Formals return, Gaming Commission, and more
Today | Offshore wind developers have until Thursday to submit the public versions of bids to be selected as the third project by Massachusetts utilities to build and operate an offshore wind farm to generate cleaner energy.
9 a.m. | Massachusetts Port Authority Board meets.
10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets and will get a report from the independent monitor put in place to keep an eye on Wynn Resorts in the wake of the Gaming Commission’s 2019 finding that there were “significant” and “repetitive” failures related to sexual misconduct allegations against founder Steve Wynn and “considerable shortcomings” for CEO Matt Maddox.
11 a.m. | Senate meets in a formal session, with plans to take up sex education and student nutrition bills, as well as legislation allowing a new form of gender identification on birth records.
11 a.m. | House holds formal session, with plans to consider an order “to safeguard the health of House Members and employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” unspecified gubernatorial vetoes, and a conference committee bill dealing with reprecincting.
House COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Later today, House lawmakers plan to vote on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all members and staff in the branch, a move that officials in leadership say is a step toward reopening the building and that critics call an overreach.
State House News Service’s Matt Murphy has all the details on the new order representatives are expected to take up in the first formal session the House has held since returning from August recess.
The vote comes days after House Speaker Ronald Mariano and the House Reopening Working Group unveiled recommendations for a four-phase reopening plan.
Several Republicans are already pushing back on the plan, Murphy reports, with one saying the idea of members not being allowed into the building should they not share their vaccination status is “absolutely outrageous.”
Some House Republicans are expected to fully voice their frustration during today’s session, and lawmakers have already filed a number of amendments related to rapid testing, informal sessions, and daily logs of people entering offices or hearing rooms.
While tweaks may be possible, any hope of defeating the vaccine mandate may be a longshot. “If this things coming to the floor they have the votes,” said Rep. Marc Lombardo, a Billerica Republican.
The new order Democratic leadership plans to take would also declare a state of emergency in the House, allowing for the indefinite continuation of remote voting for members who would prefer to continue participating from outside the building.
Today’s proceedings are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and you can watch them here.
Call up: Framingham lawmaker tapped for Energy Department role
President Biden said Wednesday he will nominate second term Framingham state Rep. Maria Robinson to be assistant secretary in the Office of Electricity at the U.S. Department of Energy. Nick Stoico of the Globe and Zane Razzaq of the MetroWest Daily News report Robinson, who was the first Korean-American elected to the House back in 2018, had earlier been vetted for a possible seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Not so fast: GOP senator poised to slow down Rollins nomination
He’s making good on his threat. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has put a hold on the nomination of Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins to become U.S. Attorney, stalling a committee vote and buying time for Cotton to lobby fellow Republicans to vote against her, Andrea Estes and Jim Puzzanghera of the Globe report. Cotton has been speaking out against Rollins since her name was first put forward, citing her policy of not prosecuting certain crimes in her current role.
State police union seeks delay in implementation of vax mandate
A union representing roughly 1,800 state police troopers asked a judge Wednesday to delay the implementation of Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine mandate for state employees, reports Associated Press’ Boston Bureau. The State Police Association of Massachusetts is seeking a delay to “negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.” The lawsuit was filed last week.
St. Vincent Hospital doctors implore nurse colleagues to return to work
Doctors at Worcester’s St. Vincent Hospital appealed to their nurse colleagues to return to work as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Telegram & Gazette’s Cyrus Moulton reports Dr. Bogdan Nedelescu, president of the St. Vincent Hospital Medical Staff, wrote a letter on behalf of the staff’s hospital that was delivered to the striking nurses. The strike hit 199 days yesterday and is the longest such strike in state history.
Videos of UMass Theta Chi president spark concerns
Protestors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are worried their concerns aren’t being taken seriously. MassLive’s Cassie McGrath reports that after hundreds rallied outside the Theta Chi Fraternity house amid sexual assault allegations, the student president of the local chapter appeared on video with other members dancing “while captions appear referencing the ongoing allegations and protest against the fraternity.”
More from McGrath: “One of Snapchat videos that appeared shortly after a protest Sunday shows [Benjamin] Rozak in a room full of men and women. He appears to be nodding his head and dancing along with the caption ‘allegations.’ Another video shows a group of people in the Theta Chi chapter house with a caption that read, ‘daddy’s money.’ Protestors outside the house were chanting ‘daddy’s money’ earlier that day.”
Restaurants’ still struggling to adjust to a COVID-19 world
Outdoor dining has definitely been one of the best silver linings of the pandemic. The ability to enjoy a nice meal while sitting outside is great but Boston Herald’s Amy Sokolow reports that event though restaurateurs are working with lawmakers to make it permanent, they’re still struggling to adjust to a COVID-19 world.
Just stay positive
After Boston mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George asked super PACs to stay out of the race, rival candidate Michelle Wu said those outside groups should stay positive. Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius writes that Wu stopped short of asking the groups to stay out of the race. “I urge any outside groups to refrain from negative attacks,” Wu said.
‘Barbaric’ and ‘reprehensible’
After a photo surfaced of US Border Patrol agents on horseback pushing back Haitian migrants crossing Texas’ Rio Grande, over a dozen elected officials in Massachusetts condemned the Biden administration’s treatment of immigrants seeking to enter the United States, reports Julia Carlin for the Boston Globe. The officials said the handling of the crisis at the border was “reprehensible,” “barbaric,” and racist.
More from Carlin: “Signatories include: mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi-George and Michelle Wu; city councilors Andrea Campbell, Ricardo Arroyo, Julia Mejia, and Lydia Edwards; state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; state representatives Chynah Tyler and Russell Holmes, and District Attorney Rachael Rollins.”
Boston City Council adopts rule setting out path for large buildings to hit carbon neutrality
A new rule adopted by Boston’s City Council Wednesday requires large buildings — 22,000 square feet or more — to reduce their carbon emissions to zero by 2050, reports GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith. A spokesperson for Acting Mayor Kim Janey told GBH News that she will sign the ordinance. The new rule will impact roughly 3,500 commercial and residential buildings in the city.
Rejected: Lynn says ‘no’ to recount request from mayoral hopeful
Deadlines matter. The Lynn Elections Department has rejected a recount request from school board member and mayoral hopeful Michael Satterwhite, saying his petition did not allege enough irregularities to warrant counting the votes again, did not have properly vetted signatures–and arrived at City Hall five minutes after the 5 p.m. deadline, the Lynn Item’s Alena Kuzub reports.
Proof vax now required at TD Garden
Make sure you have your proof of if you’re heading to a Bruins or Celtics game at TD Garden. Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman reports that in order to attend a game, concert, or any other event at the arena, people 12 and older must prove they’ve been vaccinated or or show one of two types of negative COVID test results. The rules will also apply to players, coaches, band members, ushers, referees, and basically anyone who wants to get into TD Garden.
‘Unethical:’ Drug store touts Ivermectin supply on Route 9 billboard
It’s not just for red states anymore. Cheryl Fiandaca of CBS Boston’s I-Team reports the Massachusetts Department of Health has told a Hopkinton drug store to take down a billboard on Route 9 in Westboro that touts its ample supply of Ivermectin — the animal deworming medication that some have turned to as a risky, off-label Covid treatment — and is also reviewing the store’s drug compounding license.
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