Happening Today

Gaming Commission, caretaker registry bill, and more

Public Health Council meets to review regulations governing the licensure of clinics and of substance use disorder treatment programs and to get an update on suicide prevention efforts, Public Health Council room, 2nd floor, 250 Washington St., Boston, 9 a.m.

Gaming Commission’s Horse Racing Committee meets to get updates on racing, while the full commission is expected to release monthly revenue figures for the state’s three casinos, Gaming Commission, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 12 p.m.

Governor’s Council meets three times, the first to interview Michael Williams for reappointment to the Industrial Accident Board, the second for its regular weekly meeting chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and the third to interview Sabina Herlihy for reappointment to the Industrial Accident Board, Council Chamber, 11:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.

— Ex.-U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and former Boston NAACP president Michael Curry analyze Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— House meets in a full formal session to take up legislation creating a registry of caretakers found to have abused individuals with disabilities, House Chamber, 11 a.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

Just so you know: Alex Cora out

In case there’s still one or two of you who haven’t heard yet: Cora’s out. The Sox manager’s fate is spilling over into the Metro section of the Globe this morning, where Adrian Walker writes that Alex Cora will be dearly missed but clearly had to go. … Now on to all things politics and public policy (mostly) …

Warren turns clash with Sanders into gender debate

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did indeed clash (in a civil way) over the ‘electability’ issue during last night’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa, as the Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin and the NYT report. The candidates talked about other issues as well, such as, oh, war and peace (Washington Post). But … the gender issue ruled.

So who won? The Globe’s James Pindell gives Warren an ‘A+’ grade, but Bernie gets a high grade too. The NYT’s top moment of the night: ‘Warren’s sly attack on Sanders.’ The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld laments Warren’s “classic political dirty trick” against Bernie. Meanwhile, WBUR has a good ‘live analysis’ account of last evening’s showdown.

‘Mom and Dad Are Fighting’

We couldn’t resist this NYT piece on how progressives are reacting to recent infighting between U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Some of the comments are pretty damn funny.

In related mom-and-dad-are-fighting news, from the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “Sununu: Democrats risk melting down, setting up a Trump win.” And, also from the presidential campaign trail yesterday, via the AP at CBS Boston: “Warren Says She’ll Cancel College Debt Without Awaiting Congress.”


Rent control rumble

It’s official: Rent control is now a top hot-button issue on Beacon Hill. The Globe’s Tim Logan and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) report on a packed State House hearing yesterday on bills that would resurrect rent control in Massachusetts.

Health care (i.e. Partners) is taking an ever bigger bite of your income

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports on a new study showing that “for every additional dollar a Massachusetts family earned between 2016 and 2018, 39 cents of it went to health care, including copays, deductibles and both employer and employee spending on premiums.”

And Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on how an ever increasing share of health-care dollars are now flowing to Partners Healthcare, the state’s largest provider network, and how that’s worrying policymakers.

TCI update: As Baker administration sticks to Plan A, Sununu predicts Plan B

Energy and Environment Secretary Kathleen Theoharides says the Baker administration is moving ahead with Plan A for a new Transportation and Climate Initiative gas tax/fee, despite recent regional political setbacks. But N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu and even some Massachusetts lawmakers are now talking about some sort of Plan B to salvage the proposed pact among states, reports the Herald’s Mary Markos.  SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more on the Plan A-vs-Plan B debate.

Boston Herald

‘Rightsizing’: Encore Boston’s payroll is down 200 employees amid disappointing revenues

Looks like the new robotic bartenders are here to stay. From the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “Just seven months into its operations in Everett, the Encore Boston Harbor gambling resort is already down by nearly 200 employees over the past few months, and 1,000 short of the original hiring goal it had touted.” 

In other casino revenue-shortfall news, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that MGH Resorts is definitely eyeing the possibility of effectively selling its MGM Springfield real estate (though not the actual casino business) as part of a complicated transaction designed to free up cash.


Amendments flood in as Senate tees up sex-ed bill

Lawmakers have proposed more than a dozen amendments to proposed sex-education legislation making its way through the State House, setting the stage for heated debate in the Senate on Thursday, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. 

Salem News

MBTA Control Board: Sending signals on future T governance

We could be wrong, but we get the distinct impression that the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board is signaling that they’ve had enough and they’re ready to pass the torch to a new governing board when their term expires this spring. I.e. No term extension. Tanner Stening at MassLive and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine report on the T governance suggestions by the current board.

Study: Stoners who toke when they’re young drive differently even when not stoned

Is it because they’ve come to believe – or their brains have automatically come to believe – that driving in a stoned manner is normal? From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “People who started using marijuana heavily before they were 16 exhibit poorer driving performance than those who abstain — even when they’re not high, according to a new study that underlines the risks of adolescent cannabis consumption.”

Boston Globe

Road rage: Boston cop accused of sending fake ticket to motorist who obviously angered him a bit

Think how long he stewed before sending off his angry missives and then ask yourself: Should he really be a cop? From the Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan: “A Boston police officer is accused of mailing a fake $790 State Police citation and a crude handwritten note to the home of a driver he said cut him off on Interstate 93.”

