Keller at Large

Whaddaya wanna do, Marty?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller finds it hard to believe Marty Walsh would give up his dream job of doing what he does best – making hands-on decisions as mayor of Boston – for a bureaucratic cabinet post in Washington. … Note: Text of Jon’s commentary accompanies his podcast. Check it out!

Keller at Large

Happening Today

DeLeo’s farewell, Senate session

Mass. Lottery Commission meets to hear an update on sales and the Lottery’s plan to move its North Shore operations and retail center to Lawrence early in the new year, 10: 30 a.m.

— The House resumes its formal session with roll calls expected to start at 1 p.m., with House Speaker Roebert DeLeo planning to give a farewell address around 3:30 p.m. ahead of his official 6 p.m. resignation.

— The Massachusetts Senate meets in a full formal session without a calendar, 12: p.m.

Robert DeLeo of Winthrop officially resigns as House speaker after nearly 12 years wielding the gavel, and simultaneously resigns as a House member after nearly three decades in office, 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.

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: 48 new deaths, 11,900 total deaths, 4,060 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Changing of the guard: DeLeo out, Mariano in

As expected, Robert DeLeo, the longest-serving House speaker in state history, will officially resign today as head of the chamber and as a state representative, clearing the way for state Rep. Ron Mariano to become the next speaker. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and the Globe’s Matt Stout and Andreas Estes have more on the end of the DeLeo era and expected start of the Mariano reign.

Meanwhile, MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that state Rep. Russell Holmes yesterday officially dropped his bid for speaker as it became all too obvious that Mariano had the votes.

DeLeo’s legacy: Centralized power but lots of results

GBH’s Mike Deehan and CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas have good pieces this morning on outgoing House Speaker Robert’s DeLeo’s legacy at the State House. Sure, his secretive, control-freak leadership style centralized decision making, suffocated debate and infuriated opponets. But he did get the job done, as WBZ’s Jon Keller notes, and delivered a “string of impressive accomplishments rightly praised by liberals, while curbing some of the left’s riskier instincts.”

Progressives, you have only yourselves to blame

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has had it with progressives bemoaning the pending election of yet another septuagenarian white guy to lead the Massachusetts House. Progressives had their chance two years ago to promote diversity in House leadership – and they chose political purity over political pragmatism instead, she writes. She does have a point, right? And progressives recently had yet another chance to promote diversity by backing Russell Holmes as the next speaker. Many went with Ron Mariano. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Boston Globe

Lawmakers poised to override Baker’s veto of abortion-access bill

The Massachusetts House yesterday narrowly voted to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation that would expand abortion access in Massachusetts – and the Senate today is expected to follow suit. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) have more.

Filibuster alert: Sanders and Markey vow to block defense bill override until $2,000 checks are included

U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey think they’ve found a way to get $2,000 stimulus checks to most Americans: Holding a defense bill hostage until Senate Republicans agree to pass the relief payments. Sanders is even threatening to filibuster a planned override vote on the defense bill. Politico’s Burgess Everett and the Globe’s Shannon Larson have more.

Good news: Turns out Mass. workers won’t miss jobless payments

Here’s some good news for a change: Contrary to prior media reports, the Globe’s Larry Edelman writes that unemployed workers in Massachusetts will not have to forgo any weekly benefits as a result of President Trump’s tardy signing of the $900 billion stimulus-relief package. Edelman explains.

Boston Globe

Christmas travel surge: ‘We are in for a very long January’

WCVB’s Julie Loncich and the Globe’s Travis Andersen report on the apparent spike in travel, nationally and locally, before and after the Christmas holiday, despite repeated pleas for people to stay home during the holiday. The probable result: ‘Surge upon surge’ (Globe).

Non-frontline health-care workers: Suddenly, they’re at the front of the lines when it comes to vaccinations

WBUR’s Gabrielle Emanuel has an update on how the vaccination rollout is unfolding at hospitals across the state and nation – and how many health-care workers regularly exposed to COVID-19 aren’t always getting shots while those with little or no exposure have managed to receive vaccinations. The same phenomenon is happening across society, it should be noted.


