Happening Today

House and Senate sessions, climate change, and more

— Climate activists plan to gather in front of the State House to embark on a 10-mile bicycle ride through Boston to advocate for strong climate legislation, 10 a.m.

— Lawmakers from the Springfield delegation host a press conference to flag concerns about cuts at Springfield Technical Community College, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal introduces Paul Barabani, former superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, as a witness during a hearing, available online, on the status of state-run veterans’ homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 a.m.

— The House and Senate meet in formal sessions, 11 a.m.

— Supporters of legislation that would authorize a supervised consumption site pilot program in Massachusetts rally outside the State House urging the Legislature to pass the bill before the end of formal lawmaking sessions., 1 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: 14 news deaths, 8,331 total deaths, 178 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.  

Lawmakers give fast-track approval to three-month state budget

No more month-to-month interim budgets. The House and Senate yesterday unveiled, and then quickly passed, a $16.53 billion interim budget to keep state government running through October, giving lawmakers extra time to figure out where the state stands in terms of tax collections amid so many pandemic-era uncertainties. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and MassLive’s Steph Solis have more. 

Also, via SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall):“Hinds: Budget Level Funds Local Aid, Chapter 70.”

Economic development bill approved after House rejects housing amendments

The House yesterday passed its sprawling economic development bill, sending it to the Senate for possible quick action as lawmakers attempt to wrap up late-session business this week, reports SHNS in a summary (pay wall). In the process, House members rejected a number of housing-related amendments, leaving intact Gov. Charlie Baker’s “Housing Choice” proposal, SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports (pay wall).

Btw: We hadn’t seen this before, but Ben Berke at the Enterprise reports that lawmakers last week also quietly nixed a rent-control measure in the bill. Berke reports Brockton area legislators largely opposed the measure.

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home suspends family visits after recovering veteran tests positive for second time

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is in the news again this morning, with officials suspending visitations to the facility after a “clinically recovered” veteran once again tested positive for the coronavirus. Miriam Wasser and Angus Chen at WBUR have the details

The headline on Felice Freyer and Matt Stout’s Globe story: “Can you get COVID-19 twice?” The tentative answer from experts: It’s possible, but uncommon.


Walsh chastises operators of crowded cruise ship

WGBHs Isaiah Thompson reports Mayor Marty Walsh wasn’t impressed, let alone happy, with the social-distancing practices aboard that crowded booze-cruise ship that’s become the talk of the town in recent days.

And the mayor has yet another social-distancing concern on his mind these days: Returning college students to Boston, as WCVB reports.


Pull ’em over: Cambridge considers unarmed civilians to handle traffic stops

We’re not talking civilian traffic flaggers. We’re talking full “license and registration please” civilian traffic-stop enforcers instead of cops. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has more on the unarmed-civilians proposal now under consideration in Cambridge. Needless to say, cops aren’t happy with the latest police-reform idea.

Boston Herald

Hingham’s big ‘thin blue line’ divide

The Patriot Ledger’s Joe DiFazio reports on the heated controversy in Hingham over firefighters flying “thin blue line” flags off firetrucks in support of police officers.

Meanwhile, from MassLive Benjamin Kail: “Cindy Chesna, widow of Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna, blasts reform bill, Hingham’s removal of thin blue line flags as ‘personal attacks.’”

Patriot Ledger

Are we witnessing history in the making? An actual Kennedy loss in Massachusetts?

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy must still be considered the odds-on favorite to win the Dem primary battle against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. But Battenfeld writes that Kennedy is nevertheless “suddenly facing an historic predicament — trying to avoid becoming the first Kennedy ever in Massachusetts to lose an election.”

The Globe’s Adrian Walker writes that Markey appears to be gaining momentum in a U.S. Senate race that was supposed to be a blowout for Kennedy. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that Kennedy has recently made key missteps that couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Boston Herald

As goes Somerville: Cambridge takes step to recognize polyamorous relationships

Back to Cambridge, its city council has advanced an ordinance that would make it the second city to extend domestic partnership benefits to residents in polyamorous relationships, Marc Levy at Cambridge Day reports. Last month, Somerville took a similar step and Cambridge will revisit the issue in September after a fact-gathering period. 

Cambridge Day

Equivocal unequivocal support

The Globe’s Meghan Irons and Malcom Gay report on the first “tumultuous year” for Boston School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. As we’ve said before, welcome to Boston, Brenda.

In an editorial, the Globe says the embattled Cassellius deserves the “unequivocal support of Mayor Walsh” as she battles school leaders over reforms. But then the Globe lists all the reasons why people might be justifiably equivocal in their support of her, including suspicions she’s more show than substance in terms of leadership.

It’s begun: Automakers launch TV ad warning of sexual predators running amok if right-to-repair initiative is passed

We thought they’d take the international cyber terrorists approach. But automakers are going right for the jugular, suggesting in a new TV ad that “sexual predators would more easily be able to stalk victims” if the right-to-repair ballot initiative is passed, reports CHNS’s Colin Young. Backers of the ballot measure say opponents are engaging in blatant fear mongering.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Ugly stuff: Ex-managers sue People’s United Bank over alleged racism

If only half the charges in the suit are true, People’s United Bank is in a heap of legal and PR trouble after being sued by six current and former employees who accuse a top bank manager of routinely making ugly racial remarks and openly making promotion decisions based on race. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more.

BBJ (pay wall)

Don’t plant those seeds

Federal and state agriculture officials are warning residents not to plant unsolicited seeds they may have mysteriously received in the mail from a foreign country. The seeds may pose “a significant risk to agriculture or the environment,” the state Department of Agriculture said in a statement yesterday. MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) have more on the strange mailings some believe are coming from China.

Bill seeks to end lucrative money-making phone contracts at prisons

CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt reports that some Beacon Hill lawmakers have filed legislation that would end lucrative prison phone contracts that charge inmates and their families big bucks to make outgoing and incoming calls – with the big-buck profits split between private companies and public entities.


Is the fate of the state’s seal sealed?

From the AP at CBS Boston: “Massachusetts’ Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday creating a special commission to review the state seal and motto, which includes a controversial depiction of a Native American man. The bill still needs House approval.” At CommonWealth magazine, Lucas Guerra and Scott Zoback say a change couldn’t come soon enough.

CBS Boston

Returned to sender: Undeliverable ballot applications become latest voter-fraud flashpoint

Critics of expanding voting by mail are raising the alarm yet again after the office of Secretary of State Bill Galvin says “thousands” of the 4.5 million mail-in ballot applications it sent out last week are bouncing back as undeliverable, Christian Wade at the Salem News reports.

Salem News

Please reconsider: Framingham mayor wants do-over vote on apartment moratorium

All she can do is ask. Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer wants the city council to take another look at the evidence it used to justify a nine-month moratorium on large-scale apartment building projects, Jeannette Hinkle at the MetroWest Daily News reports. The council backed the measure by a veto-proof 10-to-1 margin but Spicer says concerns about the city being overburdened are overblown.

MetroWest Daily News

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


Developer proposes three-building complex on Fort Point Channel, including large berm to hold back the tides – Universal Hub

MetroCorp announces restructuring plan – Boston Magazine


Norwell police chief to retire in November – Patriot Ledger

Pittsfield City Councilor Moon leaves job with DA’s office; no reason given – Berkshire Eagle

Dean College, in reversal, will hold fall semester online – Worcester Business Journal


Biden pledges to choose running mate in first week of August – Politico

Barr clashes with House Democrats over protests and Russian inquiries – New York Times

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