Today | The annual Veterans Day holiday is marked on Thursday. There were 17.4 million military veterans living in the United States as of 2019, according to the Census Bureau, of whom 8.4 percent were younger than 35.
12 p.m. Sen. Eric Lesser talks with 439th Airlift Wing Commander Colonel Joseph Janik and 439th Airlift Wing Chief Master Sergeant Rosaline Ratliff in honor of Veterans Day during a special episode of the senator’s weekly livestream taped at Westover Air Reserve Base.
7 p.m. | U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton holds a virtual town hall event for veterans where attendees can meet other former service members, “bond over their stories of service, and so the public can better understand the cost of war,” an event advisory said.
Late night in Senate produces passage of ARPA bill
Good morning. Wondering where your state senator was last night? They were most likely out late as the branch worked toward passing a $3.82 billion spending package that draws from the state’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds and fiscal 2021 surplus revenue.
The Senate passed their proposal around 10:30 p.m. on a 38-0 vote Thursday night, reports State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski. Senators will now have to negotiate differences with their colleagues in the House, likely in a six member panel of legislators which will meet primarily in private.
But days are quickly running out before the Legislature breaks for their mid-session recess on Nov. 17, and formal sessions end for the year. And it remains to be seen how much the House and Senate have pre-negotiated versus what could prove as potential sticking points.
Both the Senate and House adjourned until Monday ahead of the long weekend. More from Lisinski: “Their to-do list includes approving congressional redistricting maps and mental health legislation as well as finalizing a consensus ARPA bill, which could happen via informal House-Senate negotiations or in a conference committee that would not be appointed until Monday at the earliest, when both branches return with informal sessions planned.”
Wu selects former DPH commissioner for cabinet-level position
Mayor-elect Michelle Wu’s first cabinet picks are in, and there’s a sprinkle of state government in the group. Boston Globe’s Travis Andersen and Emma Platoff report that Wu selected former Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel to serve as a “cabinet-level senior advisor” tasked with addressing substance use disorder, public safety, mental health, and homelessness in the city.
Baker: GE will maintain ‘big presence in Massachusetts’
After General Electric announced it will divide up in three companies, questions immediately started circulating about the future of the company in Boston, including the fate of a proposed headquarters in the hub. But even with the news, Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan reports that Gov. Charlie Baker said he believes the company will still maintain a significant presence in the Bay State.
““I continue to believe — and I’ve talked to [GE CEO] Larry Culp about this — that GE will continue to have a big presence in Massachusetts,” Baker said, according to BBJ.
Federal infrastructure bill is ‘really big deal’ for East-West rail
When people think about East-West rail in Massachusetts, Sen. Eric Lesser probably comes to mind immediately. And there’s good reason to be thinking about the two these days. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas reports that Lesser believes federal infrastructure legislation could finally make a proposed rail line between Boston and Springfield a reality as it includes $66 billion for Amtrack to upgrade current routes and stations, and build new ones.
More from Jonas: “Lesser said the money for rail expansion will likely become available through a competitive bidding process that will, among other things, require all of a region’s key leaders to get behind a proposal. ‘The missing piece right now is the governor of Massachusetts,” he said. Lesser said Gov. Charlie Baker and his transportation department have been ‘hostile to this project.’”
Brief but historic: Acting Mayor Janey delivers emotional farewell address
She made the most of it. Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey ceremoniously wrapped her brief term in the corner office at City Hall with a farewell address that emphasized her administration’s work on helping the city navigate the coronavirus pandemic and getting residents vaccinated as well as her role in history as the first female and first Black person to lead the city. Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press and the Globe’s Jeremy Fox and Tina Woodward have all the details.
Worcester County community colleges experience drop in enrollment
The number of students enrolling in community colleges in Worcester County is down compared to the last school year. Telegram & Gazette’s Jeff A. Chamer reports that a new study from the Department of Higher Education on fall undergraduate enrollment trends at public universities and colleges found community college enrollment dropped by 6.3 percent between fall 2019 and fall 2020.
More from Chamer: “While the pandemic has played a role in the decline, the report also showed that enrollment in the county has been trending downward since fall 2012. Quinsigamond Community College President Luis Pedraja said several factors are playing into the decline, in addition to the pandemic.”
Keep that promise: Warren, Markey urge Biden to pardon nonviolent cannabis offenders
They are holding him to his words. U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are urging President Biden to keep a pledge they say he made during the 2020 presidential campaign to erase the convictions of nonviolent cannabis offenders as a first step toward national decriminalization of marijuana, Lexi Lonas of The Hill reports. The lawmakers wrote that Biden “can and should” issue a “blanket pardon” for all such offenders.
Too much: Investigator hired to probe Monterey Town Hall mess quits over scope
Way more than he bargained for. A private investigator hired by the town of Monterey to investigate what he thought was a single complaint about town employees quit after realizing there are at least seven individuals and some 19 complaints involved — some dating back seven years. Heather Bellow of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Just last weekend, town meeting authorized $10,000 to pay Paul L’Italien, a retired state police lieutenant, to run the inquiry.
Three chairs, a desk, and a map
This new building in Boston has a sprinkle of Springfield on every floor. MassLive’s Michael Bonner reports MassMutual opened a new 17-story building in the Seaport District that will eventually house around 1,000 employees.
The company started in Springfield more than 170 years ago, and on each in floor in the new building is a reminder of that heritage — three chairs, a desk, and a map, a nod to the company’s original office out west.
Remote emotional support services offered to fishermen
Here’s an interesting story from earlier this week: New Bedford fishermen can now access emotional support services over the phone thanks to an initiative from Samaritans Southcoast and Befrienders Worldwide. Standard-Times’ Karrie Tallman reports that the new program will help those working out of the Port of New Bedford, one of the most active ports on the East Cost.
Contested: Losing Springfield council candidate claims intimidation by opponent
Springfield City Council candidate Jynai McDonald, who lost her bid to unseat incumbent Councilor Malo Brown, is alleging voter intimidation and disputing the results that showed her losing by 101 votes, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. McDonald filed complaints with state officials alleging Brown and her supporters aggressively approached voters as they arrived to cast their ballots.
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