Happening Today

Budget hearing, Healey on the air, cruise season kickoff

— The Joint Ways and Means Committee meets to hear from cannabis industry regulators and then Baker administration officials about their fiscal 2020 plans in the areas of housing, economic development and labor, Roxbury Community College, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 11 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Quincy Mayor Tom Koch, Rep. David Biele, Boston City Councilors Ed Flynn and Michael Flaherty, Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius, Massport Port Director Lisa Wieland and US Customs and Border Patrol Area Port Director Linda Brown to participate in the inaugural Maritime Champion Award Ceremony & 2019 Cruise Season Kickoff, Tent Outside of Main Terminal, Flynn Cruiseport Boston, Black Falcon Avenue, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders talks to Suffolk University Law School students enrolled in ‘State Public Policy Development: Leading Change,’ McCormack Building – 11th floor, 3 p.m.

— The Boston Police Department’s homicide clearance rate is the subject of this week’s ‘Basic Black,’ with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, Rep. Russell Holmes, ACLU of Mass. racial justice program director Rahsaan Hall, and Mothers for Justice and Equality president Monalisa Smith, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7:30 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

Back on the docket: City Hall extortion case revived by appeals court

This is a surprise – and an unpleasant one for Mayor Marty Walsh. From Maria Cramer and Danny McDonald at the Globe: “A federal appeals court vacated the dismissal of public corruption charges against two Boston City Hall aides Thursday, holding that a judge misinterpreted the law in the Boston Calling case — a development that now paves the way for prosecutors to bring the matter to trial.”

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has more on the controversial case against Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan.

Boston Globe

Biden team eyes Mass. showdown with Warren

The Herald’s Hillary Chabot writes that former Vice President Joe Biden’s team (or, actually, one former campaign staffer) seems pleased with Biden’s chances in Massachusetts should he run for president. In other words, they’re not conceding the state to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

In related presidential campaign news, yet another poll shows Biden, who has yet to declare he’s running for president, with a huge lead among Dem voters nationwide, according to a report at The Hill. Warren? She’s still far back in fifth place. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that President Trump and Republicans seem to have found a new campaign issue to hammer away at: The Jussie Smollett case.

Boston Herald

Power of protest: School now says it won’t enforce safety plans pending review

File under: ‘Sound retreat.’ The North Andover school committee says it won’t, for now, enforce controversial school safety agreements that victims of sexual harassment say they’ve been forced to sign. The truce will stay in effect until the safety plans can be reviewed by an attorney, Breanna Edelstein reports at the Eagle-Tribune. The board made the decision after hearing from a dozen members of a crowd of 150 Thursday night and a week after students staged a walkout at the high school to protest the agreements. 

Eagle Tribune

The never-ending war against pigeon poop

From the AP’s Bob Salsberg at WPRI: “Along with all the usual declarations and deductions, Massachusetts residents have been asked to keep something else in mind this tax season: pigeon droppings. In an unusual and at times stomach-turning appeal, the state agency MassWildlife proposed that one way to fight back against the sticky messes befouling cars and damaging bridges is for taxpayers to check a box on their tax forms to support the state’s endangered species program.”

Why fund the program? Falcons. We need lots and lots of falcons to win this war.


Civil service commission: Four troopers suspended in OT scandal should be reinstated – with back pay

From the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau: “Four State Police troopers suspended in the overtime fraud scandal should get their jobs back — at least for now — and be paid back for the months spent on unpaid leave because the department failed to follow proper procedures in disciplining them, the state’s Civil Service Commission ruled Thursday.”

The four have not been criminally charged in the OT scandal, which is an important distinction from other troopers caught up in OT case.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, retirement board suspends another trooper’s pension

Here’s one trooper who can’t be saved by the civil service commission. From Steph Solis at MassLive: “The Massachusetts State Retirement Board suspended pension benefits for Gregory Raftery, the retired Massachusetts State Police trooper who was sentenced Tuesday for his role in the department’s overtime scandal.”


Cats and dogs, Rollins and Howie: Sometimes they do get along

The Herald’s Howie Carr takes exception (in a Howie sort of way) to Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ recently announced policy on how to deal with ICE agents hanging out at local courthouses. But what caught our attention is the simple fact that the progressive Rollins even bothered to talk with the arch-conservative Howie on his radio program. Howie seems to appreciate her regular willingness to debate issues – and his column this morning is almost, well, respectful.

Speaking of ICE agents lurking outside state courthouses, here’s a headline on a MassLive story by Steph Solis: “Chilling effect: ICE made more than 100 arrests at Massachusetts courthouses in the past year.”

Boston Herald

Private group raises funds for anti-shark buoys on Cape

They’re tired of waiting for public action. So a private group has begun raising funds to install a shark-detection buoy system off the Wellfleet beach where a fatal Great White attack occurred last summer. Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times reports the group hopes to raise $200,000 to buy and install shark-detection technology marketed by an Australian company.

