Happening Today

Health Policy Commission, at-large council debate, and more

— The Health Policy Commission kicks off its annual Health Care Cost Trend Hearing, a two-day event, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo (9:15 a.m.) and Gov. Charlie Baker (10 a.m.) among those expected to speak, Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, starting at 9 a.m.

— Community members and medical experts rally at the State House in support of a pilot safe-injection-site program, Room 222, 10 a.m.

Criminal Justice Reform Caucus presents two bills improving prison and jail visitation policies and cutting the cost of inmate phone calls at a legislative briefing, Room 350, 11 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Public Health reviews 32 bills dealing with schools and children’s health, including legislation that focuses on the health of student athletes and the risks of head injuries, Room B-1, 1 p.m.

— Candidates for the four at-large Boston City Council seats participate in a live political debate at WBUR’s CitySpace, with WBUR radio host Tiziana Dearing and Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker scheduled to moderate, WBUR CitySpace, 890 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, 1:30 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

The Orange Line shutdown: Too many meetings to blame?

Another day, another T mini-debacle, yesterday’s version entailing the morning shutdown of the Orange Line due to a “construction accident that prevented weekend work on the Orange Line from wrapping up” before the morning commute, as CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) report. MBTA general manager Steve Poftak is apologizing profusely. 

But what we found interesting are Poftak’s remarks about how too many T board meetings may be distracting him and others away from more important matters. “I’ve allowed a dynamic to develop where, as a management team, we are focused on these meetings and it comes, at least for us, at the expense of a focus on operational performance and contact with our workforce.” It’s somewhat alarming – and yet very refreshing – to hear someone mutter something like this in public life.

Baker’s vaping ban upheld – with constitutional conditions

From Steph Solis at MassLive: “A Suffolk Superior Court judge upheld the state’s (vaping products) ban but called it in part unconstitutional, ordering state officials to get public input and take other steps to properly impose the prohibition. Now the ball is in the Baker administration’s court, and state officials are weighing their options.” They seem confident the ban can be easily fixed to pass legal muster. 


Meanwhile, poll shows two-thirds back Baker on vaping ban

They’ve got his back. As his vaping ban withstands court challenges, Gov. Baker also appears to have the support of most Bay State residents, according to a newly released WBUR/MassINC poll, Zeninjor Enwemeka reports. Overall, 66 percent of Massachusetts voters support the ban and just 25 percent oppose it, though there is a stark difference in how voters of various age groups feel about the move. 


DeLeo on Baker’s health-care plan: ‘It’s a good start’

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka appear to like aspects of Gov. Charlie Baker’s recently unveiled health-care plan dealing with hospital and pharmaceutical pricing. But it’s still a long way from passage, they warn. Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine has more. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports Baker’s package also authorizes, via executive order, an investigation/study into health “insurance market reforms.


Brockton official resigns after overheard making ethnic slur

Brockton Building Superintendent James Casieri resigned his post on Monday after a member of the city council overheard him using an ethnic slur to describe another city worker — all while the city defends itself from a potentially calamitous employment discrimination lawsuit. Marc Larocque at the Enterprise reports the slurs were uttered about another official during a photo-op visit from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito in late September. 


Legislation would ban the B-word that rhymes with itch

Speaking of slurs, the Herald’s Mary Markos reports on legislation by state Rep. Daniel Hunt that would criminalize the use of the word “bitch” aimed at women in a derogatory way. The bill is being called “patently unconstitutional” by civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate. And there he goes again. Dragging in the constitution!

Boston Herald

Yet another proposed ban: Wearing masks at political protests

Notice how the ideological roles are reversed in this ban proposal. The Globe’s Milton Valencia and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter report on yesterday’s council hearing on a proposed ban on those wearing masks at protests, such as the ski-masks worn by alleged lefty toughies at the recent Straight Pride parade in Boston. We liked this line from one resident: “This is not Hong Kong — this is Boston.”

Despite discrimination verdict, trooper still vetting recruits at State Police

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports how a trooper at the center of a recent discrimination case against the State Police’s recruitment policies is still, well, screening recruits. Besides the obvious questions about why he still holds the post, think about all the past controversies at State Police and ask yourself: Might they all, in some way, have something to do with who’s doing the hiring and who getting hired at State Police? 

Boston Globe

Warren’s education-plan price tag: $450 billion

She certainly thinks big. From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an education plan Monday that would invest hundreds of billions of dollars into public schools, a move the Democratic presidential candidate says would empower a diversified and better-paid pipeline of educators while leveling the playing field for students from all backgrounds.” 


