Happening Today

Vaping ban hearing, JFK remembrance, and more

Department of Public Health holds a public hearing on the Baker administration’s regulations banning the sale of vaping products, a hearing required in response to a recent court ruling, 250 Washington St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh talks with Jim Braude and Jared Bowen on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal participates in 56th annual President John F. Kennedy Remembrance Service in Springfield, marking the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Eternal Flame, Forest Park, Springfield, 1 p.m.

Nursing Facility Task Force meets as part of its mandate to research possible solutions to problems in the struggling nursing home industry, One Ashburton, 21st floor, CR 1 & 2, Boston, 2:30 p.m.

— Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, METCO CEO Milagros Arbaje-Thomas and Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts President Edith Bazile are among the panelists on this week’s ‘Basic Black,’ with Callie Crossley hosting, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7:30 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

The biggies: Baker must decide on major bills on his desk

We’re betting he signs all three (with some amendment caveats, of course). From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “A ban on flavored tobacco and tax on e-cigarettes, a $1.5 billion public education funding overhaul, and a new attempt to crack down on distracted driving all landed on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk as lawmakers wrapped up their formal business of the year. His immediate response to all three proposals: no major objections but he wants to read the bills.”

Btw, also from SHNS (pay wall): “Baker: Lawmakers Have ‘Work to Do’ on Bag Ban.” The Senate did pass the plastic-ban bill, but it never got through the House.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Housing crisis? What housing crisis?

Speaking of the governor and lawmakers, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that one of the casualties of the just-completed legislative session was, once again, Gov. Baker’s housing bill – which didn’t even get out of committee this time around. Maybe the Globe’s Spotlight Team, which just completed a terrific series on the traffic-congestion crisis in Massachusetts (see our related ‘Seeing Red’ post below), will next tackle the root causes of our housing crisis?

Btw: CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger reports that legislative inaction on another front – failing to pass a supplement budget bill – could impact election scheduling.

Boston Globe

Pay ‘em: State lawmakers want college athletes to be paid

Members of the Black and Latino Caucus in the state legislature are pushing legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid for use of their name and likeness without jeopardizing their scholarships–a proposal that could thrust the state right into the thick of a national debate on the issue, Christian Wade reports in the Eagle-Tribune. California recently passed a similar bill (NYT).

Eagle Tribune

Hands off: Cape lawmakers want exit-number exemption

Cape Cod’s legislative delegation wants state highway officials to find a way to exempt Route 6 from the federal mandate to use mileage to mark exits, Doug Fraser reports at the Cape Cod Times. Lawmakers say the system makes no sense because the 30 miles that it traverses the Cape is the only part of Route 6 in that state that actually has exits. 

Fyi: The Herald’s Stefan Geller reports that the state has released an interactive map of all the new “mileage-based” highway exit numbers that are going to replace the current numbering system.

Patrick’s audiences may be small (very small) but still: ‘He has a shot’

As a follow-up to our “And where was Deval Patrick last night?” post from yesterday, it turns out that the former governor was actually in Atlanta during the Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday – and quickly cancelling an event in which only two people showed up. Boston.com’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa has the details.

But the Globe’s Laura Krantzreports that most of the crowds are small at Patrick’s early-stage campaign events – and yet some people in South Carolina think “he has a shot” of making an impact. 

Pressley comes to Warren’s rescue after protestors interrupt speech

The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and the New York Times report that U.S. Rep. Ariana Pressley yesterday strode to the on-stage assistance of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Atlanta, after Warren was confronted by protestors critical of her charter-school funding stands. The Times piece notes that Joe Biden was also catching audience/protester flak yesterday, over immigration issues.

State GOP is building strong ‘farm team,’ thanks to Jim Lyons (and not that other guy)

Todd Taylor, a Republican state committeeman who earlier this month was elected to the Chelsea City Council, writes at CommonWealth magazine that recent GOP local-election victories are a sign the state Republican party is building a strong “farm team” – and it’s mostly due to the efforts of state party chairman Jim Lyons and not Gov. Baker’s shiny new Super PAC.


Hodgson tapped as Trump’s honorary re-election chair in Mass.

Speaking of local Republicans, via SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who has been one of President Donald Trump’s most high-profile supporters in Massachusetts, particularly on immigration, was announced Thursday by the Trump campaign as the honorary chairman of the president’s Massachusetts re-election effort.”

Local first: Marijuana company’s workers vote to unionize

This is interesting. The Globe’s Dan Adams reports that more than two-thirds of 115 eligible workers at Sira Naturals, a Massachusetts marijuana company, have voted to join Local 1445 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the first pot workforce to unionize in Massachusetts.

Speaking of marijuana matters, the Globe’s Felicia Gans reports that Brookline town-meeting voters last night rejected a proposal that “would have required all recreational marijuana shops in Brookline to operate on an appointment-only basis for at least two years.”

Remembering the foreign policy of U.S. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts

You might be wondering: Huh? And we did too when we first started reading this NYT opinion piece on the long-ago foreign policy positions of U.S. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, before, during and immediately after World War I. But we’re glad John Milton Cooper, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote it, for whatever reasons, because it’s a history-buff’s delight – with a lot of more recent local pols mentioned too.


