Happening Today

Gaming Commission, federal stimulus oversight, and more

— The Gaming Commission with an agenda that includes updates on on-site casinos, racing opening day and GameSense responsible gambling advisors, and more, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate meets without a calendar, 11 a.m.

— Acting Mayor Kim Janey appears on ‘Boston Public Radio’ for her first edition of ‘Ask The Acting Mayor,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 11 a.m.

House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight meets with Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan expected to ‘present a detailed analysis of the programs set up by the Baker administration under the prior spending bills,’ 11 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley joins Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health dean of the faculty Michelle Williams and lecturer Jeff Sanchez, a former state representative, to talk about topics including ending racism in public health, 12 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: 21 new deaths, 17,014 total deaths, 2,292 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Who’s last? About 1.5 million state residents have preregistered to book vaccine

It does kind of make you wonder who’s the 1,500,000th person in line. The Globe’s Travis Andersen reports on the huge number of people who have now pre-registered to get vaccines. The good news (we think): More than half of them have had “the opportunity to book appointments,” Gov. Charlie Baker says.

The other good news: The state has added two-more sites where pre-registered people can ultimately get shots, reports MassLive’s Benjamin Kail.

Vax passport talk: No … maybe … perhaps … not now

Is it a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe later’ response? You decide. GBH’s Mike Deehan and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday rejected the idea of a vaccine passport in Massachusetts – for now. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Matt Murphy and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report the governor yesterday simply refused to talk about a vaccine passport – for now.

One thing is clear: The issue isn’t going away. Some lawmakers are now pressuring the governor to act on passports. … Fyi: Jon Keller at CBS Boston has more on the debate.

Coronavirus updates: Emerson reins it in, child cases spike, variants hearing

There’s a lot happening on the pandemic front this morning, so we’re just going with headlines in this post, starting with MassLive: “More than 4,500 COVID cases confirmed among children younger than 14 over the last two weeks.” … But from the Telegram: “Worcester schools see few cases after first week of hybrid teaching.” …. From SHNS: “Committee Plans Hearing on Virus Variants.” … From WCVB: “Emerson College suspends in-person activities amid spike in COVID-19 cases.”… And from CBS Boston: “Can Your Employer Require You To Get A COVID-19 Vaccine?”

House and Senate leaders agree to school-aid boost above Baker’s goal

Not enough. MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Katie Lannan report that Beacon Hill budget writers have reached an agreement to increase local school-aid funding next fiscal year by more than $20 million over what Gov. Charlie Baker proposed in his 2022 budget plan.

In a clear case of “too much,” lawmakers learned yesterday just how much more the state (and feds) are expected to spend on MassHealth costs. We’re talking 10-figure numbers here, folks. SHNS’s Colin Young has more.

Janey and Wu compete over equity in city contracting

Coincidence? GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith and the BBJ’s Greg Ryan report on Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s announcement yesterday on new initiatives designed to bring more racial diversity to those awarded city contracts in Boston. And, what do you know, rival mayoral candidate Michelle Wu (and co-author Sheldon Lloyd) just so happen to have an op-ed in the Globe this morning about greater diversity in city contracting, specifically food-services contracting.

‘Is equity a winning issue in a Boston mayoral race?’

Speaking of equity, Jon Keller tackled the issue earlier this week in his MassterList podcast. And now the Globe’s Joan Vennochi is tackling the same topic in a column headlined this morning: “Is equity a winning issue in a Boston mayoral race?” Some candidates seem to think so. See post above. And they may be right when it comes to the preliminary election. But in a general election, it’s all about additions, as they say, and the winning vote-getting formula changes.

Software patch to the rescue?

It’s not enough to restart vehicle inspections this week in Massachusetts and other states. But a three-reporter team at the Globe is reporting there may be light at the end of the outage tunnel when it comes to software patches and the malware attack that’s effectively crashed the RMV’s vehicle-inspection system.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, ransomware attack forces Haverhill to close schools

In other malicious digital-attack news, schools in Haverhill today will be closed due to a ransomware attack on the district’s computer system, according to a report at NBC Boston. One more digital attack on a government agency and, unfortunately, we’ll have a trend this week in Massachusetts.

