Happening Today

Baker and Walsh off to D.C., Handheld phone ban vote, Compressor station appeal

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh hold a media availability at Logan Airport before traveling to Washington, D.C. to lobby for more federal infrastructure money, Logan Airport (Terminal B, Departure level, Gates B4-22 side, left of the security checkpoint), 1 Harborside Drive, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House meets in session to take up legislation banning the handheld use of cell phones while driving, pending a report from House Ways and Means Committee, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

Department of Environmental Protection hearing on an appeal of the air quality permit it issued for a gas-fired compressor station in North Weymouth, One Winter St., Boston, 9 a.m., followed by opponents’ press conference outside the DEP offices, 11:55 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a weekly assembly of the Governor’s Council, with votes possible on the nominations of James Haddad as a Gardner District Court judge and Jennifer Allen as a Suffolk County Probate Court judge, followed by a second meeting in which members interview Steven Bolivar for a position on the Worcester County Juvenile Court bench, Council Chamber, 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

Joint Election Laws Committee holds a hearing on 30 campaign finance bills, including legislation that would allow the use of campaign funds to pay for child care services, Room A-1, 1 p.m.

— Lawmakers and advocates will gather to celebrate last month’s passage of legislation lifting a ban preventing families who receive public assistance from getting additional benefits when they have another child, with Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Marjorie Decker attending, Wolcott Statue, 3rd Floor, State House, 1:30 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

Baker and union outline foster-care reforms and DCF staff increase

From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “The Baker administration Tuesday announced major changes to the state’s troubled foster care system that it says will improve the lives of thousands of children, ease caseloads for their swamped social workers, and more aggressively recruit and retain foster families. The plan, presented as a joint agreement between the state’s Department of Children and Families and SEIU Local 509, the union that represents foster care workers, promises to boost the number of social workers who communicate directly with foster families.”

Jerome Campbell at WBUR has more.

Boston Globe

State of flux: Cambridge may yank Mass. flag from City Hall

While joining other communities’ leaders in backing a resolution to call for changes to the official state flag, the Cambridge City Council indicated it may go even further and remove the flag from City Hall until it is updated, WCVB reports. It ultimately all comes down to the flag’s depiction of a sword dangling over the head of a Native American.


Poll says Bay State voters split on Warren and impeachment

Right down the middle. A new WBUR/MassInc poll of Massachusetts voters finds just about as many have favorable views of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as they have unfavorable views — and voters are also split on whether Democrats should move forward with impeachment proceedings, something Warren advocates. The poll gives Warren a 43 percent favorability rating, with 42 percent rating her unfavorable, and shows 47 percent support for impeachment, with 46 percent opposed. 

Keep in mind: This is a survey of voters in one of the bluest of blue states.


Warren: Fox News is a ‘Hate-for-Profit Racket’

Speaking of the senior senator from Massachusetts, this was a national story yesterday, so we’ll go with the NYT version: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said Tuesday that she would not participate in a Fox News town hall as some other Democratic candidates have, calling the media outlet ‘a hate-for-profit racket’ that seeks to turn Americans against one another.”

In other Warren news, from Danielle Kurtzleben at WBUR: “Elizabeth Warren Has A Plan — To Get Personal With Voters.”


Mayor for life? Koch indicates he’ll seek sixth term as Quincy mayor

He’s running, again. Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has pulled nomination papers to seek a sixth straight term in office and as of now has no challengers, Erin Tiernan reports at the Patriot Ledger. Koch was first elected in 2008 and has been re-elected four times — three times when mayors served two-year terms and once under the new four-year term setup. 

Patriot Ledger

Romney breaks with GOP over judicial pick who called Obama ‘un-American impostor’

Remember that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, ran against Obama for president in 2012. From the Washington Post: “Republican Sen. Mitt Romney broke with President Trump and the rest of his party Tuesday to oppose the confirmation of a federal judge who had referred to former president Barack Obama as an ‘un-American impostor.’ … ‘There were some things that he said about President Obama that were disparaging, and as a Republican presidential nominee, I felt I just couldn’t go along with that for a judge,’ Romney said Tuesday.”

Washington Post

Neal fires back at ‘Richiepalooza’ critics

He’s not taking it anymore. From Anthony Brooks at WBUR: “Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has fired back against accusations he’s guilty of pay-to-play politics for wining and dining wealthy donors, some of whom have business before the powerful congressional committee he heads.”

