Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Climate bill votes, and more

Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force holds a weekly media availability with plans to discuss vaccine distribution and the latest case data for the region, 9 a.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission initially hosts a hearing on two proposed amendments to gaming regulations, at 9:30 a.m., then meets to possibly hear from its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau about how the state’s slots parlor and two casinos are doing with COVID-19 safety protocols,10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate and House hold formal sessions today and are expected to vote on a new climate bill that was previously vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

— Secretary of Education James Peyser, higher education commissioner Carlos Santiago, early education and care commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, and elementary and secondary education commissioner Jeffrey Riley are among the speakers at the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy’s virtual ‘state of the state of education’ event, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey participates in an ‘Ask the AG; segment on Boston Public Radio, WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.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: 83 new deaths, 14,013 total deaths, 3.,022 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker’s budget: Less spending, no new taxes, new fees

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday unveiled a $45.6 billion budget proposal for next fiscal year – a budget that spends less money than last year, includes no broad-based tax increases, relies heavily on rainy day funds and leans on new fees on sports gambling (if it’s ever passed) and a new tax on opioid manfactuers (if it’s ever passed), etc. And, as previously reported, it fully funds the state’s new education-finance reform law.

SHNS’s Katie Lannan, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan, the AP’s Steve LeBlanc at GBH and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more on the governor’s proposed budget blueprint for next fiscal year.

Now on to the subject matter everyone is talking about: vaccinations.

‘Debacle’: As frustrations mount over vaccination rollout, Baker urges patience

All hell seems to have broken loose regarding the state’s vaccination rollout. We’ll just go with some sample headlines to make the point, starting with CBS Boston: “‘Debacle’: Mass. Residents Over 75 Frustrated On First Day Of COVID Vaccine Registration.” … And yet more frustrations, via WCVB: “Frustrations run high as Phase 2 of vaccination rollout begins.” … And the frustrations keep right on coming, via MassLive: “’It’s been made too complicated’: Vaccine registration process frustrates Massachusetts seniors, legislators.”

You get the frustrating picture. Gov. Charlie Baker certainly does, or at least he appears to have gotten the picture. From SHNS: “Awaiting More Vaccine Info, Baker Urges Patience.” Just to make sure Baker does get the picture, from a Globe editorial: “Baker must make adjustments to the state’s vaccination plan.” Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Christina Prigano: “Pressley urges Baker to emphasize equity in vaccine distribution.”

To the rescue? Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park to make 20,000 new appointments available online today

This should help. At least a little. CBS Boston has more. And hopes springs eternal, via SHNS (pay wall): “Official: April still the goal for general public vaccination.”

CBS Boston

War of words: Teacher unions and Baker administration going at it over vaccination rollout

It’s literally a war of words over words between teacher unions and the Baker administration regarding vaccinations for teachers and children – and who said what and when about inoculation priorities. CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt and the Herald’s Alexi Cohan have more on the escalating battle between the two sides.

About those vaccine surpluses sitting unused at hospitals and colleges …

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes and Kay Lazar report on the unique problem some hospitals and colleges are facing amid the public clamor for more vaccinations: What should they do with the surplus doses they currently have? It’s a more complicated issue than many may think. But it can’t be that complicated, if we’re talking about the thousands of non-opened dosage bottles sitting unused in freezers: Get the damn vaccines to the people who need them most. Right?

Boston Globe

Baker’s high poll numbers: Time for a tumble?

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi goes there, wondering aloud whether the current vaccination rollout furor will finally put a dent in Gov. Charlie Baker’s high-poll-numbers armor. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says someone’s head should roll over the ‘botched’ vaccination rollout.

Pandemic surprises: New music venue and fundraising surges

The state’s arts and entertainment venues are definitely taking devastating hits as a result of the pandemic. But there are distant signs of hope. From Universal Hub: “After a year of pandemic-related closings, a bit of good music-venue news: Fenway could get a new music hall.” And from CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “As BSO, Boch Center struggle, fundraising takes off.”

Coronavirus updates: Signature complaint rejected, former New Bedford mayor dies, prisoners get educated

Here’s some quick headlines and summaries from the coronavirus front, starting with SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Judge Rejects Rep Candidate’s Appeal on Nomination Signatures.” … From Deborah Becker at WBUR: “Mass. Working To Educate Prisoners About Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine.”… From Anastasia Lennon at the Standard Times: “’The consummate, real son of New Bedford:’ Former Mayor Fred Kalisz dies of COVID at 63.” … From the Telegram: “Worcester city councilors seek guidance on vaccine rollout.” … From Tori Bedford and Emily Judem at GBH: “After Living Through A Pandemic, The Kids Aren’t Alright.”

