Happening Today

Facial recognition hearing, Covid relief funds, and more

Special Commission on Facial Recognition holds virtual meeting to hear presentations from UMass Amherst Professor Erik Learned-Miller and from officials at the Register of Motor Vehicles and State Police, 11 a.m.

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

— UMass and elected officials host press conference to discuss higher education funding in the American Rescue Plan, with U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, state Sen. Nick Collins, state Rep. David Biele, UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, UMass President Marty Meehan and Boston City Councilor Frank Baker attending, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, an author and director of trauma-informed treatment at McLean Hospital, are billed as guest speakers at Roca’s virtual ‘Breakfast at Lunch’ event, 12 p.m.

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus holds virtual panel discussion on the Asian American Pacific Islander experience in the state with the Legislature’s three AAPI women lawmakers – Reps. Vanna Howard, Tram Nguyen, and Maria Robinson, 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: 9 new deaths, 17,442, total deaths, 538 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Unacceptable’: Biden administration cancels ICE agreement with Bristol County, Hodgson cries foul

In a surprise move, the Biden administration yesterday nixed an ICE contract with Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson to hold immigrants at his county jail, saying that conditions at the facility are “unacceptable” and that they don’t need the jail anyway. Hodgson is furious, calling the move a “political hit job” to advance a “left-wing political agenda.”

SHNS’s Colin Young, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have more.

Massachusetts reinstates work-search requirement for unemployment insurance

Employers struggling to fill job vacancies won a minor victory yesterday after the Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced it was re-instating a rule requiring people to actively look for work while receiving unemployment benefits, according to reports at WBUR and MassLive. The rule had been suspended at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Senate sends Baker Holyoke, UI relief and Covid sick leave legislation

The state Senate yesterday passed the $600 million bill to build a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and provide services to veterans across the state, sending the measure to Gov. Charlie Baker, reports MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge. Meanwhile, State House News Service reports that senators also sent to the governor legislation to fix an unanticipated spike in unemployment taxes and offer COVID-19 emergency sick leave for municipal workers.

New Bedford and Lawrence are the state’s last remaining hotspots

MassLive’s Tanner Stening reports there are now only two municipalities listed as “high risk” for the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts – Lawrence and New Bedford. Meawhile, from MassLive’s Melissa Hanson: “COVID infections at Massachusetts schools remain below 1% as officials announce 377 students, 30 staffers with new virus cases.”

Iceland, here we come

How do we know we’ve reached a decisive turning point in the pandemic? We can now go to Iceland. The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports on the first new transatlantic route to take off from any US airport since the pandemic began – and it happened right here at Logan Airport.

Meanwhile, from the Telegram: “JetBlue returning to Worcester Airport? Massport hoping for ‘great news’ next week.”

Boston Globe

Talk of resignation? Warren and Moulton press Walsh to disclose more about Dennis White controversy

This isn’t good, since it’s coming from fellow Democrats, not Republicans. From the Globe’s Jim Puzzanghera: “Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Seth Moulton said Thursday they want to know more about Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh’s role in his final weeks as Boston mayor in the appointment of Dennis White as the city’s police commissioner.”

And Moulton is even saying Walsh should resign from his cabinet post if it turns out he indeed knew of domestic-violence allegations against White prior to his appointment.

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, judge sounds mighty skeptical about blocking White’s firing

When a sitting judge tells plaintiff attorneys “I’m not sure you’ve convinced me,” yeah, you can safely say the judge is skeptical about ruling in the plaintiff’s favor. In this case, it’s Dennis White’s favor and his attorneys’ attempt to block Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s firing of White as police commissioner. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas has more.

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes the city may have to pay Dennis White to go away. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports Janey’s mayoral rivals say they would have handled the White situation differently. 


Baker says he would support an independent investigation into the death of Mikayla Miller

From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Two days after the Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Hopkinton teen Mikayla Miller died of suicide, Gov. Charlie Baker said he would support an independent investigation as her family continues to criticize the police and question the suicide ruling.”

The Globe’s Matt Stout has more on the governor’s comments on the racially-charged Miller case. 

