Baker traveling, public wind bids due
— Gov. Charlie Baker is traveling to Pennsylvania for the wedding of his son, Charlie. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will serve as acting governor during his absence from the state.
— Developers interested in providing Massachusetts with clean energy from offshore wind turbines must submit public bids to the state and utility companies by Friday. The state and utility companies Eversource, National Grid and Unitil are seeking to procure at least 400 megawatts of power but will allow proposals from 200 megawatts up to 800 megawatts. The procurement is expected to fulfill the second half of the Legislature’s 2016 authorization of 1,600 megawatts of wind power. Confidential bids were due last week.
Poll puts Kennedy well ahead of Markey
He’s not even running–yet–but he’s already ahead. Andy Metzger of CommonWealth Magazine reports that an online poll puts U.S.Rep. Joe Kennedy III well ahead of U.S. Sen. Edward Markey in a potential primary showdown. The poll, conducted by Change Research as part of a larger survey on education issues, gives Kennedy 42 percent support among the state’s Democratic voters, compared to 25 percent for the incumbent and showed single-digit support for the other two candidates already in the race, Steve Pemberton and Shannon Liss-Riordan.
Another interesting tidbit from the poll: If he decided to seek the Senate seat, Gov. Charlie Baker could pull out a narrow victory over Markey himself, as the poll gave the Republican a one-point edge in a head-to-head.
September to remember: Will Warren be the Democrats’ target?
She’s not the frontrunner, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a target. Natasha Korecki of Politico reports Democrats are preparing to taking a harder tack against Sen. Elizabeth Warren now that she’s found solid standing among the leaders in the race and as her rally crowd sizes draw steady media attention.
That could mean a new dynamic in the upcoming debate, where Warren will be nearly center-stage. Maggie Astor of the New York Times has details on how ABC plans to run the one-night debate, which will run three hours.
Elsewhere, Amie Parnes of The Hill has a rundown on the recent rally crowds that have stoked talk of Warren’s momentum and the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes reports that Warren has lent her support to grad students at BC seeking to unionize.
Straight Pride parade set to step off
Seems no one is sure exactly what’s going to go down when the controversial Straight Pride parade steps off on Saturday. Douglas Hook of MassLive reports counter-protestors has launched an effort to raise money for a fund to bail out anyone arrested protesting the event.
Naomi Martin and Dan Adams of the Globe report on the debate within the LGBTQ community about how to respond to the event, which is expected to draw a relatively small crowd of supporters. Boston Pride says it plans to ignore the parade, calling it an outright “provocation.”
And if you need a primer on the parade itself–and the organization behind it, Hannah Chanatry and Laney Ruckstuh of WBUR have you covered.
Correction officers lobby for right to pack heat when off-duty
Can you blame them? State and county correction officers deal with some of the state’s most dangerous denizens and some also worry that some deranged ex-con might seek to harm them their families after they are released. The 4,000 member Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union is lining up behind a bill by Rep. David DeCoste, (R-Norwell) under a bill that give them the ability to carry a concealed firearm when they are off-duty, Katie Lannan reports via Statehouse News Service. The proposal would expand the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act to include state and county correction officers in Massachusetts, enabling them to carry a concealed firearm wherever they go, regardless of local and state laws.
Tough times for another community hospital
Most people remember where they were born. And it’s probably one of many reasons why it’s so hard to say goodbye to your local community hospital. Southcoast Health said Thursday it will shut down the maternity unit at Wareham’s Tobey Hospital on Dec. 31, a decision that was immediately and angrily panned by local nurses, WickedLocal reports.
In explaining its decision, Southcoast Health said it is expanding the maternity ward at St. Luke’s in New Bedford, which, it noted in a press release is less than 20 miles away from Tobey. But the Massachusetts Nurses Association blasted the move, noting it comes on the heels of the shuttering of Morton Hospital in Taunton. About 375 babies each year are born at Tobey, though the number has been steadily dropping for years, according to SouthCoast.
