Legislative hearings, Brockton in mourning, and more
— The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security reviews more than three dozen law enforcement and training bills, including a proposal to give Boston Police concurrent jurisdiction with the State Police on Massport-owned streets in the Seaport, Room B-1, 9 a.m.
— Joint Committee on Mental Health reviews 19 bills related to trauma, children’s mental health and quality of care at a Substance Use and Recovery hearing, Room A-1, 10 a.m.
— Gaming Policy Advisory Committee meets and is expected to discuss last month’s opening of Encore Boston Harbor, a possible casino in southeastern Massachusetts and horse racing, Room 222, 10 a.m.
— House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight reviews a recent Health Policy Commission report titled ‘Cracking Open the Black Box of Pharmacy Benefit Managers,’ Room A-1, 11 a.m.
— Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, who died July 3 at the age of 62, lies in state in the Brockton City Hall Rotunda, 45 School St., Brockton, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
— Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins and Encore Boston Harbor president Robert DeSalvio are guests on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 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.
Vineyard Wind project blown off course by feds and town
Just when you thought it was all systems go. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Vineyard Wind, the company seeking to build a large wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, faced some uncertainty on Wednesday after federal regulators said they wouldn’t be taking action Friday on a key environmental approval as had been expected. The company posted a statement on its website downplaying the significance of the action, but industry officials said the news was concerning.”
Meanwhile, Rich Saltzberg at the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports on yet another setback for Vineyard Wind: “The Edgartown conservation commission, in a 5-1 vote, has denied a permit for cables that would pass through the Muskeget Channel. … Vineyard Wind and their consultants, Epsilon, appeared stunned after the vote. No one from the contingent would comment on the decision.”
Pressley: Pelosi’s attacks are getting ‘demoralizing’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday kept up her attacks on the “squad” – the foursome of Congressional newbies that includes U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley – and warned that divisions with Democratic ranks only help President Trump, reports the Washington Post.
Pressley’s reaction to Pelosi’s latest salvo: “‘Thank God my mother gave me broad shoulders and a strong back. I can handle it. I’m not worried about me,’ said Pressley, who called Pelosi’s comments ‘demoralizing.’ ‘I am worried about the signal that it sends to people I speak to and for.’”
Pressley vs. Conway, Part II: ‘Distraction Becky’
Speaking of the Massachusetts congresswoman, forget about the “major meow mashup” and telling Kellyanne Conway to shut her “lying mouth,” U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s “Distraction Becky” nickname for Conway is also getting a lot of traction on social media, reports Jacqueline Tempera at MassLive. As Tempera confirms at Merriam-Webster, “Becky” is apparently an epithet for clueless white women unaware of their privilege and prejudice. … Btw: Isn’t it nice to know everything’s just swell in Washington these days?
Biden holds only 5-point lead over Warren in latest poll
Ray Kelly at MassLive has the latest good news for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s now in the process of establishing herself as the main progressive challenger to moderate Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary contest. Bernie’s hanging in there in other polls, though.
New lobbyist disclosure system creating all sorts of headaches on Beacon Hill
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “With lobbyists and their clients staring down a Monday deadline to file public disclosures for the first half of the year, a new online reporting system implemented by Secretary of State William Galvin’s office last month has been making life difficult for some influence peddlers on Beacon Hill. Multiple lobbyists told the News Service that over the course of the past week they’ve tried to input their data — including bills that they’re lobbying on, expenditures for clients and campaign contributions — only to be unable to save their work, have the system crash or see their data erased. “
Hi, we’re from the government. … Is that a CBD product over there?
The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that state and local regulators are starting to pay visits to area farmers and retailers, telling them to remove hemp-derived cannabidiol items from shelves etc. and leaving vendors of CBD products “in a state of turmoil.”
The munchies dividend? Meals tax revenue on the rise in marijuana cities
Hungry hipsters? Two Pioneer Valley communities that were among the first in the state to host recreational marijuana shops report bumps in their meals tax collections since those stores started hawking their pot products. Northampton saw its revenue rise nearly 10 percent in the first three months of pot sales compared to the year before, while Easthampton revenue spiked 23 percent to a record high, Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Officials aren’t ready to draw a straight line between the trends, but say they are buoyed as some were worried last fall’s opening of the MGM Springfield would actually divert restaurant income away from the cities.
