Happening Today

U.S. Senate debate and more

Boston City Council Committee on Strong Women, Family, and Community holds virtual public hearing explore preparation for youth employment opportunities amid and after the pandemic, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks with legislative leaders in a private conference call, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Mayor Marty Walsh speak at a virtual commencement ceremony for Boston Arts Academy graduates, 7 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy will hold a second U.S Senate debate in as many weeks, this time in Providence, R.I. studios due to coronavirus concerns at UMass Dartmouth, WPRI-TV Ch. 12 and wpri.com, 7 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 coronavirus numbers: 27 new deaths, 7.317 total deaths, 304 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts; total deaths are up 115 since MassterList last published.

Phase Two: How open is open?

As expected, Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend announced that, starting as soon as today, many restaurants, retail shops, lodging facilities and other businesses can reopen under his Phase Two plans, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

But there are plenty of restrictions – and so the question is: How open will they really be? From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Restaurants ready, but many lack outdoor space to reopen.” And from WBUR’s Callum Borchers: “Putting On Masks And Praying For Sun: How Mass. Restaurants Are Reopening.” Meanwhile, the Globe has started a “running list” of restaurants reopening with outdoor seating – and it’s not much of a list.

Still, many establishments are just excited to even partially reopen. From the Telegram: “Worcester restaurants line up for outdoor permits.” … From the Sun Chronicle: “Attleboro area restaurants eager to start serving outdoors.” … But Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports customers and shoppers in general may be left in the dark about coronavirus clusters that may force future case-by-case closures. He explains.

One industry that’s unhappy about the latest reopening: Child-care

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg and the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert report on widespread discontent over Gov. Charlie Baker’s Phase Two reopening restrictions on child-care centers, with more than 24,000 people signing a petition asking to revise standards.

Walsh fears another spike in coronavirus cases due to reopenings and protests

With the exception of those in the child-care industry, many business owners are cheering the Phase Two reopenings that start today in Massachusetts. But Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is worried that the Phase Two steps, combined with recent mass protests over the killing of George Floyd, could lead to a second surge in COVID-19 cases, according to a report at WCVB.


Baker signs bill giving local governments more flexibility on budgeting and meetings

This is of interest to more than a few local government officials around the state. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “Remote participation at representative town meetings, more flexibility in municipal budgeting, and emergency educator licenses are among the measures in a local governance reform bill signed Friday by Gov. Charlie Baker to help cities and towns continue operations during the COVID-19 crisis.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

More controversy over two Harvard-led coronavirus studies

Matthew Herper at STAT News reports that the University of Utah has “mutually agreed” to terminate the faculty appointment of one of the co-authors of two Harvard-led coronavirus papers/studies/whatever that were recently retracted by the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet.

The NYT has a good summary of the larger retraction controversy involving a professor at Harvard.


Who’s that man behind the anti-lockdown lawsuit curtain?

Writing at CommonWealth magazine, Maurice Cunningham sees the hand (and money) of arch-conservative Charles Koch behind the recent lawsuit challenging Gov. Charlie Baker’s use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports on a former Baker campaign aide who’s launched “Open America PAC,” and he’s none too impressed with Baker these days.


Getting action: Baker, DeLeo, Walsh and others now eyeing police reforms

Switching to the anti-racism rallies around the state and country, the protesters appear to be getting results, or at least promises of results. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Gov. Charlie Baker, after talking to Black and Latino lawmakers, says he expects this week to announce “specific proposals” dealing with law enforcement. Meanwhile, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “DeLeo Pledges Action to Ensure’ Equal Justice.” … After Boston city councilors last week said they were looking to defund police programs, as the Globe’s Milton Valencia reports, we got this headline, via the Globe’s John Hilliard:“Mayor says Boston will look at reallocating parts of police budget.” … And they’re getting down to specific ideas in Springfield as well, as Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight reports.

But we haven’t seen (yet) anything that goes this far: “Minneapolis council majority backs disbanding police force” (CNBC). Though the Globe’s Adrian Walker thinks Ibram X. Kendi may soon have a reform idea or two coming out of BU.

The protests and rallies: They haven’t gone away

We could be wrong, but the intensity of last week’s protests seemed to have ebbed a bit over the weekend. Not that the protests around the state have gone away, as the Globe’s Danny McDonald and Gal Tziperman Lotan report. … A sampling of local headlines from around the state, starting with MassLive: “In Northampton, where thousands gathered to protest police brutality, officers back away and event turns into street party.” … From WBUR: “Boston Vigil Honors Breonna Taylor On Her 27th Birthday And Calls For Police Reforms.” … From the Enterprise: “Randoph protest peacefully against racism.” … From Metrowest Daily News: “Framingham Black Lives Matter demonstration draws more than 600.” … From the Cape Cod Times: “Hundreds march, congregate in Hyannis to protest racial injustice.”

MBTA and UMass-Boston to police: The days of free bus rides and parking are over

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro report sthat the MBTA, under criticism, has announced it will no longer bus local police to and from protests. And UMass-Boston, also under criticism, says State Police can no longer use campus parking lots as staging areas for protests and other events, reports WBUR’s Carrie Jung.

So when are we going to see an end to the National Guard deployment in Boston?

Donald Trump has ordered the National Guard to pull out of Washington D.C. (NPR). But, as far as we can tell based on media reports, the same hasn’t been done so far in Boston, where the Globe’s Dugan Arnett and Universal Hub report on the continued presence (at least as of late last week) of National Guard troops in Boston and elsewhere in Massachusetts. On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the guard was playing a positive role in helping local police keep the peace, as Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth magazine.

