Happening Today

Gaming Commission, Senate session, mayoral candidates’ forum

— The Gaming Commission meets and will hear an update on how the slots parlor and casinos are adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, vote on a handful of racing-related matters, and hear from the executive director about a review of commission regulations, 10 a.m. 

— The Massachusetts Senate meets in formal session and is expected to take action bills to finance construction of a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, create a COVID-19 emergency paid leave program, and address imminent unemployment trust fund solvency rate increases, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.

House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight holds a hearing on the U.S. Treasury’s guidance for use of $5.2 billion in funds allocated to Massachusetts through the American Rescue Plan, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to participate in a half-hour interview on GBH’s ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Greater Boston Labor Council hosts Boston mayoral candidates for a virtual forum focused on jobs and workers, one in a series of forums hosted by community and labor groups each Thursday through June 10, 6 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, 17,433 total deaths, 425 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Gross: Walsh knew of domestic-violence allegations against Dennis White

Former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross says he knew. Former Mayor Marty Walsh denies that he knew. And so unfolds the latest development in the ugly, ongoing saga over embattled Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White — and who knew what and when about past domestic-violence allegations against White. Ally Jarmanning at WBUR, a three-reporter team at the Globe and WCVB have more. 

Fyi, Universal Hub’s headline: “Gross throws Walsh under bus in White case.” And, while we’re at it, we might as well throw this Globe story into the mix: “Boston police Sergeant Brian Dunford caught on video physically assaulting a child, report says.”

Baker proposes major licensing overhaul and agency reshufflings

If this passes, it’s going to impact the licensing process for hundreds of thousands of workers across the state. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation Wednesday to overhaul the state’s professional licensing operations, proposing to transfer 13 boards to the Department of Public Health and to give regulators enhanced authority to investigate license holders.”

The new trimmed-down Division of Professional Licensure would be renamed the Division of Occupational Licensure.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Better keep a mask in your car’s glove compartment

Quincy-based Stop & Shop announced yesterday it will stop requiring customers to wear masks in its Massachusetts stores before the end of the month, keeping its policies in line with the governor’s new May 29 reopening guidelines, reports WCVB. But in a sign it’s going to get confusing out there post-May 29, Simon Group, the nation’s largest shopping-mall operator with 13 centers in Massachusetts, says it’s keeping its mask requirements, according to a separate WCVB report.

You know it’s going to happen: People walking up to store fronts, unmasked, then sighing when they spot ‘masks required’ signs. 

SJC to administration: Act faster on medical parole for inmates

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on two Supreme Judicial Court rulings on medical-parole cases that come down to this: Speed it up, DOC. Schoenberg explains.


Could Charlie Baker survive a Republican primary?

The short answer to the above question posed by GBH’s Adam Reilly: Likely, if not certainly. Still, Reilly explores all the challenges the moderate Gov. Charlie Baker would face in a GOP primary, if he runs for a third term next year, now that hard-core conservatives hold such strong sway in the state party.


Meanwhile, ex-Baker aide joins Keating challenger’s campaign

Speaking of the 2022 elections, read into this what you will regarding the governor’s political intentions next year, to wit: A report by SHNS’s Matt Murphy that Noelle Marston, formerly a top member of Gov. Baker’s political operation, has joined the campaign of Republican Congressional candidate Jesse Brown, who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Keating.

Unprompted, Baker pronounces: ‘I stand with Israel’

We’re not sure what prompted this surprise pronouncement from Gov. Charlie Baker, considering he’s known for avoiding involvement in national and international politics. But pronounce he did yesterday on Twitter: “I stand with Israel in defense of peace and security, and pray for a swift end to the bloodshed.” SHNS’s Matt Murphy and the Globe’s Matt Stout have more. 

And we’re pretty sure we’ll be hearing more from members of the Markeyverse’s ‘Army of 16-Year-Olds,’ who the NYT’s Ellen Barryprofiled yesterday.

MassBank? Black Economic Council pushes for new state-owned bank

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts has made the creation of a new state-owned bank a top legislative priority on Beacon Hill.

The motive is noble: helping Black-owned businesses recover after the pandemic. But the global track record of pols running government-owned banks – dishing out loans, investing in companies, hiring executives etc. — is pretty darn miserable. We’ll see.

Boston Globe

George Floyd’s family attorney on Mikayla Miller’s death: ‘Was she lynched?’

