Happening Today

Baker at Provider’s Council, Governor’s Council, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the Providers’ Council’s virtual 45th annual convention and expo, SpeakUp4Equity, with House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz later in the day receiving an award of excellence, 9:30 a.m.

Governor’s Council meets twice today, the first to interview judicial candidate Stephen Geary, who was nominated to the Lowell District Court by Gov. Baker, and the second to possibly vote on District Court nominee Danielle Williams, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

Boston Foundation holds a webinar to release a new report, produced in partnership with the Barr Foundation and the Building Movement project, titled ‘The Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap in Massachusetts: A Race to Lead Brief,’ 10 a.m.

Pioneer Institute holds a webinar to offer a deeper dive into ranked-choice voting, a measure that’s on the ballot as Question 2, 12 p.m.

— Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd presents awards to four attorneys for their exceptional dedication to providing volunteer legal services for persons who cannot afford an attorney for their essential legal needs, 4 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, 9,664 total deaths, 1,025 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker opposes ranked-choice voting, saying it’s too complicated and costly

We were wondering when Gov. Charlie Baker would say something about the Question 2 ranked-choice ballot initiative, and now he has, via a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito: He’s against it, saying ranked-choice is too complicated and costly, as SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports (pay wall).

Jesse Mermell, an honorary co-chair of the pro-Question 2 campaign, said the ‘complicated’ argument is “insulting to Mass. voters,” as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports. Insulting? We’d wager not one in ten Massachusetts voters could accurately explain the algorithm-driven, multi-stage run-off system that Question 2 would implement if passed. And we’d wager nine in ten voters would agree with us.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

With early voting hitting 1.8 million in Massachusetts, Baker says of mail-in balloting: Let’s keep it

More than a third of Massachusetts voters, or 1.8 million people, have already cast their ballots for the 2020 elections (MassLive), and Gov. Charlie Baker is impressed enough to say the state should keep mail-in voting beyond 2020, reports Steph Solis at MassLive.


‘Fame or blame?’ The Squad’s future rests on next Tuesday’s outcome

If Dems win big next Tuesday, they’ll be hailed as the party’s future. If Dems choke, they’ll get the blame. Or so says Reuters regarding ‘The Squad,’ whose membership includes our very own U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.


Why not? Mass. Dems donating huge sums to candidates in other states

With no truly competitive congressional races in Massachusetts (sorry to break it to you, Republicans), local Dems are funneling huge sums into U.S. Senate races in other states. The top recipient: Sara Gideon, a Democrat challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in Maine, report Isabel Contreras and Jenifer McKim at GBH.

Btw, from an AP story at the Globe: “Susan Collins votes against Amy Coney Barrett, heads home to Maine to save Senate job.”


Connecticut slaps quarantine rules on Mass. travelers. Is New York next?

It appears officials in other states have been paying close attention to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox reports that Connecticut has put Massachusetts travelers on its mandatory self-quarantine list. Meanwhile, New York is discouraging its citizens from traveling to the Bay State, though it stopped short of requiring Massachusetts residents to self-quarantine after entering the Empire State, reports the AP at CBS Boston.

State keeps up the pressure on public schools to hold in-person classes

It’s not a shaming campaign, but it’s also not a friendly-reminder campaign. It’s something in between. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Gov. Charlie Baker and his top education advisors urged schools Tuesday not to overreact to the rise in COVID-19 cases this fall, telling even those districts in communities deemed to be at the highest risk for transmission of the virus to stick with in-person learning unless there is evidence of spread within the school system.”

The Herald’s Alexi Cohan notes the red-zone advice is a reversal of previous state guidelines. Meanwhile, here’s some more not-so-subtle pressure coming from the state, via CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt: “MCAS exams coming in spring, education officials say/ Even schools in ‘red‘ towns urged to do in-person learning.”

So what are Catholic schools doing right?

As state officials try to nudge public schools to hold more in-learning classes, Catholic parochial schools need no nudging – and they must be doing something right when it comes to largely keeping coronavirus outbreaks at bay while providing in-person learning. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas explores the contrasting in-person-learning approaches (and attitudes) of public schools and parochial schools in Massachusetts.


