Happening Today

Sports betting, Legislative sessions, and more

10 a.m. | Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies holds a virtual hearing on nearly 20 bills related to sports wagering.

10 a.m. | Cannabis Control Commission is expected to meet to possibly review dozens of license renewals, provisional license awards and final license awards.

11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session and Senate plans to meet without a calendar. 

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12:15 p.m. | Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association hosts a webinar with Dr. Marc Boom and Carlone Hackett of Houston Methodist, which the MHA says was the first hospital system in the country to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.

Today’s Stories

Pandemic Policies: Over but not over

There was a lot of rejoicing yesterday when Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation extending certain pandemic-era measures like remote public meetings and to-go cocktails but it’s important to remember that there are still a few outstanding items a panel of six lawmakers is negotiating.

What exactly remains? The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout points out that the House tried to allow a 15 percent cap on third-party delivery services to continue until the end of the year whereas the Senate let them expire last week. More from Stout: “The Senate adopted rules that would continue certain telehealth reimbursements at a higher level through Dec. 15, while the House bill as of Monday left that out.” Hence, over but not over. 

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that the bill Baker signed into law also extends certain eviction protections and expanded outdoor dining through April 1, 2022. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail also has more on the signing. 

Lingering question: Now that lawmakers have something in place extending the measures, will the urgency to negotiate quickly dissipate?

Pressley and others want independent investigation into Mikayla Miller’s death

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and other Massachusetts elected officials are pushing for an independent investigation into the death of Mikayla Miller, who was found dead two months ago near her home in Hopkinton, writes Emma Platoff at the Boston Globe. 

A medical examiner ruled her death as a suicide. Among the officials pushing for an investigation: Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, Reps. Nika Elugardo, Russell Holmes, Liz Miranda, and Brandy Fluker-Oakley as well as a number of Boston city councilors, according to Platoff.  

Boston Globe

You don’t want this notification on your phone

Really, you don’t. And if you do end up getting it you’ll probably want to get a coronavirus test. What’s the deal? State health officials are launching a smartphone app that will let people know if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. It’s got a really catchy name: MassNotify. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has the details.

Boston Herald

‘Still only free-ish’

Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus held a flag-raising ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the state’s first official observation of Juneteenth, which takes place this Saturday. 

“In the year 2021, Black folks are still, only, free-ish,” said caucus chair Rep. Chynah Tyler. “In just a few short years we have progressed towards a future with increased access to capital for Black entrepreneurs and small business owners; a civic workforce with more equitable opportunities; and amid last summer’s protests calling for increased police accountability, our Caucus proudly lead on legislation that reimagines policing and public safety in communities across our Commonwealth.” 

Here’s a photo of the event courtesy of State Auditor Suzanne Bump and, a dispatch from MassLive’s Michelle Williams who talked to Rep. Bud Williams, a co-sponsor of the bill that led to Juneteenth becoming an official state holiday. 

More redistricting drama

Yep, voting rights activists are pushing back against Secretary of State William Galvin’s claim that Democrats are trying to reform the redistricting process to give House incumbents an easy pass to re-election, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy

What about the state lawmaker to mayor pipeline?

Paul Brodeur. Don Humason. Shuanna O’Connell. Steve DiNatale. Robert Hedlund. Tom McGee. Marty Walsh. James Kelcourse. What do all of these names have in common? They’re state lawmakers who went on to become mayors of one of Massachusetts 351 cities or towns. But one name is not exactly like the rest. 

If you know your mayors you probably guessed state Rep. Kelcourse, who pulled nomination papers Wednesday morning to run for mayor of Amesbury. The Daily News’ Jim Sullivan has the full story.

Good bet: Poll says Bay State residents ready for sports gambling

As the legislature prepares to hear testimony on 20 bills to legalize sports betting, a poll commissioned by two of the state’s casinos finds ‘robust’ support, with 61 percent of residents backing legalized betting–a number that grows to 71 percent if the revenue generated is earmarked for public education. Tom Reilly at the Sun Chronicle has the details. 

Sun Chronicle

Walked back: Days after campaign launch, Allen clarifies role in Biden’s Covid response

That was quick. The newly minted campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen clarified claims made in press releases about Allen’s role in helping to craft the Biden administration’s Covid-19 response, Adam Reilly of GBH News reports. 