His star is no longer rising at Harvard …
Roland G. Fryer Jr., a prominent Harvard economist, has been suspended for two years and his lab shut down following an investigation by the university into allegations by multiple women of sexual harassment, according to reports by the Globe’s Michael Levenson and the New York Times. Fryer, who was considered a rising star at Harvard, had previously been the subject of several concurrent investigations by the university.
Meanwhile, accused sex predator Epstein has given millions to Harvard, including the Hasty Pudding Club
Speaking of Harvard, Max Larkin at WBUR reports on the millions of dollars that Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier now accused of sex trafficking young girls, has donated over the years to Harvard, MIT and other Cambridge groups, including no-laughing-matter funds to the Hasty Pudding Club.
Moulton: ‘Nearly 20 women have told us the president is a sexual predator’
Speaking of alleged sexual predators, from a tweet by U.S. Rep. (and presidential candidate) Seth Moulton: “Nearly 20 women have told us the president is a sexual predator. I believe them. Now there’s allegedly a video that proves what we already know. What will it take for an impeachment proceeding to begin?”
Joe Kennedy: The canary in the impeachment coal mine?
And speaking of impeachment, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi reports that U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy has sort of become the “canary in the coal mine of Democratic politics” – and if even he’s starting to tilt in favor of launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump, then it must be getting politically serious, both for him and the president. Joan explains.
ACLU sues state over sharing RMV photo database with FBI and ICE
The Baker administration says it’s only sharing driver’s license and other state-issued ID photos with the FBI and ICE on a “case by case” basis. But the Massachusetts ACLU is effectively saying au contraire — and it’s now suing the state, alleging that widespread photo sharing is happening and unconstitutional. Tori Bedford at WGBH has the details.
Baker’s new safety bill calls for more data from ride-sharing firms like Uber
From Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR: “The Baker administration wants to collect more data on ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft and impose strict new penalties on drivers who stalk riders or share their accounts with unauthorized individuals. The legislation Gov. Charlie Baker filed Wednesday builds on the 2016 ride-hailing law, which implemented some of the country’s strongest background checks on drivers. “
It could have happened here: Amazon HQ2 is wreaking havoc with Virginia’s housing market
Home speculators. Rising rents. Skyrocketing property values. Amazon hasn’t even broken ground yet on its new second headquarters in northern Virginia – but it’s already upending the housing market there, reports the New York Times. Just think: It could have happened here – and it proves we won by losing the HQ2 sweepstakes.
Too much too soon? Gloucester says its plastic straw ban needs tinkering
Drink up –for now. Gloucester has put a ban on plastic drinking straws on hold after the City Council voted to reconsider its recent approval of the policy, saying it failed to consider some impacts of the move, Ray Lamont reports at the Gloucester Times. Councilors will take a second look at the ban, including possible exemptions to cover people with disabilities and health care institutions, and pushing back the effective date of the ban beyond 2020.
DeLeo et gang huddle on transportation fixes
They’re getting an early start. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo met with the House chairmen of the ways and means, revenue and transportation committees for about two hours Wednesday morning to sketch out the broad transportation financing package expected to get a vote in the House this fall.”
New superintendent open to replacing entrance test for exam schools
From the Globe’s James Vaznis: “Boston Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, less than two weeks on the job, expressed a willingness on Wednesday to explore replacing the long-controversial admission test for the city’s exam schools, a polarizing issue that could end up in court. Cassellius made her comments on WGBH radio Wednesday afternoon in response to questions from hosts Margery Eagan and Jim Braude.”
The photoshopping of models: Can it be stopped with a tax credit?
Cristina Quinn at WGBH talks to various experts about whether a proposed new law would actually work in curbing the use of altered photos of models in advertisements. The legislation by Rep. Kay Khan and supported by a Harvard professor would award a $10,000 tax credit to some Massachusetts business if they can prove they’ didn’t airbrush out wrinkles, reduce waistlines and use other technological wonders to make models look more attractive.
