Happening Today

Senate budget debate, SJC nominees hearings, and more

Public Health Council hosts its monthly meeting amid a second surge in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, 9 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate plans to continue its fiscal 2021 budget debate, 10 a.m.

— The Governor’s Council meets twice today, the first to interview Supreme Judicial Court nominee Dalila Wendlandt, at 10 a.m., and the second to possibly approve Kimberly Budd’s nomination as chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, at 12 p.m.

Health Policy Commission Board meets to review updated data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care spending and costs, 10 a.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: 20 new deaths, 10,130 total deaths, 2,263 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

More history: Baker picks District Judge Serge Georges, son of Haitian immigrants, for SJC

Gov. Charlie Baker has made yet another historic-first appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court, yesterday nominating Boston Municipal Court Justice Serge Georges Jr. for the last remaining open seat on the state’s highest court. It was a surprise choice, considering how rare it is for district judges to get elevated so high and so fast in a career. 

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and CBS Boston have more on the nomination. Meanwhile, MassLive’s Steph Solis takes a look at Georges’s life and career, as a son of Haitian immigrants and a true American success story.

‘Cruel and unusual’: Feds blast DOC’s handling of mentally ill inmates, saying it violates 8th Amendment

As Governor Charlie Baker yesterday moved to fill the last remaining open seat on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. Justice Department was issuing a scathing report on DOC’s treatment of mentally ill inmates in state prisons, saying inmates have routinely been allowed to harm themselves and even die as a result of the way they’re incarcerated.

The actions amount to a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment that prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishments, according to the report issued by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office. WBUR’s Deborah Becker and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the damning report resulting from a two-year investigation.

Walsh: If virus cases continue to rise, T-Day crackdown and general lockdown are possible

Alarmed at ever rising coronavirus cases in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday threatened to enforce the city’s ban on more than 10 people gathering indoors for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday – and even threatened another general economic lockdown if people don’t take immediate necessary steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

GBH’s Craig LeMoult has the Thanksgiving angle, while NBC Boston’s Marc Fortier has the general lockdown angle. Btw: It looks like president-elect Joe Biden this year isn’t spending Thanksgiving on Nantucket, where for decades his family has celebrated the holiday, the Globe’s Hanna Krueger reports.

College exodus, Part II: The Thanksgiving dilemma

As Mayor Marty Walsh urges college students who go home for Thanksgiving not come back to Boston afterward (GBH), the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes reports that the mass holiday exodus of students is indeed raising concerns among health experts – and it’s presenting policy dilemmas for area colleges. Fernandes has the varying responses of colleges to the T-Day problem.

Boston Globe

The cure for long virus-testing lines? Maybe self-tests and Bluetooth

As coronavirus cases reach (and even exceed) their highest levels since last spring in Massachusetts, the long lines for getting virus tests are growing longer – and Gov. Charlie Baker says he hopes the state can implement new procedures to shorten those lines, report SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). Here’s one idea that could make the lines disappear, pronto, via the NYT: “FDA approves first at-home coronavirus test.” From MassLive’s Tanner Stening: “Self-administered rapid COVID tests could be the solution to controlling coronavirus infections, experts say.”

Meanwhile, it’s not about testing per se, but MassLive’s Steph Solis has an interesting story tied to testing and tracing: “Department of Health seeks bidders to test digital COVID-19 contact tracing system that uses Bluetooth signals.” 

Faneuil Hall operator grudgingly forks over $2.1M to city

After the city threatened to evict the firm as overseer of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. yesterday made its $2.1 million in-lieu-of-taxes payment to Boston, while grumbling and suggesting the city is more interested in getting its money than actually providing relief to merchant tenants. The city begs to differ. The BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and CommonWealth’s Colman Herman have more on what Herman is calling a political “game of chess” between the two sides.

Fake out: Healey investigation of overhyped sanitizer yields payment to state

Here’s a reminder of how hectic things were back in the early days of the pandemic. The office of Attorney General Maura Healey has announced that a Maryland company will pay $550,000 to settle claims it sold the MBTA $1.7 million worth of hand sanitizer in March that did not contain any alcohol, Christine Wilmsen and Beth Healy at WBUR report.


Senate budget updates: 300 amendments dispatched, Baker small-biz plan reduced, ROE Act debate

The indispensable State House News Service has the Senate budget debate covered from all angles, including the Senate’s rejection yesterday of more than 300 amendments (pay wall) and the scaling back of Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed $100 million small-business program (pay wall). Debate on the ROE Act is expected today, possibly. Finally, proposed tax increases were yanked from consideration yesterday, but progressive lawmakers say the proposals will be back next year (also pay wall).

