Happening Today

Tax deadline, transportation bill, and more

— Today is the deadline for Massachusetts residents to file both federal and state 2019 income tax returns, postponed from the normal April 15 deadline because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Climate activists hold virtual rally to urge lawmakers to act on legislation that would create a roadmap to the state’s 2050 climate goals, 10 a.m.

Transportation for Massachusetts hosts a press conference to discuss the Senate’s planned debate on a $16.9 billion transportation bond bill, with Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, TransitMatters Chief Operating Officer Jarred Johnson and others planning to speak, 11 a.m.

— Senators host a listening session to hear about the COVID pandemic’s impacts on tourism, arts, culture and small businesses, 11 a.m.

Health Policy Commission holds a virtual meeting of its advisory council, with members reviewing data on the impact of COVID-19 on health care spending and utilization, 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

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: 10 new deaths, 8,125 total deaths, 203 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Significant victory’: Feds back off ban on international students

The Trump administration blinked. The BBJ’s Hilary Burns reports that federal officials yesterday abruptly rescinded an ICE rule barring international students from the country if their colleges only offer online courses. It’s a huge victory for Harvard and MIT, which brought the original suit against the rule, and a victory as well for Attorney General Maura Healey, who along with other AGs filed a separate suit against the ICE action.

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes has more on the “significant victory” for students and schools alike.


Dispute over: The ballot applications are in the mail

That was fast. A day after voting-rights activists sued Secretary of State Bill Galvin to force him to send out vote-by-mail applications by today, Galvin’s office has announced that the applications are now in the mail, after the secretary was assured by the governor’s office that funds will be made available to cover the cost of the mailings and other expenses. SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Lawmakers: Time for mandatory face masks and quarantines for hotspot out-of-staters

We assume Maine visitors will be at the top of the quarantine list. From Steve LeBlanc at NBC Boston: “Face masks and two-week quarantines for travelers entering Massachusetts from COVID-19 hot spots would be required under a bill filed at the Statehouse on Tuesday. The bill would also prioritize COVID-19 testing for vulnerable populations and mandate enforcement of workplace safety requirements designed to protect both workers and the public.”

Sam Adams is already one step ahead of lawmakers. From Universal Hub: “Sam Adams says influx of patrons from coronavirus hotspots forcing it to shut its Faneuil Hall taproom to on-site consumption.” And from the Herald’s Alexi Cohan: “Harvard epidemiologist has ‘deja vu’ over coronavirus testing issues, concerns over interstate travel.”

NBC Boston

Walsh warns of ‘moving backwards’ in Boston

He’s not preemptively blaming out-of-staters, but Mayor Marty Walsh is seeing the spike in coronavirus cases in other states and he’s getting mighty worried about a second COVID-19 surge in Boston, reports the Globe’s Martin Finucane and Jaclyn Reiss.

Nevertheless, the mayor is moving forward with a partial reopening of City Hall, starting next week, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

Boston Globe

Baker administration puts ‘priority’ on in-person classes, but teacher unions have different ideas

The word ‘prioritize’ is a diplomatic way of saying ‘do it.’ Anyway, from the Globe’s Felicia Gans: “Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley has asked schools to prioritize in-person instruction this fall and not announce any final plans about reopening until early August.”

But it’s too late to hold off on reopening announcement in Amherst and Framingham. From MassLive: “Amherst schools planning to have elementary students in class full time, higher grades at least 2 days a week.” From the MetroWest Daily News: “Framingham schools release preview of back-to-school plan.”  Meanwhile, from Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “Teachers unions call for phased reopening of schools, mirroring state’s business reopening during COVID-19 pandemic.”

Gillette Stadium: Only 20 percent capacity for Pats games?

Assuming they have an NFL season and assuming the state agrees, the New England Patriots have a pandemic plan in place for this fall: Only 13,200 fans would be allowed in Gillette Stadium to watch a Pats game, filling only 20 percent of the stadium’s capacity, reports WCVB.


Cambridge’s Moderna pushes ever closer to possible vaccine

Can they do it? It’s still not clear. But the folks at Cambridge-based Moderna are now set to begin late-stage trial testing of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, after reporting encouraging results from first-phase testing of its proposed vaccine, according to reports at WCVB and the Globe.

A new subspecies of Massholes has been identified: Maskholes

Attention, National Geographic: The Globe’s Beth Teitell has identified a new subspecies of the dreaded Massholes – “Maskholes,” or those who don’t wear protective masks and feel entitled to scream at waitresses and ice-cream shop workers. Teitell openly wonders what future historians will think about these pandemic times.

