House budget, tax study, and more
— The House resumes deliberations on the House Ways and Means Committee’s $42.7 billion fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, House Chamber, 10 a.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey will hold a press conference with representatives from the telecommunications industry, consumer protection groups and senior organizations to discuss his efforts to address the ‘scourge’ of robocalls, JFK Federal Building, 9th floor, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, 10 a.m.
— After touring Casa Myrna in Boston, U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Ayanna Pressley hold a press conference to tout Clark’s recently-filed bill, dubbed the ‘Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (Be HEARD) in the Workplace Act,’ Casa Myrna, 38 Wareham St., Boston, with tour at 11 a.m. and press conference at 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker plants a ceremonial 20,000th tree as part of Greening the Gateway Cities with DCR Commissioner Leo Roy and others, North Quincy High School, 316 Hancock St., Quincy, 1:30 p.m.
— State Treasurer Deb Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Lottery Commission, after which the Lottery will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its new Dorchester headquarters, 150 Mount Vernon St., Dorchester, 10:30 a.m.
— U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka and Senate Revenue Committee Chair Adam Hinds hold a press conference to introduce members of the Senate Revenue Working Group and lay out its priorities, Senate Reading Room, 1 p.m.
— House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Julian Cyr are billed as speakers at a ‘community signing’ of the recent state law banning the use of conversion therapy on minors, Outside the House Chamber, 7 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.
Next stop: Fall River and New Bedford rail line
Is it really going to happen? Looks like it. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Gov. Charlie Baker followed through on a first-term campaign promise on Monday by dedicating more than $1 billion in state bond funds to the South Coast Rail project, which is now expected to be completed after his second term ends. The funding commitment followed three cost and schedule reviews of the commuter rail project and the development of a consensus cost estimate of $1.047 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $935 million.”
SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has more, including how the South Coast rail extension to Fall River and New Bedford also cleared a key federal permit hurdle.
Bernie said what about the Boston Marathon bomber?
CNN hosted multiple “town halls” yesterday in New Hampshire – and U.S. Bernie Sanders stole the collective show with his pronouncement that prison inmates should be allowed to vote, even “terrible people” like the Boston Marathon bomber. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the New York Times are all over the story. The Globe’s James Pindell has the four main takeaways from the CNN town halls.
Warren’s policy-wonk pronouncement of the week: Cancel student debt and eliminate tuition
They’re coming off the assembly line like widgets. From the NYT: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has structured her presidential campaign around a steady unveiling of disruptive policy ideas, on Monday proposed her biggest one yet: a $1.25 trillion plan to reshape higher education by canceling most student loan debt and eliminating tuition at every public college.”
Her proposal was the big campaign news of the day and at the CNN town halls … until Bernie Sanders stole the show. See post above.
Just in case: Moulton keeps two hats in two rings in 2020
Still on the subject of the 2020 presidential race: The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld confirms that the office of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who yesterday declared he’s indeed a Democratic candidate for president, says Moulton will seek re-election in his Congressional district should he fail to win the Dem presidential nomination.
Battenfeld writes that Moulton won’t be facing an easy time “if he’s forced to come slinking back to his constituents.” Among those waiting in the wings: Former state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, Battenfeld notes.
Btw: Moulton yesterday explained to WGBH why he’s running: “I’m the only one who’s led troops in combat.” Btw II: Moulton is up in New Hampshire today, barnstorming around in the first primary state along with multiple other Dem candidates.
Lynch: ‘I love Liz and I love Seth.’ But …
Professing his love for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Congressman Stephen Lynch is nevertheless jilting the state’s two declared presidential candidates in favor of the still-undeclared Joe Biden, saying Biden has the best chance of beating President Trump, as he told Boston Herald Radio, according to a report by SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).
Pelosi: Hold the impeachment talk, please
She didn’t mention U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren by name. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi basically did signal that all those Democrats pushing for impeachment (such as Warren) of President Trump should ease up a bit, saying investigations have to be held first, the Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she has no doubt President Trump tried to obstruct justice during the Mueller investigation, but Healey wouldn’t go as far as Warren in calling for Trump’s impeachment, reports Amanda McGowan at WGBH.
