Happening Today

Education and Climate Change committees, and more

Education Committee holds the first of two virtual oversight hearings on the status of early education and care during the COVID-19 emergency, 10 a.m.

— The Boston Foundation holds releases a report on racial and income discrimination in rental housing, followed by a panel discussion on the issue, 10 a.m.

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco, holds a virtual oversight hearing on updating climate policies, 1 p.m.

— Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins joins fellow DAs Larry Krasner of Philadelphia and Chesea Boudin of San Francisco and others for a media conference call on their plans to form Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commissions, 1 p.m. 

— Supporters of four initiative petitions aiming to change state laws through ballot questions must file at least 13,347 valid signatures with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.

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: No new deaths, 8,054 total deaths, 114 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, including no new confirmed deaths yesterday. See post below.

For the first time in three months, no COVID-19 deaths reported in Massachusetts

Granted, it may be a statistical fluke, the result of “data cleansing” by the state, etc. Still, with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases plunging across the state in recent weeks, the fact the state yesterday reported no new confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts has to be considered highly encouraging news. WBUR’s Roberto Scalese and WCVB have more.

Then again, the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman reports on a new MIT study that finds worldwide COVID-19 cases may be 12 times higher than reported – with 50 percent more deaths. And so … we’re not out of this yet, not by a long shot.

Quarantine rules lifted for those from nearby states, but not for other out-of-state visitors

A new red-blue divide? Sure looks like it. Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced that Massachusetts is lifting the 14-day quarantine rule for anyone traveling to the commonwealth from seven nearby state – but the quarantine rule stays put for everyone else, meaning all those living in states now getting hammered by the coronavirus, particularly in southern and western parts of the country. MassLive’s Steph Solis has the details.

Meanwhile, in other pandemic news, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports Baker is pushing back against the idea of free “universal” testing around the state.


New bill would extend state’s eviction ban by a year – and freeze rents

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt report on a new bill by Reps. Mike Connolly and Kevin Honan that would extend the state’s eviction moratorium for another 12 months beyond the official end of the current COVID-19 emergency. 

Significantly, the bill would also freeze rents and prohibit foreclosures on homeowners. In other words, the State House may have a full-scale rent control debate on its hands, in addition to an extended evictions-ban debate. In other housing-related news, from Ashley Belanger at WGBH: “Baker administration announces new $20M housing assistance program.”

‘Egregious housing discrimination’

While many tenants are worried about evictions, many Blacks are struggling just to find rental units in general, due to “egregious housing discrimination” in the Boston area, according to new Suffolk University Law School study, as the Globe’s Meghan Irons reports.

The school deployed one of the oldest and simplest housing-discrimination field tests out there: Black and white undercover “testers,” acting as potential tenants, fanning out to determine how landlords and real estate agents react to people of different colors – or even to the mere mention of their names.  

Boston Globe

State draws $500M from line of credit amid warning status-quo budgeting won’t cut it

They say it’s just for cash-flow purposes and nothing to worry about. Still, as anyone who has ever used a credit card to pay household bills during tough financial times can attest, it’s really not a good sign that the state is already tapping into its $1.75 billion line of credit established with a group of commercial banks. SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is warning that state spending at old fiscal 2020 levels simply won’t be enough to cover the billions of dollars in lost tax revenues tied to the pandemic crisis, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis. In other budget news, from the indispensable SHNS (pay wall). “Senators Load Up Amendments to COVID-19, IT Bond Bills.” 

In emails, feds initially downplayed coronavirus risk for weeks

At least they’re consistent. In scores of emails sent directly to state officials in Massachusetts earlier this year, federal authorities downplayed the risk the coronavirus posed to Americans, Beth Healy at WBUR reports, citing communications obtained by the station. Well, thank goodness state officials eventually ignored most of the feds’ recommendations. See above posts about no new deaths in Massachusetts.


Forging ahead: North Brookfield plans July Fourth bash over state rules, local objections

They’re forging ahead. North Brookfield says it has no plans to cancel a July Fourth parade and light show despite objections from the town’s health board and the fact the gathering will violate state reopening guidelines, Michael Bonner at MassLive reports. Selectmen argue the event will be no more dangerous than recent Black Lives Matter protests in the same locations. 

Meanwhile, Byron Barnett at WHDH reports Gov. Baker weighed in during his daily briefing on Tuesday, saying he was holding out hope the town would change course and cancel the large gathering. 


Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market reopen today

WCVB reports that tourist-meccas Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market will reopen today, including pushcarts, kiosks, some shops and eateries, with visitors to be entertained by guitarist and singer Ryan LaPerle and Violin Viiv.  


