Happening Today

Baker in D.C, new Fairmount Line station, MBTA meeting

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the final day of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting that kicks off this morning with a briefing for governors at the White House, Washington, D.C.

— The MBTA opens the Blue Hill Avenue Station, the new Fairmount Line station, to customers at the start of service on Monday. — Auditor Suzanne Bump tours the Old Colony YMCA to learn about services provided by the agency, Old Colony YMCA, 320 Main St., Brockton, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Lottery Commission, chaired by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, meets to get an update on Lottery sales and profit, and to vote on a renewal of the contract for the Lottery’s janitorial services, One Ashburton Place, 12th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House and Senate are both in session today, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka’s office conducts a press tour of the newly renovated Senate chamber, Senate Chamber, 11:30 a.m.

— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with an agenda that calls for updates on ridership, the Better Bus Project and the T’s process towards automatic fare collection 2.0, with members also discussing the Ride, the T’s pension plan and a collective bargaining agreement, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor, Transportation Board Room, Boston, 12 p.m.

— The Poor People’s Campaign will hold a news conference and deliver its demands to lawmakers regarding voting rights, welfare and work requirements, living wages, health care, access to clean water, housing, ecological devastation and an ‘end to endless war,’ State House steps, 2 p.m.

— Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders chairs a meeting of the Behavioral Health Promote Prevent Commission, McCormack Building, 21st floor, conference rooms 1 and 2, 3 p.m.

Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is expected to meet to vote on whether Vineyard Wind’s proposed 800 megawatt offshore wind power project is consistent with state policies, URI Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, R.I., 6 p.m.

— Residents have the chance to weigh in on the proposed new enrollment plan for the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program, ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, 575 Warren St., Dorchester, 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

‘It’s happening in Massachusetts, too’

Obviously, the talk of the town this past weekend was the revelation that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces charges, which could come as soon as today (Boston Globe), for allegedly twice soliciting prostitutes for sex acts at a shopping-center massage parlor in Florida.

But the real issue, as it’s now being shaped and debated, is the extent to which men, by allegedly frequenting these parlors, are contributing to the forced sex trafficking of young women. Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor of sexual violence law, says at the Herald that it’s about time rich billionaires are charged for illegally soliciting sex at these and other venues operating in full sight. From the Globe’s Adrian Walker: “Kraft’s legal woes may be a boon to the world of late-night comedy and talk radio, but to those touched by the moral rot of human trafficking, there’s nothing amusing about this.”

At WGBH, Philip Martin, who has reported on human trafficking, notes that similar dubious massage parlors operate right here in Massachusetts: “The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has been vigorous in attacking this, as have individuals like Lt. Donna Gavin of the Boston Police. But what you have is a sort of willy-nilly way of stamping this problem out if you do not close the bodyworks loophole.”

The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi and Jeremy Fox also have a major piece on the sex business occurring in “plain sight across the country, including in Massachusetts, where a state law that created a separate crime for sex trafficking took effect only seven years ago.”

About that other Boston billionaire and Trump supporter caught up in the massage-parlor scandal …

Just to be clear: Robert Kraft isn’t the only 70s-something local billionaire accused of frequenting the now infamous Florida massage parlor. From Jonathan Ng at the Herald: “John Childs, 77, the founder of Boston-based private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates, is among one of 165 individuals wanted on a solicitation of prostitution charge by Florida’s Vero Beach police. Childs, a prominent Republican donor, lives seasonally in Indian River, Fla. and part-time in Boston, according to local newspaper TCPalm.com. Campaign finance records obtained by the paper found that Childs donated about $4.3 million to several Republican politicians and groups last cycle — including $250,000 for America First Action, a super-PAC that supports President Donald Trump.”

Mike Manzoni at NBC Boston reports that “Childs’ home is just doors down from the gated home of Robert Kraft.” Btw: President Trump said he was “very sad” to hear the news about Kraft, reports Spencer Buellat Boston Magazine.

Boston Herald

Beacon Hill weighs banning Pee Wee tackle football

While we’re at it, might as well get this football-related news out of the way. From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “Tackle football could become a thing of the past for thousands of Massachusetts elementary and middle school athletes, as state lawmakers consider banning the full-contact sport for young players. Under a bipartisan bill supported by 17 House members, schools and leagues would be fined $2,000 for allowing children in grade seven and below to play organized tackle football, which research suggests is more harmful to young players than previously thought.”

