Happening Today

Gretchen Carlson on NDAs, Hynes sale, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins House Minority Leader Brad Jones, North Reading Superintendent Dr. Patrick Daly and other local leaders to celebrate E. Ethel Little Elementary School’s 2019 National Blue Ribbon Award, 7 Barberry Road, North Reading, 9:30 a.m.

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with an agenda calling for discussion of the Green Line Extension project, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Sen. Diana DiZoglio and former Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky hold a press conference speaking out against the use of non-disclosure agreements, Nurses Hall, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure hears testimony on bills related to competitive electric supply and alcohol licenses over town quotas, Gardner Auditorium, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight considers two bills regarding the sale of the Hynes Convention Center and the planned $500 million expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Hearing Room A-1, 1 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Kobe Bryant: ‘Relentless, curious and infinitely complicated’

Before getting to all things politics and public policy (mostly), the shocking news of Kobe Bryant’s death is dominating the local and national airwaves and headlines this morning. There’s so much out there right now, but we liked this piece by Boston’s Jackie MacMullen at ESPN: “Remembering Kobe Bryant: Relentless, curious and infinitely complicated” (via a MassterList reader).

And don’t forget there’s a local tragedy on top of the Bryant tragedy, from the Herald: “Former Cape Cod League coach, wife, daughter among California helicopter crash victims.”


While groups plan to drop lawsuit over education funding …

This just in this from SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The group of parents, students and advocates who sued the state last summer alleging unconstitutional disparities in public school funding said they’re dropping that lawsuit, describing themselves as ‘pleased’ with the Legislature’s education finance overhaul and Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to implement the first year of it.”

Bottom line: Mission accomplished. Then again …

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

… some communities aren’t happy with Baker’s school spending outlay

Well, you can’t please all the people all the time. The groups who pushed for school-aid reform may be dropping their lawsuit demanding change. But there are towns unhappy with the new funding system, such as Swampscott, where officials say the plan doesn’t do enough to help them with their own fiscal struggles, Elyse Carmosino reports at the Lynn Item. 

Meanwhile, Scott O’Connell at the Telegram reports officials in several Worcester-area communities aren’t overjoyed with the new formula either — and hope lawmakers will fold more aid into the budget as it makes its way through the State House. Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine has more on the winners and losers in the education-funding sweepstakes.

Lynn Item

Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign: Time to draft the obits?

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for president got a much-needed shot in the arm over the weekend with the Des Moines Register officially endorsing Warren in the Iowa caucuses, amid new polls showing Bernie Sanders pulling ahead of the pack in Iowa (MSN).

We happen to believe Warren is still in a good position to surprise a lot of people. But the local media sure seems down on Warren’s prospects these days, writing in the past tense about her candidacy. From the Globe’s Liz Goodwin: “How Bernie Sanders edged out Elizabeth Warren on the left.” And from the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “Warren running out of time, and momentum.”

Warren’s campaign hasn’t helped matters much with the leak of a staff memo that sure seemed to be trying to lower expectations before the Iowa caucuses, as the Washington Post reports. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld runs the “interminable and deluded” memo through the “Battenfeld Translator” and sees … excuses … denial … anger, etc. Btw, for what it’s worth: The Union Leader has endorsed Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire.

SJC to referee contentious immigrant case pitting Rollins vs judge

In an unusual move, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court will hear a case later this week that involves, among other things, “accusations of prosecutorial deception and judge-shopping,” and at the center of it is Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who’s now butting heads with one angry judge over a Somali immigrant’s larceny/deportation case, as the Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports.

Boston Globe

Lucrative business: State jails collect $164M from ICE to detain immigrants

Speaking of immigration matters, the Globe’s Danny McDonald reports the state has received “more than $160 million in funding from federal immigration authorities since 2012, mostly in exchange for keeping and transporting ICE detainees in jails run by four Massachusetts sheriff’s departments, a Globe review has found.”

The Globe’s story came out after Friday’s packed State House hearing on the proposed Safe Communities Act, in a “day filled with division,” reports CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt.

Judge strikes down Cambridge’s law favoring equity marijuana businesses

Two items tied to local regulations of pot shops. First, from the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “The two-year ban on a Cambridge medical pot shop selling to all adults has gone up in smoke. A Middlesex Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the city’s two-year moratorium on Revolutionary Clinics opening a retail pot shop ‘violates the Home Rule Amendment’ to the Massachusetts Constitution and state cannabis law.”

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett (pay wall) has more on the temporary lifting of the city’s moratorium designed to “assist entrepreneurs from disenfranchised areas.” Meanwhile, from Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy votes to move forward legislation to regulate host community agreements.”

Boston Herald

Obamacare architect on state’s plan to rein in health costs: Your efforts are doomed

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, the academic architect of Obamacare, isn’t exactly optimistic about the state’s chances of significantly reining in health-care costs, saying there’s “actually no real concrete mechanism to meet” the state’s ambitious cost-containment goals.

BBJ (pay wall))

‘The Biggest Tax Heist Ever’: Is there a Boston angle?

