Education conference committee, Healey on the air, and more
— Tax Expenditure Review Commission, formed in the fiscal 2018 budget to review state tax expenditures every five years and determine their purpose and effectiveness, hold its first meeting that’s chaired by Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding, with Auditor Suzanne Bump expected to attend, Saltonstall Building, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, 9 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg attends the state pension fund’s Administration and Audit Committee meeting, which is followed by the fund’s Compensation Committee meeting, 84 State St., Suite 250, Boston, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively.
— The conference committee tasked with reconciling the House and Senate education finance reform holds its first meeting in the office of Rep. Alice Peisch, who with Sen. Jason Lewis co-chairs the committee, Room 473-G, 1 p.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey will join Tiziana Dearing for a segment on WBUR’s ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR 90.9 FM, 3 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.
Communities postponing trick-or-treating tonight due to scary weather
Just FYI: With heavy rain and winds in the forecast for tonight, many communities are postponing trick-or-treating until Friday or Saturday. A number of media outlets – including MassLive and WBUR and the Globe and the Telegram – are running lists of the cities and towns postponing Halloween activities. You may need to cross-reference some of the lists to see if your town is included.
Report: Quincy mayoral candidate hurled eggs at neighbors’ homes
We had to bump this item up, considering it’s All Hallows’ Eve, even if many kids won’t be trick-or-treating tonight. From Mary Whitfil at Wicked Local: “A Quincy woman looking to unseat Mayor Thomas Koch in next week’s election was summoned to court earlier this year after police accused her of throwing eggs at two homes on her street, according to court records.” Maybe she was getting in some early Halloween-prankster practice?
Too scary for even Salem? Mayor wants Andrew Jackson portrait out of council chambers
OK, one more Halloween-themed (sort of) item. Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll wants to remove a portrait of President Andrew Jackson from the City Council chambers and replace it with one honoring the Native American indian tribe that populated Salem prior to the arrival of settlers. Driscoll lays out the anti-Jackson case to WGBH’s Arun Rath and Amanda Beland.
Second vaping illness death appears tied to nicotine
The mysterious lung illness that led to Gov. Charlie Baker’s all-out ban on vaping products has claimed the life of a second Bay State resident, Felicia Gans reports in the Globe. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said the victim was a woman in her 40s from Middlesex County who vaped nicotine products. Laney Ruckstuhl at WBUR has more.
Btw: A superior court judge yesterday officially upheld Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency ban on vaping-product sales, reports Tanner Stening at MassLive.
Shell-backed venture selected for second offshore wind project
CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report that the Baker administration has selected Mayflower Wind, a joint venture of Shell and EDPR Offshore North America, as the winner of the state’s second off-shore wind farm. Mayflower Wind is vowing super-low energy prices. But some wonder whether it can/will do enough to spur growth of the fledgling wind-energy sector in Massachusetts.
Time to worry? Report says state’s economy actually contracted last quarter
MassLive’s Jim Kinney reports on a new MassBenchmark’s study that said the state’s economy actually contracted last quarter, largely due to a tight labor market that restricted employers from hiring and expanding. Still, economists remain confident the state’s economy is in good shape.
The Globe’s Larry Edelman has more, including how the national economy continues to expand, sure. But it’s growing at a slower pace and the Fed keeps cutting interest rates in mild alarm. Our quickie analysis: There are too many economic warning signs out there for our comfort.
DraftKings: On the sale block?
In other business/economic news, this is potentially huge, assuming it leads to a deal. From Bloomberg News at the Globe: “Blank-check company Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. is in advanced talks to buy Boston-based DraftKings Inc., the fantasy sports and gambling company, according to people familiar with the matter. The special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, is in exclusive negotiations with DraftKings, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No transaction has been finalized and talks could fall through, the people said.”
Brutalist plan: State to re-develop aging Hurley Building
The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that the Baker administration is planning to redevelop the state’s Brutalist-style Hurley Building in Boston, effectively putting the aging concrete hulk out to bid and then re-leasing space at the facility for state workers, ideally after a complete private-sector overhaul of the giant structure.
This sort of reminds us of the Saltonstall Building rehab/lease/sale/whatever project a few years back, with important distinctions, of course .
No gondola, but Seaport will get a skating rink
Speaking of developments, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports that WS Development has plans for a skating rink this winter in the Seaport District, with an accompanying “warming tent,” on the same lot that hosted a beer garden this summer.
Trahan fesses up: The mysterious $300K was from her husband
The Eagle Tribune’s Bill Kirk and the Globe’s Andrea Estate and Matt Stout report that U.S. Lori Trahan is now openly acknowledging that her last-minute spending binge in last year’s Third District primary race was indeed funded by her husband money, though she still maintains the funds fall into a “gray area” of campaign finance law. Others disagree, obviously.
