Happening Today

Governor’s Council, Biden’s address to Congress, and more

Governor’s Council interviews Courtney Price, the governor’s nominee for clerk magistrate of the Leominster District Court, 11 a.m.

— Three new members of Congress — U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat, Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican — discuss whether Democrats and Republicans can find common ground on some matters in Washington, hosted by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, 3:30 p.m.

–U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ scheduled to talk about President Biden’s address later in the evening, expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Green New Deal, WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.

— President Joe Biden is scheduled to address a Joint Session of Congress, his first speech before Congress since he took office in January, available on most network channels, 9 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: 4 new deaths, 17,215 total deaths, 825 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The end is near: Baker eases outdoor mask restrictions, sets goal of full reopening by Aug. 1

It’s not over until it’s over. But it’s almost over – and yesterday Gov. Charlie Baker outlined a phased-in plan for a full reopening of the state’s economy by August 1. The staggered lifting of personal and business restrictions starts this Friday, when the state’s outdoor mask-mandate will be eased, followed by other measures next month. If all goes well … it’s back to a new normal in August.  SHNS’s Katie Lannan, a three-reporter team at the Globe, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan and CommonWealth Shira Schoenberg have more.  

Meanwhile, WBUR and the Herald have excellent summaries and timelines about what can reopen and when.

But Boston will delay its full reopening until late August

The city of Boston plans to go along with the state’s move to ease outdoor face-covering restrictions effective Friday. But Acting Mayor Kim Janey said yesterday that Boston will follow a modified version of the state’s phased-in business reopenings, effectively delaying a full reopening until August 22, report WCVB and Universal Hub.

Now the big question: What will Somerville do (Globe)?

The other big target date: May 17 for full in-person high school classes

Now that the K-8 young ones are out of the house, it’s time to give high-school students the boot too. The Herald’s Alexi Cohan and SHNS’s Michael Norton report that state education officials have set May 17 as the deadline for school districts to resume full in-person learning in high schools. And we assume many parents think May 17 can’t come soon enough.

Baker and Healey differ over mandatory vaxes for state workers

State required vaccine passports in order to work in Massachusetts? Nope. Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday said the state will leave it up to employers to decide whether to adopt mandatory vaccination requirements for employees and patrons – and, as an employer himself, Baker said he won’t require executive-branch employees to get shots, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports.

But Adam Reilly at GBH reports that Attorney General Maura Healey, a potential Democratic candidate for governor next year, is doubling down on her call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for public employees. 

It’s the sports, stupid

Think the coronavirus has been tamed? Nope. It’s still out there. And one of the leading causes for COVID clusters in the state may be school sports. GBH’s Adam Reilly has more.


So what’s on Baker’s post-pandemic TTD list? Go to a concert

CBS Boston reports Gov. Charlie Baker is among those starting to dream of a post-pandemic world – and he already has a top personal priority. “I want to take my kids and my wife and go to a concert. That’s what I want to do,” he says. Note: He didn’t say which concert. 

CBS Boston

Fight over education funding switches to the Senate

The House didn’t give them what they wanted, so education advocates are now turning their focus to the Senate, where they hope members will appropriate more funds to education than what’s currently in the Baker administration and House budgets, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg.

Keno sales: They’re back

In other state budget/revenue news, SHNS’s Colin Young reports that Lottery Keno sales, which were hit particularly hard during the pandemic due to bar and restaurant closures, have recently rebounded — and they’ve even topped pre-pandemic sales over the past eight weeks.

Needless to say, that’s good news for lawmakers, as they continue to debate the House budget (and add millions of dollars in spending via amendments) on Beacon Hill, as SHNS reports. More SHNS budget news here and here.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Eastward, ho: Berkshire lawmakers fret over expanded district footprints

State lawmakers in western Massachusetts are bracing for the geographical footprints of their districts to be expanded toward the east once state-level redistricting is completed later this year, Danny Jin at the Berkshire Eagle reports. Some worry that adding more communities to what in many cases are already far-flung districts could dilute local power in the State House. 

Berkshire Eagle

Great Society II? Neal unveils ambitious social programs as part of infrastructure bill

Universal paid family and medical leave. Guaranteed child care. Permanently expanded Child Tax Credit. They’re all part of infrastructure legislation outlined yesterday by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. They’re not classic New Deal-style ideas. More like Great Society-style ideas – and they’ll transform more than just the economy if passed. CNN and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail have more.

Looks like Rachael Rollins is the frontrunner for US Attorney

Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins is undergoing an FBI background check – the only finalist for U.S. Attorney to get the FBI treatment, reports the Globe’s Andrea Estes. And that’s leading to speculation that she’s indeed the top choice to be the next federal prosecutor for the district of Massachusetts. 

Boston Globe

Sen. Collins takes a pass on mayoral contest

It would have been a very late entry if he had decided otherwise. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and SHNS’s Matt Murphy report on the decision by state Sen. Nick Collins not to run for mayor of Boston in what’s already a crowded race.

In other election news (of the state variety), SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports that Secretary of State William Galvin is declining to say whether he will run for an eighth four-year term next year. Read into it what you will.

