Happening Today

Local election review, Veterans and Federal Affairs, and more

11 a.m. | Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs holds a hearing on 46 bills relating to services for veterans and veteran families.

11:30 a.m. | Local Election District Review Committee meets. Secretary of State Galvin is convening the meeting which includes consideration of the submissions of new precinct maps from a slate of municipalities.

11:30 a.m. | Rally and protest at JFK Plaza to highlight the Biden’s administration “violent treatment of Haitians at the border,” according to Haitian-Americans United.

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2 p.m. | Commission on Structural Racism in the Massachusetts Parole Process holds a hearing to accept public testimony.

3 p.m. | Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg visit the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District.

Today’s Stories

Robinson getting ready to move from legislating to digging into electricity policy

Rep. Maria Robinson was only nominated Wednesday by the White House to join the U.S. Department of Energy, but if she makes it through the federal confirmation process she’s already got an idea of where her focus will be.

“The intersection of electricity and what’s going on in transportation is going to be important, especially when it comes to transmission and right of way,” Robinson told MassterList Thursday evening. “I have a close relationship with Secretary Buttigieg and his office, and so being able to work with transportation closely will be a big part of this as well.”

The White House announced Wednesday that it nominated Robinson to become assistant secretary in the Office of Electricity. The second-term Framingham Democrat said she doesn’t have “a good timeline at this point” for the confirmation process but hopes that it goes smoothly.

“It’s incredibly exciting and getting to have as broad of a mandate as the Office of Electricity has, which is a really incredible swath where you get to work with all 50 states and beyond, is going to be a phenomenal challenge but something that I’m looking forward to doing,” she said. “As much as I love the act of legislating, I do miss digging into some of the more technical aspects of electricity policy.”

Robinson has a long resume filled with experience in the energy sector. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in energy law from the University of Tulsa. She previously headed up Advanced Energy Economy’s Wholesale Markets Program where she worked with state, regional, and federal agencies on clean energy.

The assistant secretary in the Office of Electricity deals with a lot of technical assistance, research, grant making, some cybersecurity work, and major transmission policy, “which is going to be really significant when it comes to Build Back Better and the infrastructure bill,” Robinson said.

The lawmaker joins a long list of Massachusetts politicians who have either already shipped off or are awaiting confirmation hearings to head to Washington to join the Biden administration. House Majority Claire Cronin is also on that list, having been tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Robinson said the White House initially reached out to her on her birthday in March, which she took as a positive sign. The vetting process is long, she said, and much of it relies on word of mouth.

“And certainly they’re looking for people with experience, but they’re looking to diversify some of the top appointed positions as well so I’m sure that didn’t hurt,” she said.

House passes vaccine mandate

After a passionate debate that pitted Republicans against Democrat, the House passed an order requiring all members and staff to be fully vaccinated if they plan to work out of the State House, reports State House News Service’s Matt Murphy. The order, passed 131-28, was cast as one of the first steps toward reopening the building to the public.

State House News Service

Rollins will have to wait a bit longer

A Congressional Republican postponed a vote on Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ nomination to become the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, reports State House News Service’s Matt Murphy.

State House News Service

No delay: Court rejects State Police union’s bid to halt vaccine mandate

The deadline stands. A Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected a request from the Mass. State Police troopers union to delay the governor’s vaccine mandate from taking effect on Oct. 17, saying public health and safety issues outweigh the union’s arguments about its collective bargaining rights, the Globe’s Nick Stoico reports.

Boston Globe

Green Line trolley operator faces charges stemming from crash

The trolley operator of a Green Line car that crashed into another train in late July is now facing charges of gross negligence of a person in control of a train and gross negligence of a person having care of a common carrier, reports Boston Globe’s Andrew Brinker and Martin Finucane. Owen Turner, a 50-year-old from Boston, faces those charges in Brighton District Court.

Boston Globe

New omnibus legislation seeks to reform state soldiers’ home

The legislative leaders of a committee that was former to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home filed legislation that seeks wide-ranging reforms in governance and leadership, reports MassLive’s Stephanie Barry. At least 78 veterans died as a result of an outbreak that lead to outcries across the state.

