Happening Today

VOTES Act, Governor’s Council, and more

— Registered nurses at St. Vincent Hospital who are part of the Massachusetts Nurses Association hold a vote today on whether to authorize a strike amid a dispute with management over staffing levels and safety measures during the pandemic.

— The Health Policy Commission holds back-to-back virtual meetings of the Market Oversight and Transparency and Care Delivery Transformation committees, at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.

— Sen. Cynthia Creem, Rep. John Lawn and the Election Modernization Coalition hold a press conference to announce the filing of the VOTES Act, a bill that would make mail-in voting expansions permanent, allow same-day voter registration and enhance post-election audits, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council holds two meetings today, the first a confirmation hearing for Maureen Mulligan, Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest Superior Court nominee, and the second to possibly vote on the nomination of William Travaun Bailey as a judge in the Cambridge District Court, 11 a.m. and 12:30 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: 68 new deaths, 14,821 total deaths, 1,319 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Picking up speed’: Vaccine rollout starting to make real progress

A day after running a piece on how Gov. Fix-it was flubbing the vaccine rollout, the Globe has a piece this morning saying that, well, the vaccine rollout is actually starting to gain momentum, with more than 910,000 shots given so far. The Globe’s Robert Weisman has more.

Boston Globe

But they’re calling out the guard in Springfield

Statistically, the state’s vaccine rollout may finally be hitting its stride. But not necessarily in Springfield, where the National Guard will be deployed to help out at a mass vaccination site where seniors were recently forced to stand in the freezing cold to get shots, reports MassLive’s Douglas Hook.


Vaccine leftovers: More than 1,200 wasted doses and counting

Then there’s this vaccine rollout problem: CBS Boston reports that 1,200 coronavirus vaccines have gone to waste across the state, largely because there weren’t enough people around to get shots when health-care workers got to the bottom of opened vaccine bottles.

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that, when it comes to vaccine leftovers, hospital are now drafting “end-of-day wait lists,” offering anyone around a shot in order not to waste dosages. And, fyi, the Herald’s Rick Sobey and Lisa Kashinsky report that the 1,200 figure above doesn’t include federal dosage-waste numbers.

CBS Boston

State to housing groups: You’re on deck for vaccines

SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports that the Baker administration has informed public and private low-income and affordable housing operators to start making preparations for the vaccination of their residents.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Attorney General Maura Healey want asthma suffers to be moved up on the vaccine line-up card, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Blink: State agrees to more beds at new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

As MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports, state officials have “blinked on a higher bed count for a new, $300 million Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after pushback from veterans advocates.” The state’s original offer? Just a ‘hard curve ball.’ Barry explains.

Meanwhile, via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Overhaul of Trustee Structure Urged for Soldiers’ Homes.”

Little noticed law could lead to early release of inmates

It was tucked into a state budget bill. Of course. The Globe’s Andrea Estes reports on a “quietly added” provision in the state budget in November that could lead, or so advocates hope, to the early release of prisoners to lessen their risk of getting COVID-19. The word “shall” makes it pretty clear what the law intends, though we assume the provision’s existence wasn’t exactly clear to most lawmakers when they voted on the bill.

Boston Globe

UMass suspends fraternity after reports of back-to-back pandemic parties

The UMass-Amherst campus lockdown now includes an outright suspension of an entire fraternity for allegedly hosting back-to-back parties amid the pandemic, reports Patrick Johnson at MassLive.


Pay up: Restaurant groups file two more suits against insurers over pandemic losses

One federal lawsuit apparently isn’t enough. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that two more lawsuits have been filed by restaurant groups wanting insurers to pay up for their pandemic business losses.

Boston Herald

Trahan’s post-quarantine priority: ‘Ridiculous number of hugs’

U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, has her post-quarantine priorities straight. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail has the details.

Eight lawmakers call for David ‘Break Their Will’ Ismay’s firing

It’s not over. Eight state representatives, seven of them Republicans, are now calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to fire Undersecretary of Climate Change David Ismay, who had the audacity to tell the truth (albeit a little too bluntly) about how energy pricing mechanisms work when it comes to changing the behavior of consumers in order to reduce carbon emissions. SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan have more.

