Keller at Large

The long and sorry history of blowing smoke

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller looks at the long and sorry history of politicians blowing smoke at the public, most recently and especially the current occupant of the White House.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Senate candidates forum, expanded abortion services, Scalia announces grant

Education Committee holds its second virtual oversight hearing on the status of the state’s early education and care system during the COVID-19 crisis, 10 a.m.

— Suffolk Sheriff Steven Tompkins moderates a U.S. Senate candidate forum with Democrats Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy at the Suffolk County House of Correction, 10:30 a.m.

— State and federal lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Attorney General Maura Healey and state Reps. Tram Nguyen and Jon Santiago, plan to virtually join supporters of legislation that would expand access to abortion services in Massachusetts, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia hosts a press conference to announce ‘major federal grants dedicated to expanding employment opportunities’ after discussing reentry challenges for adults exiting the criminal justice system, Boston, 2:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deb Goldberg hold their monthly meeting via a private call, 3:30 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: 15 new deaths, 7,983 total deaths, 157 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, including changes on how the state reports numbers.

Baker signs vote-by-mail legislation, impacting perhaps millions of votes this fall

All Massachusetts voters will have the option to vote early and vote by mail this fall, after Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation expanding new voting procedures aimed at boosting election participation amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. MassLive’s Steph Solis, the Globe’s Abigail Feldman and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the new law – and how Secretary of State William Galvin will send each registered voter an application to request a mail-in ballot for both the Sept. 1 state primary and the Nov. 3 general election, as Feldman writes.

Our guess: Potentially millions could opt for early and voting-by-mail options – and wary town clerks better be ready. And candidates for office better pick up the pace of their campaigning, for the window to win over voters has just shortened considerably.

As Harvard announces partial reopening of campus, ICE tells foreign students to scram

The Associated Press at WGBH reports that Harvard University has decided to bring back just 40 percent of its undergraduate students this fall to campus. The total includes all freshmen and those who can’t adequately study in a home environment. And, yes, all classes will be online, whether or not students live on campus.

Enter the Trump administration’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which just so happened to announce on Monday that it will “expel foreign students from the United States this fall if their colleges or universities opt for online learning only,” reports the Herald’s Erin Tiernan. It’s almost as if ICE was waiting to see what Harvard might do.

Btw, from the Globe’s Laura Krantz: “College will be far different this fall, but the price will be largely the same.”  


What do Peter Pan Bus Lines, Legal Seafoods and Tom Brady’s life-style brand have in common?

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that Legal Sea Foods, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant chain and Cape Air are among the Massachusetts firms that have received more than $5 million in federal relief PPP loans.

Tom Brady’s TB12 Inc. didn’t receive nearly that much money, but No. 12’s life-style operation did snag between $350,000 and $1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, report Allison DeAngelis and Catherine Carlock at the BBJ.

BBJ (pay wall)

Unhappy campers

The Globe’s Lucas Phillips reports on the stunned reaction of summer camp operators to Gov. Charlie Baker’s last-minute Phase 3 decision to keep overnight camps closed until 2021. Operators say they were neither consulted nor warned about the administration’s planned action.

Boston Globe

Fourth of July partiers on Nantucket fined $1,000; Northampton ice cream shop owner bemoans not-so-lovable customers

The Inquirer and Mirror’s Dean Geddes reports that the Nantucket Board of Health issued its first mask-compliance fine over the Fourth of July weekend to a group of party-goers who refused to wear masks and disperse – and who got more than a little “belligerent and insulting” towards a health director.

Meanwhile, there must be something in ice cream that brings out the worst in customers during a pandemic. The Globe’s Steve Annear has the latest example, this time via Northampton, of ice cream shop customers behaving badly.

Inquirer and Mirror

Some hotel guests aren’t waiting for the governor’s approval for venue events

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that hospitality officials recently asked Gov. Charlie Baker to loosen rules on holding larger events during the pandemic, but the administration effectively refused to do so under its new Phase 3 plans. In particular, hotels were hoping for a change.

But hotels guests reportedly aren’t waiting for the governor’s OK, instead turning their rooms into “impromptu mini-banquet facilities” – and Councilor Lydia Edwards is among those concerned, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin.

Universal Hub

N.H.’s Sununu: Wearing masks is ‘imperative’ at Trump’s rally on Saturday

This ought to be interesting. President Trump plans to hold an outdoor rally this Saturday night at New Hampshire’s Portsmouth International Airport – and his rallies are not exactly known for attracting the types who like to wear pandemic-era face masks. But New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, says it’s “imperative” that rally goers indeed wear masks, as CBS Boston reports. Ah, will they or won’t they wear masks? That’s the storyline for now.

