Happening Today

Children’s Hospital anniversary, Education funding and more

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh attends the Boston Children’s Hospital 150th Anniversary Celebration Event, Boston Children’s Hospital, Patient Entertainment Center, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka delivers remarks for a leadership retreat event for One Family, an organization that works to prevent homelessness and break the cycle of family poverty in Massachusetts, Framingham State University, McCarthy Center, 93 State St., Framingham, 9:30 a.m.

— Hundreds of people, including Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Education James Peyser, are expected to attend a Joint Committee on Education hearing on 16 bills, with most attention focused on proposals to change the state’s school funding formula, Gardner Auditorium, State House, 10 a.m.


Office of Coastal Zone Management leaders will hold an information session in Barnstable to offer updates on the office’s Coastal Resilience and Coastal Pollutant Remediation grant programs, Barnstable County Complex, Harbor View Conference Room, 3195 Main St., Route 6A, Barnstable, 10 a.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

Big Marijuana: Has it already taken over the Massachusetts pot market?

The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett (pay wall) have big stories this morning about the alleged moves by major companies to effectively circumvent state laws limiting how many marijuana licenses a company can have in the Bay State. We have no idea how both papers came out with similar stories within 24 hours of each other. But they’re both big stories and, if true, there’s a lot of explaining to do about how all of this developed.

The Globe says its story is the first in a series, so this is a subject that’s going to get some in-depth coverage and be in the news for a while. Stay tuned.

March Madness: Hundreds expected today at State House hearing on school funding changes

Legislative ground zero will be in the Gardner Auditorium this morning at the State House, when hundreds of people, including Gov. Charlie Baker and members of the New England Patriots, are expected to show up at a hearing on potential changes to the state’s school funding formula. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine have the details.

Activists threaten to launch tuition-free ballot question if lawmakers don’t act on college affordability

Speaking of education, this is worth watching. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Students, educators and others who say the cost of a college education has ballooned out of control took their calls for relief to the State House on Thursday and said that if lawmakers don’t act, they’re prepared to ask voters to deliver results instead.” And by “results” they mean asking voters to pass a potential ballot question on “tuition-free” education at public colleges.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Shoved down our throats’: New Bedford board reluctantly approves charter school plan

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The New Bedford School Committee voted 5-2 on Thursday night in favor of a precedent-setting expansion deal with a local charter school operator, but even the five supporters insisted they didn’t like the arrangement and were voting for it only because state officials were figuratively holding a gun to their head.”

The figurative gun that was put to their head? Loss of state funding. “To me it’s tantamount to outright blackmail by DESE,” said one board member. “The memorandum of understanding has been basically shoved down our throats,” said another committee member.


Three’s a crowd: Tribes get OK to build another Conn. casino

Did someone mention saturation? Federal officials have cleared the way for two native American Indian tribes in Connecticut to build a casino in East Windsor, just miles from MGM Springfield, Susan Haigh of the AP reports via WBUR. The Tribal Winds casino had been stalled at the federal level for several years, but after getting the green light this week, tribal leaders say they will resume work immediately on the $300 million project.

The approval may well bring a fresh legal challenge from MGM Springfield, as it seeks to protect its Springfield resort and a proposed casino in Bridgeport, Conn., as Jim Kinney reports at MassLive.


Baker on Trump’s shots at McCain: ‘Wholly, totally and completely inappropriate’

Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive reports that Gov. Charlie Baker is not impressed, not impressed at all, with President Trump’s recent put-downs of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “By any standard John McCain was a great man and a great American, period,” Baker said on WGBH Thursday. “I was brought up in a house where you don’t speak ill of the dead.” He had more to say about the president’s ‘wholly, totally and completely inappropriate’ remarks.


Seth Moulton: The man, the moment, and missed opportunity?

The Globe’s James Pindell reviews U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s preliminary moves to run for president – and there’s more than a few analysts who think it may be too late for him to enter what’s already a ridiculously crowded Dem primary race.

Boston Globe

Weld’s Steve Wynn problem

Speaking of local presidential candidates, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that former Gov. Bill Weld, now set to formally enter the presidential race as a Republican, may have some explaining to do on the campaign trail regarding his past legal work for the “sex scandal-tainted casino mogul Steve Wynn.”

Boston Herald

To counter the Uber-Lyft tsunami, Massport proposes major congestion response at Logan

We’re going to be seeing more of this from other government entities in coming years. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “To reduce congestion at Logan International Airport, officials at Massport are proposing much higher fees and new dropoff and pickup procedures for Uber and Lyft passengers as well as a series of new policies to double ridership on Logan Express buses from downtown and suburban locations to 4 million passengers a year.”


Could ride-sharing trips hit 120 million in Massachusetts?

In a side piece to the above Massport story, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth takes a look at whether the state should follow Massport’s lead in trying to reduce ride-sharing auto congestion in other parts of the state. In 2017, ride-sharing companies provided 64.8 million trips in Massachusetts. But that number could rise to as high as 120 million in 2018, when the state releases new data in a few months, according to one Massport official. We did the math: That’s 328,767 trips per day. That’s a lot of traffic on roadways.

