Happening Today

Prescription pricing bill and more

Pension Reserve Investment Management Board meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg serving as chair, PRIM Headquarters, 84 State St., Suite 250, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

MASSPIRG and Environment Massachusetts hold a ‘Reduce before Recycle’ event, featuring a six-foot ‘monster’ made out of discarded single-use plastic bags, State House steps, 10:30 a.m.

— The Senate holds a formal session to consider, among other bills, a prescription drug pricing control bill, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.

Cannabis Advisory Board meets, with Ed Palleschi, undersecretary of consumer affairs and business regulation, attending, Department of Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.

— Supporters of the ROE Act gather to participate in an advocacy training hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts prior to heading to the State House to lobby legislators on a bill that would expand access to abortion, 32BJ SEIU Meeting Hall, 26 West St., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins, Middlesex DA Marian Ryan and Committee for Public Counsel Services Immigration Impact Unit Director Wendy Wayne speak on a panel about litigation challenging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s policy of courthouse arrests, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 10 Winter Place, Boston, 6 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

State Police Lt. Col. Mason appointed to worst job in state government

A week after Col. Kerry Gilpin announced her retirement as head of the embattled Massachusetts State Police, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday appointed Lt. Col. Christopher Mason, the second in command at the agency, to run the scandal-plagued State Police. Mason is vowing reforms and more transparency at the agency amid various federal and state investigations. Scott Croteau at MassLive and Matt Stout and Matt Rocheleau at the Globe have more.

Going for it: Patrick declares he’s running for president

Former Gov. Deval Patrick made it official this morning via his Facebook page: He’s running for president. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has more, including how Patrick already has a new logo up and running: “Deval Patrick 2020.” The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Matt Stout and the New York Times also report on Patrick’s plan to run in the Democratic primary for president, announcing only a day before the filing deadline to get on the New Hampshire primary ballot. As Scott Detrow at WBUR puts it, regarding the Granite State deadline: “Patrick’s decision is about as last-minute as it gets.”

Could Patrick’s move lead to a Warren loss in NH?

The Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports on the anger (to put it mildly) among some local Dems and Elizabeth Warren supporters to former Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to enter the presidential race. Phil Johnston, a Warren supporter and former state Democratic Party boss, says Patrick’s entry into the race could “make the difference” up north and trigger a Granite State loss for Warren.

Speaking of New Hampshire, Warren (Globe) and former Gov. Bill Weld (The Hill) did indeed officially file yesterday for the Dem primary in the Granite State. 

Boston Herald

First in nation: House passes flavored-tobacco ban and new tax on e-cigarettes

They did it. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “In a bill hailed as a major step toward stopping teenagers from vaping, the Massachusetts House on Wednesday passed a bill that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, and impose a 75% excise tax on electronic cigarettes. The bill passed 127-31. It will now go to the Senate.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more on the first-in-the-nation menthol ban, which applies to cigarettes too, and other moves.


So is there going to be a transportation-tax bill this fall or not? DeLeo is unsure

The battle lines are clear. On one side is the Mass Fiscal Alliance (Howie Carr show), Herald (editorial), the Pioneer Institute etc. who are, to put it mildly, highly dubious of the state taxing its way out of its transportation woes. On the other side is transit activists, business groups and now area mayors and municipal leaders (SHNS) who favor some sort of tax hike to pay for transportation improvements.

And caught in between are lawmakers. Specifically, House members, whose leader, Robert DeLeo, didn’t sound very optimistic yesterday about the prospects of a tax-bill vote later this year. Then again, DeLeo says to “stay tuned,” as Andy Metzger reports at CommonWealth magazine.


Garage-sale time for MassGOP?

They’re even selling a few hundred folding tables and chairs? Things must be worse than we thought for the state Republican Party, which is moving its headquarters from Boston to Woburn, slashing administrative expenses and hawking its wares at a time of tight finances at the Grand Old Party. Former GOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes is among the critics of the current Jim Lyons-led regime running the party. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more.

Our quickie thought(s): Is this one of the reasons why Gov. Charlie Baker recently helped set up a separate super PAC? Or perhaps it’s the other way around: The super PAC is partly causing/exacerbating money problems at the party? Or maybe it’s a combination of the two?