Audit flags improper drug payments by MassHealth
State Auditor Suzanne Bump has certainly been busy this week. On Wednesday, her office released an audit that raised concerns over the state’s placement of sex offenders in homeless shelters where families with children are staying. Bump followed that up on Thursday by releasing the results of an audit of MassHealth that found the state’s Medicaid program shelled out nearly $1 million in what her office has categorized as improper payments for pharmacy drugs, MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg reports. Bump’s office flagged 25,144 claims, for a total of $982,000, that it contends should not have been paid. The audit called out $526,000 forked over MassHealth to pay for emergency prescriptions, which are intended to only be done on a one-time basis.
Here to stay: Settlement clears way for Airbnb regulation
Short-term rental site Airbnbn has agreed to drop its suit seeking to block new Boston city regulations from taking effect, clearing the way for stricter city oversight of the rental site, Zeninjor Enwemeka of WBUR reports.
Airnbn had labelled the local rules “draconian” last year but now says it will drop its objections, clearing the way for the rules to kick in and putting landlords on the hook to register with the city by Dec. 1, Milton Valencia reports in the Globe.
Steve LeBlancof the Associated Press reports the city pointed to a 2016 study showing a negative impact on housing affordability from the rise of short-term rentals for justifying the regulatory crackdown.
Work to improve the T causes slowdown on the T
Oh, the irony. Work on the Green Line Extension appears to be the root cause of a brief shutdown of the Lowell commuter rail line on Thursday, Adam Gaffin reports at Universal Hub. The disruption appears to have been relatively minimal and some commuters even enjoyed being bused along the route thanks to the police escort that moved traffic out of the way.
GateHouse to make payout to carriers, but won’t change model
How many reporter salaries is that? GateHouse Media will pay as much as $425,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by newspaper carriers who claimed they were incorrectly labeled and paid as independent contractors, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. The settlement does not require the newspaper chain to alter how it does business. It also comes too late for the original lead plaintiff: Patriot Ledger carrier David King, who brought the action in 2011, has since died.
No bets: Sports gambling approval seems like a long-shot
We’re shocked–shocked!–to find no gambling in this establishment. Joshua Miller of the Globe reports what has been apparent for a while–the initial surge of excitement about legalized sports betting has cooled considerably on Beacon Hill, making it unlikely a framework will be in place in time for betting on the coming NFL season. The reason for the cooldown: Turns out sports betting may not be the cash cow some had hoped: States that have been early adopters since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for its expansion are making relatively paltry sums. There’s also the fact that a slew of constituents, many well-represented by lobbyists–casinos, to name one–definitely have a dog in this fight.
Growing concern: More towns on ‘critical’ list as EEE outbreak spreads
The state Department of Public Health has raised the threat level to ‘critical’ in Holliston, Medfield, Brookfield, and Granby after horses in those communities tested positive for EEE as the public health emergency continues to grow, Danny McDonald and Sofia Saric report in the Globe.
Mosquitoes carrying the virus were also found in Truro, the Cape Cod Times reports, and in Hudson, according to the MetroWest Daily News, prompting plans for more spraying. On the SouthCoast, the Herald News reports on the adjustments being made by outdoor-at-night businesses (think: ice cream stands) to account for the threat.
And Angus Chen of WBUR has an explainer of what exactly EEE is and why it is such a concern for health officials.
Debate heats up over Holy Cross’ handling of sex abuse cases
A decision by the Holy Cross not to pursue and outside, independent review of the college’s handling of a pair of recent sexual abuse allegations has predictably angered student activists. The Worcester college’s board of trustees had formed a special committee to review the school’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations involving the college’s former organist and a philosophy professor, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports.
That committee now has recommended the board of trustees not pursue an independent review of how the cases were handled, expressing confidence that President Philip Boroughs and his staff can get to the bottom of the issues on their own. The ad hoc Committee on Faculty Sexual Misconduct has protested the decision and says it will continue to press for an outside review.
Hopedale voters approve override, save firefighter’s job
It’s not always easy to imagine your tax dollars at work when it comes to a huge organization like the federal government, or even the state. But when it comes to local government, there’s often no mystery what your dollars are paying for. Faced with having to lay off a firefighter – and close Town Hall on Fridays – Hopedale voters Wednesday evening approved a $430,000 tax override, Alisn Bosma of WickedLocal reports. Turnout wasn’t too bad, either, with 25 percent of the small town’s registered voter, with 569 voting for the override, and 419 against.
See you in September
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Model UN Professional Development Workshop @ Democracy Center
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Stone Social Impact Forum
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