Happening Today

Gaming Commission, parents survey, and more

Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets virtually to hear a commissioner update and plan agendas for upcoming commission meetings, 10 a.m.

MassINC Polling Group releases the results of a survey of Massachusetts K-12 parents on education with a focus on academic progress, mental and emotional health, and vaccines and school reopenings, 11 a.m.

Senate Democrats huddle privately in a virtual caucus ahead of a planned Thursday formal session, 11 a.m.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Board of Directors meets, 1 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: 16 new deaths, 16,355 total deaths, 1,018 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Anticipation: Baker to announce vaccine schedule for everyone

Here’s the big news everyone will be following today (and cue Carly Simon): Gov. Charlie Baker plans to announce this morning the schedule for when everyone can get COVID-19 shots in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro, SHNS’s Matt Murphy and the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Alexi Cohan have more on the much-anticipated announcement.

Of polls and pivots …

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that Gov. Charlie Baker’s falling poll numbers could hurt his prospects if he decides to run for a third term – and they also hurt Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s prospects if he decides not to run. And, needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr, a long-time sufferer of acute Baker Derangement Syndrome, is just loving the new UMass-WCVB poll stats. Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Adrian Walker: “Charlie Baker’s charmed political life has hit a snags.’

The polls numbers obviously are tied to the administration’s rocky vaccine rollout – and the Globe’s Emma Platoff chronicles all the vaccine-rollout pivots and reversals of late.

Red Sox turn to ‘Covid-blasting’ robots to disinfect Fenway

We’re bumping this one up for obvious reader-interest reasons, to wit: The Red Sox are using ‘Covid-blasting’ robots that shoot hospital-grade UV-C light energy at those lingering coronavirus buggers, killing them pronto, all to make Fenway Park safe for Opening Day. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has the cool details.


Non-silence of the leaders: Mariano hints school reopenings could ‘slip into May’

It turns out House Speaker Ron Mariano isn’t completely silent when it comes to delaying the reopening of schools. He’s now hinting at May reopenings, not April reopenings, as the Baker administration insists. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Alexi Cohan have more.

Btw, former Senate president Tom Birmingham is needling the anti-reopening crowd with an opinion piece at CommonWealth: “Charter schools leading the way with in-person instruction.”

Boston Herald

Is summer school an answer?

As the Baker administration, lawmakers, parents and teachers butt heads over reopening schools next month, there’s another option out there: summer schools. The Globe’s Bianca Vázquez Toness reports on a new poll showing widespread parental support for summer schooling to make up for lost learning during the pandemic.

Boston Globe

Riley on skipping MCAS tests: Sorry. No can do

He probably doesn’t want to do it anyway. But state education commissioner Jeff Riley does have a ready-made excuse for not skipping MCAS tests this year, as teacher unions have demanded: The feds. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg explains.


It’s here: Coronavirus variant from Brazil detected in Massachusetts

Just what we need. From Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times: “The state Department of Public Health announced this morning that a Cape woman in her 30s has the first detected case of the Brazilian variant of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. State officials said in a statement Tuesday that the woman tested positive for COVID-19 in late February.”

Cape Cod Times

The state can run but it can’t hide from its UI debt obligations

Beacon Hill lawmakers are moving fast to pass legislation that would, among other things, freeze unemployment-insurance rates for beleaguered employers struggling during the pandemic. But as CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg and SHNS’s Michael Norton make clear, the state is eventually going to have to pony up big bucks to repay the feds and replenish the UI fund.

Pacheco: Why the rush on a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home?

Proponents of a $400 million project to rebuild the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home say time is of the essence to get legislation passed. But state Sen. Marc Pacheco, chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight reviewing the bill, is among those wondering why the Baker administration took so long to file a bill if time is indeed of the essence. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry and SHNS’s Chris Lisinskihave more.

And then there’s this twist, via MassLive: “East vs West: Regional equity emerges as flashpoint in debate over funding for Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.”

