Happening Today

Logan ride-sharing fee, Gender X, and more

— The Massachusetts Port Authority board plans to vote on a proposal to increase fees on rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft for trips to and from Logan International Airport from $3.25 for single riders to $5, Massport Executive Offices, One Harborside Drive, East Boston, 9 a.m.

— The House is expected to resume debate on the proposed new state budget, 10 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets and will likely consider several business applications for provisional pot licenses, Room A-2, 10 a.m.

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— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton, Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon, MassWildlife Director Jack Buckley and local students to stock Jamaica Pond with trout, Jamaica Pond Beach Area, Jamaicaway, Between Pond Street and Elliott Circle, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The Senate meets in a full formal session, with the ‘Gender X’ legislation and an override vote on the governor’s veto of the ‘cap on kids’ bill on the tentative agenda, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and local officials for an event highlighting the Administration’s ‘Housing Choice’ legislation, PAC 10 Lofts, 4 Hampshire Street, Lawrence, 3:30 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Worcester Red Sox chairman and owner Larry Lucchino participate in an announcement with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Worcester Red Sox, Collaboration Lab Project Work Space, Room 200C, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, 5 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

Breaking News: Joe’s in

The NYT reports that, yes, Vice President Joe Biden this morning officially announced he’s running for president in the crowded Democratic primary.

At CommonWealth magazine, Brian Jencunas, a Massachusetts-based Republican speechwriter, says Dem activists/progressives may be actively hoping for Biden to fall flat on his face in coming days, weeks and months. But Jencunas says Biden is the clear favorite of moderate Dems – and that he’s the most formidable Dem candidate out there, for all his sometimes goofy and creepy foibles.  

NYT

Baker aligns himself with Dems in investigate-or-impeach debate

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, no fan of Donald Trump, is once again crossing partisan lines, sort of, by saying lawmakers need to further investigate findings in the Mueller report before taking any steps toward impeachment proceedings against President Trump, a move generally favored by moderate Dems, though certainly not by many hard-core progressive Dems, like Elizabeth Warren. The Globe’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) have the details.

Whatever the governor is doing, he certainly remains mighty popular in Massachusetts, even among Democrats, according to the latest Morning Call survey.

Btw: Former Gov. Bill Weld, a more outspoken anti-trumpeter than Baker and who’s now running for president in the GOP primary, says to hell with investigations. He thinks Trump should resign, calling the president “a one-man crime wave,” reports Christina Prignano at the Globe.

Governor endorses MassPort’s anti-congestion plan but …

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has endorsed Massport’s proposed new fees and curbside rules for ride-sharing firms at Logan Airport, as part of an effort reduce traffic congestion at airport  terminals. MassPort’s board is expect to vote this morning on the changes, which are vehemently opposed by Uber and Lyft et gang.

But while backing Massport’s move, Baker, who’s facing mounting frustration over clogged roads and transportation problems in general, is also saying that the state doesn’t need to raise taxes to confront the regional congestion problems, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Michael Norton (pay wall).

Rep. Michlewitz: Keep scooters off our North End streets

Speaking of transportation issues, NorthEndWaterfront.com reports that state Rep. Aaron Michleitz, who’s also the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is asking Mayor Walsh to temporarily restrict e-scooters (aka “micro-mobility vehicles”) on most North End streets, saying scooters could “prove to be a public safety risk” if allowed on the neighborhood’s narrow streets. Via UH.

NorthEndWaterfront

Can emphasis on foreign policy overcome Moulton’s lack of name recognition?

Back to the 2020 presidential race: Anthony Brooks at WBUR takes a look at how U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton can overcome his lack of name recognition in the crowded Democratic primary race. Moulton’s answer: Stressing foreign policy. We may be wrong, but we haven’t heard much about foreign policy issues in the campaign, not even from Elizabeth Warren, who’s churning out policy positions by the day, and you have to wonder if Moulton is trying to tap into something that’s either well hidden or simply not there. We’ll see. 

WBUR

Name recognition and strong policy stances certainly haven’t help Elizabeth Warren

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Nestor Ramos wonders why U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren hasn’t gained more traction with her policy-position-of-the-day strategy: “Welcome to presidential politics, where bold, specific, and detailed policy proposals; strong name recognition; and concise, comprehensible rhetoric somehow land you a distant fourth — 10 points behind Pete Buttigieg — in New Hampshire.” He seems to think the strategy will pay off in the end – and we tend to agree. It’s a long campaign. Again, we’ll see.

Boston Globe

Bernie’s Michael Dukakis moment?

