Happening Today

College oversight bill, Merit Rating Board, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack to participate in ceremonial groundbreaking of the new John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 55 Broadway, Cambridge, 11:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate plans to tackle the higher education oversight bill, Senate Chamber, 1 p.m.

Merit Rating Board, a previously dormant three-member panel at the heart of the Registry of Motor Vehicles records-keeping scandal, meets as it continues its search for the department’s next full-time director, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 1 p.m.

— Activists with the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition gather to pressure lawmakers to make significant investments in reforming the state’s transportation infrastructure, Room 437, 2:30 p.m.

— Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants delivers the annual State of the Judiciary address in an event hosted by the Massachusetts Bar Association, John Adams Courthouse, Great Hall, One Pemberton Square, Boston, 4 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is the special guest at Citizens’ for Housing Planning Association’s annual dinner, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, 5:30 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

Business groups tentatively embrace gas-tax and fee hikes for transportation

They’re not all on board, but a number of business groups are very tentatively embracing the idea of raising the state’s gas tax, as well as other transportation-related fees, in order to pay for the state’s future transportation needs. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and Joe Chesto at the Globe have the details on the loose confederation of the willing.

A new tax on Pandora and Spotify? They’re thinking about it

The Herald’s Mary Markos and SHNS’s Matt Murphy report that a Senate Revenue Work Group is mulling, among other future revenue sources for the state, a new tax on music downloads and streaming services, like Pandora and Spotify. To emphasize: They’re just talking about it. Just talking.

Rent control is back in fashion on Beacon Hill. Or is it?

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg report on a State House rally yesterday in favor of re-establishing rent control in Massachusetts, a measure supported by some lawmakers and other elected officials. But as SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports: “Rent Control Gets Cool Reception on Hill.” Among those cool to the idea: Gov. Charlie Baker.

‘He’s a liar,’ Part II: Ex-lawmaker backs Kaufman on alleged DeLeo threat

It’s not exactly a first-hand confirmation, but former state Rep. Cleon Turner does recall then House colleague Jay Kaufman being upset over an alleged threat six years ago by Robert DeLeo to strip Kaufman of a committee chairmanship, an accusation DeLeo has very adamantly denied. Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine has more on the ongoing saga.

CommonWealth

The Worcester Beer Garden Incident: ‘A scene of complete bedlam’

A weekend fight/brawl/near-riot outside Worcester’s Beer Garden was partially caught on video and “shows a scene of complete bedlam that erupted on the sidewalk as at least five people were involved in a physical altercation with police officers as a melee broke out,” reports Scott Croteau at MassLive, which has the video. 

Here’s more, via the Telegram, on the drunken incident that rocked Worcester on Saturday night.

MassLive

Definitely top tier – of white presidential candidates

Do the New York Times and the Washington Post have emergency response teams reacting to each other’s stories? You have to wonder, after both papers yesterday came out with virtually the same not-exactly-breaking stories. From the Times: “Democrats Have the Most Racially Diverse Field Ever. The Top Tier Is All White.” From the Post: “The most diverse Democratic field in history seems poised to result in a white nominee.”

Btw: A new poll shows Bernie Sanders with a slight lead over Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, followed by the other top-tier candidates, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, according to Bloomberg News at the Globe.

‘The Democrats’ fast shift to the left on Israel’

David Weigel at the Washington Post catches up with what some Dem presidential candidates probably hope wouldn’t be caught (or at least advertised too much), i.e. their sudden shift left on the policy of making military aid to Israel conditional on the country no longer annexing territory in Gaza and the West Bank. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is among the candidates to embrace the controversial measure.

Washington Post

In Westfield, they have a very special job for former mayors

Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, who earlier this year announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, will be leaving office earlier than expected to take a post in the Baker administration as director of the Green Communities division at the state Department of Energy Resources – the exact same job his Westfield mayoral predecessor left office for in 2015. Did we mention Sullivan is a Democrat who backed the Republican Baker’s re-election?

MassLive

Police: Video shows ex-Haverhill mayor stealing campaign signs

In other local mayoral news, William Ryan has stayed busy since leaving the mayor’s office in Haverhill. Such as apparently driving around town with his son-in-law stealing campaign signs. Allison Corneau at WHAV and Breanna Edelstein at the Eagle Tribune report that police say Ryan and Shaun Toohey, a candidate for city council, were “instantly recognizable” on surveillance footage that a mayoral candidate set up as part of a sort of campaign sting operation.

The Globe’s new ‘investigative team for education and inequality’

File under: ‘Newspaper reinvention’? The Globe’s Sarah Carr reports, or actually announces, that the newspaper has assembled a new team of staff reporters to cover “education and inequality” in the Boston area. She introduces the reporters and the types of stories they hope to cover and how they expect to cover them, including: “Experiment with diverse and engaging forms of storytelling.”  

Boston Globe

Not all politics are local: Council candidates rake in big out-of-town bucks

From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “More than 40% of donations in the at-large City Council race are coming from out-of-towners seeking to influence Boston’s election and curry favor with the candidates.”

Boston Herald

‘Right to dry’ gets an airing on Beacon Hill

Christian Wade at the Salem News reports on what’s now turned into an almost annual epic battle on Beacon Hill over the right, or non-right, to use outdoor clotheslines to dry clothes. Against the ‘right to dry’ bill: Condo associations and even some towns. For the bill: Just about everyone else in the known universe.