Cape Cod Times

Kraft’s attorney: Massage-parlor video was based on unlawful ‘sneak-and-peak’ search warrant

The media really wants to see the Bob Kraft massage-parlor video – and Kraft’s legal team really doesn’t want them to see it. So yesterday the New Patriots owner’s attorney filed a motion seeking to suppress the video evidence in the Florida prostitution case, arguing the video was unlawfully obtained through a so-called “sneak-and-peek” search warrant, as Melissa Hanson reports at MassLive. And it was a sneak-and-peek tactic in more ways than one, we’d add.


Pot and pets: The new marijuana medical frontier

The Globe’s Naomi Martin reports on the growing number of pet owners using marijuana to treat their dogs’ and cats’ ailments – and the growing concerns among veterinarians that pot is being used as a cure-all for anything and everything ailing pooches and kitties in Massachusetts.

Sin and soda taxes: Activists make their case

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that medical activists on Beacon Hill are pushing again for a new tax and marketing restrictions on sugary soda drinks consumed by children. Meanwhile, on the more traditional sin tax front (sort of), other activists are calling for a ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products, as well as steep new taxes on e-cigarettes, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane.

Offshore wind’s race against time before tax-credits expire

As SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and the Globe’s Jon Chesto report, the state yesterday issued new procurement guidelines for the issuance of a second off-shore wind contract off the coast of Massachusetts – and now it’s effectively a race against time to issue the contract before a key federal tax credit expires at the end of this year. Chesto also reports that state Rep. Pat Haddad and New Bedford Jon Mitchell are pushing hard for last-minute procurement changes. Chesto explains.

Report: Nine youths overdosed last year while under DCF’s watch

From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Three youths under the watch of the state’s Department of Children and Families died of overdoses last year, and six others suffered nonfatal overdoses — the most since state officials declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency five years ago.  The nine cases, disclosed in a recent state report, have set off alarms among child welfare advocates.”

Lyons blasts abortion bills on Beacon Hill as ‘radical infanticide’

We missed this story from the other day. From Lisa Kashinsky at the Herald: “Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons blasted a pair of bills that would expand access to abortion as ‘radical infanticide’ on Wednesday, while advocates defended a woman’s right to control her own health care.” Kashinky has the details on the legislation – and how Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate, is handling this debate.

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Senate approves reproductive-health funds and conversion therapy bills

Speaking of reproductive rights: As expected, the Senate yesterday sent to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk legislation allocating $8 million to offset expected cuts by the Trump administration in federal funds for family planning centers, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Separately, the Senate also approved, as expected, the so-called gay conversion therapy bill, 34-0, with five Republicans voting “present,” reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall).

Spilka pushes for gender ‘X’ on driver licenses and birth records

And speaking of gender issues and the Senate, from Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “Senate president Karen Spilka took the rare step Thursday of appearing before her colleagues to argue for passage of a bill — in this case a measure to benefit non-binary residents that was jammed up at the eleventh hour last session.The  bill Spilka supports would create a new non-binary gender classification of X instead of M or F on state IDs, including driver’s licenses. It would also allow for the alteration of a person’s gender listed on birth records.”


Check your email boxes, senators: Spilka launches sexual harassment survey

One last Senate-related item, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Senate leadership is launching its promised anonymous survey of members and staff about sexual harassment in the workplace and has contracted with an outside research team to compile the results and make recommendations. Senate President Karen Spilka’s office said that an email would be going out Thursday to the hundreds of Senate members and staff that work in the State House.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Report: Boston’s tech sector has the largest gender wage gap in the nation

File under: ‘Ask and you shall receive …’? The Globe’s Andy Rosen reports on a new study that shows women working in the tech industry in the Boston area make significantly less than their male colleagues – and the gender pay gap here is far worse than in other tech clusters around the country. Part of the problem: Women ask for significantly less money than men.

Lawmakers eye closing private gun sale loophole

A proposal meant to ensure that all private gun sales are subject to a background check for the buyer is gaining supporters on Beacon Hill, Christian Wade reports at the Salem News. Rep. David Linsky’s bill, which would require private gun sellers to use a licensed gun dealer to run a background check, has gained 39 co-sponsors, but is getting pushback from gun-rights advocates.

Salem News

Richie Neal: ‘Master of the inside game’ versus the masters of outside agitation

Larry Parnass, an investigations editor at the Berkshire Eagle, has a long piece at CommonWealth magazine on U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who dearly wishes people would pay more attention to all the wonkish things he’s doing behind the Ways & Means scene – and progressive activists who dearly want him to be less cautious, methodical and moderate in his approach toward President Trump.


Here’s a better way to soak the rich, Part II

Larry Summers and Natasha Sarin are back with the second installment of their op-ed series at the Globe on what they say is a better nuts-and-bolts approach toward taxing the rich than the ideas offered up by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Warning: It’s heavy on tax-policy-wonk stuff.

Weld: Trump sparring partner or Eugene McCarthy redux?