The latest proposed use of former Mount Ida College campus: Housing for students afraid of catching the virus in Amherst

Universal Hub reports that tucked in UMass-Amherst’s hybrid reopening plan, under one of numerous FAQs, is a provision stating that students who feel uncomfortable about returning to the Amherst campus can always apply to live at the university’s new campus in Newton, i.e. the former Mount Ida College campus.

We’re sure the residents of Newton will welcome the students with open arms – or maybe not. We also suspect UMass-Boston staffers might find this interesting. Btw, from the Daily Hampshire Gazette: “UMass students have concerns over reopening guidelines.”

Universal Hub

Can divided lawmakers act on climate-change bill this session?

Beacon Hill lawmakers say they’re determined to pass comprehensive climate-change legislation this session, despite all the pandemic-related time and money pressures and despite divisions over various issues, reports SHNS’s Colin Young. The odds are seemingly against them. But we’ll see.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

US immigration agency to furlough workers

Just curious: Have there been furloughs of this magnitude at other federal agencies? Anyway, Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports that two-thirds of the nation’s 20,000 immigration workers, including those in Boston and Lawrence, will be furloughed for a minimum 30 consecutive days due to loss of revenue tied to “fee-generating services.”


Boston’s Lincoln statue with ex-slave kneeling at his feet to be taken down

The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that the Park Square statue of Abraham Lincoln with a recently freed slave kneeling at his feet will indeed be removed after controversy over the statue. As we’ve noted before, it’s not about Lincoln. It’s about the demeaning and cringe-worthy way the ex-slave is portrayed.

Boston Herald

Turners Falls going down too? Montague petition seeks to change village name

They want to make Turners Falls history. Residents in the town of Montague appear poised to force a town meeting vote later this year on whether to remove the name “Turner” from one of its villages, Max Marcus at the Greenfield Recorder reports. Critics say the name has to go because it refers to the military leader of a 1676 massacre of Native Americans and want to change the moniker of the Connecticut River village to Great Falls. 

Greenfield Recorder

Captured on video: Black female motorist harassed by white BMW driver accusing her of suspicious roadway behavior

It’s all there on video, of course, i.e. yet another example of how African-Americans are routinely harassed, in subtle and not-so subtle ways, when they’re just going about doing one’s business, in this case Julia Santos driving home in Groveland after picking up dog food for her pomeranian-beagle mix when … The Globe’s Steve Annear and Maria Lovato have the “suspicious behavior” details.

Rollins and other DAs around the country set up ‘Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commissions’

From WBUR’s Deborah Becker: “Boston is among the three U.S. cities that will form a so-called “Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission” to review racial inequities, police violence and misconduct in the legal system. District attorneys in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco will create the commissions with a goal of starting work as early as this fall.”

Meanwhile, from WGBH’s Zoe Matthews: “Suffolk DA Rollins: We Need To Hear More Rank And File Officers Condemn Police Brutality And Systemic Racism.”

As Boston population becomes more diverse, the BPD become less diverse

The Globe’s Vernal Coleman reports on how the Boston Police Department, which under court order once achieved approximate racial parity on its force, is steadily creeping back to its old racial makeup, i.e. more whites, less minorities.

Boston Globe

Seeking help: Norwood declares emergency after flooding closes hospital

Officials in the town of Norwood declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as cleanup continued from weekend storms that flooded streets and forced the closure and partial evacuation of Norwood Hospital, Liam Knox at WBUR reports. The move could open the door to state and federal assistance for cleanup and recovery. 


After catching flak, NOAA delays on-board fishing boat monitors

After complaints from U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and Gov. Charlie Baker, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has “abruptly reversed course and announced it will not resume sending observers out to sea on fishing vessels until at least August,” reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Boston Globe workers eye ‘future mobilizing actions’ after 18 months without a contract

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports that the Boston Newspaper Guild plans to hold a video meeting today with hundreds of Globe employees to mark 18 months without a new contract and to plan for “future mobilizing actions” against management.

In other Globe news, from the paper’s Tim Logan: ““Vinay Mehra departs as president of Boston Globe.” No explanation for the departure was provided.


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.


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


Boston to remove controversial monument depicting Lincoln standing over freed slave – Boston Globe

Lynn city council gives pot shop hard deadline to open – Lynn Item


Councilors heap praise on Worcester city manager – Telegram & Gazette

Methuen mayor says number of city job cuts coming ‘a shock’ – Eagle-Tribune

Nipmuc Nation says it doesn’t support lawsuit, petition to stop roundabout – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Biden campaign quietly reviewing research on female VP candidates – Politico

Trump hoping for Supreme Court vacancy as way to boost a flagging campaign – CNN

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