Happening Today

Comptroller’s Advisor board, REGGI, and more

— Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu holds a virtual neighborhood newspaper press conference, 10 a.m.

Comptroller’s Advisory Board meets remotely and is likely to hear an update from Comptroller William McNamara on the status of an annual financial report that’s overdue as a result of the state’s delayed supplemental budget, 1 p.m.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative officials hold a board of directors meeting via teleconference, 1:15 p.m.

— Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues is a guest at Metro South Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 economic recovery call update, also featuring Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan and representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, 2 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: 41 new deaths, 10,963 total deaths, 5,130 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Return to sender: Baker threatens to veto police-reform bill unless changes are made

Gov. Charlie Baker is playing hardball on the police-reform bill, using his unexpected veto leverage in the House to send back the legislation with suggested changes. Specifically, he’s asking lawmakers to make changes to provisions dealing with the setup of a new police certification commission, a facial-recognition ban and other measures.

While saying he likes many aspects of the package and is willing to compromise, the governor made clear he’ll veto the entire 129-page bill if no changes are made. Remember: The bill was passed without a veto-proof majority in the House. MassLive’s Steph Solis, SHNS’s Matt Murphy and the Globe’s Matt Stout have more. And also from the SHNS (pay wall): “ACLU Urges Lawmakers to ‘Stand Firm’ on Facial Recognition.”

The grim pandemic statistics: 158 community hotspots, more than 900 school cases, 3,000 national deaths exceed casualties on D-Day and 9/11

Switching quickly to the pandemic, the headlines mostly speak for themselves. From MassLive:“158 Massachusetts communities now considered ‘high risk’ for COVID spread.” That’s up from 97 communities last week. … Also from MassLive: “Massachusetts schools see spike in COVID cases, with 503 students and 420 staffers positive in last week.” … From Universal Hub: “Covid-19 hospitalization in Massachusetts has risen eightfold since Sept. 1.” … And from the Globe: “One day US deaths top 3,000, more than D-Day or 9/11.” And we’d add Pearl Harbor.

Experts: Bulk of Thanksgiving surge hasn’t even arrived yet

Think we’re close to the peak of the second surge? Think again. GBH’s Arun Rath and Matt Baskin, SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and MassLive’s Tom Matthews report that various experts are warning that we haven’t yet felt the full force of the Thanksgiving coronavirus surge.

MBTA to slash commuter-rail service in half due to so many employees in quarantine

From the BBJ’s Greg Ryan: “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and contractor Keolis Commuter Services will run hundreds fewer commuter rail trains each day for at least part of December because so many employees are out as a result of Covid-19. … The reduced service is expected to last through at least Dec. 27, though officials acknowledged the reduced schedule may need to stay in place for longer.”


SJC upholds Baker’s emergency pandemic powers

Can you imagine if they hadn’t upheld his emergency powers? Anyway, WBUR’s Amy Jarmanning and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report that the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, nine months into the pandemic, yesterday unanimously ruled that Gov. Charlie Baker’s original declaration of a COVID-19 emergency was indeed valid under the 1950 Civil Defense Act.

Ultimately, the court rejected a long-shot suit by a group of business and religious leaders who argued that the governor’s wide-ranging emergency orders, including last spring’s lock down of the state economy, overstepped his constitutional authority.

Is the state’s ambitious vaccine campaign too ambitious? Plan hinges on more than two vaccines being approved

We hadn’t heard this before. The Globe’s Robert Weisman and Deanna Pan report that Gov. Charlie Baker’s ambitious vaccination rollout plan depends on the approval of more COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna shots expected to win FDA approvals soon. And some experts are nervous about the supply “scalability.”

Boston Globe

Coronavirus updates: Biogen! Nursing shortage, vaccination pledge, nursing home tragedy, finger pointing

We’re going with quick summaries and headlines in this post, starting with reports from the Globe’s Hanna Krueger and the Herald’s Joe Dwinell about how experts now believe the infamous Biogen super-spreader conference last winter ultimately led to the infection of 300,000 people. … From Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune: “Hospitals face nursing shortage amid surge.” … From Carey Goldberg at WBUR: “31 Dead, Three-Quarters Of Residents Infected In Western Mass. Nursing Home Coronavirus Outbreak.” … From CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “Finger-pointing abounds in school reopening debate.” … From Steph Solis at MassLive: “Massachusetts Public Health Council member pledges to take COVID vaccine to show it’s safe.” … From SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Staff Briefing Boston Mayor on Rollback Options.” … From the Cape Cod Times: “Fairgrounds testing site opens on Cape.”

