Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Hand-held car phones, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts Annual Meeting, Maple Room, 2nd Level, Wachusett Mountain, 499 Mountain Road, Princeton, 9:30 a.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission meets to review the commission’s fiscal 2020 budget, a Plainridge Park Casino quarterly report and Encore Boston matters pertaining to marketing, tourism, and diversity, 101 Federal Street, 12th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— The Senate meets in a formal session, planning to take up its version of legislation requiring hands-free use of mobile devices while driving, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.

Joint Committee on Financial Services will consider 17 bills related to health care, including legislation that would require insurance providers to report more information about how they determine benefits to help enforce parity, Room 222, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka delivers remarks and receives an award at the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health Friend and Leader Dinner, Seaport Hotel, 1 Seaport Lane, 5:30 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

Galvin’s office rejects DiMasi’s post-prison bid to lobby on Beacon Hill

The Globe’s Matt Stout and Andrea Estes report that Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office has rejected former House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s application to lobby on Beacon Hill, citing his past conviction on public corruption charges. The move may spark a “a potentially precedent-setting fight with the convicted felon over what he says is his ‘constitutional right’ to peddle influence on Beacon Hill.”

Boston Globe

DeLeo: Delaying paid-leave tax ‘very very doubtful’ (for now)

Many in the business community, as well as some others, are not going to like this: SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that House Speaker Robert DeLeo is throwing cold water on the idea of lawmakers voting this week, as Gov. Charlie Baker has suggested, on delaying the employer paid-leave tax for another three months. Not that it can’t be passed next week or the week afterward, etc., assuming it’s still bureaucratically possible to delay the tax. The new tax is supposed to start July 1. We’ll see.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Health panel takes aim at mysterious drug-pricing middlemen

The Health Policy Commission isn’t the only one wanting to know a little more about the “Pharmacy benefits managers” who are reportedly making millions by acting as middlemen in prescription drug purchases, as SHNS Katie Lannan (pay wall) and CommonWealth’s Andy Metzgerreport. Gov. Charlie Baker has also called for more transparency rules for “PBMs,” and frankly we’d like to know more too. Their institutional usefulness is a mystery to us, sort of the way liquor wholesalers are a mystery to us.

National group launches ad campaign supporting Baker’s drug-pricing plan

Speaking of prescription-drug prices, the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports that a national political group, Patients for Affordable Drugs, has launched a social-media and online ad campaign in support of Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to rein in prescription drug prices within the state’s Medicaid program. The blitz is ultimately aimed at Beacon Hill lawmakers now debating various drug-pricing bills at the State House.

What is Marty’s endorsement game plan?

Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday served as Joe Biden’s personal tour guide in Boston yesterday, but, even though he’s clearly a big Joe fan, the mayor isn’t saying who he’ll support in the Democratic presidential race in 2020. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Milton Valancia have the non-detail details of the mayor’s endorsement balancing act between Biden and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

We’ll venture a not-so-bold guess why Walsh hasn’t yet endorsed Biden over Warren: He’s wants to wait and see how things develop. Such as whether Biden’s campaign will implode, as it has in his previous runs for president, over matters such as plagiarism, which has reared its ugly head again for Biden, as a three-reporter Globe team reports.

Warren’s two-front battle against Biden and Bernie

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday launched an attack on former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner in the Dem primary for president, over Biden’s past vote on federal abortion funding, reports the AP at the Globe. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Warren and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are increasingly diverging in tone, style and substance as they both seek the coveted progressive vote in the Dem contest. Warren appears to be making some gains as a result of her policy-of-the-day pronouncements, as the Times reports.

House overwhelmingly approves union-backed ‘Janus bill’ – with GOP support

Passage of the bill wasn’t a surprise. But Republican support for the bill was a surprise. CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger reports on the House’s overwhelming vote to approve the so-called “Janus bill” – and why Republican lawmakers supported the union-backed measure. 


Is Somerville’s mayor on Team Buttigieg?