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi and the Herald’s Michael Graham both experienced a de-ja-vu-all-over-again moment when they heard Bernie Sanders exclaim that prisoners, even “terrible people” like the Boston Marathon Bomber, should have the right to vote. Their pundit minds (as did ours) drifted back to Michael Dukakis’s famous “death penalty” debate answer way back when.

Report: Massachusetts has lowest prison incarceration rate in nation

This is interesting, as state lawmakers weigh further criminal-justice reforms. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Massachusetts — which last year passed laws instituting reforms across the criminal justice system — has the lowest incarceration rate in the country, according to a new report. After a 5.4 percent decline in its prison incarceration rate from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018, Massachusetts had a prison population of 8,692 people, or an incarceration rate of 126 people per 100,000, according to the Vera Institute of Justice’s ‘People in Prison’ report.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Feds: Immigrants working for pot businesses can be denied citizenship

Speaking of crime-and-punishment issues, from Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune: “Immigrants who use marijuana or work in the recreational or medical pot industries could be denied citizenship, even in states like Massachusetts where use of the drug is legal. That’s according to a new directive by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services, which warns prospective immigrants that using state-permitted marijuana or working for cannabis businesses could jeopardize their legal status or efforts to gain citizenship.”

Eagle Tribune

Trahan hit with another complaint over campaign finances

Aaron Curtis at the Lowell Sun and Andre Estes at the Globe report that U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan’s campaign has been hit with another watchdog-group complaint over the somewhat mysterious appearance of funds in her campaign accounts during the final weeks of last year’s election. Trahan’s office is hitting back, saying that the latest complaint, via the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, is full of inaccuracies and that the group is “a well-known right-wing organization funded by untraceable dark money.” 

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark says she has “no reason to doubt” Trahan’s version of how the money was obtained, reports Arjun Singh at WGBH.

Score one for the biotech industry on Beacon Hill

It wasn’t a major victory, but it was victory nevertheless for the biotech industry on Beacon Hill, as the House “adopted an industry-backed amendment W ednesday that relaxes portions of a Gov. Charlie Baker plan to allow his administration to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers,” reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall). The Globe’s Jon Chesto says the drug price-control battle is far from over at the State House, but, yes, former lawmaker and current MassBio chief Bob Coughlin must be encouraged by yesterday’s action.

Lawsuit shines light on Purdue’s State House lobbying work

Speaking of drug companies throwing their weight around the State House, Christine Willmsen of WBUR digs through court papers connected to the state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and campaign finance reports to shine a light on the company’s efforts to stall legislative attempts to clamp down on its opioid products. Willmsen reports that Purdue paid $886,000 to lobbyists starting in 2004 and, since 2002, has been the source of another $410,000 worth of donations to campaigns and causes in the state. 

WBUR

Yet another Kenmore Square makeover?

It seems Kenmore Square is in need of yet another “renaissance,” or at least that’s the view of one developer, who’s proposing to turn Kenmore Square into a pedestrian plaza – to make room for his new hotel, reports Universal Hub. Personally, we’ve lost track of how many makeovers Kenmore Square has undergone over the years. They’ll get it right one of these days, we suppose.

Universal Hub

Betting on Lynn: Developer has big plans for Garelick Farms property

Speaking of developments, they’re going to milk this one for all it’s worth. A Boston-based real estate firm has struck a deal to purchase the shuttered Garelick Farms plant in Lynn and says it will work with the city to create – eventually — a mixed-use neighborhood that rivals Assembly Square in Somerville, Thomas Grillo reports at the Lynn Item. A.W. Perry emerged as the winning bidder for the site.

Lynn Item

Drum roll, please: The list of towns with highest tax rates in Massachusetts

Steph Solis at MassLive unveils the 100 towns with the highest property tax rates in Massachusetts – and the list is top heavy with central and western Massachusetts towns. Check it out for your town. We did. And were mildly surprised, and nervously relieved, our towns didn’t make the cut.

MassLive

Hyper-partisanship and local parades: It’s arrived

Has it really come to this? Barring one political party and not the other from participating in a local parade? Yes, hyper-partisanship has come to Dracut, where local Republicans have been barred from marching in an upcoming Memorial Day parade, reports Amaris Castillo at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Stop & Shop owner says strike cost company $100 million

We also wonder how much long-term customer loyalty they lost. From the AP at WGBH: “The owners of New England’s largest supermarket chain are projecting around $100 million in losses from the labor strike that ended Easter Sunday. Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch company that owns Stop & Shop, said the 11-day strike is expected to lead to losses between $90 million and $110 million. The company says generally lower sales, lost revenue from ‘seasonal and perishable inventory’ and supply chain costs were the main drivers.”

