Happening Today

Cap on kids and conversion therapy, nursing home failures, and more

— The Massachusetts House meets in a formal session with plans to take up the so-called cap on kids and conversion therapy ban bills, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey makes an announcement ‘arising from a series of investigations by her office into care at Massachusetts nursing home facilities that uncovered systemic failures,’ according to her office, One Ashburton Place, 20th floor, 11:30 a.m.

— Governor’s Council is expected to take a vote on Thomas Hammond, one of Gov. Charlie Baker’s nominees to serve on the Appellate Tax Board, and the Governor’s Council later holds a hearing on Patricia Ann Metzer’s nomination to the same board, Governor’s Council Chambers, Room 360, 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively

— The Health Care Financing Committee, newly chaired by Rep. Jennifer Benson and Sen. Cindy Friedman, and the Health Policy Commission hold a joint hearing on the health care cost growth benchmark for calendar year 2020, Gardner Auditorium, 12 p.m.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire activist who launched Need to Impeach, will host a town hall to urge U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to demand that President Trump release his tax records, Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Ln., Agawam, 6:15 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

They actually did it: Fall River Mayor Correia recalled – and then re-elected

Fall River, take a bow. From the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi: “Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II of Fall River, facing the political fight of his life, delivered a stunning victory Tuesday night as voters ousted him from office in a recall election and then ushered him back into power by picking him to be the city’s next chief executive. Correia, a 27-year-old Democrat, held onto his job under a quirk in the city charter which allowed him to run for reelection on the same ballot that sought to recall him. He was the second Fall River mayor to face a recall since 2014, when William Flanagan was forced to leave office.”

The Herald News has more, including how many on social media are trotting out the “favorite chestnut of cynics across the Spindle City: ‘Only in Fall River.’” Well, the cynics happen to have it right. This is the second mayoral recall election in Fall River in recent years – and the city had plenty of time to fix the “quirk in the city charter” before yesterday’s vote. But it didn’t. 

So now we have the ridiculous outcome of more than 60 percent voting to recall the mayor – and then 35 percent voting to put him back into office. The Associated Press at the Herald has more.

Boston Globe

DeLeo opens the door to gas-tax hike and other revenue raisers for transportation fixes

Pronouncing that “everything and anything is on the table” when it comes to fixing the state’s transportation infrastructure, House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday effectively opened the door to a full-scale debate on Beacon Hill on whether to hike the state’s gas tax and raise revenue from other sources as ways to pay for transportation upgrades, reports CommonWealth magazine and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

The Herald’s Alexi Cohan reports that legislators are indeed once again looking at gas tax indexing, an idea rejected by voters in 2014. The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that, behind the scenes, talks have already begun among business groups across the state to reach a “consensus around a slate of revenue-raising concepts to present to the Legislature later this year.” SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more on what has instantly become one of the top and most pressing issues on Beacon Hill.

Warren urges grounding of Boeing planes after crashes, but Trump is listening to someone else

From Lisa Creamer at WBUR: “After the second deadly crash in five months involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called upon the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground all flights involving that aircraft.”

But it appears President Trump is paying more attention to what Boeing’s CEO is saying, not what Warren and others are saying, reports the NYT. 


Bribing and lying, 101: What they’ll do to get their kids into elite colleges

First, it was the Harvard admissions-discrimination lawsuit and trial that revealed embarrassing behind-the-scene details on how the admissions process works at an elite college. Now this: A full-scale national bribery scandal involving dozens of people accused of using their wealth and connections to get their children into top American universities, as outlined yesterday by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of Massachusetts. The New York Times has the full-picture story of the coast-to-coast scandal. 

The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has an excellent piece on how the scam worked. She also provides the California-heavy list of names of those allegedly involved in the scamming.

Of course, this being such a big college town, there were some local people mentioned, though not as many as you’d think, such as one John B. Wilson, the head of a small local investment firm, as the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports. Then there’s Manuel Henriquez, a Northeastern University graduate and one of the parents charged with fraud in a complaint, as reported by a  team of writers at CommonWealth magazine. And here’s another local angle from Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell: “BU, BC, Northeastern Were Sent Fraudulent SAT Scores.” 

