Happening Today

11 a.m. | Special Commission on Correctional Funding meets, facing a Jan. 31 deadline to file its report.  This panel has been examining the rise in jail and prison costs at a time when correctional populations are declining.

2 p.m. | The governor, Senate president and House speaker will hold their regular weekly leadership session (closed-door) with a media availability to follow.

2:30 p.m. | Board of Higher Education holds a virtual meeting of its executive committee, where board members are slated to discuss the search for a new higher education commissioner. Commissioner Carlos Santiago announced on Jan. 12 that he plans to step down at the end of this school year and the higher education department said at the time that a search for his successor was expected to begin in February.

3 p.m. | Mayor Wu joins Tiziana Dearing on Radio Boston, WBUR

6:30 p.m. | MassGOP hosts a two-hour training session in Fall River for potential candidates in Southeastern Mass. about campaign tactics and strategy

Today’s Stories

Good Monday morning. I’m Craig Sandler, and I’ll be your MASSterList guest host this week. 

The first Sunday talkfest of the gubernatorial season proper (meaning Healey’s in, now it’s on) featured Marty Meehan flashing what could be the most fabulous smile in Massachusetts politics as he told “On The Record” on Channel 5 that academics don’t get INVOLVED in politics. The UMass president and former congressman then gushed for a solid minute about his good friend, Maura Healey, who, according to the state’s collective punditry, stands a 114 percent probability of being elected governor Nov. 8. And who, if they’re right, will control Meehan’s budget soon.

To be sure, UMass President Meehan did praise the other candidates in the primary (Danielle Allen and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz), but not by name, and the way he lumped them in with praise for Every Other Person Who Seeks Political Office (really!) kind of gave one to understand his view of things.  

It’s just this sort of thing that Prof. Sisyphus – we mean Prof. Danielle Allen of Harvard, was out to counteract on WBZ-4’s “Keller at Large,” In her first appearance with Keller, Allen told the veteran analyst, and through him the voters, that they can go with the “status quo,” or join her in taking a “fresh perspective” based on “people-powered approach to our politics, not top-down solutions from Beacon Hill.”

So does that mean Healey has become too ensconced in the Beacon Hill culture in the eight years since she ran as an outsider? Keller asked, and Allen replied, “It happens, you know?”

Lest this all come as confirmation auguring of how things will proceed from now through primary day on Sept. 6 – a pure exercise in inevitability – we would refer M-Listers to the 2006 Democratic primary, when another AG, Thomas Reilly, was also a sure thing about this time of year.

Substantively, Meehan said he’s confident UMass can make up for faculty burnout and departures, and he defended the system’s rigorous COVID-19 restrictions even as a Globe column from four UMass professors urging a dramatic easing of such rules and a tweet of support from the governor had people talking throughout the state government space.

These appearances help set up a week where Bill Galvin has told the state he’s in for an eighth term and up for a primary battle in which he’ll stake his hard-won political network against a dynamic woman of color a generation younger than he (Tanisha Sullivan); Baker will deliver his final State of the Commonwealth Tuesday night and may have something to say about divisive politics (read: the wisdom of going hard Trump); and the governor files the last fiscal plan in his 30-year history of budget making in Massachusetts on Wednesday. Hang on tight!

Galvin’s a go: Secretary of State will seek record 8th term

He’s in. Secretary of State William Galvin says he will seek reelection to what would be a record-setting eighth term, Matt Stout of the Globe reports, ending months of speculation about his political future. Unlike past go-rounds, Galvin already faces a primary challenge, with Tanisha Sullivan, the president of the Boston branch of NAACP, previously announcing she’ll be in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Boston Globe

Boston Vax Extension – and more wrangling

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu yesterday announced a one-week extension of the vaccine mandate for Boston municipal employees, and she’ll talk to reporters today about that requirement.  In a statement, Wu said her team is continuing to work with unions on the mandate, which now will take effect Jan. 31.  The always-politically-potent firefighters’ union condemned the mandate Friday and warned it could lead to a staffing shortage.  Walter Wuthmann and Jack Mitchell of WBUR reported on the extension yesterday.

Local Aid Fallout: There’s money everywhere, so where’s the spending?