Boston Globe

More than 900 pandemic non-compliance complaints have been filed with AG

The Baker administration’s new pandemic snitch website and hotline (MassLive) are about to get flooded with complaints, if Attorney General Maura Healey’s data is any indication. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports on the more than 900 complaints Healey’s office has already fielded from workers upset that their bosses aren’t complying with pandemic safety rules.

BBJ (pay wall)

Tufts to quarantine students in modular homes if they test positive

WBUR’s Angus Chen takes a look at what area colleges are planning when some students return to campuses this fall, including Tufts University’s plan to quarantine students who test positive for the coronavirus in modular homes, aka ‘The Mods,’ set up on tennis courts. 


Swan boats and pushcarts get rental free ride

Colman Herman at CommonWealth magazine reports that Boston is granting relief to many businesses that pay rent to the city, including retail shops in city buildings, the Swan Boat operator in the Public Garden and pushcart vendors on Boston Common.


‘Under the cover of darkness’: Cop unions furious over Senate’s wee-hours passage of police reforms

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail report that police unions across the state are denouncing the Senate’s passage of a police-reform package at 4 a.m. on Tuesday – and the bill’s inclusion of language stripping away some qualified-immunity protections for police.

Healey sues Uber and Lyft, arguing drivers are employees entitled to benefits

In normal times, this would be top news. But these aren’t normal times. From the BBJ’s Lucia Maffei: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday sued major ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., arguing that their drivers are employees and not independent contractors. Under state law, a company’s employees can access benefits such as a minimum wage, overtime pay and earned sick time.”

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has more on Healey’s move, which, to our ears, sort of sounds like the recent au-pairs legal showdown (WBUR).

Is a cabinet post in Walsh’s future?

This is nothing but wild speculation. But we adore wild speculation – and so we’re excited to include this morning Sean Philip Cotter’s report in the Herald on the “ongoing buzz” about a potentially victorious Joe Biden bringing Mayor Marty Walsh into his future administration. The wild speculation is way down in the story that’s splashed on the paper’s print front page.

Boston Herald

Advocates to lawmakers: Hold off on Baker’s ‘dysfunctional’ Soldiers’ Home reforms

From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Veterans’ advocates are urging state lawmakers to delay action on Gov. Charlie Baker’s legislation to increase oversight of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, saying it would do little to change the ‘dysfunctional chain of command’ at the facility where 76 residents died of coronavirus and that more input was needed.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more.

Boston Herald

Baker administration plan would double solar capacity under program

SHNS’s Colin Young reports that the Baker administration has unveiled updated regulations that would double the total capacity of solar power under a state financing program – and ease some previously proposed restrictions on solar developments within natural landscapes such as woodlands.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Neo-Nazi group infiltrating protests

The Globe’s Danny McDonald reports on how a neo-Nazi group with a particularly virulent racist ideology has been worming its way into recent demonstrations in the region, raising alarms among experts and others about their causes and intentions.

Mystery probe: Grand jury subpoenas Mashpee tribe’s financial records

Sounds like they’re following the money. Tanner Stening of MassLive reports a federal grand jury has subpoenaed financial records from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Members of the tribe were informed of the action last month, but prosecutors also said the tribe — which has pinned much of its financial future on its stalled Taunton casino project — is “not the target of the investigation.”


Lights out? Plainville voters balance budget with deep cuts after defeating override

Two weeks after rejecting a tax hike, voters in Plainville have approved a budget that officials say will result in deep cuts to the police and fire departments as well as layoffs of teachers and school staff, Stephen Peterson at the Sun Chronicle reports. Along the way voters at the out-of-town, stay-in-your-car meeting toyed with a number of fixes to plug the budget gap — including a throwback to the earliest days of Proposition 2 ½: Shutting off street lights. 

Sun Chronicle

Conversations you should have with your employees before reopening

You’ve incorporated the expert advice about social distancing, face covering. HVAC and other safety measures into your reopening plan. But does that mean your business or nonprofit is really ready to reopen? What about your employees’ emotional well-being and the psychological scars from recent events?

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

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


What should Cambridge’s monument to women’s suffrage look like? – Boston Magazine

Protests to the contrary, Lynn council OKs $375 million budget – Lynn Item


Greenfield city councilor proposes ordinance to protect renters – Greenfield Recorder

Cathy Ann Viveiros in running for Harwich town administrator – Herald News

Grafton Indian will become history – Telegram & Gazette


Sara Gideon wins nomination to challenge Susan Collins in November – New York Times

Trump uses Rose Garden event for extended campaign-like attack on Biden – Washington Post

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