Happening Today

Reopening report, and more

— The Reopening Advisory Board chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy is due on Monday to release its report, which will likely be the focus of a daily briefing from Gov. Charlie Baker.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders are expected to hold a conference call in lieu of their traditional in-person Monday afternoon meeting, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton will update New England business leaders on federal COVID-19 relief efforts, including House Democrats’ $3 trillion stimulus proposal, 1:30 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.

Phase 1 begins: Baker to allow churches, manufactures and contractors to reopen, but others must wait

Gov. Charlie Baker today plans to announce a very cautious phase-one reopening plan that applies to churches, manufacturers and construction contractors but requires most other businesses to remain shuttered for the time being, according to reports by the Globe and WBUR and MassLive. Strict social-distancing rules are being required.

But … but see the post below. It certainly appears Helmuth Von Moltke was right about no battle plan surviving first contact with the enemy (or reality, in this case).

Well calibrated confusion?

Gov. Charlie Baker’s go-it-slow reopening policy definitely has its share of supporters, including the business community’s Chris Anderson and Steve Pagliuca, who write at the Globe that the state needs a data-driven, well-calibrated reopening of the economy, with possible frequent adjustments along the way.

But the Globe’s Shirley Leung and Hanna Krueger report that many businesses are already making plans to reopen, under the impression today is indeed the big day, while other business owners are simply confused by all the phase-in talk. The Herald’s printed front-page headline this morning certainly conveys an expectation that the reopening starts today, despite the governor’s well-calibrated-on-paper plans: “Opening Day.” … From the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “The confusion and consternation caused by Baker’s super-cautious reticence has made predicting what might happen a guessing game..”

Well, here’s our guessing-game guess: Some non-phase-one businesses may well start reopening today, thinking May 18 is indeed the big day. We’re hearing of office workers being told to report to duty today, while a few hoteliers say they’re planning to open for business ahead of Memorial Day.

Political divisions: Dems call for lockdown continuation, GOP’s Lyons urges reopening, lawmaker receives threat

Political divisions are becoming more apparent in Massachusetts as Gov. Charlie Baker slowly moves to reopen the economy – and, as they say, it’s all making for strange political bedfellows. … From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “Democratic lawmakers urge Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker to extend coronavirus shutdown through June 1.” … But members of Baker’s own political party are pushing for a quick reopening. From Mass. GOP chairman Jim Lyons’ op-ed at the Herald: “Shutdown’s economic, emotional toll warrants reversing course.” … Back to keep-it-closed Dems, from Universal Hub: “No large public events in Somerville for the rest of the year: No Honk, no Fluff, no ArtBeat.” … The Herald’s Hillary Chabotwrites that Boston and Somerville’s mayors are sending “mixed messages as coronavirus reopening starts.” … But from the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham: “Now is not the time to let up, Governor Baker.”

And it’s getting tense out there. From Abigail Feldman at the Globe: “State representative from Cambridge receives threatening message after calling on governor to delay reopening .

The Nigerians: They’re here and apparently scamming away

The NYT reports that scammers have launched a “vast attack” on unemployment agencies around the country, including in Massachusetts, and appear to have already siphoned millions of dollars from public coffers. In particular, federal officials are monitoring a “well-organized Nigerian fraud ring.”


The gender exception: More women are dying of the coronavirus than men in Mass., not the other way around

Around the world, the data suggests the coronavirus is hitting males harder than females. But not in Massachusetts, reports the Globe’s Rebecca Ostriker. Why? There’s a bunch of possible reasons, including this: Nursing homes. Ostriker explains.

Boston Globe

The good news and bad news about Boston’s testing results

The good news: Boston’s random testing of hundreds of residents for antibodies shows that only one in ten residents may have contracted the coronavirus, suggesting that social-distancing measures are keeping the virus in check. The bad news: The testing shows that only one in ten residents may have contracted the virus, suggesting we have a long way to go until the crisis plays out. Martha Bebinger at WBUR has more.


Malden council president holds big outdoor bash for daughter’s birthday, claims motherhood trumps public-safety rules

7 News Boston reports that Malden city council president Jadeane Sica-Bernbaum hosted a rather large birthday party for her daughter on a parking lot last week, in violation of the governor’s ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. After saying she takes the pandemic seriously, Sica-Bernbaum did remind people on Facebook that she’s “first and foremost” a mother, damn it, and, well … 

The folks at Universal Hub are having a comments field day over her righteous parental-exemption claims.

7 News Boston

Boston to GrubHub et gang: Cap the restaurant delivery fees or else

From Universal Hub: “Several city councilors and an aide to Mayor Walsh put delivery companies on notice today: Do more to help out restaurants and consumers by curbing fees during the pandemic or the city will impose fee caps as is being done in other cities.” Grubhub is signaling it’s ready for a legal fight.

Btw, WCVB reports on the latest restaurant victim of COVID-19: “Stella Restaurant and Bar in Boston forced to close due to coronavirus crisis.”

Universal Hub

Warren opens up about losing brother to coronavirus

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke with The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere about losing her brother to Covid-19, describing his rally from pneumonia and the family’s agony as he died alone –an experience she acknowledges has been duplicated more than 85,000 times across the country. And she doesn’t believe he had to die.

