Happening Today

Housing rally, legislative hearings and more

— The Municipalities and Regional Government Committee holds a hearing on miscellaneous bills and local bills, including legislation that would withhold unrestricted general government aid from ‘sanctuary cities’ and a bill that would allow cities and towns to prevent homeowners associations from banning the use of clotheslines, Room A-1, 11 a.m.

— A coalition of activists and elected officials will rally in front of the State House in support of legislation filed by Reps. Mike Connolly and Nika Elugardo that would allow communities to implement a range of tenant protections, including rent control, outside State House, 12 p.m.

Financial Services Committee holds a public hearing on bills dealing with dental insurane, nurse-midwifery services, health insurance for human services workers, pediatric plans of care, long-term care payment options, HMO billing flexibility, and health insurance for children, Room B-2, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Public Health meets to review 33 bills dealing with health care facilities and emergency medical services, including legislation that would allow first responders who administer opioid overdose-reversal medication to transport a patient without consent for observation and treatment until a physician determines the person is no longer in imminent danger, Room 222, 1 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey participates in a panel discussion with other women leaders on the ‘inspiring and empowering lessons they’ve learned from sports,’ with Boston Celtics director of player development Allison Feaster, Harvard women’s hockey coach Katey Stone, Harvard women’s basketball coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, and Kraft Analytics Group CEO Jessica Gelman also speaking, Klarman Hall, Harvard Business School, Kresge Way, Boston, 5:45 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 BC charge: Textbook case of text-suicide?

In an echo of the Michelle Carter text-suicide case indeed, Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins yesterday charged an ex-BC student with allegedly hounding her student boyfriend to kill himself. How so? Mostly via the thousands of text messages the two exchanged while at BC. And, yes, we’re talking thousands of texts, as Steph Solis at MassLive and Emily Sweeney at the Globe report. Needless to say, the case has become an instant sensation. Among others, the Washington Post is all over the story. 

Meanwhile, let the debate begin. From the Globe’s Travis Andersen: “Experts say manslaughter case against former BC student may be stronger than Michelle Carter case.” From a Globe editorial: “Massachusetts needs a coerced-suicide law.” From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Expert: Michelle Carter, Inyoung You cases ‘weaken’ First Amendment.”

DeLeo to seek another term as speaker, assorted liars be damned

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and Shira Schoenberg at MassLive report that, yes, House Speaker Robert DeLeo says he has every intention of running for speaker again in 2021 – and sounds like he expects to win, again. Unless a majority of members tend to side with people like former state Rep. Jay Kaufman, who tells CommonWealth magazine that DeLeo once threatened to strip him of a committee chairmanship if he didn’t go along with a long-ago tax plan. In a statement, DeLeo says that Kaufman’s claim is “flat-out false” and that he’s “a liar.”

Thinking big: Commuter group backs $29B ‘full transformation’ of rail system

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that a commuter rail advisory group is endorsing the broadest and most expensive option on the table for transforming the T’s rail system: A nearly $29 billion plan for a “full transformation” to an electrified regional rail system offering riders more frequent service during the day. “We need to think bold,” says Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee, a former co-chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee.

But here’s the the big question for this and other transit plans, via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Who Will Pay?”


Going for it: Lynch pursues chairmanship of committee at center of impeachment

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch said Monday evening that he would be running for the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, a panel he has sat on for 18 years and one at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.”

The Globe’s Laura Krantz has more on Lynch’s pursuit of the chairmanship, which opened up following the recent death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Local elections: Paying the price for supporting more housing?

As they say, all politics are local – and in many Massachusetts communities that means the politics of housing. The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that housing has become a major issue in area local elections this fall – and elected leaders who have previously pledged to build more housing are suddenly facing challengers or potential successors with different views.

We’re tempted to say this a classic suburban issue, but a report at Universal Hub indicates that housing is an issue almost everywhere: “In Allston/Brighton race, Cashman would get tough on local colleges, Breadon would make developers build more affordable housing.”