WGBH

Ex-Sen. Tolman touts his firm’s amazing, got-to-have-one pot breathalyzer contraption

The Herald’s Jonathan Ng reports that former state lawmaker Warren Tolman is all excited about his firm’s new pot breath-test wonder, a contraption “so precise, it’s the equivalent of finding one drop of water in 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools.” 

Boston Herald

Feds: R.I. man threatened to dismember and eat pro-choice professor

From Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine: “A Rhode Island man who sent dozens of violent messages to a Massachusetts college professor, including threats to eat the prof alive, was arrested Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney says. Officials say 30-year-old Matthew Haviland, of North Kingstown, is charged with cyberstalking and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, for which he faces up to five years in prison.” The professor’s name was being withheld as of yesterday afternoon.

Boston Magazine

Better late than never: MassDOT tightens financial controls over State Police OT claims

They’re calling it “enhanced” controls. From Dan Glaun at MassLive: “The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has tightened its financial controls and now regularly audits its payments to the Massachusetts State Police after failing to do so as troopers abused MassDOT-funded overtime programs for years.”

MassIve

Jewish groups and Mass GOP blast pro-Palestinian tilt of upcoming UMass event

An upcoming UMass forum on Palestinian rights – which will include the appearance of rocker Roger Waters, founder of Pink Floyd – is being condemned as nothing more than a bash-Israel extravaganza with more than a few hints of anti-Semitism. Patrick Johnson at MassLive and Rick Sobey at the Herald have the details.

At Amherst College, Sessions says Mueller report ‘deserves respect’

Speaking of college-campus events, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at Amherst College last night – and proceeded to say something his former boss obviously doesn’t agree with these days, i.e. that the Mueller investigation was conducted “with integrity” and its final report “deserves respect.” Jeanette DeForge at MassLive and Laura Krantz at the Globe have the details, including how Sessions spoke on the importance of freedom of speech (or the lack thereof) on college campuses. About 100 people protested Sessions’ appearance on campus, though they didn’t disrupt proceedings.

The media’s Draft Michelle Wu for Mayor campaign, Part II

Well, it’s not an official campaign. But it sure looks one, after the Atlantic the other day had a glowing story about City Councilor Michelle Wu’s prospects of becoming Boston’s next mayor and today’s glowing front-page coverage of Wu in the Herald (“Hot in the Hall”). The Herald’s Jessica Heslam grills Wu about her mayoral aspirations – with Wu declining to comment on her political future, other than saying she’s focused on this year’s council elections, of course.

‘Denim Day’ at the State House

House rules require “proper and appropriate attire” for members on session days. But yesterday was an exception, as the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators added “denim jackets, jeans, chambray shirts and at least one pair of denim high-heels,” as a show of solidarity with sexual violence survivors. SHNS’s Katie Lannan explains how an Italian Supreme Court decision in the early 1990s launched the original ‘Denim Day’

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

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

Excellence in the Law

Excellence in the Law celebrates achievement throughout the legal community. Individuals are honored in the following categories: Excellence in Firm Administration/Operations, Marketing, Paralegal Work, Legal Journalism, and Pro Bono. We also honor our Up & Coming Lawyers.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Banned in Boston

Banned in Boston, the annual comedy and music revue hosted by WGBH’s Margery Eagan and Jim Braude, is Rehearsal for Life’s signature fundraising event. For one-night-only, local Boston celebrities, media personalities, politicians, and business, arts and community leaders rally together to put on a show of hilarity, musical satire and skits.

Rehearsal for Life

Offshore Wind Panel

YPE is excited to announce that we will be hosting a panel discussion on offshore wind energy at WilmerHale later this spring! Our panelists and moderator represent a diverse group of stakeholder interests from the growing offshore wind industry here in Boston, from finance and development to engineering and manufacturing.

YPE Boston

Intro to Construction Management Onsite Course

This is a two-part course that will be held on May 10, 2019, and May 17, 2019. Introduction to Construction Management will provide students with a practical understanding of the planning, design and construction processes from project initiation to closeout.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Parking permit proposal draws mixed reaction from Hub neighborhoods – Boston Herald

Officials to request interim ferry service for Lynn – Lynn Item

Massachusetts

Fundraising group formed for Worcester’s mounted police – Telegram & Gazette

Moped lawsuit against Oak Bluffs dismissed – Cape Cod Times

Developer withdraws plans for marijuana business at old Showcase property – Sun Chronicle

Nation

Average tax refund down 2 percent in first year of Trump tax law – The Hill

Sanders gets tough reception at minority women’s event, signalling challenges ahead – Washington Post

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