Keller at Large

The state GOP’s fork in the road

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller writes that Massachusetts Republicans reached a political fork in the road this past weekend – and proceeded to choose the hard right-wing  path offered by Jim Lyons. And now they’ll pay a heavy price.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

House and Senate sessions

— The Massachusetts House and Senate will meet in full sessions today as lawmakers try to wrap up the current legislative session by tonight’s deadline, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deb Goldberg hold their regular monthly meeting, via phone, to discuss state finances, 1:30 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: 60 new deaths, 12,401 total deaths, 4,358 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

GOP Civil War alert: Baker blasts fellow Republicans for trying to block Biden certification

Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, yesterday denounced the attempts by some GOP senators to block the electoral-college certification of Joe Biden as the next president, saying Biden won the November election “fair and square” and efforts to undermine election results are an “affront to democracy.” SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail have more.

Baker’s comments echo the criticisms of other moderate Republicans, such as former Mass. Gov. and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, and the brouhaha is clearly forcing party members to choose sides. From the WSJ (pay wall): “In Trump’s Final Days, Lines Are Drawn for a Republican Civil War.” From the the Washington Post: “Trump sabotaging GOP on his way out of office with push to overturn election.”

Don’t forget: The Massachusetts Republican Party already has its very own mini-civil war under way. See Jon Keller’s MassterList podcast above. 

So who are the winners and losers in climate roadmap bill sent to Baker?

A day after its unveiling, a compromise climate-change bill won quick passage yesterday on Beacon Hill, with lawmakers sending the ambitious carbon-reductions package to Gov. Charlie Baker, as SHNS’s Colin Young reports (pay wall).

So who are the winners and losers in the bill? The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports offshore wind developers are huge winners, while local developers are among the losers. MassLive’s Jim Kinney reports that wood-to-energy plants also appear to be big losers. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg writes the legislation includes a compromise between local assessors and solar developers on the thorny issue of property taxes.

Deadline rush: Do lawmakers have time to pass transportation and economic-development bills?

It’s going to be hectic day at the State House, as lawmakers strive to finish legislative business before this evening’s end-of-the-session deadline. State House New Service has a good summary (pay wall) of the major issues still on the legislative table.

But the Globe’s Matt Stout and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report the odds don’t look good for passage of the large transportation-spending and economic-development bills.

State gives people 75 or older higher vaccine priority

Switching to pandemic news, from a three-reporter team at NBC Boston: “People age 75 or older have been moved higher up in the order of Massachusetts’ coronavirus vaccination plan, officials said Monday, as they released details on when the next group to get the vaccines, first responders, will be able to get them.”

Re first responders, their vaccinations start Jan. 11, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall). The Globe’s Robert Weisman reports that the state is setting up regional vaccination centers for first responders.

NBC Boston

Massachusetts’ slow vaccination rollout: You can’t blame this one on Trump

Speaking of vaccine rollouts, WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports that only 40 percent of the vaccine doses delivered to Massachusetts have so far been injected into people. Part of the reason for the statistical lag may have to do with how and when the state receives field reports on actual injections. 

CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt writes that Marylou Sudders, the secretary of health and human services, is “comfortable” with the reporting lag. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Anissa Gardizy has a good “five things you need to know” piece about the vaccine rollout in general in Massachusetts.


Out of room: Cape Cod homeless shelters, services struggle to meet heightened demand

For the first time ever, the largest homeless shelter on the Cape has a waiting list for beds and agencies across the Cape and Islands say they are struggling to meet increased demand for services as the coronavirus pandemic both drives demand and complicates service delivery. Denise Coffey at the Cape Cod TImes has the details. 

Cape Cod Times

It’s official: Special election set for March 30 to fill DeLeo’s seat

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that a special general election to fill former House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s legislative seat has been set for March 30. But the contest may well be settled on March 2, when the primary election is scheduled to be held. Five candidate are vying for the 19th Suffolk seat – none of them, so far, a Republican.

Boston Herald

Confirmed: Diversity pressures may rule out Walsh in Biden cabinet

The Globe’s Jazmine Ulloa has an update on the Walsh Watch, i.e. will he or won’t he land a job as labor secretary in a Biden cabinet, and it doesn’t look good for the mayor amid calls for an Asian American or Pacific Islander selection.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Walsh signs ordinance creating new police oversight office

More on Mayor Walsh, from WCVB: “Boston is searching for an executive director to lead a new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency after Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday signed an ordinance creating the department. The mayor previously used executive orders to create a Civilian Review Board and an Internal Affairs Oversight Panel.”


