Peter Frates funeral, Health Policy Commission, and more
— Funeral Mass for Peter Frates, ALS awareness advocate and founder of the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge, will be held at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, 28 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant Major General Gary W. Keefe, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña and others participate in the Massachusetts National Guard Annual Birthday Celebration and Officer Commissioning Ceremony, Memorial Hall, 1 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan hosts U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley for a discussion on ‘A Seat at the Table: Raising All Voices,’ with students and community leaders, Lawrence High School Campus, Lecture Hall, 70-71 N. Parish Road, Lawrence, 1 p.m.
— Health Policy Commission holds a hearing regarding the proposed regulation for the agency’s drug pricing review process, 50 Milk St., 8th Floor, Boston, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and others gather for the signing of the state’s economic development plan, Great Hall, 2:30 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.
Attack mode update: Now she’s going after Biden …
U.S. Elizabeth Warren, who’s been slipping in the presidential polls of late, has been going after Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg for a few days now. But yesterday she added Joe Biden, without naming him, to her hit list. The Globe’s James Pindell and Victoria McGrane and the NYT have the details on Warren’s attacks against her moderate rivals – though not against fellow progressive Bernie Sanders.
Btw: The Globe’s Scot Lehigh wonders if the strategy of Colorado’s Michael Bennet can work, i.e. he’s putting all his chips on New Hampshire.
Probing the portfolio: Patrick’s Bain work gets fresh scrutiny
Here comes the scrutiny. Former Gov. Deval Patrick may be struggling to draw support in the polls, but his work at Bain Capital is getting new scrutiny nonetheless. Theodoric Meyer at Politico hones in on Patrick’s “impact investing” work at the private equity firm and finds several of the firms he’s worked with have been hit by lawsuits.
Weld will be on Republican ballot, no thanks to MassGOP
One more presidential-race item: Former Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican turned Libertarian turned Republican again, will be on the GOP presidential primary ballot this March, thanks to Democratic Secretary of State Bill Galvin – and no thanks to the MassGOP. The state party, now chaired by conservative chairman Jim Lyons, opted not to include Weld on its recommended primary ballot list, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.
Lyons swears it’s not about any moderate-vs-conservative split. Rather, he’s just following standard operating procedure and protocol. Btw: Former Gov. Deval Patrick was included on the Democrats’ primary list, according to SHNS (paywall).
‘Shadow GOP’: Baker’s Super PAC fuels more speculation about ‘parallel Republican party’
Speaking of the state Republican party, the Herald’s Mary Markos has an update on the growing suspicion that Gov. Charlie Baker, via his close link to a new Super PAC, is establishing a moderate “parallel Republican party” to counter the conservative drift of the MassGOP under party chairman Jim Lyons.
‘UMess’: How much longer can UMass’s football team keep losing games and money?
As Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth magazine notes, sooner or later UMass and state officials are going to have to decide whether it’s worth the humiliation and cost of having a big-time football team that keeps losing games, money and prestige. The team is so bad it’s become an NCAA laughingstock and earned the nickname “UMess,” Sullivan writes.
UMass Dartmouth slammed for ‘free speech zone’
Speaking of the state’s higher-ed system, UMass-Dartmouth’s establishment of a ‘Free Speech Zone’ on campus reminds us of the Daily Show’s long-ago hilarious take on Boston’s ‘Free Speech Zone’ during the DNC in 2004. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has the details on the UMass-Dartmouth brouhaha.
Renewables now? Healey takes on grid operator over ‘older, dirtier’ energy sources
First, the hard news, from Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Attorney General Maura Healey, backed by the Barr Foundation, is launching a campaign to convince the operator of the regional power grid to embrace renewables and move away from electricity produced using fossil fuels.”
Second, definitely read the entire piece, as Mohl shreds Healey and Barr’s “grossly” simplified pitch on the way the region’s wholesale electricity market works, though he acknowledges they’re right about how the grid system and renewables aren’t meshing well together.
Fyi: In a separate opinion piece at CommonWealth, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone writes that the state can indeed move quickly to an all-renewables future, despite what the business community and others say. Fyi II, from SHNS (pay wall): “Delegation Weighs In on State Solar Rules Rewrite.”
Some aboard: Foxboro commuter rail pilot slow to gain traction
The good news: There are plenty of seats available. The bad news: The state says only about 70 people a day are using a newly opened commuter rail station at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, a fraction of the ridership predicted and a sign the pilot program may not result in the permanent service the Kraft family has long advocated for, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle.
‘Deputize this guy’: Homeless man steps in as traffic cop – and unclogs clogged streets
Has it come to this? From an Ed Lyons tweet yesterday afternoon: “During a truly epic traffic meltdown near MGH today, everything was gridlocked until some homeless guy put down his cup, walked into it, and started quite aggressively managing the traffic, unclogging the intersection. He succeeded. People were waving and thanking him.” From one reader at Universal Hub: “Deputize this guy.” Other readers wonder why Boston police can’t do the same thing more often.
