Happening Today

New Year’s Eve, Baker’s small biz plan, TCI hearing

— Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to provide more information today on his $668 million small business relief program and possibly discuss the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts.

Senate Global Warming and Climate Change Committee holds virtual hearing on the Transportation & Climate Initiative, proposed changes to the Renewable Portfolio Standard and emission reduction efforts, 10 a.m.

Boston’s First Night celebration moves online this year with a series of performances and events broadcast throughout New Year’s Eve, though there will be no fireworks tonight, 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: 118 new deaths, 12,076 total deaths, 6,135 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, with total COVID-19 deaths now surpassing 12,000 in the state.

Mariano’s immediate priorities: COVID-19 recovery, transportation, high-speed internet

As expected, Ron Mariano was elected yesterday as the new speaker of the Massachusetts House (SHNS – pay wall) – and he made clear his immediate priorities are bills dealing with pandemic recovery, transportation and high-speed internet access, among other topics (MassLive).

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that lawmakers will have only two days next week to wrap up remaining session business. Still on the legislative table: transportation-spending, economic development and climate-change legislation.

What rollout slowdown? Baker says state is still on track to get 300,000 vaccine doses today

Amid reports of a slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday he’s not seeing any delivery slowdown. In fact, he says deliveries appear to be right on schedule, though the process has sometimes been “bumpy,” reports the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall).

If there’s indeed a sluggish vaccine rollout,  it increasingly appears to be at the local level, i.e. in the giving of shots, not the delivery of doses. The NYT, whose reporting on the rollout has been critical of the Trump administration, is now saying that 12.4 million doses have indeed been delivered, but only 2.8 million people have received shots. From the Washington Post: “Shots are slow to reach arms as Trump administration leaves final steps of mass vaccination to beleaguered states.” 

Next up for vaccinations: First responders

The Baker administration plans to announce next week its plans to start vaccinating police, EMTs and firefighters, after initially getting doses to health-care workers and those living in group elderly homes. But tentative first-responder plans are already generating criticism, reports WBUR’s Martha Bebinger. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan has more on the planned first-responder vaccinations.


Baker unloads on vaccine line cutters: ‘There are some people who are at a far higher risk’

Speaking of the vaccine rollout, Gov. Charlie Baker is getting quite frustrated at reports of people cutting in line to get vaccines, including Congressional staffers and others, reports the Herald’s Rick Sobey and Erin Tiernan.

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has more on Baker losing his patience with both those cutting in line and those ignoring repeated pleas to stay home during the holidays. In frustration, Baker even banged the gubernatorial lectern with his fists during a media briefing yesterday, Mohl reports.  

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, state GOP sees gold in Congressional vaccines controversy

Speaking of cutting-in-line controversies, SHNS’s Michael Norton reports that Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Jim Lyons is “trying to raise money by shaming Democrats for allegedly jumping the COVID-19 vaccine line even though members of both major parties have received the vaccine.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

N.H. Gov. Sununu cancels inaugural, citing armed mask protesters outside his home

Has it really come to this? From the AP’s Kathy McCormack: “New Hampshire’s Republican governor said Wednesday that he is canceling his outdoor inauguration ceremony next month because of public safety concerns — namely, armed protesters who have been gathering outside his home in the weeks since he issued a mask order. ‘My first responsibility is ensuring the safety of my family and our citizens’ Gov. Chris Sununu said in a news release.”

AP News

Kennedy niece: Pay no attention to my uncle’s anti-coronavirus vaccine rants

Members of the Kennedy family are going at it again over Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s controversial anti-vaccination views, this time with Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, a resident physician in New York, taking the lead in in a NYT op-ed piece. “I love my uncle. But when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong,” writes RFK’s granddaughter.

If you recall, other members of the Kennedy clan were taking shots at Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccination crusade even before the pandemic.


Norton police officer battles COVID, pneumonia and flu at same time

This is awful. The Sun Chronicle’s David Linton and MassLive’s Jackson Cote report that a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family of a Norton police officer who has been hospitalized for COVID-19, pneumonia and the flu. Yes, all three. 

Coronavirus updates: Stay home warning, vaccine scam alert, struggling field hospitals, halfway house outbreak

As usual, there’s a lot happening on the coronavirus front today, so we’ll go with quick summaries and headlines in this post, starting with Saraya Witherspoon’s piece at GBH: “Stay Home, Party Virtually Or Else, Walsh Says.” … From WBUR’s Beth Healy: “COVID Outbreak At Springfield Halfway House After Former Inmate’s Arrival.” … From Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “Beware of phone, email scams and misinformation about COVID vaccine, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey warns.” … From GBH’s Tori Bedford: “Field Hospitals Struggle With Staffing As COVID-19 Cases Surge.” … From MetroWest’s Jeanette Hinkle and Zane Razzaq: “Exhausted Framingham public health director to take medical leave.” … From GBH: “Medical Workers Still Don’t Have Enough Personal Protective Equipment, Nurses Association Says.” … From MassLive: “Amherst regional schools trying again to get teachers to resume in-person learning.”