Neal is ultimately reacting to this recent David Daley opinion piece in the Globe and WBUR’s own look at Neal’s lavish fundraisers. And, yes, Daley tells WBUR that he’s considering a possible primary run against Neal. Meanwhile, there’s been plenty of talk of late of other progressives challenging Neal, including Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse (WMPI).


No laughing matter: Harvard Lampoon apologizes for Anne Frank spoof

The words “vulgar” and “tasteless” also come to mind. From Danny McDonald: “The Harvard Lampoon, the student-run humor magazine at the Ivy League university, has apologized after imagery featured in the latest issue was condemned as anti-Semitic and misogynistic. A recent edition included an image of Anne Frank’s face placed atop the body of a bikini-clad woman. Above was the text, ‘Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Like if She Hadn’t Died.’ Below the image: ‘Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked.’”

Here’s the non-ha-ha-ha apology from Harvard Lampoon.

Boston Globe

Oops: State Police destroyed key records in OT probe

What can you say? From the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau: “A year into an internal audit of overtime abuse, the Massachusetts State Police destroyed years-old traffic citation records, key evidence that federal prosecutors now say prevents them from examining how far back the payroll scandal extends.”

A northern rail route to western Massachusetts?

File under ‘Northwest Passage.’ From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Armed with emails and social media comments from more than 700 western Massachusetts residents, two lawmakers pitched the Transportation Committee on studying an east-west passenger rail connection between Boston, Greenfield and North Adams. The Department of Transportation is already studying what it would take to implement passenger rail service from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield, but Sen. Jo Comerford and Rep. Mindy Domb on Tuesday touted a track that would roughly follow Route 2 along the northern part of the state.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

At last, late-night commuter rail service coming to South Shore

Speaking of rail service, South Shore fans of the Celts, Bruins and theater, rejoice! The MBTA is planning to extend commuter rail service on the Greenbush and Old Colony lines beyond 11 p.m., beginning this fall, so that residents can catch trains home after late-night concerts, sports games and other Boston activities. Erin Tiernan at the Patriot Ledger has the details.

Patriot Ledger

Remember: All housing politics are local

Does Gov. Charlie Baker’s housing bill – the one that would make it easier for local governments to approve housing developments – have “broad support” on Beacon Hill? The Globe’s Tim Logan reports so, though there was some jeering and complaints at yesterday’s State House hearing that the governor’s bill doesn’t go far enough in addressing the housing crisis. Andy Metzgerat CommonWealth magazine has more on yesterday’s hearing.

Btw: Baker’s separate “dangerous persons” bill is most definitely facing skepticism on Beacon Hill, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Thaw in relations, Part II: Spilka and Meehan meet over tuition-freeze controversy

It wasn’t quite Reagan meeting Gorbachev in Reykjavik. But UMass president Marty Meehan did meet yesterday with Senate President Karen Spilka over the Senate’s proposed budget provision that calls for a tuition freeze at UMass – with Meehan pronouncing they had “a good dialogue, a good discussion” and that “we’ll work it out.” SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more on the summit.


Encore Boston’s labor gain is others’ labor loss

The Globe’s Katie Johnston reports how the soon-to-open Encore Boston Harbor casino has become a sort of giant hospitality-industry vacuum cleaner, sucking up ever available worker at the expense of other area employers trying to hang on to employees during a labor shortage.

Boston has the 2nd sexiest accent in U.S., poll says

We knew it! Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive reports that a new survey by Big 7 Travel says that the Boston accent is considered the second sexiest accent in the nation, behind only the “slow, Texan drawl.” We suspect proud Bostonians may have stuffed the social-media ballot on this one. We could be wrong.  


Now that’s expensive help: AG fining families nearly $450K for underpaying live-in cooks and nannies, etc.

Our very own ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ saga. From the Globe’s Katie Johnston: “The attorney general is fining three Saugus families nearly $450,000 for underpaying live-in domestic workers who cooked, cleaned, and took care of their children, sometimes wiring money to the workers’ families in the Philippines instead of paying them directly. Attorney General Maura Healey is set to announce citations in three separate cases involving four workers on Wednesday.”

Boston Globe

SPD scandals update: Springfield fires cop accused of child rape and robbery

And Springfield’s police controversies keep rolling off the controversy-of-the-day assembly line. From Patrick Johnson at MassLive: “Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood announced Tuesday that she has fired Daniel Cintron, a 3-year officer who is awaiting trial for separate allegations of child rape and robbery.”