The Atlantic

What would Calvin Coolidge have done?

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s has a possible political roadmap to the White House. The Globe’s Emily Sweeney reports on a planned webinar today on Calvin Coolidge’s public-policy role as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts during the 1918 flu pandemic, before he became governor of Massachusetts and later president of the United States of America.

Boston Globe

And what would Otto von Bismark think of our legislative process?

At CommonWealth magazine, Lew Finfer, co-director of Massachusetts Communities Action Network, recalls what he saw during the long, contentious process by lawmakers to pass an evictions-ban bill during the COVID-19 crisis. It wasn’t a pretty sight to behold, as Otto Van Bismark might agree, but the sausage making got done.


An actual bright side to the virus: Globe hits 200K digital subscriptions mark

Here’s some good media news amid all the bad media news during these coronavirus times: WGBH’s Dan Kennedy reports the Boston Globe has hit its long-sought goal of signing up 200,000 digital subscribers, a feat partly due to the recent overwhelming demand for COVID-19 news.


Remember TCI? You can forget about it till fall

The proposed multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) was one of the most hotly debated public-policy issues before the coronavirus outbreak consumed one and all on Beacon Hill. Now you can officially forget about TCI till the fall. Supporters of the controversial cap-and-trade pact have decided to push back the timeline to finalize a deal, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Legislative committee approves pilot supervised-injection sites

We’re pretty sure U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, among others, will be closely monitoring the progress of this legislation. The AP at CBS Boston reports that the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery on Friday approved a bill authorizing the state Department of Public Health to establish at least two safe-injection sites as part of a pilot program in Massachusetts – even though Lelling has said such sites would be illegal under federal laws.

CBS Boston

Old school: Senate race gets testy as Kennedy revives attack on Markey

Oldie but a goodie? Anthony Brooks of WBUR reports the Democratic Senate primary has moved into a new phase, with U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy reviving a past line of attack against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey–that he tends to prefer his Washington, D.C. home over his home district. Kennedy said the state “can’t afford to have absent leadership,” during the coronavirus crisis while Markey accused Kennedy of “playing politics” with the pandemic. 


Money doesn’t walk the walk: Biggest spender falls short in Hadley election

First-time candidate Jane Nevinsmith won a spot on the Hadley Select Board, outpacing a four-candidate field –including a rival who shattered records as she spent nearly 20 times as much as the victor — in a Saturday election that drew a relatively strong 30 percent turnout, Jacquelyn Voghel reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 


JALSA Impact Activist Monday

Join JALSA for a Zoom call and special guest, Kristina Mesnik Assistant Director, Common Cause on voting legislation, including mail-in voting.


Affordable ways to find new customers now.

Attracting customers doesn’t have to be expensive. Small business expert Steve Strauss talks with host Julie Hyman to share easy, affordable ways you can find new customers, even in these challenging times.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

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 Forum

JALSA Schmoozefest with Senator Cindy Friedman and the Greater Boston Food Bank

Schmoozefest has been a huge success. So why not join us on Tuesday for a late afternoon cup of coffee? This week we will be are excited to welcome: Senator Cindy Friedman Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health issues.


Coronavirus and the 2020 Elections

EJ Dionne, Washington Post columnist and political commentator, and Janet Hook, staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, discuss implications of the novel coronavirus for the 2020 elections.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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

ELM Wednesday Webinars | Session 7: The Future of Transportation Post-COVID

Join us Wednesday for The Future of Transportation Post-COVID, with Monica Tibbits-Nutt, who sits on the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, is Vice Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board, and serves as Executive Director of 128 Business Council. We’ll discuss COVID-19’s long-term impacts on traffic congestion, density, environmental justice, and transit.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

A Virtual Conversation with Pierce Brosnan & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Pierce Brosnan.

Ed Markey for Senate

Webinar: What Harvard Taught Me But My Kids Made Me Learn with Bea Wray

With grace, insight, and humor, Bea shares of her six year “break” on Daufuskie Island raising three children – and how it taught her that parenting is a breakthrough… not a break from a career.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

The Electoral College

Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College professor of law, Edward B. Foley, Ohio State University professor of constitutional law, and Jesse Wegman, author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College, discuss the history of and contemporary challenges to the Electoral College.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

US Foreign Policy and China

Lucy Hornby, a fellow at the Nieman Center for Journalism and former Beijing deputy bureau chief for the Financial Times, and Yasheng Huang, MIT professor of international management, discuss US foreign policy challenges and opportunities with Anthony Saich, Harvard professor of international affairs and director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Michael Douglas.

Senator Ed Markey

Today’s Headlines


Coronavirus college uncertainty could cause drops in Boston rents: experts – Boston Herald

Former Braintree mayor worked on reopening plans – Patriot Ledger


Springfield considers street closures to allow for expanded outdoor dining – MassLive

Haverhill mayor fears lack of buses when schools reopen – Eagle-Tribune

Some Central Mass. businesses experience unexpected boon during COVID-19 – Telegram & Gazette

Westport puts 100 school employees on furlough – Herald News


Justin Amash nixes third-party presidential run – Politico

Fired State Department inspector general was investigating whether Pompeo aide walked dog, picked up dry cleaning – Washington Post

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