Happening Today

Spending bill, Governor’s Council, and more

— The Massachusetts House meets in a formal session to take up the more than $700 million spending bill to close the books on fiscal year 2019, House Chamber, 11 a.m. 

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins legislators to deliver welcome remarks at Black Men’s Advocacy Day, Room 347, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council meets twice today, the first to interview Arlington lawyer Steven Key, nominated to the Boston Municipal Court bench and the second to possibly vote on the confirmation of Nathan Byrnes as clerk magistrate of Westfield District Court, Council Chamber, 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively.

— Former Gov. Bill Weld, Republican candidate for president, speaks as part of a Presidential Town Hall Series with Alan Solomont, dean of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, Crane Room, Paige Hall, 12 Upper Campus Rd., Tufts University, Medford, 12 p.m.

— Hampshire College President Ed Wingenbach holds press briefing ‘to announce a bold new direction for its curriculum, operations, and student experience, fundamentally reshaping the College,’ Red Barn, Hampshire College, Rte. 116, 893 West St., Amherst, 12 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

The front-runner’s burden: Warren draws fire from all sides during debate

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent emergence as the front-runner in the Democratic race for president hasn’t gone unnoticed by her rivals, based on last night’s debate in which Warren was the target of criticism from her left and right and from everywhere in between. A sampling of this morning’s headlines – From the Globe: “Debate rivals assail Warren during debate as she joins Democrats’ top rank.” From the Washington Post: “Warren faces first sustained attack in debate that begins with unified condemnation of Trump.” And from the NYT: “Elizabeth Warren, Candidate With the Plans, Needed One for All the Incoming Attacks.”

How did she fare? Pretty well. The Washington Post says Warren was the big winner. The Globe’s James Pindell is a tougher grader, giving her a B+, but she still ranks high in the grading. And what about Joe Biden? Sinking fast.

Speaking of Biden, the Herald is choosing to focus on Biden going on the offensive last night regarding his son’s involvement with a Ukrainian gas company. The Herald’s Howie Carr is piling on poor Joe. The Herald’s Peter Lucas, apparently writing before the debate, thinks Biden “ought to be working on an exit strategy” from the race.

AOC to endorse Bernie. But what about Pressley? Stay tuned

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to give Bernie Sanders, and not Elizabeth Warren, her coveted young-progressive seal of approval. Ditto fellow “squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar. But what about U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, the other two members of the squad? The Washington Post reports their endorsement intentions are “not immediately clear.”

Washington Post

More than a little skepticism greets Correia’s ‘temporary absence’ announcement

They’re not buying it. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia formally announced his plans to leave City Hall until a new mayor takes over in January to avoid his legal woes becoming a distraction, but both his political rivals and some voters are skeptical and wonder if the whole dog-and-pony show is part of a twisted campaign strategy, Peter Jasinski reports at the Herald News.  Paul Coogan, the school board member who is the only candidate for mayor on the ballot alongside Correia, is among those who aren’t so sure the mayor’s really sailing off into the sunset. 

Meanwhile, from the Boston Globe: “Facing federal charges, Fall River mayor steps aside — but eyes a comeback.”

Herald News

House Dems dump Baker’s tax-relief proposal

The House today is expected to take up the $715 million supplemental budget bill, the one that effectively divvies up the state’s surplus from last year. But the House legislation won’t include Gov. Charlie Baker’s $175 million income tax exemption proposal designed to help about a million residents. SHNS’s Michael Norton has more. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Straus: Someone in the Corner Office knew about RMV’s woes

This is mushrooming into a bigger-than-expected confrontation. State Rep. William Straus, co-chair of the legislature’s transportation committee, says he’s in possession of documents that “certainly indicate” someone high up in Gov. Charlie Baker’s office knew about the records-keeping problems at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports (pay wall).  

The Herald’s Mary Markos goes further: “Top Baker aide told RMV employees not to put critical details in writing.” Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has more on the murky nature of the documents in question.

