Happening Today

Energy summit, ‘Trouble in Toyland,’ and more

New England-Canada Business Council hosts the second day of a two-day conference to discuss North America’s energy and environmental transformation, with Eversource Energy CEO James Judge and Hydro-Quebec CEO Eric Martel among those taking part in morning forums, Seaport Hotel, One Seaport Lane, Boston.

Massport Authority Board holds its monthly meeting, Massport Executive Offices, 1 Harborside Dr., East Boston, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee, GE President of Global Government Affairs Mo Cowan and others gather to make an announcement on workforce training investments on the North Shore, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, 80 Neptune Boulevard, Lynn, 10 a.m.

MASSPIRG Education Fund releases its annual Trouble in Toyland report, identifying unsafe and dangerous toys, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, 8th floor playroom, 755 Washington St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio’ for his ‘Ask the Governor’ segment, WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 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

To our readers …

Our apologies for yesterday’s late delivery of MassterList. The delay – and the abundance of question marks strewn throughout the copy – was the result of a technical glitch at our email service provider. Hopefully, everything goes well today (knock on wood and cross our fingers, etc.). …

Education, flavor ban, hands-free bills sent to Baker

It was a busy and productive day on Beacon Hill on Thursday and SHNS’s Michael P. Norton has good summary of all the activity: “Massachusetts lawmakers wrapped up work Wednesday on bills calling for long-term K-12 education investments, requiring motorists to use only hands-free technology while driving, and banning flavored tobacco products.”

But there was one notable omission yesterday, as Norton notes: No supplemental budget bill, meaning the state still hasn’t closed the books on last fiscal year ending June 30. And it’s going to cost the state, perhaps $30,000 a day in forgone interest. For those looking for more details on specific legislation, here are some local headlines and links:

From the Boston Globe: “State lawmakers pass nation’s toughest restrictions on sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products.”

From MassLive: “Senate sends bill banning handheld cell phone use while driving to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.” 

From CommonWealth magazine: “Concerns on police bias linger after distracted driving vote.”

From State House News Service: “Bill Pledging Ed Funding Increase Unanimously Approved.”

Ex-state trooper caught in OT scandal is now scooping up properties and evicting people in Brockton

As they say, when one door closes, another door opens. From Ben Berke at the Enterprise: “A former state trooper who pleaded guilty this year to embezzling money through a troop-wide overtime scheme has quietly pivoted to real estate, amassing a portfolio of rental properties in Brockton and filing more than a dozen eviction cases since 2016.” He’s none other than Eric Chin, who was once the highest paid trooper in the Massachusetts State Police.


Democratic presidential debate: Overshadowed by the Impeachment and Donald Trump Show?

Both the Washington Post and the New York Times report on last night’s rather muted Democratic presidential debate, one that seemed to be overshadowed by the ongoing impeachment proceedings and all things Trump these days. Still, both papers note the candidates did fire away at Trump, and occasionally at each other, with some of the criticism being aimed at U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports

WGBH’s Adam Reilly has five takeaways from the debate, including two items of local interest: “Deval who?” and “Warren Is Still Focused On Her Plans, Not On Pushing Back.” The Globe’s James Pindell is giving both Warren and Pete Buttigieg a B+ for their performance. His winner: Amy Klobuchar. The Washington Post’s winners: Klobuchar and Buttigieg. Just about everyone thinks Joe Biden was a loser last night. But he’s always at loser at these debates.

And where was Deval Patrick last night?

He didn’t qualify for last night’s debate in Atlanta. Still, WBUR’s Anthony Brooks has spent some time with former Gov. Deval Patrick on the campaign trail in South Carolina and finds receptive voters but a lot of doubt that he can make up lost time after entering the race so late. Brooks does note that Patrick seems to be genuinely enjoying himself as he meets and greets voters. 


Strike out: Marshfield trash workers quit en masse

After an 84-day strike that saw them win support from US senators and presidential candidates, trash collection drivers in Marshfield have ended their strike against Republic Services and have quit en masse, Shaun Robinson reports at the Patriot Ledger. The two sides never came to an agreement after the two dozen or so drivers unionized and the Teamsters union now says the drivers will be placed in union roles elsewhere. 

Patriot Ledger

First in state: Brookline bans fossil-fuel heating systems in new and renovated buildings

From the Globe’s David Abel: “In an effort to reduce a major source of emissions contributing to climate change, residents of Brookline voted Wednesday night to ban the installation of oil and gas pipes in new buildings as well as in extensive renovations of existing buildings — the first such prohibition in Massachusetts.” WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman had a good pre-vote piece on the issue yesterday. 

Our quickie questions: How practical is the ban from an affordability, technological and electric supply standpoint? Have towns just found another way to discourage the building of new housing? Sorry to bring the latter up, but the housing-construction issue does jump to mind.

Lowell: New government, new mayor

It’s official: Lowell has an entirely new form of local government after the city council agreed with voters and backed a hybrid system that includes at-large and district councilors, ending a years-long saga that began with a lawsuit from minority voters in the Gateway City. Kaitlin Locke of WGBH has all the details. 

