Happening Today

Boston, courts, MGM Springfield and Plaignridge Park reopenings

— The city of Boston, Massachusetts courthouses, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Racecourse reopen many of their businesses and services today.

— The Supreme Judicial Court plans to issue a ruling by the close of business today on whether Helen Brady, a Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District, should remain barred from the ballot.

— The Massachusetts Senate holds a formal session to try, for the fourth time, to pass police-reform legislation, 11 a.m.


— Employees and students of Springfield Technical Community College will be joined by community supporters to protest the school’s decision to cut seven programs and 21 staff positions, 11:30 a.m.

— Student workers from Harvard Graduate Students Union, Boston College Employees Union, Graduate Employees of Northeastern Universit and and University of Massachusetts Graduate Employees Organizations protest recent new ICE guidelines, with Attorney General Maura Healey expected to speak, State House Steps, 12 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

Fourth time the charm? Senate to try once again to pass police-reform bill

For the third day in a row, Sen. Ryan Fattman, a Sutton Republican, blocked action on a Senate police-reform bill on Saturday, saying lawmakers needed to slow down and fully review the proposed measures, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton and Chris Van Buskirki (pay wall) and the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo.

But hovering in the background is police union opposition to language that would put limits on qualified police immunity, as the Herald’s  Erin Tiernan reports.

How to build better police departments: It starts at the very beginning

Speaking of police reforms, here’s hoping that everyone involved in the police-reforms debate in Massachusetts has a chance to read this opinion piece by Jim Gordon, former director of strategic planning for the Boston Police Department, on how police departments need to rethink their roles in society – and how changes must start at the recruiting and training stages. 

We liked this line in particular: “Police academies should no longer model themselves after military boot camps.”


Senate transportation bill slams brakes on gas-tax hike

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) report that the Senate has opted not to take up a House-approved increase in the state’s gas tax, with leaders saying now is not the time to burden motorists with higher costs amid economic hardships. The Senate instead is opting on borrowing funds to pay for infrastructure improvements.

It’s a major non-move move by the Senate, considering how talk of new transportation revenues was once all the rage on Beacon Hill – before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The coronavirus numbers: 15 new deaths, 8,110 total deaths, 172 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

As Boston enters Phase 3 reopening, Somerville opts to wait an extra week

A week after most of Massachusetts began Phase 3 of reopening the economy, Boston starts its slightly more cautious Phase 3 reopening today, as WGBH reports. But Somerville is being even more cautious, opting to wait until next week for its Phase 3 reopening, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports. Why? In an opinion piece at CommonWealth, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone says the state reopening plan is hardly ‘vigilant.’

Pressley to DeVos: ‘I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child’

There she goes again. Pulling rhetorical punches. Or maybe not. The Hill’s Aris Folley reports on U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s not-very-thrilled reaction to U.S. Education Secretary Besty DeVos’s push to reopen schools this fall.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s James Vaznis reports on how far apart officials are on the subject of reopening schools – 36 inches to be precise. At CBS Boston, Gov. Charlie Baker remains cautiously optimistic schools can indeed be safely reopened.  

The Hill

Cocktail-to-go: Is it a go yet?

Both branches of the Legislature have now signed off on allowing Massachusetts restaurants to sell to-go cocktails, but other previously mentioned ideas on how to help boost the battered restaurant industry have been stripped from a Senate bill passed on Friday. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more.

Fyi: The Globe’s Jon Chesto had a good primer the other week on the dispute between liquor stores and restaurants that has been holding up the cocktails-to-go legislation.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Portsmouth breathes sigh of relief after Trump delays N.H. campaign rally

The Trump campaign, citing weather warnings of a pending storm, postponed its controversial rally planned for Saturday in Portsmouth, N.H, where locals were not exactly thrilled with the idea of potentially thousands of mask-less Trump devotees descending on the city in the middle of a pandemic. The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and the Washington Post have more, including how the Trump campaign still hopes to hold a rally in N.H.

Value proposition: Harvard students question if it’s worth the hassle and money

They went there. Ezra Marcus and Jonah Engel Bromwich of the New York Times ask the $50,000 a year question: Is a Harvard education still worth the money when a majority of the students may not be allowed to return to campus? A petition circulating on campus is also calling on the school to extend more financial support to students forced to live off campus. 


Plimoth Plantation to change its name

The Patriot Ledger’s David Kindy reports that Plimoth Plantation plans to change its name to make it more inclusive of Native-American history — and amid widespread protests over statues and venue names in general across the country. 

The Globe’s Lucas Phillips reports no new name has been announced yet, but it’s expected to incorporate the Wampanoag name for the area, Patuxet.

Patriot Ledger

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.

Romney on Trump’s Stone pardon: ‘Unprecedented, historic corruption’

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and current Utah senator, continued his lonely Republican assault on President Trump over the weekend, accusing the GOP president of “unprecedented, historic corruption” for commuting the sentence of his longtime pal Roger Stone, as the AP’s Jonathan Lemire reports at WCVB.


