Happening Today

SBA briefing, COVID-19 updates

Small Business Administration district director Bob Nelson and deputy district director Peter Kontakos give an overview of the CARES Act and SBA loan programs during a virtual event held by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 9 a.m.

Department of Transportation Board of Directors Finance and Audit Subcommittee meets, with officials limiting physical attendance to enforce social distancing precautions and with the meeting being livestreamed, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

Senate Democrats host a private caucus by telephone to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, 11 a.m.

New England Council hosts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey for a virtual conversation about federal COVID-19 relief efforts, 11 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

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The latest numbers: 96 new coronavirus deaths, 356 total deaths, 1,365 additional cases

WBUR has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts. Note: The new fatality figure includes deaths over this past weekend. Meanwhile, CommonWealth magazine reports on the disproportionately high number of coronavirus deaths in Hampshire, Berkshire and Franklin counties.

Life-and-death decisions reduced to a point-score system?

As hospitals across the state brace for an expected surge in coronavirus cases, the state has issued voluntary guidelines to health-care providers about who should get and not get life-saving ventilators and other treatments in dire emergencies – and such “gut-wrenching” decisions may come down to a point-score system that clearly favors the young, first responders and pregnant women, as the Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger report.

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more on the new rating system that’s bluntly “aimed at maximizing the number of life years saved.” Quick observation: You can bet more than a few people today will be scanning details of the suggested scoring system to determine how they’d rate in a worse-case situation.

Btw, from SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Morgue Capacity Expansion Planning Underway in Boston.” Universal Hub has more on the morgue planning.

Report: Coronavirus may be hitting minority residents hardest in Massachusetts

From the Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Kay Lazar: “A patchwork of data appears to show the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, several of which are reporting infection rates that outpace their population.” Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Marcela García: “Chelsea, city of the working Latino immigrant, emerges as a COVID-19 hotspot.”

State officials say they will soon begin reporting the incomplete race and ethnicity data that they’ve collected so far, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). Data elsewhere definitely points to a racial COVID-19-case divide. From the NYT: “Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States.” Meanwhile, from WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins: “Pressley Wants Race-Specific Coronavirus Data Requirement In Next Relief Bill.”

Boston Globe

State sends additional $800M to cash-strapped health-care providers

Amid reports of furloughs, pay cuts and other spending reductions at hospitals and health clinics across the state, SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that the Baker administration is sending another $800 million to Massachusetts health-care providers, in addition to the $840 million in previously announced financial assistance. MassLive’s Steph Solis has more.

Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that $400 million of the new money will go to “safety net hospitals.” In related health-care provider news, from the Eagle Tribune: “Rivera seeks to hire furloughed nurses to aid city.” … From MassLive: “Massachusetts school nurses are a ‘ready and willing workforce,’ Sen. Eric Lesser says.”

Ten deaths reported at Brockton nursing home and Newton assisted living facility

More proof that group homes/facilities for the elderly are the most vulnerable during the current COVID-19 crisis. From Marc Larocque at the Enterprise: “Five dead at Brockton nursing home after coronavirus outbreak.” … From Shelley Murphy and Laura Krantz at the Globe: “Five coronavirus deaths at Newton assisted living facility; 36 residents and 10 staff infected.”

And from the Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill: “11 of Quincy’s coronavirus cases are in one nursing home.”

Supermarkets ordered to reduce number of customers in stores at one time

As supermarket workers continue to man the food-shopping frontlines and pay the price (“Salem Market Basket worker dies after contracting coronavirus” – WCVB), the Baker administration has ordered grocery stores to operate at only 40 percent of their normal occupancy, in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNSs Katie Lannan (pay wall).

Meanwhile, from WCVB: “Grocery store workers protest, demand PPE, hazard pay.” … And from MassLive: “Big Y to close for 2 days; giving workers ‘much-needed rest.’”

Confiscation madness

How bad have relations gotten between the White House and the nation’s governors over the national shortage of critical hospital supplies? So bad that some governors are expressing skepticism about the White House’s revised estimates downward of potential coronavirus cases, figuring the new stats are just a ruse to avoid giving states badly needed supplies, the Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, the NYT has a piece on those federal-government confiscations of medical supplies, including supplies purchased by Massachusetts. You see, the federal government has this new “distribution plan” and, damn it, that plan must be followed, even if means not distributing much.

Government updates: Technical glitch quickly ends Beacon Hill budget meeting, community colleges plea for help, marijuana supply chain changes

From the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “A livestream glitch under the Golden Dome sent red-faced Massachusetts lawmakers scrambling Tuesday, forcing them to reschedule a budget update as IT officials tried to track down the problem.” SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Colin Young (pay wall) have more on the “embarrassing setback.” … From MassLive’s Melissa Hanson: “Cannabis Control Commission enables adult-use marijuana businesses to support medical supply chain amid COVID-19 pandemic.” … From the BBJ’s Hilary Burns (pay wall): “Mass. community colleges seek funding to weather coronavirus crisis.”

And, finally, from WCVB: “35 MBTA workers battling COVID-19 symptoms.

