MBTA meeting, new hemp coalition, and more
— Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and other elected officials attend a ceremony marking the completion of The Watson, a 140-unit apartment building funded by MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative, The Watson, 116 East Howard St., Quincy, 9 a.m.
— The Joint Committee on Education will take up 23 bills concerning transportation, regional schools and vocational-technical schools, Room A-1, 10 a.m.
— Emerging Adults in the Criminal Justice System Task Force co-chairs Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Paul Tucker host a presentation by the chief justices of different Massachusetts courts, who will share their perspectives on possible effects of changes to laws regarding those between the ages of 18 and 24, Room 428, 10 a.m.
— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board hosts its weekly meeting, where members will discuss plans to seek an independent review of the system’s safety in the wake of a Red Line derailment, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— A recently-formed coalition of Massachusetts hemp businesses, advocates, industry leaders, academics, health care providers and consumers will hold a press conference to discuss recent hemp-releated restrictions announced by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, State House front steps, 2 p.m.
— House Speaker Robert DeLeo delivers the keynote address at Suffolk University’s Local Government and Leadership and Management Certificate program graduation, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, 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.
All in: Crowds arrive, traffic doesn’t as Encore Boston debuts
The front door is open and, if things go according to plan, it will never close. After years of anticipation, Encore Boston Harbor debuted Sunday, drawing massive crowds to the banks of the Mystic River with its Vegas-like opulence. By virtually all accounts, the casino’s opening was a smooth one, as Armageddon-style warnings about traffic congestion helped keep traffic woes to a minimum, Andy Metzger reports in CommonWealth magazine.
Not surprisingly, local media had wall-to-wall coverage of the $2.6 billion resort’s coming out party. Spencer Buell of Boston Magazine has details on the massive Popeye statue — it’s for sale — and the lobster rolls, which can run as much as $68.
Jacqueline Tempera and Steph Solis of MassLive spoke to those who waited in line ahead of the opening, including a Quincy resident who showed up 17 hours early and who has a track record of being first in line at major area openings. And the Globe’s Mark Arsenault and WGBH’s Tori Bedford both provide tick-tock style stories on the opening and those who came to see it on day one.
Will Encore Boston Harbor one day have its very own Wayne Newton and Celine Dion?
Maybe Neil Diamond will still be around when this becomes reality? From Joshua Miller at the Globe: “City leaders and Wynn Resorts executives said this weekend’s opening of the glittering $2.6 billion, 671-room Encore Boston Harbor casino resort is probably just the beginning of something even bigger: a massive hotel and entertainment complex on a once grim and heavily polluted stretch of the Mystic River.”
The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock has more on a possible “entertainment mecca” along the Mystic River. Fyi: Las Vegas Weekly lists the top 25 greatest headliners in Las Vegas history. We missed its No. 1, but we didn’t miss Wayne and Celine.
Seeing red: T says Red Line will be slowed until fall
Months, not weeks? The MBTA said Friday that slowdowns on the Red Line are likely to continue until at least early September as the agency scrambles to fix signal issues caused by the JFK/UMass station derailment, Travis Anderson reports in the Globe. The revelation–which, true to form, came late on a Friday before a summer weekend–is likely to increase pressure on the T’s oversight board as a planned July 1st fare increase grows ever-closer.
The Red Line debacle is apparently the last straw for former secretary of transportation Jim Aloisi, who writes in CommonWealth that the time has come for Gov. Charlie Baker to drop his no-new revenue stance, demonstrate some political leadership and help the T get the resources it needs.
Pass the smelling salts: AIM and ELM actually working together on cap-and-trade deal
Pigs fly, man bites dog, hell freezes over. And, yes, the Environmental League of Massachusetts and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the influential environmental and business groups that are usually at each other’s throats, are working together on a deal for a cap-and-trade system for transportation fuels, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto, in a piece headlined: “It’s true: Environmental and business groups are on the same page.”