Boston Globe

‘The most competitive contest the city has seen in a decade’

Speaking of local elections, the Globe’s Milton Valencia has a good story this morning on the battle for the four at-large city council seats in Boston – and specifically the fourth seat that’s not expected to be won by an incumbent. And it’s totally up for grabs, thanks to an influx of political newcomers in the race.

Meanwhile, at the district level, the Herald’s Jacklyn Cashman writes about the partisan Democrat-versus-Republican clash in District 8 – and what constitutes and doesn’t constitute an endorsement.

Healey’s office concedes: Bodyworks bill needs more work

The elephant in the room on this bill is a certain owner of a professional sports team in Boston. But we won’t get into that now. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is conceding that legislation meant to crack down on human trafficking and the sex industry within the bodyworks industry could end up hurting other businesses, so her office will redraft the bill.

The rewrite comes after a rather spirited State House hearing yesterday on the legislation, with Reiki, Qigong and even yoga practitioners saying the legislation would drive many legitimate healers out of business, as Schoenberg and the Herald’s Mary Markos report.


Federal judge: Time to protect right whales by closing fishing areas off Nantucket

From the Globe’s David Abel: “In a ruling that could create greater protections for North Atlantic right whales, a federal judge ruled Monday that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws when it made the controversial decision last year to reopen long-closed fishing grounds off Nantucket.”

Boston Globe

Sorting out Warren’s past legal work for big corporations

Other media outlets have done this story, i.e. Elizabeth Warren’s past legal work representing big corporations sometimes at odds with the little guys who she now says she’s fighting for as a candidate, etc. And the New York Times now has its own story on the subject, saying her legal record is a little more complicated than what both Warren and her critics say. Which is probably true. But reading the story, one gets the impression the Times doesn’t have its heart in the story, as if it didn’t want to do it in the first place. You decide. 

Btw: Scott Brown makes a cameo appearance in the piece. 

In other Warren news, Amie Parnes of The Hill looks at Warren’s arm’s length media strategy, which has steered her clear of major sit-down interviews on national TV and which may be tested as she faces pressure to explain how she’ll pay for Medicare for All. 


Clogged system: Backlog of immigration cases now at 33,000

The latest evidence that our immigration system is broken: Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports that the number of immigrants waiting for a court hearing has now hit 33,000 in Boston. “The wait time has climbed to an average of 1,445 days, or almost four years, according to a recent from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC),” writes Betancourt. Shouldn’t fixing this be a bi-partisan top priority, no matter where one stands on the issue of immigration? But we don’t live in bi-partisan times and so it won’t be fixed.


Urgent Care centers expanding at fast rate around the state, particularly on the Cape

Sarah Mizes-Tan at WGBH has an interesting story on the growing popularity of “urgent care” centers around the state, serving as alternatives to going to the doctor’s office or emergency rooms for relatively minor medical needs. In the last decade, the number of centers has grown from 18 to 145 in Massachusetts – with the Cape having the highest number of centers per capita.


Smith College investigating swastika graffiti on campus

We missed this story from the other day. The Associated Press at Boston.com is reporting that Smith College and Northampton Police have launched an investigation to find the individual(s) responsible for drawing swastikas on multiple campus buildings.


The governor’s runaround

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is going after Gov. Charlie Baker – and his scheduling staff – for giving the “runaround to people who can’t run,” i.e. disabled people upset with the administration changes to a state board set up to advocate for equal access for people with disabilities. It seems the governor is too busy, busy, busy to meet with them.

The Allston I-90 Project: A runaround of a different kind?

Another runaround story. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Members of a task force convened by the Department of Transportation to offer feedback on a major road and rail project in Allston complained Monday that they had not been kept in the loop during the planning process.” Among other things, they say they haven’t been given documents related to the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Study: Working-class Asian immigrants susceptible to the allure of casinos

Steph Solis at MassLive reports on a new state-funded study that says lack of counseling services and multilingual entertainment may be driving a higher number of working-class Asian immigrants to nearby casinos as “their sole source of entertainment and relief” after long hours of work and associated work-related stress.