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Worcester firefighter killed in blaze

The city of Worchester, which over the years has experienced its share of sorrow over the loss of firefighters, is once again in mourning following the death earlier this week of Fire Department Lt. Jason Menard, a father of three who perished while battling a blaze and trying to save two colleagues. The Telegram’s George Barnes and the Globe’s Travis Andersen and Gal Tziperman Lotan have the sad details. The Telegram also has photos of the blaze and the stunned reactions of colleagues and others to Menard’s death.

Here’s a painful headline to read, via MassLive: “Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard was supposed to leave for Disney World with his family; Died ‘heroically’ saving fellow firefighters.”

Nail-Biter: Only five votes now separate Mejia and St. Guillen in council race

There are still votes to be counted, such as overseas and military absentee ballots, and they may well prove the difference in the super-close at-large council race between Julia Mejia and Alejandra St. Guillen. The two are now separated by only five votes. Isaiah Thompson at WGBH has the vote-counting details.


Just in time for the holidays: NECCO’s Sky Bar is coming back

It won’t be in time for Black Friday sales. But Sudbury’s Duck Soup, a gourmet food store that somehow managed to obtain the rights to NECCO’s old Sky Bar delight, plans next month to start re-selling the famed candy bar at its store and via online sales. Douglas Hook at MassLive has more.


So what would you do to change Boston if you had miraculous superpowers?

The Boston Business Journal has a fun slideshow feature that asks various business/non-profit leaders what they would do to change Boston if they had magical super-hero superpowers. Many of them cite very laudable goals: More diversity and tolerance, better schools, decisive action on climate change etc. 

Of course, there’s also a strong and understandable desire to immediately sign Mookie Betts to a new long-term contract and use Magneto-like powers to reduce traffic congestion.


Thanks to ‘political climate,’ Smith & Wesson is Smith & Wesson again

Jim Kinney at MassLive reports that American Outdoor Brands Corp., parent company of Springfield’s famed Smith & Wesson, is splitting into two, citing the recent “political climate” (i.e. anti-gun sentiment following recent mass shootings) and other factors. Bottom line, as Kinney reports: “New companies Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., based in Springfield, will encompass the firearms business, and American Outdoor Brands Inc. will include the outdoor products and accessories businesses.”


Campus journalism: Standing up to power? Or caving?

First Harvard. Then Northwestern. And now BU. The Boston Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes and the New York Times take a look at recent campus controversies over student journalists trying to cover events – and largely left-wing campus activists telling them how they should and shouldn’t cover events.

The Globe’s Jeneé Osterheldt has a good piece that tries to strike a balance between the two competing sides. And Osterheldt is right to do so (to an extent), for a few of the complaints against student journalists are valid (such as being more sensitive about use of photos). But let’s face it: This is fundamentally about politics – and campus ideologues trying to shape campus news coverage so it conforms to their political views. Is anyone seriously arguing this isn’t the case?

‘Washington Post calls up another reporter from its Boston farm team’

Speaking of journalism, we’re shamelessly stealing Universal Hub’s headline and lead for this item (and there’s no ideological rationale to justify it): “The Washington Post announced (Tuesday) it’s hired Globe Spotlight Team reporter Nicole Dungca for its own Investigative Unit.  Dungca becomes the latest Globie to join a southward migration to DC.” And UH lists all those who have recently left the Globe for the Post.

Universal Hub

How the heck has DigBoston managed to survive?

One more media item, from WBUR’s Adrian Ma, who reports on how DigBoston has managed to survive as Boston’s last alt-weekly newspaper. It hasn’t been easy, but it helps that DigBoston covers stories the Globe and Herald won’t touch, such as reviews of cannabis concentrates and the art of bong hits, among other topics. Ma explains.


Bogged down: Cranberry growers say tariff hit is $50 million and counting

Speaking of DigBoston, Laura Rosbrow-Telem reports it all comes down to one day. The Bay State’s cranberry growers are counting on strong Thanksgiving sales to help rescue their year after the industry saw about $50 million in losses tied directly to President Trump’s trade war with China.


Fuming at the casino: CLF threatens suit over idling buses

Shut ‘em off. The Conservation Law Foundation is threatening to sue Encore Boston Harbor if it doesn’t address what the group calls excessive idling by shuttle buses bringing gamblers to the Everett resort, David Abel reports at the Globe. The CLF says the idling violates provisions of the Clean Air Act and notes that the law allows for $100,000-a-day fines for ongoing violations. 

