Happening Today

Fourth of July safety, Markey and Dukakis

MassCreative holds its weekly 15-minute virtual policy and action update, 9:45 a.m.

— Energy and Environmental Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Public Safety Undersecretary Terrence Reidy and police and fire officials hold a press conference to promote public safety, including car and boat safety, ahead of the July 4th weekend, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a livestream discussion with former Gov. Michael Dukakis while Markey walks from North Station to South Station to demonstrate the need for the North-South Rail Link, 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.

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: 51 new deaths, 8,132 total deaths, 195 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Phase 3 commences: Casinos, gyms, museums, pro sports allowed to reopen

With the number of coronavirus cases falling dramatically across the state, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced it was safe enough to proceed with Phase 3 of the reopening of the state’s economy – and that means the reopening of casinos, gyms, museums, professional sports, etc., with strict social-distancing requirements, of course. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and MassLive’s Steph Solis have the Phase 3 details.

But many of Boston’s Phase 3 reopenings will actually wait an extra week, as a three-reporter team reports at the Globe. And casinos won’t be opening on Monday, preferring instead to wait a week or so to make sure they get it right, report MassLive and CBS Boston.

Play ball: Red Sox allowed to resume season – with no fans

Baseball is back as of today at Fenway Park, albeit for Sox practices, and the Sox later this month can resume official games at Fenway Park, albeit without fans in the stands – all part of the Phase 3 reopening plans announced yesterday by Gov. Charlie Baker. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the Globe’s Julian McWilliams have more on the limited-edition return of MLB in Boston.

Lawmakers send expanded vote-by-mail bill to governor

It’s official: Beacon Hill lawmakers have passed legislation that would expand voting by mail and early voting for the fall elections in Massachusetts – and now the bill is sitting on the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker, who hasn’t said what he might do with the legislation. Steph Solis at MassLIve has more. But Baker didn’t waste time yesterday signing supplemental budget and IT bonding legislation also sent to him yesterday by lawmakers, as SHNS reports (pay wall).

Now that red states are getting smacked around by the coronavirus, Neal sees movement on another relief bill

There was some good news and bad news on the economic front yesterday. The good news is that the nation’s jobless rate fell dramatically last month. The bad news is that much of the jobless-rate data didn’t capture the recent COVID-19 surge in other states and subsequent widespread reclosing of businesses, as Scott Horsley reports at WBUR.

Put it all together and … U.S. Rep. Richard Neal sees encouraging movement in Congress on another federal relief bill, as Jim Kinney at MassLive reports.


As long as they don’t come from California and Florida, Cape tourism officials see hope this summer

Cape Cod officials seem confident these days that tourism might pick up more than expected this summer, despite coronavirus fears and social-distancing restrictions galore. But they are keeping an eye on the number of out-of-state visitors to the Cape – and trying to tamp down fears of hordes of virus-infected visitors from elsewhere descending on the Cape. SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and MassLive’s Tanner Stening have more.

We have a suggestion on how to relieve the out-of-state fears: Ban residents from Maine. See post below.

Maine tries to explain its ‘underlying epidemiological rationale’ for quarantining Mass. visitors

Gov. Charlie Baker is a little perplexed about why Maine has opted to continue its policy of requiring 14-day quarantines for anyone traveling to the state from Massachusetts – and said he plans to talk to Maine’s governor about the pandemic snub. But the Globe’s Steve Annear didn’t wait for the Maine governor’s response, instead seeking a more immediate explanation from Maine officials — and all he got was “underlying epidemiological” gobbledygook. … They’re trying our benevolent patience.

Boston Globe

Extending the eviction moratorium: It’s a race against time

SHNS’s Katie Lannan notes that the clock is ticking for potential legislative action to extend the state’s moratorium on evictions during the pandemic – and supporters of the bill know they’re in a race against end-of-session time.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Judge: DiMasi can lobby on Beacon Hill

The saga isn’t over. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi was cleared on Thursday to register as a lobbyist by a Superior Court judge who overturned Secretary of State William Galvin’s decision to reject DiMasi’s application based on his past convictions on federal corruption and extortion charges.”

Galvin plans to appeal the decision by Superior Court Judge Robert Gordon, who basically ruled that state law didn’t explicitly bar federally convicted felons, as opposed to state convicted felons, from lobbying on Beacon Hill. Since most political corruption charges in Massachusetts are brought by the feds, the ruling does seem to be a tad bit expansive.

Groveland man now faces charges after following and harassing black motorist

Can anyone seriously argue that he didn’t engage in a form of “disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace”? Anyway, the Groveland man who, in his BMW convertible, followed a black female motorist around town and later accused her of “suspicious behavior” is, in fact, now facing charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, as CBS Boston reports.