Ben Crump, the high-profile attorney who recently helped the families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, is now involved in the Mikayla Miller case and is bluntly asking: “Was she lynched?” Norman Miller at MetroWest Daily News, Jackson Cote at MassLive and CBS Boston have more on the latest developments in the controversial case.

Same difference? Bail requests down, dangerousness hearings up in Berkshire County

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington has largely kept her campaign promise to reduce her office’s reliance on cash bail in minor criminal cases but appears to be relying more heavily on dangerousness hearings to keep some suspects in custody, Heather Bellow and Amanda Burke report at the Berkshire Eagle. 

Berkshire Eagle

Hampden DA sues Justice Department for records in scathing police-misconduct report

They really want to know how they reached their conclusions. From Patrick Johnson at MassLive: “Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni is suing the U.S. Department of Justice, seeking the release of records used in the federal agency’s report on alleged patterns of misconduct and excessive force in the Springfield Police Department.” 


Harvard Square’s Charles Hotel caught up in Gates-divorce saga

It’s official: We have a local Bill Gates-divorce-saga angle. The BBJ’s Grant Welker reports one of the many properties tech titan Bill Gates and his wife Melinda will have to sort out in their divorce proceedings is none other than Harvard Square’s upscale Charles Hotel, owned by the Gates via a “secretive investment firm.”


Abuse a pet, lose a pet

From SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk: “A person convicted of animal abuse could not own an animal or work in a position where animals are present for up to 15 years based on the number of offenses, under a bill advocates pitched Wednesday as a way to protect the safety of animals and prevent abuse.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

He’s out: Acting Mayor Murphy won’t seek permanent job in Holyoke

Speculation over. Acting Holyoke Mayor Terence Murphy says he won’t run for election in November, ending weeks of speculation and leaving a wide open race among six declared candidates, Dennis Hohenberger at Masslive and Matt Szafranski at Western Mass. Politics and Insight report. 

Self help: Aquinnah board member approved overpayment to himself, state says

Maybe he was a little too plugged in. The State Ethics Commission says Aquinnah Select Board member Gary Haley violated ethics rules by awarding himself a contract to perform electrical work for the town, overcharging the community by some $4,000 and then approving payment to himself, Rich Salzberg atthe Martha’s Vineyard Times reports.

Martha’s Vineyard Times

Under review: New Bedford police take fresh look at controversial gang list

They’re giving it a fresh look. New Bedford Acting Police Chief Paul Oliveira is actively reviewing his department’s keeping of a list of potential gang members, a practice slammed in a recent report saying young minorities were being singled out in the port city, Anastasia Lennon at the Standard-Times reports. 

Standard Times

No green card, no long-term care for immigrants in Mass.

WBUR’s Lynn Jolicoeur and Lisa Mulins have an interesting, and sad, story about how hundreds of immigrants suffering from dementia and other ailments can’t stay in long-term care facilities under MassHealth rules. In one case, a Liberian immigrant suffering from dementia has been stuck at Clinton Hospital for three years now. Yes, three years.


Republicans make clear: They oppose expanded mail-in and early voting in Mass.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump, a Democrat, yesterday said she favors expansion of mail-in and early voting in Massachusetts – as long as the initiatives are properly funded by the state, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports. But some conservatives and Republican bigwigs made clear yesterday they’re against the plans – with or without state funding, as the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports.

‘Matty In The Morning’ storms off the air over Demi Lovato comment restrictions

Legendary radio DJ/host Matt Siegel stormed off his morning show yesterday, saying he won’t be silenced nor canceled when it comes to making jokes about singer Demi Lovato’s new non-binary status and use of pronouns. But Matty will be back, reports Kevin Slane at Boston.com.


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.


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


Andrea Campbell proposes ‘30 day challenge’ around Methadone Mile – Boston Herald

Milton Officer Pleads Not Guilty In Rant At Teen Over BLM Support – WBUR


Baker proposes overhaul of licensing – CommonWealth Magazine

Pittsfield City Council endorses new Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Berkshire Eagle

Couple files civil rights lawsuit against the town of Natick – MetroWest Daily News


Inspired by Arizona recount, Trump loyalists push to revisit election results in communities around the country – Washington Post

Near-Complete Ban on Abortion Is Signed Into Law in Texas – New York Times

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