Happening Today

House and Senate sessions, and more

— The Cannabis Control Commission meets for a regular business meeting and is expected to process dozens of license renewals, approve provisional licenses and give their OK to final business licenses, 10 a.m.

— The Boston Foundation hosts an online event for a new research report on the labor market experiences of Boston Public Schools alumni after college, and of recent graduates from the seven four-year colleges most often attended by BPS graduates, 10 a.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission is expected to meet and could take a vote on the compensation for executive director Karen Wells, among other things, 10 a.m.

— House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz hosts virtual forum about the hospitality industry and economic recovery, featuring Mass. Restaurant Association President Bob Luz, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau President Martha Sheridan and UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate meets with plans to act on Gov. Charlie Baker’s amendments to the a climate-change package and legislation to extend mail-in voting, 11 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House plans to meet in a formal session to consider legislation from Gov. Charlie Baker that would freeze unemployment insurance rates and allow for $7 billion in borrowing to restore the UI trust fund and pay back federal loans, 11 a.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: 53 new deaths, 16,176 total deaths, 1,413 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Busy legislative day: Lawmakers to tackle climate bill, UI rates and mail-in voting

A lot of Beacon Hill action today. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports the Senate plans to take up Gov. Charlie Baker’s climate-bill amendments – with plans to reject some of his major suggestions. The Senate is also ready to act on a vote-by-mail extension, SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports separately.

The House, meanwhile, plans to consider Gov. Charlie Baker’s request for unemployment-insurance rate relief for employers, with Baker eyeing “favorable financing” components of the UI plan, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski.

Fyi: SHNS stories are fire-walled, but you can get a free 21-day trial subscription by clicking on one of the stories above.

The state’s latest new and improved website feature: Vaccine pre-registration

What VaxFinder version are we on now? GBH’s Mike Deehan and the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Travis Anderson report that the state, with the help of Google, plans to unveil tomorrow a new online vaccine sign-up system that includes a pre-registration feature that won’t require people to keep waiting around and hitting refresh and quickly darting to other sites to see what vaccine appointments have miraculously become available. Instead, people will be notified when it’s their turn to book an appointment at a mass-vax site.

And, yes, the local media is on full site-crash alert.

State designates four vaccination days for educators

They successfully lobbied to get bumped up on the state’s vaccination priority list – and now educators will also get four designated days to get vaccinated. MassLive’s Steph Solis has more. But from the Cape Cod Times: “Cape legislators, state send mixed messages about teacher-only vax site.”


Even with teachers vaccinated, some school districts balk at reopening

So what do you think will be the public reaction if 400,000 educators get vaccinated ahead of others – and then still don’t go back to in-person classrooms? One can only imagine. Hard feelings jump to mind. Anyway, the Herald’s Rick Sobey reports some Massachusetts school districts say the state’s new reopening plans are unrealistic and plan to seek timeline waivers.

MassLive’s Jim Russell reports Amherst’s regional superintendent isn’t happy with the state’s reopening plans. And from Zane Rassaq MetroWest Daily News: “Framingham superintendent: Getting all elementary students to full in-person learning by April 5 would be ‘logistically…a problem’ Zane Rassaq.” And, as we posted yesterday, via the Telegram: “Worcester to seek waiver from state’s school reopening timeline.”

In large part, it comes down to 3 feet versus 6 feet, as WCVB reports and explains

Boston Herald

‘Souls lost to COVID’: Emotional Baker and others mark one-year anniversary of pandemic emergency

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Gov. Charlie Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency in Massachusetts due to the pandemic – and the governor yesterday choked back tears as he reflected on the past 12 months that have seen 16,176 people perish in the Bay State, reports the Globe’s Travis Andersen and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan.

And people were reflecting and fighting back tears elsewhere across the state, such as in Worcester, via MassLive: “‘The day the world stopped’: The 413 Worcester residents who died of COVID remembered.” And from CBS Boston: “Cape Ann Museum Honors 2,200 COVID Victims In Essex County.”

Btw: GBH went all out yesterday, with a number of “A Year Apart” stories marking the one-year anniversary.

So when is the state of emergency going to be lifted? It depends

A small but growing number of Beacon Hill lawmakers want an end to the pandemic state of emergency declared a year ago by Gov. Charlie Baker. But Baker says the emergency declaration won’t be lifted until he knows more about two things: 1.) The threat of new virus variants and 2.) The vaccine supply. NBC’s Marc Fortier has more.

NBC Boston

Baker: We could be doing 2M shots a month if Pfizer, Moderna and J&J had their act together

Speaking of the vaccine supply, isn’t this a form of biting the hand that feeds you? Not when you have millions of frustrated and agitated people awaiting vaccinations in Massachusetts. The BBJ’s Rowan Walrath and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report on Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday lashing out at vaccine makers who he says haven’t delivered as many doses as promised.

