Happening Today

STEM summit, Gaming Commission, regional rail study

— Gov. Charlie Baker gives live welcoming remarks at virtual Massachusetts STEM Summit 2021, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss, Education Secretary James Peyser and Vertex Pharmaceuticals executive chairman Jeff Leiden also participating, starting at 9 a.m.

— Mass. Gaming Commission meets to hear a quarterly report from MGM Springfield, consider a liquor license amendment for MGM Springfield and vote on an issue related to blackjack regulations, 10 a.m. 

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan join local officials for stops in Fitchburg and Gardner to review COVID-19 testing and vaccine efforts, among other things, starting at 11 a.m.

— To mark National Nurses Week, nurses and health care professionals from the Mass. Nurses Association hold a press conference to release the findings of a survey on the pandemic’s impact on nursing and health care, State House, 11 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, U.S. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut and others hold a press conference to announce findings of a report entitled ‘The Economic Benefits of Regional Rail Investment in Metro Hartford-Springfield,’ Springfield Union Station, 2 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: 13 new deaths, 17,306 total deaths, 888 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

No preregistration required, Part II: And now CVS is offering walk-in shots too

GBH’s Mike Deehan confirms that, starting this Monday, anyone can just walk into a state mass-vax site to get a vaccine shot, no preregistration required, as WCVB reported earlier this week. And now CVS is offering walk-in appointments too, reports Michelle Williams at MassLive.

Healey: Health-care workers should also be required to get vaccinated

Attorney General Maura Healey, who has butted heads with Gov. Charlie Baker over mandatory shots for public employees, is now calling for mandatory shots for health-care workers as well, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine.  

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that Healey is requiring “some” of her AG employees to get vaccinated – the ones performing “public-facing work.” Is the “public-facing” caveat new? Just wondering.

Following the crowd: Harvard mandates student vaccines this fall

Speaking of mandatory vaccinations, Harvard University, which led the academic crowd last year when it closed down its campus at the onset of the pandemic, is now following the academic crowd by requiring its returning students to be vaccinated this fall, according to a report at CBS Boston.

CBS Boston

The state has paid how much on Covid consultants?

In piece headlined “Mass has paid these Covid consultants more than $20 million,” Dan Atkinson at Dig Boston reports the Baker administration sure values the expert opinions at McKinsey & Company etc.

Dig Boston

The evictions ban: The end is near

The Globe’s Tim Logan reports that a federal judge has struck down the federal government’s nationwide eviction ban – and he looks into what it could mean for hard-pressed tenants in Massachusetts.

Boston Globe

Mask confusion: Communities take different approaches on outdoor masks

Confused yet? The city of Northampton has dropped its outdoor mask requirement, following the lead of Gov. Baker in relaxing the mandate, Greta Jochem of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. And now Brookline plans to lift its outdoor mask requirement, reports CBS Boston.

But the Chatham Health Board is going the opposite direction, voting to extend its outdoor mandate in the downtown area, agreeing with some business owners who worry indoor mask rules will be harder to enforce without it, Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times reports.

Are we looking at a surplus? State revenues keep on climbing

As we’ve previously noted, this wasn’t supposed to happen. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Despite the tax filing deadline being moved from April to May, the Department of Revenue collected $3.865 billion in taxes from people and businesses last month — $385 million more than the Baker administration had estimated for the month even before it extended the deadline.”

And lawmakers may have an extra $800 million to play with as they put together next fiscal year’s budget, as Young notes.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Healey 2022 Watch: The polling, the questions, the fundraising all point to …

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports Attorney General Maura Healey is on a fundraising tear, eclipsing the money raised last month by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and the measly amount raised by Gov. Charlie Baker, who hasn’t said yet if he’s running for a third term.

And then there’s the polling questions being asked by Healey pollsters that suggest she’s indeed possibly/likely gearing up for a gubernatorial run, Tiernan also reports. And from the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Maura Healey poll reveals well-worn Democratic tactics she’ll use against Charlie Baker.”

Boston Herald

Moving on or bailing ship? Longtime Baker communications aide is stepping down

Re 2022: Read into it what you will. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker’s top communications advisor Elizabeth Guyton plans to step down after more than six years working in the administration, and press secretary Sarah Finlaw will be elevated to communications director on May 15, his office announced on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, Boston mayoral candidates are spending up a storm

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports Boston mayoral candidates are throwing big bucks around these days on pollsters, ads, staff and consultants – while Acting Mayor Kim Janey led the pack last month in fundraising.

Pressley calls for independent investigation of Hopkinton teen’s death

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is calling for a “full, transparent, independent investigation” into the death of Mikayla Miller, a Black teen whose body was found hanging from a tree and whose death has caused a major stir in Hopkinton, CBS Reports

Attorney General Maura Healey and Senate President Karen Spilka are also calling for a thorough investigation, though apparently not an independent investigation, as NBC Boston reports

Just scratch, win and claim by mobile app

From CBS Boston: “It will be easier in the near future to cash in on a big scratch ticket win. The Massachusetts State Lottery said Wednesday that for the first time, a player who won $1,000 was able to claim her prize through the lottery’s mobile app.” The program is still in the testing phase and not widely available – yet.

