Happening Today

Cannabis Control, EEE meeting, Democratic presidential debate

— The Health Connector Authority Board meets to review plans for ConnectorCare and the general product shelf for 2020; 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 9:00 a.m.

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets and is expected to debate new regulations for the still-young industry, including rules for pot deliveries to homes and marijuana vaping, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets, Gaming Commission, 101 Federal St., 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh join members of the Boston City Council, legislators, community residents and advocates to sign an act calling on the to be given more flexibility funding affordable housing and workforce training through Boston’s linkage program, Boston City Hall Mezzanine, 3rd Floor, 10:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux, Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel and local and elected officials gather in private to discuss ongoing efforts to address EEE, followed by a media availability, Lakeville Public Library, 4 Precinct Street, Lakeville, 3 p.m.

— Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden, will square off in a debate in Texas, ET, ABC or Univision, 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

Warren’s rising star, tonight and beyond

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld and Joe Dwinell report on a new Franklin Pierce/Herald poll showing Bernie Sanders has overtaken Joe Biden in New Hampshire – with Elizabeth Warren in a solid position heading into the primary homestretch in the Granite State.

But the Week reports another poll, the Economist/YouGov survey, showing Warren in a national statistical tie with Biden, a stunning development for both candidates and one that’s freaking out the Wall Street types, who despise Warren, as Mediaite reports. Then there’s this Washington Post/ABC News poll showing Dem candidates running ahead of President Trump in theoretical matchups.

Bottom line: It’s mostly good news for Warren as she prepares for tonight’s Dem presidential debate in Texas.  Bottom line II, via the Globe’s James Pindell: “The rise, and rise, and rise of Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire.” 

Finally, reports like this can’t be good for Warren as she seeks the coveted African-American vote, via Politico: “Inside Warren’s War With the Obama Team.” 

After presidential debate, local attention turns to this weekend’s Dem convention in Springfield

Douglas Hook at MassLive has a preview, so to speak, of this weekend’s Democratic State Convention in Springfield, where U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren and Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts will headline the event. 


With lots of Sackler money still on the table, Healey opts against Purdue Pharma deal

The Washington Post reports that Purdue Pharma, maker of the blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, has reached a tentative multibillion-dollar settlement with 23 states and thousands of cities and counties over its role in the opioid crisis.

But as MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is refusing to go along, pushing ahead with her own legal action – and why not? Check out this New York Times piece and how much the Sackler family, the ones ultimately behind Purdue Pharma, are worth as a result of their participation in the modern version of the Opium Trade. There’s plenty of money left. And justice to be served, too. It’s a gamble by Healey, but certainly not an outrageous gamble.

Baker’s latest switcheroo: Governor’s Council member nominated for clerk-magistrate job

A divided Governor’s Council yesterday ultimately approved Taunton Mayor Thomas “Switcheroo” Hoye’s controversial appointment as interim register of probate in Bristol County, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). But the more interesting news was another switcheroo by the Baker administration, as Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports: “In an unusual move, Gov. Charlie Baker has nominated a sitting member of the Governor’s Council to a clerk-magistrate position — which must be confirmed by the Governor’s Council.” She’s the only Republican on the council, by the way.

And arguably her nomination follows yet another switcheroo. From the Herald’s Mary Markos: “Gov’s Councilor nominated for Dudley clerk magistrate after husband’s OUI case moved.”

The coast is clear: Single drivers taking over car-pool lanes via Twitter alerts to each other

SHNS’s Colin Young reports that the carpool lanes north and south of Boston are now overwhelmingly used by single drivers who, via Twitter, are alerting one another that there’s no cops around and that the coast is clear to hop into HOV lanes. “I was shocked to find out that there is a closed Twitter group for people,” Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said yesterday.

So they’re also tweeting alerts while driving, we presume? And, pray tell, what’s the status of that distracted driving bill again?

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Walsh refocuses attention from ‘Methadone Mile’ to Long Island

A day after catching grief over the South End’s “Methadone Mile” problem and vowing to spread out drug-treatment services around the city (Boston Herald), Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday gave the media a tour of his vision for spreading out the problem: Long Island, where “Walsh sees the potential for a substance abuse recovery campus like no other in the country,” reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. We’re sure Quincy doesn’t share his vision.

The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave: Correia ignores order to vacate mayor’s office

Just another day at the office. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia showed up for work on Wednesday, saying a City Council vote the night before to remove him from office is invalid because he won’t sign the order, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald News. The council gave Correia until Friday at 5 to vacate the corner office but the twice-arrested mayor says he’ll be back at work Monday after a weekend of campaigning ahead of the upcoming preliminary election. Fyi: The council may meet again in executive session to discuss what steps it may take to enforce its go-away order.

Herald News

The ‘pathetic but understandable’ end of the Bryon Hefner case

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, who played no small role in exposing Bryon Hefner’s sexual-misconduct rampage through the State House, reviews the “pathetic but understandable” end of the legal case against Hefner and the small comfort it gives to his victims.

Boston Globe

The ultimate OUI roadside test: ‘You got to help us both out. We’re both troopers.’

Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports on an interesting roadside conversation between a state trooper, who appeared “cocked” when pulled over for possible drunken driving, and a Chicopee cop, who passed the integrity test by ignoring an appeal for brotherly solidarity.