And, again, we refer readers to Michael Kinsley’s famous definition of a political gaffe.

Howie Carr rumor mill: Is Baker leaving soon?

We weighed whether (and how) to play this one. But we’ll just blurt it out: The Herald’s Howie Carr, while once again fulminating against Charlie Baker, writes that “word is” the governor may have his eye on a future private-sector job. We’ll believe it when we see it. We do know this: Howie is suffering from one bad case of Charlie Baker Derangement Syndrome, and his prominently dropping speculation like this definitely falls into some sort of wishful-thinking category.

Boston Herald

‘Everything but barbering’: Lawrence shop where goat was slaughtered shut down

This was definitely not your father’s barbershop. A swarm of law enforcement officials raided and shut down a Lawrence storefront ostensibly being run as a barber’s shop but where police say a goat was slaughtered with machetes, alcoholic beverages were sold and illegal gambling was observed — all while coronavirus rules and restrictions were being ignored, Jill Harmacinski at the Eagle-Tribune reports. 

Eagle Tribune

Markey: In secret vote, Senate would likely convict Trump

Did you watch the Dem-produced video that was played during yesterday’s start of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump (Globe)? It packed a wallop. And it’s why U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is probably right: If the Senate held a secret vote on Trump, he’d likely be convicted. But there won’t be a secret vote and so … GBH’s Adam Reilly has more.


Galvin: Make mail-in voting and same-day registration permanent

As a group of lawmakers prepare to announce today a legislative push for voting changes in Massachusetts (see our Happening Today section above), Secretary of State Bill Galvin is embracing the idea of making mail-in and early voting, as well as same-day registration, permanent features of the state’s election system, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Harvard, MIT, Tufts etc.: Leave France alone

The NYT has an interesting story about how French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and influential journalists are pushing back against “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States,” i.e. woke and cancel-culture ideas, as threats to their country’s national unity. “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’’ warns France’s education minister.


Possible gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen: Time to re-knit America together

Harvard’s Danielle Allen hasn’t made up her mind yet about whether she’ll run for governor in 2022. But she tells GBH’s Aidan Connelly she’s been lately talking to a lot of people across the country and thinks the “re-knitting” of a deeply divided nation is needed. “Lots of people are hungering to put the anger and the vitriol behind us,” she says. Both political parties are missing this genuine yearning, we’d add.


Baker: Housing bill could be bigger and better than thought – thanks to the pandemic

One sector’s loss is another sector’s gain. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report Gov. Charlie Baker is pumped over recent passage of his ‘Housing Choice’ bill, saying it could lead to even more housing than previously projected. How so? The pandemic remote-working phenomenon may prompt developers to start converting some commercial spaces into housing. And so … it’s sort of a trade-off. 

‘Roaring Kitty’ slapped with subpoena by Galvin

Confirmed: Secretary of State Bill Galvin has Bay State resident Keith Gill, aka ‘Roaring Kitty,’ in his regulatory sights. The Globe’s Andy Rosen has more on Gill getting hit with a GameStop-related subpoena.

Boston Globe

Will employers be even more optimistic after they leave Mass.?

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that employers are growing more optimistic about the Massachusetts economy, according to a new AIM survey. But, wait, the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that a new Pioneer Institute study says the pandemic is pushing more employers and workers to leave Massachusetts. 

Rail road block? Middleboro Planning Board officially opposed to South Coast Rail

It might not matter, but they’re on record. The Middleboro Planning Board has taken a stance against the MBTA’s plan to build a new commuter rail station in the community, Daniel Schemer at the Standard-Times reports. The board’s chairman says getting the T to commit to addressing traffic and other impacts from the project has been ‘like nailing jello to a wall.’ 


Residents say Nantucket violated their civil rights after racist incident

Two Nantucket residents have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the town of Nantucket and a yet-to-be-named individual who police say spray-painted racist graffiti on the island’s African Meeting House last March. John Stanton at the Inquirer & Mirror reports James Barros and Rose Marie Samuels say the town violated their free speech rights in the aftermath of the incident.

