Happening Today

Governor’s Council, higher education conference, and more

— The House resumes deliberation of the proposed $42.7 billion state budget, House Chamber, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, legislators and stakeholders participate in the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce Beacon Hill Summit 2019, Senate Document Room, Room 428, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds three meetings today — the first to possibly confirm Gov. Baker’s nomination of Jonathan Kane as a Housing Court judge, the second to vote on the possible appointments of Jackie Cowin to the Superior Court bench, Matthew King to the Industrial Accident Board and Parole Board Chairman Paul Treseler to the Boston Municipal Court bench, and the third to review the governor’s nomination of his former deputy legal counsel, Sharon Casey, as clerk magistrate of the Cambridge District Court, Council Chamber, 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad and Rep. Natalie Higgins participate in Denim Day recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.

New England Council hold its first annual ‘New England Higher Education Policy Conference,’ with U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, a member of the House Committee on Labor and the Workforce, Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, and Dr. Barbara Brittingham, president of the New England Higher Education Commission attending, Northeastern University, East Village, 17th Floor, 281 St. Botolph Street, Boston, 12 p.m. 

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, MassTech Executive Director & CEO Carolyn Kirk and members of the Massachusetts Digital Health Council to participate in the launch of the MassDigitalHealth Sandbox Program and re-launch of the Digital Health Jobs Board, Gateway Park II, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 50 Prescott Street, Worcester, 2 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

Poll shows widespread commuter dissatisfaction with state’s transportation system

As state lawmakers mull possible tax hikes, a new poll is out showing widespread commuter frustration with the state’s transportation woes. Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine has the details on the MassINC Polling Group survey. File under: “Exquisite timing.” Or under: “Poll tax?”  


Business groups unveil their three ‘Rs’ for new taxes

Speaking of taxes, Senate President Karen Spilka yesterday officially launched her chamber’s long-term look at state tax policies, vowing to work with outside groups and lawmakers on producing major tax legislation for the 2021-22 session, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall). But the head of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is making clear business leaders want reforms and results, too, in addition to any new revenues this year or next. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has more on the “three Rs.”

Of sharks and frozen lobsters …

Fear not, Cape residents: More studies on Great White Sharks are possibly on the way, via House budgetary action yesterday, reports SHNS (pay wall). Meanwhile, under a House policy rider as part of House budget deliberations, it may get easier to sell and process frozen lobster parts in Massachusetts, SHNS also reports in a separate piece (pay wall) .

No peeking: Judge temporarily blocks release of Kraft spa tapes until case resolved

Right from the Florida source, via the Palm Beach Post: “The public won’t be seeing videos of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly receiving sex at a Jupiter (Fla.) day spa until his case is resolved, a circuit court judge said. In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that Kraft’s right to a fair trial trumps the media’s request for the videos to be released immediately.”

MassLive’s Scott Croteau has more. Separately, Croteau also reports that authorities have arrested a masseuse accused of performing a sex act on Kraft at the spa.

Palm Beach Post

As Moulton campaigns in N.H., his potential district challengers sharpen their knives

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s James Pindell report on U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s first full day as an official candidate for president of the United States. The bottom line: When he wasn’t spreading mulch (literally) at a veterans center in New Hampshire, Moulton was openly calling for impeachment proceedings to begin against President Trump. Back home, Moulton’s potential 6th District challengers aren’t talking impeachment, though they are talking of ousting Moulton should he run again for Congress. They include Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, a former Republican turned Democrat, who talks with CommonWealth’s Andy Metzger.

Meanwhile, Warren tangles with Amazon as Biden prepares to enter race

The state’s first declared presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, was busy yesterday tangling with Amazon over her call to break up big tech companies, specifically Amazon, reports the Globe’s Abbi Matheson.

Yet the bigger news is that Warren may been soon be tangling with former Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly plans to announce tomorrow that he’s running for president, becoming the 21st Democrat to throw his hat in the primary ring. The Herald’s Howie Carr can barely wait for “Creepy Joe” to get in the race. The Herald’s Bruce Castleberry writes that so many Dem candidates in race is bad news for Warren.

Btw: Bernie Sanders yesterday ventured onto Warren’s home turf in Cambridge, trying to fire up his local supporters, reports the Globe’s Ysabelle Kempe.