Is it asking too much to get more research on this question? What about youth hockey? Soccer? Other contact sports? They seem to be rushing into this fast.


Hampshire College sought partnership with UMass before unveiling its dire financial plight

So Hampshire College tried to pull a Mount Ida in one regard: It initially reached out to UMass-Amherst about a possible partnership before it publicly revealed last month that it was struggling for survival, reports Karen Brown at New England Public Radio. But unlike Mount Ida College – which last year successfully negotiated a UMass-Amherst takeover of its Newton campus – Hampshire College’s merger overtures went nowhere, at least not yet, reports Brown.


Warren rules out big-bucks fundraisers

From the Globe’s Liz Goodwin: “Senator Elizabeth Warren has a message for political donors seeking to schmooze with her at glitzy fund-raisers: No thanks. The presidential candidate, who has already sworn off campaign donations from PACs and support from SuperPACs, announced to her supporters in an e-mail Monday morning that she has decided to distance herself further from big money in politics by rejecting the high-dollar fund-raisers that help power both Democratic and Republican campaigns.”

Then again, as the Herald will undoubtedly note, her fundraising wasn’t doing all that great before this. See post below.

Boston Globe

Herald to Warren: Your poll numbers suck. Get out of the race. Now. Leave.

As U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the weekend campaigned again in New Hampshire (as the Globe and the Herald dutifully report), the Herald seems, well, a little obsessed with the senior senator’s presidential quest, running two editorials pointing out that A.) Her polls numbers are still scraping bottom (sort of) and. B.) She should drop out of the Dem primary race. “How long is Sen. Elizabeth Warren going to continue her delusional quest for the presidency? In recent days her policy proposals and fundraising pitches have become increasingly desperate as she vies for attention from the voters in a crowded, progressive field.”

We’re sure Warren is taking the Herald’s complaints and concerns to heart.

Weld’s Churchillian moment?

Sure, Gov. William Weld is probably off on one of his quixotic adventures, this time by taking the initial step in challenging President Trump in the 2020 GOP presidential primary. But at least he’s doing something, unlike other Republicans, writes the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham. “Whether he has a real shot or not, this is Weld’s finest hour.”

Boston Globe

Then there were three: Gloucester reverend latest Bay Stater to launch White House bid

The Bay State has another contender in the 2020 presidential election. Nathaniel Manderson, a pastor at the First Baptist Church in Gloucester, says he’ll run for the White House as a member of the Blue Collar Party–which he apparently is in the process of forming, Ray Lamont reports at the Gloucester Times. The 41-year-old says he is motivated to run because Republicans have done a good job convincing working Americans to vote for them but haven’t delivered on policies to actually improve their lives. 

Gloucester Times

DeLeo oulines $1B plan to help towns counteract climate change

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinki at CommonWealth magazine: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo proposed a sweeping $1 billion environmental grant program Friday that, over the next decade, would fund municipal efforts to build renewable-energy infrastructure and invest in climate resiliency programs. DeLeo, speaking alongside members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy after a tour of Somerville’s GreenTown Labs, said the funding will continue the state’s dedication to combating climate change while giving each city and town the flexibility to make locally-driven decisions.”


Stop & Shop employees authorize strike amid tense contract talks

Another local labor action in the making? From Joe DiFazio at Wicked Local: “A local union representing thousands of Stop & Shop workers in Massachusetts voted to authorize a strike Sunday morning. UFCW Local 1445, which represents between 8,000 and 9,000 Stop & Shop workers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, authorized the strike at a meeting in Randolph. The vote to strike comes after negotiations for a new contract with Stop and Shop have hit a rough patch. The last contract expired Saturday night.” No date for a strike has been set as contract talks continue this week, officials said.

Wicked Local

Report: Grand jury investigating whether ex-interior secretary lied about rival to MGM Springfield

The Washington Post reports that a grand juror is probing whether former interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lied to federal investigators about a request by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes concerning their plans to run a gambling casino in Connecticut that would compete against nearby MGM Springfield. Ray Kelly at MassLive has more.

