Happening Today

Cannabis Control, facial recognition, COVID updates

Cannabis Control Commission gets an update on its social equity program, a disproportionate impact study and hemp products, 10 a.m.

Special Commission on Facial Recognition, created under the 2020 policing law, holds a meeting that will be livestreamed on malegislature.gov, 11 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Holyoke Mayor Terry Murphy hold a press conference to provide updated information on the American Rescue Plan and its impact on Holyoke, 11:30 a.m.

— Acting Mayor Kim Janey joins Boston’s Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez and Chief of Economic Development Midori Morikawa for a press conference to discuss the latest COVID-19 cases and vaccination trends, 12 p.m.

— ‘Radio Boston’ week-in-review panel features former Acting Gov. Jane Swift and WBUR senior news analyst John Carroll, WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 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: 5 new deaths, 17,087 total deaths, 1,884 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Pfizer CEO: Third vaccine shot likely needed within 12 months

We thought people would be more than a little interested in this one, i.e. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla saying people will “likely” need a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated,  CNBC reports.

In other vaccination news, SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that folks on Cape Cod are worried about the pause in Johnson & Johnson shots because their region has been particularly dependent on the J&J vaccines. Lannan explains.


Two-faced: New Hampshire to drop mask mandate but … residents urged to wear masks

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu yesterday announced that his state’s mask mandate will expire today, though he’s urging residents to continue wearing masks in public amid the ongoing pandemic and increase in hospitalizations, WCVB and Herald’s Joe Dwinell report. File under: “Two-faced masks”?

Signs of recovery: Gaming revenues rise to near pre-pandemic levels

They’re back on track. Gaming revenues have roared back to near pre-pandemic levels at the state’s casinos and slots parlor, even as some coronavirus restrictions remain in place, Peter Goonan at MassLive reports. 


Up and down: As school virus cases jump, community hotspots decrease

It’s another mixed bag of data this morning on the coronavirus front in Massachusetts. MassLive’s Melissa Hanson reports on the increase in the number of school-related coronavirus cases over the past week. But NBC Boston reports that the number of communities with the highest coronavirus risk fell to 59 over the past week, down from 77.

In other pandemic-related news, from the Globe’s Rob Weisman and Kay Lazar: “Mass. COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes drops by 1,200 as the state adopts a new way to report long-term-care deaths.”

Healey: Funeral scammers are preying on families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus

The lowlifes go lower. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Scammers are targeting people who lost a loved one to coronavirus and telling them they will register the family for up to $9,000 in reimbursement under the FEMA funeral assistance program, warns Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. The AG is alerting residents to be aware of these potential scams.”

Boston Herald

Businesses get a one-month reprieve on surprise UI rate hike

To give Beacon Hill lawmakers time to craft a solution to the surprise spike in unemployment-insurance fees facing many businesses, the Baker administration notified employers late yesterday that they don’t need to make a first-quarter UI payment until June 1, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports.

Boston Globe

House approves $400M rebuild of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

They did it – and now it’s off to the Senate. MassLive’s Steph Solis has more on the race-against-time push to pass legislation to rebuild the pandemic-ravaged Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.


Cambridge to test guaranteed income with $500 monthly payments to hard-hit households

If Congress or the state won’t do it, Cambridge will, damn it. Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy reports that the city of Cambridge plans to soon provide $500 a month (“no strings attached”) to 120 single-caretaker households as part of a pilot program to gauge how a universal-income system might work. Needless to say, this will be closely watched by pols, policy-makers and others as the debate over guaranteed incomes heats up across the country.

Cambridge Day

Vehicle inspections: Could they resume this weekend?

Registry of Motor Vehicles officials say they’re visiting 1,800 auto shops across the state in an attempt to fix the vendor-related software problems that have shut down vehicle inspections over the past few weeks and … they might have the problems fixed by this weekend. We’ll see. WCVB has more.


Just another scandal: Most of Fall River yawns as ex-mayor goes on trial next week

Just a blip on the radar. That’s how many Fall River business and political leaders say the Jasiel Correia era will be remembered in the city as the former mayor’s trial on federal bribery and extortion charges gets set to kick off Monday morning, Jo C. Goode of the Herald-News reports. 

Herald News

Federal judge: Boston’s exam school policy is ‘race-neutral’

From the Herald’s Alexi Cohan: “A federal judge has upheld a new, temporary admissions policy at Boston’s elite exam schools, calling it “race-neutral,” despite the parent group that brought the lawsuit claiming it was discriminatory.” The Globe’s James Vaznis has more on the judge’s ruling.

House’s budget blueprint generates mix of pandemic-era reactions

Reactions to any state budget usually fall along ideological lines – and the reactions to the House’s proposed $47.6 billion budget blueprint is no different. But most groups are raising interesting points about the House budget proposal unveiled earlier this week, largely due to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic. SHNS’s Colin Young has an excellent summary of all the budget summaries.

