Today | Campaigns hoping to put ballot questions before Massachusetts voters in 2022 must submit at least 80,239 certified signatures to Secretary of State Galvin’s office, a deadline that should make apparent which proposals remain on track ahead of next year’s election.
11 a.m. | Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee holds virtual public hearing to revisit state and local involvement in federal law enforcement, a topic that has sharply divided legislators for several years.
1 p.m. | Cannabis Policy Committee holds virtual public hearing on a variety of marijuana-related bills.
7 p.m. | Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio, the two candidates running in a special election to succeed former Sen. Boncore, participate in a candidate forum hosted by the Harbor View Neighborhood Association and Orient Heights Neighborhood Council.
ARPA deal surfaces two weeks into mid-session recess
Two weeks after the House and Senate ended formal sessions for the year, legislative leaders announced late Tuesday night that they had reached a deal on a multi-billion spending package that draws from coronavirus relief funds and surplus tax revenue
The new $4 billion proposal uses a portion of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation that was sent to Massachusetts to help pandemic-related recovery efforts. State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports that lawmakers did not offer a timeline for when they might try to pass the proposal and ship it off to Gov. Charlie Baker.
Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports that House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz said the compromise version could be filed as soon as Wednesday and emerge in the House on Thursday during an informal session.
The House and Senate had each unanimously passed $3.82 billion spending plans, which Murphy reports were mostly similar in makeup but differed in how much money would be put toward each priority.
If the legislative leaders do decide to bring the bill up for consideration during an informal session, Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that they run the risk of delays as any single lawmaker can object to a vote.
Baker says he won’t mandate digital COVID-19 vaccine passports
Gov. Charlie Baker wants digital COVID-19 vaccination passports as an option for residents, but not as a requirement to enter businesses or other spaces. It’s a clarification his office issued late Tuesday morning after the governor took to the radio waves Monday and revealed that Massachusetts is in talks with a cohort of 15 to 20 states to create a single QR code that can be used to prove vaccination status, State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski reported.
“Governor Baker is not and has never been in favor of a statewide so-called vaccine passport mandate and does not support requiring that businesses or other organizations restrict access based on vaccination status,” Baker spokesperson Sarah Finlaw said in a statement.
Flipped: Belsito snags 4th Essex seat for Democrats
The Republican delegation to the Massachusetts State House is a little smaller this morning after Democrat Jamie Belsito defeated Republican Robert Snow in a special election to fill the seat recently vacated by the GOP’s Brad Hill after more than two decades. Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports Belsito claimed victory after early returns showed Belsito with about 55 percent of the vote.
Wu looks to keep eviction moratorium in place after ruling
Not so fast Housing Court, says Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Wu is looking to keep an eviction moratorium in place after a Housing Court judge tossed it out, ruling the city’s public health commission didn’t have the authority to implement it in the first place.
“Our law department is reviewing the decision closely and will seek a stay of the decision to keep the eviction moratorium in place,” Wu said in a statement, according to the Herald.
Roughly 200 DOC employees suspended without pay over vax mandate
The number of Department of Correction employees suspended without pay for not getting in line with Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine mandate has grown to about 200 people. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that at least 50 additional suspensions have been reported since Nov. 19.
AG sues company for allegedly selling fake hand sanitizer product
Double check that bottle of hand sanitizer stashed away in your desk, it might not be what it seems. Boston Globe’s Felicia Gans reports that Attorney General Maura Healey is suing an Illinois-based company for allegedly selling fake hand sanitizer that they claimed could kill COVID-19 to a handful of school districts and one city in Massachusetts.
More from Gans: “According to the complaint, filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court, School Health Corporation violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act by asserting that its product could prevent the spread of the coronavirus, despite not containing ‘any of the key ingredients in hand sanitizer,’ Healey’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.”
Texas-based company to operate three COVID-19 antibody treatment sites
A Texas-based emergency management company plans to staff three mobile sites across the state that will offer monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett reports that the sites, run by Gothams, will be able to treat up to 500 patients a week combined. Sites in Fall River and Holyoke opened on Nov. 22 and a third location in Everett is scheduled to open on Friday.
Going up: After pandemic pause, UMass Amherst tuition, fees on the rise again
Campus leadership at UMass Amherst says it will need to increase in-state tuition by 2.5 percent, raise out-of-state tuition by 3 percent, and increase housing and other fees next year in order to balance its budget as it emerges from the pandemic. Cassie McGrath of MassLive and Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette have the details.
Boston’s turn? Councilor wants Hub to explore reparations
She’s putting it on the table. City Councilor Julia Mejia is leading a push to make Boston the latest community to explore reparations for its Black residents and hopes to have a commission in place to study the idea as soon as next year, Darryl Murphy of WBUR reports.
Nonprofits and munis can still tap into FEMA dollars
There’s still money available for nonprofits and local governments to help offset COVID-19 expenses. Eagle-Tribune’s Christian M. Wade reports that because a 2020 major disaster declaration is still in effect for Massachusetts, municipalities and nonprofits can tap into financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Win the lottery, save on gas
These days, winning the lottery can also help you save on gas. State House News Service’s Colin A. Young reports that the Massachusetts State Lottery says players are starting to use a new option to collect cash prizes on their phones, which in turn has reduced the need to collect winnings between $601 and $5,000 in person and saved people just over $19,000 on gas.
More from Young: “Without the need to drive to a Lottery office to collect their winnings — prizes of less than $601 are still claimed at gas stations, convenience stores and other Lottery retailers — the Lottery estimated that app users have avoided the use of 5,783 gallons of gas, which translates to a cost savings of about $19,325.”
Buying the dip: Bitcoin tycoon scoops up restaurants in Lenox
A digital currency CEO with deep roots in the Berkshires now owns a half-dozen restaurants and related hospitality businesses in Lenox, Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Ryan Salame, a Sandisfield native who now leads a Bitcoin exchange firm, has pounced on opportunities created by the pressure the pandemic put on the industry.
Corrections & Clarifications
The MASSterList edition for Nov. 30 incorrectly stated that Gov. Charlie Baker plans to release a detailed strategy on Thursday to fight COVID over the winter. It was indeed President Biden who announced plans to release a strategy later this week.
More than 30 years later, a tantalizing clue in the Gardner Museum art heist surfaces – Boston Globe
Boston fires assistant principal, refers case to police – GBH News
The heat is on over locating a parking garage in downtown Amherst residential zone – MassLive
State panel weighs restrictions on herbicide – Salem News
How Mississippi ended up with one abortion clinic and why it matters – Washington Post
Cyber Monday online sales drop 1.4% from last year to $10.7 billion, falling for the first time ever – CNBC
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