SJC hearing, Green New Deal, and more
— Supreme Judicial Court meets to hear two cases, including one that involves blackjack rules and odds at the state’s two casinos in Everett and Springfield, 9 a.m.
— Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing unveils his climate plan at a virtual event, the first part of his campaign’s policy agenda, 10 a.m.
— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joins former San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen YulÃn Cruz, now the Harriet L. Weissman and Paul M. Weissman Distinguished Fellow in Leadership at Mount Holyoke College, for a virtual town hall on the Green New Deal, 11:30 a.m.
— Acting Mayor Kim Janey, now an official candidate for mayor, joins Boston’s Chief of Economic Development Midori Morikawa for a press conference to share several new supplier diversity initiatives to address equity in city contracting, 2 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.
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The coronavirus numbers: 12 new deaths, 16,993 total deaths, 1,566 new cases
NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Report: Nearly half of new COVID cases in Massachusetts tied to U.K. variant
Keep in mind: The U.K variant of the coronavirus is considered 60 percent more contagious and 67 percent more deadly than the original virus – and it has most definitely arrived in Massachusetts and around the country, according to the NYT, as reported by MassLive’s Anne-Gerard Flynn.
As the Biden administration rules out national vaccine ‘passports’ …
The White House is nipping a potentially major controversy in the bud, declaring yesterday the “government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential” proving they’ve been vaccinated, according to a report at the Hill. And so it seems Fox News will have to find another pandemic issue with which to flog the administration.
The Globe’s editorial board suggests the vaccine-passport issue may not be quite dead, saying the administration must still issue guidelines about when and where restrictions may be imposed.
… Northeastern University will require COVID vaccinations for returning students
They’re not using the word “passport” at Northeastern University, but they are making it clear that students, particularly those flying in from foreign countries, must have proof they’ve been vaccinated before they can attend campus classes next fall, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and MassLive’s Melissa Hanson.
Northeastern joins Brown University as among the small number of regional colleges so far requiring vaccinations. CBS Boston reports BU and UMass Lowell have said they will not require shots, but most other colleges haven’t announced yet their vax policies. Btw, from CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “Governor OK with Northeastern vaccine requirement.”
And he didn’t cry: Baker gets his shot
He manned up, got his shot, and is now serving as a shining example to State Police and other hesitant first-responder types that the needle pricks don’t hurt. NBC’s Michael Rosenfield has more (and a video) of Gov. Charlie Baker getting his COVID-19 vaccination at the Hynes Convention Center yesterday.
‘Fever pitch’: Big bucks flowing to Boston mayoral candidates
A day after Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced she has no intention of remaining a mere acting mayor, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports this morning that fundraising among mayoral candidates has reached “fever pitch,” with candidate Annissa Essaibi-George hauling in the most campaign cash last month. Even though Janey wasn’t a declared candidate in March, the acting mayor raised an impressive amount, too.
In other mayoral-race news, also from the Herald: “Jon Santiago’s campaign manager out after 6 weeks in Boston mayoral race. Meanwhile, GBH’s Adam Reilly has the reactions, sort of, of Janey’s rivals to her announcement yesterday she’s indeed running for mayor. And from GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith: “Fresh off the mayoral campaign trail, Janey Launches Targeted Vaccine Ad Push.”
The Grand Alliance: Baker and Connecticut governor join forces to cap drug prices
The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that Gov. Charlie Baker and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont are coordinating their legislative efforts to effectively impose price caps on escalating drug prices that are busting both states’ budgets. SHNS’s Colin Young reports the new alliance puts Baker and Lamont on a direct collision course with the drug industry. In other words: The empire will strike back.
State finances are indeed doing well: Baker wants to replenish rainy day fund
Replenish the state’s reserve “rainy day” fund? So soon? Yep. Citing stronger than expected state tax collections, Gov. Charlie Baker is making it clear he’d like to funnel some of the extra dough that’s streamed into state coffers back into the emergency reserve fund. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has more.
