Happening Today

SJC hearings, Baker vaccination goals, and more

— The Supreme Judicial Court meets to hear five cases, including one about whether cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris should award damages to the widow of a Massachusetts man who died in 2016 of lung cancer, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary Marylou Sudders and Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Disaster Medicine Director Dr. Paul Biddinger hold a press conference to discuss progress toward vaccinating the state’s goal of over four million people, Gardner Auditorium, 10 a.m.

Alliance for Business Leadership hosts a virtual panel discussion on reimagining regional public transit in Massachusetts, with speakers including Sen. Eric Lesser, MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board vice chair Monica Tibbits-Nutt and others, 12:30 p.m.

Public Health Committee holds a virtual hearing on 47 bills involving children’s health, including legislation that addresses school sports safety, newborn screenings and protection from lead poisoning, 1 p.m.

— Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey is scheduled for a ‘Mondays with the Mayor’ appearance on ‘Radio Boston,’ 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: 4 new deaths, 17,270 total deaths, 786 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Slowdown: As demand falls for vaccines, now comes the hard part

We’re entering a new – and hopefully final – stage of the coronavirus crisis, as the Globe’s Robert Weisman reports: “After months of Massachusetts residents enthusiastically rushing to get their COVID-19 shots, a stark reality is taking hold in the state’s vaccine program: Most of the people who were eager to roll up their sleeves have already done so.”

The Globe report confirms anecdotal evidence streaming in from across the state about the demand for vaccines falling off (see recent reports at the Enterprise and CBS Boston and Telegram and CommonWealth magazine). And, as most experts agree, we’re now entering a stage in which public-health officials will have to more aggressively seek out those who need shots – and convince vaccine-hesitant people to get shots.

At the State House today, Gov. Charlie Baker plans to discuss the state’s vaccination program moving forward (see our Happening Today calendar item above).

Boston Globe

Post-pandemic recovery: State offers $70M in grants to fund summer schools and tutoring

It’s one of many programs to come dealing with post-pandemic problems. From Meg Woolhouse at GBH: “It will be a summer full of ‘acceleration academies,’ tutoring, math instruction, and community college coursework for Massachusetts students under a $70 million grant plan rolled out by state officials Friday. The state grants to schools are an effort to address student learning loss brought on by the pandemic.”

SHNS’s Colin Young has more on the Baker administration’s summer-learning announcement.


Diehl versus Baker, then Baker versus Healey?

Geoff Diehl, a former state representative and unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate, thinks he has a wonderful idea: Why not make it easier for statewide and federal GOP candidates to run in party primaries? GOP candidates like, say, himself? SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more the suggested party rule changes sought by Diehl, who’s eyeing a run for governor next year.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is looking beyond the primaries to a possible general-election showdown between Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat.

Mitt Romney booed by Utah Republicans, narrowly avoids censure

Speaking of intraparty politics, former Massachusetts Gov. and current Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was booed by fellow Republicans at a weekend party gathering in Salt Lake City – and narrowly averted being censured by party members, according to a report at CBS Boston. Romney’s sins: His impeachment votes against Donald Trump. 

CBS Boston

‘Stop trying to push Black candidates out of the mayor’s race’

Acting Mayor Kim Janey is disavowing an email sent by a local developer who’s effectively calling on Andrea Campbell to drop out of the mayoral race to clear the way for Janey, a fellow Black woman, to win, reports the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter.

In a column headlined ‘Stop trying to push Black candidates out of the mayor’s race,’  the Globe’s Adrian Walker calls the pressure on Campbell to drop out “ugly politics.”

The mayoral race and the police: Hard to separate

Everywhere you turn in the Boston mayoral race these days, there seems to be a Boston police angle. The latest: City councilor Andrea Campbell’s Twitter feud with the police union, with Campbell calling the union attacks ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ (GBH) and with Acting Mayor Kim Janey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley coming to her defense (Universal Hub).

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe is suing the BPD for keeping secret the internal investigative files of officers accused of domestic violence or sexual assault, as the paper’s Elizabeth Koh reports. And those files are just one of the many thorny police-related issues now confronting Janey, who’s running to become full-time mayor, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald.

Arlington hands Healey thorny issue after approving polyamorous rights

The cities of Somerville and Cambridge may have already recognized domestic partnerships between more than two people, but now the town of Arlington has also recognized polyamorous relationships – and that means, due to Arlington’s town status, the move is subject to review and approval by the state Attorney General’s office, reports Jesse Collins at Wicked Local, noting the issue is now moving into “unprecedented legal ground.”

Btw: Here’s the difference between polyamory and polygamy, via Healthline.com.

Wicked Local

Quincy sues state to block rebuilding of Long Island Bridge

The city of Quincy is now fighting a two-front war against plans to rebuild the Long Island Bridge – one against the city of Boston and the other now against the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Universal Hub reports.

Universal Hub

‘Deep discord’: Framingham mayor’s aide calls councilor ‘schmuck’ and ‘little runt’ on hot mic

It’s amazing what we learn people really think when there’s a hot mic around. Jeff Malachowski at MetroWest Daily News reports on the not-so-nice things an aide to Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer said about a city councilor during the “listening session” at a recent forum. And, yes, there’s a lot of discord between the mayor and council these days in Framingham.

MetroWest Daily News

Reports: Kerry sold off oil and gas stocks before becoming climate czar

ABC New reports that John Kerry, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, sold off a bunch of energy-related stocks to avoid potential conflicts of interest after he was named President Biden’s new climate envoy. Needless to say, the NY Post/Fox crowd are having a field day with Kerry’s prior oil and gas holdings.

