Keller at Large

Urine trouble if something isn’t done soon

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller isn’t joking: Maybe it’s time to relax state public urination laws – or people may not want to drive to the Cape or Berkshires this summer if it means having to use public restrooms during these coronavirus times.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Board of Education and more

Massachusetts Lottery Commission meets remotely, with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairing, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III tours Square One and discusses the impact COVID-19 has had on their services, Square One, 1095 Main St, Springfield, 11:35 a.m.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds a remote meeting, with plans to discuss action steps related to COVID-19, high school MCAS testing plans, and an update on education budget matters, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey hosts a livestream discussion with Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George on the city’s need for increased funding for broader internet access for students and relief for small businesses amid the coronavirus crisis, 7:30 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: 44 new deaths, 6,416 total deaths, 596 new cases

SHNS Coronavirus Tracker has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, with total deaths up by 268 since MassterList last published before the holiday weekend.

Partial reopening: Hair salons and barbershops packed, retail stores not so much

One thing we now know about the two-month-old pandemic lockdown: A lot of people have wanted a haircut. Phase One of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan commenced over the Memorial Day weekend in Massachusetts. And … from the Patriot Ledger’s Susannah Sudborough: “Hair salons, pet groomer and barbers have reopened, and many will be booked for months.” … From the Globe’s Zoe Greenberg: “My first COVID-19 haircut.”

There also seemed to be pent-up demand for watching flicks outside the home. From MassLive’s Scott Croteau: “Mendon Twin Drive-In sells out midnight shows while adding safety measures during coronavirus pandemic.” And, of course, there were the happy tokers. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Pot shops reopen to long lines, high demand after coronavirus closures.”

But not all went well on the partial-reopening front. From a three-reporter team at the Globe: “Retailers report slow start to COVID-19 reopening plan Monday, but for some industries, business was brisk.” … And it seems there wasn’t all that much pent-up demand to go to church. From Adrian Ma at WBUR: “A Church Reopens In Cambridge, But Most Members Are Not Ready To Gather.” 

As for the Cape? Rather ominously for the tourism industry, there wasn’t much pent-up demand there either – and the photos prove it, as the Cape Cod Times reports. 

Not everyone is excited about the partial reopening …

There are more than a few people upset about the first-phase reopening of the state’s economy over the Memorial Day weekend. From the Globe’s Anissa Gardiz: “Black and Latinx activists say state is reopening too soon.” And the Herald’s Andrew Martinez reports that some are unhappy about the state’s overall pandemic response in general, not just with reopening policies: “Activists lay coffin at State House steps in protest of coronavirus response to minorities.”

Meanwhile, many Bay State residents say, reopening or no reopening, they want to continue working from home, permanently, according to a new Pioneer Institute survey, as the Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports.

The coronavirus numbers: The good news and the bad news

As the state slowly reopens its economy, there’s some good news on the pandemic front in Massachusetts: The state indeed seems to be bending the curve, based on a number of key data measurements, the Globe reports.

The bad news: We have a long way to go in terms of reaching “herd immunity,” based on a British study of the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts, as the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi separately reports.

State unemployment rate hit 15 percent in April

You’ve probably already read about this, but it bears repeating up high: The state’s unemployment rate indeed hit 15 percent in April, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports. And, obviously, it doesn’t include all the jobs lost so far in May. And, once again, that 25 percent prediction doesn’t sound so preposterous now, unless the economy miraculously rebounds soon.

‘Virtual dropouts’

So how’s the virtual learning going for public-school students amid the pandemic? It depends on where they live. The Globe’s Bianca Vázquez Toness reports on the thousands of Boston public school students who have become “virtual dropouts” since the BPS switched to online learning in March. Meanwhile, CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg reports on the remote-learning challenges facing Gateway Cities. “In many cases, students, particularly in low-income areas, are falling through the gaps,” she writes.

Btw, from the Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman: “Open the school by fall, says Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George.”

Take your pick: Virtual graduation with Charlie Baker or outdoor graduation in late July?

Speaking of schools, WGBH reports it will be playing broadcast host for a planned statewide commencement address by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Class of 2020 high school graduates across Massachusetts. The event is scheduled for June 9. Then again, if students, parents and schools officials want to hold outdoor graduations, they can do so – in late July, reports MassLive.

After rash of city shootings, Walsh knocks release of inmates during pandemic

From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is criticizing the early release of inmates during the coronavirus pandemic for contributing to the city’s recent spate of violence — his comments coming hours after a fatal Jamaica Plain shooting marked the fourth homicide in a week.”

To be clear, there are additional reasons for the uptick in violence, as the Globe’s John Ellement reports. It’s not just about released inmates.

Boston Herald

Baker’s coronavirus box score: 3 hits, 3 errors …

Dr. Paul Hattis, an associate professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, reviews Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus box score, complete with Baker’s impressive hits, not-so-impressive errors and the pandemic balls still in play. He missed one error, by our scorekeeping count: Transparency, i.e. the administration’s usual default position of not releasing data until pressured to release data etc.

Along the same lines, WGBH’s Adam Reilly reviews “what Massachusetts got right in its pandemic response,” with his second what-the-state-got-wrong piece presumably coming out soon.


Baker and the Chamber: Not as united as they appear

The Globe’s Shirley Leung and Jon Chesto take a look at the relationship between Gov. Charlie Baker and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Jim Rooney during the pandemic. Even though they’re Harvard classmates and otherwise get along fine, the chamber has recently been challenging the Baker administration and “establishment” for more details about the reopening process, Leung and Chesto write.

