Keller at Large

After Trumpty Dumpty has his great fall, what then for the GOP?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller is, believe it or not, already looking ahead to the “post-apocalypse” (i.e. post-Donald Trump) Republican party and wonders who could possibly lead the GOP in 2024 after a potentially “bloody battle between Trump cultists and Trump haters.”

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Board of Education, House session, and more

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to discuss updates on COVID-19 action steps and the fiscal 2021 state education budget, 9 a.m.

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— Clean energy and business organizations host a Virtual Clean Energy Day bringing together business leaders, legislators and others to discuss clean energy and climate issues, with Sens. Michael Barrett and Marc Pacheco, Rep. Thomas Golden and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides among those participating, 9:30 a.m. 


— The House plans to meet in a full session, with members having been advised to prepare to vote on Chapter 90 funds to municipal road and bridge projects, 11 a.m.

Senate Democrats meet privately in a virtual caucus, two days before a formal session in which senators plan to take up the COVID-19 supplemental budget and a $1.7 billion information technology bond bill, 11 a.m.

— The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board is technically set to expire today after five years of oversight and dozens of annual meetings, but it could remain in place for another year under a compromise moving through the Legislature.

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: 35 new deaths, 8,095 total deaths, 101 new case

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

House and Senate reach compromise on mail-in voting this fall

The House and Senate set aside their feuding over health-care issues yesterday to announce that negotiators have reached a compromise plan to substantially expand vote-by-mail and early voting in Massachusetts, starting this fall, as a way to boost voter turnout amid the ongoing pandemic, report SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Chris Van Buskirk. Lawmakers hope to pass the legislation and get it to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk this week. 

WGBH’s Callie Crossley says mail-in voting is a question of public health.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

UMass Amherst: Students can return to campus, but they must still take remote classes

This is an unusual decision. MassLive’s Ron Chimelis reports that UMass-Amherst says students can return to campus residential halls this fall, subject to very strict social-distancing rules, but most classes will still be taught remotely.

But some Amherst town officials are concerned about the return of students, particularly if many of them decide to live off campus, reports MassLive’s Jim Russell. And we suspect more than a few students will prefer to live off campus, partly for safety reasons and partly for party-hearty reasons. 

Btw, from the Berkshire Eagle: “Williams College plans to reopen with ‘extraordinary safety measures.’”

MassLive

Higher-ed meltdown update: BU to furlough or lay off 250 employees amid pandemic

Still on the subject of higher-education institutes dealing with pandemic woes, from WCVB: “Boston University is planning to lay off or furlough up to 250 workers as it grapples with an estimated $96 million budget gap due to the pandemic.”

WCVB

Encore Boston Harbor furloughs 3,000 workers

And speaking of furloughs, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports that Wynn Resorts plans to furlough 3,000 staffers at Encore Boston Harbor casino, keeping only 700 employees to operate the giant Everett gaming hall, if and when it reopens this summer. The company says it simply doesn’t need all the employees if its operating capacity is reduced due to social-distancing rules.

BBJ

Big E canceled because of COVID-19

And the hits literally keep on coming. The organizers of the Eastern States Exhibition in West Springfield, aka the Big E, have canceled the 17-day agricultural fair over fears of spreading the coronavirus. MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge has more on the latest big-event cancellation caused by the pandemic.

Baker pressured to extend eviction moratorium

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports that calls are growing for Gov. Charlie Baker to extend a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, as some experts warn of a wave of potential evictions when the current ban expires later this summer. In related news, from WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins: “Warren bill would halt nearly all evictions during pandemic, xxpanding CARES Act protections.”

Think youths are largely immune from COVID-19? Not in DCF group homes

The southern and western parts of the country are now seeing a spike in youth COVID-19 infections, something largely not seen in Massachusetts, except … it is indeed happening here. It’s happening in Department of Children and Families group homes, where more than 8 percent of children have contracted the virus, a far higher rate than for children elsewhere across the state, reports the Globe’s Matt Stout. The data points to risks of group homes in general. But doesn’t it also point to, well, the potential risks at schools? Just thinking aloud.  

Boston Globe

In local libraries, even the books have to be quarantined

Christian Wade at the Salem News reports on all the reopening precautions local libraries have to take amid the ongoing pandemic, including setting aside returned library books for 72 hours to make sure they’re not contaminated with the coronavirus.

Salem News

Down the drain? MWRA signs $200K deal to analyze sewage for signs of coronavirus

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report that the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has agreed to pay a Cambridge lab $200,000 to analyze sewage arriving at the Deer Island Treatment Plant for any signs of a possible surge in the coronavirus in the Great Boston area.

Revenue hunt: Plainville voters turn out in droves to reject tax override amid pandemic budget crunch

Nope. Plainville has rejected one of the first Proposition 2 ½ override proposals to go before voters during the pandemic, leaving a $3.25 million budget hole that officials say will likely mean layoffs of 38 teachers as well as some public safety employees, Stephen Peterson at the Sun-Chronicle reports.

Sun Chronicle

Revenue hunt II: Salem considering parking meter expansion to raise funds

With state aid on hold and tax receipts dropping, the search for new sources of revenue is underway across the Bay State. In Salem, city councilors are eyeing Sunday parking meter enforcement as one way to help balance the books, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports. Some worry about the impact of the move on already battered city businesses. 

