U.S. Senate debate, menthol cigarette ban, and more
— The state’s ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products starts today.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg will chair a meeting of the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund board, 1 p.m. — Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to holds a regular conference call with legislative leaders, 2 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark joins the Center for American Progress and VoteVets for a briefing and discussion on what states and the federal government should do to ensure Americans can vote during the pandemic, 2 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and his Democratic primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, will debate for the first time since February, 7 p.m.
— Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy accepts written testimony on three bills, including legislation dealing with the gas infrastructure and public safety.
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.
From peaceful protests to violence in Boston
For the first time in more than two months, we’re leading off with non-coronavirus news – and it obviously has to do with the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the subsequent peaceful daytime protests that were later followed by largely nighttime violence across the nation this past weekend, including in Boston, where there were violent skirmishes on Friday in the South End and more serious violence, looting and burning last night, starting near the State House and Downtown Crossing and then spreading to the Back Bay (Boston Globe and Boston Herald and WCVB).
Here’s the most blunt and ominous headline one can read about last night’s events: “National Guard called in to quell Boston riots” (MassLive). And then there are the reactions of political leaders: “‘Criminal And Cowardly’: Gov. Baker Condemns Looting In Boston After George Floyd Protests” (CBS Boston); “Mayor Walsh, Governor Baker, Maura Healey react to Boston protests: ‘I see you. I hear you. I will use my voice for you.” (Boston Globe).
About the peaceful protests across the state …
It can’t be stressed enough: The vast majority of protests were peaceful across the state over the weekend, as a Wicked Local photo package makes clear. Here’s some more headlines from around the state. From the Daily Gazette: “More than 1,000 throng Amherst Common in call for racial justice.” From the Salem News: “Standing up against injustice in Salem.” From the Patriot Ledger: “Dozens in Scituate peacefully protest death of George Floyd.” From the Sun Chronicle: “More than 100 people turn out to Foxboro Common to protest racial injustice following death of George Floyd.”
So will someone please identify the outside ‘instigators’?
It comes as no surprise that President Trump and national Republicans are beating the blame-Atifa drums (Fox LA) after this past weekend’s violence across the nation in the wake of the George Floyd killing.
Local pols and leaders aren’t naming Antifa. But Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Police Department are indeed pointing the fingers at outsiders “who came into our city” (Walsh) and “those who came to Boston” (BPD) etc., as MassLive reports. In a tweet, Attorney General Maura Healey also refers to “the instigators” who sought to interfere with peaceful protesters. Meanwhile, Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin bluntly says (in the comments section): “I’ll go out on a limb here and call them suburban white kids who don’t give a shit about Boston come into town and have a night of fun.” And he adds: “This was not a black-led rampage.”
OK, so will authorities (and the media) please get to the bottom of this? A cursory review of videos and photos indeed shows a lot of black-clad white youths rumbling with police last night in Boston. Who are they? What groups are they from? Names of individuals and description of groups, please. Among those who want to know these truths are, we presume, most of the thousands of peaceful protesters.
The COVID-19 numbers: 78 new deaths, 6,846 total deaths, 664 new case
Now back to the pandemic: WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, with total deaths up by 206 since MassterList last published.
Al fresco dining: Baker may allow outdoor restaurant service next week – or maybe not
Gov. Charlie Baker has announced the start of his Phase Two reopening plan, with, among other things, the partial reopening of restaurants, perhaps starting next week. But as a four-reporter team at the Globe reports: The restaurant plan comes with a “significant caveat,” to wit: It will initially be limited to outdoor dining. And when indoor dining does resume, there will be significant social-distancing restrictions. And one other thing: It’s all tentative and based on COVID-19 case numbers continuing to improve. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Lisa Kashinsky and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett (pay wall) have more.
And, yes, you can resume practices, Danny Ainge
Under Gov. Charlie Baker’s Phase Two reopening plan, professional sports teams (i.e. the Celts and Bruins) are expected to resume practices today, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is blasting the governor for being “tone deaf” to the concerns of sports teams and fans.
‘The virus’s tale’
The Globe had a huge tick-tock story over the weekend that looks into how the coronavirus spread so far and wide in Massachusetts and basically tries to answer the secondary question: How the heck did this happen in a medical mecca like Boston? As Universal Hub notes, the story also delves into Gov. Baker’s untimely family trip to Utah in March when it was becoming apparent to many the outbreak was cresting.
Beacon Hill Democrats unveil expanded voting-by-mail plan
SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that House and Senate Democrats late last released a proposal that would dramatically expand voting-by-mail this year in Massachusetts, in response to fears that many voters may shy away from voting in-person amid the coronavirus crisis. The mail-in plan would be coupled with in-person early voting and traditional voting in September and November.
The plan comes as the debate over mail-in-voting heats up nationwide, with President Trump leading the charge against the idea, as CommonWealth magazine reports.
