Keller at Large
Why manure and ice cream don’t mix
In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller suggests that those pushing to lift coronavirus restrictions based on religious-rights concerns should heed the advice of Will Rogers. Better yet, maybe they should heed the advice of Pope Francis, who knows a thing or two about religious matters. … Note: Text of Jon’s commentary accompanies his podcast. Check it out!
Police reform legislation, and more
— The Massachusetts Senate meets in a formal session, when the police reform conference report is expected to surface for an up-or-down acceptance vote before it moves to the House, 1 p.m.
— MassINC releases a report, ‘Going for Growth: Promoting Digital Equity in MA Gateway Cities,’ and hosts a panel discussion with Dr. Maria Madison of Brandeis University, Rep. Andres Vargas and others, 1 p.m.
— The Massachusetts House meets in a formal session with roll calls starting mid-afternoon, when a vote is expected on the police reform conference committee bill which was filed late Monday, 3 p.m.
— MBTA holds a virtual hearing for Merrimack Valley residents to offer feedback on proposed service cuts ahead of a final vote on the package scheduled for Dec. 7, 6 p.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka is among the honorees at this year’s awards celebration of the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter, 6 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.
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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: 24 new deaths, 10,512 total deaths, 1,166 new cases
WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
State lawmakers reach deal on police reform bill
State lawmakers are poised today to finally take action on police reforms, following yesterday’s release of compromise legislation that would create a statewide police certification program, restrict no-knock warrants, ban chokeholds and neck restraints, and bar use of deadly force unless de-escalation tactics have been tried first. But the 129-page bill largely sidesteps the contentious issue of qualified police immunity, creating a new commission to further study the issue.
Methuen police chief: Dispenser of patronage and favors
Speaking of police, Methuen city councilors approved one of the most lucrative contracts ever given to a police chief in the United States. And then … suddenly some councilors nabbed police department jobs while relatives won key department promotions. Just a coincidence? The Globe’s Andrea Estes has more on an outside auditor’s findings on Methuen’s finest.
In other local police-contract news, from the Herald: “Walsh’s administration no-shows City Council discussion of police contracts.”
Next up after police reforms: A new state budget?
Here’s another major piece of legislation that lawmakers are hoping to tackle in coming days: The state’s fiscal 2021 budget. And it’s a race against time before the state runs out of authority to spend money. SHNS’s Sam Doran has more.
CCC approves controversial pot delivery system, setting up legal clash with marijuana retailers
As expected, the Cannabis Control Commission yesterday approved regulations creating a new class of marijuana delivery licenses that allow mostly minority business owners to buy pot from wholesalers and re-sell it directly to consumers. The next expected action: A legal challenge from bricks-and-mortar pot retailers, who say the CCC is overstepping its legal authority. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett have more.
Thank goodness: No reefer madness outbreak since pot legalization
Speaking of marijuana, CommonWealth’s Shria Schoenberg, in the second of a two-part series, reports that some of the worst fears about legalizing pot haven’t come to pass, including big upticks in violent crime, impaired driving, and youth usage. In other words, no reefer ‘apocalypse.’
Researchers: More than a third of small businesses have closed due to pandemic
Can these numbers be right? The Herald’s Rick Sobey reports that a “staggering” number of Massachusetts small businesses — 37 percent – have closed their doors since the start of the year, according to Harvard researchers at the Opportunity Insights policy team. This number we can readily believe: Small business revenues are off by 44 percent.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Howie Carr report that the state’s own stats show that most people are contracting the coronavirus at home, senior centers and prisons, not at businesses.
Face to face: Pittsfield mayor to meet restaurateurs angry over restrictions
Speaking of discontent within the restaurant industry, she’s going to hear them out. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer plans to meet today with local restaurant owners who are pushing back on the local ban on indoor dining that has been in place since early November. Amanda Burke of the Berkshire Eagle reports eatery owners want to know why other indoor services, including nail and hair salons, remain open for business.
Two prisoners die of COVID-19 a day after being granted medical parole
WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports the Department of Correction is under fire after two prisoners hospitalized with COVID-19 died only a day after being granted medical parole. In other words: Too little too late when it comes to medical paroles.
Coronavirus updates: Hospitalizations spike, rapid tests, church ruling and ‘it’s like Star Trek’
Here’s some other headlines from the coronavirus front. From MassLive: “Baystate Health tops 100 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 for first time since May.” … From WCVB: “National Guard helps prepare for reopening COVID-19 field hospital at DCU Center.” … From CBS Boston: “COVID Rapid Test Program Expected To Start At 134 Massachusetts Schools This Week.” … From the Herald: “Supreme Court ruling on houses of worship cited in suit against Charlie Baker.” … From WBUR: “How One Student Juggles Work, College And A Pandemic.” … Also from WBUR: “It’s Like Star Trek’: Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Moves Toward Approval.”
DAs to NCAA: Lighten up on UMass tennis team
Kyle Grabowski at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports four Bay State district attorneys are calling on the NCAA to reconsider the harsh penalties it levied against the UMass Amherst women’s tennis team after a clerical error led to overpayments of housing allowances.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Steven Howitt says he’s proceeding with plans to file legislation soon to allow Massachusetts college athletes to be paid for the use of their names while retaining their eligibility, Tom Reilly reports at the Sun Chronicle.
Moving the problem: Quincy officials blast plan to reduce plane noise over Milton by shifting it to you-know-where
The Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill reports that Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch and Councilor Brian Palmucci have sent a letter to MassPort officials criticizing a proposal to reduce airplane noise over nearby Milton, saying that changing flight paths merely moves the noisy problem to their city.
