Happening Today

Biotech meeting, Governor’s Council, and more

Mass. Biotechnology Council holds its annual policy leadership breakfast, with a panel discussion on ensuring effective, efficient and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and with U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, Gov. Charlie Baker and state Sen. Joe Boncore among those participating in the overall event, 9 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds two meetings today, the first to interview Essex County chief homicide prosecutor Kristen Buxton, who was nominated to the Superior Court bench, and the second to handle routine business, including the Treasury warrant, justices of the peace, and notaries public, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.

— Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd and Attorney General Maura Healey are among those participating in a ‘Talk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid’ online rally asking lawmakers to provide $35 million to the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation in the fiscal year 2022 budget, 11 a.m.

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: 41 new deaths, 13,930 total deaths, 2,215 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker on pandemic: ‘The end is in sight – but’

In a virtual address from the confines of his State House office, Gov. Charlie Baker last evening praised and thanked all those who have made sacrifices during the pandemic – and even touched upon what life, including work life, might look  like after the pandemic is over. “The end is in sight – but for the next few months, we must continue to stay vigilant and take steps to stop the spread,” Baker said.

SHNS’s Matt Murphy, MassLive’s Michelle Williams, the Globe’s Matt Stout and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the governor’s ‘very different’ State of the Commonwealth address that didn’t include any big policy announcements. WBUR has a video and full text of the speech.

Ready, set, go: People 75 and older can sign up for vaccine shots beginning today

Speaking of the pandemic, the Globe’s Martin Finucane and Travis Anderson report that people 75 and older can now register for coronavirus vaccinations in Massachusetts. It was the top-read story at the Globe as of earlier this morning because, well, a lot of people are anxious.

Btw: Is your town doing this? Via the Patriot Ledger’s Wheeler Cowperthwaite: “Marshfield, Braintree, Milton planning vaccination clinics.”

Boston Globe

Oh look: New Hampshire is ‘off and running’ with its 65-plus vaccination program

Up north, they’re one priority-list step ahead of Massachusetts. Just pointing it out. CBS Boston has more.

CBS Boston

Warning: Vaccination-priority story may raise your blood pressure

Don’t read this story by GBH’s Gabrielle Emanuele if you’re the type who gets upset reading about dunderheaded public policy decisions. In this case, it’s the state’s decision that let healthy, young, non-frontline medical researchers, administrators and others, many of whom work remotely and far away from Covid patients, to get vaccinated before vulnerable elderly people.

Money quote from a Harvard public health professor: “We’re seeing just a huge number of people get vaccinated, who I think should, frankly, be way down the line.” 


Walsh approves business reopenings amid improving case numbers

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Mayor Marty Walsh, who’s taken a hard line on the reopening of businesses during the second coronavirus surge, has decided things have improved enough to let Boston gyms, movie theaters, museums and indoor recreational facilities to resume business – with restrictions. NBC Boston has more.

Boston Herald

Coronavirus updates: Marathon set for fall (maybe), another signature spat, strong Lottery sales, teachers upset

There’s a lot happening on the coronavirus front this morning, so we’re going with just headlines and brief summaries in this post, starting with CBS Boston: “Boston Marathon set for Monday, October 11 if races are allowed.” … From SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall): “Lottery sales, profits rising during pandemic.” … SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports on another political candidate upset with signature-gathering requirements during the pandemic. … From the Herald’s Alexi Cohan: “Massachusetts teachers slam drop in vaccine priority, say they feel like ‘pawns’ in a game.” … From CBS Boston: “UMass Medical School To Test Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine In Teenagers.”

Confirmed: Climate-bill vote set for tomorrow

SHNS’s Colin Young reports the House and Senate will indeed vote tomorrow on a climate-change bill that Gov. Charlie Baker previously vetoed. Stay tuned.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Things get testy at council’s special election hearing

As evidenced at a Boston City Council public hearing yesterday, there seems be widespread local support for nixing a special mayoral election and going with just a fall election to replace outgoing Mayor Marty Walsh. But it sure got testy yesterday, after the head of the NAACP accused Councilor Lydia Edwards, a Black, of trying to thwart the candidacies of other women of color, reports CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin.

Kennedy’s latest political gig: A new PAC aimed at boosting Dem voting

Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy has a new mission. After losing his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Kennedy is launching a new political action committee to help Democrats expand their voting base via grassroots organizing of overlooked voters in Massachusetts and across the nation, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.

At-large local elections: How they freeze out non-white candidates

Speaking of overlooked voting blocs, the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert takes a look at how at-large local elections for city council and school board seats routinely entrench established candidates (i.e. whites) while freezing out up-and-coming candidates (i.e. non-whites). Everett and Haverhill, you’ve been warned. There’s a big voting-rights-lawsuit bullseye on your backs.

Boston Globe

Some Mass. Republicans seek censure of Baker for supporting Trump impeachment

They oppose punishing a man who tried to overthrow a democratic election, but they favor punishing a man who opposed overthrowing a democratic election. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has the latest on the wild and wacky world of the state GOP, where some want to censure their own Republican governor for supporting the impeachment of Donald Trump.