Meanwhile, Trahan, while clearly on the defensive yesterday, was trying to go on the offensive by blasting (though not by name) her 2018 primary rival Dan Koh for his “politically motivated” and “deeply offensive” attacks on her finances, reports Elizabeth Dobbins at the Lowell Sun.
As Warren readies her expected advertising mega-blitz …
The New York Times reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has finally run her first TV ads in Iowa. Granted, it’s a somewhat measly $27,000 buy. But the Times reports Warren is poised to spend millions on TV and digital advertising in the first four primary states— Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. You’ve been warned, good voters.
… Twitter announces it will ban all political ads
Here’s one way to avoid the wrath of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others Dems upset with what they call vicious and inaccurate social-media ads run by Republicans: Simply ban all political ads. And that’s exactly what Twitter has anounced it will do starting next month, reports the NYT.
At the Herald, conservative columnist Adrianna Cohen is furious, saying Twitter is “putting its big political thumb on the scale” to help Democrats.
Warren blasts N.H. GOP for discouraging out-of-state students from voting
The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is slamming a new state law in New Hampshire that she says will discourage out-of-state college students from casting ballots.
Meanwhile, on another education-related front, Warren is getting slammed by supporters of charter schools for her new pre-K-12 proposal that would freeze federal funds flowing to charter schools, the Washington Post reports.
Boston lobbyist Larry Rasky rides to struggling Joe Biden’s rescue
In other presidential campaign news, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that former Vice President Joe Biden, whose presidential campaign is sagging fast, is now getting some help from prominent Boston lobbyist and communications guru Larry Rasky, who is helping lead a newly formed PAC that will “defend against dishonest attacks” targeting Biden, who recently flip-flopped on the issue of PACs.
Judge backs state lottery on banning of frequent winners
Score one for the state. A judge has sided with the Massachusetts Lottery in a lawsuit filed by a “high frequency winner,” saying the agency is within its rights to withhold payouts for now, Mike Beaudet reports at WCVB. The lottery had temporarily suspended payouts to Ali Jaafar and his sons after they cashed in some $5.8 million in winnings in 2019 alone.
Worcester funeral director loses license after stockpiling corpses on property
Aviva Luttrell at MasssLive reports that Worcester funeral director Peter Stefan, known for burying the poor, anonymous and the controversial, has had his license pulled by the state due to the “imminent danger” posed by operations on his facility. I.e. He’s occasionally stockpiled rather smelly corpses on his property in the past. He’s not happy about the state action, but we assume his neighbors are relieved.
Sen. DeMacedo will stay a little longer, holding up election in the process
It’s official: Plymouth Sen. Viriato deMacedo will remain in office until the Legislature recesses for the year in late November, delaying the start of his new job at Bridgewater State University, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. And that means no election date to fill his seat can be set until he actually resigns. But that’s not stopping people from declaring they’ll run for his seat. The latest candidate to declare: Thomas Moakley, the 24-year-old Democrat and great nephew of the late U.S. Rep. Joseph Moakley, Murphy also reports at SHNS (pay wall).
McGovern: Don’t worry. We’ll get the impeachment proceedings right
In a Globe op-ed, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern vows House Democrats will provide a fair and “clear pathway forward” in impeachment proceedings against President Trump, as the chamber today takes a key vote effectively launching the public phase of the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi has taken the president’s advice and read the Ukrainian phone-call transcripts and … “bingo!” … the case for impeachment is all there, despite what the president says, she writes.
SJC sides with police cadet over drug-test rejection
The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled a Boston police cadet was wrong denied a full-time job because his hair tested positive for cocaine. The court effectively ruled such hair tests are unreliable. WBUR’s Lisa Creamer and Quincy Walters have more on the controversial case with some distinct racial overtones.
Hiding in plain sight: Martha’s Vineyard hospital removes Weinstein’s name from plaque
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital says it will remove a plaque that thanks embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for his financial donations after an eagle-eyed reporter noticed it had survived earlier efforts by the institution to distance itself from the accused sexual predator. Lucas Thors at the Martha’s Vineyard Times has the details.
College closure bills have cleared both branches
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Both branches of the Legislature have now signed off on a bill requiring additional transparency from colleges and universities, a measure aimed at protecting students and faculty from being caught off-guard by a sudden closure.” The Senate action yesterday was unanimous, and the House has passed similar legislation, so it looks like this measure (generally) is an eventual go.
Doubling down: Campuses cheer proposal to match public college donations
Critics might say this is just a way to avoid actually funding public higher education, but campus officials are cheering a proposal to revive a policy of using state funds to partially match private donations to the endowments of UMass and other public schools, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. Lawmakers have tucked a return of the ‘Public Higher Education Endowment Incentive Program’ into the supplemental budget package making its way through the State House.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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