The vaping ban’s cost to businesses: Up to $8 million

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Gov. Charie Baker, bowing to the will of the courts, yesterday officially filed/re-filed/whatever his vaping-products ban with the secretary of state’s office, thus keeping in place the ban, albeit a shorter ban than the administration had originally wanted.

Meanwhile, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “The Baker administration projects that a three-month ban on retail nicotine and marijuana vaping products has the potential to cost private businesses $7 million to $8 million in sales. The estimate was included in paperwork filed with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.” 

Falmouth selectman among early entrants into state Senate race

For now, she’s the Cape’s candidate. Falmouth Selectman Susan Moran launched a campaign for the state Senate seat being vacated by Viriato “Vinny” deMacedo, becoming the third Democrat to enter the race and the first from the Cape, Christine Legere reports at the Cape Cod Times. She joins Pembroke Planning Board Chairwoman Becky Coletta and Plymouth Selectman John Mahoney in the hunt for the rare open Senate seat. 

Cape Cod Times

Greenfield mayor blocks effort to make CVS pay for opioid sales

They’re not off the hook. Greenfield Mayor William Martin has vetoed an ordinance approved by the city council that would order the local CVS Pharmacy to pay the city nearly $2.7 million–fifty cents for each opioid dose it distributed before 2012, Melinda Bourdea reports at the Greenfield Recorder. Martin says the council exceeded its authority and noted that the city is already engaged in an opioid lawsuit that names the pharmacy. 

Greenfield Recorder

Meanwhile, New Bedford moves to block new opioid treatment centers

Enough is enough. That’s the message from the New Bedford City Council, which passed an ordinance that would essentially ban new opioid treatment centers from opening in the city, Kiernan Dunlop reports at the Standard-Times. The ordinance would prohibit treatment centers within 10,000 feet – or nearly two miles — of a residential structure and comes as the council faces pressure to block a proposal from CleanSlate.  

Standard Times

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.


Protecting Critical Infrastructure: Resiliency Planning & Investment in Boston II

This event will bring together some of the Boston area’s key infrastructure providers to discuss progress made in climate-resilient planning, design, and implementation—and the work that still lies ahead. The panel will aim to explore strategies for supporting coordinated, regional efforts to improve resiliency in the face of growing climate impacts.

A Better City

We Did It For You! Women’s Journey Through History

“We Did It For You! Women’s Journey Through History” is coming to Needham Town Hall for a special performance on Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm. “We Did It For You!” is a powerful musical that tells of the struggles and triumphs women have undergone to get their basic rights in America.

League of Women Voters of Needham

A Roadmap to Health Care Price Transparency in Massachusetts

Did you know… 7 in 10 Massachusetts consumers want access to health care price information? Join us for a lively and informative discussion on the state of health care price transparency and steps we can take to make this information more accessible.

Pioneer Institute, Treasurer & Receiver Deborah Goldberg, BCBSMA, MAHP, Undersecretary Edward Palleschi, OCABR, MA Division of Insurance

Catalyst for Change 2019

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) will honor U.S. Representative Jim McGovern as the recipient of its 5th Annual Catalyst for Change Award at an annual event on November 4th. MLRI is a nationally recognized nonprofit poverty law and policy center. Rep. Jim McGovern will be honored for his leadership and work to advance policies that help people in poverty.

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Today’s Headlines


Black entrepreneur, once affected by ‘drug war,’ seeks to open Brockton pot shop – Brockton Enterprise

The New England Aquarium wants to monitor whales from space – WBUR


Braintree mayor seeks to protect town forest from development – Patriot Ledger

Bid to regulate art sales in Provincetown finds little support – Cape Cod Times

Bill would make it easier for people to visit loved ones in prison – Daily Hampshire Gazette


House impeachment vote scrambles Senate Republicans’ Trump defense – Politico

GM sides with Trump in emissions battle, splitting industry – New York Times

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