Boston Herald

Breaking ranks: Scott Brown says GOP should support the Jan. 6 commission

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, says in a Globe opinion piece that the GOP can’t move forward as an alternative to the Democratic Party until it confronts the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol – and confronting means supporting, not resisting, an independent, bipartisan commission to look into the Capitol riot.

Boston Globe

Squad squeaker: Pressley and other progressives nearly sink U.S. Capitol security bill

In yet more Jan. 6-related news, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined with several of her fellow progressive Dems and nearly all Republicans in opposing legislation that would add $1.9 billion in funding for more police and other security improvements at the U.S. Capitol, Cristina Marcos and Niv Elis at The Hill report. The bill ultimately passed by a single vote.  

The Hill

Report: Raytheon’s lobbyists are donating funds again to congressional election-results deniers

Waltham-based Raytheon Technologies and other companies have quietly started to make political donations again to members of Congress who voted to override the 2020 presidential election results – and they’re doing it indirectly via their paid lobbyists, reports the BBJ’s Grant Welker, citing an Axios report.


Baker: The GOP still has an important check-and-balance role in Massachusetts

Back to the subject of the GOP’s future, the national Republican Party may be tearing itself apart these days. But Gov. Gov. Charlie Baker says he still believes in his brand of Republicanism and its role at the state level of acting as a check on a ‘one-party majority’ in Massachusetts. GBH’s Mike Deehan has more.


Game of Budgets: City council seeks to change balance of power in Boston

Saraya Wintersmith at GBH reports the Boston City Council is inching ever closer to changing the balance of power at City Hall via giving the council more say in budget matters – and they’re hoping they can achieve it with a citywide ballot question.


Tufts/Harvard Pilgrim names new CEO – and makes a little history in the process

The recently merged Tufts Health and Harvard Pilgrim Health may not have a new name yet – but it does have a new CEO, Cain Hayes, the first Black CEO in either insurer’s history. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has more on the appointment.


National Grid moves into offshore wind

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports National Grid wants a piece of the offshore-wind action – and it’s doing so by teaming up with a German energy company to pursue wind farm proposals in the Northeast.

Boston Globe

‘Non-whites-only healing space’?

From Tom Joyce at the New Post Post: “Did the Wellesley Public School system break the law when school officials excluded whites from an online event in March? A group called Parents Defending Education thinks so, and the organization has filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.” The Zoom event occurred after the recent Atlanta mass shooting.

New Boston Post

‘Blatantly unconstitutional:’ Plymouth backs down on sign bylaw after ACLU threat

It may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s constitutional. Plymouth officials say they will stop enforcing local sign bylaws after the ACLU threatened a lawsuit on behalf of a resident who was ordered to remove an anti-Biden sign from his front lawn, Wheeler Cooperthwaite at the Patriot Ledger reports. Plymouth slapped a $300 fine on a resident for leaving a campaign sign up outside of election season — a bylaw found on the books of many cities and towns. 

Patriot Ledger

Sunday public affairs TV: Maura Healey, Elizabeth Warren and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Attorney General Maura Healey, who talks with host Jon Keller about policing issues, the pandemic and politics in general.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Entrepreneurs Jonathan Bush and Prakash Khot talk about their India COVID relief efforts; United Solutions CEO Dave Reilly on the story of a 100-year-old plastics manufacturing company; and the Globe’s Shirley Leung on the fast-track reopening in Massachusetts and the implications for all sorts of businesses.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who talks with hosts Maria Stephanos and Janet Wu, followed by a political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Education Matters: Fallout from the Pandemic, featuring James Morton, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston, and Amanda Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Latinos for Education, among others.

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


Jon Santiago calls for moratorium on new services on Methadone Mile as crisis worsens – Boston Herald

Aerosmith postpones 50th anniversary concert at Fenway Park for second time, show now slated for 2022 – MassLive


‘I’m here. Good morning’: morning radio host Matt Siegel returns to the airwaves Thursday – Boston Globe

Hopkinton leads rising MetroWest housing market, with 93% increase in prices – Worcester Business Journal


Biden vowed to ‘follow the science,’ but left many out with sudden mask guidance – Washington Post

Trump Justice Department seized CNN records tied to correspondent’s phone and email – Politico

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