Happening Today

House budget bill, illegal marijuana sales, and more

— Massachusetts School Building Authority’s board of directors will meet, with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg acting as chair, MSBA Headquarters, 40 Broad St., Board Room, Boston, 10 a.m.

House Ways and Means Committee holds an executive session to vote on the fiscal 2020 budget bill, A-1, 11:30 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a meeting of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also attending, Room 157, 12:20 pm.

— Sen. Michael Moore and Rep. Hannah Kane, along with cannabis Commissioner Britte McBride and law enforcement officials, will hold a press conference on a bill the lawmakers filed to combat the illegal sales of marijuana in Massachusetts, Room 222, 12:30 p.m.

Election Laws Committee holds a public hearing on three constitutional amendments and six home rule petitions, including a proposal by Rep. Whipps to lower the voting age to 16 in town elections in Wendell, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— About six weeks before the Senate will unveil its fiscal year 2020 budget plan, Senate President Karen Spilka will deliver remarks at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s annual meeting, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, 101 Huntington Ave., Boston, 4:15 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

Wynn Resorts launches Save Matt’s Job campaign

This is interesting, for they wouldn’t be saying it if they weren’t nervous about his job. From Gintautas Dumcius at the BBJ: “In a regulatory filing Tuesday, Wynn Resorts argued that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission doesn’t have the evidence or the authority to question CEO Matt Maddox’s suitability as part of a decision on whether the company keeps its casino license for the Everett resort.”

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more on the new Save Matt’s Job filing by Wynn Resorts.


Is there or isn’t there a groundswell of support on Beacon Hill to raise taxes?

We thought there was a groundswell of support for raising taxes on Beacon Hill. But based on comments from House Speaker Robert DeLeo and, now, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues, it looks like lawmakers are definitely taking a slow/wait-and-see approach. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has the details on Rodrigues’ comments that it may take a while, possibly even a few years, to nail down a consensus on a comprehensive tax plan for transportation and education etc.

Fyi: We still think some sort of tax increase, in whatever guise, is possible, if not probable, at the end of a typically rushed session. But we’ll see.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Legislators call for MBTA to freeze fares during Tobin Bridge work

We’d be shocked if they got their wish, but you never know. From Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times: “A bipartisan group of lawmakers want the MBTA to shelve planned fare hikes until the Tobin Bridge project is completed, arguing that the higher fares will add to traffic woes by deterring commuters from using public transit.”

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has more on the North Shore lawmakers’ characterization of the planned fare hikes, starting July 1, as “inconvenient, imprudent, and unfair.”

Gloucester Times

Lawmakers look to crack down on illegal marijuana sales

From Rick Sobey at the Herald: “Two Massachusetts legislators are looking to thwart the state’s booming illicit marijuana market, which continues to thrive more than four months after legal pot sales started here. Sen. Michael Moore, a Democrat from Millbury, and Rep. Hannah Kane, a Republican from Shrewsbury, filed a bill Monday titled, ‘An Act to enhance enforcement against unlicensed marijuana operators.’”

OK, one idea is to create a task force. Big deal. But they also want to unleash the Department of Revenue. Sobey explains.

Boston Herald

A possible reason why Elizabeth Warren isn’t doing well: The Democratic Party is dominated by moderates

The NYT has an interesting story, and accompanying graphics, about how progressive Democrats may dominate debates on social media, but how moderate Democrats actually outnumber progressive Democrats 2-1, based on surveys. The Times piece concludes that the tilt helps explain why moderate Dems, such as Joe Biden, do so well in presidential primary polls. And, conversely, we’d add it might help explain why some progressives like Warren aren’t doing so well in presidential primary polls.

Peter Beinart at the Atlantic has identified another potential problem with the Massachusetts senator’s campaign: “Elizabeth Warren Had Charisma, and Then She Ran for President.”


‘Transformative’: Dukakis has high hopes for Dems in 2020

Speaking of the Dem presidential race, former Gov. Michael Dukakis has high hopes for the Democratic party’s prospects in 2020, suggesting it’s possible for the party to flip both the White House and Senate while adding to its newfound House majority. The Duke tells The UMass Collegian that his party will win if “we don’t get hung up on who’s a socialist and who’s not,” and also waxes nostalgic about the Blizzard of ‘78 and — as always –advocates for the North-South Rail Link.

Daily Collegian

All Quiet on the Rollins-Baker Front (relatively speaking)

After nearly five days of sound and fury, it seems the public spat between Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins and Gov. Charlie Baker’s team has finally calmed down a bit. But there are lingering stories out there. Here’s a few: From SHNS (pay wall): “Rollins ‘doing what she promised to do,’ Healey says.” … From the Boston Herald: “Maura Healey says she hasn’t read Rachael Rollins’ memo.” … From WGBH: “Despite Suffolk DA’s Agenda, Boston Police Chief Gross Says He’ll Decide For Himself On Arrests.”