TCI, RIP? Far from it, says Baker’s top environmental official
Reports of the demise of a proposed carbon tax on motorists appear to have been greatly exaggerated. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that Kathleen Theoharides, Gov. Charlie Baker’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, is signaling it’s full steam ahead for the so-called Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) that would put prices on carbon emissions in the Northeast region, despite Baker’s prior signals that the state was re-evaluating its support for TCI.
Feds delay Vineyard Wind decision yet again. But Biden to the rescue?
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, now under the control of the wind-farm-adverse Trump administration, has once again delayed a decision on the proposed offshore Vineyard Wind project, this time until mid-January, just prior to Joe Biden being sworn in as the nation’s next president. Which may be reason to hope/assume the project will get underway relatively soon.
Northeast pollsters ponder what the heck went wrong in November
WBUR’s Anthony Brooks reports that political pollsters in the Northeast are effectively conducting a post-election autopsy to determine how they screwed up presidential election projections in the Nov. 3 election, seemingly repeating the mistakes of 2016.
We suspect (and only suspect) they’re doing a lousy job identifying and tracking newly registered voters, specifically white conservative Republicans who keep confounding the pollsters.
So what do you think of a new 104-mile ‘rail trail’ stretching from Boston to Northampton?
It’s not high-speed rail as many in western Massachusetts want. Still, MassLive’s Jim Russell reports that the state is seeking public feedback on a new feasibility study on a possible 104-mile walking and bicycle path (i.e. a “rail trail”) stretching from Boston to Northampton.
Helping hands: Pols from around state encourage Worcester fare-free bus effort
Keep pushing. That’s the advice Worcester leaders got from a host of political leaders from across the state–including Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu–about a local effort to make Worcester Regional Transit Authority bus service permanently fare-free, Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram reports.
Mum’s the word: Healey silent as Bay Staters left out of Apple settlement
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey isn’t saying why the state took a pass on joining other states in a lawsuit against Apple that yielded a $113 million settlement that Bay Staters now won’t qualify to receive, Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth Magazine.
Bedford’s Neera Tanden faces tough confirmation process as Biden’s budget chief
The good news for Bedford native Neera Tanden: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she has her support as President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to head his budget office. The bad news: Her nomination faces tough opposition from Senate Republicans, some of whom have been the target of Tanden’s biting criticism in the past. Boston.com’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa has more.
4th Biennial New England Women’s Policy Conference
The New England Women’s Policy Initiative is a longterm, nonpartisan effort to advance economic security, health, & wellbeing of women & their families. NEWPI is spearheaded by the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy and co-convened by regional partners including Women’s Commissions, Women’s Funds, & nonprofit orgs serving women, & particularly women of color, in the 6 New England states.
Study Group: China’s Financial System – similarities and differences to the Western markets
Study Group hosted by Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Senior Fellow, Marlene Amstad, with guest Prof. Dr. Darrell Duffie, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Reimagining Community-Police Partnerships
Dr. Tracie Keesee, Senior Vice President of Justice Initiatives and Co-Founder of the Center for Policing Equity, will explain what conditions are needed to allow for such partnerships to develop and co-production of safety to emerge, to the benefit of all communities, including those who have historically been marginalized.
A Climate Policy Revolution: What the Science of Complexity Reveals about Saving Our Planet
This seminar will be given by Roland Kupers, author of A Climate Policy Revolution: What the Science of Complexity Reveals about Saving Our Planet. He is also an advisor on Complexity, Resilience and Energy Transition, as well as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Amsterdam and a Professor of Practice at the Thunderbird School of Global Management as ASU.
Violence After Victory: Explaining Human Rights Outcomes After Conflict Termination
What stops human rights abuse? Christopher Shay explores this question in the context of conflict terminations, moments when leaders can plausibly turn away from repressive tactics. Many leaders fail to seize this opportunity, however, even in cases of democratization. Speaker: Christopher Wiley Shay, Research Fellow, International Security Program.
LeaderImpact Summit 2020
This annual event is geared to bring leaders together from around the world for the purposes of inspiration and encouragement, challenge, and practical action. Each speaker brings their unique perspective and will help us focus on the integration of our personal, professional, and spiritual lives.
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.
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.
Emerging Evidence on the Socio-Economic Impacts of Covid-19 on Households
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis on households are significant, pervasive, and worsening in some cases. The design and implementation of an effective policy response required that decision makers have access to timely information about who is affected and how. Speaker: Carolina Sanchez-Paramo, Global Director, Poverty & Equity, Global Practice, World Bank.
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.
BioPharma Manufacturing in Massachusetts: A Talent Powerhouse Continues to Fuel Growth
Massachusetts has long been the epicenter of biopharma research and development. Years of investment and collaboration between industry, education, and government has provided biopharma manufacturers a rich and deep talent landscape in Massachusetts.
Beyond 2D: The Rise of Immersive Commerce
Now more than ever, consumers miss shopping beyond the 2D limitations of technology. Cue, immersive commerce. Brands are exploring new ways of bringing consumers closer to the in-store experience, blending physical and virtual experiences. Join us as we explore how immersive commerce could change consumerism for years to come.
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.
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.
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.
Empowering Women in Business Conference
Join us for an inspirational virtual conference, the annual Empowering Women in Business Conference, hosted by Nichols College. We invite you for a day of inspiration and education. Be inspired by our keynote speaker Valerie Weisler the founder and CEO of The Validation Project.
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.
WBJ Webcast: Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Business from Cyber Threats
The Covid pandemic has exposed a whole new range of obstacles for businesses, including new risks with cybersecurity. With cyber crime and fraud on the rise, it is vital that businesses of all sizes take their cybersecurity seriously. Protecting systems, networks, devices and your employees and customers is critical in the fight to protect our businesses.
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