Happening Today

House session, State Police reforms, and more

Pension Reserve Investment Management (PRIM) Board meets, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, 84 State St., Suite 250, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

— Reps. Patricia Haddad, Alice Peisch and Jeffrey Roy and Sens. Jason Lewis and Anne Gobi sponsor a briefing on early college programs with Education Commissioner Jeff Riley, Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago and others attending, Room 350, 10:30 a.m.

House meets in a full formal session, with Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office instructing members to be prepared to consider a fiscal 2020 supplemental budget bill and legislation strengthening the local and regional public health system, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee holds public hearing on a bill filed this year by Gov. Baker to institute reforms at the State Police, Gardner Auditorium, 11:30 a.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

Pandemic Politics II: Pittsfield family quarantined, Warren and Romney slam Trump, hospitals prepare

Just some quick headlines from the coronavirus front: “C.D.C. Officials Warn of Coronavirus Outbreaks in the U.S.” (NYT). … From the Berkshire Eagle: “Pittsfield family under quarantine after trip to China.” … From South Coast Today: “SouthCoast hospitals prepare as CDC warns about coronavirus pandemic.” …   From the Washington Post: “Warren slams Trump’s coronavirus response, says U.S. needs ‘an adult in charge.’” … From the Hill: “Romney says Trump administration unprepared for coronavirus.” … From the Globe: “How are Massachusetts schools, universities dealing with coronavirus?” … From the Herald: “Beware of coronavirus gougers.” … From MassLive: “Assumption College suspends school-related travel to northern Italy.” … And also from the Herald: “Democratic presidential hopefuls slam Trump’s handling of coronavirus during South Carolina debate.” 

Now on to all other things politics and public policy (mostly). …

Targets: Bernie and Bloomie

Though she did take some mild shots at fellow progressive Bernie Sanders, U.S. Elizabeth Warren largely stuck to her tried-and-true strategy of going after billionaire Michael Bloomberg during last evening’s raucous presidential debate in South Carolina. And what about the other presidential candidates? They largely focused on frontrunner Bernie Sanders. The Globe’s Liz Goodwin and Jess Bidgood and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail have the general debate details.

So who won last night? The reviews are mixed. The Globe’s James Pindell gives Bernie a “B+” for fending off all the attacks – and gives Warren only a “C+.” But the Washington Post lists Warren as a winner and Bernie as a loser. Finally, from the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Elizabeth Warren needs to target Bernie Sanders, not Bloomberg, to stop campaign free fall.” 

Primary tidbits: Bernie rally on Boston Common, Globe endorses Warren, Raimondo stumps for Mike

A lot is happening on the presidential campaign trail here in Massachusetts, with the state’s primary now less than a week away. Here’s some of what’s unfolding: Bernie Sanders has announced he’ll be holding a rally this Saturday on Boston Common, in addition to a planned rally in Springfield on Friday, in the latest sign he intends/hopes to win on Elizabeth Warren’s home turf (CBS Boston). … In an editorial, the Boston Globe is endorsing Warren, saying she “stands out as a leader with the qualifications, the track record, and the tenacity to defend the principles of democracy.” Fyi: The Globe is also endorsing Bill Weld in the GOP primary.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is stumping for Michael Bloomberg in Massachusetts, reports Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth. … And from the Globe’s Deanna Pan and James Pindell: “Michael Bloomberg: From Medford kid to potential presidential contender.”

Weld: ‘I’d rather have a centrist Democrat than President Trump’

We have a hunch this won’t help him much in upcoming GOP primaries outside the Northeast, to wit: former Gov. Bill Weld, now running for president as (nominally) a Republican, is saying he’d “rather have a centrist Democrat than President Trump” in the White House. 

Weld also tells the Enterprise’s Marc Larocque that: A.) He understands why Charlie Baker isn’t endorsing him and B.) Howie Carr et gang are wrong to say he’s not a true fiscal conservative.


So when do we get a look at the ‘gamechanger’ transportation bill?

There seems to be uncertainty about when the House will unveil its much-anticipated transportation bill. Could it be today (Globe)? Later this week or later this spring (SHNS)? Whenever it’s unveiled, Rep. Sarah Peake, a Provincetown Democrat and division chair in Speaker’s Robert DeLeo’s leadership team, is saying the bill could be a “generational gamechanger” for transportation across the state, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall)

All we know is that reporters, when a bill is finally released, will be looking for two key words in the legislation: “gas” and “tax.” The Herald’s Howie Carr today is practicing up on his future response by once again beating up on Gov. Charlie Baker.

Steve Ross, concentration camp survivor and New England Holocaust Memorial founder, RIP

As Mayor Marty Walsh put it, Boston “lost a giant” with the death of Steve Ross, who survived the World War II death camps and later helped found the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. The Globe’s Bryan Marquard has more on the passing of Ross, while the Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald says Ross “spoke for millions who had been silenced forever.”

‘Miracle on Ice’ team needed a miracle to avoid this controversy

In today’s highly charged partisan atmosphere, the “Miracle on Ice” members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team required a mini-miracle to avoid controversy after some of them wore red ‘Keep America Great’ hats at a Trump campaign rally last week. That mini-miracle never materialized – and Winthrop’s Mike Eruzione now regrets ever donning the cap.

Washington Post

Medicare for One: Dem health-care plans would devastate local hospitals … with the exception of one lonely network

Martha Bebinger at WBUR has a good piece on how the various health-care plans supported by Dem presidential candidates – “Medicare for All” and “Medicare for All Who Want It” – would actually lead to deep revenue cuts for the vast majority of hospitals in Massachusetts. Except for one lonely health-care network in Cambridge.