Btw: The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi recently chronicled all the SPD woes facing Clapprood, who pronounces: ‘We’re trying to regain the confidence of the public.”


Baker: Pilot program for ‘pot cafes’ makes eminent sense

We have a feeling there would be no shortage of volunteers for this pilot program. SHNS’s Colin Young reports that Gov. Charlie Baker is embracing the idea of a marijuana “social consumption” pilot program for possible future “pot cafes” and “pot lounges” across the state.

SHNS (pay wall)

Cambridge’s John Harvard’s Ale House to close

Last week, the Curious George store in Harvard Square announced it was closing (Boston.com). Now this: The John Harvard Ale House is also closing, reports Jacqueline Cain at Boston Magazine. 

Boston Magazine

Brace for Biomass Battle II: The final showdown

Mary S. Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity in Pelham, writes at CommonWealth magazine that the Baker administration is plotting to roll back rules that exclude biomass (i.e. the burning of wood) as a form of renewable energy – and she’s warning of yet another bruising battle over the issue.


Kraft still faces the courts of Roger Goodell and public opinion

The Herald is going full Herald this morning, splashing across its front page the headline “Kangaroo Court,” in anticipation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acting as the final judge of Pats owner Robert Kraft in the Orchids of Asia Spa case, now that it appears Kraft will likely beat the prostitution-solicitation rap in Florida. The Herald’s Karen Guregian has the details. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Adrian Walker says Kraft actually faces another court: The court of public opinion.

Municipal officials put in first dibs for surplus dollars

Here we go. From SHNS’s Michael Norton  (pay wall): “Beacon Hill leaders are doing their best to downplay expectations about a budget surplus, but local officials have taken notice that state tax collections are running about $1 billion over expectations and are laying out their spending hopes and dreams.” Among the claims: Money for roads, clean-water projects, charter schools and special education.

The price is right: Massachusetts pols took $40K in donations from drug firms accused of price fixing

From the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “The Bay State congressional delegation pocketed more than $40,000 in donations from pharmaceutical companies that have been accused of fixing generic drug prices in a scheme that allegedly bilked needy consumers suffering from conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.” U.S. Reps. Richard Neal, Joseph P. Kennedy III and Seth Moulton are among those named.

Boston Herald

P&G sells old Gillette parking lot for a whopping $218

M Just days after GE sold its Fort Point headquarters property for a hefty multimillion-dollar profit, Proctor & Gamble, owner of Gillette, has sold an old parking lot along the channel for $218 million to Related Beal, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock (pay wall) and the Globe’s Tim Logan. 

 For the 6.5-acre site, that amounts to $33.5 million per acre. Yes, per acre. Before construction even begins.

Chatham voters sink shark barrier funding

That bites. By a single vote, town meeting in Chatham rejected funding a study of potential shark barriers to protect one local beach where children take swimming lessons, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod Times. Officials had sought $100,000 to study the best ways to protect Children’s Beach on Oyster Pond from great whites.  

Meanwhile, Boston Magazine’s Casey Sherman takes a big-picture look at how last summer’s fatal shark attack on a surfer has changed feelings toward the Cape and the struggle to come up with solutions that can win public support. 

Cape Cod Times

Those Tuesday blues

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports how Tuesdays, for some reason, have become days of dread on Beacon Hill. It’s just so busy, busy, busy on Tuesdays. We gotta admit: Calendars do seem rather full on Tuesdays.

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.

A Faith that Does Justice

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.

Keep Massachusetts Beautiful

The Fletcher School Class Day Ceremony address

The Fletcher School is welcoming Susan Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will deliver the Class Day speech at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University on Saturday, May 18.

The Fletcher School

Today’s Headlines


Study: Logan ranked 5th worst for summer flight delays – Boston Herald

Lynn police chief warns public safety hangs in the balance with budget constraints – Lynn Item


Stoughton will ask state for six liquor licenses to revitalize downtown – Patriot Ledger

Longmeadow voters approve restrictions on natural gas facilities – MassLive

Baker pressed on drivers’ licenses for refugees – Gloucester Times


Alabama lawmakers vote to effectively ban abortion in state – New York Times

They’ll drink to that: Presidential hopefuls pull out the Brewery stops in NH – NPR

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