Happening Today

Governor’s Council, post-pandemic resiliency, and more

Governor’s Council interviews Hingham District Court Assistant Clerk Magistrate Paul Fullam, nominated by Gov. Baker for a promotion to Hingham clerk magistrate, 10 a.m.

Department of Transportation Board of Directors Capital Programs Committee meets virtually to discuss grant programs, construction projects and the capital investment plan, 10:30 a.m.

— The Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency holds a public hearing on child care, K-12 education, higher education, and regional issues specific to the northeastern part of the state, 1 p.m.

Mass Action Against Police Brutality holds a press conference to reflect upon the Derek Chauvin verdict, State House, 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: 3 new deaths, 17,138 total deaths, 968 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Relief and even celebration: Chauvin guilty verdicts defuse tensions across Massachusetts and nation

Massachusetts National Guard troops were put on alert (WBUR). Retailers were boarding up windows (Universal Hub). Boston police were poised for potential unrest (WCVB). All in anticipation of the Derek Chauvin verdicts and … the former Minnesota cop yesterday was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, whose death last year touched off widespread protests over police misconduct towards Black Americans (Washington Post).

The reaction across the nation: Relief and even celebration, the Post reports separately. In Massachusetts, there was also relief and celebration, though mixed with sadness over Floyd’s death. The Boston Globe and CBS Boston and GBH and MetroWest Daily News and the Berkshire Ealge have more on local reactions of pols, activists and others. From the Globe’s Renée Graham: “We knew Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. But Black people never expect justice.” But the Globe’s Jeneé Osterheldt is not so sure justice was served.

Median home price in Greater Boston hits record of nearly $725,000

Housing crisis? What housing crisis? We figured readers might be interested in this piece by the Globe’s Tim Logan on how the region’s already ridiculous housing prices have gotten even more ridiculous.

The housing shortage is partly the cause. But the demand for single-family homes in the ‘burbs has only increased since the onset of the pandemic, due to the now-verified exodus of residents from urban areas to non-urban areas, as the Globe’s Amanda Kaufman reports.

Boston Globe

Education updates: MCAS graduation requirement waived, vocational admission changes OK’d

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was busy yesterday. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports the board officially approved a proposal to waive the state’s MCAS graduation requirement for the high school class of 2022. The reason: the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Naomi Martin reports that the board, under pressure, approved “preliminary changes to the admissions process at vocational high schools aimed at giving disadvantaged students a better chance of attending.”

The outdoor mask mandate: Pressure mounts to ditch it

For now, Gov. Charlie Baker is holding firm to his emergency order that everyone should wear protective masks – even outdoors. But WCVB and the Herald’s Rick Sobey and Erin Tiernan report on the growing calls to ditch the outdoor-mask mandate.

BPD documents: Police commissioner knew of Rose molestation charge while union demanded his reinstatement

Not that it matters at this point, but here’s a question: Did then Mayor Thomas Menino know too? It seems everyone else did. WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning and the Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Dugan Arnett report that newly released redacted documents from the BPD show that: A.) The Boston police union successfully pushed to reinstate Patrick Rose to a police post after he was accused of molesting a child in the 1990s and B.) Then Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans knew the charge against Rose was likely true.

Amid more than 1,100 budget amendments, this one clearly stands out: Voter ID requirement

MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that more than 1,100 amendments have been filed to the House’s $47.6 billion state budget proposal on Beacon Hill. And, separately, Solis reports that one of those amendments, proposed by state Rep. Nick Boldyga, would require would-be voters to show an ID before receiving a ballot. Critics call it a classic voter-suppression move.

In other legislative-funding news, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “Supporters Eye Early College Credit Expansion.” 

The Few, the Proud, the Fare Verifiers

When the MBTA eventually switches to a new cashless fare system, the T will likely hire 80 to 120 people to verify that people did indeed pay to ride buses and subway cars, etc., according to GM Steve Poftak. After all, a semi-honor-system can be taken only so far. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has more.


Taking aim at Smith & Wesson: Activists call for ban on assault weapon manufacturing in Massachusetts

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that lawmakers, activists and parents who lost children to mass shootings are banding together to push legislation that would ban the manufacturing of assault weapons for civilian use in Massachusetts – in addition to banning the possession of assault weapons in Massachusetts. 

Needless to say, some aren’t happy about the proposal that would have a major impact on a certain Springfield-based company.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Lawmakers: Childcare system needs more than just a little tender loving care

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on legislative calls to make changes to the state’s childcare system – a system they say was inadequate before the pandemic and more than inadequate during the pandemic.


Cambridge mayor on guaranteed-income initiative: Cash is the ‘most powerful way to do the most good’

She happens to be right. Study after study has proven that handing out simple cash does more good to help the poor than most other welfare programs combined. GBH’s Zoe Matthews has more on Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui’s thoughts on her city’s planned experiment with so-called ‘guaranteed income.’


Not-so-super: Henry apologizes for now imploded soccer league idea

Who would have thought European soccer could make such big news here? Anyway, Red Sox, Globe and Liverpool Football owner John Henry took to Twitter in the early hours this morning to issue an apology to fans of his Liverpool soccer club for Fenway Sports Group’s role in the controversial – and now seemingly dead — proposal to form a new European Super League, Chris Cotillo at MassLive reports.


Up in vapor: Amherst health board plans smoking and vaping crackdown

No means no. The Amherst Board of Health is mulling some of the state’s toughest local restrictions on tobacco use, with plans to ban both smoking and vaping in hotels and inns and at Uber and Lyft waiting areas, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. The rules would treat vaping the same as smoking, but one question has yet to be answered: Whether the updated regulations will address cannabis consumption.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

An early preliminary election in Boston? It’s under consideration

We missed this one from the other day, i.e. a report by the Globe’s Danny McDonald about how some on the Boston City Council want to move the city’s preliminary election up a week to give officials more time to distribute vote-by-mail ballots. 

