Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Senate budget and more

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets with an agenda that includes votes on matters related to Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, including an alcohol license and a summary of material changes since design approval, detailed construction timeline, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

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

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Kate Hogan, Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Debra Robbin, advocates and other elected officials launch “RespectFULLY,” a statewide public awareness and prevention campaign to promote healthy relationships to young people, Room 157, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Ureña, Major General Gary Keefe and Lt. Colonel Jason Oberton to present the Massachusetts National Guard Medal of Liberty to the families of fifteen fallen service members, Memorial Hall, 1 p.m.

— More than 600 volunteers supporting the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund will begin assembling the 10th annual Memorial Day flag garden, placing more than 37,000 American flags on Boston Common to honor fallen military members from the Revolutionary War through the present., with Attorney General Maura Healey participating, Boston Common, 1 p.m.

— Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 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

Never mind: MGM pulls out of talks to buy Everett casino amid mounting local criticism

Score one for the locals. MGM Resorts has suddenly folded in its attempt to buy the soon-to-open Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, saying that it has pulled out of talks with Wynn Resorts and that it was troubled by the “anxiety raised by various stakeholders” regarding a possible deal, reports the Globe’s Mark Arsenault and Joshua Miller.

And who might those anxiety-ridden various stakeholders be? Among them Everett Mayor Carlo Demaria, who sounded more angry than anxiety ridden when he pronounced in a Herald piece before last night’s MGM decision that “enough is enough” and that he’d never go along with a deal. And then there was Gov. Charlie Baker, who also pronounced yesterday that no deal was possible without local support in Everett and Springfield, where MGM owns the recently opened MGM Springfield casino, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive.

The Globe’s Jon Chesto has a good piece about how the financial numbers actually worked in MGM’s favor if it had successfully pushed ahead with a deal. In the end, though, it was all about politics, Chesto writes.

‘What’s next? Elephants…talking otters…live wrastlin’?’

We got a kick out of how the Everett Independent reported the news on Twitter last night that MGM was pulling out of talks to buy Encore Boston Harbor: “What’s next? Elephants…talking otters…live wrastlin’?” EI tweet via Universal Hub.

Everett Independent (Twitter)

Debate over: Oak Bluffs to remove controversial Confederate plaques

They’re gone. After months of tense debate that culminated in an hours-long public forum, the select board in Oak Bluffs has voted unanimously to remove two Confederate-friendly plaques from a public war memorial and donate them to a local museum, Brian Dowd reports at the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The local NAACP chapter had asked in March for the town to relocate the plaques, arguing they were too complimentary to the Confederacy and caused confusion because they were attached to a statue of a Union soldier.

Martha’s Vineyard Times

Just build them: State study backs new Canal bridges

They’re in. The Mass. Department of Transportation backs the replacement of the existing bridges over the Cape Cod Canal with new structures more than three times wider, allowing for more vehicle travel lanes as well as bike and pedestrian access, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. DOT issued a draft report based on a five-year study of traffic patterns that not only backs the bridge replacements — which would require federal funding — but a slew of local roadway projects that come under state jurisdiction.

Cape Cod Times

Data dump controversy, Part III: Compressor opponents given two extra days to review surprise DEP documents

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “As controversy swirls over new air quality testing data introduced into an appeal hearing at the last minute, the case’s presiding officer has granted parties challenging a natural gas compressor station’s permit additional (days) to review the new information.” The overseer, Jane Rothchild, is not exactly happy with DEP’s surprise documents dump last week and has threatened the agency with sanctions. 

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Democratic Party is jumping into the fray, knocking the Baker administration’s handling of air quality tests at the proposed natural-gas compressor site in Weymouth, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The Senate budget debate: Closing the viewing gallery, funding for nursing homes and more

The AP’s Bob Salsberg at the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a good overview piece of the ongoing Senate debate over a proposed $42.7 million state budget, including calls for more funds for nursing homes and education.

