Today | Labor officials release state-level unemployment rate and jobs data for October.
10 a.m. | Black Economic Council of Massachusetts and several community partners host the Mass Black Expo, which runs through Sunday.
11 a.m. | Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee holds hearing on legislation to overhaul governance of the Holyoke and Chelsea soldiers’ homes.
11 a.m. | Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee holds hearing on three bills including two focused on traveling animal shows.
Frustration abounds after Legislature ends formal sessions with no ARPA deal
A day after ending formal sessions for the year, the Legislature is finding itself with incoming heat after adjourning without a deal on a package to spend billions from the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act.
As Wednesday afternoon turned into evening, the House and Senate ended their formal sessions after House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz squashed any hope of a deal in an interview with State House News Service’s Matt Murphy. And it didn’t take long for criticism to start piling on the Legislature.
Baker spokesman Terry MacCormack released a statement early Thursday morning saying the administration “believes the Legislature’s original decision six months ago to freeze these funds and subject them to the legislative process created a massive delay in putting these taxpayer dollars to work.”
“Massachusetts was already behind most of the country in utilizing these funds before the latest setback, and further delay will only continue to leave residents, small businesses and hundreds of organizations frozen out from the support the rest of the country is now tapping into to recover from this brutal pandemic,” MacCormack said.
Lawmakers have said that they plan to continue negotiating and raised the idea of passing a spending bill during an informal session. At a press conference later in the day, Baker said, “the Legislature made a commitment to get it done before they went home for the holiday season and I can’t tell you how frustrated I am,” reports Boston Globe’s Matt Stout.
So clearly he isn’t happy. Neither is Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl, who called on the Legislature to suspend an internal rule and continue holding formal sessions until the third Wednesday in December in an effort to move the bill across the finish line.
“I am concerned that the Legislature’s failure to complete work on several substantial bills before the end of formal sessions last night, including how to allocate almost $4 billion of money for pandemic-related concerns, will lead to these proposals being passed during informal sessions where there is no debate and no recorded votes,” Diehl said in a statement.
It wasn’t just Republicans coming after lawmakers. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing said “instead of moving swiftly to pass a spending bill allowing for the distribution of ARPA funds across the state, the legislature last night failed to deliver concrete relief to the people of the Commonwealth.”
“This inability to execute before the close of formal session is typical of a Beacon Hill too often content with the status quo and a Governor all too eager to sit back and pass the buck once it’s too late for everyday residents,” Downing said.
State House Closed: 613 days
Gubernatorial Election: 354 days
Booster shoot eligibility opens up
Go get a booster. All adults in Massachusetts can now receive a COVID-19 booster shoot, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday. WBUR’s Amy Gorel reports that everybody 18 and older can receive a booster shot six months after their second shot of either Moderna or Pfizer.
Food for thought: Poll shows Baker leading all Dems as state awaits third-term decision
A new poll finds Gov. Charlie Baker would easily dispatch all declared Democrats in hypothetical gubernatorial matchups, with only Attorney General Maura Healey within single digits of the incumbent, who has yet to declare if he’ll seek a third term. While Baker enjoys 20-point leaders over those already in the race, the UMass Amherst/WCVB survey shows tighter races should Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito emerge as the GOP nominee.
RIP TCI: Climate initiative is toast after Baker pulls plug
And then there were none. Gov. Baker says he’ll pull the Bay State out of the Transportation Climate Initiative, a pact that once had as many as a dozen states signed on but which has all but collapsed after Connecticut said it would back out last week. Amy Sokolow of the Herald and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details.
Healey to lead investigation into Instagram
Attorney General Maura Healey is taking the lead on an investigation into Meta for promoting its app Instagram to young people while knowing it caused them harm. Boston Globe’s Anissa Gardizy reports that Healey plans to examine how Meta tried to boost the number of users on the app and the amount of time they spent on it.
‘Momentous day:’ Vineyard Wind construction officially off and running
Here we go. It took a lot longer than many had hoped, but a phalanx of local, state and federal politicos descended on Barnstable Thursday for the official groundbreaking on Vineyard Wind I, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, George Brennan of the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports.
Berklee College goes remote after rise in COVID cases
Going remote. Berklee College of Music plans to hold online-only classes until after Thanksgiving following an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan reports that the college canceled class Thursday and is working to move classes to a remote nature today through Nov. 23.
More from Ryan: “Berklee President Erica Muhl cited an uptick in positive cases among students there in a message to the public Thursday afternoon. She attributed the rise to off-campus gatherings, saying that faculty and staff positivity rates have remained low.”
City Councilors looks to BPS for information on ‘incidents’
The Legislature isn’t the only one feeling the heat. Boston City Councilors criticized Boston Public Schools as the electeds requested reports from incidents going back to the start of the year. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Councilor Frank Baker submitted a records request looking for information on an incident that left a Dorchester principal unconscious.
More from Cotter: “Baker — and other councilors — talked of ‘multiple other incidents’ that they’d heard tell of since the start of the school year, and the Dorchester councilor said this records request is intended to ‘get a clearer understanding of what happened across all our schools.’”
New policy could to lead to fines for Boston developers
Developers who do not provide Boston officials with demographic data on their workforce would be fined under a new policy the Boston Employment Commission approved Wednesday. GBH News’ Daniel Kool reports that the policy allows for fines of up to $300 per day for each violation.
Fair is fair: Nantucket citizen article proposes topless beaches for all
For her, it’s about equity. Town meeting in Nantucket could decide next spring to allow topless sunbathing for all on the island’s beaches, a move the citizen who is pitching it says is about fairness since men have been doing so since time immemorial, Dean Geddes of the Inquirer & Mirror reports.
Sunday Public Affairs: Bill Galvin, Lori Trahan, and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Rep. Lori Trahan discussing new infrastructure funding, prospects for the “social infrastructure” bill, and what the Gosar censure debate tells us about the state of partisan relations in Congress.
This Week in Business, NECN, Sunday, 10 a.m. This week’s topic: Conversations with leaders of three non-profits and their expanding missions: Uncornered Boston, Cradles to Crayons and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy coalition.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: A spotlight on Greater Boston Food Bank programs, resources and volunteers around the region that are battling the continued problem of hunger in our state. Project Bread’s Director of Program Communications Miriam Avila and Senior Director of SNAP Outreach Programs Khara Burns share information on available resources, and how to receive SNAP benefits.
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