Washington Post

Promises (mostly) kept: MGM Springfield makes progress on community checklist

A trio of MassLive reporters checked in on the progress MGM Springfield is making toward the goals and promises laid out in its host community agreement with the city and found it has met or made significant progress on many counts. But one component of the project stands out for a lack of progress: A plan to build 54 market-rate apartments remains stalled, with the casino telling regulators in December it was exploring alternatives to the original plan. 


Tribe: Martha’s Vineyard gambling hall construction to start next month

Speaking of gambling and promises of riches to come, the AP at WBUR reports that the Aquinnah Wampanoags say construction is expected to begin next month for a gambling hall on Martha’s Vineyard. The 10,000 square-foot facility is being built on tribal trust land and, when open, include 250 electronic gaming machines and employ nearly 100 full- and-part-time workers.


Question of the day: With climate change and the push to get cars off of streets, is it really wise to raise T fares at this time?

As they say, timing is everything. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “The proposed fare increase is causing concern among some transit specialists, who say it could lead to a drop in the number of people who take the bus, train, and subway. Fewer people using mass transit, in turn, would make it that much harder for the state to cut back on congestion and to tackle climate change — another major goal.”

Btw: There’s some good news on the public transit front: The T plans to open its new Blue Hill stop on the Fairmount Line this morning, as Universal Hub reports.

Report: Harold Brown, Boston landlord king, RIP

He was once one of the best known and, for a time, most controversial landlords in the city. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Joe Dwinell: “Harold Brown, the storied Boston landlord who turned one small apartment building into a sprawling real estate empire, has died, according to his rabbi. He was 94. Brown, who retired from his position atop Hamilton Co. at age 93 last year, amassed billions of dollars worth of Boston-area property over more than six decades in the real estate business and created a charitable foundation that gave to local causes.”

Boston Herald

Making good: Harrington implements no-cash bail policy as promised

Following a growing national trend and making good on a campaign promise, Berkshire County DA Andrea Harrington says her office will stop requesting cash bail for criminal defendants facing district court charges who are not considered a flight risk, Haven Orrechio-Egresitz reports at the Berkshire Eagle.

Berkshire Eagle

Progressive sounds the alarm: Rodrigues is not a progressive

Jonathan Cohn of Progressive Massachusetts writes at CommonWealth magazine that Senate President Karen Spilka’s choice of Sen. Michael Rodrigues to chair the powerful Senate Ways & Means Committee “should give progressives everywhere pause.” Though Rodriques says he’s part of the “boring middle,” his record actually “locates him squarely on the right,” Cohn said. To be clear: Rodriques is indeed to the right of progressives. But only in this bluest of blue states could Rodriques and other moderate Dems be remotely considered “right wing” or “conservative.”


‘The Rise of Socialism in Boston’

Speaking of progressives: Socialist clubs and meetings are popping up everywhere these days in Massachusetts. But they’re not THOSE type of socialists, Anna Sims writes at Boston Magazine.

Boston Magazine

Mental Health providers wait … and wait … and wait for payments

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Mental health professionals who treated state and municipal employees have had to wait for more than seven months for payment, due to an error by the insurance company that has a state contract to manage care for public workers. UniCare currently has around 16,000 claims for behavioral health care that are awaiting processing, although that number includes claims that just came in as well as those dating back as far as July.”


Galvin: Why not let voters decide whether to extend councilors’ terms?

Secretary of State Bill Galvin, whose office oversees elections in Massachusetts, has a shocking idea: Letting the governed have a say in how they’re governed. In this case, asking voters via a referendum whether they support extending city councilors’ terms from two years to four years, rather than letting City Hall and State House types decide the issue. The Globe’s Milton Valencia has more on the radical idea.

Boston Globe

Theft of hospital opioid pills spurs call for more Beacon Hill oversight

Yet another medical-establishment connection to the opioids crisis. Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune reports that the recent theft of more than 18,000 pills, mostly opioids, from Beverly Hospital is prompting calls at the State House for more “state oversight of heavily addictive drugs that are diverted to the street from hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies.”

Eagle Tribune

Would Sacco and Vanzetti get a fair trial at Harvard today?

Harvey Silverglate at WGBH notes that Harvard Law School professors have a long history of defending controversial characters, from Sacco and Vanzetti to Claus von Bulow to O.J. Simpson. But it seems Harvey Weinstein is just too controversial. “The progressives at Harvard, if given the power to do so, would change the university’s motto from Veritas (truth) to something akin to ‘we know what’s true and what’s right, so get lost!’ (Perhaps it would sound better in Latin than English.)”