Salem News

Revenue hunt III: Progressives urge Senate to act on stalled tax bill

And, at the state level, from SHNS’s Michael Norton and Katie Lannan (pay wall): “With about a month remaining for formal sessions, more than three dozen House Democrats have grown tired of waiting for the Senate to take up a tax-and-fee bill raising new revenues for transportation, and are demanding action from their colleagues.”

Stepping up: Yarmouth board of health says it will enforce state rules, not select board

Just weeks after selectmen in Yarmouth said they’d allow business owners to decide for themselves whether to follow the governor’s guidelines for safely reopening, the town’s health board says it will take over enforcement, Christine Legere at the Cape Cod Times reports. Last week, an inspector from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission found patrons sitting at a bar inside at still-unnamed local establishment. 

Cape Cod Times

City councilors’ homes plastered with ‘mock report cards’ after tense budget debate over police

From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Vandals this weekend targeted the homes of eight city councilors who last week voted in favor of the city budget that was narrowly approved following calls to ‘defund the police.’” Council President Kim Janey and Mayor Marty Walsh are condemning the vandalism. Universal Hub and CBS Boston have more.

Boston Herald

MIT expert named Boston’s first chief of equity and inclusion

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday named Karilyn Crockett, an urban affairs lecturer at MIT, as the city’s first first chief of equity and inclusion. Besides an impressive scholarly background, the Dorchester native brings another credential to the job: Her grandmother was one of the plaintiffs in the 1972 federal suit that led to the 1974 school-desegregation case, Gaffin writes.

Separately, from WGBH’s Mike Deehan: “Healey and Walsh back expansion of hate crime tracking.”

Universal Hub

Keating challenger on ballot appeal: ‘Oh, hell yeah’

Republican congressional hopeful Helen Brady says she’s not yet begun to fight a state panel’s ruling effectively tossing her off the fall ballot and nixing her bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Keating. “Oh, hell yeah, I’ll be appealing,” she tells SHNS’s Chris Lisinksi.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Harvard will drop policy targeting single-gender clubs on campus

Score one for the frat boys and sorority girls. From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “Harvard said Monday that it will no longer enforce a ban on single-gender social clubs, after concluding that the prohibition would likely not withstand a legal challenge from a group of fraternities and sororities who had asked a federal judge just hours earlier to halt the policy.”

Boston Globe

In Plymouth, they’re starting to treat drug addicts as drug addicts, not prisoners

This is interesting. From the Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine: “The Baker administration is removing correctional officers and expanding treatment programming at the troubled prison facility in Plymouth used to treat men civilly committed for substance use. The shift in approach follows a lawsuit alleging abusive treatment at the facility and a legislative committee recommending these men no longer be kept there.”

CommonWealth

But will all students be safe at UMass this fall?

UMass Amherst says it’s OK for students to come back to campus this fall amid the pandemic (see post towards the top). But Dexter Van Zile at the Times of Israel blog thinks “parents might want to think twice about letting their kids attend UMASS Amherst in September.” Why? Widespread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments on campus, he writes.

Still standing: Warren puts positive spin on Supreme Court CFPB ruling

Nevertheless, it persists. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision protecting the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from presidential firing, but U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is seeking to focus attention on the parts of the ruling that leave most of the agency intact, Nik DeCosta-Klipa at Boston.com reports. 

However, Sylvan Lane at the Hill reports corporate lawyers believe the ruling opens the door to additional legal challenges that could further weaken, if not entirely undermine, the bureau’s authority. 

Boston.com

The Great Fireworks Craze: Blame it on New Hampshire and COVID-19

So what’s causing the recent 24/7 fireworks outbreak seemingly everywhere across the state? Perhaps it’s that people are bored during the pandemic lockdowns and need an entertainment outlet, so they’re crossing the border into NH to buy illegal fireworks, etc. etc. Or so say various folks in Andy Rosen and Gal Tziperman Lotan’s Globe piece about the annoying craze.

Boston Globe

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

JALSA Schmoozefest

Special guests: MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition Executive Director Eva Millona, speaking about the Safe Communities Act and other immigrant priorities; State Representative and Emergency Room Physician Jon Santiago talking about the impact of COVID-19 on health care and policy; and music from Ellen Allard, with music to get you singing, dancing, moving and grooving!

JALSA

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

How Much Learning Will Be Lost? A Survey of K-12 Parents in Massachusetts

MassINC and The MassINC Polling bring you Probing New Public Opinion Data for an Informed Response – a series of conversations on real data from real people. As the school year draws to an end, The MassINC Polling Group has completed a landmark survey of Massachusetts parents, focusing on their experiences with remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

MassINC

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

Metro

Lynn police department revises use-of-force policy – Lynn Item

Harvard will drop policy targeting all-male ‘final clubs’ – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

City council doesn’t defund Brockton police but trims overtime – Brockton Enterprise

WooSox show of Polar Park progress, remain optimistic for spring 2021 opening – Worcester Business Journal

Nantucket officials issue emergency mask order – Cape Cod Times

Nation

Trump got written briefing in February on possible Russian bounties, officials say – New York Times

Atlanta Hawks to open arena as ‘largest-ever voting precinct’ – The Hill

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