Back to the endorsement game: Et tu, Curtatone? While he stopped short of an outright endorsement, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is pumping up presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, calling his fellow mayor “pretty impressive” and saying the two spoke when Buttigieg first took the helm in South Bend, Indiana, Marie Szaniszlo reports at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Historic Jacob Wirth could become … a sports bar?

For a brief moment there, we thought someone was poised to save the now shuttered Jacob Wirth restaurant and beer hall on Stuart Street. Wrong. Turns out the new owners want to turn into a sports bar, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin. As Adam notes: “No more piano singalongs.”

Universal Hub

Getting results: Amherst High drops prison labor contract after student expose deal

You could say they tore the cover off this story. Amherst High School says it has ended a contract that had prison labor reupholstering auditorium seating after the deal was revealed by student journalists, Greta Jochem reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Students spent three months researching the piece and just a day after it was published, Superintendent Michael Morris announced the district was cutting ties with the prison-labor vendor. 

Greenfield Gazette

Trials and tribulations: Fall River mayor gets election challenge and a court date

Will it be a do-over in Fall River? School board member Paul Coogan has filed nomination papers to run for mayor in November, the first challenger to step forward after Mayor Jasiel Correia survived a recall election this spring, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News. Coogan finished second to Correia in the March recall election that was sparked by a federal indictment against Correia related to his private company.

Meanwhile, the Herald News also reports that Correia’s day in federal court is inching closer, with a pretrial conference scheduled for June 25 and with attorneys saying in filings they expect a trial to last no more than two weeks. 

Herald News

Boston City Council urges T to push ahead with North-South rail tunnel

From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “Boston’s City Council is encouraging the state to chug forward with two major long-discussed MBTA infrastructure projects: The North-South Rail Link and the Red-Blue connector. The council will hold hearings about the rail link, a large project that would create a tunnel under downtown to fill the gap between Commuter Rail and Amtrak lines between South Station and North Station.”

So who’s going to pay for Big Dig II? Pike and Tobin tollpayers again? Btw: The T still has a $21 million deficit it has to overcome, according to SHNS (pay wall). Just pointing it out.

GateHouse Media’s version of ‘shock’ journalism

Media critic Dan Kennedy at WGBH lists all the recent layoff and consolidation moves by GateHouse Media, the nationwide chain that owns more than 100 newspapers in Greater Boston, and he doesn’t sound optimistic that the seemingly unremitting bad news will end anytime soon.


UMass’s ‘selective accountability’ problem

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that a recent Pioneer Institute study blaming UMass president Marty Meehan et gang for UMass-Boston’s financial woes may have been curiously timed. But that doesn’t mean the report was wrong in accusing Meehan et gang of scapegoating others for the university’s problems, she writes.

Boston Globe

Pay to stay (away): UMass Amherst urges commuting amid housing crunch

  Speaking of UMass: With planned dorm projects still years away, UMass Amherst is urging students to find off-campus housing for the upcoming fall semester and is offering students a $1,000 discount on future campus housing as an incentive to stay away, Matt Berg reports via MassLive. So far, just seven students have taken up the school’s offer. 


The medical biometrics side of sports gambling …

The Globe’s Andy Rosen has an interesting piece on a debate over whether legalized sports betting will eventually lead to gamblers using real-time medical biometric data of athletes when placing bets, such as whether a place kicker is truly cool, calm and collected when getting ready for a game-deciding field goal attempt, based on his heart beat, etc.

We have our doubts about whether this is as a big deal as some might think. The simple solution is not to allow real-time biometric-data monitoring in the first place, though, as we all know, where there’s a will there’s a way when it comes to cheating in sports.

Eversource: Let us tap into your home for energy

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on a new Eversource energy-efficiency program that would basically pay certain customers to let the utility to tap into their surplus energy – such as energy in battery storage devices – so it can zip the power onto the regional electric grid for use by others. Or at least we think that’s how it works. Bruce explains.