State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski reports that Rep. Linda Dean Campbell and Sen. Mike Rush’s bill would — among other things — reworks the governance structure at both the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and Chelsea Soldiers’ Home by eliminating the board of trustees and creating new local bodies.

Following suit: BU latest to announce divestment from fossil-fuel investments

They’re out. Boston University will immediately begin to wind down its $3 billion endowment’s holdings in fossil fuel companies, President Robert Brown announced Thursday, Emma Whitford of Inside Higher Ed reports. The move comes two weeks after Harvard announced it would move to get out of the sector.

Inside Higher Ed

‘Crisis situation’ in Worcester

Hospitals in Worcester are struggling to keep ICU beds open for patients as COVID-19 continues to surge in the city, reports MassLive’s Michael Bonner. UMass Memorial Health Dr. Eric Dickson said the availibility of hospital beds in the city was a “crisis situation.”

MassLive

BU students scammed out of more than $150,000

Students at Boston University were scammed out of a ton of money with one sending $150,000 overseas and another watching $25,000 disappear, reports Boston Herald’s Alexi Cohan. College officials are urging students to stay warry and double-check who they are talking with.

Boston Herald

Down South: RI Hospital closes part of ER due to nurse shortage

There’s grim news coming from our neighbors to the south. Boston Globe’s Alexa Gagosz reports that part of Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency department closed Thursday as a result of a nursing shortage. It’s the largest facility in the state and the only one with a Level I trauma center in southeastern New England.

Boston Globe

Worcester firefighter union wants City Council to implement changes from review of department

Following the release of an outside review of the Worcester Fire Department that called for a slate of reforms, the president of the local firefighters union is pressing city councilors to implement the recommendations, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr. One of the main messages, Foskett reports, is additional staffing at stations and the training division. 

Telegram & Gazette

Standing her ground: Bourne school board member won’t resign after outcry over posts

Bourne School Committee member Kari MacRae says she won’t heed calls to resign after outcry over her recent social media posts about Critical Race Theory and gender identity issues, Paul Gately of the Cape Cod Times reports.

Cape Cod Times

Going digital: BerkShares local currency gets app version as it turns 15

As the BerkShares program — widely considered one of the country’s most successful local currency schemes — turns 15, it is getting a digital counterpart that will be available in time for holiday shopping. Felix Carroll of the Berkshire Eagle has the details.

Berkshire Eagle

Sunday public affairs TV: Annissa Essaibi George, Lydia Edwards, and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest is Boston mayoral finalist Annissa Essaibi George discussing her political philosophy and positions on development, education reform,  and dealing with the ‘Mass and Cass’ crisis.

This Week in Business, NECN, Sunday, 10 a.m. This week’s topic: Using sewage to track COVID in Boston and beyond with Biobot Business Development Manager Jennings Heussner; working to make the biotech talent pipeline more diverse with LabCentral Ignite & Revitope; and the Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung on developments in COVID policy, the crisis at Mass and Cass, and the Toast IPO.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, also a candidate in a special election for former Sen. Joe Boncore’s seat. Panel discussion follows with political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: the show celebrates some of the people who are contributing to Boston’s rich LatinX culture. Later, host Karen Holmes Ward talks with Sabrina Aviles director of the Boston International Film Festival, now in its 20th year.

Today’s Headlines

Metro

GBH News names NPR veteran as first-ever executive editor – Boston Business Journal

Revere mayor slams ‘lack of leadership’ in Boston, says Kim Janey should have had ‘lesson learned’ from Roundhouse fiasco – Boston Herald

Preliminary voting in Lynn had its issues – Lynn Item

Massachusetts

Becker College will use proceeds from $18M Leicester sale to pay debts – Worcester Business Journal

Bill would let residents change sex on birth record to X – Salem News

Nation

GOP-led Arizona election review closely matches Biden’s winning margin – Politico

Sen. Susan Collins won’t support abortion rights bill – Los Angeles Times

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