Happening Today

PRIM meeting, City Hall’s 50th Anniversary, Cannabis Commission, Kasich in Amherst

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends a meeting of the PRIM Investment Committee, PRIM Headquarters, 84 State St., Room 250, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— State Auditor Suzanne Bump will swear in John Parsons, the new executive director of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, Office of the State Auditor, State House, Room 230, 10 a.m. 

— Department of Mental Health hosts its annual Northeast Area Citizens Legislative Breakfast, with Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Rep. Marcos Devers sponsoring the event, Great Hall, State House, 10 a.m.

 — The Coalition of Homeless Individuals will host its annual advocacy event, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m. 

— The Evidence-Based Policy Institute at Judge Baker Children’s Center, in partnership with Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Sal DiDomenico, will host a policy forum to discuss the needs of justice involving youth, State House, Room 428, 11:30 a.m. 

— State Auditor Suzanne Bump attends a roundtable discussion with students from Boston College School of Social Work to discuss best practices when serving older adults, Boston College School of Social Work, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, 12 p.m. 

Mothers Out Front holds a rally to oppose the natural gas compressor station planned for Weymouth, meeting at Nurses Hall and then visiting Gov. Baker’s office and other offices, 12:30 p.m. 

— The Cannabis Control Commission is expected to meet, Health Policy Commission, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 1 p.m. 

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh holds an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Boston City Hall, featuring architect Michael McKinnell and Boston’s poet laureate Porsha Olayiwola, Boston City Hall, 3rd floor mezzanine, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, 2 p.m. 

 — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan, Sen. Joan Lovely, Rep. Brad Hill and Topsfield Town Administrator Kellie Hebert to announce the 2019 MDI Technical Assistance Program Awards to 20 communities, Topsfield Town Hall, 8 West Common Street, Topsfield, 3 p.m. 

— Former Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich will speak at Amherst College, Johnson Chapel, 11 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, 8 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

SJC upholds suicide-by-text conviction of Michelle Carter

Yes, she’s young, but not that young. From John Ellement and Travis Andersen at the Globe: “Michelle Carter acted with criminal intent when she ‘badgered’ Conrad Roy III into killing himself in 2014, the state’s high court ruled Wednesday as it upheld her involuntary manslaughter conviction and 15-month prison sentence. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court rejected legal arguments that Carter’s text messages and cellphone calls with Roy were forms of free speech protected by the First Amendment, and instead applied a 203-year-old ruling to her 21st-century communications.”

The Washington Post has a piece on the ruling, as does the Herald’s Laurel Sweet.

Boston Globe

Baker refiles legislation to crack down on ‘sexting’ and ‘revenge porn’

Speaking of texting (of a different sort), Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has refiled legislation that would “provide an option for prosecutors to send teenagers who ‘sext,’ or send explicit pictures to one another by text, to an educational diversion program. At the same time, Baker’s bill would make it a felony to distribute ‘revenge porn,’ or sexually explicit images shared without the subject’s consent.”

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Greenfield Recorder reports that Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito plans to “put my should behind” legislation to rewrite the state’s laws on sharing sexually explicit images. And the Herald’s Jessica Heslam reports law enforcement officers are generally behind the administration’s push.


Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy: Damaged beyond repair?

The Washington Post and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter report that Democratic activists and analysts are now openly wondering if U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential candidacy is now damaged beyond repair due to the latest revelation – one that elicited yet another apology from Warren – that she claimed she was an “American Indian” as early as 1986.

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi bluntly states that Warren, as it appears now, can’t beat President Trump. “She hasn’t been fully honest about what she did or why,” Vennochi writes. “Her mishandling of (the heritage controversy) is now part of her political DNA and apologies won’t change it.” The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is more blunt: “Call the political coroner. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid is DOA before it even started.” In general, the Herald is giving Warren the full Herald treatment this morning, with Hillary Chabot and Michael Graham also piling on.

Btw: In Cotter’s piece, there’s apparently some speculation that Warren, who’s widely expected this weekend to formally announce her candidacy for president, may yet opt to not run. We find that a little hard to believe, perhaps classic wishful thinking on the part of some. But you never know.

