Happening Today

Senate session, mayoral candidates forum, and more

Massport board of directors meets, 9 a.m.

Massachusetts State Retirement Board holds its monthly meeting, with Treasurer Deb Goldberg chairing, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Senate meets in a full session with plans to take up legislation authorizing $400 million in bonding for construction of a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and another $200 million in bonding to boost veterans’ services elsewhere across the state, 11 a.m. — Five of the six major candidates for mayor of Boston 

— Boston ayoral candidates Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, Jon Santiago and John Barros will take part in a forum hosted by the Job Training Alliance, with Acting Mayor Kim Janey declining to participate, 12 p.m.

— Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders participates in a town hall focused on COVID-19 vaccines, hosted by Rep. Marjorie Decker, 5:30 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: 12 new deaths, 17,227 total deaths, 1,392 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Great Society II, Part II: Biden keeps adding on the social programs

 We’re bumping this national story up because we frankly believe it’s historic in nature. Even if President Biden doesn’t get everything he wants in his combined $4-trillion-dollar pieces of legislation, the mere fact he’s proposing so many new social programs has profoundly changed the political debate in Washington over where America is headed – and it’s headed toward a European-style social safety-net model. 

The Globe’s Jazimine Ulloa and Jim Puzzanghera report on Biden’s speech last night before Congress. And the Washington Post and Boston’s very own SHNS have more on what Biden is proposing – and the political and economic risks involved. The Globe’s James Pindell has five takeaways in general on last night’s speech, while the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks the speech was just plain dull.

Businesses to Baker: Can’t you ease up a bit on the capacity limits?

Switching to local matters and the pandemic, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that business groups are grumbling about Gov. Charlie Baker’s goal of a fully reopening of the economy by August 1 – and how they’re hoping a full reopening occurs sooner. Their specific complaint: The ongoing capacity limits at retail stores and restaurants etc.


So when will the State House reopen to the public?

SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports that leaders on Beacon Hill are indeed talking about when and how to reopen the State House to the public, but they’ve been talking about the same thing since February and … don’t rush ‘em. It’ll happen when it happens.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Spotted: Actual walk-in vaccination clinics with no lines, no waiting, no pre-registration

Is it a sign we’re reaching some sort of tipping point in the supply-and-demand vaccine equation? Christina Hager at CBS Boston reports on one of the truly rarest sightings so far this spring: Walk-in vaccination centers – with no waits, no lines and public-health types practically begging people to come in to get shots.

And then there’s this, via the Cape Cod Times: “Who’s next? Vaccination slots go empty as clinics reach out to unimmunized Cape Codders.”

CBS Boston

Baker seatbelt reform knocked over profiling concerns

It’s not just talk-radio conservatives who get upset with various seatbelt laws and accompanying enforcement provisions. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that some civil rights and transportation advocates are also expressing concerns about Gov. Charlie Baker’s recently proposed road-safety bill that includes stricter police enforcement of seatbelt laws. Their fear: racial profiling.

Now teacher unions are calling for education board member’s resignation

The presidents of two local teachers unions are piling on the controversy over state education board member Michael Moriarty’s recent comments about Holyoke and Lawrence and their school-system woes, joining U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, state lawmakers and other in calling for his resignation. The Globe’s Felicia Gans and the Herald’s Alexi Cohan have more on the Moriarty’s comments – which recently prompted him to apologize.

‘Baker will run. Probably.’

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen threw down the “Walsh will run” gauntlet last year. Now the Globe’s Joan Vennochi is throwing down the “Baker will run” gauntlet this year – with a caveat perhaps motivated by Cullen’s gauntlet experience and the ultimate political gauntlet experience dating back way back when.

Transportation notes: Future of T board still murky, House targets Baker reforms

State House News Service is going all out this week covering House budget deliberations – and the indispensable news service has two policy-wonk nuggets this morning; 1.) How the House has tossed aside an overhaul of the soon-to-expire MBTA governing board (Chris Lisinski) and 2.) “House Amendment Targets Transportation Reform, Includes Pay Raises” (Sam Doran).

