Happening Today

Barros mayoral announcement, and more

John Barros, the former chief of economic development for Boston, officially announces he’s running for mayor of Boston, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley talks with Boston Globe national politics reporter Jazmine Ulloa about how Democrats will work with the Biden administration in a divided Capitol, 10 a.m.

— House Speaker Ron Mariano appears on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

— Former Acting Gov. Jane Swift moderates panel discussion hosted by Boston College High School on why innovation is a skill that must be taught to students, 12 p.m.

Mass Power Forward Coalition hosts a virtual lobbying day to build momentum ‘behind our environmental justice and climate action legislative priorities,’ 3 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka is a guest on ‘Bloomberg Baystate Business,’ 106.1 FM, 5:35 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: 66 new deaths, 15,925 total deaths, 1,553 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker buckles: Teachers allowed to get vaccinated

Under increasing pressure from the White House, Beacon Hill leaders and teacher unions, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday decided to allow K-12 teachers and other education employees to get vaccine shots in Massachusetts, starting March 11. GBH’s Mike Deehan and SHNS’s Colin Young have more on the governor’s decision to move teachers up on the vaccine-priority list.

But here’s the catch (and there’s almost always a catch): Vaccinating teachers won’t remove all the challenges to reopening schools next month, as the Baker administration hopes, reports the Globe’s James Vaznis.

The competition for vaccinations: It just got tougher

Four hundred thousand steps forward. Four hundred thousand steps backward. That’s the net numerical result of the state’s decision yesterday to include educators in the current vaccine-registration phase that was supposed to include only those 65 and older and those with two medical preconditions. The Globe’s Robert Weisman and Matt Stout have more on the intensifying competition for shots.

Meanwhile, WCVB reports that other “essential” workers – such as grocery store employees, transportation workers and funeral directors – are asking: Why aren’t we moving up the vaccine priority list along with teachers?

Shocking: Vaccine-registration sites jammed again this morning

The early birds were at it again, writes the Herald’s Joe Dwinell, who reports on another Thursday morning of jammed vaccine websites in Massachusetts. And they’re battling for fewer first-dose shots this week too, as CBS Boston reports.

Maybe Maine has it right?

The state of Maine was apparently experiencing frustrations over its own vaccine-registration process – and then Gov. Janet Mills decided it was time for a change and recently instituted a strict age-based vaccine rollout. No special carve outs by professions, etc. Just by age. And the Globe’s Scot Lehigh asks: Why can’t Massachusetts do the same?

The Portland Press Herald has more on Maine’s simplified by-the-age system.

Boston Globe

No Neanderthal thinking here: Baker favors keeping mask mandate

President Joe Biden yesterday criticized the decisions by the governors of Texas and Mississippi to lift statewide mask mandates, calling the moves “Neanderthal thinking,”the NYT reports. But Gov. Charlie Baker proved he’s no Neanderthal, telling reporters yesterday he supports continuation of the state’s mask requirement, at least for the time being, reports CBS Boston.

CBS Boston

February’s state tax haul: 23.7 percent higher than last year

This is pretty incredible. SHNS’s Colin Young reports on the latest state tax-collection data showing that revenues are growing, not contracting, compared to monthly numbers from last year – something that wasn’t supposed to happen during the pandemic. As we noted earlier this week, the NYT has a good story  on how other states are experiencing the same non-doomsday phenomenon when it comes to their  finances

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Momentum builds for PPP tax fix

The Baker administration is behind it. Now Senate President Karen Spilka is behind it. But is there enough time to get it passed? Christian Wade at the Salem News and Jon Chesto at the Boston Globe report on efforts to make doubly sure businesses are exempt from having to pay a state tax on the federally-backed PPP loans they’ve received during the pandemic.

Make that six: Barros the latest to declare he’s running for mayor

John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in 2013, plans to announce today that he too is running for mayor of Boston, bringing the field of declared mayoral candidates to six. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more.

And could there soon be a seventh candidate? From Saraya Wintersmith at GBH: ““Karilyn Crockett, Boston’s equity chief and a potential mayoral candidate, is resigning her post. Crockett, 47, submitted her letter of resignation to Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday.”

Now that they’ve lost another election, progressives revive ranked-choice voting idea

OK, we’re starting to get more clarity on who exactly wants ranked-choice voting, an idea rejected last year by voters in a statewide ballot question: Progressives who lose elections. Calls for ranked-choice voting in Massachusetts are resurfacing again after Jeffrey Turco’s victory in the crowded 19th Suffolk Dem primary race to fill former House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s seat, report the Globe’s Emma Platoff and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.

Progressives, like the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, can’t believe a Trumpster in sheep’s clothing like Turco actually won the race. Then again, the Winthrop-Revere district isn’t exactly known as progressive territory, as CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas points out.

Not over yet: New State Police colonel sued over promotions

The State Police saga has taken another twist. Colonel Christopher Mason, who was appointed in part to right the ship at the beleaguered agency after a spate of scandals, is now facing a lawsuit from three supervisors who say he improperly promoted his allies and turned a blind eye to allegations of cheating on a promotional exam, Matt Rocheleau and Laura Crimaldi at the Globe report.

Boston Globe

Turf war: UMass Memorial asks state to block Mass General expansion

They’re claiming encroachment. UMass Memorial Health Care is asking state regulators to block a plan by Mass General Brigham’s to open an outpatient treatment facility in Westborough, saying UMass already serves patients in the area, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. File under: Spheres of influence.

