Happening Today

Governor’s Council swearing in, Cape pandemic update, and more

— The eight members of the Governor’s Council, including new central Massachusetts Councilor Paul DePalo, take their oaths of office today.

— State Sen. Julian Cyr and other members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force hold a media availability to discuss rising coronavirus case numbers and efforts to contain COVID-19 in Barnstable County, 9 a.m.

— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel will join other officials to mark the significant progress made to address polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in New Bedford Harbor, 11 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House and Senate are scheduled to meet at 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 p.m., respectively.

For the most comprehensive list 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: 99 new deaths, 12,563 total deaths, 6,419 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The Republic still stands

The only encouraging things to emerge from yesterday’s disgraceful mayhem in the nation’s capital? Congress ultimately performed its constitutional duty by confirming Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election (NYT) – and President Trump later said he’s committed to an “orderly transition” of power (Globe.)

Frankly, we’re taking the second piece of encouraging news with a huge grain of salt, for it’s hard to believe anything that comes out of the president’s mouth at this point. Think we’re exaggerating? Read this Washington Post piece on the president’s actions and rhetoric before, during and after yesterday’s chaos.

Local reactions to our latest day of infamy

Yesterday’s mob assault on the nation’s Capitol building is almost beyond disturbing and surreal. But local officials and citizens did find ways to react in their own ways. Here’s a sampling of some of them:

From CBS Boston: “‘Terrifying And Heartbreaking’: Boston Residents Emotional After Capitol Riots.”

From the Globe: “Democrats call for Trump to be removed from office after mob stormed US Capitol/Either by impeachment or invoking the 25th amendment”

From SHNS: “Baker: Chaos in Washington ‘Sad But Predictable’”

From the Herald: “Lynch says Trump ‘instigated’ protesters who stormed Capitol; Pressley, Moulton, Clark, Markey among those calling for president’s removal.”

From MassLive: “Massachusetts congressional lawmakers shelter in place during U.S. Capitol breach.”

From WCVB: “Rep. Moulton: ‘This is what you expect to see in a banana republic’”

From MassLive: ‘This is what the president has caused’; Pro-Trump riot at US Capitol is an ‘insurrection’, says Sen. Mitt Romney

From MassLive: “US Rep. Richard Neal on Capitol siege: ‘I thought they were coming through the door of my office’”

From CBS Boston: “Rep. Keating: There Will Be Accountability For Capitol Protests”

From the Globe: “Protesters demonstrate against pro-Trump extremists in Boston”

From GBH: “Following Unrest in D.C., Massachusetts Activists Plan To Protest Every Day Until Biden Is Inaugurated.”

From the Berkshire Eagle: “Berkshire officials condemn chaos in Washington as ‘horrifying’”

From the Gazette: “Northampton demonstrators stand for democratic process as Congress is stormed.”

She was there: Globe reporter recounts wild events as they unfolded yesterday at the U.S. Capitol

The Globe’s Jazmine Ulloa was right in the thick of it yesterday in Washington, sitting with other reporters in the U.S. Senate press gallery when the mayhem erupted at the Capitol. It’s all here: The first shocking reports, the evacuation, running into rioters in hallways, the escape to a secure location, the general surrealness of it all.

Boston Globe

They went to D.C. by the busloads …

Think yesterday’s protest chaos in the nation’s capital was mostly the doing of those from other states? Think again. Universal Hub reports on the busloads of local people who traveled to D.C. to rally around their leader who claims he won the presidential election even though he lost.

Meanwhile, Louis Murray was writing at the Herald before yesterday’s events why he was proudly traveling to D.C. as a Trump supporter. Think he’s proud now?

Universal Hub

Just for the record: Dems take control of U.S. Senate

Amid all of yesterday’s violent chaos in Washington D.C., it should be noted that Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won yesterday’s dramatic U.S. Senate races in Georgia, giving Democrats effective control of the U.S. Senate, according to the NYT.


Biden to name Merrick Garland as next U.S. Attorney General

Deval Patrick didn’t get it. But someone with close ties to Harvard University and Harvard Law School did. President-elect Joe Biden plans to announce that Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge who in 2016 was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court, will be his new attorney general, according to a CNN report.


Legislation that passed during the final hours of session: Food delivery caps, beer distribution deal, ‘Laura’s Law,” ride-share rate hikes

Switching over to comparatively sane state news, the Globe’s Matt Stout and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have summaries of the final hours of the last legislative session and what did and didn’t pass. But if you want to get down to specifics, check out the stories below about legislation passed by lawmakers, beyond the approved transportation-bonding and economic-development bills previously reported yesterday on MassterList:

— From the BBJ’s Lucia Maffei “Mass. lawmakers OK statewide cap on food delivery fees.”

