Happening Today

Boston mayoral debate, Downing transportation policy, Warren meet and greet, and more

11 a.m. | Boston City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu announces an endorsement from an elected official.

1 p.m. | MassCyberCenter Director Stephanie Helm, Secretary of Technology Services and Security Wood, officials from Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Comcast, and former Sen. Vinny deMacedo are among the witnesses expected to testify at the first hearing of the Legislature’s new Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity.

5 p.m. | Democrat Ben Downing’s gubernatorial campaign and the Train Campaign co-host an event at which Downing plans to roll out his transportation policy and discuss his vision for public transit in Massachusetts.

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6 p.m. | U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a meet and greet at the UMass Dartmouth Amphitheater where she will make remarks and answer questions about what’s happening in the Senate “and how she’s fighting for Massachusetts families,” an event advisory said.

7 p.m. | NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and NECN in partnership with the Dorchester Reporter and the Bay State Banner host a live 1-hour long preliminary mayoral debate featuring Acting Mayor Kim Janey, City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi-George, and Michelle Wu, and John Barros. Details.

Today’s Stories

Boston mayoral tensions flare ahead of televised debate

They’ve set themselves up for what should be a great televised showdown tonight.

Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor Andrea Campbell were going at each other Tuesday — a day before the two are scheduled to appear on stage together for a live 1-hour preliminary debate broadcast by NBC10 Boston.

It’s the first major debate of the race and we can reasonably expect to see some scrap fly between the candidates (or at least Campbell and Janey).

The subject of Tuesday’s sparring? The Boston Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that Campbell asked Janey to reject a negative ad funded by an independent super PAC that goes after Campbell for associating with charter school proponents. Janey’s campaign did not disavow the ad and instead said “it’s the height of hypocrisy for [Campbell] to complain” about the radio spot as her “entire campaign is based on negative political attacks” on the acting mayor.

The tensions between the two come after a new poll from Suffolk University and the Boston Globe showing City Councilor Michelle Wu with a strong lead over her competitors and Janey, Campbell, and Annissa Essaibi George in a tight race for second place.

So, get ready. This debate is one worth flipping on the T.V. or grabbing the laptop to watch.

New committee to explore cybersecurity concerns

How do you regulate cybersecurity in the state?

That’s one of the central questions facing a new legislative committee slated to hold its first hearing this afternoon. The Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity plans a 1 p.m. hearing with Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curtis Wood and speakers from Google, Oracle, and Microsoft slated to testify.

The new panel is being led by Sen. Barry Finegold, of Andover, and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, of Methuen, and the chairs hope to get at questions that include how to incentivize good cybersecurity practices and ways to regulate cryptocurrencies to limit ransomware attacks.

Based on data from the FBI, the committee says Massachusetts lost $100 million from reported cybercrimes in 2020.

The specter of cyber attacks and how to defend against them was placed front and center earlier this summer when a ransomware attack crippled the Steamship Authority’s main booking system and impacted ferry service from Cape Cod to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

Ships did continue to run but passengers were unable to book or change their reservations online.

And in May, gas prices in the state were on the rise after a ransomware attack struck Colonial Pipeline Company, which delivers nearly half of all fuel to the East Coast.

These are just a few incidents that Massachusetts lawmakers may draw on as they work to figure out what should be done, if anything, at the state level to strengthen cybersecurity.

Early last month, Boston Globe’s Pranshu Verna wrote about the booming information security sector in the state and how the flow of money to the industry is cementing Massachusetts as a leader in the industry.

Drawing battle lines over early, higher education

Get ready for Democratic gubernatorial candidates to draw battle lines, writes CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg, as early and higher education become one of the major issues to watch in the 2022 race. The three Democrats — Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, former Sen. Ben Downing, and Harvard professor Danielle Allen — are each releasing policy platforms that seek to inject new public subsidies into the education systems while changing how they operate.

More from Schoenberg: “State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is releasing her position on education as her first official policy platform on Tuesday, and it illustrates what is likely to be a core conflict in the gubernatorial race. The Democrats … are touting more transformative and expensive changes to the early education and higher education systems. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has focused largely on keeping the current system intact while making targeted investments to improve it and increase education access.”

CommonWealth

Over 4,000 fully vaccinated people tested positive last week

Here’s a not-so-great number: More than 4,000 fully vaccinated people in the state tested positive for COVID-19 last week, reports Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey, which works out to a daily average of over 600 people.

More from Sobey: “The rate of breakthrough infections week-over-week starting five weeks ago surged 64 percent, then the following week went up 20 percent, the next week jumped by 25 percent, the subsequent week increased by 20 percent, and in the last week climbed by 23 percent. Breakthrough cases in Massachusetts are making up about one-third of the state’s overall cases. People who are unvaccinated are at a higher risk for infection and a severe case.”

