Today | Mass. Gaming Commission is due to report on gross gaming revenues from October and their implications for state tax revenue.
9 a.m. | Public Health Committee holds public hearing on roughly 30 bills that deal with emergency medical services, the disposition of human and animal remains and other matters.
11 a.m. | House holds an informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.
1 p.m. | Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee holds public hearing on about a dozen bills related to the topics of accessibility, children and the workforce.
2 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Ronald Mariano, and other legislative leaders meet privately. A media availability follows.
It’s been over 600 days since the public entered the State House
At this point, it’s been a long time since members of the public roamed the hallways of the State House and even longer since advocates crowded one of the many hearing rooms as lawmakers considered a bill of interest.
Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports that after 600 days, legislative leaders say they are weighing how to safely reopen the building. As we talked about last week, lawmakers and administration officials say reopening the building is tricky business considering the State House is part office, tourist attraction, and event space.
But Stout reports that Massachusetts appears to be the only state in the country with a closed State House (Hawaii’s is closed but allows people to enter with appointments). And the shuttered doors are starting to draw criticism from various corners of Beacon Hill.
Among them is Sen. Diana DiZoglio, who last week called for a plan to reopen the building to the public during the Senate’s debate on their American Rescue Plan Act spending bill.
“We cannot call ourselves inclusive, open, transparent and accessible to the residents who sent us here while the State House doors continue to be closed to our communities,” she said.
The House and Senate have both created working groups to draft a plan to open the building. The two branches have also put in place vaccine mandates for members and staff as an initial step.
“This isn’t just a workplace for us. It is a tourist attraction. It is open to tours. It’s open to travelers walking in to just take in the grandeur of the building, so it’s not as simple as controlling the people who work here,” House Speaker Ronald Mariano said last week during a media availability.
But an exact timeline of when the building will open remains murky after being closed for approximately 609 days.
St. Vincent Hospital CEO denies rumors of agreement with union
Don’t get your hopes up. Rumors that officials at St. Vincent Hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association had reached a deal to end an eight-month strike appear to have been only gossip. Telegram & Gazette’s Cyrus Moulton reports that St. Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson issued a staff memo Friday saying “there is no agreement and no deal to announce.”
Openings at City Hall top of mind for Wu
Vacancies, vacancies, vacancies. That’s what Mayor-elect Michelle Wu says has been one of the most talked about issues people have brought up to her as she prepares to take over. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Wu said job openings at City Hall are a good opportunity to diversify.
More from Cotter: “Wu, speaking on Friday less than 100 hours before her swearing-in as mayor at noon on Tuesday, said she sees this as an opportunity to get the possibility of good city jobs in front of a diverse array of Boston residents — ‘some of whom might not see themselves working in city government, some who might not have known about these opportunities otherwise.’”
‘Wake-up call’ for health agencies
It always comes down to funding and resources. Eagle-Tribune’s Christian M. Wade reports that medical experts say local health departments will need more money to properly respond to the next pandemic.
More from Wade: “Dr. Howard Koh, a professor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School for Public Health, said the pandemic was a wake-up call to strengthen health agencies that played a vital role in controlling the virus and protecting the public.”
The millennial mayor
When Wu takes over Boston’s executive office on Tuesday, she’ll be making history on several fronts as the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor. But there’s another milestone that may not come to mind at first. WBUR’s Callum Borchers reports that Wu will also become the city’s first millennial mayor and the youngest mayor among the country’s 25 largest cities.
Spilka heads to Washington for infrastructure bill signing
Senate President Karen Spilka is taking a short trip to Washington D.C. Monday to join President Biden as he signs a federal infrastructure bill into law, according to her office. The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will mark the passage of the $1.2 trillion spending package. She’ll be back in the Bay State later today.
“Senate President Spilka is one of a few state leaders from across the country invited by the White House to attend the signing event,” a spokesperson for Spilka said in a statement.
Digging in? Healey wants more info on Danvers hockey hazing allegations
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey says it has requested information from Danvers police and school officials about allegations of hazing and sexual assault that have rocked the community, though a formal investigation has not yet begun, Jill Harmicinski of the Salem News reports.
Meanwhile, the Danvers school board meets Monday behind closed doors and could vote to place Superintendent Lisa Dana on leave amid calls for her resignation, Mary Markos and Kristen Glavin of NBC Boston report.
Mastermind next door: Authorities say Ohio bank robber lived quiet life in Lynnfield
Basically, he got away with it. Federal authorities say a Lynnfield luxury car salesman who died earlier this year was actually the person behind a 1969 bank robbery in Ohio, Jeremy Fox of the Globe reports. Theodore Conrad walked out of a Cleveland bank where he worked with $215,000 in cash before disappearing and the U.S. Marshal service says he made a death-bed confession about the heist.
The latest on BBB from Warren
Looking for the latest developments on the Build Back Better Act in Washington? U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on WCVB’s “On The Record” where she said it is “pretty unlikely” that federal lawmakers can tie off the bill before Thanksgiving. She said the House will likely vote on the proposal before the holiday but said a second vote in the Senate will likely happen after Thanksgiving.
Taking it personally: Lawyer threatens suit over redistricting in Randolph
Boston attorney Paul DeRensis said he is ready to head to court to block a redistricting plan that would split the town of Randolph into two districts, a move he says dilutes the voting power of the town’s majority minority population. Wheeler Cowperthwaite of the Patriot Ledger reports town officials aren’t too happy with the new map either but most are already looking down to the road to the post-2030 Census redraw.
Novel approach: North Attleboro wants to pay local shoppers with fed fund
Extra points for creativity. North Attleboro is honing a plan to pass $25,000 worth of federal coronavirus relief funds directly on to residents who do their holiday shopping at local businesses, Tom Reilly of the Sun Chronicle reports. Residents who drop at least $100 in local shops would get $10 worth of credit to use at local outlets — credits shop owners could then redeem with the town in exchange for actual cash.
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