Cities see lots of red ink ahead as budget season ramps up

Speaking of budgets, municipal leaders in Worcester are telling department heads to prepare bare-bones budgets for the coming fiscal year amid a host of fiscal wildcards, including how many people will default on tax payments and how much help with be coming from state and federal sources to deal with the coronavirus crisis, Nick Kotsopolous reports at the Telegram.  In Fall River, revenue projections are being complicated by the closure of a firm that handles the mailing of late-payment notices for vehicle excise taxes, Jo C. Goode reports in the Herald News. 

There is some good news (sort of) on the local-government financial front, as federal stimulus funds become available in Holyoke and Northampton (Gazette) and in Lynn (Item).  

As judge orders release of ICE detainees at Bristol jail, Suffolk DA asks court to send released inmate back to prison

The Herald’s Andrew Martinez reports that Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson is furious over a federal judge’s decision to release some immigrant detainees from his jail amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins, who’s been a big advocate of releasing some prisoners during the COVID-19 crisis, has filed an emergency petition with the SJC “asking to return 40-year-old William Utley to jail, arguing he poses a ‘grave risk to public safety,’” reports Deb Becker at WBUR. Rollins is arguing a lower court judge erred by recently ordering the release of the prisoner.

Beacon Hill exodus, Part I: Scaccia, ‘dean’ of the Massachusetts House, calls it quits after 23 terms

SHNS’s Sam Doran reports that state Rep. Angelo Scaccia, a Readville Democrat, is the latest Beacon Hill lawmaker to announce he’s not running for re-election this year. Scaccia, who was first elected to the legislature in 1973, is considered the “dean” of the House and, lately, has been a tough critic of House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Trivia question: Who was speaker of the Massachusetts House when Scaccia first took office? Answer here.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Beacon Hill exodus, Part II: Naughton is leaving House to join New York law firm

The exodus continues. State Rep. Harold Naughton, a Clinton Democrat, announced yesterday that he also won’t be seeking re-election this November, after accepting a job with a New York law firm that will allow him to work from his home, reports the Telegram’s Jan Gottesman.

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that Naughton’s long-time aide, Meghan Kilcoyne, was already prepping to run for his seat just prior to Naughton’s announcement, setting up a campaign committee with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.


Markey’s unique problem: Collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot

tU.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s campaign sounds confident it can collect enough signatures to get on the election ballot, but his campaign has also issued an email appeal for help collecting signatures amid the coronavirus outbreak, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane. Markey’s challenger, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, seems to be in better shape when it comes to signatures already gathered.

In other U.S. Senate campaign news, Kimberly Atkins at WBUR reports on Markey and Kennedy’s scramble on the virtual campaign trail for attention and votes.

Boston Globe

Markey tells Jane Fonda: A ‘mighty battle’ is ahead over clean energy in COVID-19 relief package

Speaking of Markey, from Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “The fourth COVID-19 relief package from the federal government must include a boost for clean energy and protections against climate change, Sen. Ed Markey told actor and climate activist Jane Fonda in a Facebook livestream on Tuesday.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more on Markey’s Facebook meeting with the controversial Fonda.


Little kids, big questions: Trahan seeks to soothe anxious youths in tele-town hall

And, finally, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan–and her two daughters–staged an online town hall specifically for young people about the coronavirus, reassuring the youts that it’s OK to feel stressed and anxious in uncertain times, Aaron Curtis reports at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

Attention readers: Hosting your events online?

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, large gatherings have been banned in Massachusetts. Because of this, more and more organizations are hosting events online. If you have one that you want to publicize, you can submit it to our Beacon Hill Town Square events page or email dart@massterlist.com.

Book Talk, Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries

Join former Athenaeum New England Regional Fellowship recipient Sean D. Moore (2014-2015) as he shares the culmination of his studies of early American libraries and how these institutions stood at the nexus of two translatlantic branches of commerce–the book trade and the slave trade.

Boston Athenaeum

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Amelia Ceja

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Amelia Ceja, Founder, President & Executive Chef, Ceja Vineyards Winery, Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. Join us as we discuss the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Lisa Coleman, Ph.D.

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Lisa Coleman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, New York University, Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. Join us as we discuss the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Darla Pires DeGrace

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Darla Pires DeGrace, Diversity Equity Inclusion Strategist, Friday, April 10, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. Join us as we discuss the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs Lecture featuring Christiana Figueres

Each year, the Robert C. Wood Professorship brings a distinguished public leader to campus for a lecture and conversation to engage students, faculty, and community members in discussions of public policy and public service. The McCormack Graduate School is pleased to announce Christiana Figueres as the 2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs.

McCormack Graduate School

Today’s Headlines


Boston gives healthcare workers a break on parking tickets amid coronavirus – Boston Herald

Number of homeless people in Boston who have tested positive for coronavirus skyrockets – Boston Globe


Former Yarmouth board member to seek county post – Cape Cod Times

Railers hire Discover Central Mass. head as new president – Worcester Business Journal

Recorder launches Covid-19 local news fund – Greenfield Recorder


Rain, hail, lawsuits and the coronavirus crisis fail to halt Wisconsin election – Politico

The virus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate – Washington Post

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.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.