New travel order: Those who have received full vaccine doses don’t have to quarantine anymore

MassLive’s Heather Morrison reports on a change in the state’s pandemic travel orders. Basically, you’re in luck if you’ve received full vaccination doses and recently traveled out of state. You’re out of luck – and stuck at home, unless tested – if you haven’t received full doses.


Covid czar fight in Boston

Kim Janey hasn’t even be sworn in yet as Boston’s interim mayor and she’s already in a fight with city councilors over her request for a residency waiver for her recently announced coronavirus czar, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports.

Nutmeg State’s ultimate dream: A commuter rail link from eastern Connecticut to Worcester?

This is probably news to most people in Worcester. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin, via the New London Day, reports that legislators in eastern Connecticut really want more commuter rail service in their neck of the woods – and they’re talking/dreaming of, among other options, a rail link to Worcester. It’s almost surely not going to happen, but it’s nice to know that the recently booming Worcester has its share of suitors.

Universal Hub

Amherst’s emerging Black reparations ideas

The AP’s Philip Marcelo has an update on Amherst’s very preliminary moves to provide reparations for its Black residents – and there are some not-so-farfetched ideas floating out there on how it might be done at a local level, such as a surtax on recreational marijuana sales to help Blacks with homeownership etc., an idea already implemented in one Chicago suburb. 

AP News

Debating the authenticity of an old biblical manuscript at … Harvard Law School?

This is an off-the-beaten-track story for us, but it’s a cool off-the-beaten-track story that we thought readers would like, to wit: A debate under way about an alleged ancient biblical manuscript that was once dubbed a forgery and that now one scholar believes was actually the “original” Book of Deuteronomy – and the debate has partly played out, oddly enough, at Harvard Law School. The NYT’s Jennifer Schuessler has more.


GE’s $30B blockbuster: A shift to a ‘simpler, more focused structure’

Boston-based General Electric announced a mega $30-billion deal yesterday to unload its aircraft leasing unit, hauling in $24 billion in cash and further streamlining the company into a ‘simpler, more focused structure,’ as the Globe Jon Chesto and the BBJ’s Greg Ryan report. 

Millionaire’s tax: Massachusetts’ loss, New Hampshire’s gain

Opponents of the proposed millionaire’s tax seem to be out in force these days. The latest evidence: A Globe op-ed by Jim Stergios and Christopher Anderson, who argue an extra surtax on wealthy people in Massachusetts would merely accelerate the exodus of affluent people from the Bay State to New Hampshire and other low-tax states.

Boston Globe

Going big: Shutesbury solar farm could be state’s largest

All they need now is lots of approvals. Amp Energy has unveiled plans to build what could be the state’s largest single solar energy project across nearly 200 acres of forested land in Shutesbury and hopes to win the support of the community by dangling the prospect of $450,000 a year worth of direct payments to the rural town, reports Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Show off: Yet-to-announce candidate outraises those already in Holyoke mayoral race

He’s yet to formally say he’s running, but William ‘Billy’ J. Glidden is leader of the pack when it comes to fundraising among those hoping to succeed Alex Morse as Holyoke mayor, reports Dennis Hohenberger at MassLive.


No takers: ‘Free’ house at Lakeville state hospital goes unwanted

What housing crisis? Time is running out for someone to rescue the former ‘doctor’s house’ on the grounds of the former Lakeville State Hospital, which is slated for redevelopment into a distribution center, Linda Roy at the Standard-Times reports. The property owners say someone can take the house for free — if they pay to move it off the site. 

Standard Times

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

Lucy Stone: Make the World a Better Place

This program explores the lifelong fight of Massachusetts’ own Lucy Stone to win equal voting rights for women and African Americans. Despite leading both the women’s rights and abolitionist movements, Stone’s name is often absent from history. Join us in examining why this historical titan’s work was so integral to the nation’s evolution.

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

I Dissent: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became the Notorious RBG

Award-winning journalist Irin Carmon, co-author of the runaway bestseller Notorious RPG, tells the intimate story of a remarkable Jewish woman who transcended divides and describes how to carry on her legacy.

Jewish Public Library

“The Black Lives Matter Protests: An Early History” with Chad Williams

The U.S. has been rocked by the murder of George Floyd and the widespread recognition of violence against Blacks. These events have re-awakened us to our racist legacy. Across the nation and globally, Black and white people have protested policy brutality and the continued inequalities in our society.

Cary Memorial Public Library

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


Brockton NAACP plans virtual panel on coronavirus vaccine hesitancy – Brockton Enterprise

Massachusetts Nurses Association endorses Annissa Essaibi-George – Boston Herald


Weymouth councilors want voice in compressor station process – Patriot Ledger

Provisions in relief bill could alleviate child poverty, hunger in Berkshires – Berkshire Eagle

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge threatened by erosion in Chatham – Cape Cod Times


Collins-Schumer rift shocks Senate – Politico

Trump’s odds of getting away with tax fraud just took a nosedive – Vanity Fair

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