Happening Today

MBTA Control Board, Progressive Mass, and more

— Black firefighters, civil rights leaders, and elected officials gather virtually to discuss a bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law allowing Boston to create a fire cadet program that seeks to promote and advance diversity in the Boston Fire Department, 11 a.m.

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with an agenda calling for discussions of the Green, Red and Orange Lines as well as bus routes, a 2050 de-carbonization roadmap, and engineering supports for the Green Line, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker talks privately with legislative leaders via conference call, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and state Reps. Lindsay Sabadosa and Maria Robinson are guest speakers at a virtual version of Progressive Mass’ annual gala, paid entrance, 7 p.m.

Massachusetts School Choice Week starts Monday to spotlight effective K-12 education for students and the importance of parents exploring the best school options for their children.

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: 67 new deaths, 13,844 total deaths, 3,750 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.


Sorry. We can’t help ourselves. … Now on to all things politics and public policy. …

Boston Globe

Baker: Budget will fully fund school reform law

Here’s something few expected only six months ago. Thanks to the state’s rainy day fund and better-than-expected tax collections, Gov. Charlie Baker says that his forthcoming budget proposal will fully fund, for the first time, the state’s landmark school finance reform law that was delayed last year due to the pandemic. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky have more.

Marijuana trade group drops lawsuit after members quit association

This one sure blew up in their face. The CommonWealth Dispensary Association say it’s dropping a lawsuit challenging the state’s new pot-delivery licensing program after a number of cannabis companies quit the trade group, saying they support regulatory efforts to racially diversify the state’s marijuana industry, reports the Globe’s Dan Adams.

Reporting before the trade group sounded full retreat on Sunday, MassLive’s Melissa Hanson and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the blow-back controversy.

Confirmed: State is a vaccination laggard

The Baker administration can partly blame the slow delivery of vaccine doses for the slow rate of vaccinations in Massachusetts. But it can’t entirely blame the slow delivery of vaccine doses, since other states in New England – not to mention most other states around the country – have higher vaccination rates than Massachusetts even though they face the same delivery problems. The Globe’s Robert Weisman and Kay Lazar have more.

Senate President Karen Spilka to Baker: Keep it simple, stupid. OK, she’s not putting it quite like that. But she is saying the state’s phased-in vaccination program is overly complicated and confusing, according to a report at WCVB. Apparently others share her sentiments, via the Cape Cod Times: “Cape elderly frustrated by vaccination schedule.”

Maybe the performance of this player ought to get more scrutiny moving forward, via the Globe’s Anissa Gardizy: “Seven months ago CIC Health didn’t exist. Today it’s running the state’s mass vaccination effort.” Meanwhile, from a three-reporter team at the Herald: “Officials push Charlie Baker for more vaccine sites in Massachusetts.” And from MassLive: “Worcester officials plan to reveal location of ‘super vaccination site’ in city.”

Massachusetts National Guard members return home

No, they weren’t caught up in the sleep-in-the-parking-garage controversy (Herald). They were scheduled to come home before the sleep-in-the-parking-garage controversy, reports CBS Boston.

CBS Boston

Business owners to lawmakers: Are you really going to tax us for accepting federal stimulus aid? Really?

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that business groups are pressing lawmakers to tweak a state law so company owners aren’t slapped with an income tax bill on their forgiven PPP loans. We’re talking tens of thousands of federal PPP recipients who could be in the taxman’s crosshairs if something isn’t done.

Boston Globe

Encore Boston Harbor to open 24/7

It’s apparently safe to gamble again, any time, every day, though with certain social-distancing and capacity restrictions. The BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius has the details on Encore Boston’s plans to reopen its Everett casino 24/7.


Political optics alert: Amid T service cuts, the OT and bonuses keep on rolling

As WBUR’s Derek Anderson and Paul Connearney report, the T has started to implement some of its planned commuter rail and ferry services cuts. And … and the T’s overtime budget was once again bursting at the seams last year, reports the Herald’s Erin Tiernan. Meanwhile, the T’s GM recently got a $20,000 bonus during the same annus horribilis, though the bonus was for work performed in 2019, reports CommonWealth Colman Herman.

Health Connector extends open enrollment till late March

Here’s some good news, via the AP at the Gloucester Daily Times: “The Massachusetts Health Connector is continuing open enrollment until March 23, providing additional time for state residents to access affordable health insurance — particularly those hurt by the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

Gloucester Times

Devil’s advocate: Satanists sue over council’s refusal to let them give an invocation

We’re about to find out if Milton was right about lawyers being the devil’s ministry. Universal Hub reports that the Satanic Temple of Salem has filed a lawsuit over the Boston City Council’s refusal to let it give an invocation to start one of its meetings.

Universal Hub

Can council’s mayoral candidates vote to nix special election?

A legal memo written by the Boston City Council’s own attorney is calling into question whether it’s a conflict of interest for council members who are running for mayor to vote to nix a special mayoral election. But one backer of the idea said he’s checked with the state’s ethics commission and he says it’s no problem. The Globe’s Milton Valencia and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter have more.

Another election skipper: Judge denies request to force Lawrence special election

It’s not just Boston wrestling with special-election issues. A judge has tossed out a request from some Lawrence residents to require the city to hold a special election to fill its vacant mayor’s seat, refusing to set aside recently passed legislation that gave the city a free pass to a November election, Allison Corneau at the Eagle-Tribune reports. 

Eagle Tribune

Weymouth compressor operator: It’s a go again

It’s starting to resemble a game of Red Light, Green Light. WBUR’s Mariam Wasser has the latest on the on-again/off-again saga of the Weymouth natural gas compressor station, this time with the owner saying it’s all systems go to start the facility.


