Happening Today

House session, Sox opening game, and more

Massachusetts Environmental Justice Legislative Table holds a briefing on environmental justice legislation, featuring Reps. Liz Miranda, Adrian Madaro, and Michelle Dubois and Sens. Sal DiDomenico and Jamie Eldridge, 9:30 a.m.

Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center plans to release the 2020 edition of Renewable Communities, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House returns from overnight recess for a third day of debate on its police reform bill; the Senate also meets without a calendar, with the House at 11 a.m. and Senate at 1 p.m.

Boston Red Sox finally open the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season at home against the Baltimore Orioles, though no fans will be allowed in the Fenway Park stands, 7:30 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: 16 new deaths, 8,265 total deaths, 270 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Day 3: House will try again today to pass police-reform bill

It was another day of slow progress on passing a police-reform bill in the House on Thusday, so representatives will try again today to wade through numerous amendments in order to take a final vote. A number of issues were hotly debated on Thursday, including the use of tear gas and the makeup of a future police licensing board, according to a SHNS summary (pay wall). 

And House Speaker Robert DeLeo is advising representatives to prepare for a possible Saturday session to deal with police reforms and possible other legislative issues, such as bills covering health care and jobs, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). 

Early signs of virus resurgence? Maybe …

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and media outlets from around the state report on an uptick in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, with weekly active COVID-19 cases climbing for the first time since June. No need to panic. More data is needed before making longer-term trend pronouncements.

Still, the Cape is definitely seeing a rise in cases. Indeed, they’re back to their mid-May levels, reports Geoff Spillane at the Cape Cod Times. This isn’t helping matters on the Cape, also via the Times: “Chatham party results in 10 cases of COVID-19.” But it isn’t just the Cape. From the Patriot Ledger: “Quincy seeing uptick.” 

In Framingham, they’re also seeing a slight increase, combined with an ominous demographic trend. From Jeanette Hinkleat the MetroWest Daily News: “Median age of new virus cases in Framingham is 33.” Check out the quotes from one hospital official in Framingham. This is no longer an old-person pandemic, if she’s right.

And, finally, from the Globe’s Travis Andersen: “Baker expects to see quicker time for COVID-19 test results.”

The latest school reopening bump in the road: School bus restrictions

WBUR’s Carrie Jung and the Globe’s James Vaznis report on the latest school-related reopening guidelines issued by the state – this time regarding pandemic safety restrictions on school buses, such as one student per bus bench, open windows, face masks, etc. Vaznis writes that the rules will “dramatically reduce ridership and complicate reopening plans for many districts across Massachusetts.”

In other school-reopening news, from WGBH’s Adam Reilly: “Mayor Walsh Expresses Cautious Support For BPS’ Tentative Hybrid Reopening Plan.” And from CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “Private schools, charters moved forward with remote curriculum.” 

One major plus of fewer college students in Boston: Apartment prices are falling

Speaking of school reopenings, NECN’s Caroline Connolly and Mike Pescaro report that apartment rental prices in the area are falling due to fewer college students returning for in-person classes this fall in Boston. It’s classic supply-and-demand economics.


Lecturing college students to not behave like college students? Good luck

CBS Boston reports on Mayor Marty Walsh’s public service announcement/mild threat regarding returning college students and keg parties, etc. The Globe’s Kevin Cullen believes such appeals and threats will never work, specifically at UMass-Amherst, for college students will always be college students.

All the rage: Cocktails-to-go adult juice pouches (and they come with straws)

Now that restaurants can serve cocktails to go during the pandemic, eateries are mixing up all sorts of carry-out concoctions to please customers, including giant “adult juice pouches,” which, judging by the photos accompanying Heather Adams’ story at MassLive, do indeed come with straws.


Ex-Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent: Baker et gang have spread ‘poison’ over tragic events

The attorney for ousted Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintended Bennett Walsh has fired another broadside at the Baker administration, accusing state officials of spreading “poison” about what actually happened at the facility where dozens of veterans perished during the early stages of the pandemic, reports MassLive’s Stephanie Barry.

Markey-Kennedy race intensifies as candidates seek support of early mail-in voters

Alison King at NBC Boston reports on how the U.S. Senate race between Dem rivals Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy has intensified in the past week, from clashes over tax returns to Kennedy’s Broadway-show fundraising debacle.

WGBH’s David Bernstein thinks it’s more than just a routine campaign flare-up. The aggressiveness is partly the result of both candidates seeking the early votes of potentially hundreds of thousands of people mailing in their ballots this year – and the too-close-to-call primary “might very well be decided this week.”