Boston Herald

COVID Numbers: 5,484 new cases since Friday

Massachusetts state health officials reported 5,484 new cases, a 2.32 percent positivity rate, and 12 deaths in their first update since last Friday.

How do today’s numbers stack up against neighboring states?

Vermont reported 114 new cases and a 2.8 percent positivity rate.

New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 153 new cases and a 5.0 percent positivity rate.

Maine reported188 new cases.

Connecticut logged 1,612 new cases and a 2.64 percent positivity rate.

Rhode Island reported 92 new cases and a 1.8 percent positivity rate.

Department of Public Health

A bridge and a 9/11 story

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, GBH’s Greg Shea explores how one bridge about 50 miles south of Boston connects two states, two towns, and two families. The structure was rebuilt in 2011 and dedicated to the memories of Lynn Goodchild and Shawn Nassaney, a young couple who were passengers on United Flight 175.

GBH News

Deal with the devil? Salem-based Satanic Temple challenges Texas abortion law

What’s that saying about politics and strange bedfellows? The Satanic Temple in Salem is challenging the newly minted Texas abortion law, saying it infringes on the religious rights of its members, Amanda Kaufman of the Globe reports. As progressive groups lament the Supreme Court’s refusal to block the law, some observers say the religious freedom angle may be the best hope of getting the law reversed.

Boston Globe

Task force in Springfield set to release recommendations on handling clergy abuse

Following more than a year of work, a task force in Springfield plans to release recommendations Wednesday on how the city’s diocese can improve its handling of allegations of clergy abuse, reports Berkshire Eagle’s Larry Parnass. The Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield is expected to release their report at 10 a.m. today. Watch the press conference here.

Berkshire Eagle

Rerouted: Essex Sheriff bans personal paper mail for inmates

Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger says inmates at the jail he oversees will no longer receive paper mail directly because too many cards and letters are arriving soaked in illegal drugs. Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports mail will now be sent to a facility in Missouri where it will be scanned into a computer and then reprinted before being delivered.

Salem News

Firefighters in Springfield demand COVID-19 merit pay

Around 100 firefighters gathered at Springfield City Hall Tuesday demanding that Mayor Domenic Sarno’s administration provide COVID-19 merit pay, arguing that they provided crucial and dangerous services during the pandemic, reports the Republican’s Peter Goonan. In response, Sarno said he was disappointed that firefighters’ union leadership was allowing itself to be used as a “political pawn” while saying he wasn’t surprised by the “antics” of the city councilors who scheduled the protest.

More from Goonan: “International Association of Firefighters Union President Chad Jacobs defended the union’s right to protest. He said the Sarno administration was granting merit raises to non-bargaining supervisors and employees, while holding up and setting conditions on merit pay for firefighters. The firefighters as first responders, have been at great risk of infection and infecting their families, Jacobs said.”

MassLive

Do over: Petition seeks fresh investigation into Chilmark camp incident

They’re not satisfied. Activists on Martha’s Vineyard are pushing officials in Chilmark to order up a new investigation of an incident at a local summer camp after an earlier report found there was no racial intent when two young white campers put a tent strap around the neck of a Black child. Organizers of a petition say the handling of the incident has been an embarrassment for the town and that more transparency is needed to restore confidence, Brian Dowd of the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports.

Martha’s Vineyard Times

First female VSO welcomed in Fall River

Fall River welcomed the city’s first female veterans service officer, Micaila Britto, alongside service dog Rabbit, reports Herald News’ Jo C. Goode. Britto served as a Marine for more than six years before leaving the military as a result of a service-related traumatic brain injury. She previously served as the VSO in Raynham and takes over for City Councilor Ray Hague.

Herald News

Pushing back: New Bedford mayor balks at death benefits for unvaxxed workers

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is telling the City Council he won’t go along with their request that all city workers who die of COVID be treated as in-the-line-of duty deaths and receive full benefits because it doesn’t distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. Anastasisa Lennon of the Standard-Times has the details.

Standard-Times

Today’s Headlines

Metro

City Council approves Lynn housing plan – Lynn Item

Massachusetts

Framingham, Milford, Ashland will follow state’s ‘Test and Stay’ protocol for schools – MetroWest Daily News

McGovern to host House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Rainbow Child Center in Worcester on Thursday – Telegram & Gazette

Massachusetts highway exit renumbering complete – MassLive

Nation

Biden surveys Ida storm damage in New Jersey, New York — warns of ‘code red’ moment on climate change – Washington Post

Police brace for Capitol rally defending Jan. 6 mob – The Hill

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