Inquirer & Mirror

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

What Does It Mean to Be at the Table?

A discussion about systemic racism at the top.

Boston-Suffolk County Family Resource Center, a program of The Home for Little Wanderers

Abraham Lincoln Assassination & Ford’s Theatre – Livestream Program

Our President’s Day livestream history program is on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, April 4, 1865. This program will focus on Abraham Lincoln, the assassination at Ford’s Theatre, including an overview of the site, and Lincoln’s legacy as our greatest president. This is a online/virtual version of our popular in-person tours we host at Ford’s Theatre.

Washington DC HIstory & Culture

Out Here 3: Stories of Homelessness and Transition from the Streets of Downtown Boston

Join the Black Seed Writers Group, including founder and editor John Parker, and the Boston Public Library for another online morning of poetry, protest, prayer, witness, and visionary reportage from the streets and shelter of the city. The Out Here series, created with the BPL to keep these writers in touch with their readership during the pandemic, has been an extraordinary success.

Boston Public Library

Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition

Join us for the launch of Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition, edited by Dr. Michelle Commander. The event will feature readings from the anthology that includes essays, speeches, plays, and more.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Bill Gates – How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

In this livestream event, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical and accessible plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. He will explain not only why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

How To Academy

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

Participants will discuss this book, by Kerry K. Greenridge, who is a Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University where she also directs the American studies program. She lives in Massachusetts.

Boston Public Library

Nate Marshall Presents FINNA

Join us as we celebrate Black History Month with a special poetry reading by Nate Marshall, author of FINNA. Marshall is a writer, rapper, and educator from the South Side of Chicago. He is the author of FINNA, winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year, and the Great Lakes College Association’s New Writer Award.

Cambridge Public Library

President Clinton’s Defense Secretary William Cohen: Foreign and Domestic Policy

A Republican Discusses the Future: Former Secretary of Defense Senator William Cohen talks about foreign and domestic policy in the hyper-partisan time. After 32 years of public service, Secretary Cohen leaves behind a record of unparalleled accomplishment, integrity, and respect, and takes with him unrivaled knowledge, reputation, and relationships across America and around the globe.

Jews United for Democracy and Justice and Community Advocates

NASA’s Perserverance Rover Mars Landing

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is nearing its new planetary home. The spacecraft has begun its approach to the Red Planet and on Feb. 18, 2021, Perseverance will blaze through Mars’ atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph), toughing down gently on the surface about seven minutes later.


Stone Social Impact Forum featuring Catherine Coleman Flowers

Acclaimed environmental activist, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, and author Catherine Coleman Flowers, founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, will headline the virtual 2021 Stone Social Impact Forum.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 1: Zionism & The Civil Rights Movement (Joshua Washington)

]APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Zionism & The Civil Rights Movement (Joshua Washington).

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 2: Ancient Friendship: Africa & Israel (Olga Meshoe-Washington)

APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Ancient Friendship: Africa & Israel (Olga Meshoe-Washington)

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 3: Combatting the Anti-Zionist Blaxploitation & How We Move Forward (Dumisani Washington)

APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Combatting the Anti-Zionist Blaxploitation & How We Move Forward (Dumisani Washington)

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Future of Health Care

How will the events and economic impact of 2020 shape what health care looks like in the future? Hear from top industry leaders regarding the changes brought on by the pandemic and who will share their views of the road ahead. What is the prognosis for this key piece of our economy? How is the delivery of care impacted? How will the cost structure change?

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


T starting to get serious about fare evasion – CommonWealth Magazine

Northeastern’s message to students: Come back to class – Boston Globe


Did New Bedford get redder in 2020? – Standard-Times

Cape seniors report problems with state’s vaccine hotline – Cape Cod Times

Pittsfield school union files labor complaint assailing ‘unilateral actions’ by officials – Berkshire Eagle


Inside Republican’ plan for a House takeover – Politico

Meandering performance by defense lawyers angers Trump – New York Times

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