Keller at Large

The Markey-Kennedy race: It’s a dud so far, but it could pick up soon

In his latest Keller at Large on Massterlist, Jon Keller says the once much-hyped U.S. Senate race between Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy hasn’t lived up to expectations, thanks to the pandemic. But there’s still weeks to go – and time for blunders and a breakout.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

House and Senate sessions, and more

Pension Reserves Investment Management Board holds a remote meeting of its Investment Committee, Treasurer Deb Goldberg attending, 9:30 a.m.

Environment Massachusetts holds a webinar, part of a series marking the release of its 2020 ‘Renewable Communities’ report, to highlight fossil fuel-free building policies, 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House returns from an overnight recess to continue deliberations on its economic development bill, 10 a.m.

— Senators have until 12:30 p.m. to file their amendments to the Senate’s version of the economic development bill, followed by a formal Senate session, 1 p.m.

— The Joint Committee on Housing is accepting written testimony on two bills that would keep a moratorium on almost all evictions and foreclosures in place for one year after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends, with testimony due by 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: 7 new deaths, 8,317 total deaths, 182 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Tardy slip: School year to start two weeks late to give teachers time to prepare

We didn’t see this coming. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and the Globe’s James Vaznis report that state education officials and the state’s three largest teacher unions have agreed to delay the reopening of schools this fall by 10 days, in a move to give teachers and administrators more time to develop plans for in-person and remote classes amid the pandemic.

The headline of the day goes to (of course) Universal Hub: “School to start two weeks later to give teachers a shot at doing what millionaire baseball players can’t.” Here’s more on one of those players, via CBS Sports: “Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez confirms he’s dealing with heart issue stemming from COVID-19 infection.”

Confirmed: COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Massachusetts

We were wondering if we went too far out on a limb last Friday with our post “Early signs of virus resurgence? Maybe …” Turns out there is indeed a virus resurgence, a slight one, and Gov. Charlie Baker is warning of ‘small clusters’ tied to recent non-social-distancing gatherings around state.

The governor says he’s sticking to his Phase 3 reopening plans, but the Massachusetts Medical Society says that maybe it’s time to return to Phase 2, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). The Globe’s Kay Lazar and Dasai Moore confirm doctors are becoming uneasy over the case numbers they’re seeing.

So what ‘small clusters’ are we talking about? Among them, the 13 patients and 23 staff members who have contracted the virus at Springfield’s Baystate Health Systems, as WCVB and WMPI’s Matt Szafranski report. And from MassLive’s Peter Goonan: “Citing coronavirus threat, Springfield vows crackdown on unsanctioned events.” And this one reminds us of the recent Cape party-hearty incident, via the Telegram: “Underage drinking party in Spencer raises Covid-19 concerns.”

Targeted testing expands to eight more communities

More on the pandemic, via SHNS’s Colin Young: “With cases of COVID-19 on a slight upswing across Massachusetts and state officials trying to get a clearer picture of coronavirus activity in the state, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday that his administration is making free, widespread testing available in eight more communities showing concerning signs.”

The communities include Agawam, Brockton, Methuen, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton and Worcester.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Ahoy there: Cruise company ordered to cease-and-desist after photo of crowded ship goes viral

The Bay State Cruise Company has been issued a cease-and-desist order by city and state officials after a photo went viral showing crowded decks on its Provincetown II ship, NBC Boston reports.

The Globe’s Travis Andersen reports regulators are “demanding that it put a stop to activities that the public officials said did not conform with the state’s reopening plan.”

NBC Boston

Baker’s housing bill: ‘Is it out or is it in?’

The House today resumes debate on its sprawling ‘catchall’ economic development bill (SHNS- pay wall). And one of the bill’s proposals is getting a lot of attention – the surprise inclusion of Gov. Charlie Baker’s ‘Housing Choice’ legislation.

But the Globe’s Jon Chesto and CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg report that final passage of the governor’s plan is far from certain. Speaking of the economic development bill, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Immigrant Driver’s License Amendment Withdrawn.”

Maine governor digs in her heels over requiring Mass. residents to quarantine

Out of the goodness of our hearts, the state of Massachusetts exempted Maine residents from our new pandemic quarantine rules. But will Maine return the favor? Noooo. Not if Maine Gov. Janet Mills has her way as she battles GOP lawmakers over Maine’s anti-Mass. quarantine rules. The Globe’s Travis Andersen has the details.

Boston Globe

UMass joins other colleges dumping SAT/ACT scores for applicants

Blame the pandemic. MassLive’s Patrick Johnson reports that the UMass-Amherst has become the latest school to drop SAT/ACT test scores for student applicants, due to the difficulty of proctoring tests during the pandemic. The new rule starts with those applying for the spring semester of 2021.

Separately, from CBS Boston: “UMass Amherst RAs Slam ‘Suicidal’ Reopening Plan, May Refuse To Work.”


Markey gets the progressive nod from the Globe

Most political endorsements don’t matter muchl. But some political endorsements do matter – and this morning U.S. Sen. Ed Markey got a big one with the Globe editorial board’s endorsement of Markey in his Dem primary battle against U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, touting Markey’s progressive credentials and politely stating “Kennedy has not made a persuasive case for removing Markey from the Senate.”

And, yes, newspaper endorsements still matter (though not as much as they used to), especially in tight races with little time left.

