Today | Mass. Gaming Commission is due to report November gaming revenues and their implication for state tax revenue.
10 a.m. | University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees meets remotely.
10 a.m. | U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds hearing to consider a number of ambassadorship nominations including Massachusetts’ Erik Ramanathan to serve as ambassador to Sweden.
12 p.m. | Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Chelsea Commuter Rail Station.
3 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Security Secretary Terrence Reidy, South Shore Resource & Advocacy Center Executive Director Sandra Blatchford, advocates and survivors gather for a roundtable discussion and a public safety announcement in Plymouth.
Pandemic-era voting measures expire today
If everyone loves it, why is it ending?
Bureaucratic processes are probably the answer, but maybe our cynicism is showing. In any case, that’s the question Secretary of State William Galvin is posing to the Legislature as pandemic-era voting measures like mail-in voting expire today.
It’s a good question and one that’s been asked quite a few times as the expiration date approached. Galvin, speaking on WBUR’s “Radio Boston” yesterday, said he was frustrated by today’s lapse because “everyone says they’re for it.”
“We’ve had a tremendous success with this in Massachusetts, not just at the three elections we held in 2020, the presidential election, the presidential primary, and our state primary,” Galvin said. “We had record turnouts, and all three of them helped by that. But we’ve also seen it used very effectively at local municipal elections in 2020 and through this year in 2021, including today.”
Both House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka have expressed support for voting by mail and each branch has approved a measure codifying mail-in voting in the state. The hang-up — as Mariano alluded to on Sunday — is the extent to which each branch wants to add to Massachusetts’ election processes.
Mariano said the House has already voted to make permanent voting by mail and expanded early voting through a provision in a supplemental budget bill in June. The Senate took up their own VOTES Act in October, which Mariano said included things that “we haven’t debated.”
“We are waiting to put a bill together that will include this. I’ve been committed publicly, saying that I want to support both of those items and I will, I will,” Mariano said. “The fact of the matter is so that the Senate chose to go in a different direction after we had already approved these things.”
What’s the effect of the expiration? Yesterday’s primary for the First Suffolk and Middlesex Senate seat was unaffected. But should a Republican make it onto the ballot for the general election in January, residents would not have the same voting options they had this December. (There is no candidate qualified for the Republican primary, though one theoretically could get on the general election ballot as a write-in)
Galvin said that would make for a confusing situation for voters in that district but Mariano said the general election likely won’t be affected because of the lack of a Republican candidate.
Then the question becomes whether the House and Senate can get on the same page before municipal elections, or more special elections, in the spring.
It’s Edwards: Boston councilor wins Senate special primary
Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards is poised to become the newest member of the state Senate after defeating Revere school board member Anthony D’Ambrosio in Tuesday’s special primary election.
The Globe’s Matt Stout and Joe Dwinell of the Herald report Edwards claimed victory shortly after polls closed in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District and with no Republicans on the ballot in the Jan. 11 final election, is poised to become the first woman and person of color to represent the district and the only Black member of the upper chamber.
With only unofficial results in, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports Edwards appears to have rode a wave of progressive support to a 20-point margin in the closely watched race, running up the score in Boston and Cambridge, where she captured 95 percent of the votes cast.
If one goes, so will the other
If Sen. Eric Lesser makes a move upwards, so will Rep. Jake Oliveira. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that Oliveira is weighing a run for the First Hampden and Hampshire Senate. But his campaign is contingent on a few variables, including whether Lesser decides to run for lieutenant governor or attorney general.
Healey appeals dismal of grand jury indictments against former soldiers’ home officials
It’s appeal time. Attorney General Maura Healey plans to appeal a judges decision to allow the dismal of two grand jury indictments against a pair of former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials that stem from a deadly COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. State House News Service’s Michael P. Norton reports that Healey’s office filed the appeal in Hampden County Superior Court.
More from Norton: “The case against [former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and Dr. David Clinton] centers on decisions made on March 27, 2020 to allow patients at the facility who were positive for COVID-19 to mingle with asymptomatic veterans at the home.”