‘Seeing Red’: Ten takeaways from the Globe series on traffic congestion

The Globe’s Adam Vacero has a good summary piece on the Globe Spotlight Teams’ terrific “Seeing Red” series on traffic congestion in the area. Two of the ten takeaways stood out to us: “Lawmakers are mostly creatures of the car” and “In some parts of the city, up to 20 percent of cars are for an on-demand service.”

Btw, a MassterList reader, who previously expressed minor quibbles about the series, thinks yesterday’s Part 3 installment was perhaps the best of the lot. “I can personally attest to the challenge of going through Kenmore Square behind a rideshare driver waiting to the last minute before choosing Beacon or Comm Ave exits,” he wrote us.

Boston Globe

Baker on public transit: ‘I’m not a virtue signaler’

Still on the subject of transportation, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday defended his administration’s public transportation investment plans and responded to the “fascination” with his own non-ridership of the T, as WGBH’s Zoe Matthews reports. “I talk to people all the time who ride the public transit system. I’m not a virtue signaler,” Baker said.

Given how the Globe Spotlight Team just exposed how few lawmakers ride the T as well (see post above), Baker appears to be not alone in his aversion to virtue signaling.


Ex-BC student returns from South Korea for text-suicide arraignment

From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The young woman criminally charged with causing her boyfriend to kill himself in Boston has voluntarily returned from South Korea and will stand for arraignment in court Friday morning in a manslaughter case with strong echoes of the controversial Michelle Carter trial.”

Boston Herald

Trump’s Opportunity Zones have been slow to take off in Massachusetts

Touted by congressional Republicans and President Trump as a new way to reinvigorate inner-city neighborhoods, so-called “Opportunity Zones,” created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, haven’t exactly taken off in Massachusetts. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan and Catherine Carlock explain why. Hint: High costs.


E. Henry Twiggs, Springfield city councilor who marched with MLK Jr,, RIP

They’re mourning in Springfield today. From Matt Szafranski at Western Mass Politics and Insight: “E. Henry Twiggs, Springfield City Councilor and local civil rights icon, has died following a recent illness. The five-term Ward 4 Councilor had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, fought to restore ward-based seats in city government and lived to see the election of the nation’s first black president.”


Bill to strike the ‘R word’ from state laws goes nowhere on Beacon Hill

The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that legislation that would make the use of “retarded” a hate crime once again went nowhere in the Legislature this past year. It’s obviously a good-intentioned bill and the effort shouldn’t be mocked. But here’s why the bill is nevertheless wrong: It was only ten years ago (Telegram) when the state itself used to call the Department of Developmental Services the “Department of Mental Retardation” and nine years since a state commission made a similar switch (mass.gov). 

Believe it or not, many other people are still going through a transition period of adjusting to the new terminology, including a certain MassterList author who had a Down Syndrome relative and who occasionally still slips into using the word “retarded” in reference to her – and we can absolutely assure everyone there isn’t an ounce of hate involved when that happens. 

Boston Herald

A scaled-down Southeastern Mass. casino? No way, supporters say

Craig Lemoult at WGBH digs into the thorny issue of what to do with the resort casino license set aside for the southeastern corner of the state now that the state’s three existing gaming outlets are falling well short of their revenue projections. A proposal to allow a scaled-down casino in the region is seeing strong pushback from local officials who say the region was promised all the bells, whistles and up-front investments that only a full-fledged resort would bring. 


Taking bets: Worcester baseball team to reveal name next week

The mystery will soon be over. The owners of the Worcester Red Sox say they’ll unveil the team’s nickname and logo in a televised event on Monday, saying they’ve made their choice out of some 100 suggestions that have been kicked around, Cyrus Moulton reports at the Telegram. We’re rooting for ‘WooSox.’ Seriously. It’s a fun and catchy name that’s already widely used. It’s a natural, so to speak.


Sunday public affairs TV: Charlie Baker, Ed Markey and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gov. Charlie Baker, who talks with host Jon Keller; this is Part 2 of a two-part interview with the governor.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Phil Buchanan, CEO of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and Kate Guedj, SVP and Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Boston Foundation, discuss how to make the most of your philanthropic and charitable giving; Scot Tatelman, of STATE Bags, a benefit corporation where fashion meets philanthropy.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. HouseWorks CEO Andrea Cohen on her company and its aim of helping seniors have healthier experiences by aging in place at home.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh and State Sen. Vinny deMacedo, a Republican.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Holiday Happening, featuring ballerina Chyrstyn Fentroy, who is the first African American female soloist at the Boston Ballet in ten years and who will dance as the Snow Queen in the Boston Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker.’

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


Massport names developers vying to transform 1.1 acres in Seaport – Boston Business Journal

Independent prosecutor named in Quincy manslaughter case – Patriot Ledger


Prices of Worcester triple deckers up 19 percent this year – Worcester Business Journal

Ashland Town Meeting commits to being net-zero by 2040 to combat climate change – MetroWest Daily News

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno recommends lowest property tax rates in a decade – MassLive


The witnesses who didn’t testify and the questions left unanswered – New York Times

Democratic establishment reaches boiling point with Tulsi Gabbard – Politico

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