Is Baker re-evaluating TCI in Massachusetts amid the pandemic?

Frankly, we can’t figure out if the governor is rethinking his support for the controversial TCI (i.e. carbon tax) or merely finding a new justification for TCI amid changing driving patterns during the pandemic. We assume it’s the latter. He’s definitely rethinking something. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan has more.

Boston Herald

Border war: Clark faces RI Dem in House leadership vote

Congressional Democrats are due to start remote voting on leadership positions for the caucus today and Heather Cayge and Sarah Ferris at Politico report the race for assistant speaker is one insiders say could be the closest. U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island are seeking the position. Insiders say Clark is the favorite to nab the role. 


Political text messages of the week, courtesy of the BSC: ‘He’s gonna get killed’

The Globe’s James Vaznis has gotten hold of the text messages that flew between Boston School Committee members after board chairman Michael Loconto’s now infamous hot-mic comments about Asian names. “He’s gonna gets killed,” wrote one committee member, after determining it was indeed ML who committed the Zoom faux pas overheard by one and all. 

Boston Globe

‘Peyton Place’: Female Watertown detective alleges ‘toxic’ and ‘sexually charged’ force

Speaking of local governments and non-run-of-the-mill text messages, this isn’t as messy as last year’s “Sex, Lies, and Surveillance” scandal in Rockland. Still, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell sinks his tabloid teeth into a Watertown lawsuit in which a female detective is alleging a “toxic” and “sexually charged” workplace – and the suit even has a bullets-flying Boston Marathon Bomber angle and lots of text-message extracts.

The Herald’sHowie Carr dives into the “Peyton Place” mess, trying to sort out who had sexual relationships with whom, who is related to whom etc.

Unwanted oversight: Plymouth manager admits monitoring board member’s emails

In yet more local-government news: Is it a case of sneaky snooping or just doing her job? Plymouth Select Board member Betty Cavacco says Town Manager Melissa Arrighi violated her privacy by monitoring her official email account without her knowledge, Dave Kindy at the Patriot Ledger reports. Arrighi says she was simply doing her job and controlling the flow of information, but other board members also want to know why Cavacco seems to have been singled out for the oversight. 

Patriot Ledger

Did you know the Navy manages its own white-oak forest just for Old Ironsides?

We didn’t know it, but now we do: The U.S. Navy actually manages a small white-oak forest in Indiana exclusively to supply repair wood for Boston’s very own USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides. Military.com’s Blake Stilwell, via Universal Hub, has the hard details.


And he’s off: 86-year-old businessman’s dream of thoroughbred racing in Sturbridge

We missed this from last week: Jon Chesto’s Globe story on longtime race horse owner Armand Janjigian’s seemingly quixotic attempt to rescue the thoroughbred racing industry in Massachusetts, via a new 300-acre racetrack he hopes to build in Sturbridge. The odds are against him, but the 86-year-old is still kicking, as Chesto makes clear.

Boston Globe

Just another couple dozen cases: More Dookhan-related convictions tossed

Another day, another batch of Annie Dookhan-tainted criminal cases tossed. Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins yesterday announced her office has vacated dozens of additional drug convictions tied to the disgraced ex-state chemist Dookhan, as Deborah Becker reports WBUR. When will the tossing end? We have no idea.


Really remote: Lawrence clears way for students to learn out of state and country

The Lawrence School Committee has voted to relax its attendance rules to allow students who are learning remotely to do so from anywhere, even if that means outside city limits or out of the country, Allison Corneau at the Eagle-Tribune reports. Mayor Daniel Rivera is among those who pushed for the temporary change, citing the example of a family forced by pandemic economic realities to move back to the Dominican Republic. 

Eagle Tribune

Boston Herald newsstand sales crater amid pandemic and price increases

The pandemic has taken its toll on media outlets far and wide across the state – and the Boston Herald is no exception. The BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports on the paper’s 41 percent plunge in newsstand sales in recent months, as much of downtown Boston remains empty during the pandemic. The fact the Herald recently boosted its street price to $3.50 per copy probably hasn’t helped either, as Seiffert notes.


An Evolving Retail Revolution: Gen Z and Beyond

Gen Z navigates the digital landscape just as often as the physical, treating technology as an extension of themselves. Join us as we explore how this generation is reshaping retail, what they are expecting from the industry and how 5G technology could help brands keep up with Gen Z demands. Once you RSVP, you will receive the attendee link.


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

35th Annual Meeting of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau

On November 18th, the WRRB will host its 35th Annual Meeting via Zoom to celebrate another year of activity and hear from keynote speaker, nationally renowned author & thought leader: Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Arbuckle Professor, Harvard Business School; Founding Chair & Director, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative (2005-2018).