The Great White Whale of Development spotted: Pike project set to start this week

There she blows! The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that the elusive “great white whale of Boston development” – i.e. the decades long attempt to build another mixed-use project over the Mass. Turnpike – is finally near reality with last week’s announcement by Samuels and Associates that it has secured financing for the $700 million project. Construction could start as soon as this week, or so they say.

Boston Globe

Yet another Great White Whale of Development spotted: Overhaul of City Hall Plaza commences

Believe it or not, City Hall Plaza, regularly recognized as one of the ugliest public gathering places in America, is finally undergoing a massive overhaul. Universal Hub has the photographic proof that construction has indeed started on the $70 million project.

Universal Hub

State Police OT scandal update, Part II: The ones who got away

There are two ways to look at last Thursday evening’s news-release dump by the State Police: 1.) How the agency disciplined some troopers in the ongoing OT scandal (MassLive) or 2.) How the agency effectively let 15 troopers to keep their jobs (Globe), with the latter coming to light in Saturday’s papers – which probably explains the strategically timed motive behind the evening news-release dump.

The Herald’s Howie Carris blasting away at how the troopers will be allowed to collect their pensions.

Pie in the sky? Floating restaurant company eyes Boston launch

Better than a gondola? A Peabody business wants to bring its floating restaurants–platforms suspended over the city from a crane–to Boston, Greg Ryan at the Boston Business Journal reports. 


Solar farms versus woodlands: A clear-cut dilemma

It’s a damn if they do, damn if they don’t situation. The Globe’s David Abel reports on proposed state rules backed by conservationists and aimed at saving woodlands from solar-farm developments. But the new rules could also put in jeopardy 80 solar projects valued at $730 million at a time of economic hardship and calls for more renewal energy to battle climate change.

Boston Globe

DCF bill features ‘foster parents’ bill of rights’

This was probably noted in previous reports about the DCF reporting-and-transparency legislation pending on Beacon Hill, but we clearly missed it, i.e. how the bill also includes a “Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights” that would require foster parents to be considered as the first choice for adoption when a non-relative is not involved. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

WBUR’s Kimberly Atkins headed to Globe’s op-ed section

Kimberly Atkins, currently WBUR’s Washington correspondent and the Herald’s former Washington-based capital reporter, is moving to the Globe to join its editorial board, with Atkins remaining in D.C., reports Universal Hub. Atkins will also continue her high-profile gig as a regular contributor to MSNBC. h

Grieving parents of overdose victims press for flag lowering next month

SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall) reports on last Friday’s emotional protest by parents who have lost children to opioid overdoses and who are pushing Gov. Charlie Baker to lower flags to half-mast on August 31 in honor International Overdose Awareness Day.

Pols call on Brooks Brothers to give workers severance in wake of bankruptcy

From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Congresswoman Lori Trahan and state and union leaders called on Brooks Brothers Sunday to provide severance pay and health insurance to more than 400 (local) workers in the wake of its bankruptcy filings.”

Boston Herald

All together now: Encore and MGM reopen as casino industry makes cautious comeback

They’re back. Encore Boston Harbor reopened to modest crowds on Sunday with a new look and extensive coronavirus precautions, including temperature checks of patrons and employees, Mark Gartsbeyn at Boston.com reports. Plainridge Park Casino reopened last week to a line of waiting customers. 

Bringing up the casino-reopening rear will be MGM Springfield, which plans to open today and which is also now asking its host city to renegotiate its mitigation-payment plan in light of the coronavirus shutdown, Jim Kinney at MassLive reports. 


Overlooked? Brockton pol slams state for not including city in testing blitz

What about us? Brockton City Councilor and state Senate candidate Moises Rodrigues wants to know why his city was left off the governor’s ‘Stop the Spread’ free testing initiative which is targeting eight communities hit hard by the coronavirus. Marc Larocque at the Enterprise reports Rodrigues feels the slight is part of a larger trend of state leaders ignoring Brockton, which he says officials consider “the purgatory of Massachusetts.” 


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

The Role of Higher Education in an Equitable Recovery

Even as coronavirus continues to disrupt our communities, many students are still making one of the most important decisions of their lives this summer: whether or not to pursue higher education in the fall. To better understand their intentions, MassINC and The MassINC Polling Group present the results from a timely survey of 10th, 11th and 12th grade parents.


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

For Real Estate: Why Constant Contact is the Smarter Choice for Online Marketing

In this free, one-hour webinar, you’ll get an overview of the tools that Constant Contact offers.

Constant Contact

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


Faneuil Hall merchants demand more rent relief – CommonWealth Magazine

Boston is the third most ‘intensely gentrified’ city in the U.S., study finds – Boston Globe


Despite online appointments, people encounter waits, lines at Danvers RMV – Salem News

If history were different, Cape Cod Canal might have flowed through Brockton – Brockton Enterprise

State sets hearing on Holyoke Medical Center’s planned birthing center closure – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Florida breaks U.S. record for new coronavirus cases in a day – New York Times

Tammy Duckworth bursts into VP contention – Politico

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