Happening Today

SJC hearing, crowd-control weapons ban, and more

– – Supreme Judicial Court meets and is slated to hear arguments in Town of Norton v. Pesa, Suburban Home Health Care, Inc. v. Executive Office of Health and Human Services Office of Medicaid, Commonwealth v. Jacobs and an impounted case, 9 a.m.

Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development holds a hearing to hear from industry stakeholders about issues facing the sector and feedback on recovery methods, 10 a.m.

— Sens. Sal DiDomenico and Jason Lewis and Reps. Steven Ultrino and Marjorie Decker talk about their bills to expand Medicare Savings Program eligibility, 12 p.m.

Boston City Council Committee on Government Operations holds a hearing to consider restricting the use of chemical crowd-control agents and ‘kinetic impact projectiles’ by Boston police, 2:30 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is a guest on ‘Basic Black’ with Callie Crossley., WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7:30 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: 8 new deaths, 17,022 total deaths, 1,938 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Regulators: GOP’s Fattman and Lyons may have violated campaign finance rules

It’s now all out in the open – and it’s getting serious. WBUR’s Todd Wallack and the Globe’s Matt Stout report regulators at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance have concluded Republican state Sen. Ryan Fattman, his wife and GOP state chair James Lyons may have committed campaign finance violations – and outgoing OCPF chief Michael Sullivan has referred the case to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office for possible prosecution or other action.

Needless to say, GOP officials are furious. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Lisa Kashinsky: “Massachusetts Republicans slam ‘political hit job’ as outgoing campaign finance director lobs allegations of wrongdoing.”

Meanwhile, Republicans challenge last year’s mail-in voting and election results

We might as well bump this item up, considering we’re already on the subject of campaigns and Republicans and legal action, etc., i.e. how four losing GOP congressional and legislative candidates are suing over early mail-in voting in 2020, arguing the pandemic-spurred policy “encouraged unqualified individuals to vote,” CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports.

They’re asking that the 2020 election results be overturned. 


Mixed signals on surge (but not on variants)

Switching to the pandemic: So where do we stand when it comes to the current mini-surge of late? It’s not clear. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that the number of communities at high risk for COVID-19 has spiked again, to 77 towns and cities, up from 55 last week. But the number of coronavirus cases in schools has dipped a bit (MassLive) and overall cases seem to be flattening out statewide (also MassLive). 

Then again, more virulent variants keep spreading in Massachusetts, causing concern among public health officials in general and on the Cape in particular (SHNS).

New Hampshire to open vaccine appointments to everyone – even out-of-staters

Traffic on I-93 may get a little crowded later this month. Or maybe not. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has announced that, starting April 19, his state will begin allowing anyone over age 16 to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of residency. And he means everyone across the country, according to a report at WCVB. His rationale: “With all states expanding eligibility on April 19, we have confidence that there will not be a run on the system.”

But opening up eligibility is one thing. Getting actual shots is another. Thus … keep an eye on northbound I-93 traffic.


UMass Amherst plans full ‘return to normal operations’ this fall

Will Katcher at MassLive reports UMass Amherst plans to allow a nearly full occupancy of its dorms this fall, but the university hasn’t made a decision yet on vaccination requirements. We’re pretty sure town officials in Amherst will want to hear about those vaccination policies.


Lawmakers to Baker on spending: Stop treating us like a ‘red-headed stepchild’

Some Beacon Hill lawmakers believe they’re being “left out of the process” by the Baker Administration when it comes to how federal relief funds are spent in Massachusetts – and they want it to change, reports SHNS’s Colin Young. “I don’t want to feel like the red-headed stepchild as a member of the Legislature and left out of this, and I’m sure my colleagues don’t want to feel [that way] about it,” says Rep. John Barrett.

Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune has more on lawmakers’ complaints about the administration’s alleged failure to communicate.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Vaccination policies: Could Italy learn a lesson or two from Massachusetts?

Here’s an interesting story. The Washington Post reports that Italy’s COVID-19 death rate, despite vaccinations, hasn’t come down much. Why? There are a number of reasons cited, but scientists and others believe it’s partly because they’ve been mostly vaccinating the wrong people in Italy, i.e. younger workers, not older residents.

Here’s the local angle, via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: The state’s early-stage emphasis on vaccinating older (and more vulnerable) residents seems to be working in terms of reducing case counts and hospitalizations.

