Happening Today

10 a.m. | Health care workers union 1199SEIU holds a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Springfield “in an effort to drive up vaccination rates for all residents.

6 p.m. | Rep. Mike Connolly’s campaign committee hosts virtual fundraiser that the Cambridge Democrat said will “include a lot of exciting substance” about work to achieve his housing priorities on Beacon Hill.

Today’s Stories

The top issues facing the Legislature in 2022

By Craig Sandler

What on Earth is next?

The old question gets asked every New Year – globally, nationally, and also by those of us obsessed with the tiny scintilla of the planet organized around 24 Beacon St. This year, the question carries a measure of urgency, and let’s be honest, dread – making it more compelling than ever to look at what might be ahead, and even what might give cause for hope amidst the angst.

So: what could 2022 bring the players and followers in the people’s business on Beacon Hill? It starts with politics, of course. For the heavy hitters, the hardcore, and the inside ballers around Government Center, the juicy part of Politics 2022 is well underway already. That’s the news of who is hiring whom, as consultants and fundraisers and digital wizardry shops look for work and find it among the gubernatorial candidates and other office-seekers now setting up what amounts to instant multimillion-dollar non-profit organizations to reach the people and win their votes. The personnel news and chatter will only heat up as we witness the unfolding of the next big political stories on the retail level: is Maura Healey in? (Yes.) Is Marty Walsh out? (Yes, if Maura’s in…otherwise, he’ll run.). Gov. Baker’s Rachael-Rollins-replacement pick will only add to this gig-seeking free for all. Speaking of U.S. Attorneys, Andrew Lelling will run, hoping to serve as this year’s and that party’s Jay Gonzalez, to raise his profile for a future more viable race.

(In Jan. 2022, feel free to send your mocking laughter and derisive finger-points to editor@massterlist.com. Or this afternoon, what the hell.)

On the policy front, here are four themes to think about: Putting aside The Global Plague That Must Not Be Named as too obvious, taxes will be much discussed, with the state absolutely rolling in money but inflation soaring. Watch for a working-families tax reduction or three. But right-center independents plus Republicans will send the Millionaires Tax down to defeat by .8 points despite a big win for Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate XXXX (cough-cough, Maura Healey). Sports betting will – insert your favorite “no-dice” esque pun here, but it’ll stay stuck in the Senate. Michelle Wu’s utter lack of success with her agenda on Beacon Hill will activate a progressive bloc to sharpen its focus on reform of the Old Guard in the House, particularly, which will only lengthen the State-House-is-closed-for-your-protection regimen. And police reform and equity will start to resurface, either because there are major new state-level reforms to announce, or because it’s been two years with no signs of progress. The year will end with a remarkable display of bipartisan bonhomie between Baker and Healey, all the more astonishing when contrasted to the spectacle then unfolding in Washington after the Republicans savage the Dems in the midterms.

The news business is largely about reporting the unexpected, and the New Year always contains a healthy dose of surprises, along with received certainties that turn out totally incorrect. Remember when Trump was guaranteed to lose (the primary AND the general), and the pandemic was unavoidably going to cause a collapse in state revenue, and the ’22 Republican nomination for Charlie Baker was a foregone conclusion? We do too! So why should it not be that the Factor X for 2022 turns out to be the true subsidence of the pandemic into a manageable endemic? We know, shhh, you don’t want to jinx anything – but a true corner-turning on the pandemic is both a reasonable, and a hopeful, prediction with which to turn our eyes to the future. Be safe and Happy New Year, everybody.

Downing exits 2022 governor’s race

Ben Downing was the first Democrat to enter the 2022 gubernatorial race and now he’s the first one to bow out. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports that Downing announced his exit Tuesday morning, citing the lack of “financial resources to continue.” Downing, a former state senator, joined the race in February 2021.

Berkshire Eagle’s Danny Jin reports that Downing hasn’t decided whether he’ll endorse another candidate and is taking a pause to consider his next steps.

Rhode Island’s Lt. Gov. tests positive for COVID

COVID has made its way into Rhode Island’s executive office. Providence Journal’s Katherine Gregg reports that Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos announced Tuesday on Twitter she tested positive for COVID-19. The second-in-command said she has “very few symptoms,” attributing that to her fully vaccinated and boosted status.

