Happening Today

Public safety budget hearing, honoring Kim Janey, and more

Massachusetts High Technology Council holds a virtual discussion, part of its Reimagining the Future of Work After COVID-19 series, on trends toward fully remote, fully in-office and hybrid work models, 9 a.m.

Joint Ways and Means Committee holds fiscal 2022 budget hearing focused on public safety accounts, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Sen. Adam Hinds, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer hold a press conference to highlight the local impact of the American Rescue Plan, Pittsfield, 10:30 a.m.

— Members of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers Union hold a number of standouts today in Brockton, Saugus and Medford to advocate for reforms as part of a National Caregivers Day of Action, with Reps. Christine Barber, Paul Donato and Sean Garballey participating in Medford, with the first event starting at 1 p.m.

— Boston faith leaders hold interfaith prayer service to honor newly-seated Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Congregacion Leon de Juda, South End, 5 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: 39 new deaths, 16,671 total deaths, 2,274 new cases

WBUR has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘A little surge’: Cape, Worcester, schools, the young all see spike in virus cases

The evidence keeps mounting that coronavirus cases are on the worrisome upswing again. The Cape is now coping with a major COVID-19 cluster (SHNS). The number of cities and towns listed as hotspots continues to rise (Herald). Confirmed virus cases in schools jumped again last week (MassLive). Worcester is seeing a concerning ‘little surge’ in cases (MassLive). And there’s this from NBC Boston: “COVID Cases Rising in Massachusetts’ Young People, Prompting Plea From Baker.”

GBH’s Craig LeMoult reports some experts believe the numbers are getting more ominous for two reasons: The lifting of restrictions and people getting cocky amid the arrival of vaccines.

Righting a wrong: Baker directs $100M to hard-hit cities shortchanged in federal relief bill

The Baker administration announced yesterday that it’s going to distribute $100 million to four of the hardest hit cities during the pandemic — Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph – as way to compensate them for getting shortchanged in the recently passed federal COVID-19 relief bill. And why were they shortchanged? Because the feds use what many consider an outdated and highly unfair formula for distributing funds. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Matt Murphy and MassLive’s Steph Solis have more.

And from a Globe editorial this morning: “Congress failed Chelsea in COVID-19 relief law.”

Baker shows interest in vaccine passes to travel and attend public events

This could get very controversial if they proceed with it. From CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “Gov. Charlie Baker indicated on Thursday that he is interested in so-called vaccine passes that could be used for travel or to gain access to public venues, but he said he would prefer to see the federal government take the lead.”

We can already here the “da” and “nyet” refrains.


Meanwhile, the mandatory-vaccination idea isn’t going away

The Globe’s Matt Stout and Robert Weisman report that a survey shows that “large pockets” of cops, firefighters and EMTs etc. haven’t gotten vaccinated yet – and their apparent refusal to get shots is fueling calls for mandatory vaccinations despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s reservations about the idea.

Boston Globe

Booster shots: Homebound to get vaccines as J&J ups dosage delivery

Here’s some non-controversial good news on the vaccination front: 1.) The state next week will begin a “concentrated effort to vaccinate homebound individuals with supplies of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine,” reports GBH’s Mike Deehan. 2.) The state will also receive 40,000 J&J shots next week, a more than five-fold increase compared to last week, CBS Boston reports.

First shot? Healey slams Baker’s decision to hire McKinsey after opioid settlement

‘Outrageous.’ That’s how Attorney General Maura Healey characterized Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to hire McKinsey & Co. to conduct a study about the “future of work” soon after the consulting firm agreed to a massive opioid-epidemic settlement with Massachusetts and other states.

Not surprisingly, Matt Stout at the Globe, Erin Tiernan at the Herald and Gintautas Dumcius at the Boston Business Journal all put Healey’s comments in the obvious context of a possible 2022 gubernatorial run.

Governor on whether he’ll sign climate bill: ‘Yes’

With one word (“yes”), Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday confirmed he plans to sign the revised climate-change bill recently passed by lawmakers, after months of back-and-forth haggling over variations of the legislation. WBUR’s Mariam Wasser and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski have the details.

Mariano is gung-ho on offshore wind

The Globe’s Jon Chesto and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report that House Speaker Ron Mariano is vowing to increase state support for offshore wind in Massachusetts, saying the emerging industry will produce badly needed jobs and position the state as a leader in clean energy.

Meanwhile, Mariano bemoans ‘end around’ approach to millionaire’s tax

House Speaker Ron Mariano is no fan of the proposed millionaire’s tax, and he’s certainly no fan of how the measure is being pushed forward via a Constitutional amendment, saying the process “bypasses compromise” and acts as an “end around” the Legislature, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. Why do we get the feeling lawmakers may not take a second constitutional vote this spring on the matter? Just thinking aloud.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Commission: Tax breaks for film, mutual fund and alcohol sectors make no sense

Speaking of taxes, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that a first-ever study by the new Tax Expenditure Review Commission is calling into question state tax breaks for the film, mutual-fund and alcoholic-beverages industries, saying there’s little or no proof some of them are working as desired.