Raising expectations? Warren’s prowess on debate stage about to get big test
Now they’ve done it. Just as the political conventional wisdom had embraced the idea that Elizabeth Warren had a golden opportunity to shine in the ‘kid’s table’ version of the debut Democratic debate, Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin at the Globe have raised the bar even higher for her performance on Wednesday night, reporting the senator has been a standout debater since the age of 16 and suggesting her prep will be exhaustive.
Meanwhile, Warren rolled out her latest policy proposal on Friday, saying she’d redo the phase-out of private, for-profit prisons that President Obama put in place before President Trump rolled it back. Alex Thompson of Politico has the details. But the policy rollout that may most impact Warren this week may come from rival progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, who says he and several co-sponsors will file legislation aimed at erasing all outstanding student loan debt in the country–to the tune of $1.6 trillion, Rebecca Falconer of Axios reports.
Wellfleet selectwoman pledges $1M of her own money to help town buy tidal flats
She put her money where her mouth was. Wellfleet Select Board member Helen Miranda Wilson has been revealed as the previously anonymous donor of $1 million to the town’s efforts to purchase some 200 acres of tidal flats as protection for local shellfishermen, Mary Ann Bragg reports at the Cape Cod Times.
Alarmed at leftward drift of Democratic party, former New Bedford mayor eyes U.S. Senate bid
Former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang, a self-described “centrist” Democrat who says he’s worried about the leftward drift of the Democratic Party, is mulling a challenge to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who Lang says is pushing unrealistic policies like the Green New Deal, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.
Jack Spillane at South Coast Today has more on Lang, who Spillane reports isn’t against progressive ideas per se but instead is “worried that Democrats have emphasized those things to the exclusion of the stuff everyday people are worried about, like jobs, health care, fair wages.”
Governor’s Council fireworks: Nominee rips board, board member rips nominee
It was apparently a rowdy Governor’s Council meeting the other day, as Springfield District Court chief prosecutor Karen McCarthy, Gov. Baker’s latest nominee for the Parole Board, openly “chastised the council at her recent confirmation hearing and openly contemplated withdrawing” amid opposition to another prosecutor serving on the Parole Board, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).
Count the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham among those who believe McCarthy’s prosecutorial background should indeed be a confirmation killer, writing the Parole Board “desperately needs someone from the other side of the system, who understands addiction, mental illness, and what it takes for parolees to be successful on the outside.”
So basic: Universal income proposal seen as long-shot in Massachusetts
Line forms to the left. The Associated Press reports via CBS Boston on a proposal to test the idea of a universal basic income with a pilot program that would give 300 residents $1,000 monthly for three years for doing absolutely nothing expect participating in the follow-up study. The AP says the bill has little chance for passage, to which we say: No kidding.
What the heck just happened in New York?
New York just finished its legislative session – and it was a banner spring for progressives, who finally seized enough control in Albany to pass a slew of bills sure to leave Massachusetts progressives green with envy. They include legislation dealing with tenant rights and rent control, climate change, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, criminal justice and campaign finance reforms, and the list goes on and on. The NYT has the tally – and how years of pent-up frustration led to this spring’s progressive juggernaut in Albany.
Two more years? Correia formally announces re-election bid in Fall River
Indicted Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia formally launched his bid for a third term in office Friday and sought to make a splash by twinning his entry into the race with a proposal to wipe out a stormwater fee that brings in $6 million a year for the city, Jo C. Goode reports in the Herald News. Correia’s federal trial on fraud charges related to a startup he ran is due to start before the ramp-up to the November election and several challengers are already in the race.
Markey to Maritime Academy: Your ship has come in
For his part, Markey grabbed some headlines of his own over the weekend after he used a graduation speech at Mass Maritime Academy to break the news that he’d secured funding for a new training ship the school has long sought. Mary Ann Bragg of the Cape Cod Times has the details on the $300 million expenditure which should be in place to train cadets within four years. Markey’s office admits the funding came in a while back, so it’s pretty clear the senator wanted the attention the announcement grabbed.
Setting the table: What comes after budget battle on Beacon Hill?
