Happening Today

Governor’s Council, House session, Baker’s housing bill

— Senate President Karen Spilka speaks at A Better City’s board meeting, Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP, 155 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 9 a.m.

— The Health Policy Commission holds a meeting of its Market Oversight and Transparency Committee to hear updates on out-of-network billing issues, and staff will present recent findings on the practice of shifting drug-distribution channels, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds a hearing on Gov. Baker’s nomination of Thomas Hammond for reappointment to the Appellate Tax Board, followed by a later second meeting, chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, to possibly vote on the nomination of Adam Baler as clerk magistrate of the Plymouth District Court, Council Chamber, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.

Direct service providers from around Massachusetts plan to discuss how state policies affect their efforts to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence, Room 428, 10 a.m.

— Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike briefs representatives, senators and aides on the state’s clean energy industry, Room 350, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House plans to meet in a full formal session, with roll call votes on possible supplemental budget legislation starting at 1 p.m., House Chamber, 11 a.m.

— The Health Policy Commission’s Care Delivery Transformation Committee meets with plans to hear a presentation on the HPC’s neonatal abstinence syndrome program, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 11 a.m.

— First Lady Lauren Baker, Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue, Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker and others participate in a celebration of EBT Card to Culture, a state program that allows low-income adults and children to attend art venues for free or reduced prices by showing their EBT card, Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump hosts an unveiling ceremony for a portrait of former Massachusetts Gov. Oliver Ames, who served in office from 1887 to 1890, Third floor, State House, 11 a.m.

— The Senate and the Museum of African American History hold an event to honor Frederick Douglass and celebrate the recently renovated Senate Chamber, which now features a quote from Douglass engraved on the wall, Senate Chamber, 1 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will chair a meeting of the Seaport Economic Council to discuss multiple project proposals, Flynn Cruiseport Boston Cruise Terminal, Moscaritolo Mezzanine space, 1 Black Falcon Ave., South Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development Janelle Chan, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and others to announce the filing of a version of a previous housing production bill backed by the governor, Grand Staircase, 2:30 p.m.

MassINC, the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and LOCUS host a forum on stimulating transformative investment in Gateway Cities with the state’s Housing Development Incentive Program and new federal opportunity zone funds, Room 428, 3 p.m.

— The Rural Caucus will hold its first meeting this session to discuss policy priorities, with Sens. Adam Hinds and Anne Gobi, and Reps. Sarah Peake and Paul Mark expected to attend, among others, State House, Room 348, 3 p.m.,

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East hosts a reception for newly-elected legislators, Carrie Nation, 11 Beacon St., Boston, 5 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

The Michael Cohen hearing: Pressley is ready to pounce

As former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen prepares to testify today that the president of the United States of America is a lying “con man” and “cheat” (NYT), U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and other Dems are sharpening their knives in anticipation of today’s dramatic hearing in Washington, D.C. reports Kimberly Atkins at WBUR.


As Nevada fines Wynn Resorts $20M, Healey fires warning shot at local regulators over Everett license

This is getting complicated – and very interesting. The Las Vegas Review Journal and MassLive report that Nevada gaming regulators have fined Wynn Resorts $20 million after an investigation found that senior executives knew of sexual misconduct allegations against company founder Steve Wynn – and did nothing.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Maura Healey said yesterday her office will be part of the review of the local Everett license that is pending before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is also investigating who knew what and when at Wynn Resorts about the allegations against Steve Wynn, reports Jonathan Ng at the Herald.

At WGBH, Arjun Singh reports that Healey is “anxious” to see the final state report on Wynn and guardedly optimistic the commission will make an informed decision on the matter. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is not so optimistic the commission will take proper action – and says Healey’s intervention may be necessary.

Advisory panel: Withhold pot tax dollars from towns that don’t implement ‘social equity’ programs

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that the Cannabis Advisory Board is recommending that the state withhold marijuana tax revenues from any community that doesn’t implement ‘social equity’ programs designed to get more minority business owners involved in the legal pot industry in Massachusetts.


Commission recommends pilot ‘safe consumption’ sites for opioid addicts

Didn’t U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling recently say he would crack down on any attempt to establish “safe consumption sites” in Massachusetts? Yes, he did. Still, a state commission is recommending that the state at least test the use of clinics where addicts can shoot up or inhale illegal drugs — with medical staff members standing nearby to prevent overdose fatalities, reports Martha Bebinger at WBUR. 

