Happening Today

Revenue meeting, Gaming Commission, and more

Department of Revenue‘s Tax Expenditure Review Commission meets via video conference, with members including DOR Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Michael Rodrigues, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, 9 a.m.

Gaming Commission meets to discuss and vote on the operational status of the state’s now-closed casinos, slots parlor and simulcast centers, 10 a.m.

Mass. High Technology Council holds an invite-only discussion of the framework it developed for the state to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, with Steve Pagliuca, co-chairman of Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, making a presentation along with a representative from McKinsey and Co., 9 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins restaurant workers for an online rally as they call for protections during the COVID-19 crisis, 1:45 p.m. 

Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Alliance hosts a panel discussion with essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic as part of a day-long live stream, 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

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 numbers: 157 new deaths, 3,562 total deaths, 1,940 new cases

WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts .

Second surge? Long plateau? Both? Neither?

No one really knows what’s going to happen next during the current coronavirus outbreak. But a number of local medical types are now talking of another coming surge in COVID-19 cases, or a “second peak,” as one calls it, despite some recent encouraging hospitalization trends. They include MGH’s Dr.Jagpreet Chhatwal (MassLive), MGH’s Dr. Jarone Lee (CommonWealth) and BMC’s Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett (Globe).

Then there’s the change in the way the state classifies coronavirus cases, a move that could lead to a spike in confirmed numbers (Globe).

Make of it all what you will. But one thing appears (repeat: appears) clear: The state seems stuck on some sort of plateau, and the Globe’s Mark Arsenault tries to explain why the coronavirus numbers remain so stubbornly high in Massachusetts. Some encouraging news, via MassLive: “Baker: Contact Data Shows Distancing Making ‘Big Difference.’”

Nearly quarter of state’s labor force has now filed for jobless claims

Looks like the folks at the Pioneer Institute weren’t too far off the mark when they recently predicted the unemployment rate could hit 25 percent in Massachusetts. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that an additional 70,000 people in Massachusetts filed for unemployment insurance last week, bringing the total state filings to nearly 900,000 since mid-March – or almost one quarter of the state’s entire labor force. 

Since people come and go from the jobless-claim rolls, this doesn’t mean we’re at 25 percent unemployment. But nearly 900,000 filings in just six weeks? Yikes.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

How not to reopen the economy: Lessons learned from Georgia

Attention members of Gov. Baker’s reopening advisory board: Keren Landman, a specialist in infectious diseases, writes at the NYT on how not to reopen an economy, courtesy of the great state of Georgia. And she makes an astute political observation: 

“Somehow, we’ve reached the point where caring about public health has become a progressive issue, while the nation’s economy has become a conservative one. This division is false; no one should have to choose between financial annihilation and helping to spread a deadly disease.”


Breaking news: Baker hints at reopening flower shops for Mother’s Day

Speaking of reopening the economy, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday said that he’s heard the deafening clamor from florists and others retailers to relax some stay-at-home restrictions and then he muttered the magical words: “We’ll have more to say about that one … in plenty of time for Mother’s Day,’ he said. We can only hope and pray.

To revive economy, think infrastructure (and time-honored earmarking)

Former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who now heads the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, thinks the country badly needs a major infrastructure program to stimulate the coronavirus-crippled economy. And, yes, if that means a return of pet-project earmarks, so be it. He has more at CommonWealth magazine.


Crushing it: Poll says 80 percent approve of Baker’s virus response

Back to the governor, a new poll says 80 percent of Bay State residents approve of Gov. Charlie Baker’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, compared to just 38 percent who think President Trump’s approach is working, Reid Wilson reports at The Hill. Baker’s approval numbers are topped only by the governors of Ohio and Kentucky. 

The Hill

Baker’s take on ‘Ozark’: ‘If I kept watching it, I’d have to jump off the roof of my house.’

OK, one more Baker item: The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report Gov. Baker got surprisingly personal yesterday during his daily coronavirus update, saying that he’s delighted his daughter has joined a social-distancing book club and that he loved the documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm.’ But he warned about watching too much ‘Ozark’ during the coronavirus lockdown.

House Held Hostage, Day II: Still no agreement on how to conduct remote sessions

Better luck next week? From SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk and Michael Norton (pay wall): “House Democrats and Republicans met for more than five hours but were unable Thursday to compromise on emergency rules or pass legislation authorizing short-term borrowing to ensure that government services are funded during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth has more on the partisan impasse.

For the time being, the Senate isn’t even going to try to figure out how to hold a remote session. It’s waiting till June, reports SHNS (pay wall).

Solution to referendum signature-gathering dispute: E-Signatures

A welcome compromise via a common-sense solution. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Ballot question campaigns will be able to collect the 13,000-plus signatures they need over the coming weeks electronically under a new court judgment agreed to by Secretary of State William Galvin. … All four campaigns and Galvin agreed to the resolution by the deadline the court set, averting a full hearing.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Non-sanctuary cities: Towns refuse to hook up water supply for summer residents seeking to escape to vacation homes

They aren’t setting up roadblocks to keep people out. That’s too obvious and controversial, as Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo discovered. No, Newburyport and Salisbury have settled on a more subtle approach to keeping people away during the coronavirus outbreak: Refusing to hook up the water supply to summer homes. Chris Burrell at WGBH has the details.

Fyi, via the Cape Cod Times: “Guidelines issued for seasonal Cape and Island visitors.”  


The new speakeasies: Home and Zoom

How did we miss this story from the other day? The Globe’s Gary Dzen reports on the spiking (no pun intended) sales of beer, wine and liquor via home deliveries, amid the closure of restaurants and bars in Massachusetts. Some old-reliable beer brands are also doing well, Dzen reports.