WBJ

Satan banished from T

The power of the T compels you! … The power of the T compels you! … Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that a creepy guy, wearing all black and fully masked, passed himself off as the second coming of Beelzebub at a Forest Hills station on Monday and frightened the hell out of one woman. So Satan was banished.

Universal Hub

Bad choice: Would-be Lowell robber targets bank with police precinct inside

They just stood up, walked over and arrested him. Robert Mills at the Lowell Sun reports a Lowell man faces attempted robbery charges after trying to get a teller to hand him cash inside a downtown Eastern Bank that has shared office space with a police precinct since 2019–as clearly stated by the sign outside. 

Lowell Sun

Too harsh? Facing year in jail, hay bale fire suspect withdraws guilty plea

He’ll take his chances at trial. Lonnie Durfee, the man who made national headlines last October for allegedly setting a pro-Biden hay bale display on fire, withdrew his guilty plea after learning a judge– citing the “political intimidation” behind the crime– planned to sentence him to the maximum allowable sentence of a year in prison, reports Amanda Burke at the Berkshire Eagle. 

Berkshire Eagle

Bee thankful: Regulators limit use of pesticide to protect bumblebees

A seemingly small but important environmental victory. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “New state regulations will limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, products that advocates for years have been pushing to restrict as a way to protect bees. A Monday vote by the state’s Pesticide Board Subcommittee recategorized neonic pesticides as restricted-use products.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Hampden County is a little ‘chaotic’ these days

Emotions are running high in Hampden County, where residents and officials only recently learned their county retirement fund has allegedly become a political dumping ground and a sort of all-you-can-eat buffet for political types. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry has the latest on the retirement-fund mess.

MassLive

Huh? Energy efficiency plan would hike surcharges on low-income consumers

Here’s a head-scratcher from the environmental/energy front. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that a plan to boost energy efficiency in Massachusetts could actually lead to higher electric bills for low-income consumers while benefitting others (i.e. non-low-income consumers). The proposal has caught the attention of activists and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, among others.

Gloucester Times

Restored 54th Regiment Memorial returned to Boston Common

Good news.  From CBS Boston: “A monument honoring a famed Civil War unit of Black soldiers is back in downtown Boston, following a $3 million restoration. The bronze relief at the center the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial was hoisted back into place Wednesday morning on the Boston Common across from the State House with the help of a crane.”

CBS Boston

MIT Sloan FinTech Conference 2021

The 7th annual FinTech Conference is a student run event that brings together over 1,000 leaders, companies, and students dedicated to transforming and innovating the FinTech space across the globe. Join us in understanding what this critical juncture means for FinTech’s trajectory over the next 10 years.

MIT FinTech Conference

1000 Women Leaders: A Global Movement for Peace & Equality

The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, together with the Conrad N. Hilton and Starbucks Foundations, is launching a global campaign to support 1,000 Women Leaders working to build a brighter, more peaceful and resilient future. Join WPHF on International Women’s Day to rally support for the critical work of women leaders on the front lines.

The United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

Dr. Esther Choo – Racism as a Public Health Crisis – Lowell Lecture

The Boston Public Library welcomes physician and popular health and science communicator Dr. Esther Choo for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program, presented in partnership with GBH Forum Network, is part of both the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Heroes Breakfast

Honoring the Heroes Among Us. Join us and become part of this history making event. Help us honor these unsung leaders who exemplify the humanity and volunteer service of the American Red Cross. The Heroes Breakfast will be a marquee gathering in Boston for years to come. The momentous virtual launch of this event will take place on the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic. If there were ever a time to honor heroes, this is it.

American Red Cross

Recover Boston: Workplace Reimagined

As our region continues the road to recovery, join us as we look at strategies for the return to the workplace. The Covid-19 crisis has created tremendous change in how we live, work, and do business. Hear from our panel of business leaders who will discuss both the opportunities and challenges for the transformation of the region’s workforce in the months ahead.

Boston Business Journal

The Biden-Harris Administration: International Policy

Join the McCormack Graduate School for the third of three panel discussions that explores the implications of the Biden-Harris Administration: International Policy.

UMass Boston: McCormack Graduate School

The South End Then and Now: See your neighborhood with new eyes.

With Michael Cox, historian, artist and tour guide, we will walk the Silver Line bus route along Washington St. from Massachusetts Ave to Berkeley St., stopping at every SL bus stop to learn what was above and below ground right there when the EL carried riders to Nubian Square. We’ll check out the South End Burying Ground and many other great sites.

Boston Public Library

Hemingway the Author

The Kennedy Library and GBH partner for a preview and discussion of Hemingway, a new documentary series directed by award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Writers Abraham Verghese and Tobias Wolff join Burns and Novick to discuss Hemingway’s life, craft, and legacy. Kennedy Library Director Alan Price moderates.

The Kennedy Library and GBH

Be an Agent of Change: Achieve Health Justice

Join A Faith That Does Justice and Healthcare for All for a conversation about the actions you can take as an individual to work towards justice, equity, and inclusion in health care.

A Faith That Does Justice

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Authorities Say 1 Worker Dead, Another Injured In Stairwell Collapse At Cambridge Parking Garage – WBUR

Housing planned for former Braintree electric site – Patriot Ledger

Massachusetts

Codfather officially a free man, federal record shows – Standard-Times

WooSox opening day now tentatively scheduled for May 11 – Worcester Business Journal

AG’s office backs legality of executive sessions on rest of river cleanup deal – Berkshire Eagle

Nation

Retailers fear a return of the mask wars – The Hill

Biden cautious in making Trump tax return decision – The Hill

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