Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, and more

Massachusetts Gaming Commission will convene a public hearing to gather comments, ideas, and information related to proposed amendments to the state’s gambling regulations, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.,

— Activists plan to gather outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s office to protest plans for a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, outside Baker’s office, Room 360, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is interviewed on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the opening ceremony of the 105th annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament with First Lady Lauren Baker, Founding Fathers Monument, Madeira Field, 50 Madeira Ave., New Bedford, 5 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, U.S. Rep. James McGovern, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, Massport chairman Lew Evangelidis, Massport CEO Lisa Wieland and others attend reception to celebrate the inaugural flight from Worcester Regional Airport to Detroit Metro Airport, Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester, 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

A record? Baker signs $43B budget without a single veto

Longtime State House players and observers can’t remember the last time they saw such a thing: A governor signing a state budget without issuing a single spending veto. But they saw it yesterday, when Gov. Charlie Baker signed the state’s new $43 billion state budget (give or take a few hundred million dollars), right down to the last penny approved by lawmakers (give or take a few hundred million dollars). Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) have more on the reportedly unprecedented no-vetoes move.

Btw: Baker’s simple explanation for the non-action action? “The budget is balanced,” he said. So there.

Left for later: Lawmakers bolt for summer without education-funding deal

The summer legislative session is now over with lawmakers leaving one big item on the table: A comprehensive education funding deal. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has the details, or lack thereof. SHNS Chris Lisinski and Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that education activists are not happy.

Meanwhile, Schoenberg also reports that the House did pass House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s child-wellness bill yesterday. And CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports on last-minute action on price caps for offshore wind farms.  


Left for later, Part II: Lawmakers fail to pass distracted-driving bill

One other major item that was left on the legislative table yesterday, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “House and Senate Democrats failed to reach a compromise on long-discussed distracted driving legislation after a marathon session Wednesday, abandoning the issue about four hours after Senate President Karen Spilka said a resolution appeared imminent.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

As Baker denies knowledge of RMV warnings, lawmaker calls for director to resign

The Globe’s Matt Stout and CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger report that Gov. Charlie Baker is saying he wasn’t given advance notice of problems at an obscure RMV unit and suggested the agency’s record-keeping scandal may have preceded his administration. But the Herald’s Mary Markos reports that a RMV employee indeed sounded the alarm over staffing levels in 2016, cc’ing a warning letter to the offices of the governor, legislative leaders, the AG and secretary of state. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is ripping into Baker this morning, saying the buck never seems to stop with him.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Eric Lesser, a member of the legislature’s transportation committee, is calling for the resignation of Merit Review Board Director Thomas Bowes’ amid all the controversy swirling around the RMV, reports Michelle Williams at MassLive.

Intraparty strife, Part I: Democratic moderates, RIP?

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, after viewing this week’s two Democratic presidential debates, has reached a conclusion: “It’s official. The moderate wing of the Democratic Party is dead. It was buried along with its leaders — a parade of hapless, nameless, middle-aged white guys — during the latest two-day ‘debate’ marathon that has emerged as nothing but a showcase for angry lefties Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.”

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi isn’t going that far, but she is raising the issue of whether the darling progressives can win in a general election without being a little more pragmatic in what they’re proposing. The Globe’s Scot Lehigh doesn’t sound all that impressed with moderate candidates’ performances over the past two nights, noting they came armed with “spaghetti balloons, foam-rubber swords, feather pillows, cat-toy lasers, and the like.”

Boston Herald

Intraparty strife, Part II: Neal and Morse are already trading blows in the 1st race

Speaking of intraparty strife, Matt Berg at MassLive reports that U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse area already going at in the First Congressional Democratic primary contest, arguing over who deserves more blame for the woeful state of Holyoke’s schools.


Intraparty strife, Part III: These ladies are trying to capture some of Ayanna Pressley’s magic …

One last intraparty-strife item: What do Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, Ihssane Leckey and Lisa Peterson have in common? They’re among the five female candidates now challenging congressional male incumbents in the Democratic primary election next year in Massachusetts – and they’re all hoping for a repeat of U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s primary upset of incumbent Michael Capuano in 2018. Kenya Hunter at WGBH has brief profiles on all five candidates.