Coronavirus updates: Housebound residents get shots, unexpected J&J vaccines, UMass to freeze tuition again

Once again, there’s a lot of news on the coronavirus front this morning, so we’re going with quick headlines and summaries in this post, starting with the Herald: “Housebound Massachusetts residents have coronavirus vaccine delivered to them.”… From WBUR: “Moderna Gives 1st Vaccine Shots To Young Kids As Part Of COVID-19 Study.” … From NBC Boston: “Massachusetts Receiving 8,000 Unexpected Doses of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine This Week.” … From MassLive: “UMass President Marty Meehan proposes in-state tuition freeze ‘to lessen burden’ on students and families during COVID-19.’ (Fyi: It would be the second straight year of a tuition freeze at Mass.)

Oh no: New Orange Line train derails, T pulls new cars for inspection

We’re definitely getting back to normal these days. The proof: An MBTA derailment is making news again. The Globe’s Charlie McKenna and the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius have the details on yesterday’s derailment of an Orange Line train – one of the new Orange Line trains. And the T has pulled all new cars for inspection.

Baker signs bill extending mail-in voting through June 30

It’s official: Mail-in voting and early voting will be allowed in this spring’s municipal elections in Massachusetts, under a bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis. Next up: Debate over making mail-in voting permanent in Massachusetts.


‘The Emancipator’

This is journalistically (and politically) interesting. The Boston Globe’s Opinion staff and the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research are teaming up to “resurrect and reimagine” a new-media version of the first anti-slavery newspaper in the US: “The Emancipator,” which will “amplify critical voices, ideas and evidence-based opinion in an effort to reframe the national conversation and hasten racial justice.” And it’s apparently looking to hire two editors-in-chief. 

The Globe’s Jeremy Fox and NPR’s Rachel Triesman have more on the venture.

Healey slams Purdue Pharma settlement: ‘It’s an insult’

From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “A $10 billion plan that would pull OxyContin owner Purdue Pharma out of bankruptcy would direct profits to fight against the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis, but Massachusetts Attorney General Maura said the plan would let the company’s owners ‘walk away richer.’” WBUR’s Bob Oakes has more on Healey’s rejection of the plan.

Environmentalists take aim at Widett Circle redevelopment

Environmental groups aren’t specifically opposing Widett Circle’s potential redevelopment into a massive Amazon distribution center. They say they’re worried about any redevelopment in general due to potential tidal flooding. But you know the Amazon angle plays a role in their concerns. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has more. 

Boston Globe

LeBron James is now a co-owner of the … Red Sox?

Yes, Lebron James is now a partner at Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Red Sox and other professional sports teams and outfits, reports the Globe’s Michael Silverman and ESPN. And the other big news that’s been overshadowed by the LeBron announcement: Fenway Sports Group is now financially locked and loaded to go on a major sports-team acquisition spree, as Silverman reports. 

Face it, Pats haters: Belichick is back

OK, one more sports-related item, related to the Herald’s Page 1 splash topic this morning: ‘Dollar Bill.’ As in Bill Belichick’s monumental free-agency binge to rebuild our favorite NFL team. The Pats haters are definitely out in force, such at the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde, who’s pretending to be unimpressed by Belichick’s moves: “The Patriots are done. Dead. Mort. Finis.” The NY Post’s Steve Serby is not so sure, writing Bill seems to be out for Tom Brady revenge.

The Herald’s Karen Guregian and the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy have more on Bill’s spending spree, aka Operation Take It Back.

Floodgates opened: Candidates line up for Lynn mayoral run

They’re off. A handful of potential mayoral candidates have quickly emerged in wake of the news that Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee will not seek re-election — and among those said to be mulling a run is former Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, who was ousted by McGee four years ago, Allysha Dunnigan at the Lynn Item reports. 

Lynn Item

Already gone: School resource officers out as students return in Worcester

They’re out ahead of schedule. As students prepare to return to Worcester classrooms, the district says it has removed all five school resource officers (i.e. cops) who had been stationed at city high schools, Scott O’Connell at the Telegram reports.  