Baker opines on: Thanksgiving … youth gatherings … youth hockey … no mention of Christmas

It’s not like he’s trying to be a pandemic nanny, even though he may come across as a pandemic nanny. Anyway, Gov. Charlie Baker, responding in many cases to questions from those pesky reporters, was busy again making pandemic pronouncements yesterday. From the Globe: “Baker says Thanksgiving has to be different in these coronavirus times.” … From WCVB: “Gov. Baker: ‘Young people need to be serious about dealing with COVID.’” … From CBS Boston: “Baker On Massachusetts Ice Rink Shutdown: ‘Youth Hockey Needs To Make Some Changes.”

Re Thanksgiving, the Herald is giving the story front-page treatment: ‘No Thanks.’ And Howie Carr is comparing Baker’s handling of the pandemic to the Vietnam War. Really. Vietnam. … We can’t wait for the Christmas and New Year’s coverage, complete with ‘Scrooge,’ references, Santa Claus jokes, etc.

Boston to allow trick-or-treating – with appropriate precautions

In the end, Mayor Marty Walsh didn’t have the heart to cancel trick-or-treating for the kids on Halloween, despite increasing coronavirus cases in Boston. But he did issue some common-sense precautions that parents and little ones should take on Saturday, as WCVB reports.

Btw: The Globe has a list of cities and towns that have banned trick-or-treating this year.

Btw II, one more piece of advice from the mayor, via Craig LeMoult at GBH: “No Symptoms? Boston Mayor Walsh Says Get a COVID-19 Test Anyway.”


Holyoke Soldiers’ Home: ‘I had to put some of the veterans that I know into the body bag’

It was another heart-wrenching, tear-filled day of testimony yesterday as lawmakers continued their hearings into the pandemic tragedy at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where scores of veterans died, many of them put into body bags by traumatized staff after they passed away. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and MassLive’s Stephanie Barry have more.  

Game not over: Arcade owner heads back to court over relief-fund restrictions

The owner of a Salem arcade, who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Baker’s Covid restrictions just days before arcades were allowed to reopen, is heading back to court after learning that his first legal action blocked his business from receiving state coronavirus relief funds, Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports. The attorney for Bit Bar says the restriction is a violation of the owner’s First Amendment rights. 

Salem News

‘Mass. Lottery scratches its way back to profitability’

Here’s some good news on the state-revenue front: The Massachusetts Lottery, which initially saw an alarming plunge in revenues in the early days of the pandemic, is now back to its pre-pandemic profitability levels. Btw: The headline is from SHNS. We couldn’t do better, so we borrowed it. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Staying power: Falmouth says state blocking efforts to dismantle idled turbines

Easy to build, impossible to remove. The town of Falmouth says half-baked state laws are obstructing and adding expense to their efforts to dismantle two wind turbines that have been sitting idle since 2017, Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports. State procurement laws could mean the $2.5 million the town has set aside for the project may not be enough. 

Cape Cod Times

Warren and Markey: Time to expand abortion access in Massachusetts

The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, following the U.S. Senate’s controversial confirmation this week of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, say it’s now time for passage of the Roe Act in Massachusetts, seeing that there’s a strong possibility that abortion rights may one day be curtailed across the nation by the conservative-leaning SCOTUS.

Boston Globe

SJC: No, insurers don’t have to cover patients’ medical marijuana costs

This is big news for both patients and insurers: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that health-care insurers can’t be forced to cover medical marijuana expenses, not as long as federal and state laws are at odds over the legalization of pot. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin.

On another marijuana front, from SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “CCC Delays Delivery Rules After Objections from Lawmakers.”

Universal Hub

Under wraps: Compressor station emergency plan shielded from public

Weymouth officials say they have a 1,000-page local response plan in place for potential emergencies at the controversial natural gas compressor station that recently began operating, but say they won’t release details to the public until the facility’s operator signs off on it, Jessica Trufant at the Patriot Ledger reports. 

Patriot Ledger

‘Huge savings’: Raytheon to shrink office space by as much as 25 percent

Another ominous sign for the office market in Greater Boston and across the nation: Waltham-based Raytheon’s CEO says he can see the giant defense contractor reducing its leased commercial space by as much as 25 percent moving forward, based on what the company has learned from pandemic-era telecommuting. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei has more on one of many expected office downsizings by local companies.


