9 a.m. | Public Health Committee holds public hearing on bills addressing health care workforce development.
10 a.m. | Children, Families and Persons With Disabilities Committee holds public hearing on bills affecting individuals with disabilities.
10 a.m. | Judiciary Committee holds a public hearing on court administration bills, which cover topics ranging from courthouse security to IT systems, the relocation of Cambridge District Court, juror service, the storage of obsolete papers and the jurisdiction of the district court and the housing court.
10 a.m. | Status of Persons with Disabilities Commission holds its final meeting before its first annual reporting deadline, Oct. 31, and is expected to continue a discussion of values statements and to review its first annual report.
11 a.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey is on “Boston Public Radio” for an “Ask the AG” segment.
12 p.m. | House is scheduled to return from recess to resume consideration of its federal aid and surplus spending bill.
A late night in the House produces two mega-amendments to ARPA bill
It was a late night in the House yesterday as lawmakers managed to work their way through two mega-amendments to their proposal spending $3.65 billion in American Rescue Plan act funds and surplus revenue from the fiscal 2021 budget.
Heading into the day with over 1,000 proposed additions to the bill, State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports that representatives on Thursday tacked on about $56 million more in spending for housing and food security and health, human services, and education.
Lawmakers still need to make their way through an additional two consolidated amendments focused on environment and climate and workforce and economic development. The branch plans to come back into session at noon today to continue work on the bill.
The Legislature held six public hearings over the last two months to solicit input from a wide array of stakeholders, and House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Aaron Michlewitz said lawmakers heard “the need for this one-time revenue to go towards areas and communities that have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic.”
“In nearly every category of spending contained in this bill, you will see a focus or a carve-out for funds to be directed or prioritized to these areas,” the Boston Democrat said during opening remarks Thursday. “By doing that, we feel we are presenting before the House today a truly equitable spending package.”
200,000 patients part of UMass Memorial Health email hack
UMass Memorial Health advised that more than 200,000 patients may have had personal information compromised in an email hack. GBH News’ Craig LeMoult reports that hackers accessed email accounts for seven months, starting in June 2020. Telegram & Gazette’s Mike Elfland reports that some emails hackers accessed contained social security numbers and medical-related data.
Still cruising: Another poll gives Wu huge lead as race hits final weekend
New poll, same results. With just days left before votes are counted in the Boston mayoral race, Michelle Wu leads fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George by 30 points according to a poll from Emerson College/WHDH-TV. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox reports just 8 percent of voters remain undecided and notes that the 61 percent to 31 percent advantage for Wu is in line with earlier polls.
Some correction officers were granted vaccine exemptions erroneously
An erroneous approval. That’s what happened to a contingent of prison guards who were initially granted exemptions from the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate but were later informed by the Department of Corrections that their “recent approval was issued in error.” MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz spoke to one guard and family members of other guards on the condition of anonymity and has more details on what happened.
Here’s the DOC language that Kuznitz includes in the story: “We are writing to inform you that your recent approval was issued in error,” an unsigned letter from the Department of Correction states. “We apologize for this error and must inform you that a Secretariat level panel has made the determination to rescind the exemption as your request does not meet the standard of a sincerely held religious belief.”
Boston Herald Editorial Board back Essaibi George
The Boston Herald Editorial Board backed mayoral hopeful Annissa Essaibi George, writing that the candidate is a “a sensible centrist endorsed by former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, Boston’s EMS and Firefighters unions and Massachusetts Nurses Association.” This comes after the Boston Globe Editorial Board threw their support behind rival candidate Michelle Wu, saying she “has both an expansive vision for the city’s next chapters and a proven record of ethical leadership.”
Communities still without power following powerful nor’easter
Several communities on the South Shore remained without power Thursday as utility companies continued efforts to restore electricity to customers after a powerful nor’easter hit the state. A team of Boston Globe reporters that crews from Eversource and National Grid had decent weather on Thursday to advance restoration efforts as more than 180,000 residents continued without electricty.
Return of the kings: MGM Springfield reopens poker room after 18-month closure
It’s time to ante up again. MGM Springfield says it will reopen its poker room this morning, ending a closure of more than 18 months sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. Douglas Hook of MassLive reports players will have to follow safety rules, but the game’s return –which saw additional delays due to a shortage of dealers on staff — is expected to help boost the casino’s bottom line.
Boston Councilors look at a a ‘towing bill of rights’
City Councilors in Boston are considering a “towing bill of rights” that seeks to crack down on “predatory” towing practices by private companies. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that the proposal offered by Councilors Liz Breadon and Lydia Edwards looks to reduce the number of truck drivers looking for tows without being called.
More from Cotter: “Some of the main items in the ‘bill of rights,’ per the working version of the ordinance change, include stipulations that tow companies not ‘surveil without cause a private or commercial property for the purposes of identifying vehicles parked for unauthorized purposes’ — which is to say, cruise parking lots for cars to tow without the property owner calling them to do so.”
The ‘L’ word: Groups say Bay State lawmakers are the country’s most liberal
We know some progressive activists who might disagree, but according to the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Conservative Political Action Conference, Massachusetts state lawmakers are the most liberal in the country. Hannah Green of GBH News reports the two organizations found that just 16 percent of votes cast by legislators in 2020 aligned with long-held conservative policy positions.
Worcester vaccine requirement for city workers goes into effect Monday
A COVID-19 vaccine policy for Worcester city workers goes into effect Monday, and Telegram & Gazette’s Anoushka Dalmia reports that hundreds of city employees have already uploaded their vaccination status. Officials announced the policy in mid-September, saying employees were required to get vaccinated or submit negative tests every seven days.
Unmoved: Quincy stands firm on Long Island bridge amid Boston turmoil
Not their problem. Officials in Quincy say they have no plans to back down or drop their legal efforts to block the construction of a new bridge to Long Island, despite the high-profile related issues the city of Boston is experiencing with the homeless at Mass and Cass, Joe DiFazio of the Patriot Ledger reports.
Sunday Public Affairs: Jon Santiago, Jennifer Nassour, and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Jennifer Nassour, former chair of the MassGOP, discussing the battle within the party between Trump supporters and Gov. Charlie Baker.
This Week in Business, NECN, Sunday, 10 a.m. This week’s topic: Massport Port Director Mike Meyran on the supply chain crisis and the Boston impact; a conversation with Wellesley College President Paula Johnson, and Boston Business Journal’s Doug Banks talks work training programs, gas prices, covid vaccines for kids and more.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: Rep. Jon Santiago talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a roundtable discussion with political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: How are voters across Boston responding to this election season? CityLine Host Karen Holmes Ward will be joined by Boston Herald Columnist Joyce Ferriabough Bolling, Boston Globe Columnist Shirley Leung, and UMass Boston Associate Professor Dr. Erin O’Brien to offer analysis on the race for City Hall.
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