Cannabis Control, MTA ‘emergency hearing,’ and more
— Registry of Motor Vehicles officials launch a new pilot program allowing residents to complete registration and title paperwork on a drop-off basis, Braintree Service Center, 10 Plain St., 9 a.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission holds a public hearing to collect input on the latest revisions of regulations that govern marijuana in Massachusetts, 10 a.m.
— Massachusetts Teachers Association holds what it describes as an emergency hearing on ‘priorities for Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities’ amid the COVID-19 crisis, with Reps. Lindsay Sabadosa and Natalie Higgins and Sen. Jo Comerford expected to participate, 5 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.
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: 11 new deaths, 8,417 total deaths, 353 new cases
NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
‘The slow creep’: As key COVID-19 numbers rise, Baker warns again about large bashes and events
Gov. Charlie Baker is most definitely worried about all those Cape shindigs and other large events that he says are nothing more than a collective “recipe for disaster” during a pandemic, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall)
Why the worry? Because key stats now strongly indicate that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Massachusetts, as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports. It’s being called the “slow creep” by state officials and it’s happening in western Massachusetts as well, reports Larry Parnass and Caroline White at the Berkshire Eagle. The slight surge (and we’re still talking ‘slight’ at this point) is concerning public health officials, who question whether the state has the disease-tracking capacity to catch simmering coronavirus clusters, reports the Globe’s Kay Lazar. In Somerville, they’re taking no chances, indefinitely delaying Phase 3 of reopening plans, Ainslie Cromar reports at Boston.com.
And, finally, this isn’t encouraging, via the Washington Post: “San Francisco flattened the curve early. Now, coronavirus cases are surging.”
Is the state’s self-quarantine ‘honor system’ working?
The state’s new quarantine rules for certain out-of-state travelers went into effect on Saturday. But the Globe’s John Hilliard and Nick Stoico report that there was a distinct lack of any enforcement measures over the weekend at Logan International Airport. Some arriving passengers who abided by the state’s new rules were miffed no one asked them a single question.
Meanwhile, the Berkshire Eagle’s Stephanie Zollshan staked out some Massachusetts Turnpike service plazas in western Massachusetts – and she also found a distinct lack of quarantine/face mask/social-distancing enforcement measures.
Markey inches ahead in poll as pro-Kennedy PAC prepares final-month ad barrage
He’s gone beyond just closing the gap. From the Globe’s Victoria McGrane: “Incumbent Senator Edward J. Markey has pulled slightly ahead of challenger Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III in the Democratic primary race for Senate, with roughly a month to go before final ballots are cast, according to a new independent poll.”
Meanwhile, McGrane separately reports that a new super PAC is planning a major ad blitz on behalf of Kennedy, reserving “close to $1.6 million worth of air time in media markets across the state, according to a Democratic media buyer.” The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports the two Dem candidates, cooped up for months by the pandemic, are now going all-out on the campaign trail, pandemic be damned.
House approves climate action bill, setting up talks with Senate
Even though lawmakers voted to extend the legislative session through the end of the calendar year, there was nevertheless a flurry of activity on Friday on Beacon Hill, including passage of at least one major item, via SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk: “The House on Friday night approved a climate change bill that addresses a 2050 emissions reduction roadmap, solar energy net metering, grid modernization, and workforce development, setting up likely talks with the Senate on a compromise bill.”
The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo and Sean Philip Cotter report that conservative groups are up in arms over “TCI-like elements” in the bill.
Legislative updates: IT bond bill passed, Baker to sign three-month budget
Here’s some other items tackled (and not tackled) by legislators on Friday. From MassLive’s Steph Solis: “Massachusetts lawmakers send $1.8 billion IT bond bill to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.” … From SHNS’s Chris Lisinksi (pay wall): “Senate Approves DCF Reporting Bill.” … From WGBH: “Baker Plans To Sign Three-Month State Budget.”
Meanwhile, CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg takes a look at all the big-ticket items that lawmakers left unfinished and plan to deal with during the extended session, including the budget, police and health care reforms, and the sprawling economic-development bill.
Appeals court overturns Tsarnaev’s death sentence, Trump pounces on ruling
WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning reports that the First Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned the death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, effectively saying he didn’t get a fair sentencing hearing. The Globe’s Adrian Walker isn’t thrilled: “Another Tsarnaev trial is the last thing Boston needs.”