Taking advantage of low ridership, the T plans to shut down Green Line’s D branch for two weeks for repairs
First the Blue Line. Now this. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “The MBTA will shut down train service on the Green Line’s D Branch for a total of 18 days in June, the latest step in the transit agency’s efforts to accelerate maintenance work while ridership is low because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The closures will happen from June 6 through June 14 and from June 20 through June 28, with shuttle buses deployed during those days.
SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
Landlords sue to block Covid-19 ban on evictions
We’d be surprised if the court overturns the law. But you never know. From Universal Hub: “Two landlords, one the retired owner of a small building in Allston, have filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Judicial Court seeking to overturn a law passed and signed last that bars the eviction of most tenants during the current state of emergency.”
One thing is clear: It’s awfully hard to challenge a mayoral incumbent during a pandemic
The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that the coronavirus crisis is “making it increasingly hard for any challengers to take on Mayor Martin Walsh, political watchers say as the calendar approaches the time when challengers would have to have ramped up their efforts.”
Amid street protests and coronavirus fears, the U.S. Senate debate and race proceed forward, virtually and testily
The U.S. Senate primary clash between Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy was once viewed as the main political show to watch in Massachusetts. But now it’s mostly a sideshow amid the coronavirus outbreak and the protests and violence following the killing of George Floyd. But the two Dems are indeed still going at it, virtually and testily so, and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have good pieces this morning sizing up the race in advance of tonight’s second debate between the two candidates.
Breaking point: Crane Stationery to leave Berkshires for good
After weeks of squabbling with North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard over plans to restart operations during the coronavirus shutdown, Crane Stationery says it will officially leave the Berkshires for good this fall and reopen in a smaller facility in New York State, Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle reports. Bernard expressed frustration over the loss of some 300 jobs and claimed the company — whose history dates to the early 1800s in the area — leveraged the virus crisis to land federal aid on its way out of town.
It’s back: Rent control bills approved by Beacon Hill committee
At any other time, this would be one of the top stories on MassterList. But these aren’t ordinary times. I.e. A Beacon Hill Committee has endorsed two bills that would allow towns and cities to impose rent controls, more than two and half decades after voters narrowly abolished rent control in the state, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports. The legislation “faces certain opposition from Gov. Charlie Baker,” Lisinski writes.
SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
Sticking point: Potential sale of Globe looms over contract negotiations
Does the silence speak volumes? The Boston Newspaper Guild says questions posed to Globe management about eliminating contract language that would keep any negotiated agreement in place if the newspaper changes hands are going unanswered, ramping up concern that owner John Henry plans to put the paper up for sale, Sarah Bettencourt at CommonWealth Magazine reports. Guild members have been locked in tense negotiations with the Globe since before its last contract expired in 2018.
Double the fun: Rosa to take on Hall in Republican primary for congress
Make that two primaries in the state’s 4th Congressional district. George Rhodes at the Sun Chronicle reports Dighton resident David Rosa has joined fellow Republican Julie Hall in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy in Congress. Rosa has been down this road before: He lost badly to Kennedy back in 2016.
Time bomb? Methuen Council worries chief’s retirement could bust budget
They want the details –now. Two members of the Methuen City Council have asked for information on the benefits package that Police Chief Joseph Solomon could cash in when he retires, saying they’ve heard it could exceed $1 million and blow a hole in local budgets, Bill Kirk at the Eagle-Tribune reports.
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
JALSA Activist Monday 50K Challenge
Monday night, join your JALSA Impact community on Zoom to write postcards and hang out with your social justice friends.
US Senate primary debate between Sen. Ed Markey, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III
Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III will debate. The debate will be moderated by Dave Madsen, Western Mass News anchor; Bob Oakes, host of WBUR’s Morning Edition; Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker; and WCVB On the Record anchor, Janet Wu.
WCVB, Western Mass News, The Boston Globe, WBUR and UMB’’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
Tech Adoption for Small Business through Covid-19 and Beyond
Ramon Ray hosts Shelly Palmer, advising how your small business can adopt new tech to help you pivot for the future.
Verizon Small Business Webinar Series
JALSA Schmoozefest with Joan Venocchi
Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe Associate Editor, discussing the impact of COVID-19 on journalism; Clark Ziegler, MA Housing Partnership, on the challenge of affordable housing; with Music from Chava Mirel, internationally touring folk, world music, and jazz musician
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.
A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey
Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Michael Douglas.
The Future of Work: Pivoting Your Business for a Strong Reopening
The health and economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic requires our businesses to adapt and transform the way we operate. In this session, learn from business experts and resource partners on how you can pivot your operating model, integrate technology tools and enhance your marketing strategies to operate successfully in the new normal.
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
Layoffs loom for Brookline school employees – Boston Globe
State revenue shortfall brings uncertainty to Lynn school budget – Lynn Item
Montague town meeting now set to be held in school parking lot – Greenfield Recorder
Haverhill’s first pot shop opens – Eagle-Tribune
Holy Cross rowing team member sues college, coach over fatal crash – Telegram & Gazette
Protests could set off second wave of coronavirus, experts warn – New York Times
As cities burned, Trump stayed silent–other than tweeting fuel on the fire – Washington Post
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