Happening Today

Governor’s Council, budget hearing, and more

— Researchers from Boston Indicators and the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program present the findings of a recent study on housing production and zoning in Massachusetts, at an event hosted by the Boston Foundation, 10 a.m.

— The 11th Annual Massachusetts Jobs and Workforce Summit is held, which this year focuses on job training in the time of COVID, racial inequity and calls to diversify the IT industry, with speakers includibg U.S. Reps. Richard Neal and Ayanna Pressley, 10 a.m.

Governor’s Council interviews District Court nominee Danielle Williams, a former Hampden County prosecutor, at a public confirmation hearing, 11 a.m.

House and Senate Ways and Means committees will hold a virtual budget hearing featuring invited testimony on Gov. Baker’s revised $45.5 billion state budget, 12 p.m.

Salem officials hold a press conference to announce details about planned closures and restrictions that will be in place through Halloween, including travel and parking restrictions, road closures and early business closing times, 1:30 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: 5 new deaths, 9,537 total deaths, 821 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

More than a million and counting

More than a million ballots – or 21 percent of the state’s 4.6 million registered voters — have already been cast in-person and by mail in Massachusetts, reports MassLive’s Michelle Williams and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan. It’s a pretty amazing number. And it’s happening across the state (Sun Chronicle and Herald News). And it’s happening across the nation (CNN).

Staying put: Baker says he plans to serve full term despite Biden-cabinet scuttlebutt

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks Joe Biden’s reported consideration of Gov. Charlie Baker and other moderate Republicans for possible cabinet posts (should Biden actually win in November) is probably just “a trial balloon to attract moderate voters.” A trial balloon or not, it’s all about perception (and speculation) in politics and Baker, though flattered, yesterday said he’s staying put after the election.

Of course, Baker proceeded to spark yet more political speculation with two simple words attached to his declaration: “at least.” SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail explain.

Breaking news: Baker endorses fellow Republican for U.S. Senate

It’s news because, though he’s a Republican, he doesn’t always endorse Republicans. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the details on Gov. Charlie Baker’s endorsement of Republican challenger Kevin O’Connor in the U.S. Senate race.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Oliver 2020’: Underdog presidential candidate from Fall River surges against Trump and Biden

Oliver Winston Churchill Finelli, a Fall River goldendoodle striving to become the first U.S. president from Massachusetts since JFK and running on the campaign slogan ‘Because people suck,’ is surging in late neighborhood polls against Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his write-in campaign managers have announced. Definitely check out the yard-sign photo accompanying Charles Winokoor’s piece at the Herald News.

Herald News

Coronavirus updates: Vaccine priorities, snow days, public-college enrollment, herd immunity

There’s a lot happening on the coronavirus front this morning, so we’ll just go with quick summaries and headlines in this post, starting with Chris Lisinski’s report at SHNS (pay wall) that Gov. Charlie Baker is confirming that the state’s preliminary vaccination priorities list indeed puts health care workers and seniors at the top. … From WCVB: “Baker, officials visit new drive-thru testing site at Suffolk Downs.” … From MassLive: “Snow day or remote learning day? When storms hit, Massachusetts schools will have a choice this year, state says.” … From WCVB: “Lawrence records 2 days of COVID-19 positive test rates over 10%.” … From the Globe’s Martin Finucane: “Scores of Mass. scientists, doctors sign open letter against herd immunity proposal.” … And SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall) has the official numbers on the decline of enrollments at public colleges and universities. As expected, it’s been brutal. 

So maybe it is unfair to count prison inmates when calculating high-risk communities

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and SHNS’s Michael P. Norton (pay wall) report that the state – or at least state education officials – are rethinking the metrics now used to calculate COVID-19 transmission risks in communities, specifically when counts include cases at local colleges, nursing homes, or jails.

Though it’s specifically tied to the in-person learning debate, the move does seem to contradict last week’s pronouncement by certain tall gentleman who rejected changes to the state’s at-risk metrics.

‘Preventable cruelty’: Soldiers’ Home families unload at hearing

The heartbreak was palpable and there’s more to come. Families impacted by the coronavirus outbreak that claimed more than 76 lives at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home detailed their losses and their frustrations at how the outbreak was handled before a legislative committee yesterday, Stephanie Barry at MassLive, Dusty Christensen at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth Magazine report. 

Battle stations: South Shore lawmakers and commuters mobilize to save ferry service

The Patriot Ledger’s Joe DiFazio reports it’s all hands on deck on the South Shore, where pols and commuters are preparing for battle to save ferry service between Hingham, Hull and Boston should the cash-strapped MBTA move to cut services.

Patriot Ledger

Rowing it alone: Steamship Authority says state bailout may not be needed

Speaking of ocean transit, here’s a pleasant surprise: The Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard Steamship Authority says it may not need a $60 million lifeline from the state after all, as increased vehicle and freight traffic has helped close its budget gap, George Brennan at the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports. The SSA has already received $10 million in federal bailout funds. 