Don’t have a Real ID yet? Don’t worry. You now have two more years to get one

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has good news for all those dreading the long lines at RMV centers to get the new Real ID driver’s license: Due to the pandemic, the feds have postponed the deadline to get one for another two years.

SJC: Brookline wrongly fired Black firefighter upset over racist voicemail

The state’s high court has upheld a Civil Service ruling that found Brookline improperly fired and violated the civil rights of a Black firefighter who says he was the target of a racist comment by a supervisor, according to a report at WBUR. The long-running dispute over what happened began more than 10 years ago.


BC president Leahy faces calls to resign over handling of ex-priest accused of sexual assaults

For the Catholic church, it’s the scandal that won’t go away. From the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes: “Boston College’s president, the Rev. William P. Leahy, is facing growing criticism that he mishandled student complaints about inappropriate behavior by a priest in the late 1990s who has recently been accused of sexual assault.”

BC’s student newspaper, The Heights, has been all over the story, as the Globe notes.

Boston Globe

‘Boy wonder:’ Correia’s pre-mayoral startup is focus at corruption trial

Even before he was mayor, he was considered an entrepreneurial wunderkind. But prosecutors in the ongoing corruption trial of former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II say Correia’s post-college startup was effectively used by the alleged wunderkind to siphon investor money away for his own use. Jo Goode at the Herald-News and Shelley Murphy at the Globe have more.

Separately, legal analyst Daniel Medwed tells GBH’s Joe Mathieu that Correia, 29, could be facing the prospect of spending most of the rest of his life behind bars if convicted on all charges.

Naming names: Warren homes in on Amazon, Nike and FedEx in tax reform push

She’s leaning in on brand recognition. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now naming specific companies that she says are unfairly crushing small business competition as they evade paying federal income taxes. Brian Schwartz at CNBC reports Warren points to Nike, Amazon and FedEx as examples of corporations that need to pay more taxes to run the country.


Paint away: Lynn council OKs BLM street murual

Go for it. The Lynn City Council voted unanimously to approve a local high school student’s plan for a Black Lives Matter mural to be painted on the street in front of Lynn District Court, Allysha Dunnigan at the Lynn Item reports. The proposal had won support from U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and other pols ahead of the vote. 

Lynn Item

Across the Aisle: New Faces of Congress

The Kennedy Institute will host a bipartisan panel of new Members of Congress to discuss the current state of affairs in Washington as well as opportunities for finding common ground and forging collaboration in the 117th Congress.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

The Triumph of Nancy Reagan

Karen Tumulty, political columnist for The Washington Post, discusses her forthcoming book, The Triumph of Nancy Reagan, which draws on archives, letters, memoirs, White House records, and four years of interviews with people close to the Reagans to reveal new details of the multifaceted character of the First Lady. Eileen McNamara, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Boston Globe columnist, moderates.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

A Terrible Malady: Disease and Epidemics in New England

Epidemics of smallpox, measles, yellow fever, diphtheria, and other illnesses were common ailments in New England from colonial times up through the 19th century. Learn more about these diseases why they were so greatly feared by your ancestors, and remedies they may have used.

Boston Public Library

A Virtual Discussion with Special Guest Philip Mangano: Scaling Housing Solutions for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness: Hotel/Motel Conversions

The increasing number of the most vulnerable and disabled individuals living long-term on the streets and languishing in shelters is only likely to grow as we continue to experience the aftershock effects of the pandemic across the nation. But the current housing development system will need new strategies to accelerate the development of safe, supportive housing.

Rasky Partners

Louis Menand – The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

Harvard Book Store joins us in welcoming Louis Menand, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Metaphysical Club, for a discussion of his latest book, The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War. He will be joined in conversation by our president David Leonard. This program is part of our Repairing America series.

Boston Public Library

The Path Ahead for Climate Change Policy

HPCA Director Robert Stavins will engage Nat Keohane in conversation focusing on what comes next for climate policy both in the United States and abroad.

Harvard Kennedy School

When the Doughnut Meets the City: Can We Create Regenerative and Distributive Local Economies?

Doughnut Economics starts with the goal of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet. Achieving this calls for economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. What would it look like to put this into practice at the level of the city? Kate Raworth will present the core ideas of Doughnut Economics and share stories of how the idea is being put into action.

Harvard Kennedy School

Boston’s Radical Working Class History

Join us for an episodic tour of Boston’s radical working class in history, from the movement for the eight-hour day and the epic clashes of 1919 to postwar struggles for jobs, housing, and school equity that continue to inform today’s organizers.

Boston Public Library

Patriot Call to Action – Massachusetts Grassroots Unity Summit

Speakers include Jim Lyons, MAGOP. Donations accepted at event.

United Cape Patriots

Today’s Headlines


A first in Lynn: Mayoral candidate Cyr hires Guatemalan-American woman to lead campaign – Lynn Item

Newton, Needham turn to pop ups to fill storefronts – Boston Business Journal


Pittsfield council votes to halt neighborhood spraying against mosquitoes, citing health concerns – Berkshire Eagle

North Shore communities announce ‘safe summer’ campaign – Salem News


Inside Biden’s bubble: How an insular White House has kept drama and leaks at a minimum – Politico

‘Punched-in-the-gut feeling.’ Gannett under fire for paying some women nearly $30,000 less than male peers – CNN

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