Vaccination fair, Warren in Franklin, and more
10 a.m. | Commission to Study and Examine the Civil Service Law holds a virtual meeting of its Subcommittee on Municipalities Not Subject to Civil Service Law to review initial written testimony from such communities.
11 a.m. | House and Senate hold informal sessions.
12 p.m. | American Federation of Teachers and AFT Massachusetts hosts a back-to-school community vaccination fair, with AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos.
1 p.m. Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure holds hearing on 27 bills related to retail alcohol sales.
6 p.m. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren hosts a meet-and-greet at the Town Common in Franklin. Senate President Karen Spilka plans to introduce Warren.
How do you spend $5 billion?
Gov. Charlie Baker is disappointed.
Why? In his view, the Legislature is not moving quickly enough to distribute billions of dollars in federal COVID aid. Appearing on CBS’ Keller at Large Sunday, Baker said he “would obviously like to see the Legislature move quickly on this.”
“It’s disappointing to me that none of this may start until sometime next year,” he said. “I think that’s a missed opportunity.”
The question of where and how to spend the $5 billion has roiled state politics, with the governor pushing the Legislature for rapid deployment and House and Senate lawmakers moving forward with a hearing process that they say increases transparency and public input.
Several of those hearings have already occurred in the past few months and more are expected when the Legislature returns from its August recess. But the timeline for when the funds will actually be released remains murky.
Baker, for one, did not wait around to put forward a $2.9 billion dollar proposal that floats money to housing, environmental infrastructure, and job training programs. Lawmakers have already held a hearing on Baker’s plan, as well as one focused on how to use funds for housing, labor, and workforce development.
“I certainly hope we see progress on it sometime this fall. My view continues to be what it was when we first made this proposal back in June,” Baker said. “We thought a lot of this stuff couldn’t wait. I especially view that with respect to the housing piece and the environmental infrastructure piece.”
House Speaker Ronald Mariano told reporters in early July that he doesn’t “think [Baker] should have a monopoly on spending all that federal money.
The governor, however, argues that communities most impacted by COVID and environmental incidents can’t wait.
“Just think about all the flooding we’ve seen since June,” Baker said. “It’s happened all over the commonwealth and every time that happens, businesses lose customers, in many cases, they have to pay to repair their facilities and their operations. And this is not going away. We’re going to be dealing with more storms and storm severity and we really need to get real about this stuff.”
Massachusetts native among those killed in Kabul bombing
A Lawrence native, Sgt. Johanny Rosario, was among those killed during the suicide bombing at Kabul’s international airport Thursday along with 12 other service members, reports MassLive’s Benjamin Kail. Rosario, 25, was part of the Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team and a Lawrence High School and Bridgewater State University alum. A GoFundMe has been setup to provide financial support to family members.
It’s getting intense
Will Boston surpass the last record vote tally number during the upcoming election cycle? While it’s a difficult question to answer, there has been a large focus on this year’s race. The city is set to elect the first non-white male, and potentially a woman of color. Boston Globe’s Milton J. Valencia takes a hard look at where the mayoral race stands with only weeks until voters head to the polls for the preliminary.
Pressley wants state officials to help after SCOTUS ruling
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley called on state and federal officials to take swift action to help renters after the U.S. Supreme Court struck the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, reports State House News Service’s Katie Lannan. Pressley asked the Baker administration to quickly distribute federal emergency rental assistance funds and the Legislature to pass legislation that would boost eviction protections.
Worth it? Not clear if VaxMillions increased vaccinations
With the final VaxMillions drawings now in the books, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports that despite claims from Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, it’s not clear the lottery scheme actually drove vaccination numbers in the Bay State. Mohl notes vax rates dropped shortly after the prizes were announced and points out that all 10 people who won both the $1 million prizes and the scholarship grants in the lottery had been vaccinated before drawings began.
Cannabis in Cambridge prompts questions around equity
Cambridge is facing questions about equity in the cannabis market as an exclusivity period for equity applicants is set to expire and no shops have opened their doors, reports Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett. The city passed an ordinance in 2019 that limited recreational cannabis operations to only equity applicants — people who come from communities that were harmed the most by the war on drugs.
More from Bartlett: “With that initial exclusivity period set to expire this fall, Cambridge faces big questions around its pursuit of equity in the cannabis market. Some advocate for an extension of the moratorium in order to give equity applicants more time to establish businesses. Others are discussing policies that would use cannabis revenue to help those harmed by the war on drugs and Black residents.”
Making history: St. Vincent strike set to become state’s longest this week
Time to update the historical records. The nurses’ strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester will officially become the state’s longest job action this week, breaking a 40-year-old record as the two sides continue to battle over whether nurses will be allowed to return to their original positions and pay rates, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports. The previous record-holder was a 176-day strike at what was then known as Burbank Hospital in Fitchburg all the way back in 1980.
‘Grievous error:’ Kennedy condemns parole board green light for Sirhan
He’s not on board. Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II came out strongly against the decision of the California parole board to recommend that his father’s assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan, be released from prison, the Globe’s Kathy McCabe and Ivy Scott report. On Friday, a two-member panel of the board recommended Sirhan be released after serving 53 years, a move that has the support of some other members of the extended Kennedy family.
Photo of Janey unmasked inside stirs criticism
To mask or not to mask? Well, in this case, Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey was pictured unmasked while inside a North End restaurant Friday night, reports Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter. She’s catching some criticism for the photo as Boston recently implemented a mask mandate for indoor public settings. In response to the photo, she told the Herald that “we all have to continue wear our masks. I wear my mask even when outdoors.”
Cotter reports that Janey was not wearing a mask for most of an outdoor event Saturday. MassterList witnessed Janey on Friday night unmasked at a festival in the North End taking photos with bystanders on a crowded street.
Hit or miss: Some cities take pass on early voting ahead of preliminary votes
Your voting options may vary. Three North Shore cities are slated to have preliminary elections this month, but only one — Salem — is offering early voting, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports. Clerks in the communities taking a pass on early voting options say traditionally low turnout for preliminaries make early voting an unnecessary expense.
American moves into Worcester airport
Three’s a party. American Airlines plans to startup service at Worcester Regional Airport starting on Nov. 2, making them the third major airline to operate out of the facility, reports staff at the Telegram & Gazette. American plans to offer daily nonstop flights to Philadelphia International Airport.
Stop & Shop allows SNAP for online payments
Massachusetts residents can now use their Electronic Benefits Transfer card from Supplemental Nutrition Benefit Assistance Program at Stop & Shop stores when ordering online for pickup or delivery, reports staff at the Berkshire Eagle.
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