Facial recognition commission, committee hearing, and more
10 a.m. | Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy holds public hearing on proposed amendments by the Department of Energy Resources to the Class I and Class II Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard regulations related to the location of biomass facilities within the state.
10 a.m. | Ahead of the federal eviction moratorium’s expiration Saturday, Homes for All Massachusetts and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute hold a press conference to present an open letter to legislative leaders and the Gov. Baker calling for the passage of legislation that would temporarily pause foreclosures and some evictions during the COVID-19 recovery period.
11 a.m. | Special Commission on Facial Recognition, created in the police reform law Gov. Baker signed in December, meets to hear public testimony about the issue.
7 p.m. | Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey is among those who will share their own stories of being a mother during a fundraiser to benefit Jeremiah Program Boston.
It was crunch-time in the Legislature this week as lawmakers stared down their annual August recess, preparing to take a break from major legislating activity for at least a month and giving political onlookers get a much-needed breather.
So what did the House and Senate actually manage to cram in before they peaced out for the month? A monotonous few sessions of overriding Gov. Charlie Baker’s vetoes from the fiscal 2022 budget and an extension of wagering om simulcasting races.
A vote in the Senate on sports betting, however, was ruled out until at least the fall, and Gov. Charlie Baker admitted he couldn’t convince the Legislature’s top two Democrats that a two-month sales tax holiday would be twice the fun as the two-day tax holiday weekend planned for August.
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite: the idea of betting on the Patriots this upcoming season. The House passed a bill last week that legalized wagering on professional and college sports, arguing that it could create tens of millions in additional revenue for the state and keep people from crossing the border to place a few dollars on their favorite teams.
But Senate President Karen Spilka isn’t completely on board, telling the State House News Service that she is “not terribly fond” of betting on college sports “because I think it will change the way college does their sports.” So, that issue was punted until the fall and believe us when we say that there will definitely be a fervent debate once lawmakers get back to work.
In the same breath, Spilka shot down Baker’s proposed expansion of the typical weekend-long sales tax holiday to two months, telling reporters “if you need shopping I’d go on the weekend.” And with the Legislature now on break, that idea seems to be pretty much dead in the water at this point.
Even if residents can’t bet on football or the Red Sox (who look really freaking good right now), at least you can head to one of the several simulcasting centers to place a bet on horse and dog races happening around the country. Gov. Charlie Baker approved a one-year extension of the wagering options that the Legislature sent him at the start of the week before they expired on Saturday.
So if you’re an avid legislative on-looker, enjoy the break. We know we will because when lawmakers resume their work in September, it’ll be off to the races on quite a few major issues.
In the meantime, the Boston mayoral race will really ramp up in August, and maybe we’ll learn more about whether Gov. Charlie Baker will run for a third term.
Provincetown cluster helped push CDC’s new mask guidance
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Provincetown, and data from the Cape showing that most of the people who contracted the virus had been vaccinated, were among the pieces of evidence behind the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to urge mask-wearing once again in Delta Variant hotspots, reports ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Arielle Mitropoulos.
More from the reporting duo: “Before Provincetown, health officials had been operating under the assumption that it was extraordinarily rare for a vaccinated person to become infected with the virus. And if they did, they probably wouldn’t end up passing it on to others, such as children too young to qualify for the vaccine or people who were medically vulnerable.”
Too grabby? Healey sues GrubHub over excess fees charged to restaurants
She’s alleging they behaved more like grab hub. Attorney General Maura Healey has filed suit against food delivery service GrubHub, alleging it “knowingly and repeatedly” violated a state law passed at the start of the pandemic that capped fees at 15 percent of the total tab, Janelle Nanos of the Globe and Shira Schoenberg of CommonWealth Magazine report. GrubHub denies the allegations but it could get costly, with Healey asking the court to fine the Chicago company $5,000 for each violation of the cap.
Vax proof required in two more state offices
Proof of vax required at the state treasurer and auditors office. Both Constitutional officers announced Thursday that employees will have to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing when they head back to their offices in the coming months, reports State House News Service’s Colin A. Young. The new policies affect just over 1,000 employees combined in both offices.
More from Young: “The decisions to enact mandated vaccination policies come during a week that has seen similar requirements imposed by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Google, Facebook, Netflix, New York state government, the state of California, many Massachusetts hospitals and others, and as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control revised its guidance in light of the Delta variant’s ongoing rampage.”
Former cardinal charge with sexually assaulting 16-year-old
A former Catholic cardinal was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1974, reports Associated Press’ Alanna Durkin Richer. Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had already been defrocked following a Vatican investigation that found credible allegations that he sexually molested adults and children.
Boston Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports that the charges stem back to a wedding reception at the Wellesley College. McCarrick, a former archbishop in Washington D.C., now lives in Missouri and was summoned to appear in court for arraignment on Sept. 3.
