Keller at Large

Geoff Diehl’s Bronco ride to nowhere

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says former state Rep. Geoff Diehl is conducting one of those tired-but-true listening tours as he mulls a run for governor – but is he really listening to what people are telling him? Doesn’t sound like it.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Biden and Baker meeting, Senate budget, and more

— President Joe  Biden meets virtually with a bipartisan group of governors, including Gov. Charlie Baker, to discuss vaccination efforts, 1 p.m.

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change holds a hearing on policies needed to achieve a zero-emission vehicle goal, 10 a.m.

Labor and Workforce Development Committee hears testimony on bills related to COVID-19’s impact on workers, 10:30 a.m.

— The Cannabis Policy Committee meets to review nine host community agreement bills, 11 a.m.

Senate Ways and Means Committee meets in a remote executive session to release its fiscal 2022 budget bill, 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.

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: 14 new deaths, 17,344 total deaths, 446 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

End of state of emergency? Baker signals it may come sooner than later

Hours after a conservative group threatened to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency powers during the pandemic, the governor yesterday indicated he’s open to fully reopening the economy before his stated goal of August 1 – as well as end the state of emergency he declared more than a year ago. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and MassLive’s Benjamin Kail have more.

Meanwhile, SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that Baker will virtually meet with President Joe Biden and other governors today regarding vaccination efforts around the country. And speaking of vaccinations, CBS Boston reports that state passed the 4 million shots mark yesterday.

Teen time: FDA approves Pfizer shots for adolescents

The good news: This will drive down infections. The bad news (sort of): Demand for shots will increase. From a report at NBC Boston: “The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s request to allow their Covid-19 vaccine to be given to kids ages 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis, allowing states to get middle school students vaccinated before the fall.”

At the Eagle Tribune, Christian Wade reports state health officials are ready to start vaccinating the young ones.

NBC Boston

Pray tell: Mass. churches amassed over $82M in small-business PPP loans

The pandemic hit their bottom-lines too. Isabel Contreras at the Telegram reports that churches across the state received $82 million in forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with Roman Catholic dioceses in Worcester, Fall River, Springfield and Boston collecting about a quarter of those funds.


‘Abnormally’: New MBTA trains to remain out of service due to turning problems

The mystery is partially solved. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “The MBTA’s newest Red and Orange Line trains will remain shelved after an investigation into a March 16 derailment identified ‘something acting abnormally’ within their truck frames, officials said.”

It seems that the more the trains are driven, the more force is needed to make turns at switches – or something abnormally like that. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro have more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

When it comes to fare evasion, what’s a fair fine?

Speaking of the transit agency, GBH’s Bob Seay and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report on the MBTA’s review of a new proposal that would lower the fines for people who evade fares on T buses and trains – and how some think the lower proposed fines should be even lower. 

Mariano signals opposition to expansion by MGB

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi breaks some news in her column this morning about the expansion plan by the Provider Previously Known as Partners, aka Mass General Brigham: House Speaker Ron Mariano, who has tangled with Partners in the past, isn’t wild about the idea. And AG Maura Healey’s office doesn’t sound too thrilled either, though it’s not clear what her office (or Mariano, for that matter) can do about the expansion.

But wait. John Fernandez, president of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and president of Mass General Brigham Integrated Care, writes at CommonWealth magazine that the proposed expansion makes perfect sense. 

Boston Globe

Cyberattack on pipeline could push gas prices ever higher in Mass.

The Washington Post reports that the FBI now believes a foreign gang of criminal hackers are responsible for a cyberattack that disabled a key pipeline that delivers about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. And SHNS’s Michael Norton reports that AAA Northeast now assumes motorists will likely be paying even higher gas prices as a result of the attack.

Mass Audubon Society: Give us carbon credits or we’ll chop down these trees

Remember the old National Lampoon cover featuring a dog with a gun pointed at its head and the headline: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog”? That’s approximately what the Massachusetts Audubon Society reportedly did with carbon credits and the trees on the land it manages in western Massachusetts. Lisa Song and James Temple explain at the Globe.