Vehicle inspections won’t resume until ‘at least next week’
OK, no more VaxFinder-comparison jokes. This is moving beyond annoying. The Globe’s Andrew Stanton reports that the malware problem that shut down vehicle inspections last week in Massachusetts and elsewhere – a malware problem that was supposed to have been fixed over the weekend — may not be fixed until “at least next week.”
Agawam, Georgia? Not yet
Sounds like a classic red-blue divide in Agawam. MassLive’s Michael Ballway reports that the Agawam City Council has narrowly rejected a call for more stringent voter ID laws and a rollback in mail-in voting to pre-pandemic days.
The royal ‘he:’ Some lawmakers want Constitution scrubbed of gender pronouns
Shift it to neutral. A group of lawmakers who want to update the state’s Constitution by replacing the pronoun “he” with the gender-neutral “the person” made their case for an update to a legislative panel yesterday, Christian Wade at the Salem News reports. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has more on all the constitutional amendments now being considered by lawmakers.
Passing a landmark climate bill is one thing. Implementing it is another
Now comes the hard part. The Globe’s David Abel reports on the expected challenges, clashes and contradictions confronting state officials as they try to implement the state’s new landmark climate bill. Not least among the potential clashes: environmentalists vs. utilities currently spending billions to upgrade natural-gas pipelines.
Weymouth compressor station releases yet another ‘unplanned’ plume of gas
Speaking of fossil-fuel pipelines, WBUR’s Mariam Wasser reports on the latest accidental release of gas – the third such incident in eight months – at the controversial Weymouth Natural Gas Compressor Station. And it’s sure to release more outrage aimed at the new facility.
Can teaching kids about the Holocaust be separated from teaching kids about anti-Semitism?
The Jewish News Syndicate reports that the town of Sharon has become the first community in the state to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, after a push by local activists.
We don’t know what the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby thinks about the Sharon move, but he’s worried that too many good-intentioned efforts to teach kids about the Holocaust end up being classes on hatred and genocide in general – and don’t focus on the core evil of anti-Semitism that led directly to the Holocaust. And, yes, he’s worried about current legislation on Beacon Hill that would mandate Holocaust education in Massachusetts.
ACLU pushes SJC to launch investigation into Springfield police
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Hampden County DA’s office designed to get the state’s highest court to order an in-depth investigation into the use of excessive force by members of the Springfield police department. Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports the suit accuses the DA’s office of failing to properly look into charges leveled against the department in a recent scathing report by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Speaking of police, from the Globe’s Adrian Walker: “Justice Department weighs in against Boston on police discrimination suit.”
Meanwhile, what is it about Methuen and police-chief contract controversies?
In other police news: New chief, same old tensions. Methuen Mayor Neil Perry is accusing the city council of overreaching by demanding to see the contract he signed with Thomas McEnaney to serve as interim police chief for three months, Bill Kirk of the Eagle-Tribune reports. McEnaney is slated to be paid $45,000 — just under the threshold that would make the contract a public document. If you recall, Methuen has had other police-contract problems in the past.
Cracking down on the ‘puppy mills’ pipeline
The Springfield City Council is striking a blow for adorable pets everywhere, voting to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in an effort to plug the “puppy mills” pipeline that mistreats animals, reports Peter Goonan at MassLive.
History-making: Cummington select board member calls it quits after 25 years
A quarter century is enough. Monica Vandoloski, the first woman ever elected to the Cummington Select Board, says she won’t run for re-election after 25 years on the board (in three stints stretching back to the late 1970s). Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette has more.
Whistleblowers, unite: Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden and John Dean to take part in UMass conference
Three of the most famous political/government whistleblowers in American history — Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden and John Dean – will be among the virtual participants at an upcoming conference sponsored by UMass’s GroundTruth Project, reports Ray Kelly at MassLive.
