Happening Today

Juneteenth observance, unemployment numbers, and more

The House and Senate are closed on Friday for the state’s first-ever official observance of the Juneteenth holiday that falls on Saturday and that marks the end of slavery in America.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate and jobs report for May will be released Friday morning by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

10 a.m. | U.S. Rep. Richard Neal attends a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at Springfield City Hall. At 1 p.m., Neal attends a celebration at Mercy Medical Center.

12:15 p.m. | Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey takes part in a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony at Boston City Hall. 

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

Supreme Judicial Court judge looks to treatment, housing options

A Supreme Judicial Court justice expressed his support Thursday morning for giving judges in Massachusetts the authority to provide addiction treatment and housing interventions for defendants to help reduce recidivism rates and move people out of the criminal justice system.

“The thing I would love is to give more opportunity for the judges in the court system, to use something other than incarceration, to give us programming, to give us housing, to give us treatment opportunities,” Justice Serge Georges said during a Worcester Chamber of Commerce event.

It’s a rare occurrence that we hear from a Supreme Judicial Court justice outside of the intermittent rulings the state’s highest court releases. But when we do, it’s typically pretty interesting as it lets us peek into the thoughts of some of the most powerful judges in the state.

Gov. Charlie Baker has appointed all seven current SJC justices, including Georges, an extremely rare opportunity for a governor.  

Georges said he would also like to see more opportunities for judges to prescribe long-term treatment for people with substance use disorders, which Georges said is primarily covered by MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

“We’re all fighting for the same DPH beds because those are the only ones that are going to take the MassHealth recipients,” he said. “Give me more beds, give me more opportunity to give long-term treatment, inpatient treatment to folks that we know is the reason why they’re committing crime.”

These types of options, he said, will reduce recidivism rates.

“There are things that we can do to give the court more opportunity to do something outside of just what we have,” he said. “Give us more money and more opportunity and more treatment for folks to get them out of the system. And that’ll help everyone, the recidivism rate will come down the treatment rates will get higher.”

More money, more problems

The saying could not be more true for the spat that’s going on between the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker. After butting heads for several weeks over who exactly gets the authority to spend $5.2 billion in federal aid dollars, Baker proposed doing what siblings resort to when they both want the same thing: split it in half. 

The Republican governor would get control over $2.8 billion to address his key priorities, Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto writes, and the Legislature would get the rest to allocate through a fund they control. Baker proposed splitting the cash in an amendment to a bill the two branches passed, which he announced Thursday afternoon, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy.

And it didn’t take long for the Legislature to fire back, dismissing the governor’s proposal in an evening statement. From House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka: “We appreciate the Governor’s spending proposal, but we continue to believe that this once in a generation opportunity demands a thoughtful public vetting. To that end, we will continue to pursue placing these one-time federal dollars, which were intended to be spent over multiple years, into the segregated fund.” 

Legislative ‘peer pressure’

It may or may not be a thing among Beacon Hill lawmakers. But as CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas reports, we may soon find out. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill Wednesday making phone calls free for incarcerated and their significant others, a measure that has floated around under the Golden Dome several times. 

More from Jonas: “A similar push to end charges for prison calls has been underway in Massachusetts, but so far has stalled in the Legislature. Last session, Sen. Will Brownsberger sponsored a bill to eliminate charges to all Massachusetts inmates for telephone calls.”


Counselors not cops: Pressley bill would shift federal funding

Citing data about racial inequities in discipline in the Bay State’s schools, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley refiled legislation that would shift federal funding away from in-school police officers and use the funds to hire more counselors, nurses and mental health professionals, Meghan Ottolini of the Herald reports.

Boston Herald

Amherst council considering reparations fund

Amherst Town Council plans to consider creating an account for potential reparations, writes Jim Russell for The Republican, who notes that “an initial outlay of $210,000 is under consideration,” according to information Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman provided the council.