Rich Barlow at WBUR is one of those who thinks that Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor now mulling a run against President Trump in the GOP presidential primary, may be pulling a valiant Eugene McCarthy against the president in 2020, i.e. softening up an incumbent so that the opposition party can finish him off in the general election. Then again, more than a few people think Weld might, at best, serve as a mere sparring partner for Trump as the president prepares for the main event. We’ll see.


Wow: Super-cheap Wow Air abruptly shuts down, leaving stranded passengers wherever

From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “Wow Air, the Icelandic company that offered extremely cheap flights to Europe, has abruptly shut down, leaving passengers adrift in Boston and other cities on both sides of the Atlantic. In what looks like a nightmare scenario for travelers, the airliner announced on its website Thursday that all of its flights have been grounded, and that there is more or less nothing they can do about it.”

Boston Magazine

It’s official: Yawkey Station to be renamed Lansdowne Station

In the latest move to erase/lessen the collective memory of former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey in Boston: The MBTA announced yesterday that henceforth the Yawkey commuter rail station will be known as the Lansdowne station, reports the Boston Globe and Universal Hub.

Fourth candidate declares for Zakim’s council seat

Dan Rabb at the Boston Guardian reports that Ward 5 Democratic Committee chair and Beacon Hill resident Kenzie Bok has become the fourth candidate to enter the race to replace District 8 City Councilor Josh Zakim, who has announced he won’t seek re-election. Via Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub.

Boston Guardian (Facebook)

Pittsfield Mayor Tyer, an ‘optimistic champion,’ announces bid for second term

She’s running, again. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer says she’ll seek a second four-year term, promising to continue progress already made on economic development and job creation, Amanda Drane reports in the Berkshire Eagle.  

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with host Jon Keller about taxes, the uncertain future of Obamacare, and the McMurtry affair.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Yuli Thompson, vice president of North America for Virgin Atlantic, and Harriett Cross, British consul general to New England, on the UK travel industry in the age of Brexit; Sean Bielat, head of unmanned ground systems at FLIR Systems, discusses the sale of Endeavor Robotics; Chesto of the Boston Globe reviews the top business stories of the week.     

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Sara Campbell Ltd. CEO Sara Campbell and Zic+Noe CEO Susie Mulder talks about trends in women’s fashions.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: State Rep. Nika Elugardo, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu, followed by a discussion with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican analyst Rob Gray.

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

Conversations with the Candidates, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 1 p.m. This week’s guest: Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who is mulling a run against President Trump in the Republican presidential primary.

2nd Annual Milford DTC Spring Brunch

The Milford DTC’s second annual spring brunch will honor police chief Thomas O’Loughlin for his years of service to the town. Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Framingham city councilor Margareth Shepard, rep. Brian Murray, rep. Jeff Roy, and Worcester Co. register of deeds Katie Toomey are scheduled to speak, along with town election candidates. Proceeds to benefit the group’s scholarship fund.

Milford Democratic Town Committee

Impact & Opportunity – The North Shore Innovation Economy

The Biotech and the Tech industry have long been strong drivers of economic growth and job creation. Massachusetts is home to a biotechnology supercluster that is second to none. In recent years, the two industries have converged to create new industries that leverage the strength of each… empowering new fields, such as digital health and synthetic biology.

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Invite Your Legislator 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)

Health and Life Sciences Conference 2019

The Health and Life Sciences Conference (HLSC) aims to provide people of color with a window into the life sciences industry. HLSC convenes and connects communities of color and industry experts to raise awareness of breakthrough medical advances, explore business and career opportunities, as well as enable new networks.

COLOR Magazine & Bridgetower Media

8th Annual Transportation Innovation Conference

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce that its 8th Annual Transportation Innovation Conference will include presentations and exhibits on a wide-range of topics.


What’s New in the Woo

When thinking of Worcester, Bostonians may see visions of abandoned mill buildings, but New England’s second largest city is long overdue for a revision of that reputation. Join NAIOP to hear from Worcester’s movers and shakers, as they discuss the development of housing, mixed-use, recreation and business/cultural happenings in the heart of the Commonwealth.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Religion, Science and Ecology

This conference supports the goal of the coalition to bring religious leaders and scientists into dialogue to amplify the urgent call for ecological responsibility. Keynote speaker: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, now professor at Chan School of Public Health.

Merrimack College

Today’s Headlines


Brookline moves to avoid paying firefighter whose racial discrimination claim was upheld – WGBH

Marty Walsh promises to fix parking ticket errors – Boston Magazine


MGM Springfield to assist in $55M restoration of Elm Street block for apartments at Court Square – MassLive

Peabody council rejects car wash proposal at NorthShore Mall – Lynn Item

Brockton Mayor: State of the city is ‘under construction’ – Brockton Enterprise

Change of date for Worcester St. Patrick’s Day parade to get ‘serious consideration’ – Worcester Magazine


Trump backs off proposed cuts to Special Olympics – Politico

Democrats to move on from Green New Deal – The Hill

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