Happening Today

11 a.m. | U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark discusses the latest from Washington in a virtual event hosted by the New England Council.

11 a.m. | House holds in an informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.

1 p.m. | Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Study Commission meets to hear a presentation on adjusted taxable wage bases and how the changes could impact employers.

6 p.m. | Department of Conservation and Recreation presents design documents for the Sullivan Park Improvement Project that incorporate comments from the first public meeting in July 2020.

Today’s Stories

Where does Baker stand on a third term?

Is a campaign for a third term in Gov. Charlie Baker’s future? It’s a question reporters like to ask and Baker continues to defer.

The Republican governor has not yet made clear his plans for 2022, though if does run recent polling suggests he would do well against most all candidates in the field at the moment. The indecision, Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan writes, has fundraising on hold and potential backers waiting to see what happens.

People are also looking to see if Attorney General Maura Healey will jump into the fray. Who knows if Baker is waiting for the attorney general or if Healey is looking to see if the governor will make the first move.

As Tiernan points out, it’s basically a game of political chicken.

And it was four years ago yesterday that Baker announced his run for a second term. WBUR’s Steve Brown reports that Baker’s decision to run for a second term really kicked off the 2018 gubernatorial race. 

But as of late when the question gets posed to the governor, he brushes it off and recently questioned why people are “in such a big hurry for me to make a decision about this.”

Meanwhile, Baker is wading through a new relationship with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff reports that the two don’t know each other well, but are committed to working together.

There are 344 days until voters head to the polls to choose the next governor of Massachusetts. But whether or not Baker will be on the ballot that Tuesday in November remains a mystery.

Daily Counters:

State House Closed: 623 days

Gubernatorial Election: 344 days

Biden on island time

It was a presidential tree lighting. President Joe Biden spent Thanksgiving in Nantucket last week where he walked around downtown, popped into a few stores, and even attended the Nantucket annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, reports Associated Press’ Dalene Superville.

Associated Press

Home for the holidays

Jasiel Correia was always going to be able to celebrate this year’s winter holidays. But the Associated Press via GBH News reports that a federal judge granted the former mayor of Fill River a later date to report to prison — Jan 10. rather than Dec. 3 — meaning he can stay home with family.

More from the AP: “Federal prosecutors had opposed the extension, pointing out that Correia has failed to pay any restitution, saying in their motion ‘it’s time for Jasiel Correia to pay his debt to society and the citizens of Fall River.’”

GBH News

Package Stores Association looks to advance ballot question

They’ve got the signatures. The Massachusetts Package Stores Association announced they have acquired more than 80,000 signatures for a ballot question that would counter efforts to eliminate limits on the number of stores that can sell alcohol in the state, reports WBUR’s Callum Borchers.


New variant creates ‘race against the clock’ for Boston

Start counting the minutes, maybe even the seconds. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu warned that the city is in a “race against the clock” to get residents vaccinated as a new COVID-19 variant emerges. Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports that Wu pointed to winter as a time when the virus has previously surged and suggested that there’s a higher likelihood of transmission as people head indoors.

Boston Herald

What’s the rush? Panel reviewing state seal remains stuck as deadlines pass

Nearly 12 months after lawmakers created it, a commission tasked with rethinking the Massachusetts state seal has missed a key deadline, remains short-staffed and appears to be unclear on what exactly it is supposed to do. Matt Stout of the Globe unpacks the evolving situation.

Boston Globe

Challenges launched: Popular Republicans Hodgson, Tarr draw Dem foes

Apparently, it’s challenge season. Fall River attorney and former prosecutor Nicholas Bernier says he’ll challenge Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, the firebrand Republican who has held the post for 24 years, David Linton of the Sun Chronicle reports. Hodgson last faced a challenge all the way back in 2010.

Meanwhile, in Gloucester, first-time candidate Terence Cudney, 33, has launched a bid to unseat state Sen. Bruce Tarr, who has kept the 1st Essex and Middlesex District seat in GOP hands for 17 years. Taylor Ann Bradford of the Gloucester Times has the details.

Nuclear option: Pilgrim plant could release radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay

So far, it’s just an idea, but it’s a hot one. Doug Fraser of the Cape Cod Times reports that one option being explored by Holtec as it moves into the next phase of decommissioning the Pilgrim nuclear power plant is to discharge as much as 1 million gallons of radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay — an idea that faces a number of regulatory hurdles and a lengthy approval process.

Cape Cod Times

Sudden pause: Taunton mayor pulls CFO pick at last minute

Taunton Mayor Shauna O’Connell has withdrawn her pick to become the city’s first chief financial officer, saying her office is conducting an additional review of his professional and personal background. Chris Helms of the Taunton Gazette reports the city council was expected to vote on the appointment of Patrick Dello Russo — who most recently served as treasurer/collector in Marshfield last Tuesday before O’Connell yanked the nomination at the last minute.

Taunton Daily Gazette

Advocates looking for expanded use of non-congregate shelters

Advocates for people experiencing homelessness in Western Massachusetts are hoping lessons learned over the pandemic inform how advocacy groups and officials approach sheltering people in the future. Claudia Chiappa for the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that some organizations are pushing for broader use of non-congregate settings as shelter spaces.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Free bus rides in Worcester

Did you know you could ride Worcester Regional Transit Authority buses for free? If not, you’re probably not alone. MassLive’s Tom Matthews reports that WRTA board voted to authorize fare-free service for 2022 after allowing free bus rides last year. The issue? The WRTA has done little to promote the service, Matthews writes.


Today’s Headlines


Right whale coalition calls for moratorium on wind turbines to protect endangered species – Cape Cod Times

Harvard Graduate Students Union votes to ratify contract with university – Boston Globe


Massachusetts auditor: Uber, Lyft drivers allowed to operate under ‘much looser standards’ than state protections mandate – Boston Herald

Rule barring city employees from serving in elected office sparks protest, debate at Holyoke City Hall – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Weed lounges are coming to a city near you – Politico

Fauci says omicron variant will ‘inevitably’ hit US – The Hill

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