Happening Today

Baker in D.C. again, RMV hearing, Dem presidential debate

— For the second day in a row, Gov. Charlie Baker travels to Washington D.C., this time to talk to Pentagon officials related to the Massachusetts Military Task Force and to meet with other officials about other issues.

Joint Committee on Housing holds a hearing on nearly two dozen bills dealing with manufactured housing, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and miscellaneous topics, Room B-2, 10 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Transportation reconvene an oversight hearing to examine record-management failures at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, eight days after members abruptly recessed the hearing because key witnesses did not attend and those who did expressed plans to limit testimony, Gardner Auditorium, 12 p.m.

Emerging Adults in the Criminal Justice System Task Force holds its eighth meeting, with plans to hear a presentation on young adult women in the criminal justice system, Room 428, 1 p.m.

— The Cannabis Advisory Board meets to discuss the Cannabis Control Commission’s draft regulations for adult use of marijuana, Hearing Room A-2, 1 p.m.

— Ten of the 20 candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, participate in the first of two party debates this week, Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, appearing on CNN, week, 8 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

Back on, Part II: Key RMV personnel expected to testify today, Baker now says

It looks like the Herald’s Mary Markos got it right last week when she reported that the Baker administration plans to make key RMV personnel available for grilling at a legislative oversight hearing today on the agency’s deadly records-management debacle – or at least that’s what Gov. Charlie Baker was suggesting/signaling/encouraging or whatever yesterday, according to CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger and the Globe’s Matt Stout.

Still, Markos reports at the Herald this morning that not all the requested scandal-related documents were turned over to lawmakers as of last night. As they say: Stay tuned.

‘Cure plan’: Baker tries to get Vineyard Wind back on track

He wouldn’t have gone all the way to Washington if this was a minor matter. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Gov. Charlie Baker said on Monday that his administration is working with Vineyard Wind to develop a ‘cure plan’ to address the concerns of federal agencies as they review the offshore wind project’s environmental impact statement. Baker met Monday morning with officials at the Interior Department, including, according to his schedule, Secretary David Bernhardt, and said a series of additional staff meetings are planned on the offshore wind project over the next few days.”


The legal price tag for negligence: $143 million

Think of this as the price the company is paying for having not made routine infrastructure improvements spread out over decades. The Eagle-Tribune’s Breanna Edelstein reports that Columbia Gas and its parent company NiSource have agreed to pay $143 million to thousands of residents and businesses impacted by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions and fires last September.

Eagle Tribune

Tonight’s debate: A ‘marquee matchup’ or moderate mugging?

So will U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both vying for the progressive vote, go at it during tonight’s Democratic presidential debate? Unlikely, because they want to attract, not alienate, the other’s supporters, reports the NYT. But there should be at least a little progressive jockeying for support, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsy.

If anything, Warren and Sanders may be “busy warding off attacks from five more moderate candidates they’ll also be sharing the stage with — all of whom are desperate for a breakout moment,” reports the Globe’s Liz Goodwin.

In other Warren-related news, from the Washington Post: “Warren announces plan to negotiate trade deals more openly.” And from the Globe’s Tim Logan: “The high cost of housing emerges as a presidential campaign issue.”

Fewer children died under state watch last year, but advocates decry lack of transparency

Some good news (relatively), but even more questions. The Department of Children and Families says 34 children died while in state care last year, the lowest number in five years, Kay Lazar at the Globe reports. But child advocates say the lack of any additional information — including how those children died — makes it hard to judge the progress being made toward improving the agency. 

Boston Globe

Coming soon (maybe): A video-game addiction treatment center

So it’s come to this. Officials in Leyden, sitting along the Vermont border in western Massachusetts, are weighing a proposal to create an inpatient center where people with video game addictions could be treated, Zach DeLuca at the Greenfield Recorder reports. The center would start with room for just a handful of patients but could expand to as many as 30 at a time, though planning officials are not done reviewing the proposal. 

Greenfield Recorder

Progress report: Schools say bullying is down after law change

It seems to be working. Two new state laws addressing school bullying — and the media push that accompanied them — appear to be reducing the prevalence of school bullying, Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports. State data shows bullying reports are down statewide and that fewer students are being disciplined for bullying others compared to four years ago. 

Gloucester Times

House to make late session push for ‘children’s wellness’ initiative

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Monday released a multi-faceted bill related to children’s wellness, with plans to vote on it this week, before the House recesses for its August break. ‘We feel this is important enough that before we break for August we have a full debate, and hopefully we can send it to the Senate by then,’ said DeLeo.”


Kevin McCrea, aka ‘Payaso the Clown,’ RIP

We missed this one from the other day, i.e. the sad death of local political provocateur Kevin McCrea, aka ‘Payaso the Clown’ of Boston city-council election fame. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has the obit.

Boston Globe

‘Revenge of the Menino’

So the late Mayor Thomas Menino’s daughter-in-law is now effectively testifying for the prosecution (and against Mayor Marty Walsh’s minions) in the Boston Calling corruption case – and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is calling it ‘The Revenge of the Menino.’

Boston Herald

Trahan and Pressley back state lawmakers’ call for NDA crackdown

Federal reinforcements? State Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Rep. Alyson Sullivan are getting some help in their push to ban nondisclosure agreements in sexual-misconduct settlements involving state funds: U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan and Ayanna Pressley. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports on the Beacon Hill legislation angle, while Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine focuses on the Trahan-Pressley support.

Still on the shelves …

Even though the state issued a public-health warning weeks ago and even though the issue has received a fair amount of media coverage (such as at WGBH), the Boston Globe’s David Abel finds that local supermarkets are still selling bottled spring water from a Haverhill company whose products have been found to contain high levels of a chemical linked to kidney cancer and a range of other diseases.

