Happening Today

MBTA-DOT meeting, Shannon grants, Laura Levis bills and more

— The Public Health Council will meet to discuss preliminary regulations and see presentations on quality initiatives in nursing homes and the registry of vital records and statistics, 250 Washington St., 2nd Floor, Henry I. Bowditch Public Health Council Room, Boston, 9 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton meets with students at Salem State University for a ‘discussion on the future of work and higher education,’ Salem State University, Sophia Gordon Center, North Campus, 356 Lafayette St., Salem, 11:30 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board and MassDOT Board of Directors hold a joint meeting, Transportation Board Room, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Tom Turco, Undersecretary for Law Enforcement Jennifer Queally and Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long participate in the Shannon Community Safety Initiative Grants Announcement, where they will announce $7.74 million in grant funds to communities and local partners to support efforts to reduce youth and gang violence, Grand Staircase, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones meet privately, Speaker’s Office, 2 p.m.

— Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Christine Barber hold a press conference to announce bills they filed in response to the death of Laura Levis, who died in 2016 from an asthma attack while locked outside a Somerville Hospital emergency room door, Room 222, 2:30 p.m.

— The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans to hold a public hearing on the plan that would allow Vineyard Wind LLC to construct and operate an 800-megawatt wind energy facility off the coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket Atheneum, 1 India St., Nantucket, 5 p.m.

— Rep. Tram Nguyen, who defeated Republican incumbent Jim Lyons in November to win her House seat, holds a ‘community swearing-in celebration,’ Salvatore’s Restaurant, 34 Park St., Andover, 5:30 p.m.

— Sen. Pat Jehlen, Rep. Christine Barber and Peter DeMarco talk on ‘Greater Boston’ about bills filed in response to the death of DeMarco’s wife Laura Levis, who died in 2016 from an asthma attack while locked outside a Somerville Hospital emergency room door, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg today attends the National Association of State Treasurer’s annual legislative conference in Washington, Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

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

Shutdown showdown: It’s back, perhaps later this week

Beacon Hill lawmakers might want to start moving on that federal-worker assistance bill. From the Washington Post: “The nation faces the real possibility of another government shutdown at the end of this week after bipartisan talks aimed at averting that outcome broke down in a dispute over immigration enforcement, lawmakers and aides said Sunday.”

Washington Post

Report: Moulton is indeed thinking of running for president

First, a number of caveats and quickie observations on this one: 1.) It’s from BuzzFeed. 2.) Nice timing, considering fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s announcement on Saturday (see post below). 3.) He finally states what everyone has known but couldn’t prove.

Anyway, Buzzfeed News is reporting that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, fresh off his bruising fight with Nancy Pelosi over control of the U.S. House, is indeed mulling a run for the White House as a Democrat. “I’m thinking about running for president,” Moulton is quoted as saying in an “exclusive” interview with Buzzfeed. “I’m not definitely running, but I’m going to take a very hard look at it. A very serious look at it. Because I believe it’s time for a new generation of leadership, and we gotta send Donald Trump packing.”

BuzzFeed News

Everything you need to know about Elizabeth Warren’s presidential-bid announcement …

As U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton tries to steal the presidential-bid limelight, it should be noted that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren did indeed make it official on Saturday in Lawrence: She’s officially running for president. WGBH’s Adam Reilly and CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger have stories on Warren’s announcement and her fiery declaration that she’s fighting, primarily, for economic justice in America.

The Globe’s Adrian Walker has a good column on the pitfalls facing Warren – and how she hopes to overcome them by stressing not just an economic course correction in America, but a flat out economic revolution in American. Meanwhile, MassLive’s Shannon Young notes how U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Lori Trahan have come out as early supporters of Warren’s candidacy, appearing at Saturday’s Lawrence event. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks Kennedy has blown it by endorsing his former law-school professor so early in the process. The Globe’s Felice Belman reports how one socialist, Jerome Segal, believes Warren got the “bread” part of Saturday’s event right, but not the “roses” part. And WGBH reports that Warren is practicing what she preaches when it comes to economic fairness: Her interns are paid more than anyone else in Congress.

Btw: Warren wasn’t the only one making a big announcement this weekend. Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, a third-term moderate senator, also declared she’s running for president in the Dem primary, the NYT reports.