Pacheco: Legislative approval not needed for cap-and-trade non-tax tax

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “One of the Legislature’s leading voices on climate change does not think the Baker administration needs the House or Senate’s approval to join a regional pact to cap carbon emissions from vehicles. Sen. Marc Pacheco, the chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, said the 2008 law setting carbon emission reduction requirements for the state gives the administration explicit authority to pursue ‘market-based compliance mechanisms.’”

We’re sure others will beg to differ and/or put up a stink if no vote occurs.

Meanwhile, they’re already divvying up cap-and-trade funds on Beacon Hill

Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that a popular state program that gives rebates to consumers who purchase electric and fuel cell vehicles could get a life-saving boost via a provision within the House’s supplemental budget. Where would the money come from? From the proceeds of the regional cap-and-trade program. See above post.

Gloucester Times

Feds: Massachusetts wrongly denied special-ed funds to Catholic and Jewish schools

This one seems headed to litigation. From the Globe’s James Vaznis: “The US Department of Education has found that public school districts across Massachusetts and state education officials have violated federal law for years by denying services and government aid to students with disabilities who attend Catholic, Jewish, and other private schools, according to a copy of the decision obtained by the Globe.”

Bottom line: The state and local districts could owe millions of dollars to private schools. 

Boston Globe

Springfield council candidate faces calls to drop out over racist, homophobic posts

Score one for Western Mass Politics & Insight. The online site first reported how a candidate for Springfield city council was leading a sort of off-line and online double life, so to speak, and now Jim Kinney reports at MassLive that Christopher Pohner is facing widespread calls to drop out of the race due to the “revelations of racist, homophobic and transphobic posts in his social media history.”


Invasion of the Invasive Aquatic Plants

Build a wall? Actually, that wouldn’t work. So other measures, none of them easy, may have to be deployed to combat the invasion of the state’s ponds and lakes by invasive aquatic plants. Marilyn Schairer at WGBH has the details, including the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s limited options in countering the invasion.


Encore Boston: Falling far short of revenue projections

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that Encore Boston Harbor’s latest monthly revenue number puts the new casino on track to haul in about $600 million in its first full year of operations in Everett. Sounds impressive. Except the number is far short of the $1 billion, at minimum, it hoped to raise. Can it all be blamed on the lackluster performance of slot machines?


CRRC jobs: Not enough or too many?

State Rep. Angelo Puppolo is peeved that CRRC, the Chinese company that’s building the state’s new subway cars at a factory in Springfield, actually has offices in Quincy and he wants those high-paid executives moved to Springfield, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

But Michael Zwirko, a city councilor-at-large in Melrose, questions whether any CRRC jobs should be located in Massachusetts, considering China’s human rights record, as he writes at CommonWealth magazine.

In the fundraising race, Markey’s ahead of Kennedy – for now

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports that U.S. Sen. Ed Markey raised $1.1 million in the most recent quarter ending Sept. 30, outpacing top rival U.S. Joseph Kennedy III’s $650,000. But Kennedy didn’t start a committee until late August and didn’t officially announce he was challenging Markey until late September. And so … Next quarter’s financial reports will be more revealing.

Boston Globe

Potential Supreme Court cases have key Massachusetts links

Kimberly Atkins at WBUR has a good piece on how much of the U.S. Supreme Court’s time this term could be taken up with issues directly tied to Massachusetts, potentially including Attorney General Maura Healey’s “copy cat” gun-control ruling and the Michelle Carter texting-suicide case.


Racing the clock: Columbia Gas says it will meet deadline to avoid heavy fines

Columbia Gas says it will be able to inspect more than 700 gas service lines in the Merrimack Valley before a Friday deadline that could trigger millions in fines if missed, Bill Kirk reports at the Eagle-Tribune. Columbia says the lines in question are no longer connected to its service grid and says it will meet both this week’s regulatory deadline and a Nov. 15 deadline to inspect hundreds more lines impacted by last year’s blasts and the subsequent repair work.  

