Happening Today

Senate listening tour, and more

— Senate President Karen Spilka and Sens. Cindy Friedman, Jo Comerford and Adam Hinds host a live-streamed listening session to hear from policy experts, providers, Baker administration officials and others about the state of the health care system as the state seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 a.m.

O’Neill Institute’s Addiction and Public Policy Initiative at Georgetown University hosts a virtual conference on implementing medication-based treatments for opioid use disorder in rural and mid-sized county jails, with Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan and Franklin County Medical Director Dr. Ruth Potee attending, 12 p.m.

Boston College hosts a virtual panel on racial justice in America, featuring Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, BC Law dean Vincent Rougeau and BC history professor Heather Cox Richardson, 2 p.m.

WGBH Forum Network and the Museum of Science host a panel discussion about local health care and food inequities resulting from COVID-19, with panelists including Boston Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez, Dimock Health Center Chief Medical Director Holly Oh and Greater Boston Food Bank CEO Catherine D’Amato, 5 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: 19 new deaths, 8,060 total deaths, 224 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, as the state’s pandemic death toll exceeded the 8,000 mark over the weekend.

‘Tsunami of evictions’: They’re coming

The Globe’s Zoe Greenberg and Tim Logan report on yet another looming crisis facing the state amid the ongoing pandemic and economic meltdown: An expected ‘tsunami of evictions’ – impacting perhaps more than 100,000 households – after the state’s emergency anti-eviction law expires later this summer.

Meanwhile, from WGBH’s Tori Bedford: “Boston Residents Fear Housing Crisis As Eviction Deadline Looms.” And from the AP at WBUR: “Boston Minority Communities Hit Hardest By Evictions, Report Says.”

Boston Globe

Long-term care facilities: Time to investigate and reform

WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins reports that U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley are calling for an independent investigation into the COVD-19 outbreak at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, where 31 veteran residents have died.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s John Hilliard reports that the Pioneer Institute has identified “longstanding practices” in long-term care facilities and state government that contributed to the deaths of thousands of residents within nursing homes in general – and the institute is calling for a number of reform measures.


Report: Massachusetts is one of only 4 states on track to contain coronavirus

Here’s some good news for a change. From MassLive’s Michelle Williams: “Massachusetts is one of only 4 states in the nation that are on track to contain COVID-19, according to data analyzed by Covid Act Now. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York were hit hard by the novel coronavirus in recent months, but are each steadily seeing a decreasing number of cases locally and have enacted public health plans that meet or exceed international standards.”

Meanwhile, Dr. and state Rep. Jon Santiago at CommonWealth magazine confirms that ‘two scourges’ have definitely converged at the same time here and elsewhere across the country: the pandemic and racism. 


No longer needed: Contact tracers get pink slips amid declining case count

Did the study in the post above take this into account? As coronavirus cases continue to decline across the state, Mike Beadet at WCVB reports the state has begun to cull the army of contact tracers it hastily hired this spring amid the recent surge. Scores were given pink slips on Friday and more of the tracers are expected to be told they’re losing their positions today.  Still, these layoffs are actually good news, in the sense they reflect good news.


‘All-out brawl’: House and Senate go at it over health care bills

Tensions are indeed high these days. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl report on a major feud that’s broken out on Beacon Hill between House and Senate lawmakers over health-care legislation and the “all-out brawl” among Dems may be imperiling hundreds of bills in general. Among other things, the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, Sen. Cindy Friedman Rep. Dan Cullinane of Dorchester, reportedly are “barely on speaking terms these days.”

Baker adds an extra $35 million to economic-recovery package

CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt reports that Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a $35 million increase in the economic-recovery legislation now before lawmakers, bringing the total package to $275 million.

In other budget news, the Herald’s Hilary Chabot reports on the nearly half a billion dollars in federal funds that the state is getting ready to distribute to cash-starved local governments.  Meanwhile, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that the governor last Friday signed a $5.25 billion interim state budget sent to him by lawmakers. And Kathleen McNerney at WBUR reports on yet another pressing financial matter: “Mass. Child Care System Needs $690M To Survive The Next 5 Months.” 


‘Survival mode’: About those six-figure administrative salaries at UMass …

Speaking of budgets, UMass President Marty Meehan’s practically invited this type of coverage after he recently pronounced that UMass was in financial “survival mode,” i.e. a Herald review of UMass’s finances. Specifically, a look at the university system’s high-paid administrators. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has the survival-mode review. Needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr is in his element.

Boston Herald

Not every district is ready for online learning, such as, oh, the state’s second largest city

The Globe’s Bianca Vázquez Toness reports that many school districts across the state weren’t prepared for online learning after classrooms closed earlier this year due to the pandemic, perhaps none more so than Worcester’s school district, where various limits kept thousands of students from fully participating in remote classes.

