Mail-in voting, animal-abusers bill, and more
— Rep. Tami Gouveia holds a press conference on her bill to establish a statewide COVID-19 rapid testing program, with Chelsea Collaborative executive director Gladys Vega and Dr. Michael Misialek of Newton-Wellesley Hospital among those participating in the Chelsea event, 10:30 a.m.
— The Joint Committee on Election Laws is holding a public virtual hearing on several bills related to mail-in voting, early voting, and other proposed election reforms, 1 p.m.
— The Judiciary Committee holds a virtual public hearing on bills affecting ownership of pets by convicted animal abusers, misrepresentation of a service animal, and duck hunting off the shores of Revere, 10 a.m.
— Health Policy Commission meets to review research findings on health care affordability based on income, 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: 6 new deaths, 17,419 total deaths, 359 new cases
CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus number for Massachusetts.
Baker’s $273M supplemental budget includes funds for police reforms
Thank you, feds. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker filed a $273 million spending bill on Tuesday that would finance last year’s police accountability law and boost funding in key accounts for transitional assistance and early education, but the bill will have only a limited impact on the state budget, according to the administration, as the bulk of the spending would be paid for with federal dollars.”
The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports the supplemental budget “offers a glimpse at the eye-popping cost of the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts.”
Boston hires outside lawyers to fight Dennis White case
Speaking of police matters, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports the city of Boston has hired $235-an-hour private lawyers to fight Police Commissioner Dennis White’s attempt to keep his job.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Milton Valencia and Matt Stout report that, yes, the Dennis White and Patrick Rose controversies have most definitely thrust the BPD onto center stage in the mayoral race. In other mayoral-race news, GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur has endorsed Andrea Campbell for mayor.
MassDOT to spend $75M to repair Turnpike viaduct it plans to replace
CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report that the Mass. Department of Transportation last evening issued an “unusual press release” announcing that’s it’s going to spend $75 million to shore up the crumbling I-90 Allston viaduct for safety reasons – the same viaduct state officials hope to replace if and when they come up with a consensus design plan for the long-debated project.
Speaking of infrastructure projects, via SHNS’s Colin Young: “Report: Overhaul needed to fix rail travel to South Shore.”
House’s solution to high UI rates: Spread payments out over 20 years
This is one way to fix a financial problem. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Michael Norton report that the House has unveiled, and quickly passed, a plan to provide relief for employers recently hit with huge unemployment-insurance rate hikes. Among other things, the legislation entails spreading out payments over two decades.
Rejoicing mixed with reservations: the reactions to lifting the COVID restrictions
Pandemic-related news hasn’t been this far down on MassterList since late winter 2020 – and that’s good news. And a lot of other people are treating the coming end of pandemic business restriction as good news, with restaurateurs, among others, rejoicing across the state (BBJ). But the Globe reports the general sense of joy and relief is tinged with a little fear – as in fear that the coronavirus is still out there and many people still aren’t vaccinated. And then there’s the issue of masks or no masks, and vaxed or non-vaxed, in work-place settings, as the Globe also reports.
Fyi: The Herald’s Howie Carr is, well, unhappy. There is no vaccine for Baker Derangement Syndrome, after all.
Medical examiner: Mikayla Miller’s death a suicide
This is certainly not the last word on the controversial death. From Ally Jarmanning and Diana Bell at WBUR: “Mikayla Miller, the Hopkinton 16-year-old whose death last month prompted cries of a coverup and calls for an independent investigation, died by suicide, the state medical examiner ruled. That’s according to Miller’s death certificate, filed Tuesday. The cause of death was listed as asphyxia by hanging.”
Norman Miller at MetroWest Daily News has more on the ruling – and the intense controversy swirling around the case.
Free for all: Advocates push endowment tax to fund tuition-free state college
Call it the Robin Hood solution. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill heard testimony on proposals to make state colleges all but free to students by slapping a 2.5 percent tax on the endowments of the state’s wealthiest private colleges, Christian Wade at the Salem News reports. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that the proposed higher-ed Cherish Act now has 90 sponsors at the State House.
Weld and business leaders: Millionaires tax, ‘Taxachusetts,’ same thing
Speaking of proposed tax, former Gov. Bill Weld and the heads of North Shore, South Shore and western Massachusetts business groups say in a Globe opinion piece this morning that state coffers are now overflowing with incoming tax revenues and federal relief funds – and the state simply doesn’t need revenue from a proposed “millionaires tax” backed by “insatiable tax-and-spenders.”
Fyi: The piece doesn’t mention ‘Taxachusetts,’ but it makes for a good headline, here and at the Globe.
Halted: MassDOT cancels Northampton roundabout project where artifacts found
Back to the drawing board. The Mass. Department of Transportation will restart the design process for a Northampton intersection where Native American Indian tribes said a planned roundabout would have disturbed the site of an ‘ancient village’ where 10,000-year-old artifacts have been found, Jim Kinney at MassLive reports.
Somerville goes America First on plantings
They’re obviously proud of our native species of plants, damn it, and now Somerville has set minimum standards for the percentage of native plantings on city lands, reports the John Laidler at the Globe.
Sam Adams ale, lager, IPA and … cannabis beverages?
Your cousin from Boston is going to love this. The Boston Beer Company, aka Sam Adams, is creating a subsidiary in Canada to “develop potential nonalcoholic cannabis-based beverages,” reports George Lenker at MassLive. They’re just “experimenting” with the idea.
Former GateHouse honcho takes over at Boston Magazine
Kirk Davis, the former head of GateHouse Media before it merged with Gannett, has been tapped as the new president and CEO of Boston Magazine, according to a report at Universal Hub.
MTF: Closing racial wealth gap could grow the state’s economy by $25B over five years
Besides moral reasons for tackling inequities, there are economic reasons too. From the Globe’s Shirley Leung: “If Massachusetts could close the wealth gap in Black and Latino communities, the state could grow its economy by $25 billion over five years, the equivalent of adding up to 100,000 jobs, according to an analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.”
New Bedford and Fall River mayors to state: We need a larger piece of the offshore-wind pie
Anastasia Lennon at the Standard Times reports that the mayors of New Bedford and Fall River, as well as local lawmakers and state officials, are unhappy with the bidding process for new offshore wind farms, saying the state is putting too much emphasis on lower energy prices and not enough on economic investment in southeastern Massachusetts.
For your information: Cape Cod nurses to picket two hospitals
For now, they’re just getting the word out. Nurses employed by Cape Cod Healthcare say they’ll stage two informational pickets at hospitals in Hyannis and Falmouth over the next week to bring attention to their efforts to negotiate a new contract with the health care company, Jessica Hill at the Cape Cod Times reports.
Meanwhile, St. Vincent Hospital, where nurses have been on an actual strike for more than two months, has posted ads for another 50 permanent replacement nurse jobs as talks continue to stall out, Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram reports.
Best summer ever? Ferry reservations suggest banner season for islands
Here we go. The state’s Steamship Authority says reservations for ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are up 16 percent over the 2019 pre-pandemic season, setting the stage for one of the busiest tourism seasons in recent memory, George Brennan at the Martha’s Vineyard Times.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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