Happening Today

Today | Wednesday is the deadline to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot for elections scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2.

11 a.m. | New MBTA Board of Directors convenes its first meeting. The board will take over as the T’s governing body, and its seven members will also need to form at least three subcommittees to deal with safety, health and environment; planning and workforce development; and audits and finance.

1 p.m. | Senate holds formal session to consider amendments and advance the bill  redrawing the boundaries of the 40 Senate districts to reflect population shifts over the past decade.

1 p.m. | Advanced IT, Internet and Cybersecurity Committee holds hearing on bills related to emerging technologies, cybersecurity, digital platforms and cable TV.

2 p.m. | Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee holds hearing on bills related to oceans, waterways, wetlands and water resources.

4 p.m. | Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd delivers her first State of the Judiciary speech since taking over as the court’s top judge in December.

Today’s Stories

School mask requirement extended into the new year

Extend it.

That’s the guidance from top brass at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on an in-person mask requirement for public schools in the state. Commissioner Jeff Riley informed districts Tuesday that the mandate now runs through Jan. 15, 2022.

State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports that it’s the second time DESE has extended masking requirements in schools. The first time, the department extended the mandate from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1, but allowed for schools with an 80 percent vaccinated rate to request permission to lift the requirement for vaccinated students and staff.

Riley made the decision to extend school masking into the new year “after consulting with medical experts and state health officials,” reports Boston Globe’s Felicia Gans. The requirement applies to all students and staff 5 and older, even if they are vaccinated.

Individual schools can still apply for the exemption and as of Tuesday, Gans reports that the state has received 14 requests to lift the mask mandate: nine public high schools, one public middle school, and four approved special education schools.

Boston Herald’s Alexi Cohan reports that Education Secretary James Peyser said the extension allows time for elementary school populations to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. An advisory panel from the Food and Drug Administration voted Tuesday to back Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, reports the Associated Press’ Lauren Neegaard and Matthew Perrone.

MassLive’s Melissa Hanson writes that recent COVID rates among students and staff remained steady with 1,804 students and 350 staffers testing positive between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20.

It’s complicated

That’s how Gov. Charlie Baker described his decision on whether to run for a third term during an interview on GBH News’ Boston Public Radio. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that reports that Baker said its a “very complicated issue for a lot of reasons.”

“There are lots of considerations, some are professional, some are personal,” Baker said on the radio. “But anybody who makes a decision about something like this without thinking really hard about it isn’t doing themselves, their families or the communities they serve any favors.”


Sharing the wealth: Baker dishes out dough to mayoral candidates of all stripes

Dormant no more. The Massachusetts Majority PAC affiliated with Gov. Charlie Baker has sprung back to life after taking the preliminary election season off, sending some $129,000 to candidates for mayor and city council candidates, including many Democrats, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth reports.

Among the beneficiaries is registered Democrat Todd McGhee, who saw his campaign to unseat Mayor Paul Heroux get an $8,500 boost from the Baker PAC, George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports.

‘Top-tier issue’

It’s a “top-tier issue.” That’s how Sen. Eric Lesser framed ongoing conversations around the legalization of sports betting in Massachusetts during a State House News Service and MASSterList panel discussion. 

The News Service’s Chris Lisinski reports that Lesser said “when there’s a consensus, when we feel like we’ve gotten to that point, I do feel confident that something will move forward.” MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that lawmakers will need to address issues of consumer and athlete protections for in-person and online gambling.

Still at war: Nurses union alleges ‘patient dumping’ at St. Vincent

The Mass. Nurses Association filed a complaint with the Department of Public Health accusing St. Vincent Hospital of refusing to treat certain patients, an allegation the hospital’s owners dismissed as another part of an ongoing “smear campaign” being waged by the union, whose members have been on strike for nearly eight months, Michael Bonner of MassLive and Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram report.

Leaving the door ‘open’ on rent control

Here’s more from Gov. Charlie Baker’s appearance on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio:” the Republican governor said he generally wasn’t in favor of returning rent control Boston, though he’ll “leave the door open.” GBH News’ Mike Deehan writes that Baker’s comments puts a damper on Boston mayoral candidate Michelle Wu’s proposal to reinstitute the measure.

More from Deehan: “Wu has called for a return to rent control, which would require an act of the Legislature or a ballot question to instigate. Democrats could override Baker’s veto of a rent control bill with a two-thirds majority.”

Here’s the full BPR episode with links to Baker’s interview.

GBH News

Welcome back: Medical confab is largest convention in city since start of pandemic

Have you noticed the crowds? Ted Wayman of WCVB reports the arrival of 4,000 attendees for the American College of Emergency Physicians assembly at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center marks one of the largest conventions the city has hosted in more than two years. The group says it chose Boston because of the city’s high vaccination rate and relatively low COVID numbers.


The next big issue for the mayor of Boston

What’s the biggest fight the next of mayor of Boston could face? It seems it might be a bus ride away. Boston Globe’s James Vaznis reports that maintaining control of the school system could be threatened on two different fronts.

More from Vaznis: “The state has indicated it could take over the Boston Public Schools if its performance doesn’t improve fast enough in the coming years, while a coalition of parents and advocacy organizations, fed up with mayoral control of the School Committee, is pushing to replace it with one elected by voters.”

Boston Globe

Raytheon looks at $75M loss in Afghanistan pullout

It appears $75 million isn’t a huge number to a company like Raytheon, but it is meaningful. Boston Business Journal’s Lucia Maffei reports that’s how much the company lost because of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. CEO Greg Hayes updated analysts, calling the loss “not huge, but meaningful” and saying “that will not recover, obviously. Those are services that we were providing to the U.S. government or the Afghan government prior to the pull up. So $75 [million] kind of goes away.”

Boston Business Journal

Keep it going: Cambridge, other cities to keep contract tracing alive after state shutdown

The city of Cambridge says it will join forces with Revere, Winthrop, and Chelsea on a COVID contact tracing initiative meant to extend beyond the end of the calendar year, when the statewide Community Tracing Collaborative is slated to shut down for good. Sue Reinert of Cambridge Day has the details.

Cambridge Day

Today’s Headlines


Boston with 848 on unpaid leave as vaccine mandate enforcement spreads to police, fire – Boston Herald

DraftKings faces multiple hurdles after $22 billion deal falls apart – Boston Globe


Opposites collide at second Salem mayor debate – Salem News

State police spokesman says staffing was adequate for Patriots game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro – Sun Chronicle

Proposed Massachusetts public records bill would aid pursuit of ‘truth telling’ – MassLive


Democrats Hammer Out Novel Plan to Tax Billionaires and Corporate Giants – New York Times

Election ‘distracted’ Trump team from pandemic response, Birx tells Congress, saying more than 130,000 people died unnecessarily – Washington Post

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