Weld’s Shakespearean take on Trump: ‘I would not want to have the president’s demons’

Re the state’s third presidential candidate: Having played Brutus in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” while in high school, Bill Weld, the former governor and current GOP presidential candidate, gives his Shakespearean take to the New York Times on Donald Trump: “My read is (Trump) is terrified maybe he’s a loser, which is why he lashes out at anybody. I don’t know everything that’s going on there. But I do know that I would not want to have the president’s demons. I feel for the guy in a way. They’re not normal.”

Weld also elaborates on how he hopes to beat Trump, who Weld says is even worse than Richard Nixon when it comes to obstruction of justice.


Another drop-dead deadline dies in Neal’s quest for Trump’s tax returns

What deadline? The IRS ignored the supposed drop-dead date to respond to the request from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal for copies of President Trump’s tax returns, likely setting the state for a long-expected court battle, Ray Kelly and Jim Kinney report at MassLive. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin says he needs more time to decide but the deadline is already the second all but ignored by the Trump administration. 


Lawmakers propose end to puppy-mill sales

From Cesareo Contreras at the MetroWest Daily News: “Pet shops throughout Massachusetts could soon be banned from receiving animals from commercial breeders if two joint bills being pushed by state Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, and state Rep. Natalie Higgins, D-Leominster, are passed into law. Under the proposed legislation, pet shops will be required to sell animals that come only from shelters and rescue centers.”

MetroWest Daily News

‘Implosion Day’

They’re all excited in Fall River. So much so that “Implosion Day” brunches at local establishments are selling out fast as officials prepare to blow up the old Brayton Point cooling towers on Saturday, reports the Herald News.

Eating pancakes while watching towers explode. You can’t beat it.

Herald News

The impeachment debate: A tale of two congresswomen

The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Ayanna Pressley have “decidedly different opinions” on whether the House should launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump – with the former being more cautious than the latter. We’re not sure about whether their opinions are really so “decidedly different,” if you were to include the views of Republicans. But they do reflect the tensions among Democrats on the issue.

Boston Globe

Bad bet? Rhode Island sports-betting numbers well below projections

At least it’s now in the black. After a losing February, Rhode Island’s nascent sports gambling industry posted its strongest month yet in March, but revenues generated are still well below projections, Patrick Anderson reports at the Providence Journal. The state’s governor believes the issue is the lack of an online options for placing bets, something Rhode Island hopes to rectify before football season ramps up this fall. The stumbling rollout may provide a roadmap — of how not to do it — for Bay State lawmakers as they take up the sports betting issue, perhaps later this year.

Providence Journal

A divided nation can agree on this: Robocalls are truly evil

File under “e pluribus unum.” From SHNS’s Colin Young: “U.S. Sen. Edward Markey thinks he has a plan to bring the people of a politically divided nation together in opposition to a common enemy: robocalls. ‘There is one thing that unites everyone in the United States. They hate these robocalls that come into their homes every single day,” Markey said at a press conference in Boston on Tuesday.” And he plans to do something about it.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Uber launches radio campaign against proposed Logan rules

In addition to collecting 10,000 customer signatures on a petition, Uber has launched a radio campaign opposing Massport’s planned new fees and rule changes for ride-sharing cars at Logan Airport. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has the details.


State to hire researches to review MCAS test following ‘Underground Railroad’ controversy

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “State education officials plan to bring in outside researchers to analyze this year’s MCAS test results for any ‘unintended consequences’ of a question on the 2016 novel ‘The Underground Railroad’ that sparked student concerns and calls for the test as a whole to be disregarded.”

The controversial question, which asked students to write from the perspective of a slavery supporter, was indeed offensive and ridiculous. But the whole test?

Hellenic College Holy Cross: The latest small school on the brink

Another day, another small college in financial trouble, this time the Hellenic College Holy Cross, a Greek Orthodox school in Brookline. The state has warned the school that it has “serious concerns” about its financial health — and the college’s accreditation is now on the line, reports the Globe’s Kay Lazar.

Kay Lazar

Lawsuit: UMass Dartmouth launched ‘witch hunt’ over student’s past felony

Speaking of higher ed, from Jennette Barnes at SouthCoast Today: “A new lawsuit against UMass Dartmouth claims a graduate student at the School for Marine Science and Technology was sanctioned and pushed out of his program because he had a previous felony conviction, even though he says he disclosed it when he applied.”