The day will probably never come when a governor announces annual local aid allocations and the mayors respond, “Par-tay! thanks, governor!”  Nope – like the teachers’ unions, the municipal-government lobby’s mission is to keep the heat on, and that includes reliably grumbling when state aid to cities and towns is announced.  So it was this year, and maybe the leaders had more of a point than usual – inflation’s running hot, the increase is only 2.7 percent, and money is pouring in to state coffers from every direction.  Dave Copeland’s headline: “Proposed Baker Budget Shorts Aid to Local Government” takes things a bit too far, but the point is made, in the Patch.  Michael P. Norton of the News Service came out Saturday with a paywalled piece noting that Baker’s plan for road-improvement aid is staying fixed at $200 million, when locals were hoping for $300 million.  Again, it’s only $100 million, and in the context of state budgeting and the current situation, we mean that “only” un-ironically.


Outlook not so bright for new increases in state’s solar-energy targets

They want a little more energy.

Solar-power advocates are pleased that the state increased its incentives for new solar power project by 100 percent.  But ask them how we got here, and their faces cloud over, so to speak.  The Globe’s Sabrina Shankman walks us though the difficulties, and the need for a brighter future that better hurry up and get here.

Boston Globe

Because being 17 wasn’t hard enough already

Jenna Russel of the Globe continues the paper’s examination of COVID and inequality with a piece that’s actually applicable to all high-school populations: wow, does being a teen bite even more than usual this days.  Resilient?  Easy for adults to say.

Boston Globe

Homeless Count in the BPS headed in the wrong direction

This is a shame, at a time when the unemployment is 3.9 percent and the stock market has spent the year setting records (though we’ll see what this week brings).  The number of kids going through homelessness as they attend Boston public schools climbed last school year, to 4,000 – up from 3,200 in 2016-2017, apparently the last year Marie Szaniszlo of the Herald could get her hands on.  She reports that as 11.2 percent of the 48,957 kids in the district, and though the math seems a little off the piece explores the problem, the root causes and what the district is trying to do about it.

Boston Herald

Random Factoid of the Day

Massachusetts ranks 42nd in the nation in the quality of its infrastructure, according to U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the states.  We’re number nine overall, the journal says.  If you want to laugh and point at the other states (Alabama is the default on its comparison tool, just sayin’), head over to USNWR’s Data Explorer.

Look for another Random Factoid of the Day tomorrow – perhaps in vain.  That’s the nature of random things, people!  Now back to the news.

We told you revenue was high

This is neither random nor a factoid: it’s the future.  Mike Beaudet of WCVB’s 5 Investigates reports that marijuana is now so popular in the Bay State that, driven by retail sales of $2.54 billion since pot became legal here, marijuana excise taxes now account for more Massachusetts revenue than the alcohol excise.   Don’t worry, all you Scotch-swilling boomers – booze isn’t falling out of favor either.


Not ready yet: Correia asks judge for another delay in reporting to prison

Former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is asking a federal judge to delay his reporting date to prison once again, this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jo Goode of the Herald News reports prosecutors are opposing the request, saying the 30-year-old Correia is healthy enough to start serving his sentence in federal prison in Berlin, N.H. and noting that he has already received two postponements, including one to help run his family’s hospitality business during the holidays.

Herald News

Going down: Price drops on Clark’s Melrose home

The former home of U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark remains the most expensive property for sale in Melrose even after a recent $175,000 price drop that brought the price just a tick under $2 million, Mike Carraggi of Patch reports. Clark and her husband downsized to a new home in Revere late last year.


This day in history: Lawmaker led into State House in handcuffs

On this day in history, a unique moment many in Bay State politics would just as soon forget. In 2014, then state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, fresh off his conviction on domestic assault charges, was led into the State House in shackles so he could testify before the House Ethics Committee, a prelude to an eventual vote to expel the Dorchester Democrat. Matt Murphy of State House News Service had the details.

Today’s Headlines


Advocates call for relief from utility payments at rally on Boston Common – Boston Globe

Worcester’s federal court judge, Timothy Hillman, to retire in July – Telegram & Gazette


Two candidates step up to the plate in Cape and Islands district attorney race – Cape Cod Times


House panel broadens probe into climate disinformation by Big Oil – Washington Post

Auschwitz Memorial says RFK Jr. speech at anti-vaccine rally exploits Holocaust tragedy – The Hill

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