More from Richer: “McCarrick is the first cardinal in the U.S. to ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor, according to Mitchell Garabedian, a well-known lawyer for church sexual abuse victims who is representing the man alleging the abuse by McCarrick.”
Boston police and the question of transparency
How can Boston institute more transparency in its police department? A new report from an oversight agency recommends a requirement for Boston police to notify the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency when an officer is accused of a crime, reports Boston Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Danny McDonald. WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning has more details on the rest of the recommendations.
The report was commissioned to look into procedures and polices in the case of former Officer Patrick Rose, who was charge with child sexual abuse in the ’90s. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas writes that the report “slammed the Boston Police Department for lacking policies and procedures to respond adequately to the case and for failing to take steps to discipline or fire the officer after an internal affairs report sustained the findings against him.”
Who wants to be a millionaire?
We have a winner. Weymouth’s Darrell Washington is the first winner of the state’s VaxMillions lottery, taking home $1 million (pre-taxes, of course). MassLive’s Benjamin Kail. What’s he going to do with the money? “I’ll do good things with it,” he said according to the MassLive report. Chelsea’s Daniela Maldonado, a 15-year-old student, also won the first $300,000 scholarship. There are still four more $1 million prizes and scholarships state officials plan to hand out.
Mail-in voting extension, new MBTA board in place
Pandemic-era mail-in and expanded in-person early voting provisions are officially extended until Dec. 15 after Gov. Charlie Baker signed a $261 million supplemental budget Thursday, reports State House News Service’s Sam Doran. The spending bill also establishes a new seven-member MBTA board to replace the Fiscal and Management Control Board.
Settle down: Nantucket chiefs say annual events becoming public safety burden
The police and fire chiefs on Nantucket are urging officials to relocate or make other changes to the annual July Fourth concert and other summer events, saying public safety officers are refusing to take details at the increasingly alcohol-fueled events, David Creed of the Inquirer & Mirror reports.
Holy Cross says it did not ‘unfairly’ fire professor
A Worcester-area college denied in federal court documents accusations that it unfairly fired a professor over sexual misconduct allegations, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Scott O’Connell. Holy Cross President Rev. Philip Boroughs and the college responded to Christopher Dustin’s lawsuit, saying that the professor “breached the duty of loyalty he owed.”
More from O’Connell: “A philosophy professor who joined the college in 1991, Dustin has been accused of inappropriate behavior by two former students, who came out publicly with their allegations two years ago. The college removed him from his position last year.”
Questions of transparency in North Adams
Missing meetings and transparency questions are swirling around the North Adams Airport Commission, reports Berkshire Eagle’s Greta Jochem. As one resident looked for updates to the master plan for the Harriman-and-West Airport, they found updates to the plan had occurred at meetings they said were not advertised on the city’s website.
More from Jochem: “[Gerrit] Blauvelt filed an Open Meetings Law complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office on May 28, arguing that the meetings violated the state’s Open Meetings Law.”
No mulligan: Hall of Fame says Schilling stuck on ballot
He’s going to have to take the loss. The Baseball Hall of Fame has denied a request from former Red Sox pitcher and political lightning rod Curt Schilling to drop his name from this year’s ballot for induction, Michael Binn of the New York Post reports. This year will be Schilling’s 10th and final shot at getting the support of 75 percent of the baseball writers — many of whom Schilling claims have exhibited biases against him.
Chopped: Despite protests, blessings and arrests, Northampton trees removed as planned
They didn’t go quietly but they’re gone. Weeks of debate over the fate of a row of cherry trees in a Northampton neighborhood came to an abrupt end Thursday when crews removed them after police arrested two tree-climbing protesters. Brian Steele of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the cutting happened even as a judge was considering a restraining order and a week after the plants were ordained by Zen Buddhist priests.
Sunday public affairs TV: Jon Santiago, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Rep. Jon Santiago (D-South End), ER doctor at Boston City Hospital, discussing the COVID surge and what public policy changes are needed to deal with it, plus the dispute between the Legislature and governor over how to spend federal COVID relief funds.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. This week: The story of Commonwealth Kitchen with Executive Director Jen Faigel and Tracy Skelly, a member and founder of The Little Cocoa Bean Company; the role of suburban commercial real estate as work evolves, with Jeremy Freid, senior partner at 128 CREW; and Shirley Leung of The Boston Globe talks about vaccine and mask mandates in the workplace.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guests: U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire joins hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a political roundtable discussion with Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Andrew Goodrich.
CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: The first Black woman to own a cannabis dispensary in the Northeast describes the obstacles she had to overcome to achieve success; Andrea Cabral, CEO of Ascend Massachusetts discusses why more women and minorities are entering the field; and Cannabis Control Commissioner Nurys Camargo and Executive Director Shawn Collins talk about equitable licensing for residents.
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