Markey press conference, qualified immunity commission, and more
10 a.m. | Baker administration and MassHire Career Centers host the fifth and final day of a virtual job fair to connect jobseekers and employers. Friday’s event, which runs until 2 p.m., is focused on information technology, building services, and other sectors.
10 a.m. | Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey hosts a press conference to share updates on the City’s COVID-19 response.
11 a.m. | Legislative Commission on Qualified Immunity hosts a hearing to accept public testimony. The commission was created under the state’s policing reform law.
1 p.m. | U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a press conference to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget resolution and highlight funding Massachusetts could receive.
Preparing for all the possibilities
With thousands fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country earlier this week, local and regional immigration and refugee organizations are preparing to help those who end up in Massachusetts.
Refugees and special immigrant visa holders will not likely land in Massachusetts initially, as several other cities across the United States have been identified as ports of entry. But Afghans who arrive in the United States could eventually resettle in the state.
Afghans arriving in the U.S. will head to Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Seattle-Tacoma, according to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a non-profit organization that serves immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees
Emma Tobin, chief programs officer at the International Institute of New England, said existing and former Afghan clients have reached out to say their families are working through the processes to travel to the U.S.
“We are preparing for the likelihood that Afghan families will be arriving in Massachusetts, and that we’ll be serving them,” Tobin told MassterList. “But without travel notifications, without people showing up at our offices with documents, it’s just really impossible to estimate a number or to put a timeline on it.”
The organization, which offers myriad resettlement services, has accepted about 330 Afghan families since 2014, with a good number heading to Lowell. There are several methods for entry into the United States for Afghans: a P-2 designation meant for refugees fleeing persecution or a Special Immigrant Visa designed for people who worked with the U.S. military or government.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday said the state “is ready to assist Afghan refugees seeking safety and peace in America.” A group of 70 state lawmakers also sent a letter to federal delegation members asking them “to make every effort to get our Afghan allies out.”
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan Airport and Worcester Regional Airport, confirmed that neither state nor federal officials have reached out to the quasi-public agency about accepting refugees through the two ports of entry.
“We have not heard from anyone and are not having discussions on this at this time,” spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan said in a statement. A spokesperson for the Massachusetts National Guard did not respond to a request for comment.
Tobin said current and former Afghan clients are describing situations of “incredibly high confusion and insecurity” for their families.
“Some people are describing situations where their family is actively fleeing from one city to another. So when I say, where is your family? The answer is I don’t know, they’re on the road between X and Y,” Tobin said. “There seems to be a lot of fear and confusion around what the next steps should be.”
Daniel Pereira, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said the organization is like many others — figuring out how they can help and what comes next.
“Everything is still developing,” he said. “We’re gonna keep publishing resources and things that we can find but yeah I think that we’re all trying to figure out what to do next as well.”
Vaccination requirement in place for state’s executive branch employees
After teasing a potential vaccine mandate for executive branch workers during a radio interview Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker made it official on Thursday: the 42,000 employees under his watch will have to get fully vaccinated or secure a religious or medical exemption by Oct. 17, State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports.
The requirement is one of the strict in the country, writes Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff, and goes further than what Acting Mayor Kim Janey put in place for city workers, as well as other states like California and New York. Those places allow workers to undergo regular COVID-19 testing if they do not get vaccinated.
Councilor Edwards looking to run for Boncore’s Senate seat
If Sen. Joe Boncore ends up taking a job with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, then Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards plans to make a run for the Winthrop seat, reports Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker. Edwards lost to Boncore in a 2016 race for the seat before winning a spot on Boston City Council.
The timeline for when Boncore might leave his post is unclear, reports Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter, and if he does end up vacating the Senate position, lawmakers will have to call a special election to replace him. Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio told MassterList in July that he would also run for the seat if it opens up. Walker reports that Rep. Adrian Madaro is also likely to enter the race.
Poll finds strong support for statewide mask mandate in schools
There’s strong support for a statewide mask mandate in Massachusetts schools. That’s according to a new survey from MassINC Polling group, which found that 81 percent of registered voters “strongly support” or “somewhat support” a masking policy, reports CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas.
More from Jonas: “Support was higher among Democrats than among Republicans or independents, slighter higher among women than men, and greater among older residents. But it was still 69 percent or greater among every demographic subgroup the poll looked at.”
Few legal options…
More than 6,000 residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state died of COVID-19. But for families who think officials should have done more to help loved, there are few legal options, reports WBUR’s Paige Sutherland.
More from Sutherland: “Legislation to protect health care facilities and their employees from lawsuits was introduced by Gov. Charlie Baker in April, 2020, at the beginning of the state’s first COVID wave.” Sutherland continues, “These measures set a high bar for lawsuits on behalf of families who believe long-term care operators should be held accountable for COVID outbreaks and deaths in their facilities. In Massachusetts, the emergency state law requires plaintiffs to meet a standard known as ‘gross negligence.’”
COVID Numbers: 1,373 new cases
Massachusetts state health officials reported 1,373 new COVID cases and four new deaths. CBS Boston has all the details.
How do today’s numbers stack up against neighboring states?
– Vermont reported 169 new cases, according to data updated Thursday morning.
– New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 299 new cases, according to data released on Thursday.
– Maine reported 182 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Here’s their daily dashboard.
– Connecticut logged 534 new cases of the virus and 23 deaths, according to state data.
– Rhode Island reported 314 new infections. Here’s their daily dashboard.
Catholic schools and masks
As the argument over whether the state should impose mask mandates in schools this fall rages on, Catholic schools in the state are offering more flexibility for parents. MassLive’s Heather Morrison reports that the Diocese of Springfield is going to allow parents to decide if their children will wear masks when classes start up again.
The Archdiocese of Boston is not mandating masks for those who are vaccinated, but is allowing schools to make their own choices when it comes to nurse’s offices and when students are close together, Morrison writes. And the Diocese of Worcester still hasn’t made a final call.
How much do teachers in Worcester get paid?
It’s not all bad news for Worcester teachers. While their salaries come in just below the state average, they are paid well above the national average — like 22.9 percent higher, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Marco Cartolano.
More from Cartolano: “Worcester public school teachers had an average salary of $80,121 in 2019, the most recent year recorded at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The third annual teacher pay report from business research website Business.org puts the average teachers salary within Massachusetts for the 2019-2020 school year at $83,622.”
‘Terrorizing my house and my children’
The parties in Taunton must be pretty crazy. One local mother who lives across the street from a house known for boisterous gatherings urged city officials to a intervene after she said guests at one party screamed at her and even urinated on her daughter’s window, reports Taunton Daily Gazette’s Chris Helms.
Sunday public affairs TV: Annissa Essaibi George, Jim Rooney, and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest is former Weekly Dig editor and Boston Magazine columnist Joe Keohane, author of “The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World,” discussing approaches to bridging the political divide in America.
This Week in Business, NECN, Sunday, 10 a.m. This week’s topic: Evolving workplace expectations, the future of work, and business issues in Boston Mayor’s race, with Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney; the impact of COVID on the fan experience and the business of baseball; and COVID works trends you may never have predicted including working two remote jobs and quitting in groups.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: Annissa Essaibi George, Boston City Councilor and candidate for mayor of the city. Ed Harding and Janet Wu will host the show, with Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Andrew Goodrich participate in a roundtable discussion.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., CityLine host Karen Holmes Ward speaks to Coils to Locs CEO and Co-Founder Dianne Austin on why she and her sister started the company; Claire Salomon and Jodeliz Cora talk about why they teamed up on Project Amanda; and Makeysha Montgomery and Valerie Stephens from Princess Day talk about the importance of instilling positive image.
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