ABC News

Boston public schools see 4.3% enrollment decline this year

At this rate, how many more years will it take before there’s no students in the Boston Public Schools? The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports on the latest enrollment decline in the city’s schools, a decline that the pandemic may or may not have accelerated.

Boston Herald

No more purgatory: State allows hemp to be grown on agricultural land

Hemp industry officials felt like they were in regulatory purgatory and wanted state action fast (Globe) – and last week they finally got it. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports the state last week “removed one of the major legal barriers to growing hemp in Massachusetts and agreed to let hemp be grown on land that is part of the state’s agricultural preservation restriction program.”  

New Hampshire won’t go away so easily

With the possible exception of Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats are debating whether New Hampshire should keep its first-in-the-nation primary, but not so Republicans. Potential GOP presidential candidates keep flocking to the Granite State, as the Globe’s Emma Platoff reports.

Boston Globe

Making progress? New offer raises optimism about ending St. Vincent nurses strike

The door is open. Will they walk through it? The Mass. Nurses Association says a new offer from Tenet Healthcare to striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital “opens the door” to more productive talks between the two sides, reports Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram.


Werewolf Therapeutics: It’s now prowling the public markets

OK, yet another local life-science company has gone public, the sixth so far this year. But how many of them have names like “Werewolf Therapeutics” and a trading symbol like “HOWL”? Not many. The BBJ’s Rowan Walrath has more on the Cambridge company’s $120 million public offering last week.


Bottom tier: Bay State nursing home inspections fall short

More than 60 percent of Bay State nursing homes and long-term care facilities are behind on required annual inspections, a federal agency says, putting Massachusetts near the bottom of national rankings. Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune says some 237 facilities are at least 18 months behind on their checkups, a higher percentage than in all but seven other states. 

Eagle Tribune

Eli Broad, who helped found powerhouse Broad Institute, RIP

Another sad one to report. From STAT News: “Eli Broad, the billionaire entrepreneur whose philanthropy enabled the creation of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, one of the most influential scientific research centers in the country, died Friday at 87, according to the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.”

And Broad also left a huge mark in Los Angeles, where he “helped reshape the cultural landscape” through his philanthropy, the NYT reports.


Are police ‘gang member’ designations a form of profiling? The SJC will decide

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports that the Supreme Judicial Court will soon hear a case in which it’s argued that a defendant’s gang affiliation was the main reason for being pulled over by New Bedford cops, in what amounts to a form of racial profiling. No way, say cops. Our question: If gang designations are a form of profiling, doesn’t that make the mere existence of police anti-gang units a form of profiling?


Pay up: Haverhill demands payments from pot shop fighting local fees

Same war, new battle. The owner of the Stem recreational cannabis dispensary, which is suing the city of Haverhill over its 3 percent local impact fee, has been hit with a bill for $31,000 worth of legal costs the city has accumulated in defending itself against lawsuits related to the shop, Allison Corneau at the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Eatle Tribune

Too fast: Ashburnham board violated meeting law in rapid response to religious imagery

In the beginning, they responded too quickly. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office says the Ashburnham Board of Selectmen broke the Open Meeting Law when the community sprang into action to paint over a cartoon depiction of Noah’s Ark on a playground outside the public library. Kim Ring at the Telegram reports the board got a stern warning from the AG’s office after the town administrator used email to get support for his plan from a religious freedom group. 


“America United”; Finding Common Ground

Panelists explore productive discussions across conflicts and divides with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Managing Mental Health at Work: A Local Perspective – Virtual Program

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, and as a follow up to a national conversation hosted by American City Business Journals, the Boston Business Journal will convene local business leaders sharing their expertise on this important topic.

Boston Business Journal

Climate Justice Partnerships: Part 3

Join us for a discussion with representatives from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and CNT who will share about their collaboration on a water and health study in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, an environmental justice community.

Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston

UMass/New Balance Boston Sports Leaders Over Lunch

Conversations on Sports Leading the Way in 2021. UMass / New Balance Boston Sports Leadership & Administrative Program is a new and exciting public/private partnership at UMass Boston. The first and only Bachelor of Sports Leadership in Boston with a cohort of one of the most diverse student bodies in New England.

Boston Business Journal

First Friday Leadership Luncheon: MPA Senior Leadership Program Q+A

Are you ready for your MPA? Join Bob Spellane and Mary Piecewicz of Clark’s School of Professional Studies to learn about our unique MPA Senior Leadership Program! This program is designed for YOU, the leaders within the public and private sector, to be flexible, affordable, and relevant. Grab a meal and join us to learn about this sweet opportunity!

Clark University’s School of Professional Studies

Multidimensional Housing Insecurity: A New Approach to Measuring, Understanding, and Addressing Problems Among Renters

Giselle Routhier will present work that examines housing insecurity as a multidimensional phenomenon and uses multiple variables to develop a more accurate index of housing insecurity. She will discuss how a more comprehensive definition and index could be used to better understand and address inequities in maintaining secure housing, particularly among those protected by the Fair Housing Act.

Harvard Kennedy School

Wampanoag New Year Traditions

Kids and families are invited to join Kitty Hendricks-Miller, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Citizen and Educator, in a celebration of Wampanoag New Year traditions. Learn about the daily life of the Wampanoag in the 17th century, as well as their current lives and communities. This program is free and open to the public.

Cambridge Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Boston schools see 4.3% enrollment decline this year – Boston.com

Brockton eviction cases leave advocates and officials racing to end crisis – Brockton Enterprise


A petting zoo and water slide in Berkley? Neighbors say not so fast – Taunton Gazette

Disc golf is growing in popularity; new course proposed for Milford – MetroWest Daily News


Cities, states experiment with incentives for vaccinations – The Hill

Elizabeth Warren, in new book, muses on why she didn’t win – Washington Post

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