Just the facts: Natick will debate punishments for town meeting members behaving badly

Good luck with that. A Natick Town Meeting member says she hopes to keep emotions out of an upcoming debate on her proposal for the town to create a committee that could punish town meeting members who are deemed to have acted improperly — a measure prompted by fellow member Sue Ianni’s arrest following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Henry Schwan at the MetroWest Daily News reports.

MetroWest Daily News

Take a bow, Arnold Worldwide: Everyone loves ‘Dr. Rick’

You can add the Washington Post’s Ashley Fetters to the growing legion of ‘Dr. Rick’ fans. And the clever Progressive Insurance ads were developed by none other than Boston’s very own Arnold Worldwide, as the Globe’s Don Aucoin recently reported.  

Btw: We still don’t know how to pronounce ‘quinoa.’ 

Washington Post

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

Indigenous Women Convening for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation

Join us for our Indigenous Women Convening for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation which brings together Indigenous scholars and women leaders from seven indigenous socio-cultural zones of the world to share stories of war and conflicts in their territories and find collective ways of ideating indigenous conflict resolution and peace-making processes.

Harvard Kennedy School

A Strong Handoff in U.S.-India Relations

Please join Future of Diplomacy Project for a conversation with Ken Juster, former US Ambassador to India and HKS alumnus about the U.S.-India relationship. He will discuss major achievements in the U.S.-India partnership in the areas of diplomacy, defense, economic relations, energy, and health over the past four years as well as issues on the horizon such as the rise of China and trade policy.

Harvard Kennedy School

“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

Learning from the Pandemic: Lessons from State and National Perspectives

As the pandemic endures and students continue remote learning, this panel is convened to shed light on educational excellence through remote learning, hybrid, and in-person learning. Panelists will discuss the educational impacts of COVID-19 on student learning, performance, and well-being; offering thoughts & recommendations on issues that face students and educational systems.

Worcester Regional Research Bureau

Energy Policy Seminar: Shalanda Baker on “Energy Justice”.

Join us for an Energy Policy Summit featuring Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Baker will discuss “Energy Justice”. This seminar will be hosted by Professor Joe Aldy.

Harvard Kennedy School

Defense Project Series: Ending the War in Afghanistan – a discussion with counter-terror expert David Kilcullen

David Kilcullen, strategist/scholar/author, discusses the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban and ISIS, and how the United States and its allies might help Afghanistan forge a future of hope and promise rather than a return to the dark days of the 1990s. Join Bill Rapp as he moderates this important discussion with the famed counter-terror expert.

Harvard Kennedy School

Japan’s Growth Strategy in the 2020s: Demand – and Supply -Side Dimensions

An evening webinar event with the Program on US-Japan Relations and co-sponsored by the Mossavar-Rahmai Center for Business and Government. Speaker: Motoshige Itoh, Professor, the Faculty of International Social Sciences, Gakushuin University; Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo.

Harvard Kennedy School

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

Voices for Justice:Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation with Callie Crossley

The Cambridge Public Library Foundation is proud to present Voices for Justice, a free, virtual event series supporting the Cambridge Public Library’s world-class Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming and initiative. Join us for this virtual event featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with Callie Crossley of WGBH Boston’s Under the Radar.

Cambridge Public Library

Today’s Headlines


In Chelsea, original epicenter of state’s COVID outbreak, demonstrators protest federal aid distribution – Boston Globe

Two more jump into Boston at-large council race; another candidate could emerge in District 6 race – Universal Hub


Worcester councilor asks colleagues to join her in support of striking St. Vincent nurses – Telegram & Gazette

Why did Yo-Yo Ma perform at Pittsfield vaccine site? It turns out, he couldn’t leave his cello in the car – Berkshire Eagle

Springfield, Massachusetts State Police team up to put brakes on dirt-bike scofflaws; 17 arrested, 20 off-road vehicles seized – MassLive


Biden, for the first time, says he wants to overhaul the filibuster – Washington Post

FBI facing allegation that its 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh was ‘fake’ – The Guardian

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