Ex-Sen. Moore forfeits $90K as part of campaign-finance settlement
From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Former State Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, has agreed to pay $90,000 to resolve campaign finance violations. According to an agreement that Moore signed Tuesday with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, there were extensive discrepancies between Moore’s campaign finance disclosures and his bank account balances for a full decade, from 2008-18.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more.
Competing views on Rep. Benson’s carbon-tax legislation
The Herald’s Mary Markos reports on a new study, commissioned by the Fiscal Alliance Foundation and conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute, that concludes a proposed carbon tax in Massachusetts would have an “insignificant” impact on the environment while harming the state economy. But Marc Breslow and Jonah Kurman-Faber at CommonWealth magazine say the study of Rep. Jen Benson’s bill uses “incomplete data” and “cherry-picked findings” to arrive at its conclusions.
Boston mulls Election Day holiday … for city workers
The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports on a push by city councilors to make Election Day a paid holiday in Boston, as a way to boost recent low voter turnout, but the bill would only apply to city and public school workers, as Cotter notes. It’s obviously a well-intentioned idea. Still, here’s a thought: Wouldn’t it merely strengthen the hand of incumbents and public employees in elections, freeing them up to vote while others are not given the same option? Here’s another one: Yet another paid holiday that private sector employees don’t have?
Welcoming the guys to the fight …
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has a piece on how male lawmakers on Beacon Hill are increasingly being encouraged and recruited to help women battle for reproductive rights and other “female issues” at the State House.
Public gets early peek at new Boston Marathon bombing monument
WBUR’s Quincy Walters reports that workers were busy yesterday erecting four bronze spires that will be part of the new Boston Marathon bombing monument in the Back Bay. The Globe has photosof the monument coming together. It’s not completed yet, but it looks nice so far. Check it out.
Baker and biotechs: Strained relationship?
The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey has an update on how biotech leaders are not thrilled with Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to curb prescription drug prices paid by the state.
We found this quote from MassBio president Bob Coughlin intriguing: “If government isn’t taking a stance that the industry wants, [we’re] not going to do as well.” Our question: What if government isn’t taking a stance that taxpayers want, will they not do as well too?
Galvin raises alarm over police-video legislation
From the Globe’s Todd Wallack: “Secretary of State William F. Galvin is raising alarms about a bill that would allow government agencies in Massachusetts to withhold all police dash-cam and body-camera footage from the public for any reason.”
Shrunken Worcester Mag becomes Telegram section
Just weeks after slashing its full-time editorial staff to just a single person, Worcester Magazine is now appearing as a weekly arts section inside the Telegram & Gazette, essentially ending its nearly 40-year run as an independent, alternative voice in the city. Both publications are now owned by GateHouse Media — and WoMag Content Editor Victor Infante writes that the once content-rich weekly will now carry stories from Telegram writers as well.
ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute Info Session & Happy Hour
Join us to learn more about ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute (GLI) and meet recent graduates!
Boston Unity Cup
Join us to honor and celebrate the immigrant communities of Boston. Boston Unity Cup is citywide World Cup style adult soccer tournament designed to bring together Boston’s diverse and immigrant communities around the shared passion for sport. There are 21 nations represented across the men’s and women’s tournaments. This event is powered by the City of Boston and Mayor Walsh.
CMO Breakfast with Massachusetts General Hospital
Register for a CMO Breakfast with Misty Hathaway, the Chief Marketing Officer of MGH.
RCV Lobby Day
Join us July 16 as we gather with other electoral reform advocates and meet at the State House with legislators and representatives from across the state, urging them to support RCV! Hear from our expert speakers, then meet with your own representatives and tell them that you want RCV in MA!
Evaluating Creative: How to Get the Best from Your Creative Team- Professional Development
This full day workshop will focus on best practices for evaluating creative; why, when and how to evaluate creative work (and how not to!), comparing work against your brief, asking the right questions, giving productive feedback, and understanding and valuing team members roles.
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