State orders doctors and nurses to report vaping-related illnesses

As the Trump administration moves to possibly ban thousands of vaping flavors, the state Department of Public Health yesterday ordered doctors and nurses to begin reporting “any suspected cases of unexplained e-cigarette or vaping-associated pulmonary disease,” as Universal Hub reports.

Meanwhile, an Amherst company is starting to feel the legal heat for selling a potentially harmful substance thought to be tied to deadly vaping-related lung illnesses, reports the Globe’s Naomi Martin and Dan Adams. And former Attorney General Martha Coakley is on the receiving end of renewed criticism over her ties to the vaping industry, as the Herald’s Rick Sobey reports.

Universal Hub

Shocking: Hospitals may be manipulating and inflating billings

Have you been to a doctor lately and gotten an outrageous co-pay bill based on the ever-changing definitions of “preventive” and “diagnostic” care, etc., etc.? Then read this, from CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl: “The state’s Health Policy Commission released data on Wednesday that suggested Massachusetts hospitals are inflating the severity of patient diagnoses to boost their revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars.” The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has more on the alleged “billing manipulation” by hospitals.


Another T discount program proves to be a big hit

Yet more proof that lowering prices and providing convenient services are actually good business for the T. From SHNS’s Chris Lisisnki (pay wall): “The commuter rail’s $10 unlimited weekend pass has quickly become a popular option for travelers with more than half a million sold since it was introduced in May 2018, though it remains unclear how much the ticket type has affected overall ridership, officials said.”

Recall this headline from CommonWealth magazine last week: “Back Bay-Logan bus is a big hit/Lower price, special perk have doubled ridership.”

Working as designed: Mass. casinos sucking money in from elsewhere

If this is the only benefit of casinos, it’s not much of a benefit, when you think about it. From the Globe’s Andy Rosen: “Massachusetts may be recapturing some of the revenue that for years flowed to casinos elsewhere, according to a statewide study in which participants reported a steep drop in gambling at out-of-state facilities as legalized gaming began to expand here.”

Boston Globe

Would it be Kennedy versus the Democratic establishment, not just Kennedy versus Markey?

Politico’s Burgess Everett and Healther Caygle report that a lot of Dems are saying U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III should hold off on challenging U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a fellow Democrat. But should Kennedy worry about what Washington Dems think? Of course, there’s also Markey himself to contend with, as the Globe’s Joan Vennochnotes: “The 73-year-old junior senator from Massachusetts has just begun to fight. “


Nursing home oversight slammed in new audit

From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “New audit results suggest state regulators have not properly prioritized and conduct investigations of cases of alleged mistreatment of nursing home residents in Massachusetts, prompting a call for change from Auditor Suzanne Bump.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Groups call for closer scrutiny of city deals involving bribery suspect

The state’s former inspector general and Common Cause Massachusetts are calling for a state investigation into other projects involving former City Hall insider John Lynch, who accused by the feds of accepting a bribe from a developer, Callum Borchers reports at WBUR. Borchers also reports that Lynch bought, or became a trustee of, four properties that benefitted from a city-funded loan program, profiting handsomely in the process in at least one instance.


Andover board to Columbia Gas: Safety report first, permission to dig later

First things first. The Andover select board balked at a request from Columbia Gas for permission to replace gas lines in the community, calling on the utility to first provide a detailed safety report outlining improvements made since last year’s catastrophic natural-gas explosions and fires. Sounds like a reasonable request, don’t you think?  Jessica Valeriani has more at the Eagle-Tribune. 

Never mind: U.S. says Oxford CEO not really a Russian oligarch

The U.S. Treasury now says Valentin Gapontsev, the founder and CEO of Oxford-based IPG Photonics, is not a Russian oligarch after all, following a settlement of a lawsuit over the issue, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. Gapontsev was named on a list of Russian oligarchs the treasury sent to Congress for potential sanctions in 2017, but now says based on new information he should not have been included.  


Boston Idealist Grad Fair 2019

Learn about admissions requirements and application deadlines for graduate programs in social work, public policy, nonprofit management, international affairs, public interest law, social entrepreneurship, and many more. Speak with graduate admissions advisors from local, national and international universities.


2019 Better Government Competition

Please join Pioneer Institute at an awards gala recognizing the winner and finalists of the 2019 Better Government Competition, which sought proposals to transform our transportation system from a constraint on economic growth to a driver of prosperity.

Pioneer Institute

Old North Speaker Series: Kellie Carter Jackson – Forcing Freedom

Her book Force & Freedom examines one of the perennial questions in political thought: is violence a valid means of producing social change? In her lecture, Kellie Carter Jackson address how black abolitionists answered this question.

Old North Church & Historic Site

Today’s Headlines


Bayside developers plan ‘vision sessions’ with their neighbors – Dorchester Reporter

Council clashes over resolution supporting cops following Straight Pride Parade – Boston Herald


Advocates ask Worcester City Council to declare climate emergency – Telegram & Gazette

Former legislative candidate Stanton charged with OUI – Cape Cod Times

Lawrence clubs told to pay for hookah inspectors or be shut down – Eagle-Tribune


Trump’s gun policy negotiating team includes a former gun lobbyist – The Daily Beast

Trump administration plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes – New York Times

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