Happening Today

Census hearing, Markey presser, Healey on the air

Note: Some events previously scheduled for today have been postponed, cancelled or switched to live streaming as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The below events were set to proceed as of this morning.

House Committee on Redistricting holds an oversight hearing regarding the U.S. Census as the state gears up to participate in the 2020 decennial population count, Room A-1 and A-2, 11 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joins Dr. George Daley of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Peter Slavin of Massachusetts General Hospital, Donna Kelly-Williams of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and Steve Walsh of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association for a press conference to discuss the coronavirus health emergency, Gordon Hall of Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, 11:15 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on Radio Boston,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 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

What Massachusetts isn’t doing: Testing, testing, testing

A combination of bureaucratic protocols and shortage of resources has led to a lack of testing that’s critical to containing the coronavirus in Massachusetts and across the nation – and the local media is all over the issue this morning with generally excellent pieces highlighting the acute problem. The Boston Globe and WBUR and CommonWealth and SHNS all have stories on the testing fiasco that officials say is endangering the public.

As MGH’s Dr. Monique Aurora Tello is quoted as saying: “In the early stages of an outbreak, this is how to get it under control. You test, test, test, test.” And there’s simply not enough testing going on. The problem is a national one, as the NYT reports, though it uses what’s happening in Boston as example of what’s happening across the country.

Btw, from Universal Hub: “Did the woman in ‘strict isolation’ at the hospital with a bad respiratory infection have coronavirus? Who knows – the hospital didn’t have enough test kits to find out.”

Btw II, from SHNS (pay wall): “Baker Calls On Feds To Let State Expand Coronavirus Testing.” Here’s our question: Maybe the governor can simply order testing at local hospitals, federal protocols be damned?

Other coronavirus updates: Marathon postponement, lawmakers approve emergency funds, jury-trials temporarily halted, health coverage for uninsured

So much is happening on the coronavirus front, we’re once again relying mostly on headlines and quickie  summaries. … From WCVB: “Organizers of the 2020 Boston Marathon.” The Globe is being a little more cautious, saying no final decision has been reached – but it does look like they may postpone the race until the fall. … From the Globe: “Baker approves $15 million coronavirus package.” … From Universal Hub: “All jury trials in Massachusetts federal courts for next six weeks postponed.” … From SHNS (pay wall): “DeLeo Orders Reps to Limit Staff in State House.” … From the Globe: “State officials offering health coverage to uninsured people” … From Boston.com: “CDC head pledges to cover uninsured’s coronavirus costs, after pressure from Ayanna Pressley and Joe Kennedy.”

From the BBJ: “Boston hotel to close after outbreak at Biogen meeting.” … From SHNS (pay wall): “Rollins: Virus-Related Discrimination Won’t Be Tolerated.” … From the Globe: “Boston Housing Authority stops pursuing ‘non-essential’ evictions amid pandemic.” … From MassLive: “MBTA ridership down, less traffic on the highway.” … From CBS Boston: “Museum Of Fine Arts, Aquarium, Children’s Museum And Museum Of Science Closing To Public.” … From Wicked Local: “Citing coronavirus concerns, Plymouth 400 reschedules opening day.”

Baker’s order allows remote public meetings by boards

This is indeed significant. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “In a significant change spurred by the spreading coronavirus, government boards in Massachusetts may now meet without a physical quorum of members present and without affording public access to the physical meeting locations, under an order announced Thursday night by Gov. Charlie Baker. The administration indicated the emergency order, which is effective immediately, is designed to facilitate the continuation of government business.”

We just hope it doesn’t lead to any public-disclosure/transparency controversies (see SJC item below).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The economy: Which one is the worst — the 1987, 2008 or 2020 Wall Street crash?

Yesterday’s coronavirus-related stock market plunge was the biggest daily drop since the 1987 crash (NYT). The Globe’s Larry Edelman assesses the differences between ’87, the 2008 Wall Street meltdown and today’s pandemic carnage and concludes we’re now in unchartered territory, probably hovering somewhere between ’87 and 2008 in terms of severity (our words, not his).

In other economic/business news, from the Herald: “BU economist: ‘Boston is not recession-proof and coronavirus will prove it.’” … From WBUR’s Beth Healy: “Boston Braces For More Market Volatility.” … From the Herald: “Coronavirus leaves Boston restaurants uncertain.” … From the BBJ: “Tripadvisor was already facing pressure from Google. The coronavirus hit.” … From WCVB: “Travel restrictions impact Logan international travel. 

Even the Wedding Bride Industrial Complex is reeling

Forget the stock market plunge. This is getting serious. From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Coronavirus threatens to disrupt weddings in Massachusetts and beyond.”

Boston Herald

Galvin: Coronavirus may disrupt Census count and boost reliance on online responses

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report on the major coronavirus-related challenges facing this year’s Census count, including the sudden evacuation of college campuses across the region. Murphy writes that Secretary of State Bill Galvin believes online responses may become a “very important part” of the Census response process.

Fenway tower over Pike gets final approval after 20 years

From the Globe’s Tim Logan: “After 20 years of planning, work on the second, larger, phase of Fenway Center could start within months, according to the developer. On Thursday night, the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s board approved changes to the project, allowing it to be a life-sciences office building rather than a mixed-use project with housing.” The $1 billion, 22-story structure is being developed by John ‘The Stars Have Aligned’ Rosenthal.

Boston Globe

SJC: Mug shots and police reports of cops and judges should be released to the public

Score one for the Boston Globe and the public in general. The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that booking photographs and police reports tied to cases of cops and judges behaving badly should be released to the public and media, reports the Globe’s John Ellement, whose paper filed a lawsuit that led to yesterday’s ruling.