— From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Beer Lobby Feeling Good After All-Nighter/Distribution Bill Makes It To Baker’s Desk.”

— From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Laura’s Law” Governing Health Care Signage Reaches Baker.”

— From MassLive’s Jim Russell: “House approves Senate bill abolishing Hampshire Council of Governments, pay agency debts including $5.8M pension liability.”

— From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “Legislature hikes Uber, Lyft fees in last-minute deal.”

The legislation that didn’t pass: UI rate relief and third casino study

A lot of bills passed in the hectic final hours of the last legislative session that ended yesterday morning. But some key proposals didn’t pass. Here’s two of them not previously reported on MassterList:

— The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports lawmakers failed to address Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to provide unemployment-insurance rate relief for beleaguered employers. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports employers are hoping lawmakers can pass some sort of relief as soon as possible in the new session.

— SHNS’s Colin A. Young (pay wall) reports that lawmakers, besides not passing legalized sports betting, also scrapped plans to have the Gaming Commission take a look at a possible third casino license in Massachusetts.

Out with the old, in with the new: Legislators start new session

At least the transfer of power runs smoothly in Massachusetts, unlike in the nation’s capital. Only hours after finishing the last two-year legislative session, Beacon Hill lawmakers convened yesterday (often virtually) to swear in members and to start the new legislative session – rituals that included the re-election of Karen Spilka as Senate president and Ron Mariano as House speaker. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Katie Lannan and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and Shira Schoenberg have more.

Mass. tax collections continue to go … up?

They were supposed to go down, but they keep going out. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that state tax revenues “continued to be remarkably resilient in December,” rising 8 percent above last year’s pre-pandemic level. For the first six months of the current fiscal year, revenues are up 2.7 percent. This wasn’t supposed to happen during the pandemic. But we’ll take it.


Marathon bomber sues Colorado supermax prison for $250,000

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is attempting to sue the federal government over what he calls “unprofessional” treatment at the supermax prison in Colorado where he’s serving multiple life sentences, reports Joe Dwinell at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Ex-City Hall aide convicted of corruption wins release from prison due to COVID-19 outbreak.

He’s out. John Lynch, who was convicted of taking $50,000 in bribes from a developer while he worked as an aide at Boston City Hall, has been released from a federal prison in Devens due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. He will spend the rest of his 40-month sentence in home confinement, reports Universal Hub and the Globe’s Danny McDonald.

Developer buying Fenway’s Landmark Center for eye-popping $1.52B

The office and retail real estate sectors have taken it on the chin during the pandemic. But one subsector of commercial real estate is alive and well, thank you: Life-sciences. And yesterday Alexandria Real Estate proved it by plunking down $1.5 billion to buy the Landmark Center (i.e. the old Sears complex in the Fenway), with plans to redevelop the complex into a life-science hub, as the Globe’s Tim Logan reports.

Here’s a unique law firm name without all the names: ‘Summit Health Law Partners’

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports on one law firm’s decision to forgo the tradition of naming itself after some of its past and current bigwig partners. After another firm lured away eight of its attorneys (including a named partner), Boston’s Barrett & Singal PC decided to rebrand itself “Summit Health Law Partners.” It’s a seemingly small change, but it does say much about the quickly changing law profession in general.


Not so fast: Hamilton delays enforcement of mandatory composting rule

The rollout was a bit rotten. Hamilton officials say they will delay until May the enforcement of one of the state’s first mandatory municipal composting programs after acknowledging the holiday-season unveiling of the rules left a lot to be desired, Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports. 

Salem News

Cut to the chase: Springfield seeks quick court answer on police commission

A years-long standoff could end quickly. Springfield officials have asked a Superior Court judge to rule quickly on whether Mayor Domenic Sarno is required to comply with a City Council ordinance ordering him to appoint a new Police Commission, Peter Goonan at MassLive reports. The council has twice passed an ordinance.


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 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

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


Boston zoning official who took bribes freed under coronavirus concerns – Boston Herald

Brockton mayor lifts order closing businesses – Brockton Enterprise


Salem Mayor to give state of the city address remotely – Salem News

Affordable homes project for Great Barrington gets green light – Berkshire Eagle

Aquinnah looking to get COVID vaccines ‘for everyone’ – Martha’s Vineyard Times


Black voters powered Democrats to victory in the Georgia Senate runoff – Washington Post

Sanders says Trump is ‘directly responsible’ for Capitol siege – Business insider

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