Boston Globe

Keeping them back a year

Speaking of education, will some parents simply opt to keep their children back a year out of fear of the coronavirus in school classrooms this fall? The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that, yes, some are indeed thinking of such drastic action for young ones entering kindergarten. Separately, the Globe, in an editorial, is blasting the Massachusetts Teachers Association for trying to “exploit” the pandemic to push its long-standing opposition to MCAS tests in general.

In the crosshairs: With New York races done, progressives turn focus to Neal

They’re still counting votes in New York and Kentucky, but progressives who ran insurgent campaigns against top Democrats now say they want to use the momentum they gained to help oust U.S. Rep. and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, Naomi Jagoda at The Hill reports. Neal’s primary challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, helped campaign for challengers in New York and is now in line to get help with his own effort to unseat Neal.

The Hill

Cumberland Farms drops beer and wine ballot question

In normal times, this would have been top news. But these aren’t normal times. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter report that Cumberland Farms, citing operational and time pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, is dropping its high-profile ballot initiative that called for expanding the number of food stores that can sell beer and wine in Massachusetts. Bottom line: The issue will not be on the fall ballot. Though the issue could be resurrected later.

Pro-police rally morphs into mini-Nuremberg rally

The Herald’sSean Philip Cotter and Universal Hub Adam Gaffin report that a purported pro-police rally in front of the State House on Saturday was actually a barely disguised attempt by white supremacists and neo-Nazis to show off their “National Social Club” shirts, swastika tattoos, fascist flags and a SS grinning-totenkop mask. They were met by counter-demonstrators who substantially outnumbered them.

Meanwhile, the Methuen police chief is on the defensive for a “rolling car rally” in support of local police in his town and in Dracut after some of the cars sported signs reading, among other things, “Build a Wall,” reports the Eagle Tribune.

In Everett, she’s definitely made her presence felt

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert takes a look at Gerly Adrien, the first Black to sit on Everett’s long white-dominated city council, and she’s certainly made her presence felt, aggressively pushing ordinances and criticizing council members on social-media – and, well, annoying a lot of people and even raising concerns about her tactics among some of her supporters. But she’s making no apologies.

Boston Globe

Report: One out of eight people arrested in Boston are homeless

Another area of policing ripe for reform? From a three-reporter team at the Globe: “One in eight people arrested in Boston last year was homeless, the result of laws — common in cities where the cost of living is high — that advocates say criminalize the most basic necessities of life for people without housing. In Boston, homeless people accounted for almost 13 percent of arrests last year, up from 10 percent in 2016 and mirroring law enforcement patterns across the country.”

Boston Globe

Arnie ‘Woo Woo’ Ginsburg, local radio legend, RIP

Arnie ‘Woo Woo Ginsburg, 93, who many local Baby Boomers grew up listening to over AM radio, has passed away. The Herald’sMarie Szaniszlo and the Globe’s Bryan Marquard have more on the disc jockey known for his seemingly non-stop sound effects during his radio shows.

One less GOP candidate, one more Dem free ride

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that Republican Helen Brady, a challenger to U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, must be removed from contention after the State Ballot Law Commission ruled Friday she didn’t properly follow the electronic signature-gathering process laid out by the courts. Candidates for the state House of Representatives and Governor’s Council will also get the ballot ax for the same pandemic-era reasons, Lisinski reports.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Power play: Ex-chief eyes seat on Select Board that fired him

Sometimes, getting elected is the best revenge. Former West Stockbridge fire chief Peter Skorput hopes voters heading to the polls today will elect him to the select board that fired him back in March, Tony Dobrowoiski at the Berkshire Eagle reports. Skorput was canned shortly after he was the target of a harsh report from the state’s Ethics Commission, but he says he wants to join the board because he’s concerned about local spending levels.  

Berkshire Eagle

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

The 2020 Women’s Leadership Forum: Eyes Wide Open

Join us to see, hear, and experience a completely new digital Women’s Leadership Forum experience. This year, we’re celebrating those who see things clearly and are taking action. The shock and anger that emerged with #MeToo has evolved into a sense of purpose, determination, and renewed pride.

The Ad Club

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


Vote to change Columbus school name sparks controversy in Medford – Boston Globe

Boston Minority Communities Hit Hardest By Evictions, Report Says – WBUR


Pandemic could create glut of office space in Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Lower Cape officials: Threat of great white sharks has not changed – Cape Cod Times

Amid great recession, Mass. raised its sales tax rate. Could that fly now? – Berkshire Eagle


Bernie’s student army learns to live with Biden – Politico

Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments – Washington Post

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