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has more on the SJC ruling that covered other disclosure issues as well.

Order restored: Biden’s new campaign manager is Franklin native

We’re back, baby. The Bay State may have lost its most high-profile presidential candidate last week, but order has been somewhat with the elevation of Franklin native and Tufts University alum Jennifer O’Malley Dillon to the role of campaign manager for Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, reports Eric Bradner and Jeff Zeleny at CNN report. Dillon most recently helped run Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.

The MetroWest Daily News reports Dillon got her start as a staffer for former Mass. AG Scott Harshbarger and also worked on President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. 


What does Joe Biden need more than anything? One word: ‘Warrenism’

No, the NYT’s Will Wilkinson isn’t calling for the future Democratic presidential nominee (likely Joe Biden at this point) to select U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a running mate. Instead, he’s urging Democrats to adopt “Warrenism” moving ahead, i.e. the failed presidential candidate’s passionate call to change the political and economic power dynamics in America.


We’re shocked: In Northampton, asking non-profits for tax payments yields little results

Did he try saying ‘pretty please’? As taxpayers in Northampton prepare for higher bills after approving a Proposition 2 /12 override earlier this month, Greta Jochem at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that efforts undertaken by Mayor David Narkewicz five years ago to convince local tax-exempt nonprofits to voluntarily make payments in lieu of taxes have largely fallen on deaf ears. 


Closing delayed: Leonard Morse will be kept active amid outbreak

Clearly, this is no time to close a community hospital. Metrowest Medical Center says it will put on hold a plan to end many medical services at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick because the facility may be needed to help address the coronavirus outbreak, Henry Schwan reports iat the MetroWest Daily News. The move drew quick praise from Sen. President Karen Spilka, whose district includes the town of Natick. 

MetroWest Daily News

Longtime Fall River journalist and former publisher charged with indecent assault on minor

From WBSM’s Brian Fraga: “Richard ‘Ric’ Oliveira, a longtime journalist, radio personality and musician in Southeastern Massachusetts, is facing charges of indecent assault and battery on a minor, according to court documents.” The charges stem back to alleged offenses committed between 2012 and 2014. He’s also the former publisher of a Portuguese-language newspaper in Fall River.


Brockton bids farewell to WWII veteran who died without family

To end the week on a sad and yet uplifting note, WCVB reports military members, veterans, school children and residents in general turned out in force yesterday in Brockton to honor and bid farewell to a decorated World War II veteran, Nathaniel Marshall, 94, who died alone at home and whose body wasn’t found until a routine well-being check by police. It’s a moving video report. Watch it. Nathaniel Marshall, RIP.


Sunday public affairs TV: Mayor Walsh, Gov. Baker and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks with host Jon Keller about city government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung the Boston Business Journal’s Doug Banks discuss the growing impact of coronavirus and how so much of our world has changed in a week.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. KinderLab Robotics CEO Mitch Rosenberg discusses his company and bringing coding and robotics to young learners in 60 countries; Boston Public School teacher Katie Caster tells how she uses the Kibo robot to enhance STEM teaching.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: A live interview with Gov. Charlie Baker and Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Dr. Monica Bharel, both of whom talk with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political 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: Diversity in Healthcare, with guests including Valery Joseph, nurse practitioner at Whittier Street Health Center, and Dr. Holly Oh, chief medical officer at the Dimock Health Center in Roxbury. 

Boston Speaker Series: Susan Rice

Rice served as National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She also served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Under President Clinton, Rice worked for the National Security Council and was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Lesley University

Predicting the Democratic Nominee

Welcome to the Democracy Studio! Join us as we combine politically-inspired images and words to provoke a deeper understanding of the state of our democracy.

Tom Manning, Harvard ALI Senior Fellow 2020

Boston Speaker Series: Susan Rice

Rice served as National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She also served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Under President Clinton, Rice worked for the National Security Council and was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Lesley University

Screening; Seven Communities, Seven families, One story: The Opioid Crisis

This compelling film, created through the generosity and civic-mindedness of Wareham Community Television, and produced by Queen Banda and Andrea Pergament, shares first hand accounts from seven parents who’ve endured the unimaginable heartbreak and trauma of losing a child to the Opioid Crisis now raging across the United States. In Massachusetts, the system is failing.

Queen Banda and Andrea Pergament (producers)

Jane Swift: The History of Women in Politics

Jane Swift was the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and the First Woman Governor of Massachusetts.

Aliali Belkus, Dean of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

An Evening With Paul Tremblay

Celebrated horror author Paul Tremblay comes to Millbury to read from his work, talk about writing, answer some questions, and sign books.

Jeff Raymond

The Centenary of the 19th Amendment: New Reflections

Join legal and political science scholars to discuss lessons learned from the centenary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Boston University School of Law

Election 2020: The Crucial Questions – Conversations on the Edge

A discussion on the crucial questions of the 2020 Election with seasoned political pros.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education

Ex-Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) – On how we can bring more democracy & transparency to the Massachusetts Legislature

Ex-Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) – On how we can bring more democracy & transparency to the Massachusetts Legislature, and so improve the systems that help deter corruption in state government.

Indivisible Williamsburg and Indivisible Northampton

Today’s Headlines


Buying Weed at Boston’s First Pot Shop with Shaleen Title – Boston Magazine

Long-planned Fenway Center project above Mass. Pike could happen this summer – Boston Globe


New Bedford city council receives petition with over 1,000 signatures to keep Station 11 open – Standard-Times

Selectmen approve Dracut’s third pot shop – Lowell Sun

Marlborough school building two dorms with $16M MassDevelopment bond – Worcester Business Journal


House to vote on sweeping economic rescue package – New York Times

‘I don’t want to use the b-word’: Trump aides race to rescue the economy – Politico

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