In other mayoral election news, they held a candidates’ forum yesterday. Can you guess which mayoral candidate was too busy to virtually attend? Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has more.

Boston Globe

Expensive parting: UMass Boston spent $10,000 to bid farewell to Walsh

Remember that 11-page ad supplement in the Globe last month in which various big corporations and institutions bid a fond farewell to now former Mayor Marty Walsh? It cost UMass-Boston $10,000 and the Boston Public Library $2,000, among others ponying up money for the rather unusual and expensive good-bye gesture. Colman Herman at CommonWealth has more.

One more time: Markey and AOC reintroduce Green New Deal bill

Why not? Progressives are largely on a roll in Washington these days, so U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are pressing President Biden to go even “bigger and bolder” by passing their Green New Deal legislation to combat climate change, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.

Boston Herald

Indirect hit? Report says millionaire’s tax would hurt small businesses

The proposal to amend the state’s Constitution to allow millionaires to be taxed at a higher rate would impact thousands of small businesses and hamper the state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Pioneer Institute, the Herald’s Rick Sobey reports. 

Boston Herald

Hard pass: Billionaire turns down Warren invitation to testify on taxes

Hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman has turned down U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s incredibly kind offer to visit her D.C. lion’s den, i.e. a Congressional subcommittee hearing next week on her Ultra Millionaire Tax Act, as Brian Schwartz of CNBC reports. Cooperman was one of the most outspoken critics of Warren’s wealth tax proposal during her presidential run — and says he’s already made his feelings on the idea clear.


All hail the champs!

Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Ronald Mariano were among those welcoming the state’s newest sports champs to the State House yesterday: The 2021 NCCA Division 1 men’s hockey champions from UMass. And the governor had high praise for the team, as CBS Boston reports.

CBS Boston

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

Webinar on Climate & Economy

Join ELM on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22 from 12:00-12:45PM for a webinar on Climate & Economy moderated by Bethany Patten with Ivan Frishberg, Secretary Michael Kennealy, and Lauren Jones.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Forum: The Decisive Decade for Climate Action

As we begin this critical decade for climate action with growing momentum for protecting and restoring our global commons, the intensity of this moment makes it a uniquely compelling and privileged time to be alive.

Harvard Kennedy School

Anthony Amore, Author of Stealing Rembrandts

Anthony Amore is currently Director of Security and Chief Investigator of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where he is charged with the ongoing efforts to recover 13 works of art stolen from the museum on March 18, 1990. He will talk about his 2011 true-crime bestseller Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists.

Cary Memorial Public Library

How are Landlords Managing the COVID-19 Rental Crisis? Evidence from a Large Cross-Site Survey

In this session, Elijah de la Campa will present preliminary findings from a recent Center-supported survey of landlords in a dozen U.S. cities. He will offer findings on the magnitude of the rent arrears crisis, the steps landlords have been taking in response to loss of income, and their willingness to participate in public and non-profit rental assistance programs.

Harvard Kennedy School

The National Antiracist Book Festival

Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research will host the 2nd annual National Antiracist Book Festival virtually. This is the first and only book festival that brings together, showcases, and celebrates the nation’s leading antiracist writers and helps to prepare the writers of tomorrow. Panelists are topically organized with two authors and a monitor.

The BU Center for Antiracist Research

The Color of Covid: Reflections on Pandemics Past and Present

Dr. Paul Farmer will share stories of the transformative effects of healthcare for people in global hot spots, and he will inspire us with his continued commitment to solving the most intractable of medical problems. A medical anthropologist and physician, Dr. Farmer has devoted his life to improving health care for the world’s poorest people.

Cary Memorial Public Library

From Citizens United to Bots United: Reinterpreting “Robot Rights” as a Corporate Power Grab

Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century is a talk series organized and facilitated by Mathias Risse, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs, and Philosophy. Speaker is Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Harvard Kennedy School

Exploring Trees and Equity in Boston through Literature

In collaboration with Speak for the Trees, Boston, we will be presenting resources to help you learn about tree and nature equity, environmental justice, and the natural world that exists throughout the city of Boston. We will be highlighting literary, scientific and art collections and other resources available through the Boston Public Library that are of interest to adults teens and children.

Boston Public Library

Leadership During Crisis Featuring Carmen Yulín Cruz

Join UMass Women into Leadership for a conversation with Carmen Yulín Cruz, former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as she discusses her thoughts on leadership during crisis.

UMass Women into Leadership

Transportation Tech Trends: 3 Perspectives on the Future Direction of Mobility

Between now and 2030, policymakers and regulators will need to guide deployment of new technologies, including connected vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, and micromobility, to maximize benefits while minimizing harm for all road users. This conversation will feature three fellows working at the intersection of technology and transportation policy.

Harvard Kennedy School

Monuments and Memory: A Confederate Marker in Boston

In October 2017, Massachusetts officials removed one of the only markers in the state dedicated to the Confederacy from Fort Warren on Georges Island. This program will explore the history of the marker, the organization that erected it, and the broader national dialogue abut how we remember the American Civil War.

Boston Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Bostonians want to keep mask mandate in place for now – Boston Herald

Health officials struggle to contain Boston HIV outbreak – Boston Globe


Greater Lowell reps applaud EPA’s Merrimack River funding – Lowell Sun

Bus driver shortage leaves Framingham families in transportation limbo – MetroWest Daily News

Berkshire unemployment rate drops to 8 percent, lowest in a year – Berkshire Eagle


Senate Democrats split over legalizing weed – Politico

Foxconn mostly abandons $10 billion Wisconsin project touted by Trump – Reuters

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