of President Trump?

Speaking of the Pats and politics, it’s begun: The now standard will-they-go-to-the-White-House stories, this one from the Washington Post, which reports that several Pats players are vowing they’ll never attend any celebration with THAT man in the White House.

Emerson poll: Warren still pulling up the rear in Iowa

Again, it’s early. Still, a new Emerson College poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a commanding lead in the field of potential Democratic presidential candidates among likely Iowa caucusgoers, the Hill reports. Following Biden (29 percent) are, in order, Kamala Harris (18 percent), Bernie Sanders (15 percent) and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (11 percent). Sure looks like the latter three candidates are spitting the progressive vote in Iowa.

Speaking of the Dem primary race, WGBH’s Callie Crossley is psyched about the number of women running for president in 2020.

The Hill

Weld rejoins Republican party as he prepares for probable presidential bid

Still on the subject of 2020: Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine reports that former Gov. William Weld recently showed up at Canton’s Town Hall to change his party registration from Libertarian to Republican, the clearest sign yet he plans to challenge President Trump in the 2020 Republican primary. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a Republican, and Senate President Karen Spilka, a Democrat, says if Weld wants to run for yet another office, so be it, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).


The Dems’ other billionaire problem: Tom Steyer

Michael Bloomberg. Howard Schultz. Now Tom Steyer. To the Globe’s Joan Vennochi, Steyer is just another pampered billionaire who thinks he can throw cash around to sway Democratic Party policies and elections – and he’s now going after U.S. Rep. Richard Neal for allegedly not pressing President Trump hard enough to release his tax returns. From Joan: “Look out America, another arrogant billionaire is on the loose.”

Boston Globe

Campaign regulators take aim at union campaign funding loophole

This is a big one. The Office of Campaign and Political Finance is weighing a rules change that would dramatically cut the amount unions can donate directly to candidates from $15,000 to $1,000, reports Matt Stout at the Globe and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

There’s little doubt this could be a major sea-change in how campaigns are funded in Massachusetts, as well as a victory for conservative groups that have long been bothered by what they contend is a huge union-funding loophole in state campaign finance laws. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that Paul Craney, head of the Mass. Fiscal Alliance, is “pleased” by the office’s action, but he said he “can’t be satisfied” because he doesn’t believe OCPF has the power to set specific limits on unions.

Pollack: Full steam ahead for Red-Blue line tunnel connector

This is an interesting development. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack revised the state’s vision for 2040 on Monday, listing a rail connection between the Red Line and the Blue Line as a ‘next priority’ and scrapping an earlier proposal to link the two lines with a pedestrian walkway. The announcement was a huge victory for transit advocates and public officials who were dismissive of the pedestrian walkway and insisted the rail link was a Big Dig promise that had never been fulfilled.” The BBJ’s Kalina Newman (pay wall) has more on Pollack’s big decision.


Gary LaPierre, WBZ radio newscaster, RIP

This is a sad one. WBZ is reporting that Gary LaPierre, 76, the long-time morning news anchor on WBZ NewsRadio, has died. “He passed away peacefully on Monday at home on the north shore, surrounded by his loving family,” the station said in a statement. “He was recently diagnosed with leukemia.” The Boston Globe and MassLive have more on the death of a local broadcast legend.


Holy Cross students hold sit-ins to protest college’s handling of sexual-misconduct case

Hundreds of Holy Cross students, via protests and sit-ins outside the president’s office, are demanding that the Worcester college sever ties with a professor accused of sexual misconduct and expressing frustration with the school’s approach to other similar cases as well, reports Melissa Hanson at MassLive. 


Raiders of the Lost Lawyers: ‘MoFo’ opens Boston office after pilfering 23 attorneys from local firm

This is the talk of the legal community this morning. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster LLP has opened a formal Boston office by hiring away 23 lawyers from the much smaller Riemer & Braunstein LLP — including multiple practice group leaders, and a local partner from Proskauer Rose LLP. … The Riemer & Braunstein hires are all finance attorneys.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Professor Kennedy: ‘Moral Capitalism,’ 101

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III spoke to a packed room at Harvard Law School yesterday, expounding on his idea of “Moral Capitalism,” as well as promoting the emerging “Green New Deal.”

Boston Globe

He’s standing by his assertion that an alien ship may be hurtling past Jupiter

Speaking of Harvard, Avi Loeb doesn’t care what his academic colleagues may think. Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department, is standing by his theory that an “extraterrestrial spacecraft, or at least a piece of one, may at this moment be flying past the orbit of Jupiter,” reports the Washington Post.

Washington Post

‘Harvard’s Hubris: The Attack on Single-Sex Student Groups’

Harvard? Hubris? We can’t fathom why. But civil libertarian Harvey Siverglate can. At WGBH, Silverglate writes about the legal showdown between Harvard and single-sex groups that are challenging the university’s attempt to “snuff out” all-male and all-female social organizations on campus. Harvard’s response to the groups’ lawsuit is expected in a matter of days.


King of the Lobbying Hill: ML Strategies hauls in record $5.2M in lobbying fees

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that ML Strategies, the lobbying arm of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, has not only retained its title as king of Beacon Hill lobbying firms, it’s set yet another record for lobbying fees, hauling in $5.2 million last year. Mohl has the numbers and names of ML’s largest clients.