Electric cars, here we come: Baker outlines ambitious emissions roadmap for state

This ought to make Elon Musk and other electric-car makers happy. The Baker administration yesterday unveiled a draft plan for cutting carbon emissions in Massachusetts, proposing an energy retrofit of 1 million existing homes, expansion of offshore wind and requiring all new cars sold in Massachusetts to be electric by 2035, among other steps.  

The Globe’s Naomi Martin, WBUR’s Max Larkin and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have more on the administration’s ambitious goals to fight climate change, including cutting the state’s carbon footprint by 45 percent in the next decade alone.

Policy reversal: Massachusetts Medical Society now says that, yes, pot does have therapeutic benefits

It’s a grudging acknowledgment, but it’s an acknowledgement. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that the Massachusetts Medical Society has had a change of mind when it comes to the medical benefits of pot, eight years after the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.


Report: Boston cop who bragged about ramming protesters with car has a very checkered history

The Globe’s Dugan Arnett reports that the Boston cop who bragged about ramming protesters last spring with his car was “accused in 2005 of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman while in uniform in a police vehicle and agreed to serve a one-year, unpaid suspension following an investigation.”

Boston Globe

Working the system: Warren’s role in Biden era comes into view

She may not work in the White House, but U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is already showing how she may wield her influence during a Biden administration, Burgess Everett at Politico reports. Warren’s successful behind-the-scenes efforts to win support to forgive student loans may be a hint of what’s to come.

Bonus fun fact hidden in the Politico piece: Warren has apparently begun making her own recordings of interviews she gives Capitol Hill reporters. Journalists, you’ve been warned.


Save that seat: Galvin says he’ll sue if census costs Bay State in Congress

He’s ready to respond. Secretary of State William Galvin says he’s poised to file suit against the U.S. Census if its data suggests the Bay State should lose one of its nine seats in Congress, Andrea Estes at the Globe reports. Although preliminary estimates show the state maintaining enough population to keep its current representation, Galvin said reports of alleged problems with the count have him on high alert. 

Boston Globe

Looking back at 2020: What a political year, locally and nationally

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Sean Philip Cotter review the big political news events of 2020. Political divisions caused by the pandemic. Black Lives Matter protests. A bruising presidential election. The Markey-Kennedy Senate race. The changing of the guard on Beacon Hill. Etc.

Boston Herald

More, please: T rolls out first new Red Line train since 1994

Amid all the talk of service cuts at the T, here’s some good transit news: The MBTA has put its first new Red Line train into service in decades, reports the Globe’s Travis Andersen.

Florida prosecutors ask judge to preserve Bob Kraft massage parlor video

It’s not over yet. Prosecutors in Florida are asking a judge to delay the destruction of a video investigators took of Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s visits to a massage parlor, saying it may one day be needed in civil suits tied to the case, the Associated Press reports via the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Kraft was cleared of criminal wrongdoing after a judge ruled the video could not be used against him in a prostitution-sting case.


We want to know what you think

As 2020 draws to a close, we want to know about our readers’ opinions of the news and the news media as a whole. If you can, please fill out this quick ten question survey so that we can learn more about what you (anonymously) think as we enter 2021. Thanks so much.

Google Survey

Happy New Year – and see you on Monday

We’d like to wish all our MassterList readers a happy New Year. We’ll be taking tomorrow’s holiday off, but we’ll be back first thing Monday morning. Again, happy New Year, everyone.

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

Lost Wonderland: The Brief and Brilliant Life of Boston’s Million Dollar Amusement Park

Stephen R. Wilk, author of Lost Wonderland, will discuss the story of Wonderland’s creation and wild, but brief success which is full of larger-than-life characters who hoped to thrill attendees and rake in profits.

Boston Public Library

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

Live Chat with Google Product Manager

Join in and get all your product questions answered during our online event with Neil Joglekar, Product Manager at Google. He is a product manager at Google where he leads teams to improve consumer experience. He is also a YC founder.

Product School

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

Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19

Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19 JAN 27 2021 12:00 PM Hosted by: Arent Fox LLP Online Event www.eventbrite.com/e/malcolm-gladwell-and-the-new-normal-after-covid-19-tickets-132113604347?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.

Arent Fox LLP

Social Media for Government Agencies and the Public Sector: Everything You Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask, a Digital CP

Come learn the basics of the Social Media platforms and how you can use them effectively to achieve your goals. Whether you’re a Tik Tok influencer or just learned that the symbol # isn’t a “pound sign”. This workshop is open to all levels.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


State looks to spend $75K to prevent future Storrowings – Dig Boston

Stay Home, Party Virtually Or Else, Walsh Says – WGBH


Ex-Bridgewater State professor indicted on rape, sex trafficking charges – Brockton Enterprise

Manny Febo to retire as Holyoke police chief in July – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Chicopee schools considering employee furloughs as pandemic causes financial woes – MassLive


Pelosi likely speaker again, but may require high-wire act – Associated Press

California to vaccinate teachers, increase student testing in bid to reopen schools – The Hill

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.