Happening Today

Vaping regulations, TCI opposition, and more

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito delivers remarks at the Human Trafficking Summit hosted by the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Four Points by Sheraton Norwood, 1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike, Norwood, 9 a.m.

Joint Committee on Transportation holds a hearing on dozens of bills covering automated vehicles, junior operator licenses, local fees for transportation network companies, and implementing new safety and data-collection requirements on ride-hailing, Room A-1, 10 a.m. 

— Senate President Karen Spilka speaks at the grand opening of the Framingham Office of Community Corrections, 298 Howard Street, Framingham, 10 a.m.

Department of Public Health holds a public hearing on the emergency regulation setting minimum standards for retail sale of tobacco and  nicotine vaping delivery systems, Public Health Council room, 2nd floor, 250 Washington St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and other opponents of the proposed Transportation and Climate Initiative gather for a summit and press conference, near the State House, 11:30 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

Liss-Riordan drops out of Senate race

Breaking morning news from SHNS’s Michael Norton: Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race, conceding she simply can’t compete against her two major rivals for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III. “Unfortunately, sometimes some obstacles are too great to overcome, and that is the situation my candidacy for Senate finds itself in,” Liss-Riordan said in a statement at 7 a.m. Friday. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Taking aim at corruption’: State Police reform proposals unveiled

Gov. Charlie Baker and State Police Colonel Christopher Mason yesterday unveiled a number of reform proposals amid the multiple corruption scandals that have rocked the embattled agency. MassLive’s Steph Solis reports the bill would “create stricter penalties for troopers who submit false claims for hours worked, ‘streamline’ the process to suspend troopers charged with serious offenses and expand the candidate pool for the top state police position, currently held by Mason, to law enforcement officials beyond the department.”

WBUR’s Laney Ruckstuhl and the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau focus in on the proposal that would allow the governor to, finally, select a future State Police leader from outside the agency.


No longer No. 1: Baker slips in most popular governor rankings

Speaking of the governor: Well, it was a good run. The latest rankings from Morning Consult show Gov. Charlie Baker has been displaced as the nation’s most popular governor based on favorability ratings. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports Baker dropped to third place behind fellow Republicans Mark Gordon of Wyoming and Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Morning Consult

‘Passing the buck’: The state’s ballooning pension debt

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports on the ever-increasing share of the state budget now going towards funding the state’s pension liabilities. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell also reports on the state’s growing pension obligations that someone (read: Millennials) will sooner or later have to pay. Interesting stat: More than 1,400 retired state workers now have annual pensions of $100,000 or more. We did the math. That’s a minimum total of $140 million a year. For just 1,400 people.

Pressley opens up about her struggle with alopecia and hair loss

WGBH’s Kevin Andrade and the NYT report on U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s video announcement that she’s suffering from alopecia, a skin disease that leads to hair loss – and in Pressley’s case baldness. Pressley views it almost as a political struggle. Whatever else it may be, we’re sure there’s more than a few people suffering from the same disease who deeply appreciate her speaking out and confronting the daily struggles and stigmas involved.

Senate approves sex education and school breakfast bills

The actions were expected, but they’re still important to note: 1.) The Senate’s approval yesterday of the sex-education bill (MassLive) and 2.) The Senate’s unanimous approval of legislation requiring that schools offer breakfasts to students in need (SHNS).

Edwards to LA whiners demanding World Series trophy: ‘From Our Cold, Dead Hands’

She just won our vote if she ever runs for governor. Sean Corcoran at WGBH reports on the defiant, proud and principled (sort of) stand of City Councilor Lydia Edwards to those in LA who want Bostonians to turn over the 2018 World Series trophy in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal: “I will say on behalf of myself and I’m sure on behalf of my colleagues on the Boston City Council: from our cold, dead hands.”


Under state pressure, cannabis operator revises management deals with smaller pot firms

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that multi-state pot operator Tilt Holdings Inc. is revising its management agreements with several local companies amid a crackdown by state regulators on the expansion of large cannabis businesses in Massachusetts. File under: ‘Anti-monopolistic precautions.’


Court: Parents can sue DCF over foster child’s alleged sexual assault of their daughter

This is ugly stuff. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “A former foster family can move ahead with a lawsuit against the Department of Children and Families claiming the agency placed a foster child with a history of being a ‘perpetrator of sexual abuse’ in its home without sharing his background, only to then have the boy allegedly sexually assault the parents’ daughter, a court ruled Thursday.”

