Happening Today

Senate budget, nursing home funds, and more

— The Massachusetts Senate begins its fiscal 2020 budget deliberations, Senate Chamber, 10 a.m.

– Gov. Charlie Baker joins Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and local officials to offer remarks at the opening of Tommy’s House, an affordable, handicap-accessible housing collaboration between the family of Gunnery Sergeant Tommy Sullivan and the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, 674 Carew Street, Springfield, 10:15 a.m.

Health Policy Commission holds a public listening session on the impact of coupons, discounts and other product vouchers for prescription drugs on pharmaceutical spending and health care costs, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Advocates, nursing home residents and staff rally for more nursing home funding, with Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Denise Garlick scheduled to speak, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds its May meeting to hear an education budget update, along with an update on the implementation of the history and social science curriculum framework adopted in June 2018 and a discussion of the department’s efforts to diversify the state’s educator workforce, Malden Public Library, Maccario Room, 36 Salem St., Malden, 10:30 a.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

Groups urge three-month delay in new paid-leave taxes

You know something’s seriously wrong when normally warring factions agree something’s seriously wrong and needs action. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “State government should approve a three-month delay in payroll taxes needed to fund the new paid family and medical leave program, according to a coalition of business, labor and social justice groups. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, officials from Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and Raise Up Massachusetts said there’s a need for a three-month extension of the July 1 deadline for approval of employers’ private paid and family medical leave plans and the start of required plan contributions.”

Let’s just put it this way: The rollout of the program, in terms of who’s taxed and at what levels, has been more than a little chaotic.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Mad Max: Did Massachusetts hurt Wynn CEO’s feelings?

The local media is still trying to sort out what the heck is happening behind closed doors regarding MGM’s possible purchase of the soon-to-open Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett. The bottom line is that the bottom line is always the bottom line for casino companies, i.e. it’s always about money.

But the Globe’s Mark Arsenault and Joshua Miller raise the prospect that officials at Wynn Resorts, which has built the giant casino in Everett, may also be “baffled and increasingly frustrated by their treatment in Massachusetts.” The Globe’s Joan Vennochi goes further: That Wynn chief executive Matt Maddox may be mad about the Gaming Commission’s requirement that he get executive coaching in the wake of the sexual-misconduct controversy swirling around the company’s former CEO, Steve Wynn.

The Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman, meawhile, is bashing away at the state Gaming Commission, saying it’s bungled the whole licensing affair from day one. From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Mary Markos: “Watchdog: Time to clean house at Massachusetts Gaming Commission.” Meanwhile, Steph Solis at MassLive reports on House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s surprised response to the whole MGM-Wynn Resorts mess.

It’s official: Liss-Riordan is taking on Markey, hoping to duplicate Pressley’s incumbent-slayer success

Labor rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan made it official yesterday: She’s challenging U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in next year’s Democratic primary race. Michelle Williams at MassLive and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) have the details. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that Markey is just the latest white male Democratic incumbent to face a challenge from the female left – and he may not be the last.

The old Friday documents dump trick, Part II: DEP threatened with sanctions, admits it botched compressor tests

This is getting most interesting. From Craig LeMoult at WGBH: “The hearing officer who presided over the Department of Environmental Protection’s hearings last week on the Weymouth gas compressor station is now ordering the DEP to tell her why she shouldn’t sanction the department for waiting four days to disclose relevant data. … The hearings were supposed to take three days, beginning on Wednesday. But after two full days of hearings, the DEP released 759 pages of new air quality data that hadn’t been shared with the petitioners yet.”

And it turns out the state’s originally submitted data was, well, inadequate. The headline on Chris Lisinski’s SHNS piece (paywall): “Compressor station permit based on incomplete air tests, state admits.”


T agrees to ‘free the ramp’ for shorter Silver Line tunnel trips

Why it took so long to do this, we don’t know. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The state will “free the ramp’— for a little while, anyway — as Silver Line buses will begin to use the staties’ emergency ramp to skip to the front of the traffic at the Ted Williams Tunnel this summer. MBTA officials informed the joint MBTA oversight and Department of Transportation officials on Monday about the plan to start a pilot program to let T buses to zip down the state police ramp onto Interstate 90 rather than looping around and entering the Pike farther from the tunnel.”

Separately, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on the various less-than-attractive commuter options now before transformation officials as they prepare for the giant Allston-Pike project.  

Boston Herald

Her son is shot on Saturday, she pulls papers to run for mayor on Monday

Dan Glaun at MassLive reports that the son of Springfield community activist Yolanda Cancel, who has worked with community members and police officers to address street violence in the city, was shot and wounded outside a convenience store on Saturday. So she did something about it: On Monday, she pulled papers to run for mayor against incumbent Domenic Sarno. She has until May 28 to collect the 500 signatures required to make the ballot, as Glaun notes.


The Boston Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones

This is pretty amazing. The Globe’s weekday paid subscriptions fell below the 100,000 mark in the first quarter of this year, while its paid digital subscriptions rose more comfortably above the 100,000 mark. Bottom line: The Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones, as Don Seiffert reports at the BBJ. The good news is that the digital side is thriving. The bad news is the profitable side isn’t.