But there’s an irony here: As many business people will privately confirm, the chamber is normally considered a reliable don’t-rock-the-boat establishment business group, if one considers the establishment as tilting blue in policies in this bluest of blue states. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts and Mass High Tech Council are normally considered far more aggressive in pursuing pro-business policies in blue Massachusetts. But these aren’t normal times, and so …

Boston Globe

Now they tell us: ‘Baker’s emergency authority a bit fuzzy’

One more Baker-as-leader item: More than two months after declaring a state of emergency and issuing almost countless executive orders during the pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker’s authority seems legally unassailable. Or is it? Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine explores the somewhat murky nature of the Civil Defense Act of 1950 that the governor cites for his actions during the current crisis. 

Donna Morrissey, who headed PR for the Archdiocese and the American Red Cross, RIP

Another sad one. From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “Donna M. Morrissey, who served as spokeswoman for the Boston Archdiocese at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal and later for the Red Cross, died on Friday from complications from the coronavirus, the organization said. She was 51.”

CBS Boston and the Globe’s Bryan Marquard have more on Morrissey’s life and career, including how she probably had the most thankless PR task in recent local memory as spokeswoman for the church.

Boston Herald

Changing course: Warren to host big-bucks fundraiser for Biden

That was then, this is now. After vowing to eschew big-donor fundraising shindigs during her own presidential run, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is poised to host exactly that kind of event for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Reid Epstein reports at the New York Times.


Rematch? McMahon may challenge Moran for Senate seat in fall

If at first … Republican James McMahon is already dropping hints that he may launch a challenge to newly elected state Sen. Susan Moran, who defeated him in last week’s special election, Geoff Spillane reports at the Cape Cod Times. Moran’s theory of the case: The pandemic hampered his campaign and kept turnout low in most communities in the district — but not Moran’s hometown of Falmouth, where voters turned out en masse to vote in local races and a Prop 2 ½ override. 

Cape Cod Times

‘End of the line for the old Lechmere station’

Universal Hub reports that the old Lechmere T station, originally opened in 1922, closed for good over the weekend, as the MBTA plans to open a brand-new nearby station. We’ll miss the old station, for decades the gateway into and out of Boston for many who lived in Somerville and Cambridge. It was also fascinating to watch trains make that slow hairpin turn at the end of the line.

Universal Hub

Shut down: Regulators says towns can ignore requests from repeat records requesters

Enough is enough. The state’s supervisor of public records is allowing towns to set aside public records requests from individuals who have flooded their offices with document demands in the past, Colman Herman reports at CommonWealth Magazine. Some towns have fielded hundreds of records requests from single individuals in recent years and officials say the lost time and money is adding up.


Another reason to stay indoors: Woman bitten by non-social-distancing coyote on Cape beach

Mary Ann Bragg at the Provincetown Banner reports that a coyote bit a woman over the weekend while she was reading a book on Herring Cove Beach, prompting authorities to issue a warning about an uptick in coyote-related calls to police.

Provincetown Banner

Preparing Your Business for Reopening

Join Rosalin Acosta, MA Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Dan Rivera, Mayor of the City of Lawrence and member of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board, Natalia Urtubey, Director of Small Business for Boston and Marcela Aldaz, Partner at Surfside Capital Advisors, who will discuss the timing of the Governor’s reopening plan, regulations, and best practices for employers.

Amplify Latinx

ELM Wednesday Webinars | Session 8: Perspectives on Clean Energy & Climate Policy

In Session 8 of ELM’s Wednesday Webinar series, Perspectives on Clean Energy & Climate Policy, we’ll be joined by legislators representing citizens of MA at different jurisdictions. We’ll hear from U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, MA State Representative Tom Golden, and Quincy City Councilor Nina Liang.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

State Representative Candidate Joe Gravellese to host virtual town hall on supporting small businesses with Daniel Takash of the Niskanen Center

State Representative candidate Joe Gravellese (MA 16th Suffolk District – Revere, Chelsea, Saugus) will host a Virtual Town Hall with Daniel Takash, regulatory policy fellow at the Niskanen Center, a nonpartisan Washington DC think tank. Gravellese and Takash will discuss ways to reform and modernize regulations to allow small businesses to flourish, especially in the post-COVID-19 environment.

Committee to Elect Joe Gravellese

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

Free Virtual Seminar with a Google Certified Speaker

We’re helping you amplify your business presence to Narrow the Search: Get in Front of Customers Right Now.


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

Virtual Coffee with Governor Baker

Join ABLE’s CEO, Marian Walsh, and our Board Chairperson, Lydia Greene, as they salute Governor Charlie Baker for his leadership, voice of calm, and clear guidance throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Operation ABLE

A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey

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

Senator Ed Markey

MassHire Central Region Career Center Virtual Job Fair

It’s Central Massachusetts “Back to Work” Day! More than two dozen employers from diverse industries will participate in the Central Region Career Center’s Virtual Job Fair on June 4th from noon – 4:30PM. The Virtual Job Fair is FREE for all job seekers and employers; no pre-registration required for job seekers.

MassHire Central Region Career Center

Virtual Author Talk with Honor Moore

Virtual Author Talk with Honor Moore, Moderated by Claire Messud

American Ancestors and NEHGS together with the Boston Public Library and the State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


More than 550 Quincy businesses apply for city-funded relief – Patriot Ledger

Brockton mayor moves to allow outdoor dining for first time in city history – Brockton Enterprise


Andrew Sluckis to remain Auburn police chief, won’t take selectman seat – Telegram & Gazette

Legislation to ease alcohol licensing gains support on Cape – Cape Cod Times

Facebook fundraiser for laid-off workers get scrutiny – Salem News


‘Something isn’t right’: U.S. probes soaring beef prices – Politico

Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff – The Hill

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: 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.