Romney joins D.C. march; Russell unloads on Trump

They may no longer live in Massachusetts, but we still call ‘em our own. And so it should be noted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and current Utah senator, yesterday joined protest marchers in the Washington D.C. (Washington Post –scroll down). Meanwhile, former Celtics super-star Bill Russell is blasting away again at Donald Trump (Globe).  

Are we witnessing history unfold or not?

Last week we briefly tackled the issue of whether today’s peaceful protests (and post-protest violence by a few) are indeed historic. Our conclusion: Yes, though how historic is another matter. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas tackles roughly the same issue in a piece headlined: “Protesting the George Floyd killing: A moment or a movement?” 

We agree that “how historic” depends on how much is actually accomplished as a result of the protests. Protest for protest’s sake is just, well, protest.


The week the looters came to his son’s pharmacy

The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby has a good column headlined “The week the looters came,” and it’s not quite what you might think. You see, his son’s West Coast pharmacy was recently looted on five consecutive nights. Then again, his father’s store was spared from looting in ’68 because of the “beautiful grace” of a few. And Jacoby thinks “America desperately needs more acts of beauty and grace” these days.

Boston Globe

The miracle of capitalism: ‘Boston Board Up’

Yes, there really is a local company that boards up windows in the case of riots … or in the case of storms, fires, etc. The Globe’s Steve Annear is on it.

Tenuous situation: Non-tenured professors may be cut en masse

UMass Boston says as many as half of its non-tenured professors may not be reappointed to teaching positions this coming fall amid uncertainty over enrollment and students and professors alike say slashing the profs most likely to interact with first-year students could have serious long-term impacts, Fred Thys of WBUR reports. 


‘Big day’: Judge orders Trump administration to revisit Mashpee Wampanoag decision

Not so fast. Just as it appeared the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe was running out of legal options to keep its planned Taunton casino project alive, the tribe is now celebrating a judge’s ruling that the Interior Department must reconsider its 2018 decision wiping out the Wampanoags’ claim to the property, reports Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Kennedy rejects retaliatory PAC aide

From the Globe’s Victoria McGrane: “Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III publicly called on supporters not to form a super PAC to boost his Democratic primary challenge to Senator Edward J. Markey. A group of undisclosed Kennedy supporters has been working in recent days to form an outside expenditure group to help Kennedy after an influential state environmental announced plans to spend $200,000 this month to help Markey.” Btw: Don’t forget there’s another U.S. Senate debate tonight (see out Happening Today section above).

Globe pulls Sunday Magazine due to ill-timed cover illustration

From Universal Hub: “The Boston Globe announced on the (Sunday) front page that ‘the Sunday Magazine was removed from as many copies of today’s Globe as possible because a cover illustration, which was printed in May, bore an unintentional but close resemblance to the way George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.” As UH points out, you can still read the contents of the magazine here.

Universal Hub

After lifting commercial fishing ban off Northeast coast, Trump calls Maine governor ‘dictator’

He came, he saw, he insulted. SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and the Globe’s James Pindell report that President Trump, during a brief whirlwind trip to Maine last Friday, announced he was lifting commercial fishing restrictions off the Northeast coast.

But a Trump visit wouldn’t be a Trump visiting without a personal insult or two – and so, sure enough, he accused Maine Gov. Janet Mills of acting like a “dictator” for not reopening the state fast enough during the coronavirus emergency, reports the Bangor Daily News.

Bangor Daily News

Defending the defender: Fall River rally backs assaulted Trump supporter

They’ve got his back. Dozens turned out in Fall River on Saturday to rally in support of Charlie Chase, the 82-year-old Air Force vet who was assaulted while holding a Trump sign last week, Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News reports. Meanwhile, Chase’s case continues to gain national attention, with Donald Trump Jr. offering his support–via the Howie Carr radio show–over the weekend.  

Herald News

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

Protecting Cystic Fibrosis Patients from Discrimination by ICER Through COVID-19 & Beyond

Pioneer Institute and the Boomer Esiason Foundation will host an educational webinar, Protecting Cystic Fibrosis Patients from Discrimination by ICER Through COVID-19 & Beyond, on the importance of protecting patients with cystic fibrosis and any other complex condition from the harms of ICER and other one-size-fits-all value assessment methodologies both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pioneer Institute and the Boomer Esiason Foundation

How do We Avoid Another Foreclosure Crisis?

Please join MassINC and The MassINC Polling Group for a virtual discussion exploring the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Massachusetts housing markets. Juana Matias will lead the conversation along with Steve Koczela and Ben Forman. We will unpack findings from a new MassINC public opinion poll and consider how state & local leaders can act to stabilize families and keep communities intact.

MassINC and The MassINC Polling

A Virtual Conversation with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin.

Ed Markey for Senate

Today’s Headlines


‘It’s literally every night’: Dorchester residents losing sleep, patience over firework disturbances – Boston Globe

UMass Boston no longer allows Mass. State Police to use campus as staging area for protests – MassLive


I-93 HOV lanes returning Monday – Patriot Ledger

Weymouth developer withdraws 40B application due to ‘tremendous opposition’ – Patriot Ledger

Bridgewater State student who wore blackface, used N word ‘no longer’ at college – Brockton Enterprise


As Trump touts increased production, coronavirus swabs made during his Maine factory tour will be tossed in the trash – USA Today

New York City begins reopening after 3 months of outbreak and hardship – New York Times

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