Baker in Colorado, RMV oversight hearing, and more
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Republican Governors Association’s summer meeting in Aspen, Colorado.
— Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Transportation hold an oversight hearing to probe records and management problems at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Gardner Auditorium, 10 a.m.
— The House meets in a formal session and Senate leaders announced Friday afternoon the Senate plans both an informal and a formal session on Monday, 11 a.m. The House is expected to vote on a budget deal finally hammered out by negotiators from both chambers over the weekend.
— Activists host a press conference before a planned MBTA meeting to call for a reduced fare for low-income riders, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.
— The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board and the Department of Transportation Board of Directors meet in joint session, with MassDOT board members scheduled to receive an update on the ongoing records-keeping scandal at RMV, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh hosts the first day of Mayor on Main trolley tour, a three-day event highlighting Boston’s Main Streets districts. Stops are planned at Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury, Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain, and Boomerangs in the South End., 2:30 p.m.
Budget breakthrough: Surge in revenue paves way for $43.1B budget deal
Good things come to those who wait. House and Senate negotiators finalized a $43.1 billion budget compromise over the weekend, a plan that would see the state spend $300 million more than originally expected and pump an additional $270 million into local school aid, report the Globe’s Matt Stout and Priyanka Dayal McCluskey.
The deal does not free up additional spending for the UMass system, making a tuition hike more likely, but it does include language aimed at reducing the prices of drugs in the state Medicaid program — which had helped stall budget talks and make the spending plan more than three weeks late. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more on the drug-pricing angle.
Andy Metzger of CommonWealth Magazine reports the budget deal also includes an additional $5 million for harm reduction efforts tied to the opioid crisis.
Report: RMV failed to alert local police, not just out-of-state police, about dangerous drivers
Add this to the long list of items that lawmakers will be asking about at a special RMV oversight hearing today on Beacon Hill. From Laura Crimaldi and Matt Stoutat the Globe: “In another administrative failing, the Registry is not regularly sending the notifications of suspensions and revocations as required under the law so that local officers can proactively monitor drivers who were stripped of their licenses for safety reasons, a Globe review of Massachusetts police departments has found.”
Meanwhile, Andy Martinez of the Herald reports some key figures in the Registry scandals may be missing when the legislature holds a hearing on the mess.
Baker files legislation cracking down on dangerous commercial drivers
File under: ‘Pre-emptive bill filing’? From Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine: “Just under a month after a truck crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire, Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation Friday that he says would enhance safety by keeping dangerous commercial drivers off the road. The bill aims to accomplish that goal by increasing penalties for repeat bad drivers and requiring trucking businesses to sign up for a system that would alert them whenever the status of one of their drivers changes.”
MBTA releases Red Line derailment video
Speaking of agencies in trouble, the MBTA has released a video of last month’s Red Line derailment, after Secretary of State Bill Galvin backed the State House News Service’s request for it under the state’s public-records law. As noted by others who have previously seen the video, there seems to be an explosion of some sort during the accident. The video can be seen via SHNS at CommonWealth Magazine.
Too big to fail? Warren boasts largest campaign staff
She’s number one. At least in terms of the size of her campaign staff. Daniel Strauss at Politico reports U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign staff is currently the beefiest among the Democratic presidential contenders, with 303 people on the payroll in the second quarter — far more than poll frontrunner Joe Biden. Rival progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders is close behind with 282 staffers while seven campaigns have at least 100 paid staffers on the books.
Did President Trump just respond to Bill Weld?
We’re pretty sure it’s just a coincidence, but you never know. Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that President Trump is telling aides to prepare for steep cost-cutting moves should he win a second term in office. That reminded MassterList of what Julie Huss of the Eagle-Tribune reported last week, when former Mass. Gov. William Weld told voters in Derry, N.H. that cutting federal spending would be among his priorities if he was elected, saying “nobody seems to care” about the ballooning national debt. Our question: But what about the recently enacted GOP tax cuts for the wealthy? Most studies say those cuts are the primary cause of today’s ballooning debt. Just pointing it out.
It’s official: Holyoke’s Morse to launch Neal challenge
He’s in. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse will make it official today when he launches a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Matt Murphy reports at State House News Service. Morse’s argument: That we live in urgent times and Neal has not acted accordingly. “We need new leadership that understands that we can no longer settle for small, incremental, and compromising progress,: Morse says in a launch video.
