Happening Today

Governor’s Council, Homeless Census, and more

State Lottery Commission meets, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, Crane Room, 12th floor, McCormack Building, 10:30 a.m.

— Seniors from across Massachusetts will hold a lobby day in support of the Medicare Savings Program eligibility expansion bills, Room 428, 11 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chairs a weekly meeting of the Governor’s Council, and then later chairs a meeting of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault, the former in Room 360, 12 p.m., the latter in Room 157, 12:30 p.m.

— Members of the Citizens Commission established under a 2018 statewide ballot question host a press conference to discuss their first report to state officials, hallway outside House chamber, 1:30 p.m

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh leads the city’s 2020 homeless census, as volunteers gather information about all homeless people in Boston, starting with registration, 3rd floor of City Hall, 10 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

UCLA dean top choice to head UMass-Boston

It looks like UMass-Boston has finally found a new leader. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “A search committee named Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, a dean at the University of California Los Angeles, as its lone finalist Tuesday for the University of Massachusetts Boston chancellorship after months of searching and interviews with 11 potential candidates.”

WBUR’s Max Larkin has more on the unanimous approval of Suarez-Orozco as the lone finalist for the job.

Coronavirus updates: CDC to screen Logan passengers; colleges suspend study abroad in China; schools cancel trips

Things are starting to get serious in these parts. From a report at WCVB: “Boston Logan International Airport is among the ports of entry where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon start screening passengers for coronavirus, ABC News reported Tuesday.” The Herald’s Alexi Cohan has more on the precautionary screenings.

Meanwhile, from Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “UMass Amherst suspends study abroad program in China amid coronavirus outbreak; other Mass. universities monitoring developments.” Jacquelyn Vogel at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that officials at Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges say students planning to travel to China through third-party programs will also be kept home.  Stephen Peterson reports at the Sun Chronicle that public schools in the town of Norton have pulled the plug on their annual two-week Chinese exchange student program. 

Oh, this is encouraging, from Felice Freyer at the Globe: “Mass. won’t say whether the state has seen suspected coronavirus cases.”

The China Syndrome: Harvard scientist caught up in economic espionage case

Are there more local arrests to come? You have to wonder after this blockbuster development. From the Herald’s Andrew Martinez: “A Harvard department chair is in federal custody, accused of lying about his alleged ties to Chinese researchers who paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to prosecutors who also announced the indictment of two Chinese nationals in a separate Boston case.”

The Globe’s Tonya Alanez and Travis Andersen have more on the charges against Charles Lieber, in what’s described as the “latest case to surface in the US government’s crackdown on suspected espionage and scientific theft.”

Warren’s Plan B: Retreat to Michigan!

They’re not giving up in the early primary states. But the Globe’s Jess Bidgood has the latest on the fallback plans of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign if she stumbles in Iowa and New Hampshire. Warren’s second line of defense: Michigan and other later primary states where Warren has huge campaign operations.

Meanwhile, Herald political columnist Peter Lucus writes that Deval Patrick has his own long-game presidential plan: Hanging on till Obama comes to his rescue.

Boston Globe

Dershowitz vs. the entire Harvard Law universe

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz is now brawling with U.S. Senator and former Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, who also happens to be running for president, over Dershowitz’s interpretation of the constitution as it applies to President Trump’s impeachment trial, as the Globe’s  Christina Prignano reports.

Meanwhile, Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge and faculty member at Harvard Law, is unloading on Dershowitz at WBUR, saying it’s now “too little too late” for Dershowitz to salvage his reputation. Gertner’s pieces comes a few days after a former Harvard Law student distanced himself from the Dersch at the NYT. 

Barney’s back – to the annoyance of Bernie’s backers

They knew exactly what they were doing when they made this move. From the Herald Joe Battenfeld: “One of Hillary Clinton’s top attack dogs — former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank — has surfaced as a new flashpoint in the battle between Bernie Sanders and establishment Democrats, winning a powerful DNC post at this summer’s nominating convention.” 

Rollins: 2. Judges: 0. Next up?

The headline above shamelessly steals from Adrian Walker’s column in the Globe this morning on Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ latest victory over a lower-court judge, i.e. the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision yesterday dismissing the conviction of a Somali immigrant who was facing deportation, as the Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports.

Meanwhile, high court rejects DOC’s bureaucratic excuses for denying medical parole

Speaking of the state’s highest court, from CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “The Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling Tuesday that will make it easier for Massachusetts prisoners to request medical parole, which is sometimes called compassionate release.” MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that the high court took direct aim at DOC’s frequent denial of releases due to alleged “incomplete” applications filed by terminally ill inmates.