Warren, Trump and Rob Lowe – yes, Rob Lowe – go at it

In chronological order (we think): Elizabeth Warren announces bid for presidency on Saturday (NYT), Donald Trump responds with a tweet that appears to mock the ‘Trail of Tears’ tragedy (USA Today), actor Rob Lowe posts and then delates tweet mocking Warren’s past heritage claims (Huffington Post) and then, fed up, Warren says on Sunday that Trump “may not even be a free person” in 2020 (Washington Post).

Technically, all of this doesn’t fall into the ‘horse-race journalism’ category. More like the ‘carnival-update journalism’ category, although, it should be noted, Warren tried to keep to the high road. But this is 2019 — Year 13 of our lord Twitter and so …

‘Elizabeth Warren needs to stop the drip-drip-drip of fresh revelations’

Consider this a shot across the bow: In an editorial, the Globe is warning U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as she embarks on her quest for the presidency, that there better be no more surprise media disclosures about her past Native-American claims – or else.

Baker and state GOP not on the same page when it comes to bashing Warren

One last Elizabeth Warren-related item (we swear): The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that the state Republican Party, now under control of conservative chairman James Lyons, is all gung-ho about bashing Warren at each and every turn. Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican who’s had a sort of unstated mutually-assured-destruction pact with the senator over the years, isn’t so gung-ho. Stout writes it’s yet “another example of the gully separating Baker and his own party.”

Boston Globe

New Hampshire ‘freaking out’ over loss of primary status and hotel bookings

It’s not just about the loss of political prestige and clout. It’s about the loss of hotel, restaurant and advertising business in New Hampshire if the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary status is diminished next year – and that explains why many in the Granite State are “freaking out,” reports the Globe’s James Pindell.

Fall River residents sickened, pets die after man cooks human teeth in quest for silver

You may not want to be eating anything when you read this. At least three Fall River residents have been hospitalized and three pets are dead after police said a man cooked old human teeth his dentist grandfather had collected in a bid to extract silver fillings — but instead released the poisonous mercury they contain into the air, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald News. The entire building where the incident occurred has been deemed uninhabitable.

Herald News

The lucky few: More than half of Baker’s new funds for schools would go to just 11 cities

The Globe’s James Vaznis crunched the numbers on Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed changes to the state’s school funding formula – and he finds that more than half of the $200 million in new money would go to just 11 cities. The rest? Most would receive increases of 1 percent or less.

Boston Globe

Policy boomerang: Would new vaping tax harm those trying to quit smoking?

Speaking of the governor’s tax-and-spending policies, Mary Markos at the Herald reports that some medical experts are concerned that Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to tax vaporizers may end up harming cigarette smokers who use vapers to quit butts. Markos explains.

Boston Herald

After transmission and pipeline setbacks, Eversource’s next play: Wind power

File under ‘If at first you don’t succeed …’ From SHNS’s Michael Norton at WBUR: “Eversource has agreed to pay $225 million for a 50 percent interest in two Orsted offshore wind projects and 257 square miles encompassing two lease areas off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The two companies announced the deal Friday, with Eversource buying into Orsted’s 700-megawatt Revolution Wind project servicing Rhode Island and Connecticut and its 130-megawatt South Fork Wind Farms project servicing Long Island, New York. “

As the Globe’s Jon Chesto notes, Eversource’s move follows recent setbacks to its Northern Pass transmissiom-line and Access Northeast pipeline projects.


Is Boston back in play for Amazon HQ2?

The Washington Post reports that a frustrated Amazon is reconsidering its plan to locate 25,000 jobs at a new campus in New York City, due to fierce political opposition to the proposal in the Big Apple. 

So Catherine Carlock and Gina Hall at the BBJ asked Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh whether they’d once again pursue Amazon for the jobs, assuming the tech titan backs out of its NY deal. They seem somewhat open to the idea, but don’t sound too gung-ho. After seeing what’s politically unfolded in NYC, their caution is understandable.

BBJ (pay wall)

You’ve been warned: Westport mulls $250 fine for stealing rocks, beach grass and seashells from beaches

Mike Saccone at Boston25News reports that Westport’s board of selectmen is considering a proposal to issue a $250 fine on people who are caught stealing rocks, beach grass, seashells and other items from town beaches. It’s apparently a real problem. But fear not: “The bylaw would not apply to young children who take home a sea shell or a rock or two.”