Salem News

Changing the dynamics of diaper changing

In other State House news, state Sen. Becca Rausch yesterday pitched what she described as a “short and simple bill that will solve a big problem,” i.e. putting more diaper-changing stations in men’s public restrooms so they too can help out with the dirty chore of parenting. SHNSs Katie Lannan has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Celebrating a bailed-out insurer: Smart politics in an election year?

The Globe’s Christina Prignano reports that U.S. Rep. Richard Neal’s recent appearance at a “centennial celebration” for AIG – the once too-big-to-fail insurer that received gobs of bailout money from the federal government at taxpayers’ expense – is drawing more than a little attention and criticism, particularly from Democratic rival Alex Morse.

‘Admissions’: A play about white liberals’ obsession with, well, school admissions

Carolyn Clay at WBUR reviews Joshua Harmon’s “Admissions,” now on stage at Boston’s SpeakEasy, and she notes the brutal comedy’s rather timely nature, considering the recent Harvard admissions discrimination case and the Varsity Blues scandal. From Clay: “The play’s terse moniker also references confessions, however inadvertent, by performatively woke, well-meaning Caucasians slapped in the face by their own hypocrisy.”

WBUR

Late state budget could cost $500K in lost interest

That late state supplemental budget that lawmakers are still grappling with on Beacon Hill? State Comptroller Andrew Maylor is warning its tardy passage, more than four months after the end of last fiscal year, could end up costing the state $500,000 in lost interest – and $30,000 a day if the impasse stretches beyond Nov. 15, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Meanwhile, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Late-Arriving Closeout Budget Hits Procedural Snag.”

MassLive

State investigating reports that MIT mishandled radioactive material

Just what we need. From the Globe’s David Abel: “State officials are investigating allegations that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has failed to adequately secure radioactive material from an old particle accelerator at a research lab in Middleton, potentially exposing employees and visitors to harmful materials.”

Boston Globe

Trahan’s mounting legal bills

Dan Koh is not her only problem these days. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Representative Lori Trahan, who has faced a series of calls for federal officials to investigate her campaign financing, reported nearly $167,000 in new legal bills this month, all to a firm she said she hired to manage her financial disclosures.” Note the “this month” part. Yikes.

Everett eyes scrapping at-large ward elections

Pressured by voting-rights activists, Everett is now looking at possibly changing how its city council members are elected, specifically nixing the current citywide election of ward councilors, reports Gabrielle Emanuel at WGBH. Question: Citywide elections for district seats? Hmmm. 

WGBH

No, not the perks too!

He’s still on the payroll, but he’s losing some perks. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, who is on leave from office after his second federal indictment on corruption charges, has turned in a city-owned vehicle he had apparently been fueling up with taxpayer-purchased gasoline, Amanda Burke reports at the Herald-News. Correia likely used as much as $7,600 worth of police department gasoline over the past three years, apparently taking advantage of a lack of formal policy about city vehicle use.

Herald News

Is DCF literally putting distance between parents and kids?

The Globe’s Kay Lazar reports that the state Department of Children and Families has recently moved some of its city centers to hard-to-reach locations in the ‘burbs, making it harder for many urban parents who have lost custody of children to see their kids. Meanwhile, from Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Foster children, parents push for outside review of DCF cases.”

Ante up, MGM Springfield: Dealer says casino broke wage law with $5-an-hour pay

He says he’s been dealt a band hand. A table game dealer has sued MGM Springfield, saying the casino violated federal labor law by failing to disclose he’d be paid as little as $5 an hour because he also receives tips, Andy Rosen reports at the Globe. The complaint from dealer Shawn Connors, which says as many as 100 other employees could join the case, seeks unspecified damages.  

Bourne’s McMahon first from GOP to enter expected state senate race

They’re coming fast and furious. Bourne attorney and former attorney general candidate Jay McMahon became the first Republican to declare he’ll seek the state senate seat being vacated by Viriato ‘Vinny’ deMacedo, Colin A. Young reports via State House News Service (pay wall). McMahon, a Trump supporter, joins three Democrats who have already said they’ll run in what is expected to be an early 2020 special election.  

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Just helping: Attleboro mayor’s race draws PAC attention

Attleboro mayoral candidate Heather Porreca says she was unaware of the campaign support she’s getting from a third-party source — a political action committee led by a developer, Jim Hand reports at the Sun-Chronicle. For campaign mailings, the Massachusetts Majority Independent Expenditure PAC apparently lifted images of Porreca, who is challenging Mayor Paul Heroux, and proclaims she has developers standing ready to spend billions to redevelop the city’s downtown.

Sun Chronicle

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.

WorldBoston

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.

EdVestors

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

Metro

Boston firms return to Saudi conference after journalist’s death – Boston Business Journal

Councilor calls for youth homelessness commission – Boston Herald

Massachusetts

Brockton ‘scrambling’ to plug $6 million school transportation shortfall – Brockton Enterprise

Oxford-based laser maker IPG Photonics to lay off 300 – Telegram & Gazette

State official: Takeover of Cape Cod Canal bridges ‘on table’ – Cape Cod Times

Nation

Number of uninsured children rises for second year, tops 4 million – The Hill

Schumer warns Trump may shut down government over impeachment – Politico

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