Baker urges compromise on egg legislation
Nobody wants to lose the ability to have fairly priced scrambled eggs for breakfast. But the threat of a price increase as a result of an animal welfare law set to take effect at the start of the new year has many officials worried. Six lawmakers are currently negotiating an update to a 2016 ballot question law that set standards for housing egg-laying hens.
Animal advocates and industry leaders support the fix and warn that supply may dwindle without it. Gov. Charlie Baker urged the Legislature Tuesday afternoon to find a compromise in the next few weeks.
“Everyone is already paying too much at the grocery store and not addressing this egg supply issue will further drive up costs. I urge lawmakers to reach consensus soon before these rules go into effect in January,” he said in a Twitter post. “We all want to have a bill on my desk this week or next, and I’m confident lawmakers can set aside their differences and get it done soon.”
Top doctors urge indoor mask mandate
Top doctors in the state are telling people to mask up as COVID-19 cases are increasing at an “alarming trend.” Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Massachusetts Medical Society President Dr. Carole Allen urged the Baker administration to implement an indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status. Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier this week that he has “no plans” to reactive a mask mandate.
As she prepares to take over as U.S. attorney, Rollins says she’s receiving racist death threats
The next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts says she’s been receiving racist death threats as she prepares to take over the post. GBH News’ Meghan Smith reports that Rollins said her security team is fielding calls from people using “the n-word and saying they want to put a bullet in my head and, you know, they know I have children.”
Suspended: Danvers shelves wrestling team after fight, allegations of racism
Danvers High School has suspended all activity of its wrestling team after a dispute about social media posts spilled over into a physical altercation — all coming even as the town continues to grapple with fallout from allegations of hazing and sexual assault in connection with the school’s hockey team, Bob Hohler of the Globe reports.
Meanwhile, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports Danvers Superintendent Lisa Dana made some of her first public comments on the hockey team controversy at a school board meeting, addressing the impact the uproar has had on her and the community and seeking to explain why she is unable to provide as much transparency as many in the town want.
Here are the baristas pushing a unionization effort at several local Starbucks stores
Yesterday, we presented you with a story from GBH News’ Tori Bedford about a unionization push by baristas at Starbucks in Brookline and Allston. Now, Boston Globe’s Diti Kohli pulls back the curtain on the people behind the effort — Kylah Clay and Ash O’Neil from the Allston location and Jasper Torres from the Brookline shop.
All aboard: Study of East-West rail northern route kicks off Thursday
How about a little northern exposure? The Mass. Department of Transportation is poised to start digging into the feasibility of extending commuter rail service to the western part of the state by using a dormant rail line that follows Route 2 along the northern edge of the state. Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports the study comes after a similar process laid out what it would take to reconnect North Adams to Boston through Springfield in the middle of the state.
Fall River Diocese says three priests found “credibly accused” of sexual abuse
Three separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor made against a trio of priests were found credible, the Diocese of Fall River announced Monday. Cape Cod Times’ Denise Coffey reports that two of the suspended priests have ties to the Cape, and none will be returning to their ministry.
More from Coffey: “The names of Rev. James F. Buckley, Rev. Edward J. Byington and Rev. Richard E. Degagne have been added to the list of credibly accused clergy on the Diocese of Fall River website, the statement read. All three priests have denied the allegations.”
Exit interview: McGee reflects after two decades at State House, one term as Lynn mayor
He’ll be keeping his eyes peeled. Outgoing Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee sits down with The Item’s Alena Kuzub to reflect on his four-year stint in the corner office and how being mayor compares with his two decades of service as a state lawmaker. McGee says he has no immediate plans to return to public office, but admitted he’ll be on the lookout for new opportunities to use his skills and experience.
A chocolate bar goes from dispensary to museum
The first marijuana product legally purchased in Massachusetts didn’t help someone get high. Instead, MassLive’s Will Katcher reports a 50 mg chocolate bar purchased by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will live at Historic Northampton, a local museum chronically the history of the city.
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