Pundits are still chiming in, but not adding much new. From the Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald: “Rachael Rollins needs to leave family out of beef with Charlie Baker.” And from Joyce Ferriabough Bolling at the Herald: “DA Rollins focusing on change for the better.” A Globe editorial notes that Baker and Rollins “both get a share of the blame” for the days-long spat – and urges everyone to focus instead on the issues at hand. Adam Reilly at WGBH is also focusing on what’s at stake: “DA Rachael Rollins Versus Governor Charlie Baker: Why It Matters.

Report: Small horse killed and then dragged from stall by hungry black bear

Officials are pretty sure it was a black bear that attacked, killed and then dragged away a small pet horse in Hinsdale, prompting a family to warn other residents to secure their pets and animals, reports Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle. There’s an outside chance that coyotes, who apparently later feasted on the carcass of the 400-pound “mini-horse,” may have committed the deed. But all signs point to a very hungry black bear. The AP at MassLive has more.

Berkshire Eagle

Kerry to lawmaker asking about his college major: ‘Are you serious?’

Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry was testifying before the House Oversight Committee on climate change when a Republican lawmaker started questioning Kerry about his science credentials, starting with Kerry’s undergrad major while at Yale. “Are you serious?” responded an incredulous Kerry after one too many questions about his major. “Is this really serious, this is really happening here?”

For the record: Kerry majored in political science, but pursued graduate studies, so to speak, by brokering the 2015 Paris climate accords as secretary of state. 

Washington Post

Children’s Hospital sues deadbeat Saudi prince over $3.5 million unpaid bill

From Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub: “Boston Children’s Hospital is suing a Saudi prince it says has reneged on a commitment to pay for the care of a baby with a rare disease that can only be treated with an incredibly expensive drug. The girl, now about two, has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that affects muscle strength and movement.”

The suit involves one Prince Abdelilah bin Abdelaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Faisal Al Saud.

Universal Hub

As lawmakers debate campus sexual misconduct, Holy Cross and Clark University grapple with real-life cases

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that college students and recent alumni shared their personal stories with lawmakers yesterday about campus sexual harassment and misconduct and urged lawmakers to take quick legislative action.

As if on cue, Melissa Hanson at MassLive reports that Holy Cross police are investigating criminal harassment toward the “Sexual Assault on the Hill” Instagram account, amid heated debate on campus about sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, Scott O’Connell at the Telegram and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine report on a sexual-misconduct controversy in reverse at Clark University, where a male freshman is suing the school for finding him guilty of sexual exploitation. This is not the first time Clark has been accused of rushing to judgment, as Mohl notes.

New center will hear state employees’ harassment and discrimination complaints

Speaking of sexual harassment/misconduct issues, from SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “By mid-year, all executive branch employees will have access to a new human resources program the Baker administration is rolling out to encourage employees to feel comfortable confidentially reporting incidents of workplace harassment and discrimination.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

In Worcester, the debate over sex-ed plan was over before it even began

Speaking of sex in general, Bill Shaner at Worcester Magazine reports how a debate over a controversial youth sex-education proposal, called Making Proud Choices, was effectively settled and killed behind closed doors (and via emails) even before it was debated at a public hearing. Shaner piece via CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger, who has more on the matter.

Worcester Magazine

Arlington cop to return to work after inflammatory ‘meet violence with violence’ column

We had forgotten all about this incident. But WBUR’s Jerome Campbell didn’t – and he reports that the Arlington police officer who created quite a stir last year by writing that cops needed to “meet violence with violence” will be returning to work later this month.


Saugus voters look to suffocate Airbnb

Book this. Saugus town meeting adopted new zoning measures that restrict short-term residential rentals, such as those made through Airbnb, to commercially zoned areas only, a move that could all but eliminate their use in the community, Bridgette Turcotte reports at the Lynn Item. The move came after residents raised concerns about parking and other issues related to the rentals.

Lynn Item

Sticking point: Clean River Project asks Lowell to pay for needle removal

A volunteer organization that has cleaned the banks of the Merrimack River for years says the rising prevalence of discarded hypodermic needles has made it impossible for the group to continue its work without public funds, Elizabeth Dobbins reports at the Lowell Sun. The Clean River Project says its costs have skyrocketed because it has to train and insure workers in the safe removal of needles and it wants Lowell and other cities to start funding its efforts. 

Lowell Sun

Gay conversion therapy law likely to face legal challenge

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Opponents of a law Gov. Charlie Baker signed Monday banning the use of conversion therapy on minors are planning a legal challenge, arguing the legislation violates the First Amendment. ‘This law is an extraordinarily invasive assault on the rights of parents to raise their children and a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech for the counselors whose help they seek,’ Massachusetts Family Institute President Andrew Beckwith said in a statement. ‘MFI will pursue legal action against the Counseling Ban.”

