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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Breathless in Boston: An Exploration of Lung Function in the Era of COVID-19 with Dr. Christopher Fanta, MD
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Recover Boston: The Road Ahead – Economic Issues in 2021
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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.
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.
Lost Wonderland: The Brief and Brilliant Life of Boston’s Million Dollar Amusement Park
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2021 Economic Outlook
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Live Chat with Google Product Manager
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Human Trafficking 101
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Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19
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Social Media for Government Agencies and the Public Sector: Everything You Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask, a Digital CP
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