In other U.S. Senate race news, from the Globe’s Marcela Garcia: “Markey-Kennedy Senate race brings intense focus on Latino communities.” From the Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “No high-minded debate in Kennedy-Markey Senate race.” And CommonWealth’s Michae Jonas looks at how the pandemic has scrambled the campaign playbook this year.

Boston Globe

It’s true: Markey spends less time in Mass. than the rest of the delegation

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Liz Goodwin have dug into congressional travel records and found that U.S. Sen. Ed Markey really does spend less time in Massachusetts than other members of the state’s congressional delegation, a point U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy has been hammering away at in his tight U.S. Senate race against Markey.

One thing is also clear: Markey has most definitely not spent time in the towns of Dana, Enfield, and Prescott, as the Herald’s Joe Dwinell explains.

Blitzed in the 4th: Auchincloss ad buy ramps up race for Kennedy seat

Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss says he’ll spend $381,000 on a new TV ad, the largest single media buy to date in the race for the 4th District seat in Congress being vacated by Joseph Kennedy III, Matt Stout at the Globe reports. At least four of the Democrats in the race have made major TV ad purchases–normally a summertime rarity but made necessary by this year’s primary coming on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, in another congressional race, via Polito’s Ally Mutnick: “Labor-aligned group knocks Neal’s primary challenger in new ad.”

Biden’s VP pick: The pros and cons of selecting Warren

The NYT’s Alexander Burns reminds readers that Joe Biden’s August 1 deadline to pick a VP running mate is quickly approaching, but it’s likely/probable he’ll blow past the deadline. In any event, Burns reviews the pluses and minuses of those on Biden’s short list, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and it doesn’t look all that good for the senior senator from Massachusetts.


North Adams councilor quits before he can be censured after calling BLM a ‘terrorist organization’

The Berkshire Eagle’s Christopher Parker reports that Robert Moulton Jr. has resigned from both the North Adams City Council and School Committee after a furor over his calling Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization” and saying COVID-19 claimed lives “mostly in China and those places.” Moulton scrammed before the city council could take a planned censure vote tonight.

Berkshire Eagle

Can’t recall: Swampscott select board member safe as petition drive sputters

Yet another BLM mini-controversy, but with a different ending. An effort to recall Swampscott Select Board member Don Hause has been shelved after the petition gathered just a fraction of the signatures needed to call a special election, reports David McClellan at the Lynn Item. The recall push came after Hause was overheard deriding the Black Lives Matter movement, comments he says were taken out of context. 

Lynn Item

Weed city? Fitchburg closing in on 20 cannabis enterprises

They’re all in. The city of Fitchburg may become a hub of the state’s cannabis industry, with local authorities having approved 20 pot-related businesses, including seven retail shops and a dozen cultivation and production businesses, according to Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal. 


Six lawmakers, including two from the Black and Latino caucus, named to police-reform conference committee

Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine reports that six lawmakers have been appointed to a conference committee to try to hammer out compromises on the thorny issues contained in the separate House and Senate police-reform bills. State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, both members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, are on the committee.


Headed for trial: Court refuses to dismiss case against Newton judge accused of aiding immigrant evade ICE

Shannon Dooling and Deborah Becker at WBUR report that suspended Newton District Court Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph and a retired court officer will indeed face trial on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice after a federal judge refused to dismiss a case accusing them of aiding an immigrant to evade apprehension by ICE.


Healey joins challenge to Trump’s census order

Christian Wade at CHNI News reports that Attorney General Maura Healey is joining efforts to block the Trump administration from removing undocumented immigrants from the official population census count.


Lifeline or dead end? U.S. House again votes to protect Wampanoag tribe’s lands

We’ve seen this movie before. The U.S. House has approved legislation that would protect the Taunton land holdings of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe from losing its reservation status, the Associated Press reports at the Taunton Gazette. If this sounds familiar, it’s because similar legislation passed in 2019 only to languish when it reached the Senate. 

Taunton Gazette

Plug us in: Berkshire lawmakers eye earmarks for web access

Berkshire-area lawmakers have slipped a number of amendments into a pending economic development bill that would boost high-speed Internet access for parts of the state that still lack consistent broadband availability, Danny Jin at the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Portia Lee

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and Portia Lee – Spiritual Guide, Owner Day Seven Wellness Center, Speaker discuss how to incorporate mindfulness and spirituality into your life.


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

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Max Faingezicht

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and Max Faingezicht, CO-Founder & CO-CEO of Telescoped discuss Leadership in Trying Times.


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

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Lisette Garcia

The ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and Lisette Garcia, Micromobility Enthusiast, Gotcha, discuss building Community through Micromobility.


Environmental Leaders For Senator Ed Markey

Environmental Leaders For Senator Ed Markey with Special Guest Gina McCarthy

Give Green

Today’s Headlines


Third Quincy eatery closes due to coronavirus – Patriot Ledger

Homicides in Boston have climbed 39 percent this year – Boston Globe


Worcester Together Fund surpasses $10 million raises since start of pandemic – Worcester Business Journal

Hampshire College postpones 50th anniversary events – Daily Hampshire Gazette

MetroWest movie theaters: Reopening is not feasible under state rules – MetroWest Daily News


Pelosi, Schumer accuse Trump of self-dealing with money for FBI headquarters – The Hill

A small Georgia city plans to put students in classrooms this week – New York Times

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