NH House Speaker Dick Hinch died of coronavirus, autopsy finds

This is hitting very close to political home. NBC Boston’s Asher Klein reports that New Hampshire Speaker of the House Richard “Dick” Hinch recently died of COVID-19, an autopsy has found. Needless to say, it’s a sad and scary reminder that COVID-19 is deadly and knows no bounds.

NBC Boston

The eyes of Maura Healey are upon you, Texas

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that Attorney General Maura Healey has joined 22 other AGs who have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court basically saying Texas should butt out of other states’ presidential election counts. She says Texas AG Ken Paxton’s efforts to overturn election results in other states is “unconscionable” and destined for the “trashbin of history.”

And she adds: “Memo to AG Paxton: You’re supposed to be the people’s lawyer, not the President’s.” The NYT has more on the desperate Texas gambit on behalf of President Trump.

Universal Hub

Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins eyed for U.S. Attorney post

Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins says she’s been approached about her interest in becoming the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts under the Biden administration. And though she says she’s happy at her current job, she sure sounds like she’d love to be U.S. Attorney, as Zoe Matthews reports at GBH.


UMass trustees and unions tangle over response to budget deficits

MassLive’s Ron Chimelis has the blow-by-blow details of a testy UMass board meeting yesterday in which trustees, in one corner, and unions reps, in another corner, faced off over how to respond to pandemic-era revenue declines. Meanwhile, UMass president Marty Meehan seems to be sending conflicting signals about the financial situation. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Meehan Sees Aid Coming, But UMass Bracing for More Tough Times.”


Bostonians of the Year: Front line workers and activists

Time magazine has its Person/People of the Year. And we have our very own Bostonians of the Year. And this year the Globe has named pandemic front-line workers and racial-justice activists as the 2020 Bostonians of the Year.

Boston Globe

Take that, Boston: Quincy mayor vows to appeal judge’s Long Island Bridge decision

It’s the twilight struggle of our time. Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch says he’s planning to appeal a recent ruling in Boston’s favor over the rebuilding of the Long Island Bridge, reports WCVB. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s reaction: “This is just wrong.” The Globe’s Amanda Kaufman and Danny McDonald have more.


Time to teach kids that, yes, genocides really do happen

New Hampshire did it. Why not Massachusetts? The Globe’s Kevin Cullen says it’s time for state lawmakers to pass a law mandating genocide studies in schools, especially since a recent poll shows two-thirds of millennials and GenZ adults “don’t know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.”

Bump: Rural communities getting shortchanged by state-land reimbursement program

A new audit released by Auditor Suzanne Bump says a program designed to reimburse towns for lost property taxes tied to state-owned lands is woefully underfunded – and rural communities are literally paying the price. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has more.


Mixed message: Pittsfield takes cautious approach with park squatters

If not there, where? Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and members of the city council say they won’t back or enforce an order from the city’s Parks Department that seeks to force a homeless encampment out of Springside Park, Amanda Burke at the Berkshire Eagle reports. Among the issues: Many in the camp refuse to go to a city-sponsored shelter. 

Berkshire Eagle

Advance warning: State’s longest-serving mayor already has challenger for 2021

Never too early. The commonwealth’s longest-serving mayor has already drawn a challenger for next November, with Andrea Freeman, a health care policy expert, saying she’ll challenge Dean Mazzarrella, who has been mayor of Leominster since 1994, the Telegram & Gazette reports. 


Go-betweens: Milford hopes liaisons appointment will smooth Amazon relations

Blessed are the peacemakers. Officials in Milford hope appointing Selectman Thomas O’Loughlin and Town Administrator Richard Villani as liaisons between the community and Amazon will help calm tensions between the two, amid continued complaints from residents that delivery vans from the e-commerce giant have overrun neighborhoods, reports Alison Bosma at the MetroWest Daily News.

MetroWest Daily News

MGH physician accused of $10.6M in fraudulent Medicare billings

At what point did they think something was amiss? At the $5 million billing mark? The $10 million mark? From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “A Massachusetts General Hospital physician has been arrested and charged with fraud after allegedly billing Medicare and private insurance $10.6 million for services out of his own practice that were never provided, federal prosecutors said.”