Meanwile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports that former U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who was knocked off in last year’s Dem primary by Ayanna Pressley, has some friendly advice to Neal and other Massachusetts congressional incumbents: They should “best be aware and on top of their game” when faced with hard-left progressive challengers.
Sean Spicer gets blowback for throwing out first pitch during PawSox’s Pride Night
Aviva Luttrell at MassLive reports that controversial former White House press secretary Sean Spicer joined a wounded veteran to throw out the first pitch during a Pawtucket Red Sox game on Friday in Rhode Island – and more than a few social-media types weren’t impressed. Especially since it was Pride Night at the ballpark.
DiMasi lands lobbying gig with marijuana company
There’s a strange synergy going on here. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “A fledgling medical marijuana operation has tapped former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi to lobby on its behalf at City Hall, making the convicted felon the latest ex-politician to edge into the growing industry.”
Meanwhile, the Globe’s editorial board has weighed in on l’affaire DiMasi, saying he should not be allowed to lobby on Beacon Hill and also called on the legislature to close the loophole DiMasi is trying to exploit in state law.
Cannabis Control chairman: It’s not all about state tax revenues
Speaking of marijuana: Responding to criticism from state Rep. Mark Cusack about the slow rollout of new pot shops in Massachusetts, Cannabis Control Commission chair Steven Hoffman is defending his agency, effectively saying it’s better to be safe than sorry and it’s not all about producing new tax revenues for the state, reports the Globe’s Feclicia Gans.
Up close and personal: Video shows shark leaping at fishing boat in Cape Cod Bay
Caitlyn Kelleher at Wicked Local reports that a boatload of people out for a day of fishing in Cape Cod Bay got a surprise guest: A Great White Shark that jumped out of the water to snatch a bass they were reeling into the boat.
Meanwhile, at least two Cape beaches were closed briefly over the weekend due to shark sightings as a stressful summer continues, Sophia Eppolito of the Globe reports.
Court decision could put ‘sanctuary cities’ back in crosshairs
A California appeals court has ruled that federal officials are within their rights to withhold public safety grant funding from cities that adopt sanctuary policies that prevent local police from working with immigration enforcement agencies, Christian Wade reports in the Eagle-Tribune. The ruling lifts an injunction preventing the Justice Department from withholding funds based on local policies, which could impact a host of Bay State cities.
In Greenfield, second thoughts about ‘safe city’ policy
Meanwhile, the ink is barely dry on the ‘safe city’ policy adopted by the Greenfield City Council last week but already one of the councilors who voted in favor wants the entire council to reconsider. According to Melina Bourdeau at the Greenfield Reporter, City Councilor Verne Sund wants the issue brought up again next month and plans to offer an amendment to ensure the city does not lose federal funding for veterans services as a result of the policy.
TripAdvisor sends cease-and-desist letter to organizer of Boston ‘Straight Pride Parade’
From Aviva Luttrell at MassLive: “Needham-based TripAdvisor has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the lead organizer of Boston’s ‘Straight Pride Parade,’ writing that the group is infringing upon the company’s intellectual property rights by using its logo without permission.” The firm says use of its logo on the group’s website wrongly suggests TripAdvisor is sponsor of the event – when it’s not.
Following his lead: Scores pull papers to run for office in Brockton
More than 60 potential candidates have pulled papers to run for office in Brockton this fall, a surge of interest that now includes at least 13 candidates who want to succeed the late Bill Carpenter–who died on July 3–as mayor, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports.
Shrinking again: State Street to slash 800 more jobs
State Street Corp. has raised the bar for how many jobs it will cut this year from 1,500 to 2.300, including positions in Boston and other high-cost locations, Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal reports. State Street will still employ close to 40,000 people worldwide and says it future worker growth will come in lower-cost, overseas locations.
Plainridge neighbors put their cards on the table
They’re ready to go all in. Jim Hand at the Sun-Chronicle reports local officials are largely supportive of a push to allow Plainridge Park Casino to expand beyond its slots parlor status. Officials in neighboring communities say expansion–which would require a legislative tweak to the state’s gaming law–may be the best way to help Plainridge compete in an increasingly saturated market–and to keep local impact fees flowing into their coffers.
Last quack: Without insurance, Cape Cod duck boat company calls it quits
It was fun while it lasted. After nearly a quarter-century in business, Cape Cod Duckmobiles says it will shut down in late August because the company’s insurer is no longer willing to underwrite its coverage, Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports. The announcement comes right around the one-year anniversary of a duck boat tragedy in Missouri that claimed 17 lives.
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