Meanwhile, Columbia says a moratorium on new gas connections in place in Northampton and Easthampton since 2015 will continue indefinitely after it abandoned a plan to upgrade its system in the area, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Eagle Tribune

RTA officials spend thousands on lunches while calling for more state funds

This doesn’t discredit the calls for more state funds for RTAs. But it doesn’t exactly give credibility to the calls, i.e. Colman Herman’s piece at CommonWealth magazine on a local Regional Transit Authority official who sure loves his government-paid lunches – and other RTA types who love their government-paid lunches, though not as much as the latter. 


Lawmakers urged to try pilot congestion-pricing program

Speaking of transportation-related matters, New York didn’t have a pilot program before passing congestion pricing. Other cities didn’t need pilot programs either. But for some reason they really want a pilot program in Massachusetts, as Tanner Stening at MassLive and Chris Lisinski at SHNS (pay wall) report. Might it have something to do with making a “pilot” program “permanent” for a minority of drivers in Massachusetts, leaving current non-tollway roads non-tollways? Just wondering.

Gronk and Kraft Group to team up on CBD business

There’s currently a lot of regulatory confusion these days over CBD and vaping-related products, so we’ll see where and how far this partnership goes. From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is growing his CBD business, with plans to announce next week a partnership with Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place and The Kraft Group.”


Forever at Home – An Evening to Celebrate and Support Boston Senior Home Care

Boston Senior Home Care’s Annual Fundraiser will be held at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on October 16, 2019. This annual event raises about $175,000 each year for BSHC thanks to our sponsors, donors and attendees. The event is a fun night filled with music from Boston’s own Rich DiMare, delicious food and drink, and amazing auction items to bid on!

Boston Senior Home Care

Race in the Public Dialogue: History, Free Speech and Civil Rights

Panelists will focus on the history of free speech and civil rights in the context of academia and the university campus.

Museum of African American History

Boston Speakers Series: Zanny Minton Beddoes

Named one of the “Most Powerful Women in the World” by Forbes, Beddoes is the first female editor-in-chief of The Economist, a post she has held since 2015. Prior to her 25-year tenure with The Economist, she was an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Lesley University

2019 Financial Experience Design Conference

FXD, a one-and-a-half-day conference, is a select gathering of more than 150 executives, experts, visionaries, and progressive thinkers from across the insurance, banking, wealth management, and fintech industries.


Revolutionize – Presented by Aging2.0 Boston & Age Friendly Foundation

The Boston Chapter of Aging 2.0, together with the Age Friendly Foundation, is pleased to announce “Revolutionize”. Join us on October 25, 2019 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston for our inaugural conference. Let’s revolutionize our approach to aging by promoting creative collaborations among the varied sectors engaged in aging services.

Aging2.0 Boston & Age Friendly Foundation

The Good Fight, ADL’s Forum on Confronting Anti-Semitism

Join the Boston community for an informative and hands-on day dedicating to combating anti-Semitism. This one-day forum will include presentations by leading experts on anti-Semitism and skill building workshops for adults, students, and families. Participants will leave with an actionable toolkit for confronting anti-Semitism.

ADL New England

WorldBoston 10th Annual Consuls Reception

The Consuls Reception convenes the 60-member local Consular Corps and some 200 leaders from business, government, academia, and the arts for a lively evening of networking, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks – all against the sparkling backdrop of Boston Harbor by night. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, the former National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will provide remarks.


Today’s Headlines


Lynn council candidate fined $4,000 for late campaign finance reports – Lynn Item

There’s a luxury hotel room boom in Boston. What does it say about the city? – Boston Globe


Trick-or-treating to stay on Oct. 31, Worcester city council says – Telegram & Gazette

Pittsfield nets $206,000 in taxes from summertime cannabis – Berkshire Eagle

Rain of debris forces Plymouth firefighters from headquarters – Patriot Ledger


Trump administration orders reversal of limits on tree cutting in Tongass National Forest in Alaska – The Hill

Trump’s moves in both Ukraine and Syria help Russia – Washington Post

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