CBS Boston

One more very expensive settlement for Columbia Gas

Columbia Gas has settled with lawyers and residents and with the federal government over its role in the 2018 natural-gas fires and explosions in the Merrimack Valley. And yesterday the soon-to-be-gone utility settled with the state, via Attorney General Maura Healey, to the expensive tune of $56 million, as Bill Kirk at the Eagle Tribune reports.

Eagle Tribune

Dukakis to Biden: Pay no attention to those early polls

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis knows what he’s talking about when it comes to early polls showing one presidential candidate leading another presidential candidate – and he has some advice for Joe Biden, via Alex Beam at the Globe. We’d add: Hillary Clinton could give the same advice to Biden – and not have to reach back to 1988 to make her point. 

Boston Globe

Frankly, they don’t give a damn if BU drops Rhett’s name

For some reason, the Herald, in an editorial, and Andrew Bacevich, in a Globe op-ed, are not impressed with BU’s bold preliminary move to drop the “Rhett” nickname for its school mascot. The latter thinks the name-change action carries with it the risk of trivializing the worthy anti-racism cause sweeping the nation these days.

Revere and Ashby: Two communities reckoning with the past and present

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports on the contentious debate in Revere over whether to revive its Human Rights Commission, amid recent anti-racism protests and calls for social justice. It’s not going well. 

Meanwhile, Edgar B. Herwick III at WGBH looks back at a 1973 town-meeting vote in tiny Ashby that rejected a resolution on racial inclusion – and how all these years later rejection of the “innocuous” resolution still reverberates.

Going away mad: Plainfield select board chair quits after voters reject cop pay hikes

He disagrees. Plainfield Select Board Chairman Howard Bronstein says he’ll step down from the board later this year after voters at town meeting put the kibosh on planned raises for the town’s police department, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Bronstein said he was upset that no one raised objections to the additional pay until the article came up at the town meeting.


Lost and found: Overlooked ballots leave override results unchanged

Lots of drama, no change. The scores of early voting ballots discovered in a Grafton Town Hall vault days after a $4 million Proposition 2 ½ override narrowly passed have been counted and did not change the outcome, Lisa Redmond reports at the Telegram.


Still in the running: Poll says Warren remains top VP choice among voters

A Yahoo/YouGov poll released yesterday found U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the top choice to become Joe Biden’s running mate, with 30 percent of respondents naming the Bay State pol as the best choice to join the ticket, Li Zhou of Vox reports.  

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Warren’s calls and policy proposals to end systemic racism have gained her support among some Black political activists.  We still think she’s a long-shot VP candidate. But we’ll see.


Safe harbor: Senate passes bill to shield towns from Steamship Authority debt

Small towns on Martha’s Vineyard are among those breathing a sigh of relief after passage of legislation that would shield them from having to pay any debt the Steamship Authority racks up during what is likely to be a financially disastrous 2020 summer seaso, Rich Salzberg at the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports. The SSA is forecasting a $22 million deficit for the year and the bill would make it clear that state coffers should make up the shortfall. 

Maratha’s Vineyard Times

Walsh: Greedy fireworks companies are ‘taking advantage’ of the pandemic

WGBH’s Paul Singer reports that Mayor Marty Walsh, like a lot of other city and town leaders across the state, is fed up with all the backyard and street fireworks shenanigans of late – and the mayor thinks fireworks makers are deliberately taking advantage of people’s lockdown boredom to make a buck.


Have a great Fourth of July – and see you next Tuesday

We’d like to wish all of our MassterList readers a safe and enjoyable July Fourth holiday weekend. We’ll be taking next Monday off, but we’ll be back on Tuesday. Happy Fourth, everyone!

Sunday public affairs TV: Dan Kennedy, Merrie Najimy, Ibram X. Kendi

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Media critic and journalism professor Dan Kennedy, who talks with host Jon Keller about his annual Muzzle Awards, the debate over objectivity, and the dispute over this fall’s presidential debates.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discuss with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: A conversation with Ibram X. Kendi, professor, best-selling author and the founding director of BU’s Center for Antiracist Research.

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

How creative thinking can help you re-imagine your small business

Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter and author of “This Could Be Our Future”, joins us in this webinar to share how the power of creativity can transform your business.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

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 public schools chooses new exam school test provider after long battle – Boston Herald

‘We can’t afford to lose this war’ with Covid, MIT economist says – Boston Business Journal


Dennis lifeguards report shark sighting at Chapin Beach – Cape Cod Times

Some on-campus classes, mandatory biweekly coronavirus testing planned for Bridgewater State fall semester – Brockton Enterprise

North Adams to open Center Street for dining – Berkshire Eagle


Walmart to make 160 parking lots into drive-in theaters – The Hill

Why June was such a terrible month for Trump – New York Times

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