In a somewhat controversial move, the Senate yesterday closed a portion of the chamber’s viewing gallery, fearing protests by students who have vowed to “escalate” their pressure on lawmakers to boost funding for higher education, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). Young also has a separate paywall story on how senators have followed the House’s lead by voting to raise the fees that are used to fund the popular Community Preservation Act.

Meanwhile, Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports how lawmakers, both in the Senate and House, are weeding out major public-policy issues within state budget proposals. It’s all about efficient use of time, they say. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Sounding the abortion-rights alarm

The recent moves to restrict abortions in Alabama and Missouri have sparked political and legislative action here in Massachusetts.

Steve Brown at WBUR reports that hundreds of protesters rallied yesterday outside the State House in solidarity with those opposing anti-abortion actions in other states. The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that the abortion controversy is boosting efforts inside the State House to pass new sex-education legislation to counter misinformation about pregnancies, among other things. And Christian Wade at the Salem News reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan are among those sounding the alarm about the loss of abortion rights.

Feds now heading up probe into anti-Jewish arson fires in Arlington and Needham

From the Globe’s Travis Anderson: “Federal prosecutors are now heading up the investigation into three recent arson fires at Jewish centers in Arlington and Needham that shocked both towns and prompted a massive solidarity rally Monday night. ‘The US Attorney is the lead on this investigation,’ said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fire Services, via e-mail, adding that ‘the investigation continues apace with sizable resources.’”

Boston Globe

Revere’s last synagogue prepares to close

Speaking of the local Jewish community, Revere was once home to a thriving Jewish-immigrant population, hosting at one point three temples. But the last synagogue in the city, Temple B’nai Israel, is closing on Friday, a victim, ultimately, of changing demographics, reports the Globe’s Daniel Grant.

Boston Globe

As Seth Moulton channels John McCain in New Hampshire …

Fred Thys at WBUR reports that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who recent polls show has percentage-wise zero support in his bid for president, is trying make veterans and his U.S. Marine background the centerpiece of his campaign in New Hampshire. “What I’m trying to do is steadily build grassroots support from the ground up, and it’s a model that’s been used successfully here in New Hampshire by John McCain,” Moulton says.


… another potential candidate eyes Moulton’s congressional seat in Massachusetts

Now there are four.  The Globe’s James Pindell and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that Angus McQuilken, a longtime activist against gun violence and now working in the life sciences sector, is the latest to eye a possible run in the state’s Sixth Congressional District, now that incumbent U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has his eyes set on the White House. Others looking at running for the seat, whether Moulton runs for re-election or not in the district, are former U.S. Rep. John Tierney, ex-Sen. Barbara L’Italien and state Rep. Lori Ehrlich.

Walsh says only three Dems have a realistic chance of beating Trump in 2020

Speaking of the 2020 presidential race, Mayor Marty Walsh, during a recent interview on WGBH, let it be known that he believes only three Democratic candidates can beat President Trump next year. Hint: Seth Moulton isn’t one of them. Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive has the three names, in case you don’t feel like watching the entire WGBH video.

Dunkin’ executive: It’s about donuts, not politics

This is pretty funny and it’s striking a chord out there. From Jaclyn Reiss at the Globe: “A Dunkin’ official told a room full of academics that the company strives to market itself as apolitical — and a tweet about that seemed to resonate with many. “We are not Starbucks, we aren’t political — we aren’t gonna put stuff on our cups to start conversations,” said Drayton Martin, the vice president of Dunkin’ brand stewardship, according to a tweet from Alexandra J. Roberts, an associate professor at University of New Hampshire School of Law. “We don’t want to engage you in political conversation, we want to get you in and out of our store in seconds. It’s donuts and ice cream — just be happy.”

Any arguments?