‘My area:’ Campbell proposes plan to address ‘Methadone Mile’

She knows it well. Boston City Councilor and mayoral hopeful Andrea Campbell has released a plan for addressing the gatherings of the homeless and drug-addicted that plague the area of Roxbury that has been dubbed the ‘Methadone Mile.’ Saraya Wintersmithat GBH and Sean Phillip Cotter at the Herald have the details.

DeLeo’s latest curriculum vitae entry: ‘University Fellow for Public Life’

The attorney for former House Speaker Robert DeLeo has confirmed the worst kept secret in Boston: DeLeo will now be working at Northeastern University. In fact, he started his new job last week as a “University Fellow for Public Life,” reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Not out of the woods: State’s unemployment rates rose to 7.4 last month

A day after credit-rating firm Fitch said the state’s jobless picture was worse than it appeared (SHNS), a new jobs report released on Friday estimated the state’s unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in December, the first increase since last June, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.


It’s back: Sports betting bill refiled on Beacon Hill

After the issue of legalized sports gambling got lost in the late-session shuffle on Beacon Hill, a new sports betting bill has been reintroduced by state Sen. Brendan Crighton, who this time around is upping the revenue stakes for would-be gambling operators, as CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports.

Mass. moves to D.C.: Not a flood, but more than a trickle

Brittany Bowker at the Globe has a list of all those with Massachusetts ties headed to Washington, D.C. to serve in the new Biden administration. If you take out those who merely graduated from area colleges (mainly Harvard and MIT), the ties aren’t as strong as they appear.

Boston Globe

Emails containing ‘hate, violence and racism’ sent to 5,000 people in Gardner

Gardner police are investigating a mass email sent to 5,000 children and adults in the town that contained “images, videos and messages of hate, violence and racism,” according to a WCVB report. The email appeared to come from a Gardner Public Schools email account.


Going down: Taunton’s Silver City Galleria to be razed

Another one bites the dust. Taunton Mayor Shauna O’Connell says the new owners of the Silver City Galleria plans to demolish the aging mall and replace it with industrial buildings in a project that could begin as soon as next month. Susannah Sudborough at the Taunton Gazette has the details. 

Taunton Gazette

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

The History of the Big Dig with David Kruh

David Kruh returns with another exciting talk, this time on a history you might remember – the Big Dig. Get the scoop on one of the country’s most expensive and ambitious construction projects, from a former spokesperson of the project. Brought to Cary Library in partnership with the Lexington Historical society.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Mindful Tuesdays with Josefina Bonilla & Daniel Gutierrez

How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life. Daniel Gutierrez, Mindful Leadership Expert/ Owner, Catalina Retreat Center Peru, Speaker. The ROAR Webinar Series on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. is inspirational and aspirational. Leaders discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergency of new leadership in trying times.


Live Chat with fmr Netflix Senior Product Manager

Join in and get all your Product Management questions answered during our online event with Johnny Chang, Product Manager at Netflix. Chang is a Senior Product Lead who focuses on users, bringing leadership and vision and simplifying the chaos and chunk vague problems. He was passionate about computer software from a young age and studied computer science in college and grad school.

Product School

Lindsay Peoples Wagner – The Pandemic & Black Lives Matter: How Young People Are Building A New Normal

The Boston Public Library welcomes Editor-in-Chief of New York Magazine’s The Cut, and former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard.

Boston Public Library

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

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Evelyn Brito

Guest Speaker Evelyn Brito, Founder, Bodega Makeover. Following Your Passion and Dreams. The ROAR Webinar Series is inspirational and aspirational. Join industry leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times


Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience

This seminar will be given by Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts, speaking on her book, “Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience”. It is part of Mossavar-Rahamani Center for Business and Government’s webinar series, Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

Condition of Education in the Commonwealth

Join the Rennie Center for a conversation on the state of learning in this unprecedented time, including a panel discussion with all three MA education commissioners—Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, and Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago—and remarks from Secretary of Education James Peyser.

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

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.


Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings & James Dale – “We’re Better Than This”

Join the Boston Public Library for an online talk with distinguished political expert, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and longtime non-fiction writer James Dale, co-authors of We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of our Democracy, primarily authored by the late Elijah Cummings.

Boston Public Library

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

Art & Culture in Public Life Symposium

The Arts & Culture in Public Life Symposium is hosted by the Arts & Culture in Public Life Caucus, a student organization of Harvard Business School. The event will bring together high profile art leaders and policy makers to discuss the potential of the arts to create meaningful change in the world. Moderator is Ping Wang, MPA 2021

Harvard Kennedy School

Global Mobility and the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries

Researchers at the Center for Global Development test predictions across four global pandemics in three different centuries: the influenza pandemics that began in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 2009. They find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1-2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality.

Harvard Kennedy School

Human Rights and the Future World Order

Speakers include Hina Jilanni, former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School and Professor of History, Yale University; Zeid Ra’ad, Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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


Andrea Campbell rolls out Methadone Mile plan – Boston Herald

5 throw hats in the ring for Quincy’s empty Ward 2 seat – Patriot Ledger


Mass. exodus: A flurry of figures with Boston ties are heading to Washington. Here’s a look at who’s been tapped – Boston Globe

College of the Holy Cross in Worcester receives $23.5 million from the late Agnes Neill Williams, the largest estate gift in college history – MassLive

Adams Police Sgt. Dylan Hicks reflects on commanding National Guard company during inauguration – Berkshire Eagle


How West Virginia became a US leader in vaccine rollout – New York Times

Will there be a Trump presidential library? Don’t count on it – Politico

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