Boston Herald

‘Suicide enablers’ could face prison under proposed law

State Sen. Barry Finegold has filed legislation that calls for prison sentences for so-called ‘suicide enablers’ convicted of encouraging others to take their own lives. The bill is inspired by the Michelle Carter case, reports Christian Wade the Salem news.

Salem News

Teachable moment? Thin Blue Line flag debate moves into high schools

New venue, same arguments. Students at Weymouth High School have now sent dueling petitions to the school’s leadership, one demanding that the Thin Blue Line American flag be banned from campus and another saying it should stay because it honors a fallen police officer, Christopher Gavin at Boston.com reports. Meanwhile, controversy over the Think Blue Line flag has also broken out at Taunton High School, reports the Taunton Gazette.  


Border jumpers: Report says New Hampshire gains after Mass. banned menthol

Our loss, their gain. A new report says the ban on sales of menthol tobacco products has cost the Bay State $62 million in lost tax revenue since it took effect last July and that over the same time, New Hampshire saw its tobacco excise taxes rise by $28 million, Christopher Maidment at the Lowell Sun reports.

Lowell Sun

Marty Baron, former Globe editor, is retiring from the Washington Post

As Dan Kennedy puts it at GBH, one of the best newspaper editors of our times, Marty Baron, is stepping down as editor of the Washington Post. Baron won local fame when, as editor of the Globe, he oversaw the Spotlight Team’s investigation of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of widespread clergy sexual abuse of minors. 

Fyi, we couldn’t agree more with this line from Kennedy: “Under Baron, the Post was fearless, negotiating the bizarre media landscape dominated by Donald Trump with a sure-footedness that its larger competitor, The New York Times, never quite seemed to master.” 


MIT president and faculty ride to the defense of arrested scientist

Both the New York Times and the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes report that MIT President Rafael Reif and scores of faculty members are challenging allegations that MIT professor Gang Chen improperly tried to hide his financial affiliations with China, saying fed prosecutors overreached by arresting and charging him with serious crimes. Fyi: Fernandes first reported on this late last week.

Meanwhile, Harvard cancels course on policing techniques after uproar

While one school is defending a professor (see above), another is throwing a professor under the proverbial academic bus. From GBH’s Adam Reilly: “Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is canceling a new course focused on evaluating the efficacy of military-style counterinsurgency techniques used to fight crime in Springfield, Massachusetts, after critics raised concerns about the ethical implications of that approach.”


Thanks, Norm: Berkshire Museum reveals upgrades work funded by Rockwell painting sales

Now they just need to get the doors opened to the public. The Berkshire Museum unveiled some of the latest renovations and additions made possible by the controversial sale of artwork from its collections, including some Norman Rockwell paintings, Larry Parnass at the Berkshire Eagle reports. 

Berkshire Eagle

Fee-free: Northampton drops local tax on marijuana companies

No impacts, no fee. The city of Northampton says it will stop collecting a “local impact fee” from cannabis companies, saying the types of negative community fallout the fee was designed to address have not materialized. Dan Adams at the Globe and Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth Magazine have the details.

Fewer firearms seized last year under ‘red flag’ law

Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports that the number of so-called “red flag” cases – in which people can have their firearms seized if they’re deemed a danger to themselves and others – fell last year. Was it the pandemic?

Eagle Tribune

Mega-developments alert: Mass General Brigham and Allston developer plan huge projects

Economic downturn? Not for the state’s life-sciences sector. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports on Mass General Brigham’s plans for $2 billion in various expansion projects, while Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports on tentative plans to develop a 14-acre R&D complex with a hotel, apartments and a conference center on Harvard land off Western Ave.

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

The State of Race: The Housing Gap

The State of Race: The Housing Gap is a virtual forum co-sponsored by The Boston Globe, NAACP Boston and GBH WORLD that addresses the impact racial disparities have had on key social issues. In January, join GBH host Dan Lothian and a panel of experts including Lisa Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer at National Fair Housing Alliance, Alex Ponte-Capellan a community organizer and housing advocate at City Life/Vida Urbana and Tim Logan, Reporter for The Boston Globe, as they explore the history of structural racism in the US housing system and its long-lasting impact on Massachusetts communities of color.

GBH, The Boston Globe, NAACP Boston, and WORLD

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


GE reports cash flow surge; stock soars – Boston Business Journal

Lynn council puts diversity position in mayor’s hands – Lynn Item


Former Southworth paper mill in Turners Falls could see new life with marijuana company – Greenfield Recorder

Leominster Credit Union gives $600 stimulus checks to all employees – Worcester Business Journal

Ex-Attelboro man linked to Guiliani associates apologizes for his role in fraud – Sun Chronicle


Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan – Washington Post

What Jeffrey Epstein did to earn $158 million from Leon Black – New York Times

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