Boston Globe

Bill would de-lock original birth records for many adoptees

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports on legislation now before Beacon Hill lawmakers that would lift a “lockout” on records and “create equal opportunities for all adopted people in Massachusetts to access their original birth certificates.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Markey since last year’s reelection: ‘It’s like he’s still on a victory tour’

Have you noticed how U.S. Sen. Ed Markey seems to be everywhere these days? The Globe’s Matt Stouthas certainly noticed and has a piece this morning with some great quotes about Markey since his big re-election win last year. Sample quote: “Joe Kennedy was the best thing that ever happened to him.”

‘Not the brightest bulb’: Correia corruption case now in the hands of jurors

The Jasiel Correia corruption and bribery trial has been turned over to the jury following closing arguments in which prosecutors said the former mayor of Fall River “sold the city” duing his alleged crime-riddled rise to power. But the former mayor’s defense attorney sought to cast doubt on the trustworthiness of the prosecution’s case and even acknowledged his client is ‘not the brightest bulb,’ Shelley Murphy at the Globe and a team of Herald-News reporters have all the details. 

Tardy slip: Massachusetts is late to ‘early college’ courses in high schools

Kirk Carapezza at GBH has a good story about how Massachusetts is way behind other states when it comes to offering ‘early college’ courses for high-school students.


After company files 12,000 debt-collection suits, Healey hits back

What do you know. It involves a sleep-apnea equipment company. Remember that recent critical IG report on all those sleep-apnea studies in Massachusetts? But we digress. The Globe’s Sean Murphyreports that Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has had it with the more than 12,000 debt-collection lawsuits filed against consumers by Regional Home Care Inc., provider of equipment to treat sleep apnea, oxygen deficiency and other respiratory conditions.

It’s so ‘un-Nantucket-like’

Have you even been to Nantucket before, bro? A Boston developer’s plan to create a new ‘downtown’ on Nantucket with a high-end mixed-use project got the cold shoulder when it was presented for the first time to the Planning Board, with the chair calling the design “decidedly un-Nantucket-like” and saying the developer was trying to squeeze too much into the proposal, reports Dean Geddes at the Inquirer & Mirror. 

Inquirer & Mirror

Life sentence reduced for Quincy man convicted in 1991 bombing

From the Patriot Ledger’s Joe Difazio: “A federal judge has reduced the life sentence of a former Quincy man who was convicted in connection with building a bomb that killed a Boston police officer and severely injured his partner 20 years ago.” Needless to say, police groups are not happy with the decision. 

Patriot Ledger

Not quite: Proposed Worcester budget increases police funding by just $600

It’s not defunding, but it’s pretty close. Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has filed his proposed 2022 budget with the City Council and it includes just $600 more for the police department amid calls from officials and community groups alike to defund the agency and reallocate money elsewhere, Michael Bonner at MassLive reports.


Gas lit: Cambridge pulls Eversource mags from schools after complaints

Start ‘em young. Cambridge school officials say magazines donated to the district by Eversource that tout the benefits of natural gas but don’t mention climate change were distributed without approval and will be pulled and replaced with ones that tell both sides of the story, Marc Levy at Cambridge Day reports. 

Cambridge Day

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

Endangered Animals and Border Walls

Scientists, lawyers and politicians discuss whether impenetrable, man-made border walls harm endangered species and accelerate extinction. We explore how border walls harm wildlife, particularly wildlife that is already fractured, losing habitat, trafficked, and facing extinction.

National Lawyers Guild NYC Animal Rights Committee

Engineering in the Climate Emergency

How can technology work towards a just transition? The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Academy of Engineering will bring together expert engineers with perspectives from policy making and social sciences for a joint discussion about these topics. Chaired by Professor Sir Jim McDonald, FREng, FRSE, Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Today’s Headlines


Boston traffic deaths: Fatalities of drivers, passengers and motorcyclists up in 2020 amid speeding spike – Boston Herald

Boston police say there is no way to guarantee overtime savings sought by Janey – Boston Globe


Milton town meeting wants more study of accessory apartments – Patriot Ledger

Lynn, Nahant and Swampscott pull the plug on Fourth of July fireworks – Lynn Item

Attorney General nixes Westport marijuana bylaw amendments – Standard-Times


Michigan to end remote work after reaching 55 percent vaccination rate – The Hill

Cases of Unruly Airline Passengers Are Soaring, and So Are Federal Fines – New York Times

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