CBS Boston

The latest pandemic victim: State water, air and other environmental inspections

The Globe’s David Abel reports that the number of state environmental inspections – including air and water quality testing – plunged during the first five months of the year amid the state efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Boston Globe

Stop & Shop ends COVID-19 ‘appreciation pay’ for workers, drawing rebuke from Markey

WCVB reports that Stop & Shop store employees are no longer receiving an extra 10 percent “appreciation pay” for working during the pandemic – a wage boost that a union prefers to call “hazardous pay.” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, among others, is jumping into the pandemic-pay fray, reports MassLive’s Jackson Cote.


2021 mayoral race update: Wu blasts Walsh’s ‘Boston’s Racial Equity Fund,’ says it doesn’t go far enough to address racial inequities

City councilor Michelle Wu sure sounds like a mayoral candidate this morning, openly criticizing Mayor Marty Walsh in a Globe op-ed that all but accuses the mayor of an “abdication of City Hall’s power and responsibility” and “squandering of municipal power” by forming the Boston Racial Equity Fund instead of embracing far-reaching “structural change” needed to address racial inequities in Boston. To say the least, it will be interesting to hear Walsh’s response to Wu’s open challenge as the mayor mulls whether to run for a third term next year.

Senate unveils sweeping police reforms, plans Thursday vote

They’re moving fast on this one. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The Massachusetts Senate plans to vote Thursday on a wide-ranging police reform bill that would create a process for certifying and de-certifying officers and impose new limits on the use of force, including a ban on chokeholds and restrictions on the use of tear gas.” 

MassLive’s Steph Solis and the Globe’s Victoria McGrane have more on the sweeping Senate legislation that also deals with racial profiling, facial-recognition technology and other issues raised during recent Black Lives Matter protests demanding racial-justice reforms.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Globe editor outlines proposals for racial diversity in newsroom and news articles

WGBH’s Dan Kennedy and New Boston Post’s Matt McDonald report on new proposals issued by Globe editor Brian McGrory about steps the paper plans to take in response to heightened awareness about racial matters, including McGrory’s request that reporters take the time to “assess their work through a racial lens” and McGrory’s pronouncement that summer internships will now be used to train young reporters of color only. Kennedy has the full memo that outlines a lot of other changes.

Hand off: Army Corps says it will hand Cape bridges over to state

All yours. The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to announce as soon as today it will transfer ownership of the Cape Cod Canal bridges to state authorities, a move that puts the Commonwealth in the driver’s seat on a $1 billion plan to replace the spans, Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times reports. But the Feds are still expected to pick up most of the tab for the reconstruction. 

Cape Cod Times

Best wishes: Rep. Moran tells voters about treatment for throat cancer

State Rep. Frank Moran revealed over the weekend he has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Moran tells Bill Kirk at the Eagle-Tribune he has received a good prognosis but will undergo ‘immediate and aggressive treatment’ that will take him off the campaign trail for several weeks as he seeks a fifth term on Beacon Hill representing the 17th Essex District.

Eagle Tribune

She’s history: Salem’s first female police chief joins wave of retirements

Marty Butler, the first female to hold the job of police chief in Salem, says she’ll retire at the end of the month, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports. Butler, who has been chief for five years, says she’ll become head of security at the Peabody Essex Museum. 

As Milton Valencia at the Globe reports, Butler’s departure is just the latest example of police department chiefs opting for retirement amid widespread calls for police reforms.

Salem News

Flashpoint: Gun range becomes focus of defunding debate in Springfield

They’re taking aim–at each other. Peter Goonan at MassLive digs into the debate in Springfield over whether the city should spend $16 million to lease a private shooting range for 20 years. Accusations of favoritism are being made after it was revealed the mayor took donations from the range’s owner and the city council has refused to fund the first year’s rent as it looks to trim the overall police department budget in response to protests. 


Public records reforms: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Colman Herman at CommonWealth magazine takes a look at the 2017 reforms to the state’s public records law and finds that not much has changed in terms of transparency – unless you think people filing more appeals a positive change.


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

Team Sharing Overdose Awareness Protest

A Massachusetts-based organization made up of parents who have lost a child to an opioid overdose plans to protest outside the State House after Gov. Baker’s office reportedly told the group that the governor is “unable to lower the flag” to half-staff in memory of the thousands who have died of drug overdoses.

Team Sharing

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


Dedicated bus lanes shave 12 minutes off commute from Roxbury to downtown Boston – Boston Herald

Braintree mall shooting suspect held without bail – WBUR


Worcester Bravehearts will play 2020 season in Leominster, offer free tickets – Worcester Business Journal

Quincy ER to close in November after developer terminates lease – Patriot Ledger

Senators secure $10 million for rural cell phone service – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Democrats smell a rout–and the chance to control redistricting in 2021 – Politico

Uber bets on delivery with $2.65 billion acquisition of Postmates as ride-hailing suffers – MarketWatch

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