Guns, Safety and the Edge of Adulthood
The event highlights the report by the Center for Court Innovation which interviewed over 300 young people who have either carried a gun or have shot or been shot at, followed by a panel of youth workers reflecting on the implications that these research findings can have on Massachusetts productive approaches to youth whose lives are complicated by the intersection of guns, violence and trauma.
Your Rights in Recovery: A Toolkit
RIZE Massachusetts is launching a “Your Rights in Recovery” toolkit designed for people who may not have access to the right supports – often through no fault of their own – to manage their opioid use disorder and begin to recover on their own terms.
Small Business and our Neighborhoods: Reflections on Community, Resilience, and Innovation
Featuring leaders of local small businesses and nonprofits, this panel discussion will examine how the local small business community has managed over the past year, and consider what the future will look like.
Biodiversity Where You Are: Boston Area City Nature Challenge
Join the City Nature Challenge, Boston Public Library and Dr. Colleen Hitchcock from Brandeis University to find out how you can get involved in citizen and community science research this spring by joining City Nature Challenge. Learn about citizen science and nature documentation in the Boston area, how science and the public can work together to document nature, and what we’ve learned so far.
Propaganda, Media Literacy, and Democracy
This talk will explore the many efforts in education and journalism to increase the media literacy skills so vital to democracy. We’ll examine the challenges of this endeavor with Amy Callahan, who has studied this issue from many angles. A former journalist, public relations professional, and media literacy education scholar, she has an extensive background in teaching and journalism.
Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl
Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl, Author of Terror to the Wicked
Escaping Unfreedom: How Cuff Whittemore used his Military Service to Claim his Freedom
Cuff Whittemore of Arlington fought with his military company at Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, then seven more years in the Continental Army. Why did this African-American man choose to join the rebellion then re-enlist over and over after it had blossomed into a war? This online program, co-presented by the National Park Service, will happen over Zoom. Registration is required.
“I am a daughter of liberty”: Women in the American Struggle for Independence
The American Revolution brought the sudden and radical entrance of women into political life. Women actively participated in, and ensured the success of the boycotts of British goods that forced the repeal of oppressive legislation. When the war began, women took over the management of farms and shops, served as spies, saboteurs, messengers, and even soldiers. Their stories are worth telling.
MassEcon Forum: Massachusetts Business Incentives Primer
Massachusetts knows how to compete. On April 14, as the Red Sox take on the Twins, the Celtics get ready for the Lakers, and the Bruins prepare for the Islanders, join MassEcon and its Team Massachusetts partners as they explain the business incentive programs that enable Massachusetts to win global competitions for employers looking to invest in facilities and create new jobs.
How Snowflake’s Data Capabilities Increased Profitability for a Fortune 500 Retailer
Hear from Steve DiPietro, VP of Data Analytics Practice at Focus and former Snowflake customer, discuss how Snowflake’s near zero management ecosystem positively and profitably impacted his workflow at a global Fortune 500 retailer. He will be joined by Jonathan Tao, System Engineer and Andrew Fleming, Partner Manager at Snowflake to review top workload/focus areas for Snowflake’s users.
The Earth Convention – Sustainable Cities
In this session of Earth Convention, we will explore examples of cities across the world that are taking the lead on green initiatives. How can we design and plan urban infrastructure to be more sustainable? We will look at how citizens are organizing and working in partnership with city governments, civil society and businesses, and at how transport is changing.
Inaugural David Cooper Lecture – Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in the USA, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has remained a voice of authority and reason, bringing scientific evidence to the fore. He will sit down with Tegan Taylor, co-host of the ABC’s Coronacast, to discuss the past, present, and the future – from what we learned from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to what the ongoing impact of Covid-19 will be.
Project PhaEDRA and Star Notes – John G. Wolback Library Center for Astrophysics
Project PHaEDRA is an initiative to catalog, digitize and transcribe over 2500 logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers, a group of women astronomers. The Star Notes project provides an opportunity to transcribe the notes of the Harvard Computers and accentuate their legacy and contribution to the field of astrophysics.
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