Paying their dues: More than 100 Dem lawmakers back anti-Janus bill pushed by unions

From Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News on attempts to partially roll back parts of the recent Janus ruling: “More than 100 state lawmakers — all Democrats — have signed onto legislation that would allow unions to represent nonmembers for grievances and other work-related negotiations, and to charge workers for those costs. The measure would also give organized labor representatives access to new hires and nonunion members in state and local government to speak with them about joining a union.”

Newburyport Daily News

Invasion of the Spotted Lantern Flies

From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “Folks, meet your new winged enemy: The spotted lanternfly, an evil and destructive invasive species from China that to the alarm of state officials has been discovered inside a Boston home. According to an announcement from the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources, experts have confirmed that a bug carcass found in a Bostonian’s poinsettia in December was in fact one of the inch-long multicolored insects.”

Boston Magazine

What goes up: Neighbor sues over proposed Provincetown funicular

A plan to build a funicular to take visitors to the hilltop site of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown may face an uphill battle after a neighboring condo complex sued, claiming the project was incorrectly approved by the planning board, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. The town says it plans to sit out the suit, letting the neighbor and the Provincetown Museum duke it out in court. 

Cape Cod Times

RIP Jack Swift, North Adams activist and father of former acting governor

Jack Swift, who died last week at the age of 77, is being remembered for his deep roots in the political and civic life of North Adams, Bryan Marquand reports at the Globe. Swift was also the father of Jane Swift, whose turn as acting governor between 2001 and 2003 makes her the only woman to serve in that role in the state’s history. 

Boston Globe

Dream on: Touring Beacon Hill’s newest luxury condos …

The BBJ has a slideshow of the new luxury condos at the Archer Residences, just behind the State House on Temple Street. The 62 units are there for the taking, if you can afford the starting price of $990,000 for an 864-square-foot one-bedroom unit.

BBJ (pay wall)

Government Affairs Forum: Governor Charlie Baker, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Since taking office in 2015, Governor Baker has been making Massachusetts a great place to live, work and raise a family while delivering a customer-service oriented state government that is as hard working as the people of the Commonwealth.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Women’s Network Breakfast: Tiffani Faison, Chef & Restaurateur

She’s made a name for herself nationwide for her dynamic personality, creative cuisine, and for being the runner-up on the first season of Bravo’s wildly popular Top Chef series.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Capital Conversations with Rep. Bill Keating

Please join us for Capital Conversations with Rep. Bill Keating. Rep. Keating is currently serving his fifth term representing Massachusetts’ 9th Congressional District. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The New England Council

Whose University is it?

MIT and Harvard rolling out the red carpet for the Saudi Crown Prince in March, 2018 was no fluke: it is symptomatic of the lack of democracy on campuses across the US. Increasingly, university administrators act in our name, but without our involvement.

Massachusetts Peace Action

Professionals of Color Career Summit

The Professionals of Color Career Summit (PoC) is a one-of-a-kind engagement providing world-class professional insights and career connections for Greater Boston’s diverse workforce. PoC connects mid-level and executive professionals with industry-leading inclusive organizations.

COLOR Magazine

Boston Divest/Reinvest Hearing

The Boston City Council will hold a hearing on pension fund disclosure, socially responsible investment and reinvestment. Join the Divest/Invest Campaign to raise issues of divestment from fossil fuels, private prison companies, weapons manufacturers and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and of the need for productive investment in Boston jobs and neighborhoods.

Massachusetts Peace Action

NAIOP @ Night at Bully Boy Distillers

Join NAIOP at Bully Boy Distillers, Boston’s first craft distillery, specializing in Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Vodka and Amaro.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Liberty Mutual tells over 600 employees to work from home full-time – Boston Business Journal

In letters, Whitey Bulger fondly recalled old days, Alcatraz – WBUR


Falmouth plow incident may have SSA link – Martha’s Vineyard Times

Worcester settles suit with ex-employee Brittany Legasey after judge finds politics played role in firing – Telegram & Gazette

Northampton backs resolution to change state seal, motto – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Trump’s secret to 2020 victory: Hispanic voters – Politico

Lower refunds amplify calls to restore key tax deduction – The Hill

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