Happening Today

Economic development bill, Taunton teachers protest, and more

— The Department of Public Utilities finishes a full week of evidentiary hearings related to Eversource’s petition for approval of general increase in base distribution rates for gas service, 10 a.m.

Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee holds a virtual hearing on the $240 million economic stimulus bill filed by Gov. Baker, 11 a.m.

— Sen. Harriette Chandler and Sen. Michael Moore host Massachusetts Restaurant Association president Bob Luz for a virtual town hall to discuss the reopening of Massachusetts’ restaurant industry, 11:30 a.m. 

 — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh appears on ‘Ask the Mayor,’ WGBH 89.7 FM, 12 p.m. 

Taunton educators plan to protest school cuts and possibly 160 layoffs within the district, Taunton Green, 3 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: 25 new deaths, 7,963 total death, 226 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Teachers and others flunk Baker administration’s school-reopening plans

Until this week, Gov. Charlie Baker was facing criticism that his economic reopening plans were too strict. Now he’s facing the opposite criticism – that his school reopening guidelines are not strict enough. The Herald’s Alexi Cohan and Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Meghan Irons and James Vaznis report that more than a few school teachers, administrators and parents are unhappy about the administration’s preliminary guidelines for resuming in-person classes this fall amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, from the Sun Chronicle: “Attleboro-area administrators concerned about logistics, costs of state’s school reopening guidelines.” … From the Telegram: “Central Mass. school officials on board for reopening, but money an issue.” … And, finally, from the Sun Chronicle again: “Attleboro state Rep. Hawkins seeks MCAS moratorium.” 

Meanwhile, Baker’s Soldiers’ Home reforms under fire from two fronts

Gov. Charlie Baker’s oversight reform proposals for the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where scores of veterans have perished amid the pandemic and amid accusations of gross mismanagement at the facility, is coming under fire from two fronts. First, some are questioning why Baker didn’t request that the next head of the facility be a medically licensed professional, as the Globe’s Matt Stout and Hanna Krueger and CommonWealth’s Sarah Bettancourt report.

Second, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell say lawmakers need to launch their own investigation into what happened at the state-run facility before a vote can be held on reforms, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports (pay wall). WBUR’s Miriam Wasser has more on Baker’s reform package.

House and Senate agree to extend MBTA Control Board for another year

As lawmakers grapple with a host of thorny issues tied to the coronavirus pandemic, House and Senate leaders reached an agreement yesterday to extend the current MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board’s authority for another year, rather than getting bogged down in debate over what might replace the board. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has more, including how lawmakers have also agreed to cut the road-and-bridge maintenance bill back to $200 million amid shaky state finances.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Checkpoint Charlie? Concerns grow over out-of-state tourists crossing into Mass.

The Globe’s Kay Lazar reports on the increasing concerns over out-of-state tourists arriving in Massachusetts this summer carrying the coronavirus. Massachusetts currently has a 14-day quarantine advisory in place for out-of-staters coming here, but it has no enforcement penalties. New York’s travel advisory, on the other hand, includes fines of up to $10,000 for quarantine violators, the Globe reports. And so … 

Boston Globe

State plans to step up flu vaccinations this fall

There’s no vaccine (yet) for the coronavirus. But there are vaccines for other flu bugs – and the Baker administration is planning to boost efforts this fall to vaccinate more people for the flu in order to avert the double whammy of a COVID-19 pandemic on top of a widespread flu outbreak, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

‘Thousands of attempts’ have been made to defraud jobless-benefits program, Baker says

As the number of people seeking unemployment assistance continues to rise in Massachusetts (SHNS – pay wall), Gov. Charlie Baker says the processing of those claims has unfortunately been slowed due to the “thousands of attempts to steal money” from the program, reports Steph Solis at MassLive.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Sean Murphy provides a name and face of one of those whose legitimate claim has been caught up in the processing slowdown apparently caused by Nigerian scammers who have filed fraudulent claims nationwide using stolen identities.


House approves Juneteenth as state holiday

SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports that the Massachusetts House, as expected, has approved legislation making June 19 an official state holiday: “Juneteenth Independence Day.” The Senate still needs to act on the measure that marks the end of slavery in America.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Walsh forms new cabinet to address racism

Fromm Paul Singer at WGBH: “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday he is creating a new racial equity cabinet at city hall that will bring together leaders from various government agencies to ensure racial justice issues are addressed in all major city policies.”


Meanwhile, Walsh on changing Faneuil Hall’s name: No

From Universal Hub, which sort of slips in how it feels about matters: “Mayor Walsh said today he opposes an effort to change Faneuil Hall’s name just because Peter Faneuil owned slaves and was active in both the direct slave trade and the Triangular Trade that helped finance the purchase of yet more slaves. ‘If we change the name of Faneuil Hall, 30 years from now, we’d forget what happened there,’ Walsh said at an afternoon press conference at City Hall.”

Universal Hub

So which statues should go and which should stay?

Speaking of controversies over building names and memorials seen by some as racist, the Globe’s Danny McDonald has an update on the ongoing calls to remove a Park Street statue of Abraham Lincoln with a black slave on his knees, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald. And the NYT’s Holland Cotter tackles the thorny issue of which statues should go and stay amid the ongoing debate over the nation’s racial past. 

Cotter thinks the Teddy Roosevelt statue outside New York’s Museum of Natural History should go. But he takes a pass on the future of Boston’s Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial.

