Baker in Florida, distracted driving vote, and more
— Gov. Charlie Baker travels to Florida for the Republican Governors Association’s annual conference and returns on Wednesday.
— Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets, with plans to vote on its fiscal 2021 budget proposal, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 9 a.m.
— A rally is planned in support of ‘indigenous priority bills,’ including a push to create a commission to review the seal and motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State House steps, 9:30 a.m.
— Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight considers 17 miscellaneous bills, including legislation that would create a new commission to investigate on workplace harassment and sexual assault complaints within the Legislature, Gardner Auditorium, 10:30 a.m.
— House meets in a formal session to take up compromise distracted driving legislation filed on Monday, House Chamber, 11 a.m.
— Sen. Jamie Eldridge hosts a press conference with solitary confinement survivors and others to highlight his new legislation that creates the term ‘segregated confinement,’ Room 428, 2 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.
‘Seeing Red’: The state’s worsening traffic nightmare
The Globe’s Spotlight Team scores again. This time by simply digging into the numbers to show just how bad traffic congestion has gotten in Greater Boston – and why. Some of the data the team has unearthed: The region has 300,000 more cars and trucks on the roads than it did just five years ago; there 74,000 additional jobs in Suffolk County compared to five years ago and employees have to get into Boston somehow – and the vast majority of motorists drive all alone to work, surprise, surprise. Bottom line: The state’s roadway system was simply not designed for such heavy usage.
Btw, the sub-headline on the “Seeing Red” package: “Epic traffic paralyzes the region as gridlock grips the halls of power.”
Regional carbon pricing: Far from a sure thing
One of the ways the state hopes to raise funds to address the traffic-congestion problem in Massachusetts is via a new regional carbon pricing plan that the Baker administration has been touting. But SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that a regional agreement may be difficult to achieve. New Hampshire and Vermont leaders are skeptical about the plan. Other states are sitting on the sidelines as talks proceed. And, well, we’ll see.
If an agreement isn’t reached, it may back to the gas-tax drawing board, something Mass High Tech’s Chris Anderson has been desperately trying to avoid, as CommonWealth magazine reported yesterday.
Rite of passage? One of Orange Line’s new train cars derails
Don’t panic. It doesn’t appear to be the fault of one of the new Orange Line cars. Or that’s the impression we get from Danny McDonald’s story at the Globe on the derailment of one of the T’s new Orange Line cars as it traveled slowly through the Wellington rail yards. No passengers were aboard and no one was hurt.
In other T notes, from CommonWealth magazine: “Commuter rail on-time performance takes dive.” From SHNS (pay wall): “MBTA will ‘be there’ for riders this winter, Baker assures.” Also from SHNS (pay wall): “MBTA retirement fund investing more assets through PRIT.” And finally, from CommonWealh: “T launches PR offensive on repair work.”
How Warren lost Massachusetts on health care
At first, we thought Liz Goodwin and Lev Facher’s piece at the Globe was going to be just another Warren-has-evolved-on-health-care story. It’s not. They focus on how, among other things, Warren’s surprise opposition to the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016 was a turning point in her changing views on health care – and in her relationship with the state’s life-science sector.
Btw, no coverage of Warren this morning would be complete without this headline: “Elizabeth Warren blasts private equity firm over Taylor Swift songs” (Bloomberg News at the Globe).
Deval Patrick: Centrist knight to the rescue?
There are lots of news and punditry items out there related to former Gov. Deval Patrick’s surprise entry into the Democratic presidential race. First, David Bernstein, the long-time political reporter who now mostly writes for WGBH and Boston Magazine, has a NYT op-ed trying to explain Patrick to the rest of the nation. Bottom line: Given a chance on the stump, Patrick may surprise many, Bernstein writes.
But what caught our attention is the focus on Patrick’s more centrist message – at least compared to the progressive views of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. From the NYT: “How Moderates Are Seizing the Moment in the Democratic Primary.”
Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, Democratic congressman and Obama chief of staff, has an opinion piece at the Washington Post welcoming the candidacies of “traditional liberals” like Patrick and Michael Bloomberg, who he says are needed to counter the “far left” calls for a redistribution of wealth. At the Herald, Jeff Robbins is comparing Patrick to a unifying RFK. But the Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that Patrick’s public and private lives, including past controversies involving Ameriquest and his brother-in-law, are fair game in this election, whether Patrick likes it or not.
Thousands attend funeral of Worcester firefighter Jason Menard
It was a sad day in Worcester yesterday, as thousands of people, including top state leaders, paid their respects at the funeral for Worcester firefighter Jason Menard, who died last week battling a city blaze. The Telegram has the full story — and lots of photos of the solemn events yesterday.
Senior struggles: They’re not making it in Massachusetts
We’re number one again – unfortunately in this case. A new report says the Bay State leads the nation in the share of elderly residents living alone whose income doesn’t cover housing and other basic expenses, Robert Weisman reports at the Globe. The Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston says 60 percent of such residents can’t make ends meet — and says the high cost of housing and health care are the main culprits.
