Happening Today

Court hearing on prison drug treatment, Menorah lighting, and more

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal holds a press conference to the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which retains protections for Springfield’s CRRC-MA subway-car factory, CRRC-MA, 655 Page Boulevard, Springfield, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey participates in her regular “Ask the AG” segment, WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets with legislative leaders for one of their regular closed-door meetings, Senate President’s Office, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Judge Indira Talwani is scheduled to hold a hearing on the ACLU’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring the Department of Correction to give certain inmates medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, Moakley Courthouse, Boston, 2 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka and Attorney General Maura Healey are expected to gather with others for the ceremonial lighting of a Hanukkah Menorah, Grand Staircase, 2nd Floor, 4 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

State sued over alleged denial of treatment for prison addicts

There’s a court hearing on this matter this morning, fyi. From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “After failing to receive assurances from the Department of Correction, supporters of medication-assisted treatment for prisoners with opioid use disorder are turning to the courts, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to force the Baker administration to alter its policies.”

The Globe’s Felice Fryer has more on the legal showdown.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Lechmere Station faces one-year closure due to GLX work

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro provides advance warning to all those who use the Green Line’s Lechmere Station: It’s closing next spring for a year as work proceeds on the Green Line extension project.

Btw: The Globe’s Nestor Ramos makes an astounding discovery: Free bus rides in Lawrence have proven to be hugely popular. And, seriously, the free-rides idea should be considered elsewhere, as a sort of a reverse congestion-pricing plan, perhaps with free rides available during certain times on certain lines to get people off parallel traffic-clogged roadways. Just an idea.

Boston Globe

What a coincidence: Patrick and Weld win top billing on primary ballots

We’re sure it was an honest lottery. From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “The two former Massachusetts governors running for president may be low in the polls, but they’ll have top billing on their home state’s primary ballots come March. Deval Patrick and Bill Weld will be the first names printed on the Democratic and Republican primary ballots when Massachusetts voters hit the polls for Super Tuesday March 3.” 

We’re happy to say U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren nabbed third place on the Dem ballot, via Secretary of State William Galvin’s nothing-up-his-sleeves names drawing.

Boston Herald

Presidential tidbits: Trump’s edge, Warren’s older brothers, Patrick’s gang

Speaking of the presidential races, we’ve decided to roll some of the campaign-related items into one handy-dandy post this morning, starting with Larry Edelman’s Globe column noting that “history tells us Trump should win reelection” because of the strong economy. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jess Bidgood reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s three older brothers are starting to take a more prominent role in her presidential campaign — even though only one them is a Democrat. Does this mean that two of them might be … Republicans?

Finally, the gang’s all here, or actually in New Hampshire, i.e. Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign gang that helped get him elected governor in 2006, including former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray. They were stumping for Patrick in the Granite State over the weekend, reports the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi.

Last-minute Christmas shopping ideas? How about a MAGA hat, Trump bobbleheads or Donald holiday tree ornaments?

Lauren Young at Wicked Local reports on a new Bellingham store, apparently part of a small local chain, that sells all things Trump, from MAGA hats to Trump hoodies to Trump bobbleheads. And business has picked up since the president’s impeachment. No word on Trumpy Bears. Must be sold out.

Wicked Local

‘Governor Fix-It,’ Part II: Baker defends his management record

Gov. Charlie Baker is defending his administration’s management of the MBTA and Registry of Motor Vehicles in the wake of recent scandals/controversies/disappointments, etc. etc., as the Globe’s Matt Stout reports. Some are riding to the governor’s defense, at least when it comes to the T. But others say his ‘Governor Fix-It’ image has definitely been tarnished.

Boston Globe

Generational divide: ‘We like Joe because he’s younger’

Lou Antonellis, business manager for Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, explains why his union endorsed U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Ed Markey. Bottom line: Kennedy is younger than Markey – and many young-one union members are fed up with how Boomers have managed the country.


Generational divide, Part II: The Millennials-vs-Boomers battle for control of the Democratic Party

Take heart, Ed Markey. Those self-interested, privileged and aging Baby Boomers have your back in 2020. Or so suggests the Atlantic’s Dereck Thompson, who has a piece about lefty Millennial punks who actually think they have a right to the political perks and private wealth enjoyed by Boomers. … They’ll have to pry those perks from Boomers’ cold dead hands, damn it! 

The Atlantic

Cannabis industry to Cumberland Farms: Thank you!

David Rabinovitz, CEO of NewCann Group and acting treasurer of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, writes at CommonWealth magazine that the beer-and-wine license ballot question backed by Cumberland Farms could, if passed, actually lead to a dramatic increase in the number of pot shops in Massachusetts, due to how current law is written. It’s one of those ‘I didn’t know that’ issues.


First pot shop on Cape approved by cannabis regulators

Speaking of cannabis, from the BBJ’s Gintautus Dumcius: “The first recreational marijuana shop on Cape Cod is a step closer to opening after state cannabis regulators granted final approval for Curaleaf Holding Inc.’s Provincetown retail store. The Cannabis Control Commission (last week) voted to approve a retail store at 170 Commercial Street, Provincetown.”


