Keller at Large
Why should Biden pass over Warren? Let us count the ways
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller notes how a group of liberals have written a letter listing all the reasons why Joe Biden should choose Elizabeth Warren as his VP running mate. Jon lists all the reasons why Biden shouldn’t choose Warren.
Gaming Commission, Vote-by-mail legislation, and more
— U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark holds a press conference with child care providers and parents to unveil a bill that her office said will help child care facilities to safely reopen, 10 a.m.
— Mass. Gaming Commission holds a meeting with officials from Plainridge Park Casino and the Harness Horsemen’s Association of New England to discuss the challenges to reopening the state’s lone horse racing venue, 10 a.m.
— Lawmakers in the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and civil rights activists host a press briefing to discuss systems for licensing police officers and other accountability measures, 11 a.m.
— Senate holds formal session to consider a wide-ranging early voting and vote-by-mail bill that shares key similarities with the legislation already passed by the House, 11 a.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.
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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: 23 new deaths, 7,647 total deaths, 87 new cases
MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
State eases some child-care reopening guidelines amid outcry
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that the Baker administration is relaxing some child-care and summer-camp reopening regulations amid an outcry over previous rules critics say were too strict. Among the changes: Encouraging, rather than mandating, use of protective masks for children under 2 and eliminating temperature checks at the entrances of facilities.
Btw: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and others plan to unveil today their own child-care reopening proposals. See Happening Today item above.
GOP leader urges Baker to ‘accelerate’ reopening of economy
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall across the state (see above ‘numbers’ post), Republican House Minority Leader Brad Jones is urging Gov. Charlie Baker, a fellow Republican, to speed up the reopening of the economy, report SHNS’s Colin Young and Matt Murphy. Baker is expected to announce later this week possible new reopening guidelines, as long as current coronavirus trends hold.
But it seems a lot of people aren’t complying much with Baker’s previous social-distancing edicts. From the Globe’s Hanna Kruege: “A sunny weekend brings out crowds quick to abandon social distancing guidelines.”
Protesters urged to get tested at new pop-up centers
Gov. Charlie Baker is urging those who attended recent anti-racism rallies to get tested for COVID-19 at one of 50 new pop-up testing facilities that are expected to open later this week, reports CBS Boston.
Harvard drops SATs for pandemic-year applicants
Harvard set the example by initially emptying its campus at the start of the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, and now it may be setting an example for other colleges to follow by not requiring next year’s undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores. The Globe’s Laura Krantz and Deirdre Fernandes have more on the latest COVID-19 fallout within higher education.
Hits keep coming: Taunton issues 150-plus pink slips amid statewide school budget uncertainty
Speaking of education in the pandemic era, this sounds familiar. Taunton school officials say they’re sending out more than 150 pink slips to teachers and aides whose contracts won’t be renewed as it wrestles with a $5.8 billion budget shortfall. But Taunton, like other school districts facing possible layoffs, is holding out hope state lawmakers can deliver local aid in time to recover some of the positions, Charles Winokoor at the Taunton Gazette reports.
In related pandemic-finance news, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy said yesterday that he expects President Trump will be more receptive to another massive stimulus-relief package as the November election approaches and as more states suffer financial hardships related to the coronavirus outbreak, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports (pay wall).
Local leaders praise Supreme Court’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination ruling
From Gov. Charlie Baker to Attorney General Maura Healey, local leaders yesterday were praising the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox and MassLive’s Steph Solis have the details.
Meanwhile, nation’s high court refuses to review state’s assault-weapons ban
Besides its historic ruling yesterday on LGBTQ workplace discrimination, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday also refused to hear a handful of gun-rights cases, two of them with Massachusetts ties, dealing with the right to carry arms and a ban on some semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines, reports the AP at the Washington Post.
Fireworks mayhem: Triple-decker set ablaze in Worcester, Chelsea vows ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown
What the heck is going on? Get a load of the latest fireworks-mayhem headlines from around the state, starting with the Telegram: “Fire Dept: 3-decker blaze in Worcester started by illegal fireworks.” … From the Lynn Item: “Fireworks issue explodes in Lynn.” … From the Dorchester Reporter: “Fireworks onslaught prompts community discussion .”
Meanwhile, the war on illegal fireworks is escalating in Chelsea, where police are vowing a “zero tolerance” crackdown, reports CBS Boston. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has an update on other actions to curtail the illegal use of fireworks across the state.
Keolis rail contract extended to give T time to develop futuristic train system
As CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports, Keolis Commuter Services was in the MBTA dog house only a few years ago, but that was then and this is now – and yesterday the T extended Keolis’s commuter rail contract as the transit agency prepares plans for a long-term overhaul of the current system. SHNS’s Chris Liskinski (pay wall) has more on the contract extension and hopes for a different commuter-rail future.
