Happening Today

Health Policy Commission, immunization standards, and more

— The Health Policy Commission continues its annual Health Care Cost Trend Hearing, a two-day event, with Senate President Karen Spilka (9:15 a.m.) and Attorney General Maura Healey (9:30 a.m.) scheduled to speak, Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, starting at 9 a.m.

— Civil rights groups and community members will gather to share their experiences with racial profiling and call on lawmakers to maintain measures to track racial profiling in safe driving legislation,’ State House steps, rain location in front of Room 155, 10 a.m.

— Sen. Rebecca Rausch and Rep. Paul Donato hold a press conference on their bill that would standardize immunization requirements and exemption practices, Nurses Hall, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera host an event to announce receipt of the largest-ever grant from the American Student Assistance nonprofit, Lawrence High School, 70-71 N. Parish Road, Lawrence, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker hits the airwaves for his ‘Ask the Governor’ segment with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

Governor’s Council meets and is expected to vote on the nomination of Arlington lawyer Steven Key as a Boston Municipal Court judge, Council Chamber, 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

Baker appeals judge’s ruling to alter vaping ban

We thought the Baker administration was generally satisfied with the judge’s vaping-ban ruling. Apparently not. From SHNSs Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Gov. Charlie Baker has appealed a Superior Court judge’s ruling that would lift the governor’s four-month ban on the sale of nicotine vaping products on Monday unless the administration makes changes.”

The Globe’s Felicia Gans reports that it mostly comes down to timing and whether the administration could meet Monday’s deadline set by the superior court judge to make alterations to the controversial vaping-products order.

Democratic establishment: Is Warren et gang really the best we can do in 2020?

The Washington Post and New York Times both have pieces this morning on the growing anxiety of major Democratic donors and establishment types over whether today’s Dem front-runners – Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders – can beat President Trump in a general election.

One thing is clear: Warren is tops among voters in Massachusetts, according to a new WBUR poll. But voters are not wild about her Medicare for All proposal. The Globe’s Scot Leigh writes that Warren had better do something about her single-payer/Medicare for All problem. He has suggestion.

Pressley blasts Trump for comparing impeachment to ‘lynching’

Benjamin Kail at MassLive reports that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is among those furious about Trump’s comparison of the impeachment inquiry to a “lynching,” a description many view as an insult to the thousands of black Americans who were literally lynched, not figuratively lynched, years ago.

Then again, the Washington Post reports that many Dems now condemning Trump’s lynching remark used the lynching metaphor during the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in the 1990s.


Poll: Most Massachusetts voters favor Trump impeachment and removal

WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins reports that a majority of Massachusetts voters, 55 percent, now believe President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 34 percent are against, based on a new WBUR poll. Actually, we’re a little surprised the number of impeachment supporters isn’t a little higher, considering the 2016 presidential election results in Massachusetts. Still, it’s a strong number.


Baker’s health-care plan: ‘Modest disruptions’ or major disruptions?

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that Gov. Charlie Baker believes his new health-care proposals tied to prices and services may lead to largely welcome “modest disruptions” within the industry. But the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports on rising concerns among health-care players whether the governor’s plan goes too far – or not far enough. 

Nice timing: Local biotech industry celebrates huge regulatory developments

Speaking of health-care costs and issues, Bob Coughlin, the head of the MassBio industry group, couldn’t have timed it better, considering the growing pressure from state leaders to control hospital and drug prices in Massachusetts, i.e., the huge regulatory news within the span of 16 hours involving two potentially blockbuster drugs from Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Biogen. The Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman has the details on the two deals.  

Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis (pay wall) reports on Coughlin’s euphoric reaction to the Vertex news in particular.

Boston Globe

Toxic conflicts? EPA chief barred from many cases due to past Dow Chemical ties

From the Globe’s David Abel: “A former chemical industry lobbyist who was recently appointed as regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has been barred from overseeing a range of vital issues in New England because of conflicts of interest that could compromise his public duties. Dennis Deziel, who spent five years as director of federal government affairs for Dow Chemical Co. before his appointment in August, must recuse himself from decisions involving nearly one-fifth of the region’s Superfund toxic waste sites, the agency’s ethics office has said.”

Boston Globe

Is Lelling merely pressuring college-admission defendants to cop pleas?

Tanner Stening at MassLive reports on yet new charges against those already accused in the college-admissions scandal, including charges against actress Lori Loughlin and a Westwood man accused of trying to bribe Harvard University and Stanford University employees. (We hadn’t heard of the Harvard angle before, btw.)

But the Globe’s Danny McDonald reports legal experts believe that the new charges, via U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office, appears to be an attempt to pressure defendants to reach plea deals. In other words, he’s playing legal hardball with them.


New England colleges: The coming ‘Apocalypse’

Speaking of higher education, the Washington Post takes a look at the struggling Hampshire College and other smaller higher-ed institutions fighting for survival – and notes that New England and Midwest schools in particular may be hit hardest by the coming “Apocalypse” in 2026, when the applicant pool for colleges is expected to shrink by about 280,000. Meanwhile, Carrie Jung at WBUR also takes a look at Hampshire College and other smaller schools, finding, among other things, that potential mergers may not be the answer for them.