Btw, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Markey Faces Scrutiny Over 2013 Detention Bed Vote.”

Federal agency warns of cyber threats if right-to-repair question is approved

This is pure political gold for opponents of the right-to-repair ballot question: The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a letter to a legislative committee raising concerns about the fall ballot question and potential “cyber threats” if too many people are allowed access to vehicle “telematics.”

We can already envision car manufacturers’ TV ads darkly warning of cyber threats.

Boston Globe

Talking too much: Hundreds cited since state’s distracted-driving law enacted

Katie Thomson at WCVB reports that nearly 2,000 citations and warnings have been issued by State Police to motorists since enactment of the state’s new distracted-driving law, i.e. the ban on hand-held cell phones while driving.


New Hampshire to Mass. smokers and vapers: Thanks for keeping our taxes lower

Technically, this has to do with shopping-trends during the recent lockdown in Massachusetts. But it’s also about the unintended but predictable consequences of taxing and cracking down on tobacco products in general. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “A New Hampshire think tank says businesses in the Granite State recently avoided a tax hike thanks in part to ‘cigarette smokers and flavored tobacco scavengers from Massachusetts.’”

‘Scavengers’? Not exactly a nice way to describe those helping to balance their budgets.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Catherine Greig, Whitey Bulger’s long-time girlfriend, is back in Southie

James “Whitey” Bulger’s long-time girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 69, who lived with the gangster for years while he was on the lam, has officially finished the home-confinement phase of her prison sentence and is now living again in South Boston, reports the Globe’s Shelley Murphy.

Boston Globe

Cannabis Control Commissioner: ‘I’m starting to become embarrassed’ by inequities

WGBH’s Zoe Matthews reports that Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title was once proud of the state’s early commitment to making sure minorities got a piece of the emerging pot industry in Massachusetts. Now she’s not so proud.


Senate approves plan for MLK address memorial at State House

And, finally, the Massachusetts Senate, following the lead of the House, has approved a plan to erect a memorial in the House chamber containing the text of the address that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered to a joint session of the legislature on April 22, 1965, reports SHNS’s Michal Norton (pay wall).

Sunday public affairs TV: Joe Curatone, Lori Trahan and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Somerville Mayor Joe Curatone, who talks with host Jon Keller about his city’s cautious approach towards reopening and Gov. Charlie Baker’s leadership.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jobcase CEO and founder Fred Goff on how his online company helps people deal with jobs searches, unemployment and pivoting; Encore Boston Harbor president Brian Gullbrants on the reopening of the Everett casino; and Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe reviews the top business stories of the week. 

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, who talks with host Ed Harding, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 4, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Changes in Housing and Education, with Doug Quattrochi, executive director of MassLandlords, and Antonio Ennis, community organizer at City Life Vida Urbana.

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

Report to celebrate Metro Boston communities for clean transportation leadership

Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is releasing the 2020 edition of Renewable Communities, a report highlighting cities and towns that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy. The report will include case studies of projects to increase mass transit ridership, reduce reliance on private vehicles, and promote electric cars in Somerville, Belmont, and Chelsea.

Environment Massachusetts

Report to celebrate movement for fossil-fuel-free buildings

Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is releasing the 2020 edition of Renewable Communities, a report highlighting cities and towns that are leading the way to 100% renewable energy. The report will include case studies of policies to encourage the construction of highly efficient and fossil-fuel-free buildings in Boston and Brookline.

Environment Massachusetts

Future-proof: How to create new small business offers for a COVID world

Karen Tiber Leland, author and president of Sterling Marketing Group, answers your questions in an interactive Q&A webinar. Find out how your small business can manage the big changes ahead and how to build a currency of trust with your customers in the new world of PR and media.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Hard-Hit Industries: Rebuilding Restaurants, Retail, and Travel & Hospitality

Pioneer Institute invites you to our Virtual Policy Briefing, “Hardest Hit Industries,” on Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 PM featuring Mary Connaughton, the Institute’s Director of Government Transparency and Director of Finance and Administration.

Pioneer Institute

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


Red Sox President Says Team Is Proud Of Black Lives Matter Sign Outside Fenway – WGBH

Boston wins state approval to get into the electricity business – Universal Hub


Former Revenue Commissioner Mitchell Adams Dies – SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Poll: More than 60 percent of small businesses in Massachusetts report losses in gross revenue of 25% or more in 2020 – MassLive


Trump Abruptly Cancels Republican Convention in Florida – NYT

White House, GOP kill payroll tax cut but flounder on broader coronavirus bill – Washington Post

Michael Cohen will be released from prison to home confinement – CNN

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