Gun bills hearing, Silver Line test, more
— The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will hold a public hearing on 68 bills relating to firearms. Supporters of gun control and Second Amendment advocates both promise to turn out crowds for the hearing. State House, Room A-2. 10 a.m.
— The Governor’s Council will interview interview Allison Cole, Gov. Baker’s nominee for clerk magistrate of the Housing Court’s Northeast Division along with handling several other potential appointments. Governor’s Council Chamber, 10 a.m.
— The Boston City Council committee on government operations will hold a public hearing on a citizen petition to rename Dudley Square as Nubian Square. Iannella Chamber, 1 City Hall Sq., 5th Floor, Boston, 12:30 p.m.
— Fisheries and Wildlife Board holds a public hearing on regulations amending the list of species of animals and plants protected by the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Cronin Building, One Rabbit Hill Rd., Westborough, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides and Undersecretary for Homeland Security Jeanne Benincasa-Thorpe to participate in the launch of Resilient Massachusetts Action Team (RMAT), the inter-agency implementation body for the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan. Saltonstall Building, Second Floor Conference Rooms B&C, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, 2 p.m.
— The governor joins Boston Mayor Martin Walsh to participate in a dedication ceremony for the Major General George W. Casey Memorial Amphitheater. Smith Playground Amphitheater, 235 Western Avenue, Allston, 3:30 p.m.
— The MBTA and Department of Transportation will hold a limited test of MBTA Silver Line buses using a ramp from MassPort’s Haul Road in South Boston’s Seaport District to I-90 eastbound. The tests will take place Tuesday through Thursday during afternoon peak travel times to see if the buses can safely operate on the ramp and will reduce travel times. Officials will analyze the results and present their findings to the MassDOT Board and Fiscal and Management Control Board at a fall meeting.
Baker’s traffic summit takes aim at gridlock
Managed lanes where drivers can pay more for a quicker ride, working with local officials to reduce traffic congestion, and possibly even high-speed rail between Boston and Providence. These were some of the ideas discussed by Gov. Charlie Baker and other Northeastern governors during a National Governors Association traffic summit yesterday hosted by the Baker at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Katie Lannan reports via State House News Service.
In town to huddle with Baker were Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. Raimondo, who said she is working closely with Baker on possible plans for a faster rail connection between the state’s two capitols, offered up a little insight as well on just why high-speed rail between the two cities might be a winning idea.
“Having just driven up here this morning, I can tell you the traffic is brutal,” Raimondo said.
Elsewhere, Andy Metzger of CommonWealth has a roundup of other news and notes from the gubernatorial get-together, while Christian Wade of the Gloucester Times reports on how the Bay State’s highway system ranks nationally (hint: it’s not good).
Harvard becomes ground zero in immigration debate after freshman denied entry
A would-be freshman at Harvard University says his visa was revoked and he was denied entry into the country because of social media posts made by his friends. Ismail Ajjawi, 17, a Palestinian resident of Lebanon, said he was detained for hours while ICE agents searched his phone. Shera Avi-Yonah and Delano Franklin of the Harvard Crimson broke the news and got Ajjawi’s story first-hand.
Deidre Fernandes of the Globe reports that Harvard President Lawrence Bacow had written to federal officials in July, expressing concern that immigration policies would impact student arrivals.
Carrie Jung of WBUR, meanwhile, takes a broader look at how higher education is being impacted in various ways by the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
In Worcester, it will be all eyes on Kennedy
A lot of political eyes will be trained on Worcester today, where U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III is expected to make a public appearance for the first time since confirming his interest in possibly running against U.S. Sen. Edward Markey. Jon Keller of CBS Boston reports on Kennedy’s comments to reporters, including his description of Markey as “a good man.”
For his part, Markey isn’t waiting to defend his seat. Chris Lisinki of State House News Service reports the senator rolled out endorsements from 116 Democratic state lawmakers, including Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Meanwhile, both Adrian Walker and Scott Lehigh of the Globe weigh in with columns on Kennedy’s apparent impatience to climb the state’s political ladder and whether he can justly position himself as a change agent given his family’s legacy.
At long last, Weld and other GOP hopefuls draw a Trumpian response
Finally. Now that three potential GOP alternatives have stepped forward to at least make noises about challenging President Trump in the Republican primary, the president has taken note and issued a response via his usual channel. Brett Samuels of The Hill reports Trump blasted out a couple tweets labeling Gov. Bill Weld and fellow travelers Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh as “the three stooges.” Then he honed in on the individual candidates–without naming them–and said of Weld: “The third is a man who couldn’t stand up straight while receiving an award.”