Btw: Since the two bills were effectively paired together by lawmakers as they recently went through the legislative process, it should be noted that the House today is expected to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the “caps on kids” welfare bill that was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers, SHNS reports (pay wall). The Senate is expected to follow suit.

‘Martha Coakley did not exactly join ISIS’

Peter Lucas at the Lowell Sun wants to make clear that Martha Coakley didn’t join the rough equivalent of ISIS when she decided to take a full-time job with JUUL, the controversial vaping company that some Dems, including Attorney General Maua Healey, seem to believe is the second coming of R. J. Reynolds.

Lowell Sun

In Framingham, angry seniors seek to block health department move

Is there anything more daunting for a politician than a roomful of agitated seniors? Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer finds herself in the crosshairs of the city’s senior population over a plan to temporarily move the health department into the senior center. A local group has asked Attorney General Maura Healey to step in and block the move, which has also been blasted by community advocates who say the change will make it harder for those who need services to get them, Jim Haddadin reports at the MetroWest Daily News. 

MetroWest Daily News

Angry councilors to review city policies after BPD plays footsie with ICE

Boston City Councilors are not happy that Boston police have apparently cooperated, in at least some instances, with ICE on criminal-immigrant matters and they’re vowing to reexamine the Boston Trust Act – which they thought would keep police from working with the feds, reports Milton Valencia at the Globe.

In other immigrant news, from the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “A suspected illegal immigrant who the feds say lied about his possible connections to Hamas is now in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody after a judge released him over the objections of prosecutors who said he shouldn’t get a ‘get out of jail free’ card.’”

Post-Pilgrim shutdown: Will taxpayers be left holding the bag?

The Globe’s David Abel takes a look, if that’s possible, at the somewhat mysterious New Jersey company, Holtec International, that’s in line to take over Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station after its closure in a few weeks. The company isn’t talking much – and some are becoming increasingly worried if it’s capable of securing the post-shutdown nuclear waste at the site.

Boston Globe

Baker urges caution on deployment of health-care AI

This is interesting, considering the governor’s background as former CEO at Harvard Pilgrim Health. From Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ: “As health care leaders and clinicians champ at the bit to increasingly bring artificial intelligence into patients’ lives, Gov. Charlie Baker says he is skeptical of the promises of the system, and urges the medical community to be careful of AI as it’s developed and deployed.”


SJC rejects challenge to union authority in public workplaces

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “The Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday dismissed a challenge by four public employees to unions’ authority to be the exclusive representative of employees in their workplace.” 

The plaintiffs were effectively trying to extend the parameters of the recent federal Janus case regarding union fees – and the SJC wasn’t biting. Schoenberg explains.


Angela Stent: Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest

The Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School is pleased to award its first annual U.S.-Russia Relations Book Prize to Professor Angela Stent of Georgetown University for her new book Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest (2019).

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

The Annual Distinguished Lecture presented by David Cole, National Legal Director of the ACLU

BU Law’s Annual Distinguished Lecture Thursday, April 11th, 2019 will feature David Cole, the National Legal Director of the ACLU as he presents on the topic of “Preserving Liberty in the Trump Era: Lessons from the Legal Resistance.”

Boston University School of Law

Talk by Greg O’Brien, author of On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s

Everyone knows someone who is experiencing serious cognitive decline. Greg O’Brien, journalist and author of the memoir On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s, will speak about his experience as a person with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Additional information will be available. 60 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.

Nahant Public Library

Finding Good Health Info on the Internet

Catherine Martin, M.Ed. CHIS from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/NIH will speak to us on finding good health information on the Internet, including how people can contribute to research through the “All of Us” research program through the NIH. Additional information will be available. 60 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.

Nahant Public Library

A Conversation with His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón

His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, former President of Colombia, Nobel laureate, and Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses key global issues and reflects on his distinguished career with Professor Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard’s Center for International Development and former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Africa & the World

Join us for an evening with Zoe Marks to discuss “Africa and the World!”


“NOVA Wonders” Cambridge Science Festival Exhibition

From the mysteries of astrophysics to the secrets of the human biome, explore exhibits, presentations, and activities from local STEM organizations based on the NOVA Wonders miniseries.

NOVA Education

Today’s Headlines


Zoning discussion over East Boston pot shop delayed until July – Boston Globe

Seaport condo hits Boston price record – Boston Business Journal


Mass. to add 398 treatment beds for substance use, mental health disorders – MassLive

WRA set to begin property acquisitions for Worcester ballpark – Telegram & Gazette

Provincetown town manager takes state job – Cape Cod Times

Berkshire DA launches ‘transformative’ effort to combat domestic violence – Berkshire Eagle


Bernie Sanders, now a millionaire, pledges to release tax returns by Monday – New York Times

Uber plans to sell about $10 billion worth of stock in IPO – CNBC

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