Boston Globe

Wanted: Miracle worker. Apply to Hampshire College

Hampshire College says it has formally begun the search for its next permanent president, who would be the fourth person to lead the financially struggling school in just over a year, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. The liberal arts school made no bones about the job being a tough one, saying it was a president who can “accreditors, donors, partners, and all our constituents” that the school is going to be around for the long haul. No easy task after week of negative headlines including job cuts and a deep slash in enrollment likely to exacerbate the red ink situation.


Boston Calling pot heads, beware: Cops will be clamping down on toking this weekend

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Alexi Cohan report police are planning to clamp down on pot smokers at this weekend’s Boston Calling festival, with critics citing, of all things and among other things, the dangers of second hand smoke and lack of proper permits, even though retail pot has been legal in Massachusetts since late last year.

Speaking of marijuana clamp downs, Universal Hub reports that regulators are steaming over pot-infused dinner invites by a Chinatown restaurant.

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Senate weighs no-interest loans for minority marijuana businesses

While police and regulators crack down on errant pot ingestion in Boston, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that state senators on Beacon Hill are taking the first step toward creating a new no-interest loan program to help pot entrepreneurs to open businesses in socially-disadvantaged neighborhoods. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy, is leading the charge.


BPS milestone: New schools in East Boston and Chinatown and other changes

The Globe’s James Vaznis reports that BPS officials believe they’ve “reached significant milestones” in addressing the problem of Boston’s aging school buildings. Among other things, the city has acquired, or is acquiring, land in East Boston and Chinatown for new schools, while planning to add sixth grade classes at 17 elementary schools.

Boston Globe

They’re off (for good): Suffolk Downs bids farewell to horse racing

Speaking of institutional demises, Tori Bedford at WGBH reports on the final days of horse racing at Suffolk Downs, before the barns are torn down later this summer for a planned mega-mixed-use development. Long-time jockey Tammi Piermarini is among those mourning the end of horse racing in East Boston and “Yes! Girl power!” Bedford explains.


Low-profile judge, high-profile controversy

The Globe’s Maria Cramer takes a look at state Judge Shelley Joseph, the once low-profile state judge who’s now a high-profile suspended judge after her federal indictment on charges of obstructing justice for allegedly helping an immigrant escape detention by ICE agents. Among her defenders: State Rep. David Linsky, a longtime neighbor who says she’s just a normal resident and parent.

Boston Globe

Northampton eyes sweeping changes to local elections

Northampton would allow voting in local elections starting at age 16 and embrace ranked-choice voting if the city council agrees with recommendations being put forward by the Charter Review Committee, Dusty Christensen reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Members of the committee said taken together with other measures – including allowing absentee voting without a reason and mailing a ballot to every registered voter in the city — the package of reforms would put the city known for its progressive politics way out in front of the pack. 

Northampton might be at the front of the progressive pack on the one, yes. But not in front of average Americans, who overwhelmingly — and we’re talking uber-overwhelmingly — oppose giving 16 years old the vote, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. We can’t imagine why parents would object to their 16 year olds voting on school policies and raising property taxes. Can you?


The keys to ‘Tommy’s House’ are handed over to Springfield veteran and his family

This is definitely the feel-good story of the day. In memory of U.S. Marine Corps. Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, an entire house – “Tommy’s House,” to be specific – was donated yesterday to a National Guard member and his family, courtesy of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive. Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno took part in the backyard celebration in Springfield.


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


Cops will actively cite pot smokers at Boston Calling – Boston Herald

Boston proposes expansions at 17 schools and changes for two middle schools – WBUR


Springfield councilors accuse mayor Sarno of bias in Club Aquarius crackdown – MassLive

Newton’s first recreational marijuana shop has an opening date – Newton Patch

Pot retailer purchases Route 9 building in Framingham for $3 million – Worcester Business Journal


Draft IRS memo says Congress should get Trump tax returns unless executive privilege is invoked – Washington Post

Amash won’t rule out libertarian challenge to Trump – The Hill

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