CBS Boston reports that President Trump was tweeting away over the weekend, calling the ruling ‘ridiculous’ and demanding ‘Death Penalty!’
Congressional candidates scramble for women’s vote – but only one gets the Globe nod (and he’s not a she)
The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that the nine Dem candidates vying for Joe Kennedy’s Fourth District congressional seat are focusing on all things women voters these days.
But the Globe itself, in an editorial, is obviously not entirely focused on all things gender, prominently announcing its endorsement of candidate Jake Auchincloss, the Newton city councilor and former Marine captain who the Globe says has the “depth of experience and perspective that are valuable assets as Congress navigates crises in public health and the economy.”
So who’s funding Neal’s campaign? Maybe the question is: Who isn’t funding Neal’s campaign?
Speaking of local congressional races, Tom Joyce at New Boston Post reports on all the big donors to U.S. Rep. Richard Neal’s re-election campaing. They’re sort of a who’s-who of corporate America – Big Tobacco, defense contractions, alcohol producers, credit card companies, etc.
‘Shark Shield’: Don’t leave home without it
Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty thinks it’s time for swimmers on the Cape to take shark-safety measures into their own hands — with a personal “shark shield” device that generates electromagnetic pulses that are picked up in the short-range electrical receptors in sharks’ snouts and sends the fiends into “unbearable spasms.” The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has more on the novel ‘shark shield.’
Methuen’s police chief: One of the highest paid in the country — and he wants more
This doesn’t exactly look good, coming amid calls for police reforms, scandals over police OT abuses, tight local budgets due to the pandemic etc., to wit: Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon’s outrageous $326,707 salary, higher than the pay of police chiefs in New York, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. And Solomon won’t take a furlough like other public officials until he squeezes another 50 grand from the obviously mismanaged city. The Globe’s Andrea Estes has more.
R.I. mistakenly issues tax refunds signed by Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney
A true cautionary tale for all states. The Rhode Island Division of Taxation mistakenly sent out more than 175 tax refund checks to residents signed by … Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. The division usually uses the signatures on test files only, but somehow the test files became real files and the checks went out with the memorable signatures affixed. WPRI-TV has more.
Report: Minority riders cited more often for skipping fares on MBTA
From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “Most of the tickets MBTA Transit Police issue for skipping fares are to people of color, even though minority riders account for a smaller percentage of subway riders, according to data obtained by the Globe.” The paper got the data via a public record request.
GE’s move to Boston: It all started with a party snub
The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that a new book on the rise-and-fall of the once mighty General Electric gets into how, why and when the firm arrived at its decision to move from Connecticut to Boston. The “final straw” was a government-hosted party attended by the governor for GE’s arch-rival Pratt & Whitney. “Some things the company did not forgive,” says one lobbyist.
Staying power: Warren’s awakening on race keeps her in VP sweeps down to the wire
She evolved. Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember at the New York Times trace U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s evolution on the issue of race relations, from her time pledging at an all-white sorority to her current status as one of the few white women still under consideration to become Joe Biden’s running mate. Some critics, though, say Warren’s evolution is “one of convenience” borne of her presidential aspirations.
Controversy lingers: Hingham’s flag flap continues to divide community
The flags are gone but the controversy remains. Joe DiFazio at the Patriot Ledger reports dueling rallies over the weekend demonstrate the division in Hingham over “thin blue line flags” is alive and well.
Meanwhile, Lisa Kashinsky at the Herald reports the flags themselves, now under control of a firefighter’s union, will be appearing at fire stations across the state.
Not so urgent: Natural-gas bills filed in wake of explosions languish as session ends
The flames of urgency have cooled. Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports that a barrage of legislation filed in the fall of 2018–shortly after the Merrimack Valley natural gas explosions- looks unlikely to cross the finish line during the current extended legislative session
Beyond Recovering: Preparing your business for new directions and growth
It’s impossible to ignore the long-lasting effects Covid-19 will have on your business. Small- to mid-sized businesses are working twice as hard to adapt for the rest of 2020 and the unforeseeable future. But you don’t have to do it alone. Understanding the difference between temporary disruptions and fundamental changes is key to planning for what’s next.
Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards
Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.
How to Contact MASSterList
Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.