Happening Today

Plainridge reopening, Public Health Council, and more

Plainridge Park Casino becomes the first gaming facility to reopen after a nearly four-month closure due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Public Health Council meets, 120 days into the COVID-19 state of emergency, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to remotely speak at the Mass. High Technology Council’s annual meeting, 10:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council interviews Woburn City Council President Michael Anderson, an attorney who was nominated by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Probate and Family Court bench., 11 a.m.

— The House special committee on COVID-19 economic recovery hears testimony from Department of Revenue officials, lawmakers, and advocates about the state revenue picture and a discussion on several legislative proposals addressing employee benefits and workforce issues during the pandemic, 1 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley join Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu and others for a ‘walking discussion’ in Mattapan Square on the need for fare-free public transit, 4:30 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, 7,998 total deaths, 140 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker and Healey slam Trump’s barring of foreign students

As President Trump yesterday took direct aim at Harvard’s decision to offer only online courses this fall (Globe), Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey, as well as university officials across the state, were criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to expel hundreds of thousands of students from the country if their respective colleges offer only online courses.

The Globe’s Laura Krantz and Deirdre Fernandes have the big-picture story on the controversy. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan has the Baker angle, while SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has Healey’s reaction. 

Btw, from MIT’s Tech: “MIT invites only seniors back to campus for Fall 2020.” And the rest? Online classes.

Scammers swiped $158 million via tens of thousands of bogus jobless claims in Massachusetts

We’re not talking ‘thousands and thousands’ of attempts to defraud the state’s unemployment benefits program, as the Baker administration previously said. We’re talking ‘tens of thousands’ of successful attempts, 58,000 to be precise, and the scammers got away with at least $158 million. The state says it recovered that amount of money, but it’s not saying how much it hasn’t recovered.

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the BBJ’s Greg Ryan have more on a scam that’s far worse in scope than what state officials originally indicated, that’s for sure.

Report: Thousands of local companies received PPP loans without retaining jobs

Its name clearly suggests its intent: The Paycheck Protection Program. But the reality is that a lot of local companies obtained loans from the federal government’s pandemic relief fund without retaining jobs, reports David Bienick at WCVB.  The companies include Legal Seafoods, according to WCVB. 

Meanwhile, from the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “Black businesses in Mass. received fewer PPP loans.” And we’re talking considerably fewer loans than what others got. 


State’s new vote-by-mail law runs into immediate problem: M-O-N-E-Y

The ink on the newly passed vote-by-mail law is barely dry and there’s already controversy over where the money will come from to implement the law. SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk has more on whether federal relief funds can be used to, among other things, send millions of notices to voters across the state.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Blast from past: Commissioner admits he wore KKK robes and gave Nazi salute while at college

It happened more than three decades ago when he was a college student, but Steven A. Florio, head of the state’s Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, is acknowledging that he did indeed wear KKK-like ropes and gave apparent Nazi salutes while a member of a controversial frat in Washington D.C. – and now the Baker administration is investigating the allegations, reports the Globe’s Matt Stout.

Boston Globe

The latest public health menace: EEE

As if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t bad enough, Gov. Charlie Baker and others are warning of another public-health menace out there: The ‘very real’ threat of EEE. Marc Fortier at NBC Boston has more.

Meanwhile, from the Globe’s David Abel: “Despite fears of EEE-carrying mosquitoes, aerial spraying poses greater danger, environmentalists say.”

NBC Boston

Did Baker fall for ‘clearly faked’ COVID-19 party reports? Looks like it

Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell reports that it appears our very own Gov. Charlie Baker fell for “clearly fake” news of wild parties involving young ones and others ignoring safety measures during the pandemic. The rumors all started in Tuscaloosa, he writes.

Boston Magazine

Marriott Long Wharf – yes, that Marriott Long Wharf – reopens

WCVB reports on yesterday’s reopening of Boston’s Marriott Long Wharf, the site of the Biogen conference where dozens caught COVID-19 and proceeded to spread it around the state, nation and even the world. It obviously wasn’t the hotel’s fault, nor Biogen’s, but history is history.


SJC requires temperature checks for everyone entering courthouses

The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday issued pandemic guidelines for the partial reopening of Massachusetts courthouses next week, including taking the temperature of everyone and anyone entering court buildings. CBS Boston and MassLive’s Jackson Cote have more on the SJC’s reopening requirements.