Elizabeth Warren even has plan to fix comedian’s love life

She’s proposed a plan to fix most everything else in America. So why not help fix comedian Ashley Nicole Black’s romantic life? Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has the details on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s funny response to Black’s desperate call for love-life help. File under: “Ask Beth, II.”

Btw: There’s no love loss here, via WBUR: “Years Ago, Warren And Biden Battled Over Bankruptcy. Their Fight Still Defines A Party Rift.”

Boston Magazine

‘Getting people the behavioral health care they need’

Speaking of the senior senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III jointly pen an opinion piece at the Globe calling for behaviorial health care for all – as the law currently demands.

Boston Globe

Was Baker really honoring Confederate soldiers in Memorial Day proclamation?

Callie Crossley at WGBH laments the emotional divide over the Martha’s Vineyard statue of a Union soldier – with a controversial plaque at the back honoring Confederate soldiers. But what caught out attention was her passing remark about the “tension around Gov. Charlie Baker’s Memorial Day proclamation honoring both Union and Confederate soldiers.” You decide, via a Facebook page of the proclamation apparently posted by an island Democrat. To us, it reads like a statement of historic fact that the Memorial Day holiday started when both sides in the Civil War honored their dead, not the governor honoring the dead on both sides.


Shut down, again: Pilgrim poised to go out with a whimper

How fitting. With just 10 days left in its operating life, Pilgrim Station Nuclear Plant experienced another unanticipated shutdown over the weekend, Christine Legere reports at the Patriot Ledger. The company that operates the plant says the shutdown was done to fix an electrical line and indications are the plant will run one more time before permanent shutdown begins May 31. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015 rated Pilgrim as the country’s worst performing plant and its current owners say they are shuttering it because it loses at least $30 million annually. File under: ‘Good riddance.’

Patriot Ledger

Advocates and state on collision course over use of Lemuel Shattuck Hospital campus

Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH reports that the planned relocation of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital from its current location just southwest of Franklin Park has sparked debate over competing visions for the post-Shattuck campus, with advocates hoping to turn it into mostly parkland and the state envisioning it being used for the chronically homeless and possibly a methadone clinic and other hard-to-site treatment services.


US Supreme Court refuses to hear corporate-donations appeal

From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The U.S. Supreme Court will not review a Massachusetts court’s decision last year upholding a state ban on corporate political donations, rejecting a request from a pair of Massachusetts businesses. Pepperell’s 1A Auto Inc. and Ashland’s 126 Self Storage Inc., with the support of the conservative nonprofit Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, had sought the review.”


Of pols and ‘pie holes’ …

We missed this one from the other day, i.e. Yvonne Abraham’s column in the Globe on Suffolk County Register of Deeds Steve Murphy’s less-than-civil demand that women “shut their pie holes” when it comes to talking about electing more female legislators and white male privilege, etc. etc. Needless to say, the comments are flying at Blue Mass Group and Universal Hub over Murphy’s latest outburst.

Gordon College plots it future amid falling enrollment and changing social views

Max Larkin at WBUR reports on the latest small college in Massachusetts to face financial troubles: Gordon College, a Christian school in Wenham that’s facing declining enrollment and a student body not always in tune with its conservative positions on social issues, such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex.


Governor to refile sexual predator bill in response to child serial-rapist ruling

Christian Wade at the Salem News reports that Gov. Charlie Baker plans to ask lawmakers once again to limit the release of sexual predators from prison, a move following last week’s ruling by the state’s highest court clearing the way for the eventual release of child serial rapist Wayne Chapman. 

Salem News

Meanwhile, Baker calls for full funding of ‘Turning 22’ disability program

From Mary Markos at the Herald: “Gov. Charlie Baker Monday pushed for full funding of the state’s ‘Turning 22’ program, an initiative he says fills a critical need by providing work and living support services for young adults with disabilities after they leave school-based special education.”

Boston Herald

Rep. Kate Hogan files legislation to create water task force

From Jeff Malachowski at MetroWest: “State Rep. Kate Hogan this week filed legislation to establish an interagency task force to tackle high levels of a hazardous chemical found in more than a dozen public water supplies across the state.” The issue at hand is higher-than-desired levels of perfluoroalkyls (PFAS) in some towns’ drinking water.

MetroWest Daily News

Retrial starts today for Darrell James in 1986 murder case

WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman and the Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan at the Globe report that the retrial of Darrell Jones, who was recently released from prison after serving 32 years for a Brockton murder he said he didn’t commit, starts today – and there are questions whether the limited evidence and fading memories of witnesses are enough for prosecutors to win a new conviction.

Off they go into the wild AI yonder …

From Lucia Maffei at the BBJ: “The U.S. Air Force plans to invest $75 million in a new initiative designed to foster discoveries in the field of artificial intelligence, under an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The discoveries brought about by the agreement, which fits into the Cambridge-based university’s larger effort to be perceived as a leader in the study of A.I., could also improve Air Force operations.”

BBJ (pay wall)

Will Congress open wallet to replace Cape Cod bridges?

