Happening Today

Reopenings, Walsh vote and possible transfer of power, and more

— Effective today, a number of pandemic travel and gathering restrictions are lifted in Massachusetts’s, as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Phase 4 reopening of the economy.

U.S. Senate has scheduled a debate and a vote on the confirmation of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, a move that will ultimately make city councilor Kim Janey interim mayor of Boston.

Mass. Gaming Commission’s Horse Racing Committee meets to receive an update on the balance of the Race Horse Development Fund and to further consider action related to the way money is split between the standardbred horse racing and thoroughbred racing industries, 11 a.m.

— Labor and Workforce Development Committee chairs Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Josh Cutler and the Workforce Solutions Group hold a virtual briefing to discuss recommendations from a new white paper, ‘Rapid Reemployment for a Just and Equitable Recovery in Massachusetts,’ 11 a.m.

Joint Ways and Means Committee holds hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s $45.6 billion fiscal year 2022 state budget, focusing on environment, energy and transportation topics, 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: 33 new deaths, 16,531 total deaths, 1,678 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Historic moment: Farewell, Marty. Hello, Kim

As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote today on Mayor Marty Walsh’s nomination as the next U.S. labor secretary (Herald), all eyes will turn either this evening or later this week to Kim Janey, who will become interim mayor after Walsh steps down and who also will become the first female and Black mayor of Boston. And the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has some advice for Janey: First impressions matter.

The T retreats on planned service cuts

The MBTA has apparently found Jesus too. SHNS’s Chris Lisinksi, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report that MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak has written to U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch to say that the T is now reconsidering its plans for drastic service cuts. The policy reversal comes after the state’s congressional delegation put massive pressure on the T to nix service cuts amid an expected tsunami of federal funds headed the T’s way.

And, of course, here’s how Jesus played a role, via Wicked Local.

DOR unilaterally makes it official: Mass. tax filing deadline delayed till May 17

No legislation needed? Apparently not. SHNS’s Colin Young reports that the Department of Revenue, citing powers it can use when the president declares a disaster, has moved the state’s tax filing deadline to May 17, conforming with a similar move by the IRS.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Race against time: Vaccinations vs. variants

As the state begins the next phase of reopenings (Globe) and as people begin to resume activities at various event venues across the state (GBH), some medical officials continue to be nervous about the spread of coronavirus variants and say it’s now effectively a race against time to vaccinate as many people as possible before the variants take hold, as SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports.

Attention teachers and cops: ‘No Vaccine, No Job’

Well, here’s one way to overcome vaccine hesitancy among teachers and cops — and it doesn’t involve gentle persuasion: “No Vaccine, No Job.” That’s what Dem gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing is advocating, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports.

Meanwhile, from Steve Koczela at CommonWealth: “Hesitancy over childhood vaccines could prolong education inequities.”

The octopus: Gone but not forgotten

The Globe’s Kay Lazar and Anissa Gardizy report on the Baker administration’s frantic, multimillion-dollar scramble to build a new vaccine-registration website after the February crash of Vaxfinder 1.0, featuring the now legendary octopus-crash image. The Globe reports that lawmakers at a hearing tomorrow are expected to have more than a few questions about good old Vaxfinder.

Boston Globe

In Baker’s hometown? Swampscott High goes remote after outbreak

Swampscott High School will operate on a fully remote basis until April 5 after a high school party exposed as many as 100 students to the coronavirus, CBS Boston reports. The superintendent says the outbreak is the largest to date in the community and says the shuttered school will be used to conduct Covid testing for students starting today. 

There is an irony here. It has to do with state-imposed in-person classroom deadlines. 

CBS Boston

Massport’s painful cuts: Not so painful for a few

Proof that some things are impervious to the coronavirus. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Amid painful pandemic-induced cuts, the Massachusetts Port Authority gave payouts of more than $200,000 and $173,000 to two retiring executives last year, sums fueled by hundreds of unused sick days they accumulated under a since-abolished policy.”

Boston Globe

In one of his last acts, Walsh commits Boston to a slow reopening

He’s doing incoming mayor Kim Janey a favor by going this route. GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports that Marty Walsh, in one of his last major acts as mayor of Boston, has announced a more “cautious” city reopening plan compared to the state’s reopening proposals. Remember: It’s lot easier, and more popular, to announce new reopening rules than it is to announce rolling back reopening rules. Thus the favor to Janey.


‘I’ll miss the light breeze of alcohol on everyone’s breath at 9 a.m.’

SHNS’s Michael Norton and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report on yesterday’s virtual take on the annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in … well, it wasn’t really in anywhere. Anyway, Sen. Elizabeth Warren fired off some of the better lines at the “Not-Funny St. Patrick’s Day celebration.” There really is nothing like the smell of alcohol on everyone’s breath in the morning. Alison King at NBC Boston has some video snippets from the mostly virtual event.

