Rollins nomination hearing, Senate formal, and more
9 a.m. | U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee holds an executive business meeting to consider the nomination of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins to become the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.
10 a.m. | Advocates, riders, municipal leaders, and others will join the Transit Is Essential coalition at the State House to call on state officials to take immediate action on public transportation safety and funding.
10 a.m. | Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues, Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws Sen. Barry Finegold make an announcement at the State House relative to elections reform.
11 a.m. | Senate holds formal session without a calendar. The upper chamber plans to take up veto overrides, according to a Senate President Karen Spilka spokesman.
11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session.
12:30 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker addresses the Massachusetts Assisted Living Association’s annual conference following remarks from Elder Affairs Secretary Elizabeth Chen.
U.S. Senators to consider Rollins nomination this morning
It’s game day for Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
In a few short hours, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will convene an executive business meeting to consider Rollins’ nomination for U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.
If she makes it through the confirmation process, Rollins will make history as the first Black woman to serve in that role.
But there’s been pushback. Rollins has drawn the ire of Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, who told Boston 25 News through a spokesperson that he intends to highlight her “pro-criminal record for his Senate colleagues” and that she “measures success as a prosecutor not by the number of victims she secures justice for, but by the number of criminals she helps avoid.”
Rollins’ office pushed back on Cotton’s choice of words, pointing to several reports including one that says “‘non-prosecution of a nonviolent misdemeanor offense leads to large reductions in the likelihood of a new criminal complaint over the next two years.”
So there’s probably no love lost between the two when you factor in that Cotton already postponed the committee vote to recommend Rollins’ nomination to the full Senate by a week (see this Boston Globe story from Andrea Estes and Jim Puzzanghera).
While Rollins is facing some opposition, WBUR’s Deborah Becker reported over the summer that a rejection is unlikely because — among other points — President Joe Biden chose Rollins based on recommendations from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.
And Boston Globe’s Puzzanghera and Estes also report that supporters and opponents of Rollins were in a last-minute lobbying blitz ahead of today’s vote.
UMass Amherst hires cybersecurity firm to find source of racist emails
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is bringing in a top cybersecurity firm to investigate the source of racist emails sent to multiple Black campus groups over the last few months. MassLive’s Will Katcher reports that the university hired investigators from Stroz Friedberg Digital Forensics to help out.
More from Katcher: “Beginning in late August, Black student organizations began receiving offensive emails and online messages telling them that they did not belong on campus and that they had limited intelligence. The messages, signed by the ‘UMass Coalition for a Better Society,’ also suggested that Black students consider sterilization.”
‘Incapable of negotiating an equitable end’
Time to get into a room and end it. Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and City Councilor Sarai Rivera called on Tenet Healthcare CEO Dr. Saum Sutaria to travel to Worcester, settle differences with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and end a nurses’ strike that has gone on for more than 200 days, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Cyrus Moulton.
“Because the local leadership of the hospital seems incapable of negotiating an equitable end to the strike, I hereby call upon (Sutaria), the corporate head of Tenet Healthcare in Dallas, to come to Worcester as soon as possible to negotiate in good faith,” said Petty, according to the T&G.
Correction officers union challenges Baker vax mandate in court
Another union is looking to challenge Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine mandate for executive branch employees. State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports that the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday that argues, among other things, the policy violates unlawfully infringes on union members’ right to reject unwanted medical treatment without running the risk of losing their jobs.
Floated, sunk: Janey spiked idea of ferry to Long Island recovery facilities
So close and yet so far. The Boston Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter reports Acting Mayor Kim Janey shut the door on the idea of using ferries to shuttle people to and from treatment facilities on Long Island, which have been off-limits since a bridge to the island was deemed unsafe in 2014. Many believe the loss of services on the Boston Harbor island is one cause for the spike in homelessness and other problems in the so-called Methadone Mile in the South End.
The MBTA is ‘safe’ but ‘old’
That’s how Gov. Charlie Baker described the MBTA yesterday as he defended the public transit system and sought to reassure riders that they can be confident in riding the T, reports Boston Globe’s Matt Stout. This comes after an MBTA Red Line car derailed at South Boston’s Broadway station Tuesday, an escalator malfunction lead to several injuries over the weekend, and a fast-moving Green Line train crashed into another near the Pleasant Street Station in July.
Grounded: State says it will push forward with grade-level Pike fix in Allston
After years of back-and-forth and calls for further study, the Department of Transportation says it will move forward with at-grade plans to realign the Mass Turnpike in Allston, a $1.7 billion megaproject that officials hope will benefit from federal infrastructure funding. The Globe’s Jon Chesto and Taylor Dolven and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details on how the decision was made and what the future might hold — including as much as 10 years of road construction.
New Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force unit to focus on violent crimes
A unit of a law enforcement task force in Berkshire County is looking to enhance investigations into sexual assaults, domestic violence, and human trafficking in the area. Berkshire Eagle’s Amanda Burke reports that the unit, called the “violent crimes section,” held its first meeting last month.
Boston City Council look to amend downtown waterfront plan
Boston City Councilors approved a resolution Wednesday to amend the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan. Boston Business Journal’s Catherine Carlock reports that the resolution was introduced by Councilor Lydia Edwards and says “in addition to not reflecting the new realities of climate change, the current MHP does not take into account the moment of renewed civil rights and racial equity.”
On further review: New Bedford councilor charged in connection with May crash
New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of property damage in connection with a May crash, an incident that has resulted in disciplinary action against three police officers. Anastasia Lennon of the Standard-Times reports the charges were authorized by a court clerk at the behest of the Bristol County DA’s office, which stepped into the inquiry after questions were raised about how local police handled the case.
They’ve were spotted once more in Massachusetts. The small breeding population spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that can damage trees and crops, was found in Fitchburg. Associated Press reports that the bug has been found in the state in recent years, but this is the first state officials have found a breeding population.
Time to change? Nantucket eyes move away from open town meeting
They’ve got “city-level complexity” and want a government to match. A group charged with studying potential changes to how Nantucket governs itself says it may be time to scrap open Town Meeting for a representative one or even a mayoral or town council structure, Brian Bushard of the Inquirer & Mirror reports. Most recent annual meetings have been poorly attended and the once-a-year nature of the meetings makes responding to emergencies more difficult, a study group found.
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