Worcester Regional Research Bureau

Israel and Palestine on Screen

James S. Snyder, HKS/MEI Senior Fellow, in conversation with Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu Wael. This is part of the fall 2020 MEI series, James Snyder in Conversation: A series of dialogues on art, culture, politics, and the possibilities for transcending conflict through cultural connections in the modern Middle East.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Managing Climate Risk in the US Financial System

This webinar will be given by Robert Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee and Founding Partner, Kepos Capital, and Stephen Moch, MBA and MPP candidate at HBS and HKS. It is part of M-RCBG”s weekly Business and Government Seminar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business/Mossavar-Rahmani center for Business and Government

Interrupting Hatred Can Save Someone’s Life

This presentation, part of the Town of Lexington’s No Hate November series, will focus on lessons learned after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Vincent Chen. The event is co-sponsored by the Lexington Human Rights Committee, Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, Chinese American Association of Lexington.

Town of Lexington

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

AARP Innovation Labs’ Innovation Challenges

AARP Innovation Labs and Mass Challenge HealthTech are excited to offer themed innovation challenges. Do you have an innovative entertainment solution that curates the fun in life for older adults? We are highly encouraging our 50+ entrepreneurs and founders to apply to this challenge.

AARP Innovation Labs and Mass Challenge HealthTech

The State of Race: Police Reform

The State of Race is a virtual forum cosponsored by The Boston Globe, NAACP Boston and World Channel that addresses the impact racial disparities have on key social issues. This month, The State of Race focuses on the controversial topic of police reform. This event is free but space is limited and registration is required.

GBH and The Boston Globe

Virtual Job Fair: MassHire Central Region Honors Our Veterans

Virtual Job Fair featuring 45 employers from diverse industries throughout Central Massachusetts. Free and open to the public and veterans!

MassHire Central Region Career Centers

Policymakers Live: Virtual Briefing with Senator Joan Lovely, Assistant Majority Leader, Massachusetts State Senate

MassBio is launching “Policymakers Live”, a series of virtual briefings with a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Massachusetts Senate or a member of the Governor’s Administrations. MassBio will host these one hour virtual briefings in the upcoming months. Policymakers will outline initiatives they are working on and attendees will have the chance to ask questions.

MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council)

17th Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Awards: Celebrating 2020’s Massachusetts Corporate Heroes

With our Corporate Heroes Award, MassEcon will honor a sampling of employers, large and small, in every region of the state, that reflect the spirit of Massachusetts businesses to solve problems, serve their communities and provide for the livelihoods of their workers. Register: https://massecon.z2systems.com/np/clients/massecon/eventRegistration.jsp?event=61&


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

Author Adam Davidson with The Passion Economy The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century

Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network present this virtual program in “The Arc of History: Contested Perspectives” series featuring BPL President David Leonard, who will moderate the program.

Boston Public Library

WBJ Central MA Health Care Forum

Healthcare Post Pandemic: The Covid-19 pandemic has not only claimed over 200,000 lives in our country, but has been a disruptive force to many industries, including healthcare. Join us for this timely and informative webcast where our panel of experts will discuss what has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and what lies ahead.

Worcester Business Journal

The State of Innovation: Electrification presented by Analog Devices

Across the network, Innos State of Innovations meetups focus on a specific industry, category, theme or individual and will feature a keynote, fireside chat, panel, pitch, demo or a combination of the five. Join us for a conversation with local innovators and experts.

The Boston Business Journals

Author Neal Gabler with Catching the wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975

Join the Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Neal Gabler, author of Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975. BPL President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of the Arc of History: Contested Perspectives series.

Boston Public Library

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

Kay Ulanday Barrett Performing and Answering Questions at the Intersections of Disability, Trans and Racial Justice

LexPride is thrilled to welcome the one-and-only Kay Ulanday Barrett (they/them) to Lexington. Kay is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. They are the author of When the Chant Comes and More Than Organs. Kay will perform and answer questions from the audience.

LexPride. Co-sponsored by Boston Pride, Cary Memorial Library, and the Network for Social Justice.

Today’s Headlines


Quincy mayor to interview immigrants for video series – Patriot Ledger

VistaPrint to replace GE logo on Celtics jerseys – Boston Business Journal


Fire destroys Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket – MassLive

Judge dismisses Wendell State Forest Alliance members’ lawsuit – Greenfield Recorder

SSA approves across-the-board rate hikes – Martha’s Vineyard Times


F.D.A. Authorizes the First At-Home Coronavirus Test – New York Times

Senate Blocks President Trump’s Controversial Nominee To The Federal Reserve Board – NPR

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