Baker’s health-care bill: Lawmakers like it? They really like it?

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that lawmakers yesterday had a lot of complimentary things to say about Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed health-care reform bill now pending on Beacon Hill. It doesn’t necessarily mean the legislation will pass, but its prospects do look “pretty good,” as the governor said yesterday.

Report: Rep. Jose Tosado won’t seek re-election

And yet another state legislator from western Massachusetts is calling it quits. From Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight: ”This week State Representative Jose Tosado is expected to announce he will not seek reelection. According to a draft press release WMP&I has reviewed, the three-term rep and former city councilor will conclude his 20-year career in Springfield politics this year.”

Meanwhile, hours after state Rep. Aaron Vega earlier this week said he would not seek re-election, his legislative aide, Patricia Duffy, said she would make a bid for his seat, reports Ron Chimelis at MassLive.


Pot shops warned: Beware of ‘smurfs’ and ‘loopers’

We’re so out of touch with modern-day lingo. From Marie Szaniszlo at the Herald: “Pot regulators are vowing to crack down on ‘loopers’ and ‘smurfs’ — slang for when a customer makes multiple purchases of weed products in one day at one store or many. The state Cannabis Control Commission and state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said they are looking to create a task force to find ways to blunt the illegal activity.”

Basically, many loopers/smurfs are effectively smugglers, treating legal retail pot shops as wholesalers for their own illegal retail activities in other states.

Boston Herald

Maylor stepping down as comptroller to take Merrimack College post

Considering he just finished brawling with state legislators over the state supplemental budget, this is interesting. From SHNS’s Colin A. Young: “Less than a year after he started in the job, Comptroller Andrew Maylor announced Tuesday that he is resigning next month to become vice president and chief business officer at Merrimack College.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Bill targets discrimination based on natural hairstyles

Boston City Council President Kim Janey told a legislative hearing yesterday that it’s time to crack down on those who discriminate against people, usually minorities, who have hairstyles they don’t like and/or don’t understand. Janey and others are supporting legislation that would would prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles, similar to laws now on the books in other states, reports SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Sweethearts candies are back for Valentine’s Day

They’re back in limited supply and types, but the important thing is they’re back in time for Valentine’s Day after a one-year absence: Sweethearts candies, once the pride and joy of the former New England Confectionery Company (NECCO). Heather Adams at MassLive has the heartwarming story.


Katie Theoharides’ mission impossible: Secure a TCI deal

The Globe’s Shirley Leung takes a look at what looks like a mission-impossible assignment for state Environmental Secretary Katie Theoharides: Securing a regional Transportation and Climate Initiative agreement (with accompanying unpopular gas-fee hikes) on behalf of her boss, Gov. Charlie Baker. Leung says “no one should underestimate Theoharides and Baker’s resolve” to get a deal done.

Boston Globe

Michael and Kitty Dukakis endorse Markey for Senate

MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that former Gov. Mike Dukakis and his wife Kitty, in a video released yesterday, have endorsed U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in his Dem primary battle against challenger U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, citing Markey’s early support for the Green New Deal, among other things. Meanwhile, Kail also reports at MassLive: “Congressman Joe Kennedy holding first Spanish-only town halls in Massachusetts senate history.”


Advocates: Registration reform could boost voter turnout by 100,000

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Supporters of a bill enabling people to register to vote as they cast their ballots are mounting another push for the long-sought reform as a key legislative deadline approaches and another election season unfolds in Massachusetts.” Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times has more on the reform push that advocates say could lead to a huge surge in voter turnout on election days.

Candidate who alleged forgery by rival chastised for … forgery

He may have been last with voters, but he’s tops when it comes to irony. Collin Dias, who finished dead last out of 18 candidates seeking seats on the Fall River City Council last year and who claimed a competitor faked signatures to get on the ballot, has himself been chastised for forging a signature on his own paperwork. Jo C. Goode of the Herald News unpacks the Office of Campaign and Political Finance’s decision. 

Herald News

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


First Boston pot shop eyes March opening – Boston Herald

Changes may be coming to PILOT – Boston Globe


Maylor resigns as state comptroller to take college job – Salem News

Amazon Robotics envisions shuttle to MBTA for Westboro employees – Telegram & Gazette

New Bedford court employees sue for race, sex discrimination – Standard-Times


U.S. deficit to eclipse $1 trillion in 2020, CBO says, as fiscal imbalance continues to widen – Washington Post

Trump allies target African American voters with new tactic: Cash giveaways – Politico

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