Hail, no. More cities mull ways to help taxis compete

Speaking of woes created by ride-sharing autos, Framingham officials are weighing a proposal to allow taxi cabs to hike their fares while also reducing the fees they pay for annual city licenses, the latest example of municipalities looking to give the battered cab industry a boost amid the Uber and Lyft onslaught. Framingham hasn’t raised cab fares in a decade, Jim Haddadin reports at the MetroWest Daily News.

Meanwhile, city councilors in North Adams are ready to give up their right to approve taxi licenses, with some members saying allowing the police department to issue licenses would streamline the process and save the city and drivers time and money, Adam Shanks reports at the Berkshire Eagle.

MetroWest Daily News

Can Kraft really beat the charges?

Most everyone seems to think that Florida prosecutors have a slam-dunk case against Robert Kraft for soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, especially since law enforcement officials claim they have a video of the New England Patriots owner getting more than just a massage. But the Globe’s Travis Andersen talks with legal experts about Kraft’s emerging legal strategy to suppress the video evidence – and they’re not discounting the possibility of Kraft scoring another major victory, albeit victory of an off-the-field kind.

Boston Globe

Musical chairs: Sen. Humason to run for Westfield mayor – and Rep. Velis set to run for Humason’s seat if he wins

Hope Tremblay at MassLive reports that state Sen. Donald F. Humason, a Republican, plans to run for mayor of Westfield this fall – and Tremblay reports separately that state Rep. John C. Velis, a Democrat, is ready, willing and able to run for Humason’s seat if he wins. Matt Szafranski at Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight takes a look at the game of musical chairs about to unfold in the district.

About those ‘slush funds’ lawmakers want …

In editorial, the Globe is making clear it’s not wild about a proposal to allow House legislative caucuses to separately raise funds for their groups. From the Globe: “There are bad ideas and then there are simply dreadful ideas. A move to allow House caucuses on Beacon Hill to raise and spend money from outside sources — without identifying those sources — is definitely in the latter category.”

Boston Globe

TD Bank apologizes for ad critics say was based on old racist joke about black neighborhoods

We were initially dismissive of this controversy – until we read Dialyn Dwyer’s excellent piece at Boston.com about how the wording of a TD advertisement at a local bank branch was actually tied to an old racist joke about black neighborhoods in Boston. So, yes, an apology from the bank was in order, though we doubt bank officials were initially aware of the inside joke, based on our own prior ignorance of it.


Feds: Trooper wrote up and then destroyed bogus traffic tickets to cover up OT scam

Scott Croteau at MassLive and Matt Rocheleau at the Globe have the latest on the OT scandal at State Police. We assume the headline above summarizes the stories sufficiently.  

In other State Police news, from the Associated Press at WBUR: “Mass. trooper convicted of raping former girlfriend is being fired.” The victim was a fellow state trooper.

The Biogen Debacle: ‘A massive destruction of market value’

This is already a contender for one of the top business stories of the year in Boston. As Stat’s Adam Feuerstein reports, Cambridge-based Biogen and its Japanese partner announced yesterday that they were halting their clinical tests of a once promising drug to slow the worsening of Alzheimer’s disease – and then all hell broke on Wall Street. 

The Globe’s Larry Edelman has a good piece assessing the damage to Biogen: $18 billion in lost market value in a single day. “This was a massive destruction of market value,” says one analyst.


Man wrongfully imprisoned for fatal fire that killed 8 sues Lowell and state officials

From the AP at the Lowell Sun: “A man who says he was wrongfully imprisoned for more than three decades after being convicted of starting a 1982 Massachusetts fire that killed eight people is suing officers, firefighters, and Massachusetts State Police troopers he says allegedly forced him to falsely confess.” The fire, btw, occurred in Lowell.

Lowell Sun

Amherst College backs down on PC-on-steroids ‘Common Language Guide’

From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “A politically charged glossary for Amherst College students that disparages capitalism and dictates a broad range of PC gender terms has been withdrawn after campus Republicans howled in protest, saying the Orwellian language guide threatened to stifle free speech.” Even the college’s president described the 36-page document (yes, 36 pages) as “problematic.” The PC dustup at Amherst preceded President Trump’s move yesterday to issue an executive order that he says is needed to protect campus free speech, as reported at Real Clear Politics.

Baker: Read my lips – No new injection sites

It seems Gov. Charlie Baker can’t say it enough: There will be no future safe injection sites for drug addicts as long as the feds say they’ll arrest anyone and everyone involved in such practices, even if they’re taking part in a pilot program. Tori Bedford at WGBH has the latest gubernatorial pronouncement on the subject.


Lawmaker has (more) questions about Chinese-made T trains

State Rep. Shawn Dooley wants the MBTA to give more details on how new T trains being produced in a Springfield factory are actually getting made, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle. Dooley, who has previously raised concerns about potential Chinese spyware being hidden in the trains, is now asking whether the Springfield plant is actually making the trains or simply assembling them — and if parts being imported from China were made with child labor. 