No will, no way: Step child loses out in inheriting her long-time home in Cambridge

This is the most-read story at the Globe, as of this morning, and for good reason: It’s about every family’s secret dread when it comes to inheritance battles, i.e. someone who’s deserving gets screwed, while someone seemingly less deserving wins out. In this case, it’s a Cambridge woman who’s step father neglected to leave a will – and now she faces losing her long-time home to relatives in Barbados she barely knows. Great story by the Globe’s Maria Cramer.

Boston Globe

MTF hits the flashing ‘yellow light’ button on state spending

Reacting to the most recent report showing a plunge in expected state revenues, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says the ominous budget numbers should be seen by lawmakers as a “yellow light” to act cautiously on new spending in fiscal 2020, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton.

But don’t yellow lights in Massachusetts mean speed up? 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Stop the madness! No more chaotic, toxic, intolerable, unfair, dangerous sports victory parades!

File under ‘party pooper.’ From former state transportation chief James Aloisi, reacting to the Pats victory parade the other day: “Far be it for me to rain on someone’s parade, but these weekday mega-parade events held to celebrate sports team victories have to stop. The chaos, the intolerable inconvenience to everyday transit riders, the extraordinary and unfair burden placed on city and state resources, the unfair demands made of the MBTA and its commuter rail operator, and the (as yet) unknown costs of public safety and mobility measures all combine to make these events toxic, expensive, and borderline dangerous.”

Those damn taxpayers, all 1.5 million of them!


World Class City Checklist: Developer proposes giant Ferris wheel at Long Wharf

We haven’t gotten hold of an actual copy yet, but we’re convinced there must be a secret World Class City Items Checklist out there, i.e. the things city boosters and developers say we need to be a “world class city,” such as hosting the Olympics, building domed stadiums, etc. High on that list: Ferris wheels, or what one developer is calling an “observation wheel” for Boston’s Long Wharf. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) and the Globe’s Tim Logan have the details on the idea.

Campbell proposes four-year council terms — and no more Althea Garrisons

Her arguments are valid, but this still comes across as a somewhat snobby, protect-incumbents proposal. From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “City Council President Andrea Campbell (Wednesday) proposed changes to the city charter that would extend the current two-year terms of councilors (to) four years and to eliminate the way Althea Garrison became an at-large councilor last month.”

We do like the idea of having city council and mayoral elections in the same year.

Universal Hub

Why the state GOP’s urban-voter initiative is doomed to failure

Margaret Monsell, an attorney, writes at CommonWealth magazine that the state Republican Party’s recently announced effort to re-connect with urban voters is probably doomed to failure. Why? Because the issue is not about past neglect of urban voters by Republicans. It’s about the GOP’s past and current open hostility to ideas that actually help urban voters.


Councilor mulls challenging Springfield mayor

This could be a fun race to watch. Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos says he’s ‘strongly considering’ challenging longtime Mayor Domenic Sarno in this fall’s election, Peter Goonan reports at MassLive. Sarno and the council have clashed repeatedly over the city’s position toward undocumented immigrants, with Sarno vetoing a recent ‘welcoming city’ ordinance only to have the council override him. 


Heroux undecided about a second term as Attleboro mayor

Meanwhile, Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux says he’ll decide in coming weeks whether to run for a second term. Heroux, who left the state legislature to seek the mayor’s office, has been growing his campaign warchest in recent months but says if he does run and win, his second term will be his last, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle. 

Sun Chronicle

For me? Healey’s inauguration fête bankrolled by insurers, hospitals etc.

It was out of the goodness of their hearts. From Matt Stout at the Globe: “Attorney General Maura Healey, whose broad responsibilities include enforcing the state’s health care laws, got a boost from two of the industry’s most influential interest groups amid an array of developers, banks, and others who bankrolled her inaugural celebration last month.”

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, gun group says Healey dragging feet on assault weapons lawsuit

She didn’t get any inauguration donations from this group, that’s for sure, to wit: A national gun-rights group is accusing Attorney General Maura Healey of dragging her feet to keep a federal lawsuit challenging her 2016 ban on the sale of ‘copycat’ assault weapons from moving forward, Brad Petrishen reports at the Telegram. Healey’s office plans to ask the judge to stay the lawsuit until a related state case can be resolved.


‘Laura’s Law’

The husband of Laura Levis, who died after seeking and failing to get prompt emergency-room care at Somerville Hospital after suffering an asthma attack, is pushing lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent future such tragedies, reports the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey. One of the bills is already dubbed “Laura’s Law.”