Former Sen. Susan Fargo, RIP
From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Susan Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat who served eight terms in the Massachusetts Senate, died last week after a period of declining health. She was 77. … During her time on Beacon Hill — from 1997 until 2012 — Fargo was a champion of the state’s workplace smoking ban law, a supporter of expanded buffer zones around abortion clinics and a staunch opponent of casino gambling legislation.”
As Young notes, her obituary says she died “seven months after the death of her beloved husband of 52 years, Foster M. Fargo Jr.”
Districted driving bill poised for legislative passage
CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger reports that the House today will vote on the compromise distracted driving bill – the one that bans motorists from holding cell phones while driving – and how the legislation sure looks like its headed for Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk before Thanksgiving. But there are opponents and skeptics out there, as the Herald’s Mary Markos and Erin Tiernan report.
One important note on the legislation, via the AP at WBUR: “The bill requires the Registry of Motor Vehicles to collect data from every traffic citation, including the age, race and gender of the driver, without identifying the driver. The information would help identify law enforcement agencies that may be engaging in racial or gender profiling.”
Beacon Hill negotiators agree on children’s health bill
Here’s another compromise deal that appears headed for passage on Beacon Hill. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “MassHealth would be required to cover young adults previously in state custody until they turn 26, health insurers would need to maintain accurate provider directories and a host of commissions would be created under compromise children’s health legislation filed Monday afternoon.”
But Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that a provision requiring DCF to report on its reforms of the foster care system has been stripped from the compromise package.
But all is not well on the plastic-bags-ban front on Beacon Hill
Here’s one bill that isn’t exactly fostering harmony among House and Senate members at the State House, i.e. the Senate bill that would impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli is furious that Senate is pushing for a Wednesday vote on the legislation without coordination with the House, saying it’s setting a “dangerous precedent.” SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has the details.
Foiled by the foil: Fall River write-in candidate got more votes than indicted mayor
Jo C. Goode at the Herald News reports on the surprisingly low voter turnout in the Fall River mayoral election earlier this month, considering it centered on whether to finally oust indicted Mayor Jasiel Correia. Correia was indeed ousted by winner Paul Coogan – and Correia even lost to write-in candidate Cathy Ann Viveiros, who many saw as Correia’s third-candidate foil to split the opposition vote. The ploy obviously didn’t work.
Springfield press secretary’s drunken ‘Do you know who I am’ moment (sort of)
Marian Sullivan, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s communications director, yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of going on a drunken rampage over the weekend at the MGM Springfield, a rampage that reportedly included her trying to reach casino president Mike Mathis via FaceTime, as state troopers patiently waited to slap the cuffs on her. Stephanie Barry at MassLive has the details.
Meanwhile, ex-Attleboro mayor and current Mansfield town manager charged with drunk driving
It wasn’t a good weekend for Kevin J. Dumas either. Stephen Peterson at the Sun Chronicle reports that the Mansfield town manager and former mayor of Attleboro was arrested early Saturday morning on Cape Cod and charged with drunken driving and other offenses.
Historic pot deal in Boston?
From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “The Boston City Council is poised to vote Wednesday on a historic ordinance authored by Boston City Councilor Kim Janey to completely overhaul the city’s process of picking prospective marijuana operators. And depending on whom you ask, it’s either a huge disappointment or a big win for equity in the fast-growing industry.”
Cape towns get extra time on pot-license subpoenas
Speaking of marijuana matters, they’re doing their homework. A handful of Cape Cod communities that were issued federal grand jury subpoenas in connection with marijuana licensing have been given extra time to respond and all appear likely to choose to turn over documents rather than have local officials testify directly, Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times.
Developer proposes massive mixed-use project on Gillette parcel
After spending $218 million for 6.5 acres of land in the Fort Point Channel area, there was no way Related Beal was going to think small on what to do with the property – and it’s not. Universal Hub reports on Beal’s preliminary plans for three buildings totaling 1.1 million square feet of new office, residential and R&D space at the former Gillette-owned site.
Pressley’s learning curve in Washington
The New York Times has a major piece taking a look at two congressional newcomers, U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Abigail Spanberger, the former a progressive and the latter a centrist, and how hopes on Capitol Hill are often dashed, or at least dented, by political reality. It’s a long piece, but it’s interesting due to all the details of how members of Congress live and interact in Washington.
Plot thickens: Pittsfield recount request alleges ballot shenanigans
Pittsfield mayoral challenger Melissa Mazzeo is alleging that “unauthorized persons” had access to ballots stored in City Hall as part of her request for a recount, Amanda Drane reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Mazzeo is also questioning why the number of absentee ballots issued was higher than in past elections. For her part, Mayor Linda Tyer says she is “100 percent confident” in the integrity of the vote.
Gimme shelter: Lack of voters shelves Ware town meeting on dog pound
Maybe voters were just dog tired? Whatever the reason, fewer than the necessary 100 Ware voters turned out Monday night to vote on a controversial plan to fund a regional dog pound — a proposal that failed to pass by a single vote earlier this year — so no action was taken, Jim Russell at MassLive reports.
2019 New England State and Local Tax Forum
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The Ninth Annual Massachusetts Investor Conference
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Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy Career Panel
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Boston Speakers Series: Bob Woodward
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