Happening Today

Baker health-care bill, UMass-Boston leader search, and more

Election Modernization Coalition holds a lobby day in support of allowing voters to register or update their registration on Election Day, Room 428, 10 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker testifies before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing in favor of his health-care bill that calls for insurers and providers to boost their spending on primary care behavioral health, addiction services and geriatrics, Rooms A-1 and A-2, 11 a.m.

Joint Committee on Elder Affairs review two bills, including one that would boost funding for nursing homes, Room B-1, 1 p.m.

Cannabis Policy Committee holds a public hearing on two late-filed bills that seek to ban marijuana billboards and address veteran eligibility for medical marijuana, Room 437, 1 p.m.

University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor Search Committee meets and could select finalists for the post from among the 11 candidates who have been interviewed, UMass Club, 1 Beacon St., Boston, 3 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

Warren and Markey: We want Bolton!

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are making it clear: They want former National Security Advisor John Bolton to be called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, after Bolton’s explosive assertion in a forthcoming book that there was indeed a Ukrainian arms-for-investigation quid pro quo, etc. etc. Anthony Brooks at WBUR has the Warren angle, while Benjamin Kail at MassLive has the Markey angle. And from Nik DeCosta-Klipa at Boston.com: “Ed Markey has never been a John Bolton fan, but he thinks he could be a ‘difference maker.”

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has a witness-compromise suggestion: “Why not a Biden for a Bolton?”

The latest poll confirms: Bernie is the one to beat in NH

From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Bernie Sanders has moved to the lead in New Hampshire in a poll that shows a dramatic shake-up in the race, a new Franklin Pierce, Boston Herald, NBC 10 poll shows. Sanders has taken the lead in the poll of “likely” New Hampshire voters with 29% followed by Joe Biden at 22% and Elizabeth Warren with 16% and Pete Buttigieg with 10%.” And from the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “Warren’s unfavorable ratings rise among women.”

There’s one thing not on NH voters’ minds these days: Impeachment. It’s virtually a non-issue, reports MassINC’s Steve Koczela and Maeve Duggan at WBUR.

Boston Herald

The Warren Machine: Can it save her in Iowa?

The polls look bad for Elizabeth Warren in Iowa too. But the Massachusetts senator does have one thing going for her in the Hawkeye State: A massive and elaborate ground operation. The Washington Post has the details. Btw: Warren may have another thing going for her, if voters can ever make up their minds. From the NYT: “In Iowa, the ‘Not Sanders’ Democrats Find Voters Torn.”

Washington Post

Lowell Sun and Sentinel & Enterprise endorse … Andrew Yang?

Elizabeth Warren must be devastated. Or maybe not. Anyway, the Lowell Sun and the Sentinel & Enterprise, both owned by MediaNews Group, have jointly endorsed the long-shot of all long-shots in the Democratic primary for president: Andrew Yang, skipping over home-state favorite Warren. Btw: What’s left of Newsweek has more on the newspapers’ decision.

Speaking of endorsements (of the more conventional type), from WCVB: “Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton endorses Joe Biden for president.”

In Cambridge, a slice of the Iowa caucuses

There’s no cornfields in sight, but for a few hours next Monday, Harvard Square will be part of the Iowa. Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH reports a satellite caucus location in the square will be one of 92 nationwide that are part of a first-time effort aimed at allowing displaced Iowans–mostly college students in this case–to be part of the caucus process. 


MBTA’s bus privatization idea met by ‘fierce’ union opposition

You knew it was coming, i.e. the union pushback. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and Chris Lisinski at SHNS (pay wall) report on the “fierce” opposition by MBTA unions and their legislative supporters to any attempt by the T to privatize expanded bus-transit operations.

Meanwhile, T plans to add more trips on the Fairmount Line •

From Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR: “More commuter rail service is coming to the MBTA’s Fairmount Line, after the agency’s Fiscal Management and Control Board on Monday approved a new pilot program. Under the pilot, the transit agency will add eight additional weekday trips this spring to bring additional early morning and late night service to parts of Boston that have been underserved by rail.”

While the T adds trips on the Fairmount line, it’s planning longer-than-expected closures of the Green Line’s Lechmere and Science Park stations so the agency can finished its planned Green Line extension project, SHNS’s Chris Lisisnki reports (pay wall).


‘Inside the House’s great transportation debate’

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports on the “relatively unorthodox process” now underway in the Massachusetts House to reach a consensus on how to raise funds for transportation improvements: Rather than the chamber’s typical top-down approach towards legislation, there’s actual bottom-up consultation going on. That’s our description, not Stout’s, btw. 

