Happening Today

House and Senate sessions, SJC hearings

— The Massachusetts House and Senate hold formal sessions as lawmakers try to finish business before the end of the current legislative session tomorrow night, 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.

Supreme Judicial Court hears virtual oral arguments for five cases, including one examining whether the Superior Court properly denied a defendant’s motion to suppress certain phone records, 9 a.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: 105 new deaths, 12,341 total deaths, 3,110 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Lyons narrowly re-elected as state GOP chair, posing problems for Baker and Polito

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Erin Tiernan report that Jim Lyons will remain chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, after he narrowly defeated state Rep. Shawn Dooley in an election yesterday. And the Globe’s Gal Tziperman Lotan and Matt Stout report the re-election of the conservative and pro-Trump Lyons may complicate matters for moderate Gov. Charlie Baker, if Baker decides to run for a third time. We’d add it will complicate matters for Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito as well, if she ends up running for governor instead of Baker.

Negotiators reach deal on major climate bill

With only two days left in the current legislative session, Beacon Hill lawmakers on Sunday announced they have reached a compromise agreement on a new climate-change bill and hope to pass the legislation before tomorrow night’s end-of-the-session deadline, report SHNS’s Michael Norton and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl

The bottom line: The bill is “more aggressive than what the Baker administration called for last week,” as Mohl reports.

Threefer: Baker signs police reform, telehealth and fire retardant bills

Speaking of the waning days of the current legislative session, Gov. Charlie Baker late last week signed a handful of key bills recently passed by lawmakers. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has the police-reform bill covered. MassLive’s Douglas Hook reports on the health-care reform bill (with the telehealth provision in it) approved by Baker. And SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that Baker indeed signed legislation that bans a list of chemical fire retardant products in Massachusetts.

Regarding the police-reform legislation, from Tori Bedford at GBH: “Reform Advocates Cautiously Praise New Police Oversight Bill, Say More Changes Needed To Dismantle Systematic Racism.”

Happy New Year: Lawmakers in line for pay raises in 2021

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and the Globe’s Matt Stout report on the scheduled pay raises that lawmakers on Beacon Hill are eligible for this year. The headline on Erin Tiernan’s story at the Herald cuts to the heart of the political dilemma for legislators and statewide elected officials: “Lawmakers get 6.46% pay bump as thousands of Massachusetts residents still jobless.” 

Here comes the post-Christmas surge with a new virus variant twist?

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that coronavirus case numbers indicate Massachusetts has been “perched on a coronavirus plateau” over the past three weeks. But some believe we’re about to see a post-Christmas surge on top of that plateau. “We’re in for it,” says Dr. Jon Santiago, also a state representative, CBS Boston reports. To make matters worse, experts are growing increasingly concerned about a new coronavirus variant out there, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.  

Meanwhile, from NBC Boston: “Mass. Field Hospital Officials Concerned as Post-Christmas COVID Spike Nears.” 

Now it’s first-responders’ turn to balk at vaccines …

Some health-care workers have balked at getting COVID-19 vaccination. Now it appears some first-responders are hesitating getting shots. At least in Auburn, where even the chief of police has declared: “You couldn’t pay me to take it.” MassLive’s Jackson Cote has more on the fine example being set in Auburn.


North End restaurateur taunts Baker and Walsh while partying it up at maskless Florida bash

He seems to be asking for trouble. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that Christian Silvestri, whose Rabia’s in the North End has been warned about various pandemic rule violations, was whooping it up on New Year’s Eve at a dance party in Florida, taunting Gov. Charlie Baker and Marty Walsh amid all the maskless fun. “You can’t do this in Boston, baby! Woo!”

Universal Hub

Coronavirus updates: Church service super-spreader, youth hockey ban extension, new Lowell field hospital, Turco delays retirement

Here’s some quick summaries and headlines from the coronavirus front, starting with CBS Boston: “44 Attendees Of Christmas Church Services In Woburn Test Positive For COVID.” … From GBH: “7 Regional Governors Extend Interstate Youth Hockey Ban.” … From CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “How do you teach hands-on voc tech remotely? Schools get creative” … SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that Tom Turco is delaying his planned retirement as secretary of public safety, in part to assist the Baker administration’s response to pandemic and implementation of the new police-reform legislation. … And from CBS Boston: “COVID Field Hospital Set To Open Monday In Lowell.”

