Happening Today

Christmas Eve, Lynn Christmas parade

— Today is Christmas Eve. Though it is not an official federal or state holiday, check with government offices to verify if they’re open or haven’t closed early; President Trump, via executive order, has ordered most federal executive offices closed today; many U.S. Post Offices will close at noon; the NYSE and Nasdaq markets close early at 1 p.m. Retail stores will be open, but many supermarkets and grocery stores will be closing earlier than normal (MassLive).

— The City of Lynn hosts its annual Christmas parade, with local leaders expected to attend, Austin Sq., Lynn, 5 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

Pharmaceutical firms vs elected officials: Who will prevail?

This is a sort of dog-bites-man story, to wit: The pharmaceutical industry is resisting the new rules being drawn up by state officials trying to control the cost of prescription drugs, based on a tough new state cost-containment law, as the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports. But the question is whether the Republican Baker administration and Democratic lawmakers can succeed where others have failed so many times before in standing up to the powerful pharmaceutical lobby. More than a few other states are closely monitoring what unfolds here, needless to say. Stay tuned.

Boston Globe

Healey: Enough with the flavored ‘Rainbow Nuggets’ and ‘Unicorn Frappes’

Flavored tobacco by any other name is still flavored tobacco. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “State regulators have filed suit against eight online dealers they say are selling vape juice with names like ‘Unicorn Frappe’ and ‘Rainbow Nuggets’ to Bay State customers, including minors, despite a statewide ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products.”

Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine and Steph Solis at MassLive have more on Attorney General Maura Healey’s quick and aggressive move to enforce the state’s new flavored-tobacco-ban law.

Boston Herald

Don’t panic: DraftKings staying in Boston after merger and IPO

It’s a complicated deal, but, basically: A.) DraftKings is merging with a European company. B.) The company is going public and C.) DraftKings’s local headquarters will remain in Boston. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei and the Globe’s Andy Rosen have more on the proposed deal.

Prison guard PAC fined for donations to Baker and other elected officials’ campaigns

File under: ‘Too kind.’ From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The political action committee run by the correction officers union agreed to pay a $45,000 penalty for excess in-kind contributions made during the 2018 campaign cycle, including $23,200 spent on signs, banners and bumper stickers for Gov. Charlie Baker’s re-election campaign.”

Other officials who received the kind in-kind attention from the PAC include Reps. Brian Murray and Harold Naughton, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early. Shira Schoenberg at MassLive has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Prisoners to get their opioid meds – for now

Speaking of prison-related matters, we haven’t heard the last of this. From the Herald’s Andrew Martinez: “The Department of Corrections will give anti-opioid drugs to three prisoners after it reached a temporary agreement with their defense attorneys, who claimed in a civil suit filed late last week the DOC was denying the convicts of their required dosages.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more on the legal showdown.

Boston Herald

Confirmed: Trump really hates Vineyard Wind and other wind projects

The Washington Post reports that President Trump went on an epic rant against wind energy over the weekend – and signaled he plans to make wind turbines, low-flow toilets and LED lightbulbs an issue in the 2020 presidential election. He didn’t mention Vineyard Wind by name, but we now have a clearer picture what’s holding up the state-backed offshore wind project with its highly attractive energy rates.

Washington Post

Warren’s ‘complicated’ Oklahoma homecoming

The New York Times gives U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s trip back to her home state of Oklahoma the warm-and-fuzzy treatment. Not so Marty Baron’s Washington Post, which quickly dives into an uncomfortable truth about the trip, i.e. Warren’s corresponding private meeting with tribal leaders over her past heritage claims.

Btw – We found this Hill story interesting: “Obama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors.” He’s not endorsing her. Just defending her against those who really despise her wealth-tax proposals.

TCI dropout-rate update: First, New Hampshire. Next: Vermont?

New Hampshire Chris Sununu has already said there’s no way his state will take part in the Transportation Climate Initiative’s fee/tax plan to reduce carbon emissions – and now troubles are brewing in Vermont, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos. Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday defended the program, saying he and Sununu just happen to disagree on the matter, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive

WGBH News to host first Massachusetts Senate primary debate

After they emerge from the shadows of today’s impeachment proceedings (Boston Globe), U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan plan to take part in the U.S. Senate race’s first televised debate, sponsored by WGBH News. The showdown date: Feb. 18.