Finally, Globe columnist Nestor Ramos and Herald columnist Howie Carr chime in on the scandal. From Howie, who is absolutely loving this: “What makes yesterday’s federal indictments in Boston so wonderful is that they confirm every single one of your prejudices about the Beautiful People.”

Volunteers sought to attend the burial of yet another World War II veteran

Last month, hundreds of people answered the call to attend the Lawrence burial of a WWII veteran who died at a health care facility and who officials were concerned would be buried alone. Now the call is out for volunteers to once again attend the burial of another decorated World War II veteran, Albert “Al” Corn, 95, who died last week without any living family to attend his funeral, reports Kiera Blessing at the Eagle Tribune. Let’s hope people respond. We assume they will – again.

Eagle Tribune

Health Connector sets new enrollment record

More evidence that RomneyCare/ObamaCare/whatever-you-call-it works, if lawmakers here and in Washington really want such systems to work. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “The Massachusetts Health Connector now covers 282,000 Massachusetts residents, the highest enrollment in the state exchange’s 13-year history. The Connector, which offers subsidized and unsubsidized insurance plans to individuals and small businesses, added around 65,000 new members to its plans this year.”


Moulton: Abolish the electoral college and filibuster

In a Washington Post opinion piece, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who’s eyeing a possible run for president, is calling for the abolishment of the presidential electoral college system and the Senate filibuster, saying they’re both undemocratic relics. The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby begs to differ, at least when it comes to the electoral college.

Washington Post

Sen. DiZoglio: DeLeo has ‘manipulated’ non-disclosure debate via ‘propaganda’

House Speaker Robert DeLeo seems to be in the news a lot today. From Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “Beacon Hill infighting over non-disclosure agreements isn’t going away, as Sen. Diana DiZoglio accused House Speaker Robert DeLeo of using ‘propaganda’ to manipulate the debate while the speaker’s office obliquely critiqued the Senate’s decision to completely ban the legal instruments.”

Well, we guess this means Rep. Marjorie Decker and two other women must be part of DeLeo’s nefarious propaganda apparatus, considering they co-authored an opinion piece last month at CommonWealth magazine defending the House’s approach toward nondisclosures.


DeLeo sinks his teeth into bolstering Bay State’s restaurant industry

OK, one more DeLeo-related item. From the Associated Press at the Herald: “Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that lawmakers intend to create a task force with an appetite for promoting the region’s restaurants to an international audience. DeLeo says the task force will include prominent chefs and marketing experts, and will be supported by $2 million in new state tourism funding.”

Sign of the times: CambridgeSide shopping mall’s top floor to become offices

Yet another sign that bricks-and-mortar retail outlets are sucking wind in these e-retail times: The owner of the Cambridgeside mall plans to start work this spring on converting the top floor of the glitzy shopping center into offices. The Globe’s Tim Logan has the details.

Boston Globe

Mapping income segregation at coffee shops, restaurants and other meeting places in Boston

Benjamin Swasey at WBUR has a good story on the MIT Media Lab’s “Atlas of Inequality” project that tracks where people shop, eat and spend their time in the Boston area – and the “stark divergence” in where people of different income levels hang out. An interactive map that looks like something produced by NASA accompanies the story. 


Dunkin’ settles ‘no poaching’ complaint with Healey

From the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis: “In a settlement with the state of Massachusetts and more than a dozen other states, iconic New England brand Dunkin’ will end a company policy that prevents employees from moving from one franchise to another.  Canton-based Dunkin’ Brands (Nasdaq: DNKN), along with the parent companies of Arby’s, Five Guys and Little Caesars, ended an investigation led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.”

The ‘no poaching’ practice is just one way companies try to control, for lack of other words, the free flow of labor. So-called ‘non-compete’ agreements are another example.


Pot bills flying left and right on Beacon Hill

The Herald’s Mary Markos reports on the “barrage of bills” now before the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy, from hiking the age of pot use to 25 to capping the potency of weed. The slew of bills is apparently leaving some nervous that the state won’t adequately address the issue of drugged driving. Btw: Peter Goonan at MassLive reports that state regulators got an earful at a hearing yesterday from people concerned about the red tape, fees and other obstacles facing those who want to open pot shops.