A WCVB report has more on the threatening notes and arraignment of of the cop.

How to recalibrate a campaign if you’re a woman, 101

It should almost be a required political-science class: How women, unfortunately, have to recalibrate their campaign style and tone in order to win elections. Stephanie Leydon has the successful lessons learned from Everett’s Stephanie Martins.


Judge: Neal’s Trump tax returns lawsuit will just have to wait

Hurry up and wait. A federal judge says a lawsuit filed by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to obtain eight years of Donald Trump’s tax returns will remain on hold until an earlier lawsuit seeking to compel testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn is decided, Brian Faler and Darren Samuelsohn report at Politico.


Expanding minority government contracts: Philadelphia and Massport may be showing the way

As part of an ongoing investigation into racial disparities in government contracts, Chris Burrell at WGBH reports on how the city of Philadelphia and our very own Massport handle the issuance of contracts to minority-owned firms, compared to how Boston and state of Massachusetts handle contracts. The former two are doing something right. The latter not so right.


Reporting for duty: Rep. Kearney to serve on US Navy hospital ship

You can only admire people who regularly make such sacrifices. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Rep. Patrick Kearney, a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, will be on active duty next week serving on the hospital ship USNS Mercy. Kearney posted on Facebook that his office will remain open and his legislative aide Katie Baxter will be able assist constituents with their needs.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Kennedy’s latest endorsement haul: What’s it worth?

Boston Magazine’s Alyssa Vaughn has a U.S. Senate-race endorsement update, with Joseph Kennedy III announcing a major batch of endorsements, including one from civil rights icon John Lewis. Question: Didn’t Lewis also endorse Michael Capuano two years ago? Yes he did. And how did that turn out? Never mind.

Boston Magazine

Warren and Markey urge release of Massachusetts siblings held by China

From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “As U.S. and China are set to sign a trade deal this week, Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren urged President  Donald Trump to push the Chinese government to release Massachusetts residents Cynthia and Victor and let them come home to the U.S. China has ‘unjustly held the siblings for 19 months,’ the senators wrote in a joint statement.”


Trump’s vow to veto ‘forever chemicals’ bill draws local criticism

It looks like the state of Massachusetts may have to go it alone on this issue. From Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune: “President Donald Trump is vowing to veto a bill to remove contamination from cancer-linked ‘forever chemicals’ in groundwater, drawing criticism from environmentalists and members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Eagle Tribune

Turning Orange: Town laments slow pace of pot shop OKs

What about us? Officials in cash-strapped Orange are getting cranky about how long it’s taking the Cannabis Control Commission to sign off on the town’s first recreational pot shop and commence the flow of local taxes, David McLellan reports at the Greenfield Recorder.

Greenfield Recorder

Airbnb listings plunge after agreement with Boston

Are other short-term rental companies picking up the slack? That’s the question now. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The number of active Airbnb listings dropped by a third last month after Boston’s agreement with the big short-term rental company fully kicked in. Airbnb had 5,500 listings when December started, a number that dropped to 3,780 over the course of the month, according to data provided to the city by Airbnb at the start of this month.”

Boston Herald

Open House #2: Boston Common Master Plan

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden invite you to the second Boston Common Master Plan Open House on Jan.15th between 5:30 & 8pm at the Josiah Quincy School Auditorium, 152 Arlington St., Boston, MA. The public will have the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback, which is incredibly important in shaping the future of the Common.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden

Corporate Citizenship Conference (C3)

The inaugural Corporate Citizenship Conference (C3) invites corporate leaders to engage in authentic dialogues to shift the paradigm in corporate social responsibility.


Condition of Education in the Commonwealth

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy is hosting a discussion on the status of education in Massachusetts. The event will explore the latest data on educational progress in the Commonwealth and look at innovative approaches to measuring student success. Education Secretary James Peyser and Commissioner of Early Education and Care Samantha Aigner-Treworgy will be among the speakers.

Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Boston Speaker Series: Douglas Brinkley

An award-winning historian, Brinkley has written on a wide range of topics, including D-Day, Hurricane Katrina, President Kennedy, and the Great Space Race and the lives of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan and Walter Cronkite. Brinkley serves as a CNN Presidential Historian, and as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Lesley University

Boston Speaker Series: Douglas Brinkley

An award-winning historian, Brinkley has written on a wide range of topics, including D-Day, Hurricane Katrina, President Kennedy, and the Great Space Race and the lives of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan and Walter Cronkite. Brinkley serves as a CNN Presidential Historian, and as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Lesley University

The Impact of Latinos in Massachusetts

The Impact of Latinos in Massachusetts incorporates a dialogue with executive leaders around the buying power and impact of Latinos in community and business.

El Mundo Boston

Today’s Headlines


Boston Airnbn listing drops by third after agreement kicks in – Boston Herald

Resident says Lynn city council violated open meeting law – Lynn Item


Many problems but few solutions as residents air grievances over marijuana retailer in Fall River – Herald-News

Cape college partners with tribal art school – Cape Cod Times

Former Springfield automobile factory getting $57M makeover into apartments – MassLive


Trump set to gut water protections – Politico

Senate has votes to pass limits on Trump’s Iran war powers – New York Times

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