To attract riders, MBTA to experiment with ‘flex’ passes for those who don’t commute every day
Speaking of the T, the transit agency’s ridership is slowly growing now that the state’s economy is reopening. But it’s not growing fast enough, so the MBTA is now introducing a new ticket program that allows passengers to space out a limited amount of rides over a 30-day period, rather than passengers buying full monthly passes. It’s a nod to the new pandemic normal of employees not working at their offices every day. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details.
EBay employees accused of harassing Natick bloggers by sending them live cockroaches, pig fetus, spiders, porn etc.
They apparently didn’t like what a Natick couple was writing on their blog/newsletter/whatever and so they reportedly came up with a plan to harass the duo. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei and Allison Levitsky report on the arrest of six former eBay employees (and we’re talking about some high ranking employees) who apparently have very thin skin. Definitely check out Universal Hub’s lead-graf description of their antics.
If the long fight over body cameras is any indication, it may take a while to reform police
The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has a good column this morning on how it’s going to be difficult to achieve police reforms in Massachusetts, thanks to police unions and collective bargaining agreements, as Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has discovered in recent years.
In related policing news, from the Globe’s Dugan Arnett and Milton J. Valencia: “Boston has regularly touted the effectiveness of ‘community policing.’ Does it work?”
Cutting ties: Andelman’s Facebook posts scuttle Marshfield drive-in expansion
The fallout from Dave Andelman’s anti-protests rants continues. The owners of the Marshfield fairgrounds say they’ll no longer partner with Andelman’s Mendon Twin Drive-in to bring an outdoor movie screen to the fairgrounds this summer, Wheeler Cooperthwaite at the Patriot Ledger reports. A New Hampshire firm will now operate the pop-up drive-in, possibly starting this coming weekend.
Earlier the better: Amherst eyes elementary curriculum to stamp out racism
It’s never too soon. Amherst officials say they’ll develop and launch an anti-racism curriculum for students in its elementary schools starting this fall, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Details of the effort are expected to be unveiled later in the summer.
Boston Herald’s hedge fund owner: I’m an idealist, not a villainous newspaper industry vampire
We missed this story from last week, i.e. the Washington Post getting an interview with a man who many journalists view as the Count Dracula of the newspaper industry, Heath Freeman, head of the cost-slashing hedge fund firm that ultimately owns the Boston Herald and a slew of other newspapers across the country. Freeman insists he wants to help the media find a new business model, not suck every last drop of blood from newspapers before heading to his Hamptons castle on weekends, etc.
Print, out: Daily Hampshire Gazette to outsource newspaper production
Speaking of the newspaper business, they’re stopping the presses in western Massachusetts. The publisher of the Daily Hampshire Gazette says it’s getting out of the printing business, a move that will result in the layoffs of 20 part-time and nine full-time employees. Publisher Michael Moses says outsourcing printing will allow the newspaper and its sister publications to focus on newsgathering.
He’s back: Sullivan returns to old OCPF post after search stalls out
As SHNS’s Matt Murphy puts it: “He’s back.” Yes, Michael Sullivan, who retired last year after running the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance for a quarter of a century, has been appointed “director pro tem” of the office after the search for new director stalled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Flag flap: Markey and Hodgson trade Twitter blows over handling of Old Glory and Stars and Bars
The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson are “locked in a social media showdown” over Markey’s mishandling of the U.S. flag on his front porch and Hodgson once wearing a necktie historians say resembles the Confederacy’s old Stars & Bars flag. More on the Markey front-porch flag flap here.
Now we know: UMass Dartmouth’s Johnson is leaving to head Western New England University
The mystery is no longer a mystery. The BBJ’s Hilary Burns reports that UMass Dartmouth chancellor Robert Johnson, who announced last week he was leaving his post for unspecified reasons, has been chosen as the next president of Western New England University. Burns has the details.
Massachusetts 4th District Congressional Candidate Forum On Energy and the Environment
Join ELM and sponsoring partners today for Part 3 of a virtual MA 4th Congressional District Candidate Forum on Energy and the Environment. The forum will be divided into three one-hour Zoom sessions (at 12PM on June 9, 11, and 16) to allow 10 candidates to respond to crucial questions on environmental and energy policy. June 16: Jake Auchincloss, Dave Cavell, Natalia Linos
Individual Homelessness in a COVID-19 World virtual event
Join the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance for a panel discussion of lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for Massachusetts to transform the way we address homelessness among adults as we move forward.
Roadmap to Success for the New Small Business Majority
With a new roadmap to success, small business owners are growing stronger together. Learn how Elizabeth Gore, co-founder of Hello Alice, believes we can empower what she calls the “new majority” of entrepreneurs.
This week we are excited to welcome: Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, with observations on COVID-19, racial justice, and democracy; Executive Director of MassEquality, Tanya Neslusan, talking about Pride Month and GLBTQ+ rights; and Music by Rabbi Joe Black, named a “Top Ten” Jewish music artist.
ELM Wednesday Webinars | Session 10: A New Era for State Climate Action
In the final webinar of this series, “Session 10: A New Era for State Climate Action”, join ELM as we hear from MA Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. She will discuss how the Baker Administration has been balancing the dual crises of COVID-19 and climate change and more.
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