Gov. Charlie Baker is letting it be known he’s not for “safe injection” sites, as they’re also known. “I’d much rather focus on stuff that we can do and are doing rather than on something that the feds have made very clear they’re not going to permit us to do,” Baker said yesterday.


Henry says Globe union misleading public about negotiations

Boston Globe owner John Henry says the union representing many of the paper’s workers is mischaracterizing proposals being made during negotiations, Don Seifert reports at the Boston Business Journal. Henry’s comments to the BBJ came hours after the Boston Newspaper Guild made public a letter that claimed the owners were leaning on the union to agree to small salary increases in exchange for layoffs and the elimination of overtime, among other cost-saving moves.

BBJ (pay wall)

Baker and Healey on Kraft controversy: ‘Deeply troubling’ … ‘disturbing’ … ‘shocked and surprised’

There’s not much they can do about the case, but both Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey separately said yesterday they were disappointed to learn of the prostitution-solicitation charges in Florida against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Returning from a trip to Washington D.C over the weekend, Baker said said he was “shocked and surprised and disappointed” by the news, reports Jacquelie Tempera at MassLive. Meanwhile, in an interview at WGBH, Healey said the allegations are “deeply troubling and disturbing,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

But Joyce Ferriabough Bolling at the Herald, while not condoning Kraft’s alleged actions at the Florida spa, said it’s “beyond ridiculous that the media is painting Kraft, a good and decent guy, with the same brush as the most vile and vicious sexual deviants among us.”

Jim Crow in Salem, Mass.? Yes, indeed, according to the Salem Gazette of 1838

Steve Luxenberg at the Washington Post has a fascinating story tracing the history of racist “Jim Crow” laws in the U.S. – and how “Jim Crow” may have started in the North, not the South. In his research, he found one of the earliest known public references to “Jim Crow” in an 1838 edition of the Salem Gazette, regarding the segregation of white and black passengers on local railroad trains.

Washington Post

NY moves toward congestion pricing – in the city, not on select highways and bridges

The New York Times reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has thrown his support behind congestion pricing in the city to help pay for massive subway upgrades. It has a long way to go before passage. But the mayor’s support is thought to be key to any congestion pricing in New York.

Why is this significant here? Because NY is looking at tolls on cars specifically entering Manhattan’s central business district, not necessarily on select highways and bridges leading into Manhattan in general. In Massachusetts, proponents of congestion pricing are calling for yet higher rush-hour tolls only on Pike-Tobin motorists, while, of course, saying little or nothing about current toll-free I-93 and Routes 2 and 128 motorists etc. The key, as NY seems to be showing, is capturing drivers within a specific city district.


Baker to file ‘tweaked’ housing bill, warns of ‘grave mistake’ if no action taken

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker will detail his latest plan to boost housing production in Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon at a State House event a day after he warned in a speech to business leaders that Massachusetts would be making a ‘grave mistake’ if it didn’t address the slowdown in home construction.” Baker said the legislation will be “thematically” very similar to the one he filed last session that proposed making it easier to pass housing projects at the local level.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

If McMurtry is cleared of sexual harassment charges, where does he go to get his reputation back?

Peter Lucas at the Lowell Sun continues his crusade against the investigation into charges that Rep. Paul McMurtry grabbed the backside of a female legislator at an orientation cocktail party in December. “None of those unnamed officials, including the alleged victim, filed a complaint,” Lucas writes. “And none, including the alleged victim, and an alleged eyewitness, has testified before investigators that the incident actually took place.” 

He says the investigation will probably end up clearing McMurtry and, if so, the “question arises of where McMurtry goes to get his reputation restored.”

Lowell Sun

Woman accused of assaulting man wearing a MAGA hat now faces deportation

Benjamin Swasey at WBUR reports that a woman who allegedly assaulted a man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat in a Falmouth restaurant now faces deportation. Rosiane Santos, 41, of East Falmouth, was arrested and then released yesterday after being given “a notice to appear at a future date before an immigration judge,” ICE confirms. Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has more on the controversy.

No sanctuary needed: ICE boss says agency only targeting ‘worst of worst’ criminals

Speaking of ICE, the head of the Boston office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expressed frustration about ‘sanctuary city’ policies in the Bay State, saying they hamper efforts to remove actual criminals from communities. Speaking at an event organized by immigration hard-liners, Todd Lyons said his agency only has enough resources to go after “the worst of the worst,” Sean Phillip Cotter of the Herald reports.

