Happening Today

UMass online commencement and more

Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts hosts an online forum with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on construction in the city during the pandemic, 11 a.m.

— State Sen. Ada Hinds of Pittsfield hosts a Facebook Live interview with Joanne Marqusee of Cooley Dickinson Health Care and Eliza Lake of Hilltown Community Health Center to discuss the health and health care needs of individuals living in rural areas, 1 p.m.

UMass Amherst holds an online commencement celebration for its class of 2020, with plans to reschedule the on-campus ceremony for an appropriate date after coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings are lifted, 4:30 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

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: 132 new deaths, 4,552 toal deaths, 1,696 cases

WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

State jobless claims approach 1 million

First, the good news: The pace of jobless claims in Massachusetts has slowed. Now the bad news: The number of unemployment claims is still rising – and they’ve now reached nearly 1 million in Massachusetts. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan and the Globe’s Larry Edelman and Christina Prignano have the jaw-dropping details.

Btw: The jobless benefits offered to workers have never been more generous in America. But some believe that may present a problem once the economy starts to reopen, as Christian Wade reports at the Gloucester Times.

Despite terrible economy and closure disputes galore, Baker’s poll numbers hold strong

Another poll shows the public is strongly supporting Gov. Charlie Baker’s handling of the coronavirus emergency in Massachusetts, reports MassLive’s Patrick Johnson, who has the UMass-Lowell survey numbers, including how Democrats are supporting the GOP governor in larger numbers than Baker’s fellow Republicans, though, it should be noted, a very solid majority of Republican also support Baker.

Btw: Frontline nurses definitely prefer Baker over Donald Trump, WBUR reports.


Federal judge lifts Baker’s order closing gun shops

A federal judge has blown a small (we think) hole in Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency closure-order powers, temporarily lifting the governor’s March edict closing retail firearm stores amid the coronavirus pandemic. Oddly, if we’re reading this SHNS story (pay wall) right, the judge “could not find justification for the disparate treatment of firearm retailers and liquor stores.” Huh? But there’s disparate treatment of restaurants and liquor stores too. Was the governor wrong to close restaurants?

Anyway, the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment factors somewhere in the decision, we presume. Btw, from Callum Borchers at WBUR: “After Court Ruling, ‘People Are Going To Come Out And Buy Guns Just To Buy Guns,’ Shop Owner Predicts.”

Meanwhile, Worcester pastor once again holds church service despite lockdown

Here’s another potential constitutional closure case in the making, to wit: The Worcester church pastor who has defied Gov. Charlie Baker’s closure order defied the closure order again earlier this week – and now he’s getting hit with a criminal complaint, the Telegram reports. The pastor’s defense, as reported by CBS Boston: The governor’s closure order violates constitutional freedom-of-religion rights. See above post on gun shops.


The horror: No golf carts, bunker rakes, caddies and after-round lounge cocktails?

MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday was defending his decision to reopen state golf courses during a pandemic and/or defending his comparatively late decision to reopen said state golf courses during a pandemic. To which we say: Of all the things to be worrying about …

Anyway, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is blasting the governor’s tardy reopening of the links, saying it cost golf courses millions of dollars. As we said: Of all the things to be worrying about …

Btw: MassLive’s Michael Bonner lists all the guidelines and restrictions golf courses must now follow. Btw II – Not all golf courses are reopening, as the Telegram reports: “Green Hill golf course to remain closed after spike in coronavirus cases in Worcester .”

State intervenes to distribute treatment drug after the latest strange fed action

Another example of the state stepping in to fill a federal void. The BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis (pay wall) and the Globe’s Rebecca Ostriker report that the state Department of Public Health, along with local hospitals, are now trying to sort out the local distribution of the experimental COVID-19 treatment drug Remdesivir, after some hospitals with heavy coronavirus caseloads got shortchanged when the drug was distributed by the feds while smaller hospitals with fewer caseloads got more than they ever need.