NBC Boston

Test case: Pot shop sues Haverhill over impact fees

Here we go. Cannabis dispensary Stem is suing Haverhill over the community impact fees it’s being charged, saying the city has failed to show the shop is having any negative effects on the community, Dan Adams at the Globe reports. The long-anticipated case could dramatically alter the local approval process for pot shops and comes as some communities have already moved away from collecting the fees. 

Boston Globe

The Duxbury doldrums: Can it get any worse?

A controversy over anti-Semitism. A separate controversy over child-rape charges. These aren’t the best of days for Duxbury’s school district. The Globe’s Hanna Krueger and the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Rick Sobey connect the scandal dots in a small town now reeling from one too many scandals.

Red Sox and Celtics wade into Boston … exam schools fight?

If you want the conventional coverage of the legal brawl over Boston’s exam-school admissions policies, by all means read the pieces by CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas and the Globe’s James Vaznis and Felicia Gans. But if you want to read about why the heck the Red Sox and the Celtics have gotten involved, the Herald’s Rick Sobey is your source.

Boston Herald

The Globe: property tax deadbeat?

The BBJ’s Don Seiffert reports on what’s turned into a somewhat nasty fight between the city of Taunton and the Boston Globe over the latter’s property taxes. The dispute ties back to the Globe’s troubled-from-the-start printing presses in Taunton.


Zero point zero: Report says Marlborough’s Hologic paid no federal income taxes

Speaking of corporate taxes, a think tank says Marlborough-based Hologic is among the major U.S. corporations that paid no federal income taxes in 2020 and actually collected $62 million in tax credits on its $3.8 billion in revenue, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. The company is pushing back on the report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, saying the analysis missed some major payments. 


Like clockwork: Pols erupt after latest ‘unplanned’ gas release at Weymouth station

You could have timed it with a stopwatch, i.e. the inevitable angry reaction of local pols to the latest “unplanned” release of natural gas from the controversial Weymouth compressor station. The Globe’s Emma Platoff has the details. Is it safe to say there’s something amiss at the Weymouth site? Three gas releases in eight months?

No bingo, no charity

Ouch. The state’s Lottery Commission says the bottom fell out of charitable gaming revenues last year, with churches and other organizations collecting $19.1 million in 2020 compared to $56 million the year before. Christian Wade at the Salem News reports bingo was hit particularly hard by the pandemic-forced church closers, with just over $4.million collected compared to $22 million the prior year. 

Salem News

Braintree school committee grapples with yet another social-media yapping controversy

Another day, another Facebook flap. Except Mark Zuckerberg isn’t involved this time (not directly). The Patriot Ledger’s Fred Hanson reports that the Braintree School Committee is developing new social-media policies after the latest controversy over Facebook posts by committee members. 

Patriot Ledger

Downing ups the ante on clean energy goals

Forget 50 percent, 75 percent or 85 percent. Dem gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing is calling ‘em and raising the ante to 100 percent clean energy by 2040 in Massachusetts. Beat that! The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky has more.

Boston Herald

Worth the wait? Mendon strip club proposal moves after 13 years and court battle

Patience is obviously a virtue in the world of strip clubs. Lauren Young at the MetroWest Daily News reports an adult entertainment business in Mendon that was first proposed in 2008 has now gotten the green light, some seven years after Showtime Entertainment won a federal appeals court ruling to open.  

MetroWest Daily News

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.

RIZE Massachusetts

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.

Harvard University

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.

Boston Public Library

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.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl

Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl, Author of Terror to the Wicked

American Ancestors/NEHGS, Boston Public Library, and the State Library of Massachusetts

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.

Boston Public Library

“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.

Cary Memorial Public Library

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.

Focus Technology

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.

5 x 15

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.

UNSW Centre for Ideas

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.

Boston Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Fidelity to hire about 600 people in New England – Boston Globe

Boston Marathon athletes may need two negative coronavirus tests before race even if vaccinated – Boston Herald


Susan Labrie, state’s first female fire chief, to retire – Daily Hampshire Gazette

St. Vincent says patient census up since strike – Telegram & Gazette

‘The gaps have grown’: Reporter Alec MacGillis talks Amazon, regional inequality and his hometown of Pittsfield – Berkshire Eagle


Biden to nominate official from gun control group to head ATF – Washington Post

Matt Gaetz’s Travel Records Don’t Do What He Claims They Do – Forbes

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