Natick’s World War II Museum commemorates D-Day

Today is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings during World War II. There are a lot of great stories out there about the sad commemoration and the even sadder fact that so few D-Day veterans are around these days to mark the historic anniversary. 

But instead of reading about D-Day, Amanda Beland at WGBH reports that people can also visit the International Museum of World War II in Natick, where they have a new exhibit showcasing artifacts from the Normandy Invasions, including original uniforms, guns, equipment, propaganda posters, as well as personal GI diaries, letters and photos. The exhibit will remain open until December.


‘Straight Pride Parade’: Is it a joke or a joke?

As Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell reported the other day, the Internet has been ablaze with those mocking the proposed “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston. But a New York Times story this morning reports that one of the parade’s organizers is effectively saying critics should lighten up and that it’s all a light-hearted joke. The Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus doesn’t think it’s a joking matter, that’s for sure, as Steph Solisreports at MassLive. Btw: The ‘straight’ parade has yet to receive a city permit.

Kennedy and Moulton file keyless-ignition bill after deaths of UMass and MIT academics

U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy III and Seth Moulton have filed legislation that would require automatic-shutoff times for keyless-ignition cars, following the tragic deaths of former interim UMass president Sherry Penney and her retired MIT professor husband James Livingston, reports the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss. The couple recently died from carbon monoxide inhalation after their car with a keyless ignition kept running in their Florida garage. 

Boston Globe

Massport sues car-sharing firm over Logan auto rentals

From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The car-sharing service Turo Inc. is illegally offering rental vehicles at Logan International Airport without the permission of Massachusetts authorities and without charging the taxes and fees that other rental-car companies must collect from customers, according to a new lawsuit.” The company was founded in Boston and even received some prize money from MassChallenge, before moving to San Francisco, so we see no reason for Massport to show mercy.


Comptroller of the Currency: Boston church stamping $20 bills with Harriet Tubman’s face

From Universal Hub: “Hope Central Church on Seaverns Avenue in Jamaica Plain isn’t waiting for the current administration to be voted out: The RReligion News Service reports the church has gotten an ink stamp of (Harriet) Tubman’s profile and is using it on $20 bills.” They say their stamp is legal.

Farming While Black

Join award-winning author, activist, farmer, and co-founder of @soulfirefarm Leah Penniman for a discussion of her new book “Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Guide to Liberation on the Land”. Penniman will share highlights from her book, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Food from @freshfoodgeneration is included courtesy of Boston Medical Center. All proceeds benefit @ufiboston.

Urban Farming Institute

Agrus Enterprise Training

This one day course is designed for new-to-intermediate users of ARGUS Enterprise or anyone who will be responsible for entering leases, budgets, market assumptions or valuation and yield parameters on a repetitive basis.

NAIOP Massachusetts

31st Annual Charitable Golf Tournament Benefiting Heading Home

Join us for NAIOP’s 31st Anniversary Golf Tournament at The International! If you haven’t played there yet, it is a golfer’s paradise that features two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, including The Pines, designed by Robert Trent Jones.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christine M. DeLucia

History professor and author Christine M. DeLucia will speak about her recent book, Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast.

State Library of Massachusetts

Launching Young Leaders: An Intensive Workshop

For CRE professionals with less than five years business experience.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Suffrage Centennial Kick-Off Celebration

Kicking off a year of commemorations celebrating 100 years since the 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920, enabling women to vote.

The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts and The Greater Boston Women’s Vote

Today’s Headlines


Developers unveil vision for parcels on Morrissey Blvd – Dorchester Reporter

For the first time, Boston saw 10,000 Bluebikes rides in one day – Boston Magazine


Hate crimes down last year in Worcester, according to police – Telegram & Gazette

Wrentham joins plastic bag bandwagon – Sun Chronicle

Rafters closing in Amherst to make way for pot shop – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Pelosi tells Dems she wants to see Trump ‘in prison’ – Politico

Biden faces first crisis as frontrunner – The Hill

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