Gaming Commission, committee hearings, and more
9 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets to select the topics it will discuss and/or vote on at future business meetings.
9 a.m. | Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee holds a public hearing on energy efficiency bills.
10 a.m. | Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and City Councilor Sarai Rivera hold a press conference at City Hall about ongoing nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital.
10 a.m. | Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee holds virtual public hearing on bills affecting food insecurity and the Department of Transitional Assistance, which administers public benefits to those who meet income eligibility rules.
10 a.m. | Structural Racism in the Massachusetts Probation Service Commission holds virtual hearing featuring presentations from the Massachusetts Probation Service and The Justice Lab and Columbia University.
12 p.m. | Health Policy Commission’s Advisory Council meets to discuss the 2021 Health Care Cost Trends Report, including new research and policy recommendations for Massachusetts health care reform.
Galvin joins other constitutional officers in implementing vax mandate
Add another constitutional officer to the list of people implementing some sort of vaccine policy for staffers.
Secretary of State William Galvin informed his staff Tuesday afternoon that they will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports that the mandate is “a condition of continuing employment, unless an accommodation or exemption is approved” and applies to all employees his office oversees.
Galvin joins Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey in mandating vaccines and is one of the last statewide constitutional officers to announce a policy. Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Auditor Suzanne Bump previously told their staff that they must show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
Vaccine mandates are becoming more common in Massachusetts as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the commonwealth.
But the debate over vaccine mandates is far from over. Take the back and forth between the State Police Association of Massachusetts and the governor.
The union said dozens of officers were preparing to retire as a result of Baker’s executive branch vaccine mandate but a spokesperson for the department said only one trooper had definitively said they were heading out the door because of the policy, reports Boston Globe’s Nick Stoico.
State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports that union spokesperson Chris Keohan said the inconsistency — dozens vs. just one — is really just a matter of “semantics” and maintained that dozens of troopers turned in their 30-day intent to resign as a result of the vax mandate.
That mandate doesn’t take effect until Oct. 17, so it’s certainly an issue worth keeping tabs on over the next several weeks.
Another example of how tense the conversations can get: the House debate over an internal vaccine mandate last week and the creation of a new working group to guide the branch through that policy and the phased reopening of the State House.
Even with the debates, implementation of vaccine mandates by public and private officials point to a commonly held belief that they are the most effective strategy to get back to work and defeat the virus.
Get ready for the next Boston mayoral debate
Another one is coming. Boston mayoral candidates Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George will take to the CBS Boston airwaves on Oct. 13 for the first 1-on-1 debate of the race. The station announced the debate Tuesday afternoon. WBZ-TV political analyst (and MASSterList columnist) Jon Keller moderates the debate.
A Red Line train derailed Tuesday morning at the Broadway station in South Boston. Boston Globe’s Taylor Dolven, Emily Sweeney, and Andrew Brinker report that the incident occurred around 9:45 a.m. and of the 47 passengers on the six-car train, no injuries were reported. The incident is the latest in a series of safety issues the MBTA has had to deal with recently.
The derailment prompted calls from advocacy group TransitMatters for an “ambitious agenda to inventory and repair or replace aging infrastructure,” reports State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski.
A supply chain snarl
If you’re looking to win the lottery you may need to get a bet slip sooner rather than later. State House News Service’s Colin A. Young reports that the Massachusetts Lottery is facing a potential shortage of bet slips as a result of supply chain issues and is seeking out other alternatives like non-recycled paper to fill the gap.
Here’s an entertaining way to start a story
CommonWealth reporter Shira Schoenberg’s story about the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee’s platform and a push for more legislative transparency is worth checking out. Here’s the first sentence: “In a sign of one-party dominance on Beacon Hill, it’s not just Republicans complaining about the Democrats who control the state Legislature in Massachusetts – it’s other Democrats.”
Shut down: Trial Court Officer Academy on pause as misconduct investigated
Officially, it’s ‘on hold.’ The Massachusetts Trial Court Officer Academy, which operates out of an Air Force base in Chicopee and trains officers for all of the state’s trial courts, has been shut down while allegations of hazing and abuse at the academy are investigated. MassLive’s Douglas Hook has the details.
‘Deeply concerned’ about safety and quality of care
A union leader is asking for a nurses’ strike in Worcester to come to an end as COVID-19 cases are rising in the area. MassLive’s Michael Bonner reports that Fernando Lemus, president of UFCW Local 1445, which represent over 500 employees at St. Vincent Hospital, sent a letter to state lawmakers Tuesday asking them to intervene.
Lemus writes that he is “deeply concerned” about the safety and quality of care members are able to provide “given the current condition created by Tenet Management in response to the ongoing nursing strike.”
Best year ever: Lottery posts record profits, revenues
The Massachusetts Lottery says it set records in fiscal year 2021 for both profits and revenue as it rebounded in a big way from a slight pandemic downturn. Heather Morrison of MassLive reports both the $1.12 billion in net profits and $5.83 billion in revenue are new heights in the lottery’s 50-year-history.
Going local with Warren
How does Sen. Elizabeth Warren approach local politics? Western Mass Politics & Insight’s Matt Szafranski spoke to the state’s senior senator to figure out just how she works with municipal officials, deals with local politics, and whether or not she is watching any of the elections in Western Massachusetts.
Making the switch: Newburyport latest to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Add it to the list. A divided Newburyport City Council voted to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, making it just the latest community in the state to make the switch. Heather Alterisio of the Eagle-Tribune reports the push for the change started with local students back in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Amy Sokolow reports legislation that would make the change statewide appears to be gaining support, including from some Italian-American groups that had previously opposed the move away from Columbus Day.
Head to head: Sciarra, Warner will face off in Northampton’s mayoral final
Northampton is one step closer to having its first new mayor in a decade after Tuesday’s preliminary election narrowed a four-candidate field. Longtime City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra was the top vote-getter, followed by local business owner Marc Warner, Jeanette DeForge of MassLive and Brian Steele of the Daily Hampshire Gazette report.
Activists wanted to put Baker under ‘house arrest’ for ‘climate crimes’
This story involves a really flashy pink sailboat with climate activists chained to its sides. A trio of reporters at the Boston Herald write that activists parked the boat outside of Gov. Charlie Baker’s house in Swampscott Tuesday morning in an effort to place the governor under “house arrest” for “climate crimes.”
State Police eventually arrested seven protesters, including six who had attached themselves to the boat and another who was sitting on top of the boat. Here’s more from the Herald’s Todd Prussman, Amy Sokolow, and Erin Tiernan: “As protesters with the group chanted through a bull horn and sang protest songs, including one to the tune of ‘What would you do with a drunken sailor,’ state police on scene ordered people to move back while they prepared to bring in trucks to remove the boat and trailer.”
SJC rules in favor of sheriffs’ pandemic responses
Sheriffs’ pandemic response in Massachusetts passes constitutional muster. WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports that the Supreme Judicial Court rejected a challenge to how sheriffs have responded to the pandemic.
More from Becker: “The high court rejected two main arguments in the suit filed by the state public defender agency, the Committee for Public Counsel Services. The agency alleged that it was unconstitutional for the sheriffs not to provide routine widespread COVID testing and make efforts to reduce jail populations during the pandemic.”
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