What’s next? Assuming the legislature and Gov. Baker are able to reach a compromise on next year’s budget, attention will likely turn to several hot-button issues including transportation, education and abortion, all of which could make for an interesting late summer and fall season at the State House, Mike Deehan of WGBH reports.
Million-dollar mayor: Buttigieg gets Boston bump
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttgieg has his hands full with his presidential campaign and a police-involved shooting in the Indiana city he runs. But amid it all, Buttigieg apparently found time to come to Boston Thursday and left with his hands full of cash, Stephanie Murray reports at Politico. Mayor Pete left town with a cool $1 million from two separate fundraisers in the backyard of not one but two Democratic rivals and he’ll be back before long, Murray reports.
Massachusetts joins other states in opposing Sprint/T-Mobile merger
From Lily Lieberman at the BBJ: “Four states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Nevada — have joined nine other states and the District of Columbia in the legal fight to block T-Mobile US Inc.’s proposed $26.5 billion merger with SprintCorp.”
In a statement, Attorney General Maura Healey said her office concluded the merger would “give the new company the power to raise prices, significantly reduce competition for customers, lower quality, and cost thousands of retail workers their jobs.”
James R. King, RIP
Ira Forman at WGBH fondly remembers long-time political advisor Jim King, who died earlier this month at his Rockport home after decades of working with local and national Democratic pols, including John, Robert and Edward Kennedy, former U.S. Sen. John Kerry and U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, among others. From Forman: “To paraphrase the tag line from the 1960s TV drama Naked City, there are 8 million hilarious and inspiring stories in American politics. James B. King stars in nearly all of them.”
Attorney General Maura Healey is pushing back against the oil-barge industry, which has sued the state over a law, implemented after a 2003 Buzzards Bay oil spill, requiring barges to be escorted by tug boats, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller. Healey says using tugboats as escorts is simply a “common-sense and cost effective way to prevent catastrophic oil spills in our waters.”
Cannabis desert? South Shore among last to see recreational marijuana
Not in my region? With 21 recreational marijuana shops now open in the Bay State, one of the biggest remaining gaps in coverage is the South Shore, where advocates say a not-in-my-backyard movement has made it challenging for would-be cannabis entrepreneurs to set up shop, Joe DiFazio reports at the Patriot Ledger.
About that state flag …
Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports that lawmakers are again considering a proposal to create a commission to deal with our glorious state flag, the one depicting a sword hanging ominously over the head of a Native American. Our humble suggestion: Just take out the sword.
Getting to the Point on Education Reform in the Commonwealth
State and local leaders will discuss the challenges posed by the current state education funding formula and proposals for reform that meet the needs of students and families throughout 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.
Co-Creating Our Future: Examining Environmental Justice in Boston
Are you interested in learning more about, and contributing to, strategic work around environmental justice being done by Boston’s public, private, and nonprofit leaders? Impact Hub Boston invites you to join us for a look at Environmental Justice in Boston.
Is anyone listening? How PR Pros Respond to Reporters & Build Relationships
Learn how to become a source for the media and solidify relationships. What are reporters going through in the current media environment and how PR pros can help them succeed.
The Ethics of Public Memory: Professional Development for Educators
In this half-day professional development workshop, explore a unique way to teach about the Civil War, racism, and slavery while considering how perception and public memory evolves over time. Learn from teachers who have used the curriculum and plan a student-centered civic project to reimagine a memorial or monument.
Queer Academics & Activism – reception
Friday – June 28 at 10 a.m. Brandeis University hosts a free reception at the Mandel Center for Humanities to celebrate the work of teens attending the first in the nation offering of Queer Academics & Activism. The teens will be joined by college staff, course faculty and Brandeis supporters. All welcome.
Greater Mattapan Meeting with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
Congresswoman Pressley is excited to partner with the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council in hosting an event geared towards directly listening to and engaging with Mattapan residents.
Massachusetts Young Republican Biennial Convention
Join the Massachusetts Young Republicans as we host our biennial convention!
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