GBH

Chalking up a political win: Markey’s transpo ideas move forward

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey can chalk yesterday up as a win. Some of his ideas for passengers and freight rail and auto safety cleared the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee as part of a $78 billion transportation bill, Benjamin Kail of MassLive reports.

MassLive

Worcester’s fiscal 2022 budget, pension for officer’s widow

Worcester City Council on Tuesday passed a $733 million fiscal year 2022 budget Tuesday, Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr. reports, adding the budget is 4.1 percent larger than fiscal 2021.

More from Foskett Jr. on the FY22 budget: “The majority is committed to education ($17.1 million), equity initiatives ($2 million), and fixed costs ($4 million). It funds several aspects of City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.’s plan to address equity and structural racism in the city.”

Foskett Jr. also writes that councilors also backed an order supporting a change to state law to include drowning as a result of attempting to save the life of another in the performance of an officer’s duties as a reason for a spouse to receive the officer’s full pension. 

Telegram & Gazette

Row, row, row your boat

Guirec Soudée is heading to France. But he isn’t taking the normal route. He’s rowing from Chatham, writes Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times. Pretty crazy, right? Three months and 3,000 miles later he should end up on Yvinec in Brittany, France. 

Cape Cod Times

Totally in control but campus was closed

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is in “total control” of their systems following a cybersecurity incident on Tuesday, reports Christopher Scott at the Lowell Sun.

Lowell Sun

‘Burning cash:’ Lawrence hospital asks city to help lobby for relief funds

The Lawrence City Council agreed to do whatever it can to convince Gov. Charlie Baker to dole out $25 million in federal pandemic relief funds to Lawrence General Hospital after the institution’s president warned the community hospital is “burning cash” and that service cuts and debt defaults are likely if help doesn’t arrive by the end of August. Allison Corneau of the Eagle-Tribune has the details.

Eagle Tribune

Not helping: Vandals hit Northampton ahead of police-budget vote

As if tensions weren’t high enough already. As the Northampton City Council prepares to vote today on police department funding, protesters who want the agency’s budget slashed apparently vandalized city streets after a rally Tuesday, with not-very-helpful spray-painted messages such as “kill police,” Brian Steele at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Accusations of bullying and hostile work place in Fall River

Bullying and a hostile work environment will be at the center of an independent labor investigation involving Fall River’s chief financial officer and City Councilor Shawn Cadime, writes Jo C. Goode of The Herald News. 

More from Goode: “The investigation stems from a complaint filed by Mary Sahady last Wednesday, the day after a particularly contentious City Council meeting between the Council and members of the administration, including Mayor Paul Coogan.”

The Herald News

Reinventing Libraries for a Post-COVID World

This event is being organized in partnership with Ellyssa Kroski, the Director of Information Technology and Marketing at the New York Law Institute as well as an award-winning editor and author of 60 books.

The Learning Revolution Project

National Indigenous History Month: Celebrating Indigenous Arts & Culture

Join Indigenous Tourism BC for an inspiring arts & culture workshop in celebration of National Indigenous History Month. In partnership with Destination BC and sponsored by Daily Hive, you will learn from Indigenous cultural ambassadors as they share their language, art and connection to the land in order to preserve the wealth of culture, from an Indigenous perspective.

Indigenous Tourism BC

All Different Now: Juneteenth, The First Day of Freedom

Join Librarian Maija for a story and a treat to celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth was long celebrated as a regional holiday but now is being celebrated across the country and as an official holiday right here in Boston.

Boston Public Library

The Black Matters Juneteenth Experience

The Black Matters Juneteenth Experience is an opportunity for our community to come together, celebrate, and heal. The evening will include live musical performances from Cambridge artists, poetry readings, dancing, and giveaways! We hope you will join us!

Starlight Square

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Lynn mayoral candidates talk development, jobs – Lynn Item

Boston School Committee may extend superintendent’s contract by 2 years after giving her high marks on job review – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Holyoke drops Christopher Columbus for Indigenous Peoples Day – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Biden gifts Putin a pair of aviator sunglasses made in Massachusetts – MassLive

Redlined and underwater. Flood and climate hazards threaten Massachusetts’ vulnerable neighborhoods. – Patriot Ledger

Nation

House passes bill to make Juneteeth a holiday, sending to Biden’s desk – New York Times

Airline and bank websites go down in another major internet failure – CNN

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