Gender neutral pronouns: Good-bye ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘he’ and ‘she’

A move by the U.S. House Rules Committee, headed by our very own U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, is attracting some linguistic attention these days, as it attempts to promote “inclusion and diversity” by replacing words like “mother,” “father,” “he,” and “she” in its rules with more gender-neutral pronouns, according to reports at Axios and Business Insider.

Official state dinosaur: Will it be Podokesaurus or Anchisaurus?

State Rep. Jack Lewis thinks it’s time for Massachusetts, like other states, to have its own official dinosaur and he’s starting a survey to gauge residents’ preferences between dinos whose fossils have been found in Holyoke and Springfield — Podokesaurus holyokensis and Anchisaurus polyzelus, respectively. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and MassLive’s Heather Morrison have more.

SJC strikes down Uber’s user agreements that practically nobody, almost by design, read or understand

This is an interesting decision. From CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “The agreement Uber users must sign before registering with the ride-hailing service – the detailed fine print listed under ‘terms and conditionsy – is not binding in Massachusetts because it is not provided to users in a clear and conspicuous way, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday. …The ruling has potentially larger impacts for how internet apps must present their online agreements.”

Universal Hub’s headline on its story: “Uber, other companies with online terms and conditions need to stop sneaking stuff into them, court rules.”


The big keep getting bigger: Tufts Health and Harvard Pilgrim officially merge

Just what we need in health-care: Bigger players, fewer competitors. Yes, Tufts Health and Harvard Pilgrim Health officially merged on Jan. 1, becoming the second largest health insurer in Massachusetts after Blue Cross Blue Shield. The Herald’s Alexi Cohan and the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett have more on the latest consolidation within the state’s health-care system.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan are no match for reform-resistant health care system

Speaking of health care, do you remember Haven, the Boston-based firm that was backed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase and that was supposed to transform the chaotic and costly health-care delivery system in America? It’s no more, a victim of a health-care system seemingly impervious to reform. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has more.


Host with the most: Displaced Providence Bruins land in Marlborough

We’re always here to help, Rhode Island. The Providence Bruins say they’ll play the remainder of their fan-less season at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Jeff Malachowski at the Telegram reports. The baby Bruins can’t play in their usual Providence home because it’s become a pandemic staging area in R.I.


History restored: Sword swiped from statue in Westfield back where it belongs

A bronze sword stolen some 40 years ago from the statue of Westfield Revolutionary War hero William Shepard has been suddenly returned to the town’s historical commission, reports Cynthia Simison at MassLive. A man who admits stealing it says he’s felt guilty for decades.


Promise kept: Framingham mayor names pick for city’s first diversity officer

It took a bit longer than expected, but Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer has fulfilled one of her campaign pledges, tapping Maritsa Barros of Norwood to serve as the city’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Zane Razzaq at the MetroWest Daily News reports. Spicer has pushed for the position to be funded since taking office. 

MetroWest Daily News

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

Harriet Tubman & Maryland’s Underground Railroad Sites-Livestream History Tour

Join us for an online/virtual tour of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad sites in Maryland/ Learn how Harriet successfully escaped from slavery and how she then heroically led others to freedom. The program is hosted by Robert Kelleman, the founder/director of the non-profit community organization Washington, DC History & Culture.

Washington D.C. History & Culture

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 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

lo T in Sports: Changing the Game

Join us as we hear from industry experts about the integration of lo T in the world of live sports, how major leagues like the NFL are utilizing wearable technology and connected devices, what features fans can expect from stadiums as they become more connected, and how 5G & MEC are changing the game for years to come.


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


Walsh signs ordinance creating office of police accountability and transparency in Boston – Boston Herald

Quincy hospital demolition set for March – Patriot Ledger


Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade canceled for second year due to Covid – MassLive

Mass. hits five-year high in out-migration – Worcester Business Journal

Brockton gets $250,000 grant to clean up downtown Corcoran site where housing is planned – Brockton Enterprise


Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism – New York Times

Mar-a-Lago should be shut down after New Year’s Eve party violated covid rules, state lawmaker says – Washington Post

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