Governor’s Council, millionaire’s tax, and more
— Attorney General Maura Healey speaks to business leaders during a virtual event hosted by The New England Council, 9 a.m.
— Special Legislative Commission to Study and Examine Civil Service Law, led by Rep. Ken Gordon and Sen. Michael Brady, meets for the first time to review their charge detailed in the state’s new police reform law and to schedule future meetings, 10 a.m.
— Governor’s Council meets twice today, the first time to interview Judge Maureen Walsh, a nominee to the Appeals Court, and the second time to possibly vote on the governor’s nomination of Courtney Price as clerk magistrate of the Leominster District Court, 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
— Raise Up Massachusetts coalition launches its public campaign to pass a state tax on incomes above $1 million, aka the millionaire’s tax, 11 a.m.
— Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency holds a hearing on caregiving, its third topic-based listening session, 1 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.
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, 17,293 total deaths, 718 new cases
MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
No preregistration required
How much of a shift has there been in the demand for vaccinations in Massachusetts? WCVB reports that the days of preregistration for shots are coming to a close. Meanwhile, from the Herald: “Walk-ins for coronavirus vaccine shots in Massachusetts more common, open slots at mass vax sites.” And from MassLive: “UMass Memorial begins demobilizing COVID field hospital at Worcester DCU Center.”
What a difference a few weeks make.
The lost generation: Chronic student absenteeism soars during pandemic
But here’s some non-positive news on the pandemic front. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports on a big spike in chronic student absenteeism during the pandemic, especially among English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities in Massachusetts.
Mega-Moderna: Vaccine maker to expand Norwood manufacturing plant
Back to positive news: Moderna Inc. has developed and manufactured its ground-breaking coronavirus vaccine right here in Massachusetts. Now it’s literally doubling down here, with plans for a major expansion of its vaccine manufacturing facilities in Norwood, reports NBC Boston and the Globe’s Anissa Gardizy. Moderna now has 1,400 full-time employees in the state – and counting.
Are liberals addicted to lockdowns?
Emma Green at The Atlantic makes the argument that, deep down, many blue-state liberals love the lockdowns and can’t quit them despite the scientific evidence. Let’s just say Massachusetts plays a prominent role in the article. The Globe’s Shannon Larson has the local reaction to the charge that liberals are almost by nature control freaks.
The never ending battle: Councilors want huge fines for house parties violating pandemic protocols
The latest rationale for cracking down on rowdy house parties in college-town Boston: the pandemic. The Globe’s Travis Andersen has the fine details. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that a city meeting on late-night parties and off-road vehicles in Franklin Park was “Zoom bombed” last evening and had to be shut down.
As lawmakers probe David Almond’s death, the Baker administration announces DCF changes
MassLive’s Steph Solis and the Globe’s Matt Stout report on yesterday’s legislative oversight hearing on the tragic death of 14-year-old David Almond – and the Baker administration’s announcement of changes at DCF amid criticism the agency dropped the regulatory ball in the case. Among the changes: Resumption of in-person visits to children DCF oversees, after suspension of visits during the pandemic.
As for the hearing itself, from CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg: “Many issues with Fall River teen’s death still don’t add up.” And then there’s this from Schoenberg as well: “Report says 479 children harmed last year under state supervision.”
Fire away: Feds green light controversial Cape Cod machine gun range
Before long, the bullets will be flying. Federal officials have found that a proposed machine-gun firing range at Joint Base Cape Cod will have no significant environmental impact, clearing the way for it to gain final approvals despite concerns from neighbors about contamination and other impacts,, David Abelat the Globe and Beth Treffeisen at the Cape Cod Times report.
Quincy College: Maybe it’s better off joining the state system instead?
Mary Whitefill at the Patriot Ledger reports that some city councilors want to explore the possibility of the city-run Quincy College joining the state’s community-college system – even as Mayor Thomas Koch looks to build the college a new home and invest millions of dollars in the school.
After death of teen, Hopkinton officials practically beg: Stop with the rumors!
The death of Mikayla Miller last month has created a huge stir in Hopkinton and the social-media world. Was it a suicide? Was it a lynching of a Black teen followed by a law-enforcement cover-up? One thing is clear: Members of the Hopkinton Select Board have had it with all the rumors and accusations directed at police – and hope people at a planned vigil tomorrow stick to the known facts and remain calm, reports Norman Miller at MetroWest Daily News.
How big is the controversy over Miller’s death? Some sample local headlines, starting with WBUR: “DA Says Investigation Into 16-Year-Old Hopkinton Girl’s Death Is Ongoing, As Online Outrage Grows.” From the Herald: “DA denies cover-up in 16-year-old Mikayla Miller’s death.”
Is this the year driver’s licenses for immigrants finally wins passage?
SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that some Democrats believe the pandemic has bolstered the need to take action on various immigration-related bills, one of them the long-debated idea of allowing immigrants to get driver’s licenses. And the license bill now has 101 co-sponsors on Beacon Hill.
To Sweden, with love: JFK letters to paramour up for auction
Attention history–and extramarital affair–buffs. A series of letters that John F. Kennedy wrote to a female Swedish aristocrat in the 1950s are being sold by a Boston auction house, Sarah Polus at The Hill reports. Kennedy wrote the love notes–on official U.S. Senate letterhead–to Gunilla von Post around the time he wed Jacqueline Bouvier, the Hill reports.
Judge overturns last remaining conviction against Sean Ellis
It was an epic, decades-long battle, but Sean Ellis finally prevailed. WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning reports that a Suffolk Superior Court judge has effectively overturned the last remaining charge against Ellis, who spent more than 20 years in prison for the killing of a Boston police detective and who later won release after investigators themselves were accused of wrongdoing.
From mayoral candidate to pot-shop owner
Universal Hub reports that the city’s zoning board has approved plans by former city councilor and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson to open a three-story cannabis shop near Boston’s Custom House. The proposal now heads to the state Cannabis Control Commission for final review and possible/probable approval.
Lawmaker tangled in legal dispute over bank client lists
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “A state lawmaker from Boston is at the center of a legal dispute between Needham Bank and national lender Guaranteed Rate over allegations that state Rep. Ed Coppinger stole client lists and proprietary loan information from Needham when he left the bank in January for a job with Guaranteed Rate.”
If this didn’t involve a state lawmaker, it probably would have been a blurb in a banking and/or legal industry publication. But it does involve a state lawmaker, and so …
Celebrating a simple air-monitor in Chelsea
There shouldn’t have been something to celebrate in the first place. Nonetheless, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and others yesterday rightly hailed the installation, finally, of the first-ever permanent air quality monitor in the city of Chelsea, where environmental pollution has “wreaked havoc” on the health of residents for years, the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports.
Pushback: In rebuke of school board, voters in North Brookfield embrace Indian ‘mascot’
Six months after the North Brookfield School Committee voted to supplant the district’s Indian mascot and related imagery with a yet-to-be-chosen replacement, residents have voted by a two-to-one margin to support a non-binding referendum to make the “Indian Chief” the official mascot of the entire community, the Telegram reports.
Protecting shellfish for years to come
This is a high-interest item in coastal areas. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “Clear guidance on aquaculture licensing and permitting, labeling that enables point of harvest tracing, and better data collection on stock assessments and recreational harvest numbers are among the recommendations of a 21-member public-private task force that examined the Massachusetts shellfish industry.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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