CBS Boston

When football coaching collides with Critical Race Theory …

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has a good column this morning on the controversial decision by Dedham school administrators not to renew the contract of its high school football coach after he reportedly objected, as a parent, to the way a “World Geography and Ancient History” course was taught, i.e. the course was apparently heavy on Critical Race Theory-type teachings. We’ll definitely be hearing more about this issue if, when, other school districts adopt similar course teachings.

Just FYI – Critical Race Theory, as practiced by many academic/education types, is indeed a left-wing  ideology with a distinct world view (Wikipedia) and its roots can be traced back to the Marxist ‘Critical Theory’ movement of the 1930s (also Wikipedia). Wikipedia can’t possibly be wrong — or can it?

Boston Globe

Has the pandemic changed the debate over the millionaire’s tax?

As expected, proponents of the so-called “millionaire’s tax” officially launched their campaign to get lawmakers to put the surtax measure on the 2022 statewide ballot, as GBH’s Mike Deehan reports.

Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports opponents are also gearing up – and one of their new arguments is that, thanks to the pandemic and the rise of remote working, “many executives and employees can work from just about anywhere — and the surtax could push them to a lower-tax state.”

The coming care-giving tsunami

It’s only a matter of time. SHNSs Chris Lisinski reports on the coming pressures on the caregiving industry in Massachusetts, thanks largely to the aging Boomer generation, and it may require major changes to meet the challenge, as experts warned at a Senate hearing yesterday.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

SJC: Zoom court hearings are fine – most of the time

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that’s there’s nothing wrong with Zoom court hearings during the pandemic – unless someone has a legitimate reason to postpone a hearing in favor of an in-person session, report Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffinand CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg.

High holiday: State sees record cannabis sales around ‘4/20’

So high. Recreational dispensaries in the Bay State set a new single-day sales record of more than $5 million on the weekend leading up to the unofficial cannabis holiday of 4/20 and have now sold more than $1.5 billion worth of legal weed overall, Dan Adams reports at the Globe.

None for you: Morse disses Holyoke as he purges campaign funds

Maybe he’s a little bitter. Former Holyoke mayor Alex Morse has wound down his federal campaign account, giving away some $62,000 worth of cash he raised to challenge U.S.  Rep. Richard Neal in last year’s Democratic primary, Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports. And the bulk of the funds went to nonprofits on Cape Cod–where Morse is now Provincetown town manager–and none went to organizations based in Holyoke. 


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

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

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

Virtual Duckling Day 2021

The Friends of the Public Garden, in association with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, celebrates Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during its annual Duckling Day event.

Friends of the Public Garden

Doing Business with Commonwealth of MA Supplier Diversity Office

The Pacesetters “Doing Business” virtual series will allow small and minority-owned companies to hear directly from procurement officers at participating Pacesetter companies to learn about specific contract opportunities that may be unique to each company, including procurement procedures, RFP and bidding preferences, contract cycles, supplier diversity goals, and more.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity

2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. This long-awaited report will explore how nurses can work over the next decade to reduce health disparities and promote equity, while keeping costs at bay, utilizing technology, and maintaining patient and family-focused care.

NAESM Health and Medicine

21st Century Business Forum: Author Josh Linkner

The 21st Century Business Forum is a free webcast presented on the second Wednesday of each month. Bestselling author Jon Gordon will interview CEOs, entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, and thought leaders as they share their insights, ideas, and experiences of success as well as lessons learned.

21st Century Business Forum

100 Days of the Biden Administration: What’s Next for Immigration, Health Policy, and Economic Justice?

Now 100 days into President Biden’s administration, the Ash Center is convening a panel of experts who will examine the challenges and future opportunities for his administration in a number of key policy areas including immigration, health policy and economic justice.

Harvard Kennedy School

Child Welfare and Domestic Violence – The Summit on Intersection and Action

Join experts in child welfare/domestic violence for a summit on action and safe solutions for survivors and their children. This summit explores the gaps in policy, practice, training, data collection, and cultural competency where domestic violence and foster care merge, and proposes thoughtful solutions appropriate for a nationwide audience.

UCLA Pritzker Center

Today’s Headlines


Lynn Mayor McGee urges residents to get vaccinated – Lynn Item

Lawsuit Claims Boston Police Officer Lied About Wearing His Body Camera During Fatal Shooting – WBUR


Pornographic ‘Zoom bomb’ disrupts West Springfield Town Council meeting – MassLive

Councilor calls for ‘fact check’ on lower-than-reported minority contracts for Polar Park project – Telegram & Gazette

Zoning changes to mandate more affordable housing in Amherst – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Trumpland thought he’d get back on Facebook. Now, they’re anxious and scrambling. – Politico

Home of San Francisco’s 1st same-sex spouses now a landmark – Associated Press

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