The Republican

‘Have vax, will travel’

The headline on this story about the so-called Vax Express stopping in Worcester Thursday is just too good to pass up. From T&G’s Steven H. Foskett Jr.: “The Vax Express rolled into Union Station Thursday morning, offering COVID-19 vaccines as part of an effort to bring shots to some of the state’s hardest-hit and least-vaccinated communities.”

Telegram & Gazette

Mass and Cass becomes central issue in Boston mayoral contest

The opioid epidemic at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard has become a central issue in the Boston mayoral race, writes Danny McDonald, who also has these few lines at the end of his story: “From the crowd, one man emerged and became enraged at a news photographer, hurling misogynistic threats of violence at her before assaulting another journalist, tearing open his shirt.”

Boston Globe

Comment confusion: Cambridge has bumpy re-entry from virtual meetings

To Zoom or not to Zoom? Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is telling employees not to allow residents to provide comments at in-person meetings via remote video hookup, even though city councilors say they want to pursue a hybrid model permanently. John Hawkinson of Cambridge Day reports some of the confusion may stem from the state’s belated extension of virtual meetings. 

Cambridge Day

Coast to coast: Northeastern in talks to take over California women’s college

Go West — again. Northeastern University is in advanced talks about taking over a California women’s college that would become an institute for women’s leadership and further build out the school’s West coast footprint, which has grown recently under the leadership of President Joseph Aoun, Jeremy Fox of the Globe reports. 

Boston Globe

Lost in space: UMass science fiction collection looking for new home

For them, space really is the final frontier. Members of the Science Fiction Society at UMass Amherst say a new policy that allocates office space to all student clubs on a rotating basis means one of the largest lending libraries of science fiction-related books on the East Coast may have to go into storage, Ryan Trowbridge and Paris Dunford of Western Mass. News report.

Western Mass. News

In a whale’s mouth again?

Well, this time it’s on TV and the whale is fake. But yeah, veteran Provincetown lobster diver Michael Packard and crewman Josiah Mayo made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday night, reports Eric Williams at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Internal emails in Fall River show support for investigation

Following up on the news of an independent labor investigation in Fall River, the Herald News’ Jo C. Goode managed to secure a number of emails from city councilors to the administration that show city council leadership is supporting City Councilor Shawn Cadime.

The Herald News

More sleep, less problems

Students in Andover are slated to get some of the best news: they can wake up later starting in September. From Madeline Hughes at The Eagle-Tribune: “There was a full house as the School Committee voted 4-0 on Thursday night to push back school start times starting in September.”

The Eagle-Tribune

Sunday’s public affairs TV: Jim McGovern, Rachael Rollins, and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who talks with host Jon Keller about the status of the infrastructure bill, the vote to end the authorization for military action that’s been in place since 2002, the 21 Republicans who voted to deny medals to the Capitol Police, and his efforts to spotlight hunger in Massachusetts.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Groups Recover Together CEO Colleen Nicewicz on the impact of the pandemic on addiction and their approach to recovery; Interise CEO Darrell Byerson helping small businesses survive and thrive in the pandemic, and the BBJ’s Doug Banks reviews the top local business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Andrew Goodrich.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Young Leaders, featuring Amma Agyei, elected student body president at Tufts University, and Noah Harris, elected study body president at Harvard University.

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


‘We have failed everyone down here’: Mass. and Cass becomes a campaign issue – Boston Globe

Swampscott police chief announces retirement – Lynn Item


UMass Medical School division shifting 500 employees to remote work – Worcester Business Journal

Braintree mayor fires Petersen Pool/Rink developer – Patriot Ledger

Residents object to plans to cut 100 trees from Newton Square area for repaving project – Telegram & Gazette


GOP crushes Manchin’s hopes for elections compromise – Politico

Supreme Court’s pro-ACA decision spurs both parties to new strategies – Washington Post

Black Americans laud Juneteenth holiday, say more work ahead – AP

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