Pfizer opening, housing legislation, and more
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, Pfizer President of Worldwide Research and Development Dr. Mikael Dolsten and others to participate in the Pfizer Andover Clinical Manufacturing Facility ribbon-cutting ceremony, 1 Burtt Road, Andover, 10 a.m.
— Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Danielle Gregoire host a briefing on e-cigarettes and youth addiction and provide information on bills that would ban flavored tobacco products, with Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, attending, Room 350, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Acting Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Jennifer Maddox, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini and local legislators to highlight the administration’s housing legislation, Ellis Factory Lofts, 24 Essex Street, Haverhill, 11:30 a.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka speaks to the MetroWest Leadership Academy Class of 2019, Room 428, 2:30 p.m.
— Community Labor United’s ‘Care that Works’ coalition will deliver oversized Mother’s Day cards to Gov. Charlie Baker, calling on him to use federal Child Care Development Block Grant funding to increase access to affordable child care, State House steps, 3 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.
Trump tweets, Dems cave on Wampanoag land bill
From Lisa Kashinsky at the Herald: “House Democrats backed off legislation pertaining to Native American tribes Wednesday after President Trump fired off a tweet knocking U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and pushing Republicans to oppose one of the bills. ‘Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren. It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally!’ Trump wrote.”
The Washington Post’s headline is pretty blunt about the matter: “Trump tweet derails House bill opposed by lobbyist with close White House ties.” And who is that lobbyist representing? Twin River Management Group, which owns two Rhode Island casinos and apparently opposes a rival tribal casino in Massachusetts.
Neal may yet get Trump’s tax returns, courtesy of state of New York
The Trump administration may be resisting House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal’s demand to see President Trump’s recent federal tax returns. But the Washington Post reports that Neal and other Democrats may get some of Trump’s other tax returns, via the state of New York.
Handheld phone ban will just have to wait
You just knew there had to be a hitch. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The Senate on Wednesday delayed for a month the debate it had planned for (today) over legislation prohibiting handheld cellphone use while driving, a decision that will give senators a chance to focus on writing and filing state budget amendments.”
Did prosecutors just confirm that the State Police OT scandal was a top-to-bottom conspiracy?
As the Globe’s Kevin Cullen noted the other day, U.S. Judge Mark Wolf has pressed prosecutors hard to look into whether there was an actual conspiracy among state troopers and their supervisors to rip off taxpayers via bogus overtime claims. And then yesterday, federal prosecutors said in filings that a State Police lieutenant did indeed allegedly work with a trooper on bogus overtime claims, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. Hmmm. What comes next? We have no idea.
Family Feud: Kennedy kin publicly rebuke RFK Jr. for his anti-vaccine views
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s own brother and sister, as well as a niece, are publicly admonishing their relative for his anti-vaccine views, in an opinion piece published earlier this week at Politico. CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas has more on the family spat, which involves former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II of Massachusetts, RFK Jr.’s brother.
Not enough: Mayors say they’re still mulling lawsuit despite education boost in budgets
City leaders from Worcester, New Bedford and Brockton are brushing aside the extra education funds included in the House and Senate’s new budget proposals, saying they want long-term changes to the state’s school-aid formula – or else they’ll sue, perhaps before the start of the next school year. Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine and Carrie Jung at WBUR have the details.
Kraft can breathe easier: Judge seals videos of Pats owner and others in Florida prostitution case
He’s still taking a beating in the court of public opinion, but he did win one in an actual courtroom yesterday. From Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald: “Alleged videos of men — including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — who police say bought sexual acts at the Orchids of Asia spa in Florida will not be released in the case against the accused madam and masseuse after a ruling in a Florida court. Palm Beach County Judge Joseph Marx said the release of the more than 100 hours of video footage cops say they took inside and outside the Jupiter, Fla., spa will not be made public in the felony prosecution of spa owner Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang.”
Freshman 15: Hampshire College announces modest incoming class
Hampshire College is poised to redefine the ‘freshman 15.’ The beleaguered Amherst college says just 15 students have paid deposits to reserve spots as new students this fall, Dusty Christensen reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The school’s interim president revealed the number in a letter to the campus community this week, and also said the number of students on campus in September will be about 600 – barely half of this year’s enrollment figures.
