MassPort meeting, Senate session, and more
9 a.m. | Massachusetts Port Authority Board meets amid an increase in air travel at Logan Airport and the further lifting of some international restrictions, 9 a.m.
10 a.m. | Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts State Retirement Board.
11 a.m. | Senate meets in a formal session.
2 p.m. | Joint Committee on Transportation holds a virtual hearing on 14 bills concerning aviation, privacy and gender identification., 2 p.m.
3 p.m. | Health Policy Commission meets to review Optum’s proposed acquisition of Atrius Health and other recent market transactions in Massachusetts.
For the most comprehensive list of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available).
Baker proposes two-month long sales tax holiday
You may have more time to find some tax-free bargains this summer. Gov. Charlie Baker filed a bill seeking to extend the typical weekend-long sales tax holiday to the entirety of August and September, reports Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal.
Potentially shipping up (and over) to Ireland
Get it? Even if the pun was too forced the second-ranking Democrat in the House could be heading to Ireland after President Joe Biden nominated her Wednesday to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the country. Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports House Majority Leader Claire Cronin, the president’s pick to fill the post, was a top surrogate and fund-raiser for Biden’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts.
The move potentially means several things: an open House seat up for grabs via a special election if Cronin is confirmed before next year and a vacant leadership role in the branch that Speaker Ronald Mariano will have to fill. SHNS’s Matt Murphy writes that Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Moran are among those who could fill the number two spot.
Mayoral campaign update: ‘Wide-open race’ for union endorsements
Who do they go with? That’s the question looming over unions seeking to endorse a candidate in the Boston mayoral race, Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius writes. In 2013, unions seemed to have a ‘pretty easy’ path ahead of them as they mostly backed then state Rep. Marty Walsh, a former labor boss who went on to become mayor before recently joining the Biden administration as U.S. labor secretary.
More from Dumcius: “Seven years later, the unions are split and scattered in their endorsements as Walsh’s departure for Joe Biden’s cabinet has led to six major candidates jumping into the race to succeed him.”
Immigration advocates see opening with Biden administration
A change in presidential administration over the past six months has prompted immigration attorneys in Massachusetts to signal an opening for lawmakers to pass laws making the state more welcoming to those without legal status, reports GBH’s Mike Deehan.
More from Deehan: “With Biden in office, immigration activists hope it will be easier for Democrats to vote in favor of further protections. However, they worry that without the threat posed by former President Donald Trump in the White House, adding protections for immigrants will become less of a priority.”
Busted: SJC deals Encore blackjack players a losing hand
The rules were, literally, right in front of them. The Supreme Judicial Court has tossed a lawsuit brought by blackjack players at Encore Boston Harbor casino who sought to collect high-stakes table-level winnings while playing at lower-stakes tables — where the rules of the game are printed right on the table felt. Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub has all the details.
‘Exorcism of the demon of corporate greed:’ Part II
It went about as well as most expected. Hospital police at St. Vincent Hospital told members of the Catholic Worker Movement and affiliates, who are supporting striking nurses at the hospital, that they were not authorized or permitted to enter the hospital after they held their ‘exorcism,’ reports Marco Cartolano at the Telegram & Gazette. A spokesperson for St. Vincent Hospital the T&G that “this is a hospital, not a theater for staged publicity stunts.”
One-sided: Harvard alters course on post-election look-back
This time things are a little different. Harvard University’s Institute of Politics has decided not to host its regular post-presidential election panel discussion with representatives of both the winning and losing campaigns, supplanting the 50-year tradition with a Biden-camp-only panel this weekend, Daniel Lippman of Politico reports. Internal worries about backlash over inviting Trump operatives to campus are among the reasons for the change.
Pandemic opens door to expanded remote medicine at UMass Memorial
They’re planning to bring the hospital to your front door. UMass Memorial Health is planning a massive expansion of its Hospital at Home program, saying the pandemic — and federal funding changes made as a result — have cleared the way for broader use of telemedicine, remote monitoring and at-home visits from nurses, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports.
Lawsuit: DEP and two towns ‘failed’ to protect coastal waters
A new lawsuit filed against the Department of Environmental Protection, Barnstable, and Mashpee alleges a failure to protect coastal waters from pollution, writes WBUR’s Jesse Remedios. Conservation Law Foundation, who filed the lawsuit, asked the court to suspend installations of new septic systems in the two towns, among other things.
More from Remedios: “The nonprofit has worked on a number of other lawsuits focused on nitrogen pollution on the Cape, but this is the first to focus on the enforcement of state law, rather than federal violations, said Christopher Kilian, vice president of Strategic Litigation at CLF.”
Another sign the pandemic is ending
Or at least that what it seems like. Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times reports that the number of people getting COVID-19 tests has declined on the Cape.
Sweet 16 (and 17): Lawmakers take testimony on Northampton’s bid to lower voting age
One step closer. The Joint Committee on Election Laws heard testimony on Northampton’s request for a home rule petition that would allow it to lower the voting age in local elections to 16, a move supported by the city council, the city’s mayor and its legislative delegation. Brian Steele of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has the details.
Warren, Pressley want extended pause on federal student loan payments
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley joined a contingent of Democrats in a letter calling on President Joe Biden to extend a pandemic-era pause on federal student loan payments, reports Benjamin Kail of MassLive.
More from Politico’s Michael Stratford: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren is blocking a swift confirmation for President Joe Biden’s pick to be the No. 3 official at the Education Department as she presses the administration over its management of the $1.6 trillion portfolio of federal student loans.”
Low interest in Fall River political seats
Four weeks until the deadline for potential candidates for Fall River mayor, City Council, and School Committee, Jo C. Goode at the Herald News reports there’s little interest in running for local seats.
More from Goode: “Only three people have taken out nomination papers for mayor: incumbent Mayor Paul Coogan; Jonathan James Albernaz and Jordan J. Silva.” Eight people have taken out papers for the seven seats on the Fall River School Committee.
Corrections & Clarifications
A summary of a Boston Herald article in MassterList’s Wednesday, June 23, 2021 edition incorrectly stated how much a coalition of unions and developers paid for television and radio ads. The coalition paid $500,000.
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