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Dobbins of the Lowell Sun reports that longtime City Councilor John Leahy appears to have secured enough support from fellow council members to become the city’s next mayor. 

The new Boston Cannabis Board: ‘What could possibly go wrong?’

They did it. From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “The Boston City Council has approved sweeping reforms to the city’s process for licensing marijuana facilities, with elected officials hailing the legislation as a model that will boost the prospects of smaller, local companies with diverse owners — especially those from communities of color that were hit hardest by arrests amid the war on drugs.”

Count the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld as among the unimpressed: “A new ‘independent’ commission controlled by the Boston mayor’s office designed to regulate a growing, multimillion-dollar business that’s currently under investigation by federal authorities? What could possibly go wrong?”

Senate GOP bids farewell to a third of its delegation

The minority Republican delegation in the Massachusetts Senate is about to get one-third smaller. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports on the Senate farewell ceremonies yesterday for two departing GOP members — Viriato “Vinny” deMacedo and Donald Humason – and the “very dangerous trend in minority crescent” at the State House, as Minority Leader Bruce Tarr quipped.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

House drops campaign-finance director change opposed by Republicans

Beacon Hill Republicans did win one small victory yesterday, as lawmakers wrapped up legislative business for the calendar year: The House dropped its bid to change how the head of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance is appointed, a proposed change that had been harshly criticized by Republicans. Chris Lisinski at SHNS (pay wall) has the details.

Bill likes Ike: Belichick cites Eisenhower in Patriots’ approach to game planning

Turns out Bill Belichick, who happens to be a WWII history buff, thinks like Dwight Eisenhower when it comes to planning for games, which, as we all know, is not unlike the long-ago planning for D-Day. Christopher Mason has the war-planning details, including this line at the end of his story: “A student of military history, it’s clear that Belichick likes Ike.” Then again, everybody likes Ike (YouTube) .


While the donut makers are away, the mice shall play

Actually, they don’t make donuts anymore at Dunkin’ stores, but they do leave a lot of donut crumbs around – and the mice sure do appreciate it at one Dunkin’ outlet in East Boston, as local resident Peter Wild recently caught on video (Facebook). The comments and Boston accents of Wild and his buddies are hilarious, making for a true “instant classic” Boston video, as Boston Magazine rightly notes.

He’s back: Chiofaro resumes push for giant tower at site of harbor garage

The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports that developer Don Chiofaro is back with his latest proposal to build a highly controversial tower at the current site of the Boston Harbor Garage. But the tower plan, which has been debated for years now, still faces a legal challenge from nearby residents and environmental groups. And so … the debate will go on?


Ex-GOP boss grilled on expenses, but otherwise looks set to get magistrate job

The Herald’s Stefan Geller reports that former state GOP chairwoman Kirsten Hughes, who’s been nominated by Gov. Charlie Baker to a lifetime clerk magistrate post, was questioned yesterday at the Governor’s Council about ongoing expense-account controversies at the state Republican Party. But it looks like the council is poised to approve her magistrate appointment anyway.

Boston Herald

Seeing Red, III: ‘The Tech Effect’

Thanks, Amazon and Uber. The Globe’s Spotlight Team resumes its look at the traffic-congestion nightmare in the Boston area – and this morning focuses on the role high-tech companies have played in the mess, via their constant delivery of packages and passengers, and how their trucks and cars are further clogging roads and stopping their vehicles just about anywhere they want.

Boston Globe

Kennedy: Abolish electoral college (and please vote for me)

This is interesting, but we’re not sure it justifies a front-page splash by the Herald. Anyway, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III is “ramping up his push to abolish the Electoral College — aligning himself with the most progressive Democrats in a move political watchers say could help him win over liberal voters.”

Boston Herald

General Electric to fund advanced-manufacturing training program

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that Gov. Charlie Baker and other bigwigs will gather today on the North Shore (see our Happening Today section above) to announce that General Electric is donating $2.5 million to launch a new advanced-manufacturing training program, as part of the company’s past pledge to help fund workforce training in Massachusetts.

Markey, Warren press regulators for compressor station pause

Worth a shot. The state’s two U.S. senators have joined calls for a last-minute federal review of the Weymouth natural gas compressor station that is on the precipice of final approval, Jessica Trufant reports in the Patriot Ledger. Sens. Warren and Markey called on the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject a request from Enbridge for permission to start construction. 

Patriot Ledger

“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


In a first for Massachusetts, Brookline votes to ban oil and gas pipes in new buildings – Boston Globe

Boston Federal Appeals Court Rules Boston College May Suspend Student Accused Of Sexual Assault – WBUR


Housing at Swansea mall site gets green light from residents – Herald-News

Transit touted as key to growth for gateway cities like Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Crossing guard shortage has Framingham school officials concerned – MetroWest Daily News


As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target – The Hill

Judge halts all scheduled federal executions – Politico

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