Happening Today

Pinnacle Awards, Diane Patrick honored, and more

— Women’s Network and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce present Pinnacle Awards 2020, an event that highlights achievements from women in business. Among those receiving awards include Attorney General Maura Healey, Phyllis Yale of Bain & Company, Ashley McCown of Solomon McCown & Company and others, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Grand Ballroom, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka attends a legislative roundtable hosted by MetroWest Center for Independent Living and Easter Seals Massachusetts, MetroWest Center for Independent Living, 280 Irving St., Framingham, 11 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan and Sen. Michael Rodrigues announce Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grants to police and fire departments, Fall River Government Center, 1 Government Center, Fall River, 2:30 p.m.

Nursing Home Facility Task Force meets to ‘evaluate ways to ensure the financial stability of skilled nursing facilities,’ One Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston, 2:30 p.m.

— Boston Arts Academy and the Boston Arts Academy Foundation will honor Former Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick with the BAA Foundation Champion Award, Roxbury Community College Commons, 1234 Columbus Ave., Roxbury, 5:30 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

Senate passes trio of climate bills

It was expected, but it’s still big news: The Senate last evening passed a trio of climate bills that address carbon pricing and emission reductions, electric vehicles and appliance efficiency standards, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. Only two Republicans, Sens. Ryan Fattman and Dean Tran, opposed the three bills, as the legislature moves quickly to pass ambitious climate-change legislation this session.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Baker: Ban access to birth, death and marriage records in most cases

File under: ‘Drastic change’ indeed. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Governor Charlie Baker is seeking to dramatically restrict who has access to Massachusetts birth records, death certificates, and marriage notices under a proposal that, if adopted, would exempt many of the documents from public view for a virtual lifetime.”

Why the dramatic change? According to the governor’s office, the change would “better shield potentially sensitive personal information and mirror ‘national best practices,’” as Stout writes. So, just like that, full access and transparency over past centuries is no longer considered “best practices”?

Boston Globe

Those sealed criminal records? They’re not so sealed

Speaking of sealing records, from Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “Tens of thousands of people have sealed criminal records under a 2-year-old state law that allows them to wipe clean some prior arrests and convictions, but the records are still turning up in federal background checks widely used by schools, banks, hospitals and casinos.”

Newburyport Daily News

Coronavirus updates: U.S. travel ban, anti-Chinese racism, BSO cancels Asian tour

Some more headlines related to the coronavirus scare. From the NYT: “U.S. Issues ‘Red (Travel) Alert’ After Week of Skyrocketing Infections.” From the Washington Post: ‘World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a ‘public health emergency.’

Locally, it’s getting ugly out there. From the Globe’s Deanna Pan: “Fears of coronavirus fuel anti-Chinese racism.” And from CBS Boston: “BSO cancels Asian tour over coronavirus concern.”

As Harvard prof is released on bond, other scientists express concern about crackdown on China

Speaking of China, the AP at MassLive reports that Harvard University professor Charles Lieber, charged with lying about his role in a Chinese “talent recruitment program,” was released from jail yesterday after being ordered to post a $1 million cash bond.

The Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman and Deirdre Fernandes report that, while not exactly rallying to Lieber’s cause, many scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the Trump administration’s crackdown on suspected economic espionage on campuses and at research institutions. But former Massachusetts secretary of education Paul Reville tells WGBH that Harvard itself may well come down hard on Lieber, who Reville says clearly “crossed the boundaries here.”

‘If you happen to be in Fujian, China and see this woman, let the FBI know’

In other China-espionage news, the FBI has issued a ‘Wanted’ poster for Yanqing Ye, 29, a lieutenant in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, who is charged with conducting espionage while on a visa to study at Boston University (MassLive). Except she’s now in China, thus explaining Universal Hub’s headline above.

A Bostonian’s guide to presidential endorsements

Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell has a list of all the local endorsements of presidential candidates by major pols in Massachusetts. And then there are the endorsement slackers: “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has been pulling the political version of standing in the middle of the cafeteria with his lunch tray while Biden and Warren wave at him from opposite sides of the room.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot writes that conservative Republicans are “cheering the ongoing love-fest between self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ and the hard-left congressional quartet known as the squad, saying the extremist pairing will alienate voters and help re-elect President Trump.”

Boston Magazine

The Great Bottom of the Ballot Battle: Progressives and conservatives mobilize

Speaking of upcoming primary elections, here’s something to monitor on March 3, besides the presidential primary results in Massachusetts: How those bottom-of-the-ballot city and state committee elections are going. Kenneal Patterson at the Bay State Banner reports on the progressive push for takeovers of Boston ward committees. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr this morning is openly urging conservatives to defeat Gov. Charlie Baker’s “hacks” in Republican state committee elections on March 3.

Absentee ballots now available for March 3 primary

One last primary-related item, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Secretary of State William Galvin announced Thursday that absentee ballots are now available in every city and town for the March 3 presidential primary. Voters can complete the ballots in person at their local election offices or can submit an application to have an absentee ballot mailed to them.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Is it black or is it Black?

Media critic Dan Kennedy reports that Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory has emailed newsroom staff outlining new stylebook changes at the paper regarding how to now refer to “black” people as “Black” people (uppercased) and also: “Unless otherwise requested by a person we’re writing about, we’ll use Black, which is considered to be more inclusive, rather than African-American.”

Kennedy calls the stylebook change “a good, progressive move.”

