Happening Today

Global Warming Committee, Dem presidential debate, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Treasurer Deb Goldberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo ring the bell at a Salvation Army red kettle, in front of Macy’s, Downtown Crossing, at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

— Rep. Marc Lombardo and MassGOP host the annual ‘Celebration of Christmas on Beacon Hill’ nativity scene event, Great Hall, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker has an ‘Ask the Governor’ segment on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— State Retirement Board meets, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, One Winter Street, 8th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change holds a hearing on ‘Updates to the Transportation Climate Initiative and recommendations for climate action,’ Room 428, 1 p.m.

— Democratic presidential candidates, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, participate in a televised debate hosted by PBS Newshour and Politico, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, 8 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

Trump impeached: Now what?

As expected, the U.S. House, voting along party lines, yesterday approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump, as the NYT reports, and … now what?

Well, the first step may not be to take a first step, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, mulls whether to delay passing along the articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial, the Washington Post reports, a withholding tactic championed by Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe, who has warned of a Republican ‘Potemkin’ trial. So Democrats are merely delaying the almost inevitable Republican exoneration of Trump in the Senate? OK.

Of course, what’s the reaction of many people in these parts to the historic and dramatic political drama now unfolding in Washington? “Meh.” The Globe’s Dugan Arnett reports on the relative, well, indifference among many. And from the Patriot Ledger: “Amid divergent views, many agree impeachment would change little.”

The pundits are fully engaged, though. From David Shribman at the Globe: “Impeachment — a moment of disgrace that Trump will use as a political asset.” From the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham: “We have to rely on voters — not history — to redeem us.” From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Impeachment debate a hyper-partisan, hate-filled charade.” And from the Herald’s Michael Graham: “America tunes out impeachment hearings.” And we liked this analysis from the Post’s Dan Balz: “However historic, impeachment is but a way station in the struggle over Trump’s presidency.”

Which will it be tonight: Above-the-fray or on-the-attack Elizabeth Warren?

In the shadow of yesterday’s impeachment votes in Washington, the top Democratic presidential candidates meet in Los Angeles today for another televised debate – and the Globe’s Liz Goodwin wonders if U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will pursue her new take-the-offensive strategy against her primary opponents, as opposed to her previous above-the-fray strategy. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports tonight’s debate is an important opportunity for Warren to rejuvenate her recently slumping campaign.

Coyote ugly no more: State board bans coyote hunting contests

They’ll just have to find other critters to hunt for prizes on the Cape and in western Massachusetts. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “The state’s Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted Wednesday to ban coyote hunting contests. … The ban will prohibit hunting contests for ‘predators and furbearers,’ which includes coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon and opossum.”


Baker’s housing bill: It … is … alive!

The Globe’s Jon Chesto writes that something’s stirring at the otherwise quiet holiday-season State House. Is it … is it Gov. Charlie Baker’s housing bill? Yes, it is, and lawmakers are now polling other members to determine if there’s enough support for an early 2020 vote on the unexpectedly revived legislation, Chesto reports.

Boston Globe

Moving east: UMass-Boston faculty bemoan Amherst’s encroachment into Newton

Maybe they should call it ‘Amherstization’? Anyway, the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius reports that UMass-Boston faculty members yesterday once again complained to university trustees about UMass-Amherst’s takeover of the former Mount Ida College campus in Newton – and how it’s now openly competing against UMass-Boston. The trustees’ response? Largely silence. 

In other UMass news, university officials are pumped over a new law that allocates $10 million in state money to match private funds raised by public higher education campuses, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall).


Wrong way: Bay State college enrollment drops again

Speaking of public higher education, this is not a welcome trend. Massachusetts logged its second straight year of declining college enrollments, with 1.3 percent fewer students attending Bay State institutions this year, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. The drop is smaller than last year’s 2.5 percent decline and better than the national decline of 2 percent, data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show. 

Worcester Business Journal

Appeals court strikes down Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate

This is big political news heading into the election year. From the Washington Post: “A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that its requirement that most Americans carry insurance is unconstitutional while sending back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the law can stand without it.”

Some quickie questions/thoughts: 1.) We’re sure there’s a logical states-rights legal (or other) explanation, but we’d still like to know: How could this impact Massachusetts’s individual insurance mandate? 2.) If this anti-mandate ruling stands, does this leave expansion of single-payer Medicaid and Medicare as the only viable option to achieve universal health care? Conservative opponents of Obamacare may, ironically, one day rue this decision.

Washington Post

Companies rush to exit state’s paid-leave program

Speaking of mandates, they’ll still have to provide coverage. Just not this one. From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “Ahead of a key deadline, hundreds of employers have asked the Baker administration for permission to use a private-sector alternative to offer paid family and medical leave to their workers, rather than participate in the state-run program.” Bottom line: It’s about costs.