Providence Journal

City workers gathering to oppose vaccine mandate

Organizing efforts are taking place. Boston city employees with Boston First Responders United gathered Tuesday night to plan how they’ll fight a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers. Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey reports that BFRU invited all city employees to attend their meeting in West Roxbury.

Boston Herald

Covid chaos: Beverly health board can’t call mask-mandate meeting to order

It’s spreading. The Beverly Board of Health planned to meet Tuesday to discuss possible vaccine and mask mandates … but the meeting was never called to order. Chaos erupted with more than 300 people calling into the online meeting and disrupting proceedings. Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports one anonymous attendee threatened to picket the home of Mayor Mike Cahill over the restrictions and another suggested burning down the home of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu for getting the mandate ball rolling.

Salem News

Counterpoint: New report counters Healey claims on Mass General expansion

They’re pushing back. A new third-party report commissioned by Mass. General Brigham argues the hospital network’s proposed expansion into the suburbs would actually lower health care costs, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth reports. In November, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey said its review had found that the expansion — which has been opposed by smaller regional health care providers — would increase costs to consumers while providing a boost to the system’s bottom line.


State Appeals Court rejects legal challenge to Weymouth compressor station

Not this time. The latest challenge to a Weymouth natural gas compressor station was rejected by a state Appeals Court. Boston Globe’s Travis Andersen reports that Justice Sabita Singh wrote in a 14-page opinion that plaintiff Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station did not have the standing to challenge a previous ruling.

More from Andersen: “The group, Singh wrote, can’t seek judicial review of a 2019 decision from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, or CZM, that the compressor station is “consistent with the enforceable policies” of the Commonwealth’s coastal management program.”

Boston Globe

20K vaccinated individuals tested positive last week

These are some big numbers. Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey reports that 20,000 fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts tested positive for COVID last week. That works out to a daily average of 3,000 cases among vaccinated individuals.

Boston Herald

New locations open up for COVID vaccines, boosters

Need a COVID vaccine? You now have a few more options to get jabbed or boosted. Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett reports the Baker administration announced four new state-sponsored locations at Fenway Park, Melnea Cass Recreation Complex, Lynn’s North Shore Community College, and a site Taunton.

Boston Business Journal

No refuge: Political signage mars Christmas parade in Saugus

Think of the children. Organizers of the annual Christmas Eve parade in Saugus are apologizing after a vehicle in this year’s edition was spotted with lighted Trump and “F–Biden” signs, a development that outraged some local officials who feel the event is no place for political grandstanding — let alone vulgarities. Sam Minton of the Lynn Item has the details.

Lynn Item

Stepping back: Danvers superintendent takes medical leave as controversies swirl

Danvers Superintendent Lisa Dana, who has faced repeated calls to resign amid controversies focused on the town’s high school, is taking medical leave from her role, Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe reports. The school board will meet later this week to name a temporary replacement for Dana, who had her contract extended to 2026 earlier this year.

Boston Globe

NYE events shift outdoors amid COVID case surge

A number of New Year’s Eve events scheduled to occur indoors are being moved outdoors as omicron helps fuel another surge of COVID-19 cases. GBH News’ Adam Reilly reports that events inside the Boston Public Library at Copley Square are shifting outdoors along with those original taking place inside the Copley Place Mall.

GBH News

Attleboro charter language updated to acknowledge women in office

Finally. George Rhodes of the Sun Chronicle reports Gov. Charlie Baker has signed into law changes to the Attleboro city charter to make it gender-neutral, a change that took three years to get through the legislature and comes decades after women began holding local office.

Sun Chronicle

Today’s Headlines


A long journey from Kabul brings one family to New Bedford – GBH News

First Night Boston forges ahead, despite COVID surge – WBUR


Westfield Mayor-elect Michael McCabe has COVID, plans virtual inauguration Jan. 3 – MassLive

It was once called a ‘useless job.’ Now, lieutenant governor may be the hottest race in Massachusetts politics – Boston Globe


Former U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid dies at 82 – Reuters

The 9 biggest political questions of 2022 – Washington Post

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