Too harsh: Great Barrington officials won’t sign letter decrying herd-immunity manifesto

The Great Barrington select board has declined to sign onto a letter decrying as “amoral” a document calling for a herd-immunity-like approach toward controlling Covid-19. Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle reports the board has already endorsed a letter seeking to distance the town from the document. 

Berkshire Eagle

EdVestors’ 15th Annual School on the Move Prize Ceremony

EdVestors to make surprise announcement of prestigious $100,000 Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize at LIVE Virtual Event. Mayor Martin J. Walsh and BPS Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius will speak and present awards to the three finalist schools for outstanding progress.


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

Defense Project Series: Civil-Military Relations during a US Election

The atmosphere around the national elections to be held on Tuesday, November 3, has brought to the fore many important issues of how the US military interacts and is viewed by the public and civilian leadership in government.

Harvard Kennedy School

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

Virtual 2020 Power 50: Extraordinary Year, Extraordinary People

We often look from a different lens each year as issues as circumstances shift. 2020 is truly an outlier and a year like none other in recent memory. This year’s Power 50 will take on a different title and goal, as we look to recognize those people whose influence, innovation, commitment, and courage are making a difference in the community during an extraordinary time.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Challenges and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy Over the Next Decade

Please join Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government for a Regulatory Policy Program seminar featuring Michael Fitzpatrick, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Google. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

The Buchanan Channel: How the Pro-Apartheid Movement Undercut the Reagan Administration’s Anti-Sanctions Effort, 1985-1987

International Security Brown Bag Seminar Series: This seminar examines how the institutional failure of the Reagan White House to invigorate a sterile sanctions debate created a window of opportunity for pro-South Africa conservatives. Augusta Dell’Omo, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program, speaker.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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

Tamara Payne on The Dead are Rising: The Life of Malcolm X – Central Library Author Talk Series

Join the Boston Public Library together with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Museum of African American History, and the GBH Forum Network for another virtual event in the American Stories, Inspiration Today author series. Learn about the epic biography produced from 30 years of research by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Les Payne.

Boston Public Library

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

ICP – Breaking the crime-poverty cycle

Panel Debate – The event will feature an overview by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Director, Center for Crime, Justice and Policing, University of Birmingham, a quick historical recap of antiquated laws and contributions by the panelists.

ESRC IAA – University of Birmingham

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

Local Voices Network Conversation: Civic Engagement (Honan-Allston)

Join the Boston Public Library and Local Voices Network for an online discussion about civic engagement. LVN conversations are focused on sharing our lived experience, rather than beginning the conversation with our positions on issues. We are doing this in order to help build connections and to foster conversations that improve our understanding of one another.

Boston Public Library

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

Managing Change to Grow Business – Part II: Growing Your Business in a Virtual World

Please join Middlesex Savings Bank and the Boston Business Journal for this conversation about managing business change in our new normal.

Boston Business Journal and Middlesex Savings Bank

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship: Disinformation and Election Psychology

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship is a Learning Circle that meets weekly to discuss disinformation and its effect on civic institutions and society during an election year. Learning circles are small groups of individuals who explore and area of shared interest through discussion in a collaborative, friendly and mutually supportive environment.

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

Inno on Fire

The Inno on Fire Awards is our annual celebration of innovators, big and small, people, and organizations in Boston. What makes a company or individual on fire? We are looking at startups that have had a banner year, people and companies with hew funding, recent product launches, hot hires, innovative approaches to solving problems, and creative leaders who think out of the box.

Boston Business Journal

2020 Women Who Mean Business

Join us as we celebrate outstanding women at our fourth Women Who Mean Business awards program. These women represent the scale of business in Greater Boston and have demonstrated significant growth in their companies.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Today’s Headlines


Brockton surpasses grim milestone of 300 Covid deaths – Brockton Enterprise

Former police captain Philip Cooke pleads guilty to cyberstalking Massachusetts couple – MassLive


Unemployment scams hit employees at Holy Cross, other colleges – Telegram & Gazette

Ashland post office reopens after nearly a year of being closed – MetroWest Daily News

Harwich woman launches write-in campaign against Cyr – Cape Cod Times


Mark Zuckerberg And Jack Dorsey Are Gonna Have A Rotten Day As They Testify Before The Senate – Forbes

Ballrooms, candles and luxury cottages: During Trump’s term, millions of government and GOP dollars have flowed to his properties – Washington Post

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