We do know this: Eleven years ago, voters rejected extending the state sales tax to cover booze, so you can scratch that one off any future reforms-to-do list. 


Amazon fires back at Warren: We’re paying billions in taxes, all right

One more tax-related item: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Amazon are going at it after the Massachusetts Democrat took a Twitter swipe at the e-commerce giant for not paying its “fair share” of taxes. Au contraire, Amazon responds. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has the back-and-forth details.

Boston Globe

An early handy-dandy candidates’ guide to Boston’s mayoral race

It’s never too early to know where the candidates stand on issues – and NBC Boston’s Mary Markos is out of the gate fast with a summary of where Boston’s five declared mayoral candidates stand on major issues, from the pandemic to systemic racism.

NBC Boston

Don’t look now: Health-care costs last year exceeded cost-control goals

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports a new state study shows that health-care costs last year rose by 4.3 percent in Massachusetts, well above cost-control goals set by state officials. And you can bet your next paycheck that insurance-premium increases will easily exceed that 4.3 amount. They always do – and every year state officials do little about it.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Deep freeze: Community colleges hold the line on fees, tuition

No increases. The North Shore Community College trustees voted against tuition increases after being told the school is in good financial position, John Castellucio of the Gloucester Times reports. 

Meanwhile, Monica Busch at the Worcester Business Journal reports Quinsigamond Community College said it would take the same action and make scholarships funded by a coronavirus impact available to more students. 

Gloucester Times

Running tab: St. Vincent racking up $200K per week in strike police-detail costs

The city of Worcester is billing St. Vincent Hospital more than $30,000 per day for police detail coverage as a nurses’ strike ends its third week, Dave Nordman at the Telegram reports.


Hold your fire: Salem High hits pause on air-rifle range

It’s worth talking about, at least. Salem Schools Superintendent Stephen Zrike says the city’s high school has pressed pause on plans to use a vacant classroom as an air-rifle range in conjunction with a two-decade old ROTC program after hearing various “concerns” about the idea from outside the school, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports. 

Salem News

Sunday public affairs TV: Charlie Baker, Michael Bobbit, Tram Nguyen

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gov. Charlie Baker, in Part 2 of his interview with host Jon Keller, discusses criticism of the vaccine rollout, national GOP complaints about the American Rescue Act, problems with new MBTA cars, and his thoughts on running for re-election 

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Michael Bobbitt, executive director of the Mass. Cultural Council, discusses the future of arts and performance as the industry recovers from the pandemic; Eos Foundation president Andrea Silbert and YW Boston president Beth Chandler discuss the power gap among top earners at elite universities with; and the Globe’s Shirley Leung reviews the top local business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: State Rep. Tram Nguyen, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: The Power of Words, with guests including the Globe’s Kimberly Atkins, who discusses the paper’s new partnership with the BU Center for Antiracist Research to produce “The Emancipator” website.

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

Defense Project Series – Should Women be in the Draft – A discussion about the future of the Selective Service in America

Please join us for an important and timely discussion on whether or not women should be required to sign up for the Selective Service and, therefore, potentially be involuntarily drafted into the military in the event of a national emergency.

Harvard Kennedy School

Energy Policy Seminar: Alice Hill on Lessons from the Pandemic on How to Prepare for Climate Change

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring Alice Hill, David M. Rubenstein Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Hill will discuss “Lessons from the Pandemic on How to Prepare for Climate Change”. This event is open to the public and hosted on zoom. Please RSVP.

Harvard Kennedy School

Book Talk – The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Join the Ash Center; Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic: Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Harvard University; and Black Student Union at Harvard Kennedy School for a conversation with Heather McGee, a leading voice in the national conversation on systemic racism and its consequences.

Harvard Kennedy School

How to Network Effectively

In this workshop, you will receive top tips on how to maximize recruitment opportunities at law fairs, vacation schemes and other networking events both face to face and online. The practical nature of this online workshop will give you the opportunity to develop and practice online networking techniques as well.

BPP University Law School

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

Energy Policy Seminar: Andrew Light on “International Energy and Climate Policy Outlook”

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring Andrew Light, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Department of Energy. Mr. Light will discuss “International Energy and Climate Policy Outlook”. The seminar will be hosted by HKS Professor Joe Aldi.

Harvard Kennedy School

Regional Spotlight: The Northeast

As MassEcon focuses on marketing Massachusetts beyond its borders, we invite you to this Spotlight Series discussion. This free event is open to area business representatives and economic developers.


Today’s Headlines


Former city of Boston corporation counsel heads to D.C. – Boston Globe

Businesses around TD Garden get boost from returning fans – Boston Herald


Westfield Mayor Donald Humason in quarantine with Covid – MassLive

Framingham State University President Cevallos will retire in 2022 – MetroWest Daily News

Stockbridge office cleanup unearths tribal documents; state’s OK needed to return them – Berkshire Eagle


Democrats divided on gun-control strategy – The Hill

Trump’s secret sit-down with Ohio candidates turns into ‘Hunger Games’ – Politico

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