Warren, Markey and Kennedy: Ah, Amazon, what’s going on in Fall River?

From Peter Jasinski at the Herald Review: “Fall River’s Amazon fulfillment center was the subject of a recent letter penned by U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, as well as U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, asking company CEO Jeff Bezos about the rate of serious injuries taking place there.”

Herald News

It’s official: Boston ranked fifth rudest city in U.S.

They’re not telling us anything we didn’t already know, i.e. that Boston is one of the rudest cities in the country, according to Business Insider, as reported at MassLive. But we’re in good company: New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Chicago rank just above us. The latter surprised us a bit. Chicago has a sort of lovable and cynical joie-de-vivre attitude, compared to our flinty get-lost-pal attitude, or at least that’s been our experience.


CRRC: The Orange Line car fix is arriving

File under: ‘Fear not.’ From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “Replacement parts for CRRC MA-built Orange Line MBTA cars pulled from service earlier this month were due to arrive at a maintenance facility Monday and the cars will be back carrying passengers by the new year, said Vince Conti, director of business administration at CRRC MA in Springfield.”


Just build ‘em: Public input favors replacing Cape Cod bridges

They’re bridges to somewhere, not nowhere, and public comments solicited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show strong support in favor of replacing the two bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, though many want the project to be expanded to include more public transportation, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

The recent budget impasse? Blame Liberty Mutual and Verizon

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine reports that Liberty Mutual and Verizon were among the companies pushing for a new corporate tax provision that ultimately caused a months-long supplemental-budget impasse on Beacon Hill. The provision was ultimately dropped from the compromise budget, but the memories, obviously, linger.


Your turn: Neal, overseeing fight for Trump’s returns, releases eight years of his own taxes

Fair is fair. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has released eight years of his tax returns, saying he was acting “in the spirit of transparency,” as he leads the House Ways and Means Committee’s efforts to wrestle free President Trump’s tax records, Benjamin Kail reports at MassLive. Btw: The returns show Neal and his wife with an average annual income of about $250,000 between 2011 and 2018. We have a hunch others, just to be sure, will be going over the returns with a fine-tooth comb in coming days and weeks.  


Big Four: Next year’s ballot-questions picture becomes clearer

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Four ballot initiatives — questions that, if passed, establish ranked-choice voting, update the right to repair law for cars, lift a cap on grocery stores’ beer and wine sales, and set rates for nursing homes — are making their way toward the November 2020 ballot.” They still have some hurdles to overcome, but it looks like those will be the referendum biggies on next year’s ballot in Massachusetts.

The Not Too Distant Mirror: A look back at Beacon Hill in 2019

Michael Deehan at WGBH takes a not-too-distant look back at the major events on Beacon Hill in 2019, starting with, of course, passage of the $1.5 billion school-funding reform law.


No. 9: Another Statie pleads guilty in OT scandal

Former State Police Lt. John Giulino yesterday became the ninth member of the agency to plead guilty in the ongoing overtime-abuse scandal. He didn’t get jail time, but he is disgraced and out of a pension (we assume). The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau have the details.

If the shoe fits: Shoe museum and arts center project finds early support in Haverhill

Bring it on. Haverhill residents are ready to welcome a world renowned shoe designer’s plans to build an $86 million museum and performing arts center in the city’s downtown, even though few details of how parking and other concerns will be handled, Allison Corneau reports at the Eagle-Tribune. 

Eagle Tribune

Giving mood: Lowell council approves pre-holiday raise for city manager

Merry and bright, indeed. Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue will get a 12 percent raise after a divided city council voted to boost her pay to $225,000, bringing her salary more in line with managers in other cities of similar size and reflecting her strong job performance, Meg McIntyre reports at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! And see you on Thursday

We’d like to wish all our MassterList readers merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah. We’ll be taking tomorrow off, but we’ll be back on Thursday morning. Enjoy the holidays, folks.

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


Walsh signs wetlands ordinance for Boston – WBUR

Protesters call for Boston police to withdraw from Israel trip – Boston Globe


Southwick Republican John Cain to run for state Senate from 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District – MassLive

Steamship Authority vessel disabled off Woods Hole – Cape Cod Times

How paywalls have revived the idea of the newspaper bundle – WGBH


House counsel suggests Trump could be impeached again – Politico

Former Hawaii governor calls on Gabbard to resign – The Hill

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