‘Looks like no Irish-American candidates for mayor this year’

Yes, all the previously mentioned candidates for mayor of Boston have now officially filed to run this year. But what caught the attention of Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin was who didn’t file to run. He has more on the possible last hurrah of Irish Americans in Boston mayoral politics – and the last time there wasn’t an Irish American on the mayoral ballot. Hint: It’s a trick question.

Btw, this was expected, via SHNS: “City Council Agrees to Push Preliminary Mayoral Election Up to Sept. 14.”

Universal Hub

Boston City Council means it: No police use of tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters – most of the time

For the second time in less than a year, the Boston City Council has passed an ordinance restricting police use of tear gas, bean bag-projectiles and rubber bullets etc. to disperse protesters – and Acting Mayor Kim Janey says she’ll sign it this time around, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald. 

But read McDonald’s story closely. There’s a rather big “two-minute warning” loophole in the ordinance that will allow police to still use such non-lethal weapons. https://www.universalhub.com/2021/boston-city-council-approves-restrictions-police .

Boston Globe

Coalition building: Mass General Brigham expansion plan draws more opposition

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that the scattered opposition to Massachusetts General Brigham’s massive $2 billion regional expansion plan is no longer scattered, with community groups, local health care providers and for-profit companies banding together in a formal coalition opposed to expansion of the MGB empire.


Keep it local: Northampton mayoral candidate wants the city to stop trying to save the world

Jared Greenberg, the third candidate to declare for Northampton’s mayoral race, may have found a way to separate himself from the pack and alienate some voters all at the same time. Greta Jochem of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Greenberg thinks the progressive city needs to stop taking stances on global issues–think nuclear weapons and climate change etc. –and return its focus to local streets, sewers and issues. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Retired Washington Post — and ex-Globe editor — Marty Baron lands book deal

He’s already associated with a book and Academy Award-winning movie about his journalistic days in Boston. So why not a book about his days as editor of the Washington Post while dealing with Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump at the same time? The AP has more Marty Baron’s forthcoming “Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post.”

AP News

The worst song ever written about Boston?

You have to hear it to believe it. Universal Hub has posted, out of the Internet blue, Friend & Lover’s long-lost ‘Boston is a Lovely Town,’ a song that will leave you truly numb in awe. Some quotes from the UH comments section: ‘Pretty sure my 4 year old could write better lyrics. … Deliciously awesome and awful at the same time … A potential theme song.”

The last comment may yet come true, in the weird and wonderful ways of cynical Bostonians.

Universal Hub

Iced out: Franklin County sheriff shuts ICE detention center due to lack of demand

Not enough traffic. The Franklin County sheriff’s says it has ended its contract to host a detention center for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency because there were not enough detainees being steered its way to make the program financially feasible, Sarah Bettencourt at CommonWealth Magazine reports. 


Just say no: Wakefield and Haverhill to keep school logo and statue (minus the hatchet)

They’re not going to let some PC types push them around. The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that Wakefield residents have voted to keep the school’s Native-American logo after a rather contentious town-wide debate over the issue.

Meanwhile, Ameilia Mason at WBUR reports on a controversy in Haverhill over a statue of a hatchet-wielding Hannah Duston and whether the colonial-era heroine was actually a killer of Native-American women and children. The Haverhill City Council has apparently voted to keep the statue – without the hatchet and with a new inscription.

Westfield State University gets a new president, courtesy of UMass Boston

Linda Thompson, a public policy leader and UMass Boston dean, has been selected as the new president of Westfield State University, according to reports at The Westfield News and MassLive. The appointment by the university’s board of trustees must still be OK’d by the state Board of Higher Education.

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


New student representative Xyra Mercer to join Boston School Committee – Boston Herald

Protesters at Moderna’s Cambridge headquarters call for vaccine patent waivers, expanded global access – Boston Globe


Council approves creation of Worcester Ballpark Commission for Polar Park – Telegram & Gazette

‘Lousy businessman with great ideas’: Unpaid bills, confusion over leadership plagued Correia’s SnoOwl – Herald News


Biden Just Gave the Most Ideologically Ambitious Speech of Any Democratic President in Generations – Politico

Federal Investigators Execute Search Warrant at Rudy Giuliani’s Apartment – New York Times

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