Keller at Large

Toppling statues, school reopenings and buffoons

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller answers questions from listeners and viewers about the push to remove statues, whether it’s safe to open schools, and whether we have two buffoons running for president. Hint: Two of the answers are nuanced, one is emphatic.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Soldiers’ Home hearing, student visas hearing, and more

Children’s Mental Health Campaign holds a House briefing on its Pediatric Behavioral Health Urgent Care report, 11 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry and others hold a press call to discuss ‘how the Trump administration has made no progress in combating coronavirus in the past three months,’ according to organizers, 11:30 a.m.

New England Area Conference of the NAACP and ACLU of Mass. host virtual briefing for legislators and staff on qualified immunity and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, closed to public and press, 12:30 p.m.

Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee holds a virtual hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill to reform oversight of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, 1 p.m.

— U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs holds a hearing to consider a lawsuit that Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed to halt a federal plan to order international students to leave the U.S. if their college offers only online classes this fall, John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 17, 3 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

As Senate finally passes police-reform bill in early morning vote …

The fourth time was indeed the charm. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The Senate overcame a difficult rollout and several false starts to pass a far-reaching reform of policing in Massachusetts on Tuesday that would ban chokeholds, limit the use of tear gas, license all law enforcement officers and train them in the history of racism.”

And the legislation, passed by a 30-7 vote at 4 a.m., “would also controversially scale back a legal protection for police and other public employees that currently shields them from civil lawsuits unless there was a clearly established violation of law.” And now it’s the House’s turn to take up police reform – and the thorny issue of qualified police immunity.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

… the debate over qualified police immunity intensifies

The Senate may have finally passed a police-reform bill early this morning. But the debate over stripping police of their qualified immunity seems to be just getting started. The Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan, writing before this morning’s Senate vote, notes how many Beacon Hill lawmakers are uncomfortable about leaving police exposed to possible civil lawsuits. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan, also writing before the Senate vote, reports the issue is dividing Democrats, some of whom worry about other government workers losing qualified immunity. 

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks Democrats are making a huge mistake by pushing the immunity issue so aggressively.

Stepping aside: Lynn police chief latest to announce departure

Add one more to the list. Lynn Police Chief Michael A. Mageary is the latest law enforcement leader to announce he plans to retire, saying he’ll step away after 34 years on the force and three-and-a-half years as chief, Gayla Cawley of the Lynn Item reports. Mageary joins fellow chiefs in Framingham, Brookline and Newton who have recently announced they’re stepping down amid demands for police reforms.

Lynn Item

‘Boston police are not Minneapolis police’

This must be a welcome change for embattled police used to almost no-stop criticism these days: In a Globe opinion piece, Eugene Rivers and Christopher Winship are praising progressive reform steps taken by the Boston Police Department since the 1990s — and they declare that Boston police are not Minneapolis police.

But some city councilors still want changes. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “Boston councilors proposing police civilian review board.”

Is Charlie Baker afraid of the State Police?

Speaking of police reforms, Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants to reform the scandal-plagued Massachusetts State Police. But the Globe’s Joan Vennochi doesn’t see a lot of action on the State Police reform front and wonders if the governor is as committed to change as he says.

Boston Globe

The coronavirus numbers: 5 new deaths, 8,115 total deaths, 154 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Warning shot: Amherst town manager casts doubts on UMass reopening plan

After all, students will be students. Amherst Town Manager  Paul Bockelman is warning UMass Amherst that its plan to reopen campus in the fall creates risks for the community by not holding students living in off-campus apartments to the same health-safety standards as those in dorms, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Voting activists file lawsuit to force Galvin to send out ballot applications

Not exactly an encouraging sign that voting-by-mail will run smoothly this fall. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall): “A group of Massachusetts voters and voting rights organizations sued Secretary of State William Galvin on Monday, arguing he is violating the COVID-era elections reform law by hesitating to send out applications for mail-in ballots without first receiving an allocation to cover the costs.”

And they want the mailings to start tomorrow, pronto. The Globe’s John Ellement and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the legal showdown that must now be decided by the Supreme Judicial Court.

Healey and other AGs sue feds over ‘cruel, abrupt and unlawful’ student visa rule

In other pandemic-related legal action, Boston Magazine’s Alyssa Vaughn reports that Attorney General Maura Healey is leading a coalition of 18 AGS from around the country who are suing the Trump administration over a new rule kicking international students out of the country if their colleges offer only online courses this fall.

The lawsuit is not to be confused with separate legal action taken by Harvard, MIT and other colleges against the Trump administration over the same international-student issue. That lawsuit gets a hearing today in federal court (see Happening Today section above).