In other State House news, also from indispensable SHNS: “Baker resurrects bill regulating transportation network companies.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Police behaving badly update: Milton cop accused of threatening black teen and then throttling her own husband

The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi reports that charges have been filed against an off-duty Milton police officer accused of threatening a Black youth over his support for the Black Lives Matter movement – and then assaulting her husband who apparently tried to intervene in the confrontation.

While on the subject of cops and race-related issues, via the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “Dozens rally to reopen the investigations in Boston police killings of two Black men in wake of Daunte Wright slaying.”

Meanwhile, state trooper accused of kidnapping and strangling girlfriend: It was self-defense!

In other (alleged) police-behaving-badly news, from the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “The lawyer for the Massachusetts State Police sergeant who allegedly strangled and kidnapped his girlfriend plans to argue that the statie was acting in self-defense.”

From the Herald’s Howie Carr: “Where do the Massachusetts State Police keep finding these guys?”

Boston Herald

Rollins: Former assistant DA is no paradigm of virtue, but he didn’t attack any women while a prosecutor

Yesterday wasn’t exactly a banner day for law-enforcement officials in general. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and WBUR’s Deborah Becker report that Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins has concluded that former assistant prosecutor Adam Foss may have been a “troubling” presence in the DA’s office during his tenure there, but he most certainly didn’t rape any office colleagues. Gaffin and Becker explain.

MassMutual supervisors subpoenaed in ‘Roaring Kitty’ case

The media may have moved on from the GameStop and “Roaring Kitty” stock-trading story, but Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office obviously hasn’t. The Globe’s Anissa Gardizy reports securities regulators in Galvin’s office have subpoenaed past MassMutual supervisors of Keith Gill, aka “Roaring Kitty.”

Meanwhile, state regulators who began investigating the Robinhood stock-trading platform after its role in the Gamestop stock fiasco are now seeking the authority to pull the company’s license to operate in the state, Andy Rosen at the Globe reports.

Boston Globe

Eminent front? Nahant mulls taking waterfront land eyed by Northeastern

Just take it. A town meeting article in Nahant would have the town take a swath of land on East Point where local residents have long battled a proposed expansion of Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center. Elyse Carmosino atthe Lynn Item has the details. 

Lynn Item

Farewell, William Evans

They paid their final respects earlier this week in Washington, D.C. And they paid their final, sad respects yesterday in western Massachusetts to the late U.S. Capitol police officer William ‘Billy’ Evans, a North Adams native who was slain earlier this month in the latest attack on the Capitol. The Berkshire Eagle has a full report on yesterday’s funeral attended by hundreds. 

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday public affairs TV: Annissa Essaibi George, Eric Lesser and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George, who talks with host Jon Keller admissions policies for exam schools, charter school expansion and police reforms.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney discusses pandemic reopenings, racial equity, and the climate change bill; CareQuest CEO Myechia Minter-Jordan talks about efforts to improve access to oral health; and the BBJ’s Doug Banks reviews some of the top local business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: State Sen. Eric Lesser, 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: Not Just Funny Business, a look at the Boston Comics of Color Festival and featuring Keith Knight and Cagen Luse, among others.

Governance and Democracy in Peril: From the US Capitol to the World

The last few years have reminded us that democracy is still a new & fragile way of governing. The big question is whether democratic systems can manage the societal, technological, & environmental stresses that will intensify in time. The challenge to democracy will be most intense in big, diverse countries like the US — polities that struggled to honor basic human rights while maintaining unity.

UMass Boston: McCormack Graduate School

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Livestream Tour

Join for an online/virtual tour of the “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” exhibit. The retrospective was organized by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, based on the best selling book by journalist Irin Carmon and attorney Shana Knizhnik.

Washington DC HIstory & Culture

Defense Project Series: A Talk with HR McMaster on Global Security

Please join MG(Ret) Bill Rapp in a lively talk with HR McMaster, former National Security Advisor and retired Lieutenant General, as McMaster discusses global security challenges for the United States and its allies in the coming decade. McMaster calls for clear eyed recognition of major threats facing the U.S. and to avoid the hubris that has marked much of the last 30 years of foreign policy.

Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy: Kelsey Jack, University of California, Santa Barbara

Kelsey Jack, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Harvesting the Rain: The Adoption of Environmental Technologies in the Sahel”. Seminar held via Zoom and is open to the public.

Harvard Kennedy School

Power in Plants: A Conversation on the Environmental Impacts of Plant-Based Dietary Shifts

Please join the Center for Leadership for a discussions on the correlation between climate change solutions and sustainable food futures through plant-based meat with Rebekah Moses, Head of Impact Strategy at Impossible Foods Inc.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


Swan boats return to Boston Public Garden lagoon – Boston Globe

Protesters Gather On Beacon Hill, Demand Prosecution Of Police Officers Who Kill People – WBUR


Controversy re-emerges over Hamilton housing plan – Salem News

Judge upholds Bourne ban on recreational marijuana – Cape Cod Times

Carpenters union rallies outside Framingham hotel where they say tax fraud occurred – MetroWest Daily News


Derek Chauvin’s defense rests after he declines to testify in his murder trial in the death of George Floyd – Washington Post

Jeff Bezos releases final letter to Amazon shareholders – CNBC

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