10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets. Regulators will hear a quarterly report from Encore Boston Harbor and from the commission’s research team on “gambling harms and the prevention paradox.”
11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session and Senate meets in a full formal session.
12 p.m. | State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg speaks at a briefing on a new report from the Treasury’s Office of Economic Empowerment on the availability of financial education in Massachusetts public schools.
1:30 p.m. | Early Education and Care Advisory and Workforce Council meets via Zoom, with plans to discuss the status of the early education and care workforce, launch of a professional registry, educator credentialing and professional pathways.
With dust settled, Wu confronts two week transition period
The dust from the Boston mayoral race has settled and Mayor-elect Michelle Wu now just just under two weeks until she takes over the city’s top post.
Wu, the first woman, first person of color, and first Asian American to be elected mayor of the city, is due to be sworn in on Nov. 16. That’s a fairly tight turnaround for her to shift gears from serving as a city councilor and campaigner to taking over as Boston’s chief executive. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Wu spoke with reporters Wednesday morning and detailed some of her top priorities as she gets ready. NBC10 Boston reports that Wu said she is focused on “building out our team.” The mayor-elect met with Acting Mayor Kim Janey to talk transition later in the afternoon, but Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that question about cabinet appointees and transition team were deflected during a press conference with Wu and Janey.
“This is about empowering a full team that is reflective of Boston, representative of the expertise in our communities, and connected to the urgency of the issues from the cabinet-level all throughout the organization,” Wu said earlier in the day before the meeting, according to the Boston Globe’s Matt Stout and Travis Andersen.
Like we said yesterday morning, Wu is tasked with turning cornerstone campaign proposals into reality. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that she heads to the mayor’s office focused on energy, environment, and climate justice as well as doing away with MBTA fares, a move that would require significant buy-in from state officials who oversee the transit agency.
And if you found yourself wondering after her decisive victory whether Wu could have beaten Marty Walsh, the Boston Globe’s Milton J. Valencia had the same thought: “It’s well worth asking the question after Wu dominated throughout the city in Tuesday’s race and won many of Walsh’s former strongholds, including his home precinct in Lower Mills.”
Senate releases $3.66 ARPA spending package
Five months after the federal government funneled about $5.3 billion in COVID-19 relief dollars to the state, both branches of the Legislature have now released plans to spend a portion of the money. Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan reports that the Senate released a $3.66 billion spending plan that draws from American Rescue Plan Act dollars and surplus revenue from fiscal 2021.
And it seems that the House and Senate are not too far apart. State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports that the Senate’s proposal mirrors the House’s both in its bottom line and general investment strategy. The bills start to diverge when it comes to climate change mitigation and behavioral health.
More election results from across Massachusetts
If you don’t live in Boston and are looking for a comprehensive list of election results from other important races around the state, GBH News’ Meghan Smith and Hannah Reale have you covered with details from Framingham, Everett, Somerville, Lawrence, Lynn, Gloucester, and Salem. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg and Bruce Mohl also breakdown results from some of the municipalities.
Stay home: Seven House lawmakers prohibited from working in State House
Zoom only for the time being. The office of House Speaker Ronald Marino says seven lawmakers who have not yet proven they are vaccinated or sought an exemption will not be allowed to work at the State House and must cast votes remotely, Matt Stout of the Globe and Shira Schoenberg of CommonWealth report.
Massachusetts Majority super PAC finds success in elections this week
A super PAC in Massachusetts supported by Gov. Charlie Baker found quite a bit of success during elections this week and finds itself looking ahead to races in 2022. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that the Massachusetts Majority super PAC saw 16 of the 24 candidates they backed win their elections, for a total of 18 successful campaigns this year.
More from Mohl: “Baker raises a lot of money for the super PAC because he supports its goal of helping moderate and fiscally responsible Democrats and Republicans. In 2021, the super PAC raised $911,105 from 42 donors and made close to $300,000 in expenditures on behalf of 24 candidates — four who are registered as unenrolled, eight who are Democrats, and 10 who are Republicans. Two others ran successfully in elections earlier this year.”
Pay up: Former lawmaker, prosecutor sue pot company over wages
Former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur and former Suffolk County assistant DA Amy McNamee are suing the founders of a cannabis company that hired them — with much fanfare — in 2018 but then, they say, started reducing their salaries until payments stopped entirely. Sean Philip Cotter of the Herald reports the pair say Union Twist owes them $242,000 in lost wages and interest.
Bill would allow farm fresh meals for student lunches
How do farm fresh meals sound for school lunch? A bill before the before the Education Committee would create a grant program for schools to bring in fresh local food for student meals and add food education to their curriculum. Joyce Doherty, reporting for The Standard-Times, writes that the bill is sponsored by Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and Sen. Eric Lesser.
DESE approves 11 schools to lift mask mandate
Just under a dozen schools in the state received approval from education officials to lift mask mandates after hitting the required vaccination rate of at least 80 percent among students and staff. MassLive’s Melissa Hanson reports that 18 schools requested the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to lift their mask mandate and 11 of those have been approved.
Final field: Belsito, Snow to face off in last-ever 4th Essex District election
One thing is for sure: They’re both part of history. Democrat Jamie Belsito of Topsfield and Republican Robert Snow of Rowley won their respective primaries on Tuesday and will face off in what will likely be the last election ever for the 4th Essex District House seat. Michael Cronin of the Gloucester Times reports current redistricting maps appear to move both candidates’ current homes into other House districts.
House ARPA bill provides money for South Shore orgs fighting hunger
Here’s a little more insight into the local effects of the $3.82 billion spending package the House passed last week. Katherine Sabido, reporting for The Patriot Ledger, reports that the bill would funnel $550,000 to South Shore organizations to fight hunger.
More from Sabido: “Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull) said several legislators have been trying to expand or build food access programs. She said the money would help drive down food insecurity and hunger rates.”
Mixed messages: Greenfield drops mask mandate as Pittsfield puts one in place
What a difference 50 miles makes. The Pittsfield Board of Health has voted to enact a new indoor mask directive that is one stop short of a mandate but still requires masking in all indoor locations, Meg Britton-Mehlisch of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Meanwhile, Mary Byrne of the Recorder reports Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner has dropped that city’s mask mandate effective next Monday, citing an improvement in coronavirus case numbers over the last month.
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