Happening Today

SJC hearing, Governor’s Council, Boston special election vote

Supreme Judicial Court meets to hear virtual oral arguments in five cases, including a murder appeal in the case of Joshua Fernandes, 9 a.m.

— Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire talks about covering the Trump administration and the transition to President Joe Biden in a virtual event hosted by UMass Lowell, with UMass President Marty Meehan among those attending the event, 10 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds two meetings, the first to interview William Travaun Bailey, a Springfield attorney nominated to serve as a Cambridge District Court judge, and the second to possibly vote to confirm Essex County prosecutor Kristen Buxton as a Superior Court judge, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

Boston City Council meets and could take action on a proposal to eliminate a required special election to fill the mayor’s office should Boston Mayor Marty Walsh step down before March 5, 12 p.m.

— Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport will moderate a town hall event with U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, 5 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: 45 new deaths, 14,362 total deaths, 1,963 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Fragmented response: Cities jump into the vaccine-rollout breach

The Globe’s Robert Weisman has a good piece this morning about how the fragmented Massachusetts and U.S. health-care system is contributing to the slow rollout of vaccines, compared to more centralized efforts in places such as the U.K. and West Virginia. Yes, West Virginia, where they’re using a centralized sign-up system developed by a Burlington company, reports the Globe’s Hiawatha Bray.

In Massachusetts, the city of Revere is jumping into the fragmented breach by setting up its own call center to help people sign-up for vaccinations, reports CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas. And a city vaccination site is set to open in hard-hit Chelsea, report Arun Rath and Amanda Belandat GBH. In Worcester, they’re taking pride in not wasting any dosages, reports MassLive’s Michael Bonner.

Meanwhile, CVS to jump into the rollout breach

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that CVS has announced it will start administering vaccines later this month to eligible people. But people must first go through the dreaded apply-for-an-appointment process.

Here’s why the giant pharmacy is gearing up, via Steph Solis at MassLive: “COVID vaccines will ship to US pharmacies next week, including 18 CVS Pharmacies in Massachusetts.”

Universal Hub

Missing from Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis vaccination site: Blacks

Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center officially opened its mass-vaccination doors yesterday, as MassLive’s Jackson Kote reports. But there was something mostly missing at the center in the heart of Black life in Boston: Blacks. The Globe’s Deanna Pan and Felice Freyer have the details.

Oh, look, via WCVB: “Mayor Walsh’s mom among first in line for COVID-19 vaccine at Reggie Lewis Center.” Not surprisingly, a certain political leader isn’t happy about the vaccine rollout in Boston and elsewhere, via the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Ayanna Pressley slams unequal coronavirus vaccine distribution as ‘vaccine redlining.’”

Count ‘em: More than 80 lawmakers object to state’s smaller Holyoke Soldiers’ Home rebuild plan

Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports that 81 lawmakers, led by state Sen. John Velis of Westfield, have signed a letter urging Gov. Charlie Baker to reconsider the state’s plan for a smaller new Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. They want the state to go big on rebuilding the center, which has seen scores of veterans die during the current pandemic crisis.


Help wanted: Baker pushing businesses to vaccinate employees

They may not be able to help with the vaccination of elderly people. But the Baker administration does see a major role for employers when the time comes for the mass vaccination of non-elderly residents, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan and Gintautas Dumcius.


State pension fund returns soar despite pandemic

More proof that Newton’s third law works in strange ways on Wall Street. SHNS’s Colin Young reports that the state’s pension fund, aka PRIT, had a stellar year in 2020 – despite a rocky and volatile start due to the pandemic, lockdowns, social-distancing measures etc. We’re talking solid double-digit percentage growth in the first half of the fiscal year and throughout the calendar year.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

GOP Civil War update: The nuts vs the non-nuts

Has anyone asked Massachusetts GOP chairman Jim Lyons what he thinks about Rep. U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene? Just wondering. Because it definitely matters in Washington D.C., where Republicans are slowly tearing themselves apart over the “nutty” House member and what to do with pro-impeachment U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, as the Washington Post and the NYT report.

The Globe’s Michael Cohen doesn’t see enough post-Trump pivoting going on among Republicans.