Our humble opinion: The Abe and Teddy statues should go due to the demeaning way they treat Blacks (and Native Americans). But the Boston memorial shows proud, determined and armed black Union soldiers marching off to fight slavery under the horse-back command of an avowed abolitionist who fought, died and was buried with them. There’s a huge difference in dignified intent, though the memorial probably does need an “explainer,” as Cotter indicates.

A major obstacle to reforming the BPD: Police unions

As activists and other push for police reforms across the country, the Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Matt Rocheleau take a look at the long history of Boston police unions using “collective bargaining and state arbitration to delay, water down, or leverage new policies” to gain benefits and block changes they don’t like.

But the Globe also has two op-eds this morning – one by Coleman Hughes of City Journal and the other by former State Police detective Robert J. Long – that both roughly say: Slow down on reforms and listen to the concerns of police.

Boston Globe

It’s back: Summer Drought

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been rather dry these days. So dry that more than half of the state is now considered to be suffering from “moderate drought conditions,” according to a report at WCVB.


Short of changing his name, Markey needs a game-changer to beat Kennedy

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, citing sources who say new polls show Ed Markey trailing Joe Kennedy in key districts across the state in the U.S. Senate race, writes that Markey desperately needs to find something fast to boost his prospects against his famous-name rival in the Dem primary battle.

Separately, this can’t help Markey. From the AP at the Salem News: ‘Where’s Markey? Senator misses dozens of votes in pandemic.”

Boston Herald

Never mind: North Andover gives Amazon massive tax break after bragging none would be needed

Not exactly nothing. Despite promises from local officials that Amazon would set up shop in North Andover without a major tax rollback, Amazon has actually secured a $27 million tax break to set up a distribution center in the Merrimack Valley town, Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal reports. 

A year ago, a selectman involved in the discussions to bring the company to town and the campaign to amend zoning bylaws to make it possible said Amazon would not seek any tax breaks for the project. 


Pick up the pace: Environmental groups prod utilities on gas leaks

Too slow. That’s the assessment from a coalition of environmental groups pressing utilities to address the thousands of leaks from natural gas pipelines across the state, Christian Wade at the Salem News reports. Lawmakers are also frustrated with the slow pace.

Salem News

Healey reaches settlement with Andover pharmacy accused of illegally prescribing opioids

From Deborah Becker at WBUR: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has reached an $11 million settlement with an Andover mail-order pharmacy over allegations the company had a role in shipping thousands of illegitimate opioid painkiller prescriptions around the country.”


Video games: After two-year battle, UMass releases monkey-research footage

UMass Amherst has released video footage showing caged monkeys used in a university research project, after settling a two-year-old lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, reports Jacquelyn Voghel at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. PETA has already posted some of the footage, which UMass says it withheld in part to protect the identity of researchers. 


Sunday public affairs TV: Segun Idowu, Andrea Campbell and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Segun Idowu, executive director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, who talks with host Jon Keller about efforts to promote black economic progress, the reparations movement, and how recent protests can fuel these efforts.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. This week: A discussion on racism that focuses on personal stories, policy and a growing movement for change, with Emerson College president Lee Pelton, Colette Phillips, president of Colette Phillips Communications, and Darryl Settles, president of Catalyst Ventures Development.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell of the Boston City Council, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

City Line, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Building Black Wealth, with guests including Herby Duverne, CEO of the Windwalker Group, and Angel Onuoha, CEO and co-founder of BLK Capital Management and a senior at Harvard University.

A Virtual Concert with Jackson Browne and Senator Ed Markey

A Virtual Concert with Jackson Browne and Senator Ed Markey will be held on a video conferencing platform for everyone to enjoy safely from their homes.

Senator Ed Markey

Sustain your business with one bold promise

Carl Gould, author of The 7 Stages of Small Business Success, joins this webinar to share how you can make your “bold promise” to retain customer loyalty and build long term success.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Launch Rally for Renew New England

Renew New England, a new, region-wide movement of grassroots organizers, labor unions, frontline communities, social justice groups, and environmental advocates for a jobs guarantee, universal healthcare, racial justice, and climate action. Join our web launch and hear from advocates, Sen. Sanders, Rep. Pressley, Rep Khanna, and movement leaders.

Renew New England

Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard (Day 1)

Join us for our Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard hosted by Amplify Latinx, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Gastón Institute, in collaboration with our partner organizations.

Amplify Latinx

Virtual 2020 Race Ahead: Moving Forward Together

Join the Boston Business Journal for a virtual discussion on how we can affect real change in our community and move forward together.

Boston Business Journal

Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard (Day 2)

Join us for our Virtual Amplify Conference – Nuestro Impacto: Be Counted, Be Heard hosted by Amplify Latinx, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Gastón Institute, in collaboration with our partner organizations.

Amplify Latinx

Today’s Headlines


‘This sculpture has got to go’: Boston Art Commission hears public input on the future of Lincoln statue – Boston Globe

Charles River group warns that the toxic blue-green algae is back – Boston.com


Swiss biotech to create 100 jobs with new Framingham manufacturing facility – Worcester Business Journal

Warren urges NSCC grads to ‘choose resilience and creativity’ – Salem News

Springfield to reallocate $125,000 in police funding – MassLive


Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Affordable Care Act – New York Times

She Wanted to Be a Republican President. She’s Voting for Biden. – The Atlantic

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