Meanwhile, from WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins: “For Massachusetts’ Newest Congresswomen, It’s Been A Year Of Lessons Learned.”


Ranked choice backers eye 2020 ballot question

Here we go. Supporters of a push to move the Commonwealth toward ranked choice voting say they’re prepared to file an initiative petition by next week’s deadline in order to save a spot on the 2020 ballot in case the state legislature fails to act, Michael Norton at the State House News Service reports. Voter Choice Massachusetts says it is “finalizing language” that it will submit to Attorney General Maura Healey ahead of the Aug. 7 deadline. 

SHNS reported (pay wall) earlier this week that the auto repair industry is also eyeing a likely ballot-question initiative next year.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Buttigieg and Warren’s tony local donors …

Wilder Fleming at WBUR drills deeper into those financial disclosure forms that found Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg raising more campaign funds last quarter in Massachusetts than the Bay State’s very own Elizabeth Warren. Buttigieg hauled in big bucks largely from excursions in Boston, Provincetown, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Warren raised funds from a wider geographic area, but the bucks still mostly came from familiar progressive enclaves, as Fleming notes.


Tying Chinese takeout to lawmakers’ exemption from public records law, Part II

The Herald continues to pound away at the facts that A.) House Speaker Robert DeLeo ordered $4,700 in Chinese takeout food for lawmakers during budget deliberations in April and B.) Tying the taxpayer-funded spread to lawmakers’ exemption from public records laws. Today’s top story by Joe Dwinell and Marky Markos is about Gov. Charlie Baker effectively shrugging his shoulders on the whole affair.

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas is giving the Herald credit for trying to stir the pot on the exemption issue. And we agree that both issues (legislative spending and transparency) are important. It’s just that the Herald can’t seem to make up its mind what the story is really about – and what to stress in stories. Outrage over the takeout dinner or outrage over lawmakers’ public-records exemption? A Herald editorial this morning doesn’t clear up matters much, dragging in the issues of legislative pay raises and late budgets, etc.

Boston Herald

Cross-border school district wins second approval

Different state, same result. Voters in Clarksburg gave the go-ahead for what could be a first-of-its-kind two-state school district, sending the proposal to state officials to work out a host of details, Scott Stafford reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Town meetings in both Clarksburg and Stamford, Vermont have now OK’d merging their tiny elementary schools, but officials say the work remaining could mean it’s more than two years before the schools could actually merge. 

Berkshire Eagle

Seven in the running to be Brockton’s next mayor

Seven people — most of them first-time candidates — are in the running to be the next mayor of Brockton, setting up a September preliminary election that will also see a healthy number of city council candidates on the ballot, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise. Not in the running is  Moises Rodrigues, who was tapped by the city council to serve out the rest of the term of the late Bill Carpenter, who died on July 3.


Meet Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart, now poised to make a little pot history

Jessicah Pierre at WBUR takes a look at Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart, who, if all goes well, plan to open a new retail pot shop in Grove Hall in October, creating two firsts in the process: The first pot shop to open in Boston and the state’s first ‘social equity’ weed entrepreneurs.


Even an innocuous shark statement can spark debate on the Cape these days

The Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissions passed a proclamation declaring August as Great White Shark Awareness Month, but the seemingly innocuous move was not without controversy. One of the three members of the commission abstained from voting, saying the commission was at risk of overstepping its boundaries and interfering with the work being done by a coalition of state, local and federal officials, Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times. 

Cape Cod Times

Nick Buoniconti, NFL star and Springfield native, RIP

He’s best known as one of the great stars of the championship Miami Dolphins teams in the early 1970s. But as Nick O’Malley reports at Masslive, Nick Buoniconti, who passed away on Tuesday, was also a proud native of Springfield and Patriots star before gaining national attention elsewhere. Nick Buoniconti, RIP.


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


Pot question stalls filling vacancies on zoning board; some zoning hearings could be delayed – Universal Hub

Somerville mayor says student-housing developer will try to keep tenants in Davis Square block – Boston Globe


Worcester area economic activity contracted in first half of year – Worcester Business Journal

Beverly Airport gets $1.9 million in grants – Salem News

Racing at Plainridge saved at the last minute – Sun Chronicle


Republicans rattled after a surge of retirements – Politico

Fed cuts interest rates, a move President Trump says is not enough – Washington Post

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