Baker hints at a third term? You decide

It’s not much of a hint. But if the Herald says it’s a hint, it’s a hint. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Lisa Kashinsky report on Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest opaque utterance about his possible 2022 intentions.

Boston Herald

Woman of the people: Polito buys $1.8M beach house

If Gov. Charlie Baker decides not to seek a third term, it’s widely expected Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will run for the corner office. But for some reason we suspect this won’t be highlighted in any of her future campaign commercials, to wit: Her new $1.8 million vacation home in Dartmouth. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has more.


Mass. GOP hosts Arkansas Sen. Tom ‘Send in the troops’ Cotton

The Massachusetts State Republican Party hosted a special guest at a local fundraiser late last week — Republican Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who many think is laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024 and who has made waves of late regarding relief funds, the source of the coronavirus and use of federal troops against BLM protesters, etc. The Globe’s Amanda Kaufman has more.

‘Unusual move’: Court blocks access to campaign-finance suit involving Sen. Fattman et family

Todd Wallack at WBUR reports that a Suffolk Superior Court judge, in an ‘unusual move,’ recently closed a hearing and impounded all documents related to a fight between Sen. Ryan Fattman and the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. And the case involves a web of other Fattman relatives and campaign finance committees. File under: ‘All in the family’?


Mystery remains: Matos resigns from Holyoke receiver post

They hardly knew him. Alberto Vazquez Matos, the state-appointed receiver who was overseeing Holyoke public schools, resigned on Friday after less than nine months of the job and nearly two months after he was placed on leave. Dennis Hohenberger at MassLive and Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports state and local officials are declining to offer a reason for his departure. 


Easy breezy: Worcester wooing JetBlue founder’s new airline to idled airport

Come on down. The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is hoping to woo a new airline being launched by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram reports. Landing the yet-to-takeoff Breeze Airways would help revive the airport, which lost all of its active commercial service due to pandemic shutdowns. 


Weymouth’s local compressor-station battle goes national

That recent FERC decision to effectively reopen the review process for the controversial natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth? It’s freaking out the entire natural-gas industry across the county. Mariam Wasser at WBUR has more on how a local battle has suddenly turned into a national battle.

In other natural-gas news, Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that gas utilities in Massachusetts are “trying to water down proposed regulations that would require certified engineers sign off on construction work,” arguing the move is unnecessary and too costly.

Extracurricular activity: Emerson College journalists uncover secret online porn work by fellow students

Wondering why your college kids aren’t nagging you to send them more spending money? They may have a side job. WBUR’s Lynn Joliccoeur and Jack Lepiarz report on how Emerson College’s student newspaper, The Berkeley Beacon, recently broke a story about students making big bucks selling nude and semi-nude photos of themselves to various online sites. And it’s apparently happening a lot elsewhere.

How legislators do business in Florida: Tom Brady, superyacht, and a Miami Beach casino

Here’s a juicy story for your casual reading pleasure about how they legislatively wheel and deal in Florida when it comes to getting casino legislation passed in the Sunshine State. They do like their glamor in southern Florida.

Miami Herald

The Bard of New Hampshire: How a college dropout ID’d the source of Shakespeare’s plays

One of the top stories at the Globe throughout the weekend and into this morning? A literary whodunit involving a New Hampshire college dropout who took to Google to find out the true source of some of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It’s a definite set-aside-with-a-cup-of-coffee read. Enjoy.

Boston Globe

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

Forum on Anti-Asian Racism

The three co-hosts will be joined by the current and former chiefs of civil rights prosecution for the Norfolk DA’s Office, Peter Tilley and Grace Lee, and the Chiefs of Police in Brookline, Dover, Needham, Quincy & Wellesley for brief discussion of Mass hate crime and civil rights laws, followed by a question- and-answer forum with residents of those communities.

Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey, Rep. Tackey Chan, QARI CEO Philip Chong

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

The State of Race: Voter Suppression

GBH and The Boston Globe will present the fifth installment of the State of Race virtual event series in partnership with GBH WORLD and The NAACP Boston Branch: The State of Race: Voter Suppression. Moderated by award-winning journalist and frequent GBH contributor, Dan Lothian, a panel of experts including Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE; Myrna Pérez, Director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program; and Greg Lee, Jr., The Boston Globe Sr. Assistant Managing Editor, Talent and Community will discuss how our voting systems marginalize Black communities and other BIPOC voters.

GBH and The Boston Globe

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

The Future of 5G: Opportunities and a Look Ahead

The communications industry is changing rapidly and occurring quickly in all directions. Disruption in the 5-G ecosystem, lower barriers to participation, new technologies and more all require novel approaches. As you look to the future, what are the implications for your business as the communications industry opens the door to this new frontier?