Baker administration confirms MCI-Framingham will close

The worst kept secret is now out in the open. Public Safety Secretary Thomas Turco has confirmed the Baker administration plans to shutter the state’s women’s prison at MCI-Framingham, Sarah Betancourt reports at CommonWealth Magazine. Turco told a House committee the state plans to spend $35 million to set up a new women’s prison in Norfolk, about half what it would cost to rehab the Framingham facility.


It’s war: Cambridge may give out free trash barrels in titanic battle against rats

Drastic times call for drastic measures. Cambridge officials are now considering issuing new trash barrels to all residents, free of charge, as part of an all-out blitz against a years-long rat infestation, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. Cambridge has considered the move in the past –only to balk at the costs. But now … now it’s real war.

Cambridge Day

Early returns: Steady stream of voters already casting primary ballots

It’s not exactly mayhem but polling places across the state are reporting a steady stream of voters taking advantage of the state’s first-ever early voting in presidential primaries. Joe DiFazio at the Patriot Ledger reports town and city clerks are working hard to get the early voting word out and has details on Whitman’s ‘selfie booth’ for early voters. 

Mina Corpuz at the Enterprise and Alison Bosma at the MetroWest Daily have more on early voting trends, with the latter having town-by-town early vote counts. 

Patriot Ledger

Bill would make it easier for the homeless to get official Mass ID

Sen. Harriette Chandler is sponsoring the legislation. From the AP at CBS Boston: “A bill scheduled for debate by the Massachusetts Senate this week would make it easier for homeless families and young people to obtain state identification cards. The bill would require the registrar of motor vehicles to come up with what supporters call a burden-free process for homeless individuals to obtain the IDs.”

CBS Boston

Rollins: Police shot man with ‘very realistic looking’ fake gun

This is a surprise twist (or a surprise to many of us). From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The valet shot outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital earlier this month after a suspected gunman threatened medical staff was struck by a stray bullet fired by a Boston police officer, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. The suspect, who was later fatally shot in Brookline by police,  had a ‘replica firearm … very realistic looking, Rollins said at a press conference Tuesday.”

The Globe’s Adrian Walker is praising Rollins for her transparency. 

Boston Herald

Is it something in the water? GE’s global headcount is down 30 percent since it moved to Boston

This is not how it was supposed to go when GE moved to Boston a few years back. The BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports that General Electric has shed more than a 100,000 global jobs – 78,000 of them last year – since the firm decamped from Connecticut for Boston. Not that Boston is the cause of its woes. The company was far down the financial-woes road even before it got here.


Lawmakers to feds: Can you tell us a little more about your plan to bury radioactive Manhattan Project waste?

The Globe’s Danny McDonald and David Abel report that U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and, separately, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy are asking federal officials to tell them more about that plan to use dredged Boston Harbor sediment to bury thousands of undersea barrels containing highly toxic waste in an ocean area known as “The Foul Area.”

Boston Globe

City on a Hill charter school network placed on probation

From Carrie Young at WBUR: “The City on a Hill Charter School network is about to undergo yet another round of changes. On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously voted to place the organization’s charter on probation. The board also approved a request to consolidate the charters of the City on a Hill Circuit Street and Dudley Square locations.”


House counsel among applicants for top OCPF job

A number of people have applied to fill a relatively obscure job that’s nevertheless generated some political controversy of late, i.e. the top post at the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Among the applicants are House chief legal counsel James Kennedy, who’s a former top aide to Speaker Robert DeLeo. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more on Kennedy and the other applicants.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Political hate crime’ alleged by Trump supporter in Provincetown

A candidate for the Republican State Committee and staunch Trump supporter says he was the target of a ‘political hate crime’ when someone pulled signs off his decked-out military vehicle near the polls in Provincetown. Then things really escalated. Adam Lange says he attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of the alleged perpetrator, an action that didn’t exactly impress the local police chief, as Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

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

U.N. Perspective Series: Gender Equality (International Women’s Day)

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Impact Hub Boston and United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

United Nations Association Of Greater Boston

Mikhail Minakov: Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: A Comparative Analysis of the Six Eastern Neighborhood Nations

Please join the Fletcher Eurasia Club for a lunch conversation with Mikhail Minakov about the Eastern Partnership initiative and the political environment of Eastern European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fletcher Eurasia Club

Mikhail Minakov: Political Development of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Mikhail Minakov about revolutionary cycles of independent Ukraine and post-Euromaidan political development of the country.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

Authors@MIT | Benjamin J. Pauli presents Flint Fights Back

MIT Press author Benjamin J. Pauli discusses his new book Flint Fights Back.

The MIT Press Bookstore

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


Lynn eyes affordable housing plan – Lynn Item

Walsh may be called to testify in Arroyo lawsuit – Boston Globe


No arrests coming in discovery of 900 marijuana plants in Worcester home; police say difficult to tie anyone to ‘sophisticated operation’ – MassLive

Red Sox legend Big Papi Ortiz is having an estate sale at his Weston home – MetroWest Daily News

Raimondo makes the pitch for Bloomberg – CommonWealth Magazine


Biden finally shows up on the debate stage–just in time – Politico

Supreme Court Rules Border Patrol Agents Who Shoot Foreign Nationals Can’t Be Sued – NPR

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