Boston 25 News

What’s fare is fare: Time to raise gas tax, Uber fees and T fares at the same time

In a Globe opinion piece, James Aloisi, the former state transportation chief, says it’s unfair to keep raising MBTA fares, as the T’s governing board is now pondering, while motorists get a pass on paying higher user fees/taxes. So his idea: From here on out, when T fares increase, the gas tax and Uber fees also automatically and proportionately increase. What’s fair is fair, or fare is fare, or whatever.

P.S. – We like his idea of excluding tolls from this plan: “Today’s tolls in Massachusetts are inherently inequitable, given that they only apply to people driving on the Turnpike or on or through the Boston harbor crossings.” Today’s inherently inequitable tolling system is also why congestion-pricing proposals should be shelved unless they include tolls on everyone, not just the few.

Boston Globe

Improving bus service by eliminating it?

Speaking of transportation matters, this one is not as whacky as it sounds. From the Globe’s Adam Vaccero: “It may seem counter-intuitive, but Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials believe eliminating some of the North Shore’s express buses into Boston, which often sit in crippling traffic near downtown, and instead running more frequent buses to the Blue Line will significantly improve local service in Salem, Swampscott, and Lynn, without making the commute too complicated for express riders.”

More trouble looms for Mashpee Wampanoag leader after tribal election

The leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe may have had his financial duties restored last week but his political worries are far from over. Tanner Stening at the Cape Cod Times reports that among those elected to the Tribal Council in an annual election Sunday was Aaron Tobey Jr., a longtime critic of embattled chairman Cedric Cromwell. Tobey immediately called for an investigation into how Cromwell has handled the tribe’s finances, including the deal struck to build a now-stalled Taunton casino, saying “it’s about time he’s held accountable.” 

Cape Cod Times

‘Meet the new millionaire tax: It’s the same as the old millionaire tax’

Bob Salsberg at the Associated Press takes a closer look at the new millionaire-tax proposal that will now wind its way through the State House – and hopefully not through the Supreme Judicial Court. It’s the same idea that was shot down last year by the SJC, except, by using a different legislative procedure, backers hope to keep it out of the courts this time around.

Associated Press

Consulting firm that delivered tardy report gets no-bid contract to improve Steamship Authority

At least one board member of the Steamship Authority is crying foul after a $135,000, no-bid contract was awarded over the weekend to the consulting firm that recently delivered a harsh report on the agency, Rich Saltzberg reports at the Martha’s Vineyard Times. Moira Tierney, who represents New Bedford on the authority board, said the fact that HMS Consulting was weeks late in delivering the communications component of its review of the agency should disqualify it from receiving the contract to implement changes it recommended.

Martha’s Vineyard Times

Federal judge rebukes state over mental health care for poor children

Fairly or unfairly, our mind drifts back to Fernald and other yesteryear controversies involving federal judges and state mental-health policies. From the Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk: “A federal judge sharply rebuked the state for failing to provide prompt mental health services to low-income children, saying that constant delays can lead to violent physical outbursts, removal from homes, and traumatizing and unnecessary hospital stays.” 

Boston Globe

Opposition ramps up over new Pike exit

A new Mass Pike exit to serve remote parts of the Berkshires would cost anywhere from $29 million to $38 million, the Department of Transportation revealed at a meeting that also saw the first vestiges of a grassroots movement against the plan, Larry Parnass reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Once a single location is selected from the three being eyed to close the nearly 30-mile gap between exits 2 and 3 on the Pike, legislators will be asked to fund the project, which officials said could take a decade to complete.

Berkshire Eagle

Why the DCF has one of the toughest, most thankless jobs in state government

If you haven’t already, check out this piece by the Globe’s Jenna Russell – headlined “The call from DCF: ‘We have your children’” – about why the children of a mother, named Cynthia, have been taken away by the Department of Children and Families. No matter how you view the mother and DCF’s actions, it’s a heartbreaking story about loss, tough choices and fateful decisions.

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


Officials seek more protections for city wetlands to counter effects of climate change – Boston Globe

North End residents call for landmark status for Nazzaro Center – Boston Herald


In Brockton, is gentrification arriving without the yuppies? – Brockton Enterprise

What should Fall River do with its trash now? – Herald News

Andover bookstore now oldest indie in the country – Eagle-Tribune

No opposition to Four Score pot proposal in Charlton – Telegram & Gazette


Sanders and O’Rourke are way ahead in race for small donors – New York Times

Many Americans are upset their tax refunds shrunk after the GOP tax cuts – Washington Post

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