Boston Globe

The tally is in: A million discarded needles collected in just two years

A million? A million needles just lying around? Yes, a million, say Boston health officials, who spent the past two years collecting discarded hypodermic needles, including more than 67,000 that were picked up by the city’s Mobile Sharps Team at playgrounds and other locations around the city, Kathy Curran reports at WCVB. At one Roxbury park, Curran and a local resident found 20 discarded needles, including several on the ground near a safe-disposal container provided by the city. 


Stockbridge officials reassure residents: No chief, fewer firefighters, no problem

It was understandably alarming for some Stockbridge resident when a dozen volunteer firefighters resigned en masse after the select board fired the town’s fire chief, but officials say the department will still be able to respond to incidents just as quickly as before. Clarence Fanto at the Berkshire Eagle reports Chief Ernest “Chuckie” Cardillo, who also serves on the select board, was fired for his connection to an over-billing scam.

Berkshire Eagle

In Worcester, it’s back to the sex-education drawing board

Hours before the school board was set to vote, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty Jr. withdrew a controversial proposal to implement a new sex education curriculum that was widely panned by parents and community groups, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. The school committee will still be asked to approve a health curriculum based on the Michigan Model, but without the sex-ed component that some complained relied too heavily on abstinence. 


‘If Rosa Parks rode a bus in Boston today … ’

The Globe’s Nestor Ramos writes that Rosa Parks, whose face now adorns MBTA buses to commemorate her historic stand against segregated buses in the South, would recognize a different form of segregation that exists today in Boston: Clear racial disparities in the quality of bus services. He explains. Btw: The same disparity exists in other cities – and it’s a pretty blatant disparity here and elsewhere.

Chicago firm buys local cannabis dispensary company

From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “A Chicago-based cannabis company has announced plans to acquire Sharon-based Four Daughters Compassionate Care, marking the first foray into Massachusetts for the multi-state cannabis operator.  The acquisition is subject to approval by Massachusetts regulators, but the company said it has already begun construction of a cultivation and production facility in Sharon and is renovating an adjacent building for a dispensary.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Protesters claim parking ‘strike’ victory at UMass Boston

Organizers of a one-day parking ‘strike’ aimed at protesting a steep increase in parking fees at UMass Boston say their efforts appear to have paid off with just 250 cars parked in the garage that can hold 1,600, Sarah Bettencourt reports at CommonWealth Magazine. 


Coming to the Berkshires (by train): Car-less New York millennials

Officials are planning a pilot program that would extend train service from New York City to Pittsfield in the summer of 2020 — and they’re targeting at least some of their marketing budget at well-heeled millennials who don’t own cars, Eric Anderson reports at the Albany Times-Union.

Times Union

Walgreens to pay $2M to settle MassHealth fraud allegations

From the BBJ (pay wall): “Walgreens will pay Massachusetts more than $2 million to settle two separate allegations of overcharging MassHealth for prescriptions, according to a release. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced Wednesday that it would receive the money following whistleblower lawsuits originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. “

BBJ (pay wall)

From heating assistance to fighting poverty …

From SHNS’s Kaitlyn Budoin and Michael Norton at the Lowell Sun: “Community action groups often associated with getting heating assistance to people who need it want the Legislature to give them a broader mission that reflects their efforts in areas like food assistance and financial literacy. Sen. Michael Moore and Rep. Tackey Chan urged their colleagues Tuesday to pass a bill to provide resources to the state’s 23 community action agencies and update state laws to reflect a holistic approach to services.”

Lowell Sun

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


Boston public schools announces ‘biggest budget yet’ for fiscal year 2020 – Boston Herald

Police cited four restaurants for opening their patios during Patriots parade – Boston Globe


Framingham school board takes steps to recoup unpaid lunch tabs – MetroWest Daily News

New Bedford receives 87 percent funding hike to combat gang violence – Standard-Times

O’Connor to donate LStar money, fulfilling campaign promise – Patriot Ledger

Charlton lawyer faults selectmen in pot farm denial dispute – Telegram & Gazette


Ohio city to stop observing Columbus Day, make Election Day holiday instead – The Hill

Rep. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal outline – NPR

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