Forget-us-not: Lowell school board worries it’ll be cut out of voter lawsuit settlement
Members of the Lowell School Committee say they’re being kept in the dark about the details of possible settlements of a long-languishing voting rights lawsuit in the city that could change the way the board is elected, Elizabeth Dobbins reports at the Lowell Sun. One board member said rumors are swirling the city will agree to eliminate the school board entirely or make it an appointed board as part of a settlement of the lawsuit filed in 2017.
No escape: T plans new fare gates at South, North and Back Bay stations
We’ll see if this works. From Bruce Mohl and Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “Estimating the MBTA’s commuter operation lost between $10 million and $20 million last year due to fare evasion, the transit authority said on Monday that it plans to install fare gates at the South, North, and Back Bay stations next year. Officials said the gates would be capable of reading all fare media, including plastic cards as well as electronic M, paper, and Amtrak tickets.”
In other T and transportation news, CommonWealth’s Andy Metzger reports the T has hired a new administrator and commuter rail chief – David Panagore and Rob DiAdamo, respectively. In an editorial, the Globe is urging lawmakers to take a closer look at the “T’s youthful retirees” who are putting a major strain on the agency’s pension fund. And the Globe’s Jon Chesto has an update on a nonprofit’s long-term plan for new harbor ferry services in Boston.
The Globe’s R.I. expansion starts with card games
We’re not sure if this is the Globe’s first story in its new push to beef up news coverage in Rhode Island. But it’s the first story we’ve seen with a note at the top explaining the initiative. Fyi: The story, by Laura Crimaldi, looks at Rhode Island’s use of playing cards to crack criminal cold cases in the Ocean State. It sounds wacky, but it’s actually a rather simple idea to loosen tongues.
House punts tax questions till later this session
As expected, the House yesterday tabled a number of tax amendments tied to the proposed state budget, opting to tackle the politically thorny issue of new revenue later this session, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos.
One of those amendments was Rep. Mike Connolly’s proposal to raise the state’s capital gains tax. Progressives are not happy. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has the outcry details. Fyi: House members resume their budget deliberations today.
Super-progressive tilt on the council?
Brooks Sutherland at the Herald reports that this year’s crowded city council elections in Boston could tilt the already progressive leaning council further leftward. The story is also accompanied by a full list of all the candidates vying for council seats this year.
And is Michelle Wu already Boston’s mayor-in-waiting?
Speaking of the city council: Is she running? Rachael Allen at the Atlantic gives Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu the deep-dive profile treatment and the upshot seems to be that she’s poised to run and become the city’s first non-white male mayor if she wants to go for it. While noting times she has stood up to Mayor Marty Walsh and listing her political insider credentials, Allen notes that Wu is still the youngest member of the council and is –gasp — not originally from Boston.
For her part, Wu continues to generate headlines. On Monday, she filed a proposal to have the city collect a fee for residential parking permits for the first time, Lisa Kashinsky reports at the Herald.
State GOP chairman blasts ‘Unsafe Communities Act’
The state Republican Party’s new chairman, Jim Lyons, is going after lefties on Beacon Hill pushing the “Safe Communities Act,” which Lyons is calling the “Unsafe Communities Act.” It’s just the latest pronouncement from the uber-conservative Lyons, who last year lost his legislative seat and yet later ended up as head of the state GOP.
Former GOP chief Hughes will not seek re-election to Quincy council
Speaking of the state GOP, former party chair Kristen Hughes says she will not seek re-election to the Quincy City Council after serving eight years as a ward councilor, Erin Tiernan reports at the Patriot Ledger. Hughes, who led the Bay State Republican party for five years until last fall, gave no indications about her political future.
Confirmed: Stop & Shop agreement seen as a win for workers
The Globe’s Katie Johnston has a good story about who won and lost in the aftermath of the 11-day Stop & Shop strike. Though the union did make some key concessions, Johnston notes workers achieved their main wage-and-benefit goals.
Meanwhile, CBS Boston reports that employees returned to work yesterday. Their first order of business: Restocking shelves. Cody Shepard at Wicked Local reports on a store re-opening in Whitman, where at least one shopper missed her Boar’s Head deli meat.
Advocates: State’s foster care system needs independent oversight
From the Globe’s Kay Lazar, who’s all over this general issue: “Child advocates are calling for the creation of an outside, independent agency to regularly review foster care placements in Massachusetts, saying the current system is rife with conflicts of interest and lacks transparency and accountability. Under the current system, the Department of Children and Families is responsible for reviewing its own performance, something the advocates say is ineffective.”