Dan Kennedy

SJC: Blind people can serve on juries

The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that blind people, in most cases, can indeed serve on juries hearing criminal cases, reports Adam Gaffin at Universal Hub and Shira Schoenberg att CommonWealth magazine. Frankly, we were a little surprised that this issue hadn’t been resolved earlier. But it’s been resolved, sort of, and so …

Coming soon to Massachusetts: ‘The Mobility Innovation Hub’

The Globe’s Jon Chesto takes a look at the public and private effort underway to create a new “mobility innovation hub” to promote the state’s diverse transportation industry (and we’re not just talking cars) and promising transit-related startups (and perhaps some that may tackle traffic congestion problems). The effort got a major boost last week when Gov. Charlie Baker included $250,000 in his proposed budget for the new center.

Amazon is now the Boston Marathon’s proud ‘official retailer’

Do Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren know about this? The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius reports that e-commerce retailer Amazon – which, it’s safe to say, isn’t on Sanders and Warren’s favorites-companies list, or at least not on Sanders’ list –will become one of the top sponsors of this year’s Boston Marathon.


Report: Massachusetts is failing its brightest students

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas writes that a new report commissioned by the state Department of Elementary and Education finds that Massachusetts is not doing enough to help high-achieving “gifted” students, particularly those from lower-income areas. File under: ‘Not smart.’


Health Connector sign-ups soar to new heights

The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal MCluskey reports that Massachusetts Health Connector enrollment for 2020 has hit 312,598, a record high that includes 57,044 new people signing up on the exchange. The explanations for the surge: Greater outreach efforts by Connector officials and an increase in the number of people searching for more affordable coverage. Just fyi: We’re hearing a lot more people, fed up with high co-pay and premium prices, talking favorably about the Connector, so there indeed appears to be a buzz out there.

Boston Globe

Princeton gets its broadband

It’s now 17 down, 36 to go when it comes to the state’s effort to get high-speed Internet service into more rural communities across Massachusetts. Michael Bonner at MassLive reports that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday was among those celebrating new broadband service in Princetown, population 3,454 people.


MBTA’s pitch for Quincy bus depot meets with skepticism

The Patriot Ledger’s Joe DiFazio reports that Quincy residents aren’t exactly embracing with open arms an MBTA plan to turn a former Lowe’s home improvement store into a bus depot.

Patriot Ledger

Meanwhile, T’s solar panels go unplugged

More than a year after the MBTA installed solar panels in two Hingham commuter lots, they’re still not producing electricity, Amy McKeever at the Patriot Ledger reports. The municipal utility awaiting the energy says the delay appears to trace to a dispute over liability between the T and a private financing company. 

Patriot Ledger

‘Never elected, but a City Hall star’

The Globe’s Thomas Farragher has a nice column this morning on the renaming of the Dock Square Garage after Jimmy Donnelly, the longtime and “wildly popular” garage attendant who is now gravely ill. Mayor Marty Walsh was among the “human parade’ of friends who have recently visited Donnelly at MGH to effectively say farewell and thank you.

Sunday public affairs TV: Robert DeLeo, Jesse Mermell and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with host Jon Keller about tax hikes, sluggish gaming revenues, Deval Patrick’s presidential candidacy and more.

This Week in Business, NECN 10:30 a.m. Kelly Fredrickson, MullenLowe’s president of Boston and New York, discusses this year’s Super Bowl ad trends; and Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe takes a look at the coronavirus, the future of the Hynes Convention Center and leadership changes/searches in Boston.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Fourth District Congressional candidate Jesse Mermell, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable discussion with political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: After School Programs.

Paul Krugman at Back Bay Events Center

Paul Krugman presents Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future in conversation with Paul Solmon.

Harvard Book Store

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

Campaigns 101: Resources for Candidates and Campaign Managers

Whether you’re a first time candidate or a seasoned candidate, you’ll benefit from this workshop about how to run for office in Dedham.

Women in Democracy Dedham

Thomas Pickering: U.S.-Russia Relations: What Can We Do About It?

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Ambassador Thomas Pickering about the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. The event will be followed by a reception in the Hall of Flags.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

Regional Economic Update from the Federal Reserve

What are the current trends in the New England economy and what can we expect in the future? Come hear Osborne Jackson, PhD., Senior Economist, New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston discuss the latest in employment figures, what type of jobs are growing, where the highest wages are, and how the economy is faring since the last recession.

North Shore Technology Council

Our Shared Work: Lifting up Democracy from Grassroots to Grass Tops

During challenging times in the socio-economic and political landscape, how does and can the university work with communities to engage individuals in efforts to lift-up democracy through grassroots organizing, public policy and institutional reforms, and civic engagement?

UMass Boston Office of Community Partnerships

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Being a Republican on College Campuses

Come and hear Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute who will present 2019 Math and English Common Core disappointing results and explain why, as well as Kaila Webb from Wellesley College present her non-profit which aims to bring diversity of thought on college campuses.

Wellesley Republican Town Committee

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Getting to the Point with Richard Blanco

Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will visit the Institute to discuss the themes in his poetry collection, How to Love a Country.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series Presents: An Evening with Andrea Campbell

Please join us on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to hear from City Councilor Andrea Campbell.

ADL New England

Today’s Headlines


Boston zoning board nominees donated to Walsh – Boston Herald

Nahant once again faces off against Northeastern – Lynn Item


Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood seeks apology from City Council President Justin Hurst – MassLive

Advocates: Child care needs not being met on Cape – Cape Cod Times

Berkshire Innovation Center grand opening set for Feb. 28 – Berkshire Eagle


Trump and Republicans join forces to attack Biden ahead of Iowa – Washington Post

Wilbur Ross says coronavirus could bring jobs back to the U.S. from China – 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.