On board: Springfield council backs Congressional push for Puerto Rican statehood

Let ‘em decide. The Springfield City Council unanimously voted to support a resolution that backs efforts in Congress — led by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — to allow Puerto Rico to determine whether to move forward with pursuing U.S. statehood, Elizabeth Roman at MassLive and Matt Szafranski of Western Mass. Politics & Insight report. 

Sunday public affairs TV: Jim McGovern, Michael Curry and more

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Nia Grace, owner of Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen and co-founder of the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition, talks about the impact of the pandemic and the latest rollbacks; LogMeIn CEO Bill Wagner on the company which helps you work from home; and Shirley Leung of the Globe on the vaccine rollout, Gov. Baker’s handling of the pandemic, the Red Sox cutting ties with Lowell Spinner and other local business news.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who talks with hosts Ben Simmoneau and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topics: The vaccination rollout and Holiday Giving, with Michael Curry, a member of the Massachusetts COVID 19 Vaccine Advisory Group and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Centers, and other guests.

Living Room Conversations: What is Essential?

Essential workers, essential services, essential travel. The global pandemic has affected all areas of our lives and has invited a shift in what we believe to be essential. What is essential to our lives, to our community and for our planet? What adjustments are we making in the short term and for the long run for our personal safety or for the welfare of others?

Boston Public Library

Smart Work-X: Japan’s Transformations in the New Normal

Speaker: Hirotaka Takeuchi, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School. Moderator: Christina Davis, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Harvard Kennedy School

Abraham Lincoln Assassination & Ford’s Theatre – Livestream History Program

Booth on April 14, 1865, while attending the play Our American Cousins at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Shot in the head as he watched the play, Lincoln died the next day at 7:32 a.m. in the Peterson House opposite the theatre. He was the first U.S. President to be assassinated.

Washington, D.C., History & Culture

INSEAD Workshops: Venture Capital, Business Angels and Start Ups

In the workshop, we look at Venture Capital, Business Angels and Startups. The workshop is for people who are active in the domain of venture capital, business angels and startups. The workshop is free to attend.


Tech and the Environment

Join General Assembly in this discussion with top figures from some of the most innovative projects in the United States, developing technologies to tackle major challenges in agriculture, health, security, the environment, and industry.

General Assembly Boston

MBRACE and Improving Outcomes

This online conference is about improving outcomes. The MBRACE report highlighted that Black and Asian women are up to five times more likely to die in maternity care than white women. Doing nothing is not an option. There is a need to educate, learn , and develop knowledge further on this topic.

Staffordshire University

James Snyder in Conversation: Antique Inspirations, Fresh Creations

James Snyder in conversation with award-winning Palestinian-Israeli architect Senan Abdelqader on the influence of Arab culture across time on art, architecture, and design in Israel, Palestine, and the world today.

Harvard Kennedy School

Coping with Covid-19: The Role of Telehealth Services

Moderated by Grant Welker, News Editor, Worcester Business Journal. Join us for this special session as we explore the role of telehealth during the Covid-19 outbreak, its astounding level of adoption and what the future of technologies like it hold for the future of healthcare delivery.

Worcester Business Journal

Healthcare in Retirement

Healthcare concerns increase as we reach retirement age, and ensuring you have the right healthcare coverage can make a huge impact on your financial health. In this session, we will learn about Medicare and how you can put it to use to help cover rising healthcare costs during retirement. Join Dabney Baum, Baum Wealth Advisors with Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC., for this important presentation.

Boston Business Journal

A History of the Electoral College

The original concept for the electoral college; how it has gotten to be the way it is today and what possible reforms would make it seem more fair in the future.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Lexvets: Wartime Lessons that have Informed Medicine

Learn of the many lifesaving medical advances commonly used today which came about from treating battlefield casualties.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Affordability, jobs focus of latest huddle on plan for Bay City Development – Dorchester Reporter

Mayor Walsh announces plans for more outdoor dining in 2021 – Boston Globe


High-end condos, commercial space in downtown Lenox? For a second time, yes – Berkshire Eagle

Fairgrounds testing site opens on Cape – Cape Cod Times

Framingham post office gets warning after violating Covid safety rules – MetroWest Daily News


In blistering retort, 4 battleground states tell Texas to butt out of election – New York Times

Gannett to outsource 465 business jobs to India – The Hill

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