Then there were three: Springfield mayoral candidate suspends campaign due to health

Springfield mayoral candidate Linda O’Connell announced yesterday that she’s indefinitely suspending her campaign due to a sudden health condition, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive. The nature of the health problem wasn’t disclosed. Matt Szafranskii at Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight says it’s now a three-way mayoral race in Springfield, or a two-way race, depending on how you look at it. Matt explains.

Better luck next year: Baker now sees sports-betting action slipping into 2020

By the look of it, there will be no legalized pre-season betting in Massachusetts on the odds of the Pats winning the Super Bowl next February, damn it. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “Gov. Charlie Baker, who filed a sports betting bill in January, thinks lawmakers will push consideration of the issue into 2020 and now hopes a legalization bill will be approved by the middle of next year.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Tale of two governors: New England moderates at opposite ends of polls

Edward Fitzpatrick at the Globe tries to explain why two New England governors, both moderates serving right next door to each other, are viewed so differently by voters in their states, i.e. the Bay State’s Charlie Baker riding high in the polls and Rhode Island’s Gina M. Raimondo scraping bottom. Fitzpatrick lists a number of reasons why from the Rhode Island perspective, with the “eat your broccoli” explanation standing out.

Boston Globe

Judge to Hefner: It’s one case, not three

Speaking of legal issues surrounding sexual-misconduct cases, Steph Solis at MassLive reports that a Suffolk Superior Court judge has rejected the argument by Bryon Hefner’s attorneys that his sexual-misdeed charges should be tried separately. The judge sided with prosecutors in the high-profile Beacon Hill case, saying the charges all add up to one “common scheme,” as prosecutors had argued.


‘Not that we needed more proof …’

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi looks at the headlines and sees more racist rants by President Trump, then looks at polls showing his favorability ratings are up, and she concludes: “It’s a privilege of skin color to still be surprised by the accuracy of Trump’s calculation about what apparently motivates millions of American voters.”

Boston Globe

No Hail Mary: Judge rejects last-ditch bid to save Worcester church

A judge says he won’t halt the demolition of the shuttered Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Worcester while a lawsuit claiming the move would violate the state’s environmental protection act is adjudicated, Gary Murray at the Telegram reports. 


Presidential Debate Watch Party

You’re invited! Come join us and experience the debates in a whole new way — complete with candidate bingo and score cards to help you keep track of how the candidates are doing. Good friends, good food, and a great opportunity to participate fully in the democratic process — what better way to get informed and engaged?

Senators Jamie Eldridge And Ed Kennedy; Representative Jen Benson; Area Democratic Town Committees

NAIOP @ Night at Alcove

Join NAIOP at Alcove, a modern neighborhood restaurant on Lovejoy Wharf that is a welcoming port on the edge of Boston’s West End. Expand your network and develop valuable business relationships while enjoying signature drinks and appetizers.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Democratic Debate Watch Party!

Looking for a fun way to get involved? Let’s eat, drink, and talk politics! Not normally recommended, but we’re making an exception. Join us to watch the next round of the Democratic Debates with both old and new friends at one of Needham’s favorite spots, Cappella Restaurant. They are staying open late just for us, so come hungry and thirsty and help make it worth their while!

Claire Hoyt + Kritika Storer

Rugelach with Ruth

Representative Balser will join us at a home in Newton for an intimate discussion on immigrant justice and progressive issues. Your ticket to this event is a donation of any amount, which will go to support JALSA’s efforts to create a more just, compassionate, and equitable society. Your invitation for our Rugelach with Ruth Balser will be emailed to you once a donation has been made.

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

2019 Summer Institute in Global Leadership: Advanced Public Speaking

This advanced institute brings together older students who are passionate about global issues and aspire to be in leadership roles that demand advanced communication skills.

United Nations Association Of Greater Boston

Democracy School: Central Mass.

Effective organizing takes knowledge and skills. To build and execute a successful campaign, you need to set clear goals, build strong partnerships, and engage your target audience with a compelling message. It’s hard, time-consuming work. And it’s how we change the world.

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Sail Away with NAIOP: 9the Annual Harbor Cruise

Join NAIOP as we sail away on the Annual Summer Harbor Cruise. Come dressed in your summer whites to savor incredible harbor views aboard the Spirit of Boston.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Democracy School: Merrimack Valley

Effective organizing takes knowledge and skills. To build and execute a successful campaign, you need to set clear goals, build strong partnerships, and engage your target audience with a compelling message. It’s hard, time-consuming work. And it’s how we change the world.

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

David & Ben’s BBQ for Annissa (Essaibi George running for reelection to the Boston City Council at-Large)

David and Ben invite you to our house for a summer BBQ to hear from Annissa Essaibi George as she runs for reelection to the Boston City Council as an at-large councilor.

David Brown and Ben Perkins

Codman Square Health Center Public Annual Meeting 2019

Join Codman Square Health Center as we honor U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and Boston Police Commissioner Willie Gross. We’ll hear about current issues in health care, the role that community health centers play, and a recap of Codman’s accomplishments over the past year.

Codman Square Health Center

Today’s Headlines


Supporters of North-South rail link rally, testify before city council – Boston Globe

David Ortiz is home, he’s grilling, and he’s got a message for fans – Boston Magazine


Weather service confirms third Cape tornado – Cape Cod Times

Tax override fails ‘by a substantial amount;’ in Orange – Greenfield Recorder


Alan Dershowitz, Devil’s Advocate – The New Yorker

Mueller got more social media buzz than Game of Thrones – Axios

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