Martha’s Vineyard Times

Finger pointing war over State Police reforms

A rare case of the governor and lawmakers openly fighting. From the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau: “Governor Charlie Baker clashed with legislators on Tuesday over the best way to reform the Massachusetts State Police on the heels of revelations that dozens of troopers remain on the force despite past illegal conduct.”

Boston Globe

Possible long-lost brothers Pete Buttigieg and Brad Stevens to campaign together

Back to election news: Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg not only look strikingly alike, they also share the same politics and are now planning to virtually campaign together to support Democratic candidates in the November election, reports the Globe’s Christina Pregnant. File under: ‘Doppelgängers.’

Boston Globe

You again? State Rep. Frost faces independent challenger for fourth time

Who’s standing between GOP state Rep. Paul Frost and a 13th term in the State House representing the 7th Worcester District? None other than Terry Burke Dotson, who has challenged Frost three times in the past as an independent and is now running again — full-time this time, now that she’s retired from the military, reports Craig Semon at the Telegram.

Lack of an evictions tsunami, explained

We missed this story from the other day by CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt, who explains why there wasn’t a “tsunami’ of eviction filings on Monday (or presumably yesterday) after the state’s eviction moratorium expired over the weekend. Bottom line: The evictions will probably come in waves, with 11,000-plus cases filed before the moratorium likely to hit first.


Lawmakers seek to extend jobless benefits to the lowest of low-paid workers

Christian Wade at CNHI News reports that state lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation to extend jobless benefits to unemployed workers who fall just below the threshold to qualify, or those who make less than $100 per week. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has more on the proposal that could provide benefits to 17,000 workers.


CCC: Marijuana home delivery or bust

Despite objections from a handful of lawmakers and municipal leaders, the Cannabis Control Commission is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to create a new marijuana home-delivery license, though it would limit how big the operations can get. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more.

New ‘988’ suicide hotline signed into law

Legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton to create a new nationwide ‘988’ suicide hotline has been signed into federal law by President Trump. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times has the details.

Gloucester Times

A Community Conversation: Voting Rights and the Perilous March to Freedom

The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. Since the nation’s inception, however, barriers have denied many, especially women and people of color, from exercising this right. Indeed, the history of voting rights in America has been a tug of war among those seeking to expand and others seeking to restrict access to the vote.

National Park Service, City of Boston, Friends of the Public Garden, and the Museum of African American History

Advocating for the Rights of People on the Move: A Conversation with the Refugee Community Leaders

Join us for a conversation with refugee community leaders on economic justice and migration. Speakers are Abid Shamdeen, co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative which brings aid to internally displaced Yazidis in Iraq, and Sharifah Shakirah, co-founder of Rohingya Women’s Development Network which believes gender equality is key to lifting the Rohingya community.

Harvard Kennedy School/Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Energy Policy Seminar: John Holdren on “Thawing Permafrost: A Local and Global Disaster”

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz, Professor of Environmental Policy at HKS. Professor Holdren will speak on “Thawing Permafrost: A Local and Global Disaster”. The seminar will be hosted by HKS Professor Joe Aldy.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business

Philanthropy and Inequality

Please join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy for its signature weekly series this fall, The Fierce Urgency of Now, featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color scholars, activists, and community leaders, and experts from the Global South.

Harvard Kennedy School

Critical Conversations: Racial Justice and the Immigrant Rights Movement

The Binger Annual Immigration Law Forum brings together lawyers, students, advocates and community members to learn from each other and develop tools to continue the struggle to protect human rights, basic dignity, and the rule of law.

James H. Binger Center Annual Immigration Law Forum

Virtual Discussion – Women Who Lead: Navigating the Challenges of 2020 and Beyond

Join us for a virtual live-streamed panel discussion with four female business leaders moderated by Carolyn Jones, publisher of the Boston Business Journal. Women have unique perspectives to offer on leading through these current turbulent times from how to build organizational resilience to how to advocate for themselves in a politically charged environment to maintaining a work/life balance.

Boston Business Journal and Santander Commercial Banking

Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

Join the Boston Public Library and the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library for an online talk with Amy D. Finstein, author of Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America.

Boston Public Library

The Future of Higher Education

As schools around the country plan, react, and adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidents of Greater Washington’s top universities will gather virtually to discuss health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and budgeting and development of the future of higher education. Join the Washington Business Journal for a look behind the scenes with the decision makers.

Washington Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Quincy councilors discuss regulating Airbnb rentals – Patriot Ledger

Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association apologizes after posting about local restaurant and ex-employee on Twitter – Boston Globe


Greenfield officials believe Covid uptick linked to gathering – Greenfield Recorder

New Bedford port nets $20 million to protect against natural disasters – Standard-Times

Stepping up: DiZoglio hikes across Mass. to raise money for Methuen youth center – Eagle-Tribune


Biden has massive cash advantage on Trump heading into election day – The Hill

McConnell moves to head off stimulus as Pelosi and Mnuchin report progress – New York Times

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