Month-to-month state budgets? Spilka floats the idea

Beacon Hill leaders are soon going to be under the gun to produce a new fiscal-year budget amid many coronavirus-era unknowns – like how much revenue the state will have to spend next fiscal year. Senate President Karen Spilka says a number of options and scenarios are under consideration, including even month-to-month budgets. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Field hospital on Cape closes after lack of use

They say in the military that the best weapons are the weapons that never have to be used. In this medical case, it’s a 94-bed emergency coronavirus field hospital set up on Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne that’s now closing because of lack of use – and thank goodness for its lack of use.  WBUR has the details. 

 Re the ‘Boston Hope’ emergency field station, it also hasn’t been used as much as anticipated and feared – and that’s good too. It’s definitely provided hope, though, as Lynn Jolicoeur at WBUR reports.


Moderna granted permission to move to next phase of coronavirus vaccine trials

Crossing one’s fingers isn’t included in the clinical-trial list of procedures. But it can’t hurt, so cross your fingers. From WCVB: “Cambridge-based Moderna announced Thursday that it was given approval to start the second phase of a clinical trial for its potential COVID-19 vaccine. The company said  it had permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to soon begin testing the vaccine in a phase 2 study with 600 volunteers.”


Baker: Please pick up the phone when a COVID-19 tracer calls

WGBH reports that many people aren’t answering the phone calls of state-hired coronavirus tracers who are trying to track (and ultimately contain) the spread of the virus in Massachusetts. Gov. Charlie Baker’s message yesterday: Please pick up the phone. Your cooperation is needed.

In other tracer news, from WGBH’s Gabrielle Emanuel: “How Newly Assigned Coronavirus Contact Tracers Are Managing Their New Gig.”


Crash course: Cape task force rushes to develop all-important summer reopening plan

SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has a piece this morning on how a Cape Cod regional task force is attempting to develop a plan to reopen the region’s summertime economy while keeping residents and tourists safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. The clock is ticking. Memorial Day is not that far away.

Judge orders testing for Bristol County jail detainees; dueling pro- and con-Hodgson editorials

From Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine: “Declaring that a lawsuit lawsuit filed on behalf of immigration detainees was likely to succeed in demonstrating ‘eliberate indifference’ to their risk of contracting COVID-19, a federal judge ordered coronavirus testing for all federal detainees being housed at the Bristol County Jail.”

Btw: The Herald and the Globe, in separate editorials, are going at it regarding Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s handling of last week’s detainees-guards disturbance at his facility. Care to guess whose side each paper takes in the controversy?


Ominous warning: MGM workers told layoff action could be permanent

Not what they want to hear. MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle is warning tens of thousands of furloughed workers — including those at its new downtown Springfield resort casin o– that they could be permanently laid off if the casino business doesn’t rebound as quickly as hoped this summer. Michelle Williams at MassLive has the details. 


Poll: Kennedy and Markey in dead-heat race

In non-coronavirus news, a new UMass-Lowell poll (scroll way down to bottom) shows that U.S. Sen. Ed Markey has closed the gap with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy in the Dem primary race for the U.S. Senate. We gotta say: Markey is running a scrappy, concede-nothing campaign.  

UML Poll

Thinking really big: Markey co-sponsors proposal for monthly $2,000 payments to every American

Speaking of Ed Markey (and briefly getting back to all things coronavirus), he’s joined with two other Democratic senators to propose legislation that would pay Americans $2,000 a month for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, arguing the single stimulus payments already made aren’t enough, Jordain Carney reports in The Hill. “Americans need more than just one payment,” Markey said. 

The Hill

Rollins retreats from ‘overwhelmingly privileged’ criticism of public defenders

After a backlash from public defenders, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is beating a retreat on her description of her political and legal allies as a bunch of “overwhelmingly privileged” attorneys, reports the Globe’s Andrea Estes. Rollins says she was referring to only one particular case. Never mind that she was speaking in the broad-brush plural when she made the original comments.

Boston Globe

Late entry: Chelsea, Charlestown to get a state rep race after all

Surprise! Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot says she’s secured enough electronic signatures to challenge state Rep. Dan Ryan in the September Democratic primary, Seth Daniel reports at the Chelsea Record. 