Is help on the way? Federal legislation aimed at improving evacuation routes across the country could be a financial boost for long-simmering plans to upgrade or replace the two bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. The ESCAPE Act — whose co-sponsors include both Mass. senators — calls for $1 billion to be set aside for improving roadways used to get people out of the way of dangerous storms and other crises.

Cape Cod Times

Latinx research gets $1M boost from UMass-Boston donors

From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “The University of Massachusetts-Boston will use a $1 million gift to boost the research focused on Latinx communities. University officials on Monday announced the donation from Robert and Diane Hildreth, longtime supporters of Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy. Robert Hildreth is the founder of the Hildreth Institute, Inversant, and La Vida Scholars, all organizations focused on opening access to higher education.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

A ballpark for millennials: Polar Park will forgo thousands of seats for ‘room to mingle’

Who needs seats? In the latest signal they plan to break new ground with their Worcester stadium, Pawtucket Red Sox team officials are telling fans the still-being-designed Polar Park will feature only about 7,000 traditional ballpark seats but include mingling room for thousands more fans, Melissa Hanson reports at MassLive. The design tweak is a reminder the future ballpark is being aimed at a younger crowd, with PawSox President Charles Steinberg saying the room for as many as 2,500 fans to mix and mingle was made with the city’s large number of college student’s in mind. 


Confirmed: Framingham pot farm plan has Hollywood connection

It’s not quite ready to roll out the red carpet, but the city of Framingham says it will back a plan to turn part of Eastleigh Farm into a cannabis production facility that could be among the largest in the state, Jim Haddadin reports at the MetroWest Daily News. The plan — which the farm’s owners say is needed to help keep one of the last large tracts of open land in the city from being developed into housing — is from Commonwealth Farm 1691 Inc., which counts Hollywood actor Jonathan Tucker among its principals. 

Fyi: If you’re like us, you may need a reminder about Jonathan Tucker awesome body of work in Hollywood.

MetroWest Daily News

The Personal Price of Leadership: A conversation with former President of Ecuador Jamil Muhuad and Leadership Expert Professor Ronald Heifetz (HBS/HKS)

How do you decide between your family, your country and your values? Join Professor Ronald Heifetz, founding director of the Center for Public Leadership and author of “Leadership on the Line” for a conversation with former President of Ecuador Jamil Muhuad on how leaders make decisions when there are no good answers. Networking from 6:30-7:00. Discussion and questions from 7:00-8:30.

Harvard Kennedy School New England Alumni Association

Conversation in Civic Innovation: The Role of Apprenticeships in the MA Innovation Economy

Is there another path to preparing candidates for tech careers? Apprenticeships have served as a thoughtful method of workforce development in the US for decades. In Europe apprenticeships have evolved to support careers in the innovation economy. Some states in the US – South Carolina and Washington state – are thinking about how apprenticeships can help prepare more candidates for tech jobs.

District Hall

NAIOP/SIOR Mid-Year Market Roundup

Please join NAIOP and SIOR for one of the industry’s premier market forecasts. Explore the drivers and market fundamentals behind the statistics, including trends, new growth areas and a general outlook for the future.

NAIOP Massachusetts & SIOR New England

Old North Speaker Series: James Farrell – The Child Independence is Born

Did the Revolution begin with the writs of assistance trial? To answer that question, we will review the purpose and function of writs of assistance within the political, legal, and economic environment of colonial Massachusetts, and discuss the constitutional dispute over writs of assistance in the 1761 trial.

Old North Foundation

NAIOP Bus Tour – The Science of Success: Today’s Development DNA

Jump on board the NAIOP Bus Tour to observe, identify and analyze some of the most exciting office, multifamily, lab and mixed-use developments in Waltham, Watertown, Newton and Needham!

NAIOP Massachusetts

Let’s have Breakfast with Mayor Marty Walsh

Join Mayor Marty Walsh in supporting Operation ABLE, which provides training and employment services for job seekers.

Operation ABLE

Pipeline Partnerships: Early Entry into Talent Development

Pipeline Partnerships: Early Entry into Talent Development. This event is an opportunity to learn about innovative ways businesses, schools and nonprofit partners are working together to educate and prepare a skilled future workforce. Featured Speaker is Rosalin Acosta, Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development.

Apprentice Learning

MSDC Advocacy Day

Please join the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) in celebrating the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and learn about critical policies and funding that will help them to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives at the 6th annual MDSC Advocacy Day on Thursday, June 6 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in front of the Grand Staircase in the Massachusetts State House.

Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC)

Today’s Headlines


After 84 years, Suffolk Downs says goodbye to live horse racing – WGBH

Saugus bans polystyrene – Lynn Item


18 companies submit proposals to open marijuana businesses in Springfield – MassLive

Eagle Mill project gets boost with $6 million federal tax credit – Berkshire Eagle

Watchdog: Time to clean house at Mass. Gaming Commission – Boston Herald


Some Illinois Republicans are rallying around a bill that would kick blue Chicago out of the state – Washington Post

Cohen: Trump’s attorney urged false testimony – Politico

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