Boston Globe

Get counted: Galvin rallies Cape communities ahead of 2020 census

Secretary of State Bill Galvin continued his road show to boost awareness of the 2020 census, telling officials on Cape Cod his office will make grants available to ensure that everyone–including foreign-born workers and snowbirds who leave for warmer climes each winter–can be found and counted, Geoff Spillane reports in the Cape Cod Times. 

Cape Cod Times

Costly cause: Fall River ponies up for Correia-related legal moves

And it didn’t even work. Taxpayers in Fall River are on the hook for $77,000 worth of legal fees tied to the ultimately unsuccessful effort by the city council to use a provision of the city charter to remove former Mayor Jasiel Correia from office — a mission that was ultimately accomplished later by voters at the ballot box. Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News reports about half the total went to Quincy-based Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, which helped the twice-indicted Correia thwart the removal efforts. 

Herald News

Energy commissioner Judson departing for Ameresco

MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg reports that Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson is leaving her job next month to join the renewable energy company Ameresco. Judson has been energy commissioner since 2015 and previously chaired the Public Utilities Commission under former Gov. Mitt Romney, as Schoenberg writes. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more.

Book Signing with Cynthia Levinson, author of Fault Lines in the Constitution

Lesley University will host Cynthia Levinson award-winning author of Fault Lines in the Constitution, We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, and Watch Out for Flying Kids!: How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community, for a book signing event.

Lesley University Center for Advanced Professional Studies

Empowering Future Leaders: The Steps to a Successful Political Campaign

The 2019 Conference on Gender and International Affairs and Fletcher LEADS are excited to host the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (https://mwpc.org/).

The 2019 Conference on Gender and International Affairs and Fletcher LEADS

Somerville Town Hall with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

Congresswoman Pressley deeply believes that in order to build lasting and sustainable solutions, we must bring the voices of those most impacted by the issues to the decision making tables. She believes that we must be intentional about creating spaces to lift unheard voices and unheard narratives — which is exactly why Congresswoman Pressley is excited to hear directly from friends and neighbors across the 7th Congressional District.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressely

A Conversation with Ash Carter

Ash Carter, former Secretary of Defense and director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, discusses his distinguished career and new book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon with David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Boston Speakers Series: Bob Woodward

A journalistic icon, Woodward is associate editor of The Washington Post. He, along with Carl Bernstein, uncovered the Watergate scandal detailed in their Pulitzer Prize-winning book, All the President’s Men. Woodward has written 19 bestselling books on American politics, most recently: Fear: Trump in the White House.

Lesley University

2019 New England State and Local Tax Forum

The New England State and Local Tax Forum is a one-day conference designed to provide an annual update on significant state and local tax developments from across the nation with a particular focus on New England.

New England State and Local Tax Forum

The Ninth Annual Massachusetts Investor Conference

The Ninth Annual Massachusetts Investor Conference: Featuring presentations on the state’s economy as well as panels pertinent to the MA credit and credits of statewide issuers.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy Career Panel

Four alumnae of the GLPP with careers in the government, non-profit, and social service sectors will discuss their career paths and lessons learned along the way.

Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy

Boston Speakers Series: Bob Woodward

A journalistic icon, Woodward is associate editor of The Washington Post. He, along with Carl Bernstein, uncovered the Watergate scandal detailed in their Pulitzer Prize-winning book, All the President’s Men. Woodward has written 19 bestselling books on American politics, most recently: Fear: Trump in the White House.

Lesley University

What is a Safe Community? A Learning Panel

Come learn about the Network for Social Justice’s efforts to ensure all residents and visitors feel safe and protected.

Network for Social Justice

Today’s Headlines


Former middle school in Hyde Park to become New England’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior-housing building – Universal Hub

Check out Kendall Square’s first full-service grocery store – Boston Business Journal


Salem State announces creation of the Berry Institute – Salem News

Arrests lead to 500 bags of heroin stamped “Trump 2020” – Greenfield Recorder

AG Healey visits Framingham high to push for inclusion – MetroWest Daily News


Trump exposed: A brutal day for the president – Politico

Jury set to begin deliberating in Stone trial – The Hill

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.