Senate formal session, committee hearings, Wu announces endorsement, and more
10 a.m. Legislation concerning emergency response, workplace safety, recreation, and local affairs are the subject of a Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security virtual hearing.
10:30 a.m. | Candidate for Boston mayor Michelle Wu announces “major endorsement from an elected official.”
12 p.m. | Senate holds full formal session without a calendar, aiming to take up the compromise fiscal 2021 supplemental budget which includes mail-in voting for the remaining municipal elections this year and would also create a new MBTA board of directors.
1 p.m. | Self-advocates and lawmakers gather to rally in front of the State House around the rights of people with disabilities to live in accessible, affordable, and integrated communities with the services and supports they need.
1 p.m. | Public Service Committee hears testimony on 33 bills related to health presumptions and COVID-19, including a proposal to give a three-year retirement credit to essential public-sector employees who worked in the field during the COVID-19 emergency, which has garnered more than 100 cosponsors.
Federal funds feud: Act V
Top ranking Democrats in the House and Senate are upset at Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to spend federal aid dollars that they gave him control of, reports State House News Service’s Colin A. Young. The two branches handed Baker $200 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which the Republican decided to shuttle to financially distressed hospitals, human service worker rate increases, inpatient psychiatric care, and workforce development.
But that drew the ire of a Westport Senator. More from Young: “Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues told the governor and administration officials Tuesday that ‘clearly, the spending of that money is not authorized’ by the law Baker signed to sweep most of the ARPA sum into an account controlled by the Legislature.”
Return to Normalcy Series: ‘Frozen in Amber’
Do you remember what you left on your desk at work back in March 2020? Maybe a half-filled coffee mug. A to-do list. How about a newspaper from the last day you were there. As workers are heading back to their cubicles, their finding themselves looking at a time capsule full of relics harking back to an age when we didn’t have to worry about a deadly virus, reports Boston Globe’s Steve Annear.
More from Annear: “Those shedding sweatpants and slippers for slacks and shoes say returning to the office has been a bit jarring, especially sitting at desks that feel like time capsules. Their papers, scribbled notes, pictures, and favorite pens, all frozen in amber.”
More endorsements for Janey’s mayoral bid
In a move that could improve Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s standing among Latino and immigrant voters, the city’s local chapter of the Service Employees International Union endorsed the former City Council president to win the mayoral contest in the fall, reports GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith. This comes about a week after Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix Arroyo and City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo backed Janey.
More from Wintersmith: “The endorsement also follows the exit of State Rep. Jon Santiago — formerly the only Latino in the mayor’s race. Santiago, who was attempting to reach Latino voters with multilingual ads and campaign materials, indicated in his withdrawal that he intends to support one of the four women of color in the race.”
Lucky winner gets a special license plate in this state lottery
Wanna have a really cool, low-number license plate? Well, here’s some good news: the state is accepting lottery applications until Aug. 27 and plans to announce winners during a livestreamed drawing, reports State House News Service’s Michael P. Norton.
‘A Sick Building’
Mold. Water leaks. Poor ventilation. Those are issues employees say plague the Roderick Ireland Courthouse and make for a working environment that negatively affects their health, reports MassLive’s Patrick Johnson.
More from Johnson: “Members of the committee expressed frustration that the issues with the Ireland Courthouse and the adjacent Juvenile Court building at 80 State St. have been going on for years, and have been studied and re-studied, but little has been done to actually fix anything.”
Fended off: Carvana pulls plug on Southwick proposal
They know when they’re not welcome. Carvana has withdrawn a proposal to pave over 66 acres of former tobacco field to build a sprawling car sales and repair facility in Southwick after a torrent of pushback from residents who feared the facility would mar the small town’s appeal, Jeannette DeForge of MassLive reports. Carvana says it will look to move the operation and its 400 jobs elsewhere.
Take a trip to Provincetown? Health officials advise quarantining, testing
Are you a Boston resident who took a recent trip to Provincetown? Health officials in the capital are asking those who made their way out to P-town recently to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19 following the news of a cluster of cases linked to the Cape Cod town, reports Associated Press’ Boston Bureau.
More from AP: “At least 35 cases of COVID-19 in Boston have been traced to Provincetown, with the vast majority of cases involving people who were fully vaccinated, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.”
COVID outbreak at West Yarmouth nursing home
Speaking of the Cape and COVID, the Department of Public Health confirmed an outbreak of the virus at a nursing home in West Yarmouth, reports WBUR. A spokesperson for the department said 24 residents and nine staff members tested positive for COVID with a majority of the cases being found in people who were vaccinated.
Speeding ships pose risk to endangered whale species
Slow down speedsters. A new report found that ships in New England are not paying attention to voluntary New England speed zones created to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, reports WBUR’s Hannah Chanatry.
More from Chanatry: “The non-profit advocacy group Oceana analyzed self-reported vessel speeds between 2017 and 2020. Overall, of the 10 mandatory speed zones established along the East Coast, the zones in New England have the highest levels of compliance. However, in the New England zones with voluntary speed limits, noncompliance has climbed over the past four years.”
Berkshire County unemployment rises slightly
The unemployment rate in Berkshire County ticked slightly upwards for the first time in six months, reports the Berkshire Eagle. There had been a downward trend as COVID-19 restrictions eased and businesses started to open. But that reversed slightly last month, rising to 6.1 percent or up four-tenths of a point.
Vulnerable: Norfolk Register of Deeds sues county commission over IT hire
Who do you call if the help desk is empty? Norfolk County Register of Deeds William O’Donnell has sued the Norfolk County Commission, saying members are guilty of ‘dereliction of duty’ due to their refusal to lift a hiring freeze to allow him to replace a recently retired chief information officer. Wheeler Cowperthwaite of the Patriot Ledger reports O’Donnell is raising the spectre of cyberattacks against the agency to underscore the urgency of filling the post.
Upgraded: Natick town meeting member now facing felony charges
That sound was the other shoe dropping. Suzanne Ianni, the Natick town meeting member who was allegedly among the first group of protestors to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, is now facing felony charges, which could mean jail time and the permanent loss of her right to own a firearm, Adam Gaffin reports at Universal Hub.
Worcester advocates ask for more funding for affordable housing
More money needed. Housing advocates in Worcester called on the city’s administration to direct more of the city’s share of federal COVID aid dollars to affordable housing, saying current efforts don’t go far enough to meet current needs, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr.
More from Foskett Jr.: “Residents who called into the meeting pointed out that the affordable housing trust fund shared agenda space Tuesday with a request from WP Acquisitions East for a tax break to develop 371 market-rate units on the site of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. They also called for a much more robust public process to get input from the community on how the money should be spent.”
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