Real news: Trump’s rally in N.H. is being targeted by fake signups

They’re at it again. The Globe’s Christina Prignano reports that social-media types are aiming for a repeat of President Trump’s disastrous Tulsa rally last month by launching a trolling campaign that’s signing up people to attend this Saturday’s rally in New Hampshire – people who have no intention of showing up.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that the entire idea of a Trump rally in New Hampshire is a mistake – and shows that the Trump campaign desperately needs a shakeup.

Boston Globe

Springfield DJ’s gun license revoked after posting vintage photos of armed Black Panthers

MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports that Springfield police have yanked a local DJ’s license to carry a gun after he posted vintage photos of armed Black Panthers and quotes about “tearing things up” more in Springfield, etc. Our question: Does the ACLU have a local office in Springfield? Just wondering.


Markey to get $900K Super PAC boost

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “A new super PAC formed by environmental advocates backing U.S. Sen. Edward Markey’s reelection campaign plans to spend $900,000 on a new television and digital ad campaign in July that will cast the incumbent as a progressive leader who recognized the challenges of the times.”  

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Jailhouse rock: Markey and Kennedy talk criminal justice before inmates at Suffolk House of Correction

Speaking of the U.S. Senate race: Once again, it was hard to spot much difference in their policy views. But it wasn’t hard to spot the unusual setting yesterday for a U.S. Senate forum involving Dem candidates Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy, both of whom called for sweeping reforms of the criminal-justice system and even fielded questions from prisoners, some of whom asked some good questions, it should be noted. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Matt Murphy have the details.

Neal’s latest progressive problem: Bernie groupies

Speaking of primary battles, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has yet more progressive activists to contend with in his primary contest against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse: Progressive operatives with ties to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Politico’s Ally Mutnick has more.


Re new Cape bridges: Where’s the money?

The Cape Cod Times had the scoop over the weekend and it was made official yesterday: The state and federal government have indeed reached a landmark deal on how to proceed with replacing the Bourne and Sagamore bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports (pay wall). The only thing missing: The money needed to build the bigger bridges. It’s not exactly a minor issue, as the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports.

Maine’s latest reason to hate Massholes

Maybe there’s a form of justice here, considering Maine’s recent decision not to exclude Massachusetts residents from its pandemic quarantine rules? Anyway, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that many Maine environmentalists are seething over the millions of dollars being spent to defeat a referendum question in Maine that would block a power-line project aimed at bringing hydroelectricity from Quebec to Massachusetts.


Former town accountant accused of stealing more than $729,000 from Uxbridge and two other towns

From MassLive’s Michael Bonner: “The former accountant for the town of Uxbridge has been charged in with stealing more than $729,000 from multiple municipalities, including more than $650,000 from Uxbridge, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday. Justin Cole, of Harvard, is also accused of stealing $24,597 from Monterey and $47,600 from Millville.”


Just build it (maybe): Report urges Worcester to consider broadband network

It’s worth a look. That’s the bottom line of a report from the Worcester Research Bureau, which says Worcester could address a persistent gap in connectivity of its residents by building and operating its own high-speed broadband network, Steven Foskett Jr. atthe Telegram reports. The bureau acknowledges the price tag — at about $50 million — could be a deal-breaker.  


Veto power: Lawmakers say Blanford vote may kill Pike exit plan

Their land, their say. State lawmakers say a long-simmering proposal to add a new exit on the western end of the Mass Pike may be dead on arrival after voters in Blanford said they’re against hosting the new infrastructure, Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Berkshire Eagle

Kennedy wins: Progressives claim victory in New Jersey primary

Notch another one for the dynasty. Amy Kennedy narrowly won the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional district, setting up a November showdown with incumbent Jeff Van Drew, who defected from the Democratic party last year and has become a favorite of President Trump in the process. Politico’s Matt Friedman reports the victory came in an election held mainly via mail-in ballots. 

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

CX Summer Nights

This month we’re welcoming Oompa and Cliff Notez to the big screen. More details to come! This event is free, virtual, and all are welcome.

Cambridge Crossing

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


Markey, Kennedy visit jail to address criminal justice concerns – CommonWealth Magazine

Brockton library, City Hall, come back to life, reopened to the public with restrictions – Brockton Enterprise


Access to many Cape Cod beaches becomes more difficult – Cape Cod Times

Recreation Worcester, city parks scramble to fill summer jobs – Telegram & Gazette

UMass pledges ‘resolute’ support to foreign remote-learners facing possible deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – MassLive


Florida invited the nation to its reopening, then it became a new coronavirus epicenter – Washington Post

Clash looms over next coronavirus relief bill – The Hill

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.