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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Does It Mean to Be at the Table?
A discussion about systemic racism at the top.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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)
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)
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?
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