Several vaping products contain lead, state tests find

And speaking of cannabis regulators, from the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Vape smokers have a new compound to worry about: lead. Marijuana regulators said in documents released Thursday night that testing had found the presence of lead in over a dozen quarantined vape products.” The tests were conducted on behalf of the Cannabis Control Commission.  

Zero tolerance: Developers battle proposed ‘zero net energy’ building-code requirements

Elaine Thompson at the Telegram has more on the regulatory battle over a proposed “zero net energy” building-code requirement – an idea climate activists are championing and developers are vigorously opposing. CommonWealth magazine’s Andy Metzger wrote about the controversy earlier this month.


One lousy Hitler parody crushed her career …

The Globe’sDanny McDonald reports on that UMass Amherst professor who was yanked from her job after showing a student’s parody video of Adolf Hitler from the movie ‘Downfall.’ She says she’s was ‘crushed’ to learn someone was offended by the video.

Actually, we sympathize with her a bit. What she did was stupid, in this age of hyper-sensitivity on college campuses. But let’s admit it: These Hitler parody videos, based on the ‘Downfall’ movie, are now dime-a-dozen, starting with the granddaddy of all ‘Downfall’ parodies from the 2008 housing-market crash. It was pretty damn funny then. Today? No so funny. Times change.

Making it in Mass: How a House staffer makes ends meet in Boston

Housing costs alert: How does a Beacon Hill staffer with a law degree earning $52,000 a year make it in modern-day Boston? By living in a Southie apartment owned by her parents. That’s according to Catherine Falvey, research director for a legislative committee, who tells Francesca Fontana at the Wall Street Journal’s Start Out feature that “living in a property my parents own is the only way I can afford where I live.” 

Wall Street Journal

Report: Flu vaccination rates are low among health care workers

From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “A new state report shows an alarming number of health care workers at facilities across Massachusetts failed to get vaccinated during flu season, prompting state officials concerned about risks to patients to issue reminder letters to facilities that either failed to report data or fell below state and federal vaccination rate goals.”


Jane Swift on education-funding law: It’s all about implementation

Former Gov. Jane Swift, now president and executive director of LearnLaunch in Boston, applauds passage of the state’s new school-funding reform law. But she warns at CommonWealth magazine: “To paraphrase an old adage: A mediocre policy implemented well is better than an outstanding policy implemented poorly.”

In other education news, from Michael Jonas at CommonWealth: “Mass. teacher diversity falling short/Disparities start early in the pipeline, says new report.”

First night of Hanukkah: ‘It doesn’t feel entirely safe to be Jewish’

The Herald’s Rick Sobey reports on Sunday’s first night of Hanukkah for Jewish residents around the region and nation – a Hanukkah held amid a recent rise in violent anti-Semitic incidents. The Herald’s Jeff Robbins writes of a “painful fact” this year: “It doesn’t feel entirely safe to be Jewish because it is not, in fact, entirely safe to be Jewish.”

Boston Herald

Will he ask? Weld defers on seeking Baker endorsement

Former Gov. William Weld made the rounds of the local Sunday shows and while he spoke with the anchors on WCVB, he was asked about the possibility of earning an encorsement from Gov. Charlie Baker. Weld said he hasn’t yet asked for Baker’s blessing, but seemed to hold open the door to doing so in the future. “Everything in its own good time,” he said. 

Over at WBZ, Weld told Jon Keller that once the fact of President Trump’s impeachment starts to set in, Republican support for the president could start to erode and that could help his presidential primary prospects.

Pilgrim’s progress: AG’s request for stay on license transfer denied

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied a request from Attorney General Maura Healey to halt the transfer of the license to operate the shuttered Pilgrim Station Nuclear Plant to new owners for decommissioning, Christine Legere reports in the Cape Cod Times. Court challenges from both Healey and private citizen groups remain in the pipeline. 

Cape Cod Times

Go East: Lesser says state needs to flip script to connect Berkshires by rail

Has the state been thinking about east-west rail connections all wrong? State Sen. Eric Lesser thinks so, telling Carolyn Komatsoulis at the Berkshire Eagle that the political will simply doesn’t exist to extend rail service from Boston to Pittsfield today, but that by building momentum and demand on the western end of the line, service will eventually come to fruition. 

Berkshire Eagle

Unhappy holidays: Milford slams Amazon over flood of delivery vans

Officials in Milford say Amazon is toying with the community by flouting local regulation and making the town “a dump site” for its rapid delivery operations, Alison Bosma reports at the MetroWest Daily News. Officials want answers from Amazon. 

MetroWest Daily News

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


Short-term rental companies, facing fines, fight Boston enforcement – Boston Herald

A holiday miracle: Boston’s Seaport finally gets a gondola – Boston Business Journal


Young Mansfield Democrat to challenge Rep. Barrows – Sun Chronicle

Worcester schools start serving after-school meals – Telegram & Gazette

Massachusetts unemployment rate stays at 2.9 percent – Worcester Business Journal


Susan Collins to play pivotal role in impeachment drama – The Hill

New congressional report finds 2017 tax cuts did not live up to promises – Newsweek

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