Spilka relents, calls for later Senate special elections in March
Let the record show: Republican lawmakers can indeed occasionally get things done on Beacon Hill. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that Senate President Karen Spilka, stymied by parliamentary maneuvering by minority Republican members, has set March 31 as the general special election date to fill Senate seats formerly held by Don Humason and Vinny deMacedo. Republicans had objected to holding a general election on March 3, which would have coincided with the state’s hotly contested Dem presidential primary,
Stoughton Rep. Louis Kafka will call it quits after 30 years
Speaking of departing legislators, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Rep. Louis Kafka, a Stoughton Democrat who has served in the House since 1991, announced to his constituents Thursday that he does not plan to run for re-election next year. Kafka said the he and his wife Anita have decided to spend more time with their three children and 15 grandchildren, many of whom live abroad.”
Health connector clears path for health-insurance deductible increases
From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Some health plans would be allowed to set higher deductibles for consumers and health care sharing arrangements established by religious organizations will face new reporting requirements under regulations approved by a state board on Thursday.”
Our question: Do ‘deductibles’ even matter anymore? Insurers keep jamming patients with ever higher and higher co-pays – no matter where the deductible level is set.
Baker defends sale of the ‘dark two-thirds’ Hynes
The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority has chosen Colliers International to market and sell the Hynes Convention Center – and Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday continued to defend the sale of the Back Bay center amid small-but-growing criticism, saying the center is “dark two-thirds” of the time each year (i.e. it’s empty). The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more on the planned sale, while the Globe’s Jon Chesto writes how a deal could get tricky due to the potential opposition of the Back Bay Association.
Families bidding adieu to au pairs after court’s minimum-wage ruling
That recent federal court ruling that said au pairs should be paid the Massachusetts minimum wage, not the federal minimum wage? It will end up costing local families about $17,000 more per year to hire au pairs – and some families are now bidding adieu to au pairs as a result, as Katie Johnston reports at the Globe.
Walsh outlines voluntary ‘best practices’ for nightclub safety
From WGBH’s Tori Bedford: “After two kidnapping cases raised questions about safety in Boston’s nightclub scene earlier this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross presented a report Thursday that they hope will help make clubs and bars safer and prevent future tragedies.”
But the Herald’s Wendy Murphy says the “best practices” are merely voluntary recommendations, not mandatory rules, and she predicts/hopes the city council will take tougher action.
Lunch on the House!
The Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports that the state Ethics Commission has declined to investigate House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s use of a state-issued credit card to buy lawmakers takeout food and other goodies on the taxpayers’ dime. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance is not happy.
The Harvard grad-student strike: It’s about the ‘gig’ economy
As Harvard and its striking graduate students battle it out over a new contract, Kirk Carapezza at WGBH takes a look at what’s driving the graduate-student unionization movements at Harvard, Tufts, Brandeis and other colleges across the county. Bottom line: Higher-ed institutions have long been treating grad-student workers no better than how Amazon, Uber and other modern companies treat their “gig” contract employees.
Wegman’s turducken experiment ends in Natick
Turns out there’s not so much demand for a full-service Mexican restaurant inside a Wegman’s that itself is inside the Natick Mall. Who knew? Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal explains.
In Berkshires, praise for three-digit suicide hotline
The Federal Communication Commission has approved a plan to establish a three-digit national suicide prevention hotline — and social services advocates say it could be especially valuable in the Berkshires, which has the state’s highest rate of suicides, Haven Orecchio-Egresitz reports at the the Berkshire Eagle. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is among the lawmakers who have pushed for the hotline to be established.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Paul Regan, executive for of MBTA advisory board, discussing the recently released report on safety and management problems at the T and the path to reform.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Rerun: Retailers Association of Mass. president Jon Hurst on trends and early results in this year’s holiday shopping season.
CEO Corner, NECN 10:30 a.m. Japan’s Takeda is the largest biopharma company in Massachusetts. Two Takeda presidents—Andy Plump MD, in charge of R&D, and Teresa Bitetti of the Global Oncology Business Unit talk about the company and its mission in Greater Boston.
Think/Write/Speak: Activism in Action
Join the Bostonian Society and nomadic arts incubator Brown Art Ink for a workshop on raising your voice for local issues.
Swampscott, Marblehead & Nahant RTC Holiday Party
Please join us for our annual Swampscott, Marblehead & Nahant Republican Town Committees holiday party with special guest Governor Charlie Baker.
Donuts with DA Rachael Rollins
Join us for JALSA’s “Donate what you can” Channukah event– Donuts with the DA– Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins! Anyone can attend for any donation! Date, time and location will be sent upon receipt of donation.
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