Here’s the big question: What did DCF know about the foster kid’s background before putting him in the home? And here’s a disturbing thought: Bernard Law. Think about it.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, an update on MIT and Harvard’s own sexual-abuse-related scandals

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen and Shirley Leung are acting as sort of tag-team columnists this morning, each ripping into MIT and Harvard’s financial ties to convicted child sexual-abuse monster Jeffrey Epstein. Again, there’s that disturbing thought about … Never mind.

Senator says he’ll ‘name names” unless bodyworks bill advances

By all means, name names. We’d like to know. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “A senator said he may filibuster upcoming sessions and pledged to ‘name names’ responsible for holding up his anti-human trafficking legislation if that bill does not move soon.” The senator making the threat: Mark Montigny.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

ACLU objects to graduation-gown colors based on gender

From Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger: “The American Civil Liberties Union is blasting the Braintree school district over a practice in place at many South Shore high schools: assigning different-colored graduation gowns to students of different genders.” Their concern: “It puts students in a position to feed the stereotypes that you can only be one gender or another.”

Patriot Ledger

Good Samaritans Alert: The dramatic end to an Amber Alert kidnapping

If you haven’t already, start reading up on the “dramatic and terrifying” case of an 11-year-old girl snatched off the streets of Springfield by a stranger, sparking an Amber Alert, and the heroic roles played by a husband-and-wife duo and police to save the girl and apprehend the alleged kidnapper. You can start with Stephanie Barry’s story at MassLive, headlined: “Parents of kidnapped, then rescued, 11-year-old girl thank police, public, good Samaritans after dramatic 24 hours.

The Globe’s Dugan Arnett and Gal Tziperman Lotan have more on the dramatic chase and rescue.


The People’s Republic of Cambridge: Home to the fastest growing number of millionaires

As the BBJ’s Greg Ryan points out, Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth-tax may not be sitting well with some of her neighbors in Cambridge, home to the fastest growing number of millionaires in Massachusetts. The BBJ has the full list of the all the millionaire enclaves around the state.


Coming soon to UMass Amherst’s new Mount Ida campus: A sports tech company

The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei reports that a local sports tech company, CoachUp, is relocating its headquarters from Newton Upper Falls to UMass-Amherst’s new Mount Ida campus. So UMass-Amherst is now not only competing with UMass-Boston in Greater Boston but also with private commercial real estate owners in Greater Boston? Just thinking aloud.

Meanwhile, this is interesting, also from the BBJ’s Lucia Maffei: “Quincy gets a tech startup incubator thanks to local billionaire.”


Adviser slams Berkshire DA on way out for public records stance

The person in charge of handling public records requests for Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington has quit her job, saying the DA tried to stop her from releasing information about an investigation, Heather Bellow reports at the Berkshire Eagle. Jeanne Kempthorne, an attorney who was also an adviser to Harrington, also said the DA’s office placed too much emphasis on political concerns. 

Berkshire Eagle

That’s entertainment: Poor revenue numbers have MGM casino rejiggering its business model

They’re going all in on razzle dazzle. MGM Resorts International CEO says the company has a plan to improve the weak revenue numbers coming out of MGM Springfield with an emphasis on concerts, events and – eventually –sports betting, Michael Silverman reports in the Globe.  

Meanwhile, some state lawmakers see the latest dismal numbers out of Plainridge Park Casino–which had its worst month ever in December– as more evidence the state needs to rework the gambling law to allow table games to be added to the mix at the slots parlor. Jim Hand has more in the Sun-Chronicle. 

Aftershocks: Holyoke braces for another surge of Puerto Rico refugees

It’s deja vu all over again. More than two years after making room in their schools and homes for refugees who fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Holyoke residents and officials are again bracing for a surge of new residents after an earthquake rattled the island. After Maria, some 2,200 Puerto Rico residents found their way to Holyoke, with nearly 250 children enrolling in schools. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Sunday public affairs TV: James Pindell, Robert DeLeo and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel, 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: The Boston Globe’s James Pindell, who talks with host Jon Keller about the presidential campaigns in Iowa and NH.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with Globe columnist Adrian Walker and Republican political analyst Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 2 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: 2020 MLK, with guests who include Maria Belen Power, associate executive director of GreenRoots.

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


No Name’s unpaid tax bill could be the big one that got away – Boston Globe

State denies Northeastern’s request to expedite Nahant expansion – Lynn Item


Lobster sellers hope new deal thaws China trade – Gloucester Times

ACLU blasts Braintree high over gendered graduation gowns – Patriot Ledger

Table Talk HQ to leave Kelley Square – Telegram & Gazette


Poll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator – The Hill

Bloomberg makes his case to Democrats on Capitol Hill – Politico

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.