Fyi: We’re hearing more and more about Thursday and Friday afternoon “social-distancing cocktail hours,” via phone conferences and Zoom etc., and gin-and-tonics seem to be making a big comeback too, among other delights.

Boston Globe

Brockton mayor to Plymouth County: Fork over the dough

Not even the mayor of Brockton thinks Plymouth County commissioners can wisely spend the $90 million in federal relief funds they somehow secured – and Mayor Robert Sullivan is siding with the Baker administration by telling commissioners to turn the money over to the state, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall)  And from the Cape Cod Times: “Barnstable County challenges neighbors’ $90 million in virus relief aid.”

Restaurants thinking the once-unthinkable: Actually returning PPP loan funds?

First, the dog-bites-man news: The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that small businesses in Boston are still having problems securing government loans for their firms. Now, the man-bites-dog news: The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports many restaurant owners are declining to apply for – and even mulling giving back – federal PPP loan funds. The reason: At this point, they have serious doubts about whether they can ever pay off the loans.

BBJ (pay wall)

Looming decision day: Should students accept, defer, string out college acceptances?

WGBH’s Kirk Carapezza reports that “deposit day” is not that far off for many high-school students who have been accepted to colleges next fall – and they have a lot of hard decisions to make amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking of colleges, from the BBJ’s Hilary Burns: “BU students file class action suit over spring semester reimbursements.”


Markey: We’ll have more than enough signatures to get on the ballot

The Great Signature Crisis is over for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. Or so he says. Markey’s campaign reports that it will have more than double the signatures required to get on the September primary ballot, despite recent reports that the coronavirus outbreak was hampering the campaign’s ability to gather enough signatures. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail has more.  


Second thoughts: Supreme Court could take up Bay State gun case

Are Massachusetts’ gun laws about to be in the Supreme Court’s crosshairs? Kimberly Atkins at WBUR reports the nation’s highest court could take up legal challenges to the Bay State’s restrictions on licenses-to-carry and limits on assault weapons and ammunition. The court is expected to announce its calendar of cases today. 


Ayanna Pressley has a challenger

New Boston Post’s Tom Joyce reports that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley indeed has a challenger who has no intention of joining the Squad if she wins: Rayla Campbell, described as a lifelong Republican who’s “pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-school choice; that she opposes the Green New Deal and does not want to lower the voting age to 16,” among other things.

New Boston Post

Permanent record: Methuen councilors dinged over police contract

The state Ethics Commission says three Methuen city councilors likely violated conflict-of-interest laws when they cast votes on an eye-popping police superior officers’ contract that is still dogging the town’s budget three years later. Bill Kirk of the Eagle-Tribune reports the Commission found then-councilors James Atkinson, James Jajuga and Lynn Vidler all had ties to the police department that they failed to properly disclose. 

Eagle Tribune

Sunday public affairs TV: Liz Walker, Joseph Kennedy and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: The Rev. Liz Walker, a former TV news-anchor, talks with host Jon Keller about the spiritual impact of pandemic and the disproportionate impact on communities of color.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Sunday May 3 10 a.m. Beth Israel Lahey Health CEO Kevin Tabb on managing the COVID-19 crisis; Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau president Martha Sheridan on building a recovery plan for the travel and tourism industry; and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks on the state’s reopening deadline, SBA loans, growing jobless claims and universities plans for the fall.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 4, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Women of color in comedy.

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Bob Rivers

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Bob Rivers, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Bank: Join us as we discuss the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Civil Rights Working Sessions Hearing Notice

The City of Boston’s Committee on Housing and Community Development will hold a virtual working session on a hearing to discuss ways to support tenants facing eviction and displacement and a hearing regarding the creation of temporary rental assistance to support residents impacted by COVID-19.

City of Boston’s Committee on Housing and Community Development

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Kamil Ali-Jackson

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Kamil Ali-Jackson, Co-Founder, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary of Aclaris Therapeutics Inc. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Re-Booting the Economy – Major Employer Issues: Part 1 “Bringing Employees Back to the Workplace”

Re-opening the Economy is such a big topic right now. We want to position the North Shore Chamber and our members as leaders, as plans become unveiled by Governor Baker on reopening the economy. The May 6th Seminar will focus on an internal perspective – “Bringing Employees Back to the Workplace.”

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Jane Steinmetz

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Jane Steinmetz, Boston Office Managing Principal, Ernst & Young. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Leadercast 2020—Positive Disruption

Join Business Journal partner, Leadercast, digitally for Leadercast 2020 Positive Disruption the world’s largest annual one-day leadership event broadcasting on May 7, 2020.

Boston Business Journal & Leadercast

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Phyllis Barajas

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and special guest Phyllis Barajas, CEO, Conexión. Join industry Leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times.


Virtual event in support of Senator Ed Markey with Carole King

Please Join Us For a Virtual event in support of Senator Ed Markey with Carole King. This performance will be held on a video conferencing platform for everyone to enjoy safely from their homes. The link for the event will be available upon RSVP.

ActBlue / Senator Ed Markey

Today’s Headlines


Quincy to give $2 million in aid to local small businesses – Patriot Ledger

Boston Symphony Orchestra announces its new season – WBUR


US Rep. Richard Neal touts Paycheck Protection Program in Holyoke as businesses struggle to survive coronavirus – MassLive

Worcester closes dog parks as coronavirus precaution – Telegram & Gazette

The good news about a statewide economic shutdown? Almost no one gets a ticket anymore – Boston Globe

Crane Stationery says layoffs will begin in June after PPP funds run out – Berkshire Eagle


Easing lockdowns seen unlikely to stop economy bleeding – The Hill

Secret Service paid Trump’s D.C. hotel more than $33,000 for lodging to guard treasury secretary – Washington Post

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