State Police to test body cameras on troopers

MassLive’s Scott Croteau reports that the State Police are launching a new body camera pilot program, with roughly 100 troopers testing cameras that some say are needed to protect the rights of citizens during interactions with police. Meanwhile, Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri, whose department is reeling from recently police-brutality controversies, is now pushing body cameras and other reform measures for police, reports Peter Goonanat MassLive.


Charlton pot farm proponents say they’re not going away quietly — but will look at other sites

Despite court battles and rejections of needed permits, the firm behind the proposal to build a $100 million marijuana cultivation operation on a former Charlton apple orchard says it has invested too much already to go away quietly, Zachary Comeau reports in the Worcester Business Journal. Still, a lawyer for Valley Green Grow says the firm has a list of other potential sites if its efforts to build in Charlton are thwarted. 


Rewriting Boston’s pot licensing laws – and shoving the mayor aside

Speaking of pot, from Dan Adams at the Globe: “Boston officials this week will consider sweeping changes to how the city licenses marijuana businesses, debating a plan by City Councilor Kim Janey to wrest unilateral control of the process from the mayor’s office and give strong preference to companies whose owners were affected by the war on drugs. Janey’s proposed ordinance, made public Monday in advance of the City Council’s Wednesday meeting, would effectively impose a two-year ban on larger marijuana companies backed by outside money. “

Boston Globe

She’s waiting for you, governor

Mike Deehan at WGBH has an update on the 47-year-old mother, Andrea Honore, who has resumed her very polite, but very firm, lunch-break sit-ins in the reception area outside the governor’s office to protest Gov. Charlie Baker’s action, or inaction, more precisely, regarding the proposed natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth.


Western Mass. lawmakers push tax breaks for new jobs in rural areas

Rep. Natalie Blais and Sen. Adam Hind are proposing legislation, called the Rural Jobs Act, that would give state tax breaks to investors who invest in companies that create jobs in rural Massachusetts. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details.


FBI deputy returns to run Boston office

The Globe’s Sabrina Schnur reports that FBI Director Christopher Wray has tapped Joseph R. Bonavolonta, a former deputy assistant director for the FBI’s counterintelligence division, as the new special-agent-in-charge of the Boston field office. Before his last gig, Bonavolonta was assistant special-agent-in-charge of the Boston field office from 2013 to 2017.

After Lawrence blasts, regulators hit Columbia Gas with fine for 2016 pressure spike

Columbia Gas, the utility at the center of the Lawrence-area gas fires and explosions last fall, was fined $75,000 by the state Department of Public Utilities for a 2016 gas-line pressure spike, a penalty that came two months after the Merrimack Valley tragedy, Ally Jarmanning at WBUR reports. The DPU has not offered an explanation for why the reprimand and fine incident in the Taunton area came two years after the incident occurred. 


Trahan invites Lawrence officer from center of gas explosion crisis to SOU

Speaking of gas-line mishaps, first-term Congresswoman Lori Trahan says a rookie Lawrence police officer will be her invited guest to the State of the Union speech tonight in Washington. Ivan Soto was on duty when the gas explosions rocked the city last fall and continued to help affected residents even as his own home was on fire, Jill Harmacinski reports at the Eagle-Tribune.  

Eagle Tribune

McGovern becomes the latest to swear off donations from PACs

We missed this one from the other day. From the Associated Press at Western Mass News: “U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern announced in a town hall held in Massachusetts that he will no longer accept corporate donations. The Democrat said during the meeting held in Northampton on Saturday that he wants to fund his campaign with ‘money from regular people.’” He’s joined a long list of lawmakers swearing off PAC money these days, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan.

Western Mass News

Boston Globe, Dec. 17: ‘Let’s face it, it doesn’t appear to be the Patriots’ year’

OK, we can’t resist this one. In a post headlined “What a difference a few weeks make,” Universal Hub, courtesy of Rajeeve Martyn, brutally juxtaposes the Globe headlines from December 17, after the Pats lost to the Steelers, and yesterday’s headlines, after the Pats won the Super Bowl. … The headlines from December 17: “Is this the end of the Patriots dynasty?” … “These Patriots are not who we thought they were, and they’re not going to be.” …. “Reality is, the Patriots are simply not a great team.” … “Let’s face it, it doesn’t appear to be the Patriots’ year.” … All we can say is: There but for the grace of God goes MassterList! 

Universal Hub

Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon – Featuring Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Founder Martha Stewart will be the featured speaker at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. The luncheon will begin at noon with the program starting at 1:00 p.m.

The TJX Companies

Author Talk and Book Signing with Linda F. Nathan

Author Talk and Book Signing with Linda F. Nathan, Author of: When Grit Isn’t Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise

State Library of Massachusetts

Politics & Eggs with the Honorable John Delaney

Please join the the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for Politics & Eggs with The Honorable John Delaney. Mr. Delaney is a former member of Congress having represented Maryland’s sixth Congressional District. He was the first announced Democratic candidate for President in the 2020 election.

The New England Council

“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


$100 per square foot for lab space? It could be coming to Cambridge – Boston Business Journal

New head named for FBI’s Boston office – Boston Globe


Ex-Quincy school committee member disbarred – Patriot Ledger

Neal builds case on Trump tax returns – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Holy Cross students stage sit-in outside president’s officer over handling of sexual misconduct allegations – Worcester Magazine

Chelmsford vote give health board authority over chicken coops – Lowell Sun


State of the Union promises epic political theater – CNN

Trump inaugural committee ordered to hand over documents to federal prosecutors – New York Times

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