Warren calls for wealth tax after landing on ‘A-list’ Senate panel

She didn’t win the presidency. She didn’t land a Biden cabinet post. But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren did win a coveted ‘A-list’ spot on the Senate Finance Committee – and she’s already calling for a wealth tax. Bloomberg News and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky have more.

Employer exodus: Is Massachusetts going the way of California and New York?

Liberal politicians tend to downplay the impact of higher taxes and increased regulations on decisions by companies and individuals about where they’ll be based. But the latest California and New York stats suggest they do have an impact – and some are worried Massachusetts may be next on the post-pandemic exodus list. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has more.

Boston Globe

Is third year the charm? Lawmakers refile Safe Communities Act

MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that a trio of state lawmakers have refiled the Safe Communities Act legislation that would make it illegal for local police and courts to cooperate with the feds on immigration-enforcement matters. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski(pay wall) reports this is the third straight year the act has been filed – and supporters are more hopeful than ever that this year could be the charm.  

One more try: Advocates push, again, for statewide plastic bag ban

Speaking of the refiling of familiar bills, lawmakers have filed several bills that would enact a statewide plastic bag ban and advocates are hoping they’ll have more luck in the current session than in the past, when similar legislation has stalled in the face of retail industry objections. Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune has the details. 

Eagle Tribune

Call of the wild: Hunters set records for black bear and wild turkeys in 2020

We have a skunk tearing up our backyard in case anyone wants to hunt something other than deer, wild turkeys and black bears. SHNS’s Colin Young reports on last year’s record hunting season in Massachusetts.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Kim Janey’s Menino advantage …

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld reviews all the ways Kim Janey, who’s poised to become interim mayor of Boston, can use the old Tom Menino playbook to turn a part-time mayoral gig into a full-time mayoral gig. But the advantages of incumbency also come with peril, particularly during a pandemic, Battenfeld writes.

Btw: Mayor Marty Walsh is suddenly filling a lot of boards with appointments as he prepares to leave office, reports the Herad’s Sean Philip Cotter. It could diminish Janey’s patronage clout in coming months. We’ll see.

Boston Herald

… and Janey’s disadvantage as others rake in the big campaign bucks

Mayor-in-waiting Kim Janey may soon have the advantages of incumbency if she decides to run for full-time mayor. But she’s already at a fundraising disadvantage – with declared mayoral candidates Andrea Campbell, Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi-George raking in big campaign bucks in recent weeks, reports the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter.

Restart: Court resumes review of drunken driving convictions made with flawed breathalyzers

Delay over. Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports some 27,000 people convicted of drunken driving based on flawed breath-test results are getting notices letting them know they may be entitled to a new trial. The effort began early last year but was shelved for 11 months by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Salem News

Cheers: Uber to buy Boston-based booze delivery service Drizly for $1.1B

They were popping the champagne corks at Boston’s Drizly Inc. yesterday after Uber announced that it’s buying the alcohol delivery company for $1.1 billion. The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei has more on Uber’s jump into the modern-day version of rum running (of the legal variety).


Please make us: Springfield councilors ask DOJ to force reforms on city

Make it mandatory–and fast. A group of current and former Springfield city councilors and state lawmakers is urging the U.S. Department of Justice to issue a consent decree that would force the city to adopt police reform measures that were suggested when the DOJ released a report slamming law-enforcement standards in Springfield, Peter Goonan ata MassLive reports.


One is enough: Gomez resigns from Springfield council to focus on Beacon Hill

On second thought, maybe one is enough. Newly elected state Sen. Adam Gomez has resigned from his seat on the Springfield City Council, Elizabeth Roman at MassLive reports, paving the way for the council to name a replacement who will serve until the November elections. 

One of the Good Ones: An Author visit with Maika & Martha Maritza Moulite

Maika & Maritza will talk about their new book, One of the Good Ones, and will then be available to answer audience questions about writing as a team, where they find inspiration for their stories, and more.

Boston Public Library

WAPPP Seminar Series: The State of Women’s Participation and Empowerment: New Challenges to Gender Equality

Pippa Norris, Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at HKS, will speak on the overarching picture of the state of women’s participation and empowerment in public life.

