Gaming Commission, House formal, Boston mayoral forum, and more
8:30 a.m. | UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Search Committee meets in executive session to screen candidates for its top post.
10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets to hear an update on casino and slot parlor operations as well as the commission’s own return-to-work efforts. Commissioners will also get an update on vendor and employee diversity.
11 a.m. | House holds formal session to consider legislation funding municipal roads and bridges improvements. Roll calls start at 1 p.m.
12 p.m. | Sen. Eric Lesser talks with Attorney General Maura Healey about student debt and the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, which was officially implemented in the state on July 1, 2021 with the appointment of a new student loan ombudsman within the Attorney General’s Office.
4 p.m. | Responsible Development Coalition, an advocacy organization founded by the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, holds an in-person Boston mayoral forum with Annissa Essaibi George, Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, and John Barros. CommonWealth Magazine Editor Bruce Mohl moderates.
For the most comprehensive list of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available).
Who do legislators follow the most on Twitter?
There’s now data detailing the who’s who of Beacon Hill Twitter. A new political productivity software company based in Boston decided to go down the rabbit hole and find out which Twitter accounts are most followed among the lawmakers working out of the State House.
And we swear we’re not making this up … the most followed account is the State House News Service, with 92 percent of the 178 members of the Legislature with public Twitter accounts, according to data compiled and analyzed by Legislata.
But aside from bragging rights, the data offers some interesting takeaways, says Legislata CEO and Founder Chris Oates.
“What I thought was interesting was that there really is a partisan divide on who you follow on Twitter,” Oates told MassterList.
For example, he said, lawmakers are more likely to follow members of their own party than those on the opposite side of the aisle. The Massachusetts Democratic and Republican Parties are mostly followed by members of their own party, while Gov. Charlie Baker is followed by 88 percent of Republican and 68 percent of Democratic legislators.
“That’s interesting, because obviously, if you’re in the legislature, you want to know what everyone’s doing, not just members of your own party,” Oates said. “But it does seem like Twitter, just because clicking that follow button is easy to do and then you’re often not making a conscious decision about who to follow, it can lead you into a, not a bubble, but if not done with a proactive approach, it might lead you to only be following people that you agree with, without even making a conscious decision in that way.”
Legislata bills itself as a non-partisan political software productivity company whose advisory board includes former House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, Thaumaturgix, Inc. President Pete Dolch, and Reddit Director of Policy Jessica Ashooh. The company plans to officially launch in September.
Oates is the founder of political risk consultancy group Two Laterns Advisory and served as a senior advisor to Voter Choice Massachusetts, the group that backed the ranked-choice voting ballot question.
The data is available to the public — Legislata offers a form to download their own raw data set.
Media outlets are among some of the top followed accounts. The data shows 69 percent of members follow the Boston Globe, GBH clocks in at 56 percent, WBUR at 52 percent, and the Boston Herald draws 47 percent. And we suppose we should congratulate GBH State House reporter Mike Deehan, the most followed reporter among legislators.
“One thing that is interesting, I think, is the extent to which Twitter is used as a news service,” Oates said. “And we can’t know exactly which legislator uses Twitter for the news, and which doesn’t but I think it is interesting that news accounts are some of the top followed accounts.”
Pressley wants feds to stop deportations of Haitian migrants
Stop the deportations says U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and leaders of the House Haiti Caucus. They’re calling on the Biden Administration to do just that with Haitian migrants following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, reports Boston Globe’s Jazmine Ulloa.
More from Ulloa: “In a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Wednesday, the lawmakers asked federal officials to halt all deportations of Haitian migrants, reinstate a lapsed parole program to reunite Haitian families amid visa-processing backlogs, and to follow through on the Biden administration’s decision to renew a temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants.”
Staties facing ‘very real staffing challenges’
Time off, officer wellness, and increased backfill overtime costs are at risk of being negatively impacted. That’s because there’s a drop in state police troopers that’s creating “very real staffing challenges,” Col. Christopher Mason told NBC10. And the incoming class of potential Massachusetts State Police troopers won’t cover what the department expects to lose this year, reports MassLive’s Tristan Smith.