Only fair: Topsfield voters ban ‘exotic’ animals from town
Camels and tigers and bears? No more. Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports a measure to ban ‘wild and exotic’ animals from being used for entertainment purposes passed Topsfield town meeting, which means creatures such as elephants, tigers, bears and giraffes, among others, are no longer welcome at the Topsfield Fair. While some of the animals listed in the ban haven’t been spotted at the event in a while, camel rides have long been a staple at the fair.
Warren urges Harvard to drop Sackler name – while quietly cutting her own ties to opioid titan
Elizabeth Warren was active on three anti-opioid fronts yesterday. First, from the Globe’s Andy Rosen: “US Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday called on Harvard University to strip its buildings of the name of the Sackler family, whose company makes the drug OxyContin and faces multiple legal battles over the extent of its role in the national opioid crisis.” Second, from Politico: “Warren to donate campaign money she previously took from opioid titan.” Third, from via the AP’s Elana Schor: “Warren releases $100 billion plan to combat opioid epidemic.”
Can anyone identify the child who exclaimed ‘wow’ at end of a Mozart concert at Symphony Hall?
Check out the audio recording accompanying Noah Bombard’s story at MassLive. You’ll hear a young voice exclaim “wow” at end of a solemn and moving Mozart piece at Boston’s Symphony Hall, prompting the audience to laugh and then erupt into applause. And now the orchestra wants to know the name of the young one who provided “one of the most wonderful moments” ever at Symphony Hall.
The Uber/Lyft strike: Boom or bust?
File under ‘dud.’ From Brooks Sutherland at the Herald: “Drivers for ride-hailing apps in Boston insisted their strike Wednesday sent a strong message ahead to today’s Uber initial public offering that they want fair compensation, even as company and government officials said the effects were minimal and many drivers stayed behind the wheel.”
Massport reported that there were hundreds of ride-hailing drivers lined up to wait for pickups yesterday at Logan Airport, as Sutherland notes.
The highest paid tech CEOs in Massachusetts
While some Uber and Lyft drivers yesterday protested low wages paid by the ride-sharing tech giants that simultaneously dish out big bucks to executives and investors, the BBJ yesterday, coincidently (we assume), was running a list of the 25 highest paid tech CEOs in Massachusetts. The top compensation went to PTC’s James Heppelmann, whose 2018 pay package of $49.9 million was 646 times the median employee pay at PTC.
Lawmakers advance ‘millionaire’s tax’ to next constitutional step
This was expected, though not necessarily by the wide margin of 156-37. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “House and Senate Democratic leaders look to be sitting on a comfortable cushion of support for a revived constitutional amendment to increase taxes on the wealthy, easily advancing a ‘millionaires tax’ proposal on Wednesday, and making plans to debate it next month.”
Thaw in relations? Spilka to meet with Meehan over UMass tuition-freeze proposal
Senate President Spilka says she’s planning to meet with UMass president Marty Meehan, who has harshly criticized the Senate’s proposed university funding levels and tuition-freeze plan contained in its new fiscal year budget, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos. We may be wrong, but it sounds like Spilka is more than a little miffed at the UMass response to the Senate budget.
SJC: Yes, utilities are liable for inadequately placed manhole covers
The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a bicyclist injured by a misaligned manhole cover on New Sudbury Street can indeed sue a Boston steam company, saying, in effect, that state law protects only government bodies from such complaints, report Universal Hub. Btw: As UH notes, the state’s road repair law is a little, well, old, still referring to “horses, teams, vehicles and carriages.”
‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’
The NYT has a largely favorable review of a new biography by Brian Jay Jones of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. And the review does touch upon the recent controversy at the Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield over Geisel’s depiction of a “Chinaman” in a museum mural. Though a highly talented and politically progressive illustrator, Geisel indeed held anti-Asian views, which the reviewer suggests came from his anti-fascist and anti-Japanese attitudes during World War II.
Local lobstermen bemoan ‘unfair closure’ of offshore lobstering grounds
Lobster industry members planned to hold a press conference this morning in Plymouth to discuss what they call the “unfair closure” of lobstering in waters south of Scituate – and SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) had a preview piece yesterday on their numerous complaints.