Nantucket’s ‘Lord of the Flies’

The severe coronavirus outbreak on Nantucket hasn’t exactly brought out the best in some residents living on one of the nation’s richest resort islands, according to Erin Banco at Yahoo News.

Yahoo News

Now they tell us: Disinfecting surfaces really doesn’t matter much

After stuffing our kitchen-sink cabinet with lord knows how many household cleaners and disinfectants, now they tell us that cleaning surfaces doesn’t really matter during the pandemic? NPR’s Patti Neighmond has more at GBH on what scientists are now saying about cleaning and re-cleaning all those surfaces in your home.

At least we can now call off our search for the Holy Grail of Hoarding: Formula 409.


Way back rollback? Salem Board of Health may shutter indoor dining

The only question may be: How far back? The Salem Board of Health is meeting Wednesday to consider rolling back to tougher local Covid-19 restrictions — and completely banning indoor dining is among the options now on the table, Dustin Luca at the Salem News and Guthrie Scrimgeour at the Lynn Item report. 

Coronavirus updates: Nursing-home vaccinations, state nabs millions to fight pandemic, Cardinal O’Malley gets his shot

Another busy day on the coronavirus front, so here goes with some quick summaries and headlines, starting with Tori Bedford at GBH: “Mass. Will Get Millions For COVID Testing, Vaccines In Stimulus.” … From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “’Day of Hope’ as Vaccines Arrive in Long-Term Care Facilities.” … From MassLive’s Steph Solis: “In Massachusetts, retired teacher Shirley Nolan is first to get COVID vaccine at Benjamin Healthcare Center in Boston.” … From CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “Sudders finally feeling hopeful.” … From CBS Boston: “Cardinal O’Malley Gets COVID Vaccine, Encourages ‘All People To Be Vaccinated.’”

Coming next year: Minimum wage hike and family leave act

MassLive’s Jim Kinney is looking ahead to 2021, not looking back at 2020, and reports on major labor-market changes that take effect on Friday in Massachusetts, including a minimum wage hike to $13.50 an hour and implementation of the state’s landmark family and medical leave act.


Springfield church fire likely set, may be a hate crime, officials say

Springfield officials say a fire in the Martin Luther King Community Presbyterian Church may have been intentionally set — and could be a hate crime, Patrick Johnson at MassLive and Naomi Martin at the Globe report. A $5,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to an arrest and officials say at least three other suspicious fires were reported in the area over the weekend. 

Cancel culture update: Did Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ get banned in Lawrence?

Normally, a pundit’s musings on the culture wars doesn’t attract our attention much. But when the musings are prominently splashed across the Drudge Report and involve a Lawrence teacher allegedly bragging about banning Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ in classes, well, it gets our attention. Here’s the WSJ column (pay wall) that started it all and the Lawrence teacher’s denial that Homer has been banned in Lawrence.

To honor or not to honor: A decorated Marine’s dying wish to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. But there’s a catch …

It’s one of the most-read stories at the Globe this morning, Shelley Murphy’s report on the dying wish of a decorated Marine, wounded during the Vietnam War, to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The catch: Joe Labriola, 75, who died this summer, was a convicted killer and his sentence needs to be posthumously commuted by state officials before he can be buried at Arlington. 

Boston Globe

Local option: Greenfield may consider ranked choice voting in 2021

They’re kicking the tires. Greenfield’s Charter Review Committee is considering proposing that the city switch to ranked-choice voting for municipal elections, saying the current preliminary election approach isn’t working as designed. Anita Fritz at the Greenfield Recorder reports city voters backed the failed statewide referendum on ranked-choice voting by 55 to 45 percent in November. 

Greenfield Recorder

Pay dirt: Public records push confirms Southborough Town Hall theft

He was right. A Southborough resident’s public records request has resulted in the release of a police report that confirmed what he suspected all along: That a former recreational department employee was fired after using a town credit card for personal expenses. Alison Bosma at MetroWest Daily reports that the worker was not criminally charged and that the money has been recovered. 