Meanwhile, Lazar has a separate piece on a new state audit that found moving foster kids from one home to another has an overall negative impact on their education prospects.
Others customers videotaped at spa in Kraft case sue authorities
They have a point about privacy rights. From the AP at Boston.com: “Nearly three dozen men and women have filed a federal class-action lawsuit accusing Florida authorities of unlawfully videotaping them as they received legal massages at a parlor where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others allegedly paid for sex.”
Population changes: Go east, young man, go east!
The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has an interesting story about new data showing the state’s overall population increasing since 2010, most of it in eastern Massachusetts, though Worcester County saw a nice bump. Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod continue to take population hits.
Joining the club: Springfield city council approves ban on single-use plastic bags
Springfield would become the latest city/town in Massachusetts to ban single-use plastic bags at local stores, under an ordinance approved last night by council members, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive. Matt Szafranski at Western Massachusetts Politics and Insight reports on the “fits and starts” that led to the action. Beacon Hill lawmakers, btw, are mulling a statewide plastic-bag ban.
On the Cape, momentum grows for push to revise state seal
A half-dozen Cape Cod communities could add their voices to a growing chorus calling for the state to update its state seal by removing imagery some say is demeaning toward Native American Indians, Tanner Stening reports at the Cape Cod Times. Several communities across the state have already voted to back legislation to establish a committee that would recommend changes to the seal.
Veterans-bonus program sees surge after application goes online
This is nice to hear. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “In the nearly two months since a state veterans’ bonus has had an online application, the number of veterans claiming the money has skyrocketed.” Fyi: The Global War on Terrorism bonus for those honorably discharged since Sept. 11, 2001 is $1,000 for veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and $500 for veterans who served elsewhere for at least six months, Schoenberg reports.
The Environmental Science & Policy Impacts of Remote Sensing on Governance & Land Use in Tropical Forests
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the Land Use and Livelihoods Initiative at the Global Development Policy Center invite you to attend an upcoming series of keynote lectures titled “The Environmental Science & Policy Impacts of Remote Sensing on Governance & Land Use in Tropical Forests.”
Harvard Healthcare Debate
US Healthcare & Drug Pricing Debate with Moderator Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder & CEO, Roivant Sciences and Panelists Peter Kolchinsky, Ph.D., Co-founder, Portfolio Manager, & Managing Director, RA Capital Management; John Maraganore, Ph.D., CEO and Director, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; and Shawn Bishop, Vice President, Controlling Health Care Costs and Advancing Medicare, The Commonwealth Fund.
Retail’s Changing Landscape
The reports of the ‘retailpocolypse’ are far from true. Join NAIOP to learn how retail is evolving and thriving while dispelling some of the myths. Hear from expert panelists on what they are seeing here and across the country and learn how architects are helping to transform malls for the future.
Government Affairs Speaker Series featuring Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Join us for our second Government Affairs Speaker Series featuring a conversation with Congresswoman Katherine Clark. Congresswoman Clark has served as the United States Representative for Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District since 2013.
Cannabis 101: Molecules, Markets, … Mayhem?
In 2016, Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana. We wanted laws that empower disenfranchised communities and grow a healthy stream of taxes. But not all of our dreams came true. Now that stores are opening, many of us are wondering about weed…
Offshore Wind: Power, Policy, and Promise
This is a free presentation seminar and discussion event hosted by the Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), a non profit organization located in Cohasset on Boston’s South Shore. CSCR educates students in environmental sciences, encourages environmental awareness, and promotes activism. Details are available at www.ccscr.org.
Public Service Symposium
The purpose of this symposium is to bring together a cross-sector of participants and their organizations to discuss the role of individuals, universities, nonprofits, and the private sector in best practices around engaging our respective populaces in civic life.
The Smart, Connected Commonwealth: Data-Driven Research and Policy Across the Region
BARI’s 2019 Spring Conference will bring together academics, policy makers, and practitioners to highlight work being conducted throughout Greater Boston as a way to share insights and methods, catalyzing inter-disciplinary, intercity collaboration in the use of data and technology.
Harvard Neurologist Rachel Bennett on the Science of Dementia
Everyone knows someone who is experiencing serious cognitive decline. Harvard neurologist Rachel Bennett will speak on the current science of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including diagnostic and treatment options, and will take questions afterward. 60 minutes, FREE, as part of Nahant Public Library’s Dementia Friendly Nahant project.
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