Washington Post

Fall River now tries to explain missing absentee ballots

Election officials in Fall River say human error is to blame for hundreds of absentee ballot envelopes going out to voters without actual ballots inside, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald News. The issue seems to be contained, but heading into what is likely to be a contentious election, due to indicted Mayor Jasiel Coreia still being on the ballot, even minor hiccups are going to be magnified.

Herald News

Time for Baker to bolt the GOP? Or at least reboot his governorship?

David Bernstein at Boston Magazine counts all the ways Gov. Charlie Baker has differed from the politics and policies backed by national and local Republicans and concludes: “The moment has finally come for Baker to re-register as an unenrolled voter.” 

Meanwhile, political columnist Peter Lucas at the Herald thinks Baker needs to “reboot” his governorship amid various scandals and controversies within state government.

Boston Magazine

In Marshfield, missing Virgin Mary statue sparks church-state debate

The town of Marshfield says it removed a statue of the Virgin Mary from Veterans Memorial Park after receiving a complaint about the religious symbol but is now facing fierce pushback from residents who want it returned, James Kukstis reports at the Patriot Ledger.   

Patriot Ledger

‘The shadowy, secret world of the Massachusetts House’

The Herald has revived its crusade against the exemption of the Legislature from state public records laws, digging up obscure records of a House credit card account that gives a “rare glimpse into the shadowy, secret world of the Massachusetts House.” The story by the three-reporter team says the credit-card items – which includes receipts for $6,500 dinners and a “job search website for voice acting” – are just the tip of the secret-spending iceberg in the House.

Boston Herald

Mayoral challenger on Amazon lease: We’re not talking HQ2 here

Revere City Council president and mayoral candidate Dan Rizzo isn’t terribly impressed with Mayor Brian Arrigo’s announcement that Amazon will be leasing space in the former NECCO building. Rizzo says while he’s happy to see the vacant facility reused, Arrigo’s touting of the move as one of the most significant commercial developments in the city’s history is overselling things a bit.

Lynn Item

Ending outrageous prison phone-call charges

Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports on legislation by state Sen. William Brownsberger that would eliminate all charges for inmate phone calls to others outside correctional facilities. We’re not sure about eliminating all charges, but the prices for the calls are indeed often outrageous and, at least in other states, often tied to outrageous contracts with phone-service companies. Perhaps provide free calls to relatives while investigating phone contracts and prices in general?


Law enforcement: Taking sides in the Markey-Kennedy race

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports on the latest endorsement in the U.S. Senate race, Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’s backing of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, not to be confused with Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins’s recent endorsement U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Markey’s top rival in the Democratic primary race. It’s now an all-out battle for law-enforcement endorsements, as Stout reports, as well as a battle for endorsements in general, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports.

Gwen Ifill, former area resident and journalist, to be honored with U.S. postage stamp

Jim Kinney at MassLive reports that the late Gwen Ifill — a New Englander who spent her teen years in Springfield, attended Simmons College and later worked at the Boston Herald before reaching national media stardom — will be honored next year with a U.S. postage stamp.


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

Quincy Democratic City Committee Breakfast

Please join the Quincy Democratic City Committee for our 31st Annual Breakfast. The breakfast will be held Sunday October 27, 2019 at 10 AM at the Quincy Sons of Italy. U.S. Senator Ed Markey will be our keynote speaker. 2019 Dennis F. Ryan Community Award will be presented to State Senator John F. Keenan.

Quincy Democratic City Committee

Launch Your Clinical Program in Australia: The Many Upsides of Going Down Under

Nucleus Network to Highlight Benefits of Conducting Early-Stage Clinical Trials in Australia during MassBio Event

Nucleus Network

Open House: Boston Common Master Plan

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department & the Friends of the Public Garden invite you to the first Boston Common Master Plan Open House on Oct. 29th between 5:30 & 8pm at the Bordy Theater, 216 Tremont Street. A short speaking program will begin at 6:30pm. The public will have the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback, which is incredibly important in shaping the future of the Common.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden

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.


EdVestors’ 14th Annual School on the Move Prize Ceremony

EdVestors to present prestigious $100,000 School on the Move Prize. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BPS Superintendent Cassellius to attend Oct. 31st ceremony that will recognize three finalist Boston schools for outstanding progress toward improving performance and announce the winner of the coveted award.


Today’s Headlines


Revere mayoral challenger Dan Rizzo sees flaws in Amazon facility – Lynn Item

In Boston, protesters and police face-off over proposed ban on masks – Boston Globe


Uxbridge voters keep lid on marijuana businesses – Telegram & Gazette

Syringe pickups number in the thousands in Lowell – Lowell Sun

Raynham town employee charges with altering payroll, stealing $4K of vacation – Brockton Enterprise


Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO quietly tests presidential bid – Politico

New testimony undercuts Trump’s claim of no quid pro quo on Ukraine. How will Washington respond? – Washington Post

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