You have to read this NYT piece to believe it, i.e. what some European regulators believe may be the “biggest tax heist ever,” allegedly led by U.K. and American bankers who concocted yet another Frankenstein-like financial “product” called “cum-ex trading” (from the Latin for “with-without”) that allowed them to siphon $60 billion directly from state coffers, largely Germany’s state coffers. Among the usual too-big-to-fail suspects reportedly facing investigation: Bank of America. And Santander is among the banks that have “pledged cooperation with investigators.”


‘Undercover Boss’: Local CEO dons disguise to see if workers properly dispose of hazardous materials

We sure hope he didn’t find anything of concern. Scott Croteau at MassLive reports that Alan McKim, CEO of Norwell-based Clean Harbors, is the star of tonight’s episode of “Undercover Boss,” in which he poses as a former mechanic to see if his workers are properly packing, transporting and disposing of hazardous materials. 


No joke: Comedian told Malia Obama to ‘please shut the (expletive) up’ during local show

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that Lexington comedian Peter Holmes is admitting he recently got annoyed with two whispering young women sitting at the front during a show in Somerville, so he told them to “please shut the (expletive) up.” Turns out one of them was Malia Obama, former President Barack Obama’s daughter. Oops.

Boston Herald

Angry caller apologizes to Mejia, who responds: ‘You have made my week’

That ugly anonymous message left on City Councilor Julia Mejia’s voice mail? The humiliated caller has come forward and personally apologized to Mejia. “You have made my week,” she reportedly told him. The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has the details.

Boston Globe

Northeastern plans to launch new campus in Portland, Maine

Northeastern University, which already operates graduate student campuses in several states and Canada, is on the verge of expanding its empire, with plans to open a new satellite campus in Portland, Maine, reports the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson takes her NDA fight to State House

Here’s a little more info on our Happening Today calendar item above. From the Herald’s Jessica Heslam: “The woman who took down Fox News titan Roger Ailes is now putting her firepower behind the fight to end non-disclosure agreements on Beacon Hill. Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson plans to take aim at Bay State lawmakers at the State House on Monday, calling on them to ban the secret deals that silence victims of sexual misconduct in the workplace.”

Boston Herald

A bus lane to nowhere? Or build it and they will come?

City officials are being pressed to include a new rapid-transit bus lane as part of the planned major redesign of Sullivan Square and nearby Rutherford Avenue. However, as the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports, there’s just one problem: “There aren’t any Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus routes running on the road today.”

In other T news, from former transportation secretary James Aloisi at CommonWealth: “Calling out the guardians of the T status quo/ It’s time to stop slow-dancing the Red-Blue connector.” Meanwhile … hold the presses! … the T has discovered a damaged seat on one of its new Orange Line cars, as the Globe’s Steve Annear reports.

Nonprofits fret over future of charitable deductions

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that nonprofits across the state are getting mighty nervous about calls on Beacon Hill to limit, and possibly even eliminate, a tax deduction for charitable donations.


Meanwhile, some charities are rejecting pot-shop donations

Speaking of charitable-giving matters, marijuana retailers are having trouble finding nonprofits willing to accept donations from the portions of their revenue they have promised to give away. Lauren Young at the Metrowest Daily News reports some would-be recipients have rejected the gifts on the grounds it might endanger federal funding they receive.  

Metro West Daily News

Lawmakers weigh mandate for menstrual products

From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “Public schools, prisons and homeless shelters would be required to provide free menstrual hygiene products under plans being considered on Beacon Hill.”

Salem News

Former City Hall aide sentenced to 40 months for bribery

From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “John M. Lynch, the former City Hall aide who took a $50,000 bribe to help a developer, was sentenced to 40 months behind bars Friday in a case that has rocked City and cast a dark cloud over the city’s development process.” The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter has the judge’s comments before she sentenced Lynch: “Why would someone who has helped so many through the years yield to temptation? You have a loving family and so much support. … I don’t get it. I don’t understand.”

Try, try again: Palmer makes five Dems in state Senate special

It’s officially a handful. Stephen Michael Palmer of Plymouth, is the fifth Democrat to launch a bid for the state Senate seat formerly held by Viriato “Vinny” deMacedo, Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times. Palmer ran for the same seat in 2018 but lost in the Democratic primary. 

Cape Cod Times

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

One Vote Matters!

“One Vote Matters!” is the Brockton Public Library’s Kick-Off of a 10-month series of discussions, movies & activities for all ages, to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The Centennial highlights key moments in our history in the struggle for women’s rights, and how their efforts helped to pass the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

Brockton Public Library

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

10th Annual New England First Amendment Awards

Named after the late publisher of The Providence Journal, the Hamblett Award is given each year to an individual who has promoted, defended or advocated for the First Amendment throughout his or her career. NEFAC will honor A. G. Sulzberger at its tenth annual luncheon from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2020, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

New England First Amendment Coalition

Today’s Headlines


Lawsuit over Seaport railroad track heads to trial on Monday – Boston Globe

Kobe Bryant death leaves Boston fans reeling – Boston Herald


Framingham State University to open Chris Walsh center next month – MetroWest Daily News

Solar panel proposal in Hopkinton would impact large forest – MetroWest Daily News

Markey bill would ‘define or redefine’ cable operator franchise fees for community TV – Berkshire Eagle


Alaska pot shops to be among 1st in U.S. to allow consumption – NBC News

Trump should apologize for minimizing troops’ injuries, VFW says – Washington Post

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.