Chelsea Record

Sunday public affairs TV: Rachael Rollins, Jon Hurst, Dan Rivera

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 5, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who talks with host Jon Keller about enforcement of Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandatory mask order and other coronavirus regulations, release of prisoners due to prison COVID-19 risks, gang violence and other issues.  

This Week in Business, NECB, 10 a.m. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, on what the future of retail may look like amid the coronavirus outbreak; Sharon Kan, Pepperlane co-founder & CEO, on helping mothers pivot from laid off to self-employed; and Shirley Leung of the Globe on unemployment figures, the COVID-19 impact on income, roadblocks to reopening and other issues.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, a member of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening advisory board, 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: A conversation with Mel Miller, founder and publisher of the Bay State Banner.

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

Virtual Duckling Day

Join Friends of the Public Garden on Sunday, May 10, at noon for a special “virtual” Duckling Day on Facebook!

Friends of the Public Garden

Innovate for Big Impact: Rewrite the Rules for Your Small Business Now

Back by popular demand, entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz has something new to share: fresh strategies, tips and success stories to help evolve your business and innovate in a fast-changing world. Sign up to hear bright new ideas—and start reinventing what you do.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Joe Gravellese To Host Virtual Town Hall on Transportation with Jim Aloisi

Joe Gravellese, Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 16th Suffolk District (Revere, Chelsea, Saugus) will stream a “Virtual Town Hall” on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 PM with Jim Aloisi, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation. Aloisi is currently a board member at the nonprofit TransitMatters, and a lecturer in urban studies and planning at MIT.

Joe Gravellese for State Representative

Re-Booting the Economy – Major Employer Issues – Part 2 “Welcoming Customers Back”

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 13th Seminar will provide an external perspective – “Welcoming Customers Back.” We hope this new endeavor will provide valuable information to our members.

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Please Join Us for a Virtual Conversation with Alyssa Milano and Senator Ed Markey

Alyssa and Senator Ed Markey will be discussing the issues that matter most to the people of Massachusetts and our country, from our nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, to the Green New Deal and the climate crisis, to jobs and justice, to women’s rights, and keeping the internet open and free for everyone.

Senator Ed Markey

Natural Climate Solutions: The Role of Agriculture and Carbon Capture in the Transition

U.S. forests store the equivalent of 52 years’ worth of the country’s carbon emissions, and even in today’s highly partisan political climate, conserving our forests, planting more trees, and improving agricultural practices are initiatives with bipartisan support. But how exactly can policy effectively incentivize farmers and landowners to reforest their lands and improve their management?

Climate XChange

Building a New Era of Offshore Wind

A virtual panel discussion featuring industry experts at Tufts University, the Brattle Group, and the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance.

State House News Forum

Virtual Taste of Forum Meeting: Navigate the Crisis with Trusted HBS Peers

For the last eleven years HBS Association of Boston’s alumni forums have offered members that kind of safe port in a stormy world. Current forum members appreciate their monthly meetings now more than ever, and this special program invites all Boston-area alumni to a “pop-up” one-time forum meeting.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

How Nonprofit Leaders are Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nonprofits’ programs and operations–and on the communities they serve–are immense. This free webinar will feature a moderated panel discussion with Bob Gittens of Cambridge Children’s and Families Service, Priscilla Kane Hellweg of Enchanted Circle Theater, and Celina Miranda of Hyde Square Task Force on the impacts of COVID-19 on their organizations.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and State House News Service

Brands With A Purpose Series: “Redefining Success with Social Impact” – Virtual Fireside Chat with CEO, David Heath

David Heath the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bombas will discuss the evolution of product offerings and how Bombas’ mission plays into the company’s culture and social impact.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

Today’s Headlines


Only six Boston households have gotten rent relief from city program so far as councilors push for greater urgency – Boston Globe

State’s math could cost Cambridge school district $2M, forcing makeup days for time it didn’t miss – Cambridge Day


Mashpee tribe receives grant for transit operations – Cape Cod Times

Regulators see different kind of surge–in medical marijuana – Salem News

State names new receiver-superintendent for Holyoke public schools – Daily Hampshire Gazette


The jobs report Friday will be a portrait of devastation – New York Times

Trump campaign to unload on Biden with negative ad onslaught – Politico

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