Happening Today

House and Senate sessions, Dem presidential debate, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker is in Florida today for the Republican Governors Association’s annual conference and plans to return to Massachusetts this evening.

Health Policy Commission meets in executive session to discuss the confidential list of entities that have been identified as having excessive spending growth, then holds an open meeting, 50 Milk St., Boston, with the open meeting at 9 a.m.

— The Senate and House meet in formal sessions today, with the Senate planning to consider bills banning flavored tobacco and banning single-use plastic shopping bags and the House possibly taking up legislation dealing with school breakfasts and other bills, roll calls in both chambers at 11 a.m. 


Governor’s Council holds its weekly assembly with no judicial nominee votes pending, followed by a second meeting to interview attorney and former MassGOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes, who was nominated by the governor as clerk magistrate of Stoughton District Court, Council Chamber, 12 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., respectively.

— Democratic presidential candidates gather in Atlanta for a debate hosted by the Democratic National Committee, MSNBC and The Washington Post, with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren among the ten candidates qualifying for the debate, 9 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

Sorry for the delay this morning …

Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to send MassterList this morning at its normal time. Sorry for the delay. Here it is … 

Lawmakers poised to pass landmark education-funding bill

This has turned out to be a very productive fall session indeed, inaction on transportation taxes notwithstanding. CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that lawmakers on Beacon Hill have struck a compromise on the landmark $1.5 billion education funding bill – and the legislation is expected to be on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk shortly. 

The Globe’s Adrian Walker is praising lawmakers’ “giant step toward addressing the problem” of school-funding inequality in Massachusetts.

Distracted-driving and children’s health compromises advance on Beacon Hill

Two more examples of the impressive fast pace of activity on Beacon Hill this week. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “House passes final bill banning use of handheld phones while driving.” The Senate takes the legislation up today, as Schoeberg notes. And from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski(pay wall): “House, Senate Sign Off on Children’s Health Compromise.” 

Now if they can only pass a supplemental budget bill.

Latest NH poll: Buttigieg ahead by 10 points

Huh? Yes, Pete Buttigieg reportedly has a commanding 10-point lead over Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, according to a new presidential poll from the Saint Anselm College Survey, as reported by the Granite State’s WMUR. We’d like to see more polls before declaring Buttigieg a frontrunner. It doesn’t seem possible.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that both Buttigieg and Warren likely will be targets during tonight’s Washington Post/MSNBC debate in Atlanta.


Elizabeth Warren: MIA?

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld and Rick Sobey report on all the time U.S. Elizabeth Warren is spending on the presidential campaign trail – and all the rollcall votes she’s missing in the U.S. Senate. The Herald’s Howie Carr is piling on.

Boston Herald

Deval Patrick: Not MIA enough?

While the Herald pounds away at Elizabeth Warren for spending too much time on the presidential campaign trail, the Globe’s Laura Krantz reports that many Democratic voters doubt whether Deval Patrick, a late entry into the presidential sweepstakes, has enough time to convince enough people he’s a serious candidate for president.

In other Patrick-related news, from the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “Deval Patrick faces blowback for Bain work.” From the Herald’s Peter Lucas: “Endorsement or not, Deval Patrick is Barack Obama’s guy.” And from the Globe’s Scot Lehigh: “Patrick and Warren: A tale of two sensibilities.”

Spiked: Under pressure from colleges, company cancels report on financial woes of schools

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes reports that Edmit, a Massachusetts startup that provides college advising services to parents and others, has decided not to run a planned list of colleges that could run out of money in the next decade and pull a Mount Ida. Why the retreat? Pressure from colleges that could run out of money in the next decade and pull a Mount Ida.

Boston Globe

Spiked II: Conservative columnist blasts Bentley’s ‘cancel culture’ nixing of event

Speaking of higher-education cancellations, Bentley University says it pulled the plug on a planned Friday event sponsored by ‘Bostonians Against Sanctuary Cities’ due to contract problems. Right-wing political columnist Michelle Malkin, who was supposed to appear at the forum, says it’s really about the “cowards of cancel culture” nixing right-wing views. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky has the cancellation details.

Boston Herald

Seeing Red, Day 2: Blaming employers and government?

It’s Day 2 of the Globe Spotlight Team’s “Seeing Red” series on the region’s growing traffic-congestion nightmare, today focusing how major employers (and government) are contributing to the gridlock, largely via their contradictory employee parking-vs-transit subsidies.

It’s another good piece. But we have to say we agree with a MassterList reader, who has his own daily commute from hell, that perhaps the series should downplay the “finger pointing” and dig further into the data to “analyze where all those extra vehicles are coming and going,” i.e. on what roadways and to what specific employer locations, etc. It’s a small quibble, although an important one.

Speaking of fuming commuters, from the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The City Council focused its road rage on Uber and Lyft on Tuesday, calling for regulations, enforcement and taxes on the ride-hailing companies as a way of coping with Boston’s crushing traffic.” And from Boston Magazine: “40 Ambitious Ideas to Save Transportation in Boston.”

Boston Globe

In Dennis, ACLU kicks sand on beer-cooler beach policy

Hands off the coolers. The ACLU is pressing the Cape Cod town of Dennis to reconsider its policy of randomly searching the coolers of beachgoers as part of a sweeping effort to clamp down on family unfriendly behavior involving booze, Kristen Young reports in the Cape Cod Times. The town adopted the policy after an incident two summers ago involving young people allegedly having sex in plain sight, fueled by you know what in their coolers.

Cape Cod Times

State to phase out highway exit numbers in favor of mileage counts

Good-bye, sequential numbering. Hello, mileage counts. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports on how the state, under pressure from the feds, plans to phase out highway sign exit numbers and replace them with “mileage-based” numbers that measure “how far you are from where you’re heading.” We’re not sure about this. Hey, we’re New Englanders. We’re stubborn. What can we say?