Youth movement: Lally launches primary bid against Rep. DuBois

He’s got more history in his sights. Jack Lally, who was just 18 when he won his seat on the Brockton city council, will challenge state Rep. Michelle DuBois in the Democratic primary, Marc Larocque reports at the Enterprise. At 22, Lally would likely be the youngest lawmaker on Beacon Hill if elected. 


Framingham mulls life after prison

Now that state officials have finally conceded they’re considering closing the state’s main prison for women in Framingham, some want the city to start looking at how to repurpose the property should  MCI-Framingham be shuttered, Jeannette Hinkle reports at the MetroWest Daily News. One city councilor wants the state to raze the decrepit buildings on the site to clear the way for a host of possible new uses. 

MetroWest Daily News

Harvard picks Tishman Speyer for massive Allston buildout

It’s moving forward. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports that Harvard University has tapped Tishman Speyer to “develop the 14-acre first phase of the university’s enterprise research campus — the first non-academic commercial development of substantial scale in Harvard’s 383-year history.” 

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that celebrated architect Jeanne Gang has also gotten the nod to design the 900,000-square-foot first phase of the buildout.

Walsh: ‘This square will be called Nubian Square’

Citywide voters may not want the change. But neighborhood voters have expressed their support, so Boston’s Dudley Square will indeed see its name changed today to Nubian Square, Mayor Walsh predicts. CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger has the details.


Springfield’s Smith & Wesson sued by victims of Toronto mass shooting

From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “Victims of a 2018 Toronto mass shooting sued Smith & Wesson this week, alleging the Springfield-based gunmaker failed to introduce ‘smart gun’ technology in the handgun used in the attack. The suit, filed Monday in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto, is for $150 million Canadian — about $114 million U.S.”


Climate activists slam failure to pass tax credits for offshore wind farms

And just as Vineyard Wind and others have proposed super-low prices for wind energy in Massachusetts. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Climate advocates and industry groups were critical of the U.S. House this week after a long-term extension of a tax credit designed to assist offshore wind energy developers did not come to pass as part of spending bills, but some wind watchers said offshore projects might still be able to claim some federal benefits.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Healey urges DPU to crack down on electricity sellers

Speaking of energy, she really doesn’t like these middle-men electricity peddlers. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Attorney General Maura Healey is asking the state Department of Public Utilities to investigate whether competitive electricity suppliers are charging low-income customers unreasonably high rates and whether those higher charges are driving up the utility bills of all ratepayers.”

Fyi: Healey is also pushing legislation to ban non-utility power re-sellers.

Joslin hires former state health-benefits chief as CEO

This is an impressive career jump. From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Roberta Herman, who this month announced she was leaving the state Group Insurance Commission, will join the Joslin Diabetes Center on Jan. 9 as president and chief executive officer. Herman, of Concord, replaces Peter Amenta, who announced this fall that he would be stepping down at the end of 2019, after 10 years with Joslin, including more than four years as president and CEO.”

Larry Lucchino, chairman of Worcester WooSox, undergoes successful cancer surgery

Here’s wishing him well. From Michael Bonner at MassLive: “Larry Lucchino, the chairman of the Pawtucket Red Soxand Worcester Red Sox, underwent successful surgery last week (in Boston) to remove a contained cancerous blockage near his kidneys, the team announced on Wednesday. He is recuperating at home, the team said.”


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.

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

The History and Collections of the MHS

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Medford 2020 – The Inauguration

MEDFORD 2020 is a celebration of community at the Historic Chevalier Theatre in Medford, Massachusetts.

Medford 2020 Inauguration Committee

Civic Practice Symposium: Reimagining Community Futures Through Arts & Philanthropy

How can creative people in place-based communities catalyze economic change, bridge divisions, and foster meaningful connections between people? How can philanthropic efforts be reoriented toward social weaving, toward participatory democracy, and toward the slow push in communities to integrate and reconnect—to build shared interests and shared purpose in heart and mind?

Adam Erickson

State of the City 2020

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s annual State of the City address will review the City’s progress and lay out his agenda for his next year in office.

Mayor’s Office of the City of Boston

A Political Discussion As We Enter 2020

Author, politician, raconteur, Larry DiCara., former Congressman Michael Harrington and Government Relations Strategist Peter Mazareas will lead an interactive discussion on what is going on with our democracy. Come on January 7 and let us reason together. We’ll try to find common ground and avoid the harsh tones of current political divisiveness.

Harvard Club of the North Shore

Today’s Headlines


Municipal parking lots around Boston to get electric-charging stations – Universal Hub

Boston urges passage of affordable housing bill on Beacon Hill – Boston Herald


Potential Union Point developer touts work with ‘another failed project’ – Patriot Ledger

Report: Worcester County’s opioid crisis more complex than West Virginia’s – Worcester Business Journal

Beverly signs pact with two pot shops – Salem News


Timing of Trump impeachment trial in limbo as Pelosi holds out for assurances – New York Times

Poll: Democrats wary of nominating older candidate – Politico

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