Boston Herald

Major League Lacrosse team plans to invest $1.5M to upgrade Quincy stadium

Mary Whitfil at Wicked Local reports that the Boston Cannon, a Major League Lacrosse team, is planning to sink more than $1.5 million into upgrading its new home, Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, including the installation of a new digital scoreboard and stadium-style seating.

Wicked Local

Mitt’s rather odd one-at-a-time way of blowing out birthday candles

Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine knows he and others might be nit-picking poor Mitt Romney on how he blows out birthday candles. “But, uh, trust me, you really need to see” the video of Mitt blowing out candles one at a time at his recent 72nd birthday celebration, he writes. Perhaps Mitt was trying to avoid blowing down the Twinkies? Just a guess.

Boston Magazine

Why can’t dead lobsters be processed here?

From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “State senators are once again lobbying the House to agree to changes they say will boost the lobster industry, and jobs. Under an approved amendment to a midyear spending bill, supporters hope that lobsters that are currently sent away for parts processing will instead be processed in Massachusetts.” 


On half-year anniversary of blasts, Rivera warns of repeat

Six months after natural gas explosions ripped through parts of his city and neighboring communities, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera says many residents are still holding out hope that Columbia Gas will make them whole. Talking to WGBH’s Craig LeMoult, Rivera said the awareness of gas infrastructure inadequacies brought to the light by the incident makes it hard to rest easy amid worries about a repeat. “I definitely don’t feel better,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Boston Magazine’s Rachel Slade gives the explosions and their aftermath the long read treatment, with a tick-tock of the afternoon when the Merrimack Valley was rocked by explosions and fires, focusing on the tragic death of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon.

Are you ‘mad’? City of Champions tells music festival to take a hike

Go smaller or go home. The Brockton Licensing Commission has rejected a proposal from a promoter who wants to stage a “Mad City” music festival at the Brockton Fairgrounds that could attract as many as 37,000 people this summer. Billed as a “high end” two-day festival, the event — full name: ““The Super Mega Ultra Giant Mad Decent Block Party Festival” — was denied a license after the city’s police chief said his department could not handle the expected crowd, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise.


Cash is still king: Report says card-only welfare too expensive

Not yet. That’s the conclusion of a study by the Department of Transitional Assistance on whether to make the state’s welfare assistance program cash-free, a move that some argue would ensure that welfare payments aren’t being misused, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News. The report says a no-cash system would cost $25 million to set up and as much as $6 million a year to operate. 

Salem News

Making Tough Decisions: A Conversation with Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) discusses public leadership, state governance, and American politics with Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf.

Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School

2019 North Shore Business Expo

Connect with over 2500 potential customers in one day at the largest business expo north of Boston on March 14th. The show is held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom – 50 Ferncroft Road – Danvers, MA 01923. Call 978-774-8565 to Sponsor or Exhibit or visit www.northshorechamber.org/2019expo

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Starr Forum: From Cold War to Hot Peace

With speaker Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to the Russian Federation.

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), MIT Security Studies Program (SSP), MISTI MIT-Russia

Real Estate Development Fundamentals Onsite Course

This course is focused on planning and implementing real estate development projects and what it means to be a real estate developer.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Invite Your Legislature to School Day

The Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps) is hosting 6 “Invite Your Legislator to School” Days at special education schools across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Association for 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps)

STEM and the Massachusetts Workforce Challenge

Already, the college degree pipeline in Massachusetts is inadequate to meet demand, and workforce supply, especially in STEM fields, must be better cultivated in the Commonwealth’s own backyard. Join us as we bring together business, education and public policy leaders to discuss the critical topic of the interconnection between STEM education, public policy and the changing needs in Massachusetts’ workforce.

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


Police commissioner seeks collaborative effort with bar owners – Boston Herald

Pine Street pitches permanent housing complex for homeless – Boston Globe


Worcester a model for U.S. communities fighting Hepatitis outbreaks – Associated Press

AG’s office rules Charlton selectmen violated Open Meeting Law – Telegram & Gazette

Hudson selectmen OK drafting host agreement for marijuana cultivation facility – MetroWest Daily News

Swastika graffiti found in Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School bathroom – Martha’s Vineyard Times


For Trump, even the smallest error can be too big to admit – Toronto Star

Gov. Newsom to stop death penalty in California, giving reprieves to 737 death row inmates – Sacramento Bee

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