The Tape: The talk of the political world

It may not be as sensational as the Nixon White House tapes. But it’s still pretty damn sensational, i.e. the tape of President Trump on Saturday pressuring Georgia election officials to change the results of the state’s presidential election. The Washington Post broke the big story.  

Massachusetts pols are condemning the president’s actions, with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey saying the president ought to be “brought up on charges” of trying to fix an election, report Ivy Scott and Stephanie Purifoy at the Globe.

Washington Post

Bob who? Five candidates vie for DeLeo’s open seat

He’s gone but not completely forgotten. Not yet. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan has the rundown on the five candidates now vying for the open House seat recently vacated by ex-House Speaker Robert DeLeo of Winthrop.

Boston Herald

Welcome to the circus: Auchincloss sworn in ahead of wild week

May you serve in interesting times. U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss, the newest member of the Bay State’ s Congressional delegation, was sworn in on Sunday, just in time to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker and to be witness to what is certain to be an historic week, Lucas Phillips of the Globe reports.

Kadia Goba of Axios tagged along with the 32-year-old freshman lawmaker, who said his orientation brought to mind the first days of his training as a U.S. Marine.

From Massachusetts with hope: Bay State donors help fund Georgia campaigns

So this basically makes it a Bay State election, right? Callum Borchers at WBUR catches up with some of the Massachusetts residents who are sending checks to help the Democrats in tomorrow’s Georgia Senate runoff election s– donors who data show have helped make Massachusetts the largest source of cash for the races on a per capita basis. 


They fought over the booze trade 100 years ago …

If you haven’t already, check out Emily Sweeney’s piece at the Globe on the 100th anniversary of the passage of Prohibition, which produced a notable cast of New England characters determined to provide the populace with their spirits. They’re all here: The Gustin Gang, the Big Seven, rum runners, Frankie Wallace, Barney “DoDo” Walsh, Joseph Lombardo, Charles “King” Solomon, Danny Walsh and some guy named Joseph P. Kennedy.

Boston Globe

… and they’re still fighting over the booze trade 100 years later

As the Globe’s Emily Sweeney tackles Prohibition-era fights over the illegal booze trade in New England, the Globe’s Larry Edelman reports on the fight (minus the Tommy guns) now embroiling the Sheehan family over the legal distribution of beer in Massachusetts. The family feud is effectively over who controls a major chunk of the monopolistic-like distribution system in Massachusetts.

Boston Globe

SJC: FBI documents shared with local investigators are ‘public records’ in Massachusetts

This should lead to more federal/state cooperation on law enforcement matters. Or perhaps not. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports on a Supreme Judicial Court decision that says certain documents shared by the FBI with local investigators should be considered “public records” under Massachusetts law.

Universal Hub

Why not? Harvard professor’s book argue aliens did fly-by of earth in 2017

New York Post’s Reed Tucker reports Havard professor Avi Loeb will publish a book later this month arguing that a piece of space rubble that passed near the earth’s orbit three years ago and left astronomers puzzled may indeed be remnants of a distant alien civilization’s efforts to explore the universe. In other words, he’s doubling down on his previous UFO pronouncement on the matter.

NY Post

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

It Came From Space: Why We Think an Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs with Jesse Mason

In 1980, a team of scientists discovered something astonishing in Earth’s crust: evidence of a cataclysmic impact that coincided with the extinction of three of Earth’s plant and animal species.

Northville District Library and Plymouth District Library

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

Community Read Book Group: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Let’s read together! Join your friends, family and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library as we discuss the January Community Read for adults: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.

Boston Public Library

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


Heading into her second term, Ayanna Pressley is poised to wield more power in Washington – Boston Globe

Brockton council halts retail marijuana process – Brockton Enterprise


Hadley administrator Nixon stepping down after 15 years – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Lawrence students to start using classrooms – Eagle-Tribune

Amherst homeless shelters full; town asks state to be ‘active partner’ in addressing needs – MassLive


Trump’s pressure on Georgia election officials raises legal questions – Politico

Amazon surpasses Boeing as Washington state’s biggest employer – Seattle Times

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