CBS Boston also has more on the coming switch. Wikipedia explains the differences between the two numbering systems.

Universal Hub

Not taking the bait: Commercial fishermen reject turbine plan by offshore wind companies

That was fast. The Globe’s Jon Chesto and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report on the almost immediate rejection by commercial fishermen of a plan by offshore wind companies to place their giant ocean turbines in logical grids to better help fishing boats navigate around them. 

Brockton’s distinct lack of elected minorities

The City of Champions isn’t going to be bragging about this distinction: A new report says Brockton has the most unequal representation of people of color elected to boards and offices, with only 8 percent of its elected posts held by minorities, even though minorities are majority in the city. The Enterprise’s Mina Corpuz has more.


Former state comptroller eyes run for Kennedy’s 4th seat

There’s yet another candidate eyeing a run for the Fourth Congressional District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, who’s running for U.S. Senate: Former state Comptroller Thomas Stack. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Worcester colleges offer free tuition for three children of fallen Worcester firefighter

Melissa Hanson at MassLive reports on the outpouring of community support in Worcester for the family of fallen firefighter Jason Menard, including the offers by eight colleges of free tuition for Menard’s three children. Hanson has the list of the schools.


State’s Hurley Building: Should it stay or should it go?

Amelia Mason at WBUR takes a look at the Baker administration’s plan for a public-private redevelopment of the brutalist Charles F. Hurley Building in Boston – and the concerns by some preservationists about the future of the imposing concrete goliath. Btw, you know you can’t resist: The Clash.


Lori Trahan goes to bat for Lowell Spinners

Count U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan among the fans upset with Major League Baseball’s plan to cut its affiliations with many minor league teams, among them the Lowell Spinners’ affiliation with the Boston Red Sox. Trahan and other pols are fighting the plan, reports Hayden Bird at Boston.com.


DOC launching unit for young inmates who are fathers

This is interesting. From CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt: “The Massachusetts Department of Corrections is planning to open a special unit for incarcerated fathers between the ages of 18 to 24, with the goal of helping them straighten out their lives and become better parents while in prison and once they are released.” 


Critics: State flag and seal are symbols of white supremacy

WBUR’s Steve Brown reports on a legislative hearing at which critics said the state’s flag and seal – you know, the one with a swinging sword dangling menacingly over the head of a Native American – are relics of a bygone era of white supremacy. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times has more.

Happy Cannabis Birthday!

What would be an appropriate gift? Yes, it was exactly one year ago this morning that long lines formed outside the state’s first two recreational pot shops, and local leaders and customers all seem to be pretty happy with how things unfolded over the past 12 months, Jessica Bartlett reports at the Boston Business Journal. 

Dialyn Dwyer of Boston.com has more on the year in weed that was, via the perspective of the leaders of the two facilities that opened exactly one year ago.


On the move: CCC sets up shop in Worcester this week

Speaking of legal weed, the agency that oversees the industry is decamping to Worcester this week, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. The Cannabis Control Commission says 60 staffers will be working from its new Union Station location at the beginning of next week — a move designed to help the agency both cut costs and be more centrally located. 


Aiming high: Amherst goes big on climate goals

They want to be ready — just in case. The Amherst Town Council adopted a sweeping package of policies aimed at getting the community ready to be completely carbon-neutral by 2050, thus matching a stated goal of the national Green New Deal, Scott Merzbach reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 


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

“The Region’s Business Event of the Year!” 101st Annual Dinner Meeting

This premier dinner meeting celebrates the many accomplishments of 2019 and sets the standard for a successful 2020. Attended by over 500 of the North Shore’s finest, the dinner meeting serves as an opportunity to honor those that have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life, make the North Shore a better place to live, work and do business.

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

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

Blacks In Government Future Leaders in America’s Government Youth Summit

The theme of the FLAG Youth Summit is: “Your Benchmark for Achieving Excellence” Topics covered will include: Establishing and benchmarking goals for achieving Personal, Academic, and Professional Success.

Blacks In Government and Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center

New England Energy Summit

New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) in collaboration with The Dupont Group will host the New England Energy Summit, a half-day event that will bring together industry leaders, end users and policymakers to address emerging issues and engage in impactful discussion.

NEPGA and The Dupont Group

A Conversation with Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, New York Times bestselling author, nonprofit CEO, former Georgia House Democratic Leader and 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, discusses her distinguished career and continuing work on voting rights and social issues.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Discussion: Building Urgency and Political Will

There are many policy solutions that could have impact, but their viability is challenged by the lack of urgency and broad political will that is needed to get municipal leaders to lead on a crisis that their constituents may not currently feel. How do we sound the alarm and build the support needed to meet our housing challenges head-on?

Next Level Housing Solutions

Can We Bridge the Political Divide? Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop

Please join us for an intensive workshop that will bring together Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations, with a focus on listening and reflecting rather than debating and persuading.

Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop

The Constitution: Changes and Challenges in US History

Akhil Amar, professor of law and political science at Yale University, and Eric Foner, professor emeritus of history at Columbia University and author of The Second Founding: How Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, discuss constitutional changes and challenges throughout our nation’s history.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


Buses will be back for 11 months at Lechmere as green line extension T project rolls onward – Cambridge Day


Newton teachers, schools reach tentative contract agreement – Boston Globe

Tax bills to jump 9 percent in Danvers – Salem News

Stoughton board of health doesn’t budget on menthol ban – Brockton Enterprise


Are your neighbors ready for mayor Pete? – Politico

Gordon Sondland likely to face tough questioning in impeachment case – New York Times

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.