Sun Chronicle

Portrait swap in the Senate president’s office

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has a good story on how Senate President Karen Spilka decided to do a little re-decorating in her new office digs at the State House, i.e. replacing lots of old portaits of prior Senate presidents (mostly male, needless to say) with portraits of famous Massachusetts females. “Granted, some people said it was a little cheeky of me,” Spilka told a crowd yesterday at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. “But it was also to prove an important point: that we still have a long way to go to reach full equality when it comes to women’s representation on Beacon Hill.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Passing, barely: Group gives ‘D’ grade for lead in drinking water

Gulp. Drinking water tainted with lead is still prevalent in many of the state’s schools and Massachusetts isn’t doing enough to address the issue, a new report from Environment Massachusetts argues. The group gives the state a ‘D’ for its anti-lead efforts, which barely puts it ahead of many states that received failing grades, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News. 

Salem News

Sunday public affairs TV

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. MGM Springfield chief executive Michael Mathis provides in update on the Sprignfield casino; Commonwealth Care Alliance CEO Christopher Palmieri on caring for the most complex patients in the state’s health care system; and Jon Chesto of the Boston Globe reviews the week’s top business stories .

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Aroma Joe’s CEO Loren Goodridge and company co-founder Marty Mckenna talk about their Portland, Maine-based coffee chain.

DC Dialogue, NECN, 11:30 a.m. U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, talks about his concerns about the president and what the Democrats have accomplished so far this legislative session; Greentown labs CEO Emily Reichert on the largest clean tech startup incubator in the U.S., and New England Council’s CEO Jim Brett talks presidential politics with Peter Howe.

On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu, followed by a discussion with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Boston Globe political reporter Frank Phillips.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 4, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Showcasing reporter stories about Vermont girl whose special request was granted by the make-a-wish foundation; a new friendship between a 90-year-old and a 100-year-old from Weymouth who share the same birthday; and how a trip to a local barber can save a life.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Youth employment.

Conversation with the Candidate, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12:30 p.m. A series that takes a look at potential candidates for president, this week’s guest is Marianne Williamson, a lecturer, activist, author, and Democratic presidential candidate.  

Kathy Kelly: Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan: What’s happening and what can we do?

Kathy is just coming off her fast to call attention to the need for the U.S. to end its joint war with the Saudis against Yemen. She is the founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and for many years has visited the war-torn countries of the Middle East and supported those working for peace in those countries.

Massachusetts Peace Action

Fun in the Tropics at Franklin Park Zoo

Escape to the Tropics with the Zoo’s young professionals group, The Wild Things, at Franklin Park Zoo! Join us in your best luau gear as you dance and limbo your way through the Tropical Forest with friends!

Franklin Park Zoo

Jewish Climate Change Conference: The Task Is Great, The Time Is Short

This half-day conference brings the Jewish community together to explore surmounting challenges and mobilizing communities to act. Learn actions for individuals and congregations to take on the path forward in the coming years. Build connections. Learn from and with experts and leaders.

Synagogue Council of Massachusetts

ADL New England’s 12th Annual “A Nation of Immigrants” Community Seder

Join us in continuing the tradition of bringing diverse communities together to build bridges of understanding. At this special event, we will model the traditional celebration of the Passover Seder and also share readings, songs, and stories from the diverse backgrounds that make up our great nation.


President Carter: The White House Years

Stuart E. Eizenstat, former chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Ambassador to the European Union, and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, discusses his new book, President Carter: The White House Years.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

New Insights: Native American History in the Colonial Period

Colin Calloway, author of The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, The First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation and Dartmouth professor of history, and Julia A. King, St. Mary’s College of Maryland professor of anthropology, discuss recent historical research into Native American life with Philip Deloria, Harvard professor of history.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Kindness and Civility in Society: A Call to Common Purpose

A discussion about kindness and civility in society with leaders from Boston College and A Faith that Does Justice.

A Faith that Does Justice

Women’s Network Breakfast: Sandi Fenwick, Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Children’s is the leading recipient of pediatric research funding from the National Institutes of Health, and is home to the world’s largest pediatric research enterprise. Much of this consistent excellence can be credited to the outstanding leadership, of Boston Children’s first female Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Fenwick, and the team she has assembled.

Lobby 101 – Methuen

Wondering how to get involved in improving animal protection in Massachusetts? At this event, we will discuss the legislative process, current legislation you can take action on, and different ways that you can effectively use your voice to make a difference for animals.


Today’s Headlines


ACLU criticizes Suffolk County DA’s prosecution decisions – Boston Herald

Life sciences lab proposed for South Boston – Boston Globe


Immigrants to march in Worcester for drivers’ licenses – Telegram & Gazette

Hampshire College president removes belongings from office during sit-in – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Customers to cover Pilgrim host payments – Cape Cod Times


Can Trump survive Mueller? – Politico

Judge restores Wisconsin governor’s powers, strikes down GOP laws – NPR

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