Washington Post

So what do you do with tons of used nose swabs?

We’re talking about tons and tons of used nose swabs, needles, masks and other COVID-19 medical waste. Where’s it all going? Hadley Barndollar at Wicked Local reports it’s not as simple as dumping it all in landfills.

Wicked Local

Amtrak’s ‘Vermonter’ train service returning to western Mass.

Another sign the pandemic is loosening its grip (at least when it comes to re-openings): Amtrak plans to resume ‘Vermonter’ train stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield, starting July 19, reports Jim Kinney at MassLive.


Hodgson sounds immigration charge and retreat at the same time

We’ll just go with the headlines on this one. From Craig LeMoult at GBH: “Hodgson Leads Hundreds Of Sheriffs In Calling For Restoration of Trump Immigration Policies.” And from Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “Settlement With Bristol County Sheriff Would Uphold Release Of Immigration Detainees.”

Combined, it’s sort of an Oliver P. Smith strategy.

Less punitive: MBTA to lower fines for fare jumpers

There’s a number of reasons why the T plans to reduce the fine for fare evasion from $100 to $50 for the first offense. But when it comes right down to it, the T has “gotten repeated requests” to reduce fines now considered unnecessarily punitive, as Universal Hub reports. 

Universal Hub

Proposal would strike ‘selectmen’ from state Constitution

The word “selectman” has been scrubbed by more than 100 communities in Massachusetts in recent years, usually replaced with the gender-neutral “select board.” And now “selectmen” may be scrubbed from the Massachusetts Constitution. SHNS has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Shut out: Minority firms got tiny slice of $100 million Polar Park construction pie

Their math is a little fuzzy. Less than 1 percent of the $100 million in construction contracts awarded for Worcester’s Polar Park went to certified minority-owned firms, despite claims from the general contractor that the number was closer to 4 percent, Carrie Saldo at GBH News reports. 


Move it (again): Native Americans say Boston Marathon conflicts with Indigenous People’s Day

Find another date.The Newton Indigenous Peoples Day Committee has launched an online petition drive to push the Boston Athletic Association to move this year’s Boston Marathon, now slated for Oct. 11, out of respect for the Indingenous Peoples Day holiday in Newton, reports Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press, via the MetroWest Daily News.  

MetroWest Daily News

Long road back: State’s casinos still drawing well below 40 percent capacity limit

Plenty of elbow room still available. Now allowed to operate at 40 percent of full capacity, the state’s three casinos are still drawing crowds much closer to the 25 percent level, the Mass. Gaming Commission was told Thursday. Peter Goonan at MassLive has the details. 


UMass heads to NCCA’s men’s hockey championship game

And, finally, a big congrats to the UMass men’s hockey team, which last night scored a dramatic OT win over two-time defending champ Minnesota Duluth to advance to Saturday night’s national championship game against St. Cloud State. The Globe’s Andrew Mahoney and the Herald’s Rick Thompson have more on last night’s big win.

Sunday public affairs TV: Kim Janey, Charlie Baker and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who this week announced she will be running for mayor, talks with host Jon Keller about race relations, improving public education and policy issues surrounding the city’s economic re-opening.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m.  REPEAT of last week’s show: Doug Banks of the Boston Business Journal and Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe discuss what the ‘new normal’ might look like for local industries; building the office of the future with Elizabeth Lowery of Elkus Manfredi Architects and Jim Tierney of JLL; and Aubuchon Hardware CEO Will Aubuchon.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Gov. Charlie Baker, who talks with Ben Simmoneau and Janet Wu, followed by a political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Andrew Goodrich.

CityLine, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Growing a New Economy, with guests including Richard Taylor, managing partner of Nubian Square Ascends, and Aisha Samuels, CEO of the Benjamin Franklin institute of Technology.

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


Janey expects report on police commissioner this month – CommonWealth Magazine

Race and ethnicity data on vaccination needed for equitable access, says Ayanna Pressley – Boston Herald


Holyoke city council to pick acting mayor on Monday – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hampden County Retirement Board member resigns following critical audit – MassLive

Westport selectman candidate Walter Moniz responds to residency questions – Herald News


Investigators seize documents from Trump executive’s former daughter-in-law – The Hill

States Keep Repeating the Same Mistake With Marijuana Legalization – Slate

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