Galvin calls for suspension of GameStop stock trading amid class war over share prices

MassLive’s Tanner Stening reports Secretary of State Bill Galvin is calling for a 30-day suspension of GameStop stock trading after little-guy investors, inspired by Reddit posts, began pumping up the firm’s shares in an outright war against giant hedge funds.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems happy that at least someone is standing up to hedge funds, CBS Boston reports. The NYT has more on what the hell is going on.


Then there were three: Councilor Annissa Essaibi George to run for mayor

Annissa Essaibi George, an at-large member of the Boston City Council and a former school teacher, plans to announce today she’s running for mayor, making her the third councilor to throw her hat in the ring, reports Bill Forry and Maddie Kilgannon at the Dorchester Reporter.

The Globe’s Danny McDonald and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter have more on her expected move. 

Dorchester Reporter

She’s not going away: Althea Garrison plots her comeback

Think you can get rid of Althea Garrison by kicking her off the Boston City Council? Think again. The perennial candidate of all perennial candidates says she’ll be on the city ballot this fall. She just doesn’t know which ballot, as Maddie Kilgannon reports at the Dorchester Reporter.

Size matters: State and Holyoke Soldiers’ Home trustees clash over future center

The Baker administration and the trustees of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home are going at it. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports on the “fiery” debate yesterday over the future size of a rebuilt center. 


New city motto contender: ‘It’s a big day for Boston every day’

Step aside, ‘Your Cousin From Boston.’ We may have a new city motto in the making, courtesy of Mass. native Gina McCarthy, whose “It’s a big day for Boston every day” remark at the White House yesterday has gone viral, with typical in-your-face Boston pride and abandon. The Globe’s Steve Annear explains.

Speaking of our obnoxious cousin from Boston, he’s set the Bud Clydesdales free, as CBS Boston reports.

Boston Globe

SJC’s Budd: Increase funding for legal aid

Like her predecessor, the SJC’s new chief justice isn’t shying away from taking policy stands. From the Globe’s Travis Andersen and Jeremy Fox: “Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd on Wednesday called for increased funding for civil legal aid for low-income residents, calling it a step toward ‘eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in our society,’ the SJC said.”

Sounds good to them: Berkshires lawmakers see optimism for region in Baker speech

They like what they heard. Danny Jin at the Berkshire Eagle reports lawmakers from the westernmost part of the state say Gov. Baker’s nod to the ‘future of work’ in his State of the Commonwealth address this week could mean great things for their region, which has seen a bump in home sales and a shift to remote employment amid the pandemic. 

Berkshire Eagle

Think Spring: WooSox slate first Polar Park job fair

Just thinking about it warms the heart. The Worcester Red Sox have scheduled a job fair for next month as they start to ramp up toward the opening of Polar Park this spring, with plans to hire around 300 to staff the ballpark, the Telegram reports. 


Our mistake – again

One mistake? OK. Repeated mistakes? Nope. Our apologies to CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt for not giving her proper credit on a story we linked to yesterday. It’s the second time in as many weeks we’ve made the same stupid mistake, and we truly hope it doesn’t happen again.

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

Building Resilience Across the Charles River Watershed

Interested in climate change and how local communities will respond? Charles River Watershed Association and Communities Responding to Extreme Weather are co-sponsoring this discussion.

Waltham 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

Defense Project Series: The Future of U.S. Forces in Europe

Come join us to hear LtGen (Ret) Ben Hodges discuss the benefits of U.S. Forces remaining in Europe, his insights on the NATO alliance and the value of the U.S. and allies keeping forward presence with troops in the Baltics and Black Sea region.

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

McCormack Graduate School Racial Equity Task Force (MRET): Racial Justice and Defunding the Police in Massachusetts – Planning for POST: Peace, Officers, Standards for Training Bill

Join the McCormack Graduate School Racial Equity Taskforce (MRET) for a conversation with MA State Representative Nika Elugardo. Find out more about MRET here: https://mccormack.umb.edu/special-projects/mccormack-racial-equity-task-force-mret

UMass Boston: McCormack Graduate School

Safe Harbor: Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad

During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Did you know that many of the fugitives escaping from enslavement came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports? This program explores the untold stories of men and women making daring escapes to freedom through Boston Harbor.

Boston Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Diane Patrick endorses Andrea Campbell in Boston mayoral race – Boston Herald

Housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Boston’s next mayor – Boston Globe


Markey renews call to open NOAA center in New Bedford during Raimondo confirmation hearing – Standard-Times

Lawrence officials condemn illegal gatherings – Eagle-Tribune

Silver City mall vandalized, nostalgically – Taunton Gazette


Right-wing group pose new threat after Capitol attacks, U.S. warns – New York Times

Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform – Politico

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