Question: Does this mean Rosiane Santos (see above post) is among the “worst of the worst”? Just asking.

Boston Herald

Hampden DA ‘dissatisfied’ with church’s clergy sexual abuse reporting

From Anne-Gerard Flynn: “Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said Tuesday he is ‘dissatisfied’ with what he termed the ‘inconsistency in reporting’ of clergy sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. The district attorney is urging victims and their families to call his office’s newly established hotline to report sexual abuse by members of clergy in Hampden County.”


Small businesses to lawmakers: Fix health-care cost system before it’s too late

In a Globe opinion piece, Jon B. Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, is urging Gov. Charlie Baker and lawmakers to fix a problem within the state’s health-care law that could lead to small businesses getting slammed next year with higher health-care premiums – on top of their already high health-care costs that are effectively being used to subsidize other insurance plans.

Actually, we could go on and on and on about how small-business sole proprietors indeed pay ridiculously high premiums for ridiculously high deduction plans, but we won’t.

Boston Globe

Baker’s top attorney leaving, proud but exhausted

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Lon Povich, chief legal counsel for Gov. Charlie Baker, will leave the administration early next month after four years. He’ll be replaced by Bob Ross, who is currently general counsel at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. So why is Povich leaving? From Schoenberg: “Povich said he started thinking about leaving after having a conversation with his wife a couple of months ago, when he asked why he is ‘really tired all the time.’ She responded, Povich said, ‘You’ve been looking at two cell phones 24 hours a day for the last four years.’”


The Weld candidacy: Can one ‘large orange man’ make a difference against another ‘large orange man’?

Actually, the story isn’t about the color of Donald Trump and Bill Weld’s hair. It’s about whether Weld can make a difference by running against Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primary – and whether enough Republicans will support Weld’s insurgent campaign. But the subject of orange hair does come up at the end of the story by the Globe’s Michael Levenson.

Boston Globe

Legislators seek fix to Worcester County juvenile court backlog

Help! Central Mass. lawmakers are sounding the alarm about staffing levels at the juvenile court in Worcester, where hundreds of cases are stacked up and ten more come in every week, Susan Spencer reports at the Telegram. 

Ironically, Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports that a task force is currently looking at the issue of raising the juvenile court age in Massachusetts, something, if ever approved, would probably add to the number of juvenile court cases in Worcester and elsewhere.


Food fight: Critics say state isn’t enforcing food-waste recycling law

The Globe’s David Abel reports there are more than a few people upset that a state law aimed at curbing commercial food waste in landfills isn’t being enforced by regulators.

Double trouble: Cop and ex-school superintendent separately charged in sex crimes

It wasn’t a good day on the public-service front in Massachusetts. NECN’s Nia Hamm and Karla Rendon Alvarezreport that a Lawrence police officer accused of raping a boy was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Travis Andersen reports that former Everett Public Schools Superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire, who suddenly stepped down late last year amid sexual harassment allegations, was charged yesterday with indecent assaults on school employees.  

Peabody mayor turns down raise for himself and councilor

Thanks but no thanks. Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt Jr. says he won’t take a pay raise this year, freezing his pay at $120,000 and blocking members of the city council from getting a pay bump in the process, Thomas Grillo reports at the Lynn Item. The move by Bettencourt, who isn’t even among the top-50 earners on the city payroll, means councilors’ pay will remain at $10,800.

Lynn Item

‘Something suspiciously un-Bostonian’: Beer gardens

The Globe’s Janelle Nanos explores the dark killjoy side of the Boston psyche, i.e. attempts by legislators to restrict outdoor been gardens beloved by many citizens.

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

I Want to Go to Jail

“I Want to Go to Jail” transports you back to February 1919, when women suffragists were arrested for picketing President Wilson in front of the Mas. State House, and served time in the Charles Street Jail.

The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts, the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, and We Did It for You! Women’s Journey Through History

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


Metco proposal to use lottery admissions system gets pushback from communities – WBUR

Alll Aboard! Blue Hill Ave. station open for commuter rail passengers – Dorchester Reporter


Wayfair hired more than 4,000 employees last year – Boston Business Journal

Black Lives matter poster going back up at charter school – Telegram & Gazette

Lowell councilors consider expanding city boards – Lowell Sun

Quincy councilors demand parking, buses – Patriot Ledger


Michael Cohen expected to testify that Trump knew of Wikileaks plot – Washington Post

Mark Harris Won’t Run in NC-09, Backs Election Fraud Truther – New York Magazine

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