MetroWest Daily News

The Struggle for Freedom: Patriots of Color at Bunker Hill

The American Revolution was an era-changing historical earthquake, but little told is the role of people of color in the struggle for independence.

Boston Public Library and the National Park Service

Breathless in Boston: An Exploration of Lung Function in the Era of COVID-19 with Dr. Christopher Fanta, MD

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with Beacon Hill Village for this online program. Dr. Fanta will take us on a tour of how our lungs work in health and disease, including strategies to keep our lungs healthy and strong throughout our lives. Dr. Fanta will discuss several issues relating to the lungs including the special effects of COVID-19 on lung function.

Boston Public Library and Beacon Hill Village

The New Administration: Opportunities and Challenges

Panelists including Lisa Lerer, reporter at the New York Times, and Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and CNN Political Analyst, discuss opportunities and challenges for the incoming administration as well as reflections on the significance of the Biden-Harris victory in 2020 elections. NBC News Correspondent Harry Smith moderates.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Recover Boston: The Road Ahead – Economic Issues in 2021

As the country looks ahead at the days when a vaccine will be available to wider parts of the community and as a new administration gains its foothold in Washington, D.C., a distinguished panel of business leaders will discuss the issues they’re expecting in 2021. What will economic recovery look like in Greater Boston? How will businesses move forward safely?

Boston Business Journal

Making a Ruckus: Volunteer Managers as Activists for Change

Explore strategies to create a new path forward for volunteer engagement in your organization in these changing times. VolunteerNow is collaborating with TVMC to offer free professional development webinars to provide guidance, networking and practical ideas to help you move forward during these challenging times. Upon registration you will receive instructions to join the webinar via WebinarJAM.


A League of Their Own: The Future of Network Partnerships

Verizon is unveiling the 5G network’s potential for venues with features like real-time access to video highlights, screening of multiple angles, instant updated stats and fantasy scores on players, and immersive fan experiences. Having just been named the official technology partner of the NHL, Verizon is paving the way for the future of network partnerships.


How to Pivot Your Small Business During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for small businesses in the Boston area and all over the country. Consumer habits have changed and small businesses have to be able to adapt to the new dynamic. Join Beth Ann Dahan, Project Manager for COVID Business Recovery as she shares ways that you can pivot your small business and survive during difficult times.

Virtual Minority Small Business Conference and Expo

How to Pivot Your Small Business During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for small businesses in the Boston area and all over the country. Consumer habits have changed and small businesses have to be able to adapt to the new dynamic. Join Beth Ann Dahan, Project Manager for COVID Business Recovery at CWE as she shares ways that you can pivot your small business and survive during difficult times.

Virtual Minority Small Business Conference and Expo

2021 Economic Outlook

Join the Boston Business Journal and CIBC for an expert look at the latest information concerning global, national and regional trends impacting the economy. The 2021 Economic Outlook will offer unique access to economic insights from world-class experts and professionals to help translate economic trends into competitive intelligence to grow your business and find opportunity in the coming year.

Boston Business Journal and CIBC Commercial Banking

Human Trafficking 101

The Key2Free is committed to education and increased awareness with the goal of preventing trafficking before it starts. Across all states, victims of sex trafficking are enslaved every day through force, fraud, or coercion. Together, we can call attention to and fight the shocking realities of the injustice happening right here in our communities.

The Key2Free

Today’s Headlines


Boston Arts Venues Cheer Stimulus Bill, But It’s Too Late For Some – WBUR

Developers plan Quincy apartment tower near Neponset River – Boston Business Journal


Tapestry’s needle exchange program marks 25 years in Northampton – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Number of Cape Cod Hospital patients with Covid-19 soars – Cape Cod Times

Salem cancels Christmas tree bonfire – Salem News


New York lawmakers approve sweeping eviction moratorium – Politico

Senate GOP faces stimulus dilemma as Democrats side with Trump – Bloomberg

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