Harvard Kennedy School

Cooperative Coercion: Explaining (Un)Reliability of State-Sponsored Armed Groups

This seminar examines how states control proxy non-state armed groups they sponsor in foreign civil wars. It outlines the tools available to state sponsors to shape the behavior of proxy groups, why states choose some tools over others, and why some of those tools do not work as intended. Register for the Zoom link.

Harvard Kennedy School

Janice P. Nimura – The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women – and Women to Medicine

As part of our Repairing America Series, join us in partnership with American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society (AA/NEGHS) and the GBH Forum Network for a discussion about women in medicine, revealing the remarkable lives of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive an MD in 1849, and her younger sister Emily, an even more brilliant physician.

Boston Public Library

How the Turntables Have Turned! A Conversation about Hip-Hop & the Media

Hip-Hop has triumphantly emerged from the underground to take its place in the mainstream of popular culture; the influence of hip-hop extends to television, film, advertising, fashion, media, language, and more. In recent years, there has been a shift in tone in how media outlets consume and present hip-hop to their respective audiences.

Cambridge Public Library

Alone, Lonely, or Just Bored: Preventing Isolation During the Pandemic with Kathleen McInnis-Dittrich, PhD, ACSW

Join with the Boston Public Library in partnership with Beacon Hill Village for this online program. COVID-19 poses special challenges for older adults balancing their safety with the innate need to connect with other people. Dr. McInnis-Dittrich will explore the difference between being (happily) alone with the potentially dangerous state of being lonely.

Boston Public Library

Family Night with the New England Aquarium

Join marine mammal trainers for a life training session with the California sea lions and northern fur seals. Learn about training and what you can do to protect the ocean environment. This program is free and open to the public and is not recorded.

Cambridge Public Library

Sybrina Fulton – The Purpose of Power: We Are All Trayvon – Lowell Lecture

The Boston Public Library welcomes Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program, presented in partnership with GBH Forum Network, is part of the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Just Mercy: The Work of the Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, founded in 1989 by Attorney Bryan Stevenson, is committed to racial justice and works on ending mass incarceration, economic justice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable. EJI may be best known for the book and movie, Just Mercy, and for its lynching memorial, called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Waltham Public Library

Black History Month Celebration: Three Contemporary Black Women Inventors

Three African American women inventors, Dr. Aprille Ericsson, Dr. Ayanna Howard, Dr. Arlyne Simon, will be celebrated in this Black History Month Celebration.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The Coronavirus Exposes America’s Public Health Crisis: Racism

Corona-virus, Pandemic, Race. The Covid-19 pandemic is the most devastating health issue of this century. It has disproportionately impacted African Americans and other marginalized populations, heightening awareness of racism as the root of America’s public health crisis.

Museum of African American History

Bill Kristol: Is the Future “Grand” for the Grand Old Party? What Happened?

Join for an in-depth analysis of the future of the Republican Party by passionate Conservative, never-Trumper Republican, William Kristol. Kristol was a political analyst at Fox News but switched to the news division of ABC. Prior to his career in journalism, Kristol was a Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard University where he received his BA, MA, and PhD.

Jews United for Democracy and Justice and Community Advocates

Economic Outlook & Recovery 2021

Keynote speaker Michelle Meyer, Head of U.S. Economics for BofA Securities, will provide her perspectives and economic outlook for 2021 along with addressing current national economic data/trends, issues related to unemployment and the impact on certain key industry sectors.

Worcester Business Journal

Virtual Film Screening & Panel Discussion | PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice invites you to a virtual film screening of the feature-length documentary, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

19th Suffolk District Forum on Energy and the Environment

Join ELM and co-sponsoring partners for a virtual 19th Suffolk District Forum on Energy and the Environment on February 11, 5-6:30PM.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Marty Walsh filling Boston board with appointees on way out – Boston Herald

Revere city councilors sign letter opposing Wheelabrator expansion – Lynn Item


Panel rejects ban on outdoor cannabis farms in Pittsfield – Berkshire Eagle

Methuen officials silent on possible federal investigation – Eagle-Tribune

Mass. State Trooper Denied Bail After Alleged Domestic Assault, Fleeing Police – WBUR


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to step down as CEO – Seattle Times

Trump doubles down on false election claim in impeachment response – Politico

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