Keller at Large

Why Boston needs to remember its miracle

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says that there’s indeed a lot of negativity surrounding the Boston Police Department these days, but don’t forgot all the positives surrounding the ‘Boston Miracle’ 25 years ago. Can that spirit be revived today?

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home vote, Future of Tech, and more


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Joint Committee on Higher Education holds a virtual hearing on bills related to the costs of college and other general higher education topics, 10 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development holds a virtual hearing to consider 21 bills related to unemployment insurance, 10:30 a.m.

TransitMatters releases a Regional Rail report focused on proposed improvements to the Old Colony rail lines, including electrification, extending year-round service to Cape Cod and changes to the ‘Dorchester bottleneck,’ 10:30 a.m.

— The Massachusetts House plans to meet in a formal session to consider conference committee report financing the reconstruction of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and legislation dealing with COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker offers opening remarks alongside Sen. Ed Markey at Future of Tech Town Hall on online platform safety and accountability, with a panel discussion moderated by former Gov. Deval Patrick, 12 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: 19 new deaths, 17,413 total deaths, 281 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers in Massachusetts.

Full reopening set for May 29, state of emergency to end June 15

File under: ‘Hallelujah.’ Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday pushed up the full-reopening date by two months, setting May 29 as the official date in which nearly all pandemic-era business restrictions will be lifted. The state of emergency that’s been in place since March 10, 2020 will be also be lifted June 15, the governor announced. And, oh, no indoor masks for the fully vaccinated starting May 29.

Take your pick: GBH’s Mike Deehan, MassLive’s Tanner Stening and a three-reporter team at the Globe have more on the great news. Universal Hub reports Boston will be following the state’s new reopening guidelines.

For their own special reasons, they’re celebrating the end of restrictions in Salem (Salem News), western Massachusetts (MassLive), the Cape (Cape Cod Times) and Worcester (Telegram).

Employers’ dilemma: To require masks or not to require masks?

Employers in the transportation, health care, senior care and K-12 school sectors have no choice: They and their employees will still be required to wear protective work-place masks after May 29. But what about other employers? What do they do? The BBJs Jessica Bartlett and Grant Walker report they face a dilemma: “Maintain their mask-wearing mandates, or try to follow the fast-moving local and federal guidelines.”

In Concord, a somewhat surprising number of businesses say they plan to stick with mandatory masks, as Robert Fucci reports at Wicked Local. 

BBJ

No timeline yet on reopening of State House

Don’t rush them. SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports on a least one lawmaker’s “comprehensive plan” to eventually reopen the State House to staff and the public. But no timeline has been set yet.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Things to keep after the pandemic: Virtual public meetings, eviction protections, outdoor dining, utilities shutoff moratorium?

The pandemic ushered in a number of policies that turned out to be mighty popular and/or handy. And we’re not just talking about cocktails to go. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Katie Lannan have the somewhat long list of pandemic-era policies that lawmakers may or may not want to keep or extend after the state of emergency officially ends.

And don’t forget gig workers after the pandemic …

Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune reports that a proposal filed by state Sen. Barry Finegold would make permanent a pandemic-era policy of providing unemployment benefits to hair stylists, Uber drivers, food service workers and thousands of other “gig” workers who previously didn’t qualify for jobless benefits.

Eagle Tribune

Quote of the day: ‘COVID is a little bit like, you know, Michael Myers’

Gov. Charlie Baker made clear yesterday the end of pandemic restrictions doesn’t mean the end of pandemic threats, particularly new variants that may yet come back to haunt us like a certain horror-film character of yore. SHNS Colin Young has the scary comparison.

Cuomo set to earn $5M from book on COVID-19 crisis

Charlie Baker, contact your book agent, if you have one. The NYT reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to receive $5.1 million for a book on his alleged heroic deeds during the COVID-19 crisis. In a rough-justice sort of way, details of the agreement were released as “investigators examine whether the New York governor used state resources to write the leadership memoir,” the Times reports.

NYT

School districts to state: Can we at least keep one all-virtual option?

This is interesting. From Meg Woolhouse at GBH: “Some of Massachusetts largest school districts are asking the state to review plans to open their own all-virtual schools for students who want to learn remotely next fall. Boston, Worcester and Natick are just a few of the 13 districts that have requested evaluations to opn their own online school next September.”

GBH

Saving the state’s film tax credit, one amendment at a time

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reviews the nearly 1,000 amendments attached to the proposed Senate budget and finds that, in addition to sports-gambling amendments, there’s seven different amendments dealing with the state’s film tax credit.

Are Republicans finally going to get their wish of ending Roe?

It may be a classic example of being careful what you wish for. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a potentially groundbreaking case that could weaken or even overturn the landmark Roe case legalizing abortion.

The Globe’s James Pindell writes that the case, due to be heard this fall with a decision coming next spring, may end up energizing pro-abortion advocates just prior to the 2022 mid-term elections – and harming long-time anti-abortion Republicans in the process.

Curse of the AGs, Part III: What about Foster Furcolo?

A MassterList reader says another ML reader is wrong to say the last sitting constitutional officer to be elected governor of Massachusetts was Robert Bradford in 1946. Wrong, he says. The last sitting constitutional officer to be elected governor of Massachusetts was Foster Furcolo in 1952. And he has the Wikipedia evidence to prove it.