More from Smith: “Perpetual instances of minority groups being discriminated against and marginalized by police officers attracted global attention over the last year. Sgt. Mike Cherven told NBC10 Boston, that the low recruitment is a result of ‘growing anti-police sentiment across the country which is discouraging some people from entering careers in law enforcement.’”
Downing says he’s taking on ‘complacent’ political culture
As the one version of the old saying goes: complacency breeds mediocracy. That was part of former Sen. Ben Downing’s critique of Gov. Charlie Baker and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature during an appearance on Boston Public Radio. GBH’s Aidan Connelly has the full rundown from the show.
Here’s one quote from Downing that Connelly included in the story: “I believe the future of Massachusetts is limitless, but it’s time that we stood up and fought for that future,” Downing said, taking on “a political culture that is too complacent, too comfortable with the status quo.”
Safer bet: Offshore wind staging facility coming to New Bedford waterfront
They’re pushing all-in on offshore wind. The city of New Bedford says it will double its capacity for staging offshore wind projects with a private-public partnership to redevelop an abandoned power plant property — once the proposed home of a casino, Lily Robinson of CommonWealth Magazine and Anastasia Lennon of the Standard-Times report.
BPS has a new system for getting into exam schools
Boston School Committee approved a new exam school admissions policy that is based on grades, an exam, and socioeconomic tiers, reports Boston Herald’s Alexi Cohan. The new process is intended to give increased opportunities to low-income students.
More from Cohan: “The socioeconomic tiers are geographic groupings within the city with similar socioeconomic characteristics. Each tier will be allocated about the same number of seats. The tier with the lowest socioeconomic score goes first in one of 10 selection rounds.”
Fight against sex trafficking looks to enlist hotel workers
A group of lawmakers is looking to train workers in the hospitality industry to recognize signs as exploration in an effort to make them another line of defense to stop sex trafficking, Christian M. Wade reports for The Eagle-Tribune. Legislation from Peabody, Danvers, and Salem Democrats would require hotels to create a “human trafficking recognition program” to train workers to recognize signs and notify authorities.
More from Wade: “If approved, the training must be approved by the attorney general’s office before it is administered by police departments. [Rep. Tom] Walsh said it would focus on educating hotel workers on often subtle signs of exploitation, such as multiple individuals coming and going from a single room.”
Doubling down: Second local PAC forms ahead of Amherst election
The town of Amherst now has a second political action committee focusing on local issues. Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports a group of UMass professors and others have formed the Progressive Coalition of Amherst, which says it will put its support behind a slate of “racially and ethnically diverse” candidates.
Lawn signs? How about political swag
Forget coveted sneakers. Fancy a Kim Janey t-shirt? Tote bag? What about a hat? Well, for all the Janey supporters out there, her campaign is moving past the typical lawn signs and getting into the merch game, reports Boston Globe’s Meghan E. Irons. The swag ranges from $30-$34 with stickers and buttons a mere $5.
Looking for a new leader at UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney plans to step down at the end of the academic year in June 2022, reports Lowell Sun’s Alana Melanson. She was appointed as the first woman to lead the university in August 2015 and now the University of Massachusetts system will launch a national search for her successor in the fall, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan.
And that’s not all for UMass system news, from Kerri Tallman of the Standard-Times: “The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth expects a full return of students in the fall along with a new chancellor, UMass President Marty Meehan said.”
Flash point: Calls mount for school board member to resign over Holocaust comparisons
The chairperson of the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee is seeking to distance the board from the comments of member Katie Ferreira-Aubin, who has compared government mandates around vaccines and masks to the Holocaust. Chairman Aaron Morse tells George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle there are no recall or censure provisions in place, even as a petition calling for Ferreira-Aubin’s removal has gathered hundreds of signatures. The Sun-Chronicle also published an editorial calling on her to resign.
Bonus baseball: Extended minor league season means more WooSox home games
Every little bit helps. Polar Park will host five additional WooSox games after the minor league season was extended, meaning baseball will be played at the shiny new ballpark into early October. Joe McDonald of the Telegram has the details.
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