Boston Business Journal

Workshop: Trapping Trash and Diverting it from our Waterways

Globally, the contamination of plastic waste in freshwater and marine ecosystems is increasing.Trash Trapping Devices = Technology and Innovations that help capture anthropogenic debris from aquatic ecosystems, while collecting data to quantitatively measure our impact. This workshop will take place over two days: Wednesday March 24 and Thursday March 25 from 1-4:30 p.m.

U of T Trash Team

Harvard Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy: Felix Pretis, Univsersity of Victoria

Felix Prentis, University of Victoria, “Carbon Pricing and the Elasticity of CO2 Emissions”. Seminar is held over Zoom and is open to the public.

Harvard Kennedy School and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

FORUM: “A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda”

Join us for a discussion with Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons, a leading voice in the national service movement; member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees; and chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. IOP Director and Former Director of the Peace Corps, Mark D. Gearan “78, will moderate the discussion.

Harvard Kennedy School

Race, Equity & Business – Part 1

Join the Boston Business Journal for a virtual discussion on race and business and how we can affect real change in our community and move forward together.

Boston Business Journal

Adaptive Leadership and Climate Action

Join us for “Adaptive Leadership and Climate Action”, a conversation with two HKS alums working to solve the climate crisis. In Brazil and the U.S., Natalie Unterstell is a change policy and negotiations expert working to save the Amazon. Camila Thorndike is a climate organizer and National Director of Advocacy for Climate XChange.

Harvard Kennedy School

Algorithm vs. Algorithm: A Framework for Governmental Use of Machine Learning

This seminar will be given by Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science; Director, Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. It is part of the Regulatory Policy Program’s weekly webinar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

Author Talk: Becky Cooper and We Keep the Dead Close

In 1969, a Harvard archaeology graduate student named Jane Britton was killed in her off-campus apartment in Cambridge. Her murder remained unsolved until late in 2018, when police announced a break in the case. We Keep the Dead Close is author Becky Cooper’s ten year pursuit for answers. Join us for a conversation with Cooper as she discusses her research into a murder that gripped the nation.

Cambridge Public Library

Improving America’s Housing 2021 Release

While the US economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2020, spending on home improvements and repairs grew last year, increasing by more than 3 percent, according to Improving America’s Housing 2021, our new report being released on March 25.

Harvard Kennedy School

The Roadmap to Net Zero: What Opportunities for Oil and Gas?

Speaker is Rob West, Founder and Lead Analyst of Thundersaid Energy.

Scottish Energy Forum

Virtual Author Talk with Carla Gardina Pestana

Virtual Author Talk with Carla Gardina Pestana, author of The World of Plymouth Plantation

State Library of Massachusetts and Plymoth Patuxet

Uncovering Hidden Stories: Women in the Archives

Join Angelina Osborne in exploring the hidden voices of women in the archives; women who campaigned to have control of their own lives and families. From the Caribbean to India, to Britain, we are afforded small glimpses into these women’s lives, including the determination to receive a university education, serving the country during wartime, to raising awareness of injustices in institutions.

The National Archives

Industry Experts and Top Speakers Participate in the A Maven’s World Virtual Discussion

A Maven’s World announces its virtual lineup and the Maven awardee of its annual Women’s Conference, “Women and Work: Let’s Talk About Equity.” The two-day, virtual conference features Saturday opening remarks delivered by Kim Janey, Boston City Council President, and Incoming Mayor of Boston.

A Maven’s World

No help. No stops. No turning back. My Vendee Globe Story

In November 2020, Pip Hare set off from Les Sables-d’Olonne to take part in the Vendee Globe, a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race known as “Everest of the Seas”. After sailing 24,000 miles and being alone at sea for over three months, Pip will share her story first-hand in this exclusive virtual talk.

Pip Hare

Leadership During Crisis Featuring Carmen Yulín Cruz

Join UMass Women into Leadership for a conversation with Carmen Yulín Cruz, former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as she discusses her thoughts on leadership during crisis.

UMass Women into Leadership

The Brixton riots 40 years on: What has changed for Black Brixtons?

Deputy Opinion Editor Joseph Harker, author and lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University Alex Wheatle, 1980s Lambeth Council Leader Linda Bellos, and co-founder of All Black Lives UK Natasha Johnson will be marking the anniversary of a moment of fundamental change for Black Protest, exploring its evolution through the past 40 years to today and ask, what next in the struggle for equality?

The Guardian Live

Today’s Headlines


Lynn releases final housing production plan – Lynn Item

Two city councilors want health commission’s medical director back from Hawaii – Boston Herald


Worcester State University to resume in-person classes in fall; fees frozen for 2021-2022 school year – MassLive

Teachers and students rally at Bourne rotary against giving MCAS exams this school year – Cape Cod Times

Fierce opposition kills Sheffield pot farm project – Berkshire Eagle


Senators see dire conditions in packed border stations, as officials consider flying migrants north – Washington Post

DNC reports best-ever February fundraising for a non-presidential year – Politico

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