Keating has a challenger: Jesse Brown

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Jesse Brown, a Taunton Republican and veteran, has announced he’s taking on U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, a Democrat, in the 9th Congressional District, saying it’s time to give the heave to “career politicians.”

Boston Herald

Withdrawn: Facing council defeat, Quincy mayor shelves $100M downtown plan

He did the math. Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has withdrawn his controversial proposal to spend up to $100 million to acquire land and build a new home for city hall and Quincy College, yanking the plan just hours before the City Council meeting where it was expected to receive little support, Mary Whitfil atthe Patriot Ledger reports.

Patriot Ledger

Up in flames: Berkshires forest fire largest in state in decades

Officials say they now have a forest fire, which has burned some 800 acres in the Clarksburg State Forest and neighboring mountainsides, 75 percent contained. But they warn the largest wildfire in the state in more than 20 years will continue to burn for several more days, thanks in part to drought conditions, Francesca Paris at the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Berkshire Eagle

Can a police commissioner really sue to keep his job?

The Globe’s Danny McDonald reports on all the “thorny legal questions” surrounding Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s attempt to oust Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White – and White’s legal counter move to keep his post. It all has to do with, apparently, what constitutes fair “hearing and cause.”

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld states the obvious that can’t be stated enough: Marty Walsh left one hell of a mess behind for Janey to clean up.

Boston Globe

Was he there? Boston cop investigated for ‘Back the Blue’ and possible Jan. 6 role

Speaking of Boston police, it seems the Boston Globe had suspicions for a while about city police officer Joe Abasciano. And now those suspicions have been confirmed: Abasciano is under investigation for “sending tweets attacking the former vice president and for attending a January rally that led to an assault on the US Capitol.” The Globe’s Elizabeth Koh and Milton Valencia have more.

Fresh start: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe elects youngest leader ever

File under: Turning the page. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has elected Brian Weeden as its new Tribal Council chairman, making him the youngest leader of the tribe’s governing body in its history, Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports. Weeden’s predecessor was indicted on federal charges connected to the tribe’s costly efforts to build a casino in East Taunton. 

Cape Cod Times

Climate Emergency Preparedness: Art x Cultural Resilience

Join us for a conversation that will explore the wisdom and beauty of different cultures, cultural organizing and artistic expression in the development of resilient and sustainable communities—featuring Erin Genia, Boston Artist-in-Residence, and Meghan Venable-Thomas, Cultural Resilience Program Director for Enterprise Community Partners.

Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston

The Venezuelan Enterprise: Current Situation, Challenges and Opportunities

What is the status of the Venezuelan business fabric? What are its strengths and weaknesses? And where should the emphasis be put to help the private sector jump-start an economic recovery? To answer these questions, the IDB, together with the IESA, and with the support of more than 30 business chambers in the country, carried out the Enterprise Survey with a sample of almost 300 companies.

Harvard Kennedy School

Calibrated Resistance: The Political Dynamics of Iran’s Nuclear Policymaking under Trump

Everyone is welcome to join us via Zoom! Please register before the event. Speakers and Presenters:​Abolghasem Bayyenat, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Harvard Kennedy School

Boston Rock City: Explore Wikidata and Learn about Local Music

The BPL is partnering with Harvard Library for a guided exploration of Wikidata and local music history. Join us for two days of music and Wikidata editing, no prior experience necessary! Project staff will provide you with everything you need to generate new Wikidata entities. You’ll also get to learn about how we can use these new Wikidata entities to synthesize and visualize data.

Boston Public Library

Book Talk with Tony Saich, Author of “From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party”

The Ash Center invites you to a book talk with Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Ash Center Director, and author of the forthcoming From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party (Harvard University Press, 2021).

Harvard Kennedy School

Skip Finley – Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Museum of African American History (MAAH), the State Library of Massachusetts, and American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) for an online conversation with Skip Finley, author of Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy.

Boston Public Library

The Role of Industry and Business in Protecting the Environment

For business & industry: New laws overview focusing on the General Environmental Duty, risk management and how EPA is supporting you.

EPA

Battle Green Vietnam: The 1971 March on Concord, Lexington, and Boston

Join us to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic antiwar march and protest on Memorial Day Weekend 1971 and learn more about this key event in Massachusetts history at MassMoments

Boston Public Library

Words of Wisdom featuring Lovin Spoonfuls

Join us for this discussion where we’ll hear from Founder and Executive Director, Ashley Stanley, who will provide insight to the ways her organization has shifted during this pandemic and what ways we can get involved to support community members who may be suffering from food insecurity. Moderated by Afua Ankrah, Business Operations, Global Government Affairs and Policy, Bluebird Bio.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Today’s Headlines

Metro

The Dennis White-Kim Janey legal standoff brings with it a host of questions – Boston Globe

Former Brockton cop indicted for lying about checking on prisoner who died in custody – Brockton Enterprise

Massachusetts

Pittsfield city council back to in-person meetings on June 22 – Berkshire Eagle

Sentencing dates set for co-conspirators of former Mayor Jasiel Correia – Herald News

Nation

Supreme Court to review Mississippi abortion law that advocates see as a path to diminish Roe v. Wade – Washington Post

Connecticut offers $1,000 bonus to unemployed people who find jobs – The Hill

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