Boston Globe

Holyoke Rep. Aaron Vega won’t seek re-election

Another legislative seat is up for grabs. Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight’s Matt Szafranski and MassLive’s Dennis Hohenberger report that Holyoke state Rep. Aaron Vega won’t be running for re-election in November, after serving eight years in the House.

UMass Boston interim chancellor withdraws from race for permanent post

From the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius: “A day before a search committee was expected to name finalists for the position of UMass Boston chancellor, the campus’s interim leader said she is withdrawing her name from the pool of candidates.” Katherine Newmany says a “number of opportunities” have arisen that prompted her decision. Btw: The university’s search committee meet later today; see our Happening Today calendar item above.


Boston Foundation’s Paul Grogan to step down after 19 years at helm

Boston Foundation chief Paul Grogan, one of the most influential charitable-foundation leaders in New England, announced yesterday that he’s stepping down after 19 years heading the foundation, known for both its charitable giving and think-tank-like studies. He’ll be leaving after a new chief is found. The Globe’s Zoe Greenberg has more.

Meanwhile, Walsh’s chief of staff leaving City Hall for Longwood post

Another noteworthy departure. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The chief of staff to Boston’s mayor is leaving City Hall to take a private-sector job in which he will oversee much of the planning and development in the city’s bustling Longwood medical area.” The BBJ has more on David Sweeney’s departure from City Hall.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

State eyes plan to improve diversity among teachers

The Globe’s James Vaznis reports that education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, trying to address concerns about racial disparities in teaching-license exam outcomes, is seeking to make it easier for some would-be teachers to get their licenses via a process that puts more emphasis on their work experience, not their exam scores.

Boston Globe

Bon voyage: AG says trooper was on Bermuda cruise while claiming he was working

Maybe it was part of an uncover investigation? From the Herald’s Andrew Martinez: “A now-retired state police lieutenant allegedly claimed to be working while he was actually on a cruise in Bermuda, according to court documents. David Andrade, 47, of Westport, pleaded not guilty Friday in Bristol Superior Court on charges including larceny over $1,200 and a public employee standards of conduct violation.”

Boston Herald

Hynes sale: Not a slam dunk

The Globe’s Jon Chesto and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report that the Baker administration’s proposed sale of the Hynes Convention Center to pay for the expansion of the South Boston Convention Center isn’t exactly going as planned, as it meets more than a little skepticism on Beacon Hill.

Chipotle hit with $1.3M penalty for alleged violation of state’s child-labor law

From Paul Connearney at WBUR: “Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday agreed to pay $1.37 million in restitution and penalties for violating child labor laws in Massachusetts, in the largest child labor investigation in the history of the state attorney general’s office. The investigation was launched in 2016, after the office received a complaint from (the) parent of a young employee alleging that the minor had worked past midnight at a Chipotle in Beverly, which is against Massachusetts law.”


Baker and DeLeo aren’t budging on NDAs, Gretchen Carlson or no Gretchen Carlson

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson yesterday threw her #MeToo-era clout and celebrityhood behind a Beacon Hill push to ban non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment or assault cases, as Sarah Betancourt reports at CommonWealth magazine. But the Herald’s Mary Markos reports that Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Robert DeLeo aren’t budging from their support of NDAs, saying some victims prefer the agreements when settling cases.

Going up: Baker budget banks on more elevator inspectors

Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed budget includes more funding for the Office of Public Safety and Inspections aimed at boosting its efforts to catch up on a significant backlog of elevator inspections, Greg Ryan reports in the Boston Business Journal.


Mark your calendars: Early voting days set for presidential primaries

No excuses. Secretary of State William Galvin has authorized five days of early voting ahead of the March presidential primaries for the first time, the AP’s Steve LeBlanc reports at the Gloucester Times. With three candidates in the two major parties with Massachusetts ties on the ballots, Galvin says he is anticipating “healthy turnout” and says early voting should make for a smooth primary day on Super Tuesday, March 3.

Gloucester Times

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


Boston councilor seeks more liquor licenses – Boston Herald

Proposed Hynes sales runs into political difficulty at State House – Boston Globe


Report: Natick kept in the dark on PCB contamination – MetroWest Daily News

Developers present plan for Tyngsboro County Club – Lowell Sun

Plan to move Worcester welfare office gets pushback – Telegram & Gazette


Bloomberg is taunting Trump and Trump is taking the bait – New York Times

Democratic unity splinters in key swing state as party prepares to take on Trump – Washington Post

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