Warren’s growing crowds? Trump has noticed the coverage
The president had some thoughts on the other Bay State candidate for president as well, more specifically on the media attention being heaped on Elizabeth Warren as her rally crowds swell on the campaign trail. Savannah Behrmann of USA Today reports the president used his favorite nickname for Warren and claimed the media is “adding many more people than are actually there” when reporting how many turn out to hear the progressive firebrand toss out policy ideas. In other words, he wrote, “fake news!”
Meanwhile, a day after one poll had the Democratic field in a three-way tie, a new Suffolk University/USA Today survey showed Vice President Joe Biden well in front, though Warren was second with 14 percent support–up 4 percent from when the poll was last taken.
Rhode Island cries uncle as gambling revenue plunges
Wow, that was fast. Everyone knew the Encore Boston Harbor would be one tough casino to compete with, but barely two months after the $2.6 million gambling palace opened, some Ocean State lawmakers are already running up the white flag.
“How can we compete with Encore?” state Sen. Frank Ciccone asked rhetorically during a recent legislative hearing, Kathering Gregg of the Providence Journal reports. “I know everyone thinks it’s just going to be a fly-by-night and people are going to come back, but player rewards, free play … two weeks ago, $500 free play … Rhode Island can’t compete with them.”
In case you are wondering if Ciccone was overreacting a bit, Twin River’s slot machine revenue is down by more than 20 percent, with the casino also gearing up to lay off dozens of workers.
Save the date: Hefner trial set to begin Sept. 11
The stage is set. Byron Hefner, the estranged husband of former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, is now set to go on trial for sexual assault charges on Sept. 11 following one last pre-trial appearance in court on Tuesday, Shira Schoenberg reports via MassLive. Attorneys expect the trial to last up to five days. Hefner also faces a separate proceeding related to his alleged dissemination of unwelcome nude photos.
Gronk’s retirement takes an interesting turn
Rob Gronkowski has always marched to the beat of his own drum, this shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to Pats fans familiar with the mysterious ways of the Gronk. The Pats superstar tight end has found a new gig, helping market CBD for a Woonsocket, R.I. firm that makes product featuring cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive chemical found in pot plants that is credited by users for having all sorts of positive health benefits, Callum Borchers reports at WBUR.
While the jury is still out on most of those claims, there has been a boom in companies specializing in CBD products, which can be found now in a range of stores as well. Gronk will be taking a stake in Abacus Health Products, the Rhode Island-based firm, whose CBD products the veteran of the NFL trenches credits with helping relieve chronic pain from injuries he suffered.
The headline on the WBUR piece says it all: “From TD to CBD.”
Gun law debate heats up on Beacon Hill
Is it just a simple and innocent clarification of Massachusetts gun laws, or something far more sweeping? Such is the debate right now over House 2122, with supporters like the Gun Owners Action League saying the law will just simplify current law and ensure that the Second Amendment rights of Massachusetts gun owners are protected.
Writing in CommonWealth Magazine, Margaret Monsell, an attorney and a former assistant attorney general, contends the bill could have much more sweeping implications, basically invalidating local gun regs in more than 100 towns across the state. In fact, it bears more than a passing resemblance to an NRA-backed drive that has succeed over the past few decades in passing such local preemption laws in 43 states. Massachusetts is just one of seven in the United States that allows local communities to regulate guns.
State continues to beef up roster of gas inspectors
File this under: Better late than never. Mike Deehan of WGBH reports the state has tripled the number of gas line inspectors on the job in the wake of the Merrimack Valley explosions and fires in September of 2018. Hiring will continue and state officials say they hope to boost the number of public utility inspectors qualified to inspect gas lines to 20 before the end of this year.
The reporter always rings twice
File this under reporters getting results, City Hall doorbell edition. After an Eagle-Tribune reporter complained about being literally locked out of a Lawrence Planning Board meeting, the city says it is putting in a doorbell so it doesn’t happen again, Bill Kirk reports.
No refunds: Pilgrim sale is a done deal
It’s officially done. Holtec is now the proud owner of the dormant Pilgrim Station Nuclear Plant, despite moves by state officials to stay the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the license transfer, Christine Legere reports in the Cape Cod Times. Neither Holtec nor Entergy, the previous owner, would say how much cash changed hands along with the plant.
Principal gets reprimand as state closes MCAs irregularities investigation
State education officials have closed their inquiry into anomalies in a Worcester school’s MCAS scores from 2017, Scott O’Connell reports in the Telegram. Chandler School Principal Jessica Boss was “publicly reprimanded” for failing to provide proper safeguards to prevent cheating on the test via a letter that will go on her permanent record.
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