Rollins quietly drops intimidation case against developer Winn
Attorneys for a young nurse who claims developer Arthur Winn tried to strangle her while she cared for him in his Brookline mansion are infuriated that Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins has quietly dropped a separate intimidation charge against Winn for trying to derail her career, reports Andrea Estes at the Globe.
He’s back: Councilor Flaherty now wants to go after handicap-parking violators to raise funds
After bemoaning all the street parking spaces taken up by designated bus stops, City Councilor Michael “Five Car” Flaherty is setting his sights on handicap-parking violators as a way to raise funds, instead of charging people for residential parking permits, reports Universal Hub.
Protesters decry ‘Big Cannabis’ at State House rally
From Dan Adams at the Globe: “Frustrated marijuana advocates and entrepreneurs rallied against ‘Big Cannbis’ at the State House Wednesday, saying the state has broken its promise to boost smaller pot companies. Speakers at the protest, most of them small-scale growers and manufacturers, outlined a variety of forces — from restrictions imposed by local officials to proposed regulations that would freeze them out of the delivery market — that they believe are stifling competition and tilting the recreational industry in favor of large, wealthy operators.”
Retailers can’t decide whether to bag it or not
Lexi Peery at WGBH reports that retailers are divided over whether to support a statewide ban on plastic grocery bags in Massachusetts, with some saying it’s time to bag opposition in order to get a more uniform state law on the books while others say small businesses will get hammered by a ban.
ICE: Stoughton murder suspect was in country illegally
We suspect immigrant advocates aren’t going to be riding to this guy’s defense anytime soon. From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “The Stoughton man accused of stabbing his wife to death while their children were in the home is in the country illegally and faces being taken into custody by ICE officials if he is ever bailed or released. Ilton Rodrigues, 48, was arraigned on Monday in the Boston Medical Center intensive care unit where officials said he is recovering from self-inflicted injuries. He pleaded not guilty to murder. Judge Daniel J. O’Malley ordered Rodrigues held without bail.”
Gender equity: Progress here, stagnation there
The Globe’s Katie Johnston reports that some private businesses are indeed taking concrete steps to boost the ranks of women in management positions. Meanwhile, in an editorial, the Globe is taking Mayor Marty Walsh to task for pushing for gender and minority equity in the private sector but only talking the talk when it comes to equity and diversity in the issuance of city contracts.
Site of Cambridge fatality to get dedicated bike lanes
State transportation officials will begin work next month on dedicated and protected bicycle lanes near the Museum of Science in Cambridge, the site of a fatal crash between a truck and a cyclist last fall, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. Cambridge recently won accolades from cycling safety advocates for its decision to require all new road projects in the city to include such accommodations.
Bromance update: Baker and Walsh off to D.C. to lobby for federal infrastructure funds
The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that political pals Charlie Baker and Marty Walsh are off to D.C. next week to appeal for more federal infrastructure money – and Chesto is wishing the governor and mayor good luck on that one. President Trump may have expressed his willingness to deal with Dems on an infrastructure bill, but Congressional Republicans aren’t thrilled, as Chesto notes.
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.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE) brings together over 500 adult educators, counselors, administrators, volunteers, and activists for its annual NETWORK Conference, the largest gathering of its kind in New England.
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.
Book Talk: Boston’s 20th-Century Bicycling Renaissance
Author talk and book signing with Lorenz J. Finison, author of the new book Boston’s Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance.
A Conversation With Bill Cummings
Young professionals are invited to hear from Cummings Properties founder Bill Cummings as he discusses his career, dedication to philanthropy and new self-written memoir.
Poverty and Inequality in Boston: A Tale of Two Cities?
Join us for a discussion about what we can do about income inequality in Boston.
JALSA 2019 Annual Meeting
The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action is devoted to engaging the community in promoting civil rights, protecting civil liberties and achieving social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
Massachusetts Clean Community Awards Gala
The Massachusetts Clean Community Awards Gala recognize volunteers, nonprofit leaders, government leaders, businesses, and educators for exceptional environmental protection and community improvement efforts. This celebration will be chock full of inspiring stories, good food, drink, and entertainment! WCVB news anchors Emily Riemer and Ben Simmoneau will emcee the event.
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