SouthCoast Today

British firm doubles down on private student dorms in Fenway

One more higher-ed piece: The Globe’s Tim Logan reports a British firm that builds private student housing is doubling – and may even be tripling – its plans for dorms in the Fenway. We’re talking about potentially thousands of new student beds, if they’re ever built.

SJC: Cellphone location data is a protected privacy right

From the Globe’s John Ellement and Danny McDonald: “The state’s highest court for the first time on Tuesday extended the right to privacy to encompass cellphone location data, but preserved the right of law enforcement to ‘ping’ cellphones in emergencies, such as a search for an armed murder suspect.”

Boston Globe

Boston Magazine’s new ‘Power List’: Are you on it?

Rachael Rollins, Aaron Michlewitz, Roger Lau and Jay Ash are among the politicos on Boston Magazine’s latest “Boston Power List,” which this year most definitely reflects a changing Boston. 

Boston Magazine

Lawmakers add funds for center in memory of late Rep. Chris Walsh

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “House lawmakers on Monday night added language into their budget supporting a research center named for a late colleague. The unanimously adopted $9.25 million education amendment includes a section allowing Framingham State University to spend money ‘for the Chris Walsh Center for Educators and Families of MetroWest.” Walsh, a former House member, died last year after battling cancer.

Ex-library official wants the city to close the book on overtime scandal

From Paul Singer at WGBH: “Jim Meade, the former superintendent of buildings for the Boston Public Library, is accusing the city of wrongful termination, saying he was forced to resign last fall after he helped the library uncover abuse of overtime by custodians. … Meade’s lawyer tells WGBH News his client had no knowledge of the scam and no responsibility for custodial timesheets. He is now demanding that the city establish a process for Meade to publicly clear his name and restore his reputation.”


Dems pan Bernie’s view on marathon bomber’s voting rights

Count Mayor Marty Walsh and U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Seth Moulton among local Dems who think Bernie Sanders got it wrong by saying prison inmates – including “terrible people,” like the Boston Marathon bomber – should have the right to vote, reports Sean Phillip Cotter and Rick Sobey at the Herald.

Boston Herald

L.A. man to plead guilty to threatening to kill Globe journalists

From the AP at WBUR: “A Los Angeles man charged with making a series of phone calls threatening to kill journalists at The Boston Globe will plead guilty. Robert Chain’s lawyer said Monday that Chain plans to plead guilty to all counts against him and ‘take full responsibility for his actions.’” If you recall, his threats came after the Globe coordinated a series of nationwide editorials condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press.


Hands off that GE cash: Pittsfield council balks at housing rehab plan

Great idea, but … The Pittsfield City Council narrowly rejected a plan from Mayor Linda Tyer to extend housing rehab loans to property owners to improve the curb appeal of the city’s aging housing stock, saying they liked the idea but not the funding source: The city’s GE Economic Development Fund. Amanda Drane has details in the Berkshire Eagle. 

Berkshire Eagle

Here come the Downtown Worcester ambassadors

The state’s newest Business Improvement District has a plan to put “ambassadors” on the streets of downtown Worcester starting next month, part of a push to make the rapidly changing neighborhood more user-friendly, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. The Downtown Worcester Business Improvement district said its vendor, Brooklyn-based Streetplus, will be providing the workers who will keep streets clean and answer vistors’ questions.

Worcester Business Journal

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…

Civic Series – Boston

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.

John Rogers, Center for Student Coastal Research

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.

Suffolk University

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.

Boston Area Research Initiative

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.

Nahant Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Harvard study raises concerns about contaminated e-cigarettes – Boston Globe

Quincy councilors want to bring recognition to Native Americans’ history – Patriot Ledger


Lawrence General, nurses reach tentative contract – Eagle-Tribune

Sen. Markey touts Green New Deal in Lynn visit – Lynn Item

Springfield Mayor Sarno pledges “complete and timely review’ of police captain accused of drawing gun in Walmart dispute – MassLive


In Push for 2020 Election Security, Top Official Was Warned: Don’t Tell Trump – New York Times

Warren Buffett Sees Most Newspapers as ‘Toast’ After Ad Decline – Bloomberg

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