Boston Magazine

‘Never seen anything like this’

The pandemic, economic meltdown, historic racial-justice demands, remote legislative meetings, no state budget in mid-July, etc. The Globe’s Matt Stout reports on easily one of the most unusual and surreal legislative sessions in the centuries-long history of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Boston Globe

How to snitch on your rulebreaking bosses during the pandemic

And now back to the unusual and surreal: MassLive’s Tanner Stening and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) report that the Baker administration has unveiled a new website and phone hotline residents can use to report businesses that aren’t complying with the state’s social-distancing and other health-safety guidelines during the pandemic. We’re sure businesses are thrilled with the new reporting measures.

State allows reusable bags again, but some retailers ask for more time

Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that the Baker administration, now that coronavirus cases are plunging in Massachusetts, has canceled the ban on reusable bags at grocery stores across the state.

But the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that some retailers aren’t ready yet to dump single-use plastic bags – and Mayor Marty Walsh is giving retailers until September 30 to make the switch back to paper bags.

Gloucester Times

SJC allows Keating rival back on ballot, but not Pressley’s opponent

Republican candidate Helen Brady will indeed be on the fall ballot in her bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, after a Supreme Judicial Court ruling yesterday overturned a decision by the State Ballot Law Commission that made her ineligible due to the way she collected electronic signatures during the pandemic, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports (pay wall).

But the SJC also ruled that Rayla Campbell, a conservative Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, will just have to wage a write-in campaign because, well, she didn’t even collect the reduced minimum number of signatures required to get on the ballot, Universal Hub reports.

Pine Street Inn secures hotel building to house homeless during pandemic

WBUR’s Lynn Jolicoeur reports that Boston’s Pine Street Inn, the city’s largest homeless shelter, has acquired the site of a former Best Western Plus on Massachusetts Avenue in order provide enough social-distancing housing for the homeless.


Special-education schools get $16M in COVID-19 relief funds

Massachusetts residential schools that serve those with special-education needs and that couldn’t easily shut down this spring due to the pandemic are getting $16.1 million in emergency relief funds under a plan announced Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker, according to a report at WGBH.


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.

Chip off the old block: Analog Devices acquires rival for $21B

This is a biggie. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei reports that Norwood-based Analog Devices Inc. is acquiring rival chipmaker Maxim Integrated Products Inc. for a whopping $21 billion, in one of the largest acquisition deals this year. CNBC has more on the huge all-stock transaction. 


Hundreds of ‘RIDE’ drivers go on strike

WBUR reports that hundreds of drivers for the MBTA’s para-transit service, known as The RIDE, went on strike yesterday over a health insurance dispute. The story is accompanied by photos of the labor action launched yesterday by 350 drivers


Auto repair question cleared for November ballot

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “A proposal to increase access to automobile telematic data is now on course to be decided at the ballot box after opponents of the latter question dropped their challenge.” Bottom line: Voters who have no idea what telematics-data means will once again be asked to settle an ongoing dispute between auto-repair shops and auto-manufacturers.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Room for improvement: Worcester revisits remote learning ramp-up

We need to do better. That’s the bottom line of a self-review of the Worcester school district’s transition to remote learning after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered in-person education this spring, Scott O’Connell at the Telegram reports. While many students had no trouble making the switch to online learning, overall engagement was not as high as the district had hoped.


Everett mayor, with governor’s help, saves Cape wedding day

No days off. Instead of a relaxing day at the beach, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria spent part of the weekend serving as a last-minute emergency officiant for a Cape Cod couple desperate to get married after their ceremony plans fell through. Rick Sobey at the Herald has all the wedding-bliss details, which included an assist from the governor’s office.  

Boston Herald

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

Greater Milford Democratic Congressional Debate

The first debate between the Democratic candidates vying to replace Congressman Kennedy, featuring questions from you, the voters and broadcast live on Milford TV! (To protect the health and safety of the candidates and organizers, the event will be held remotely.)

Democratic Town Committees of Bellingham, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medway, Milford and Norfolk

Today’s Headlines


Boston cops stop and frisk a newspaper editor in Roxbury – Universal Hub

Calling for accountability, Campbell proposes police oversight board – Boston Globe


Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst endorses Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse for congress – MassLive

Salem’s tourism industry puts focus on locals – Salem News

Odor concerns spur backlash against pot-growing plan in Hinsdale – Berkshire Eagle


Analysis: 23 million families could face eviction by October due to pandemic – The Hill

How Trump is helping tycoons exploit the pandemic – The New Yorker

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