La guerre Twitter: Monsieur Pierre Delecto contre Président Trump

Oui, Mitt Romney admits, ‘C’est moi,’ i.e. he’s the guy behind the secret ‘Pierre Delecto’ Twitter account that’s taken (very mild) shots at President Trump, who’s now firing back. Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell and the Herald Joe Dwinell have the details.

The budget amendment fallout continues

It seems there was a distinct ideological angle, not just a gender angle (Globe), to the recent House dispute over a controversial business-tax amendment tucked into the House supplemental budget bill. And it created more than a little behind-the-scenes infighting on Beacon Hill. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has the details. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports the controversial amendment has been stripped out of the Senate bill.

How not to help journalism?

As state lawmakers in Massachusetts mull how to help local journalism amid dramatic newsroom cutbacks, a MassterList reader sent us this cautionary-tale from the Hollywood Reporter about a new California law that puts a cap on the number of articles freelancers can write for publications. It’s apparently “freaking out” a lot of freelancers. Meanwhile, from the NYTon another journalism proposal: “Local News Is Dying. New York May Try to Pass a Law to Save It.”  

Hollywood Reporter

South Boston man accused of threatening to kill councilor Flaherty

From Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin: “Boston Police report arresting a South Boston man they say walked into at-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty’s campaign office on East Broadway around 10:40 a.m. and made “threats towards an elected official and his staff” – while on the lam from a car chase earlier in the morning.” Meanwhile, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports Flaherty was first threatened on Saturday, leading to a police alert.

Universal Hub

House education bill strips out controversial oversight language

From the Globe’s Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane: “Massachusetts House leaders on Monday unveiled reworked legislation to overhaul the state’s education funding system, including stripping out Senate-backed language critics say weakened the state’s oversight of how school districts spend the additional $1.4 billion in direct aid promised under the bill.” The legislation faces a House vote tomorrow.

Boston Globe

About the timing of that Airbnb donation to Boston Latin …

File under: ‘No good deed goes unpunished,’ especially in Boston. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Sean Phillip Cotter: “Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk dodged questions after making a $1 million donation to Boston Latin Academy on Monday at a time when his industry is facing strict regulations in the city that could affect his company’s bottom line.”

Boston Herald

Great Barrington residents mount campaign to have a say about horse-racing plan

They’re not waiting until the horse is out of the barn. Great Barrington residents worried about a plan to revive thoroughbred horse racing at the city’s fairgrounds are mounting a petition drive to make sure they have a say in the matter, Heather Bellow reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Concerned about traffic and other impacts, residents are responding to pending legislation that would enable live racing and simulcasts — and would lock local residents out of the decision process. 

Berkshire Eagle

Settlement talks underway in lawsuit over banned day-care workers

From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “State and civil rights lawyers are discussing a potential settlement in a class-action lawsuit that challenges the state’s unusual new lifetime ban on child-care workers who have juvenile records.” A judge giving the two sides a few months to work out a deal, Lazar writes.

Encore Boston’s latest bid to lure gamblers: Free (or nearly free) bus and ferry service

Just get here, already. Already falling off its projected revenue pace, Encore Boston Harbor is pulling out the stops to help would-be gamblers get to the Everett casino, adding steeply discounted ferry service and free bus rides from points around the state free, Andy Metzger reports at CommonWealth Magazine. The moves follow the recent announcement of free parking at the facility and they come only days after new Encore President Brian Gullbrants took the helm. 


Last call: Goldberg unveils glittering array of unclaimed property before auction

It’s an annual event to highlight all the unclaimed property left behind by those who have passed – and this year was no different, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg yesterday putting on display all the diamond rings, gold-plated brass flatware, coins, comic books, baseball cards and other collectibles that will be auctioned off this weekend unless people can rightly claim items. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

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


180 Immigrants Transferred After Suffolk County Jail Breaks Contract With ICE – WGBH

Beth Israel confirms plans for medical center in Quincy – Patriot Ledger


Mashpee approves accessory apartments to increase housing stock – Cape Cod Times

Porreca gets governor’s endorsement for Attleboro mayor – Sun Chronicle

Springfield diocese looking to hire clergy sexual abuse investigator – MassLive


Facebook takedowns show new Russian activity targeted Biden, praised Trump – Washington Post

Democrats slow impeachment timeline to build their public case – New York Times

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