10 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors meets
10 a.m. | Gaming Commission meets: operating under the influence incidents, COVID-19 operations updates
10 a.m.| Mass. Cultural Council meets
10 a.m. | U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley joins Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Reps. Nika Elugardo and Mike Connolly at press conference supporting a Massachusetts public bank
11 a.m. | Governor Baker joins Jim and Margery for “Ask the Governor” on “Boston Public Radio,” WGBH
11 a.m. | New England Council hosts a “Supply Chain Challenges” panel
6:30 p.m. | Mayflower Wind holds a virtual open house to discuss its wind-turbine project
*House Democrats caucus at noon; roll calls on the voting reform bill and amendments begin at 1 p.m.
Everybody on (virtual) Beacon Hill is thinking about elections today, and voting… the rules and races in state elections, starting with the primary this September. That primary includes a race for the job of upholding the rules – a generational battle for secretary of state.
When 47-year-old Tanisha Sullivan, the head of the Boston NAACP, announced she would challenge incumbent Secretary of State Bill Galvin, people wondered if he was ready to take on a strong voting-rights and equity advocate critical of Galvin’s office for being insular and his lamentable practices around public-records access.
They both support the issue of the moment, the inclusion of same-day voter registration in the voting reform bill released by the House Ways and Means committee yesterday. The bill – without same-day voting – will be taken up today by the House in a building they’re keeping closed off to in-person advocacy. It was the subject of a torrential social-media outpouring, and Sullivan was part of it, but not Galvin.
In fact, the inflection inherent in the Galvin-Sullivan fork in the road can be seen in their social feeds. @tanishasullivan4ma has twice as many followers as @billgalvin4ma, despite the fact that Galvin had been in office for 15 years when twitter was founded. He’ll do it old-school, and argue “the necessity of faithful election administration has never been more obvious” – 2022’s rendition of “don’t change horses in midstream.” It’s worked before.
Meanwhile, the bio video on her feed is compelling; her engagement on twitter was vigorous throughout the day and into this morning; she has two Instagram accounts. Galvin’s contented by a tweeted photo of a printout of the press release announcing his reelection bid. And true to how the 21st-century world works, the 72-year-old has many more Facebook followers and doesn’t post; the 47-year-old lives on Twitter, lately anyhow, and followers are flocking.
Lest this all sound too breathlessly enthused about the new kid, we would direct M-Listers to the feed of @joshzakim, another youngish, affable up-and-comer with cogent ideas for progressive change and a message that Galvin’s shop was too opaque and antiquated. He went after the secretary in the 2018 primary in a fashion similar to Sullivan’s (though obviously fears for democracy’s strength were way lower then.)
But after he pitted his robust social presence and progressive platform against Galvin’s statewide handshake-and-longtime-friendship network, he couldn’t quibble with the election process though he didn’t like the result: Galvin 67.4 percent, Zakim 32.4 percent. And it’s not likely that same-day registration would have made much of a difference.
The House has the voting bill scheduled for the formal session that begins at 11 a.m.. Roll calls start at 1 p.m.
Oh yeah, the governor’s budget, almost forgot
Well, of COURSE we don’t really mean that, and the number of people the budget affects vs. the ballot access changes probably – well, we don’t need to try to quantify it, but the fact is, the House had people startled yesterday and the State of the State had readied people for budget news. So the zing factor of the voting bill was higher in the moment. The governor did indeed propose a $48.5 billion spending plan for next year, and the top bullet point was $700 million in tax breaks for working families and seniors. We’ll let Katie Lannan of the State House News Service take it from there, as only she can (paywall), along with Matt Stout of the Globe and Erin Tiernan of the Herald.
Try to remember the kind of September when you couldn’t remember the primary day
We referred to the primary date in September without giving a specific date because the education-COVID-protection budget working its way to the governor’s desk changes the date, from Sept. 20 to Sep. 6. We won’t go into details, and in fact the date change is itself only a detail in what’s now a $75 million package of funding for tests, masks and vaccinations for schools and child-care facilities. Colin Young of the SHNS walks us through the Senate action.
Employees of color will bear brunt of vax terminations, says BTU
“Boston Public Schools, already struggling to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of its students, could lose dozens of educators of color when the city’s new employee vaccine mandate takes effect Monday, according to the Boston Teachers Union.” So reports Naomi Martin of the Globe.
The devices slow the trains down, but they’re being sped up
Always bracing to get some good news out of the T: the transit authority’s general manger told the T management board yesterday that a $45 million transfer will be made to install an auto-braking system on Green Line cars. Such devices might have prevented last summer’s crash, which made headlines and sent 27 people to area hospitals.
Spilka still wants to mandate masks, but does the Senate?
On “Boston Public Radio,” Karen Spilka says she gets it – the rank-and-file, and definitely their constituents, have moved on when it comes to an order from Beacon Hill that masks must be worn indoors in all communities. If it were just up to her, the state would still have the mandate. Spilka also talked about why, at this point, she may be the one reason Massachusetts hasn’t legalized sports betting.
Hybrid in a hurry: Boston City Council flees mask refusers
Staying on the mask beat for a moment: Universal Hub had a short item yesterday noting that after some audience members refused to put on masks at the in-person meeting, Boston city councilors repaired to the safety of Zoom.
A look at the life of David Mugar
Joseph P. Kahn of the Globe does just a wonderful job chronicling the life and times of a Bostonian who made a lot of money and spent a lot of it making life better for other people, in the city, the region and the nation. One of the most significant obituaries of the year, most likely, and those are always worth the read.
Harriette Chandler says 11 Senate terms is enough
“I sat in this very building to cast my first votes,” Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler said yesterday in Worcester City Hall. “I could not have imagined those early years could lead to three decades of public service.” But they did, and yesterday, one of the bulwarks of policymaking in the halls of the State House announced she’s wrapping up her career. She was not warm and fuzzy, but she was compassionate, and her constituents loved her. She occupies an odd spot on the rolls of the Senate presidents, between Stanley Rosenberg and Karen Spilka. Michael Bonner of masslive.com and Marco Cartolano of the Telegram report. Nice photos as well.
Together we can … hang out in Cambridge
Deval Patrick, for eight years a governor and about eight minutes a candidate for president, has taken on a new role as a professor at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and co-director of its Center for Public Leadership.
In with the new, and in with the new
Anna Lamb of the Bay State Banner takes a look at the candidates going after a newly-created House seat in Chelsea, and the district longtime Rep. Liz Malia of Boston is departing.
How close is too close? How far is too far? The ever-evolving role of the State House press
You will be stunned to learn that long thoughtful pieces about the role of the press in covering state legislatures tend to catch our eye. We’re guessing some of you enjoy chewing this sort of thing over as well. From Governing magazine. We find the category “Assessments” somehow soothing.
…. And OUR Springfield beat Springfield, MO by 14 places!
We meant to note yesterday while watching the DJIA careen about: Springfield kind of gets a bad rap, but it was one of only two Massachusetts communities to make the top 100 of the Wall Street Journal’s latest Emerging Housing Index. The Birthplace of Basketball came in number 60. Worcester, the current darling of the econ dev set, actually came in lower, at number 86. (Paywall)
Rentals on the rebound
Closer to home, or narrowing the field anyhow, Diti Kohli of the Globe staff writes through the resumption of upward pressure on rents in the Hub. Apparently “yeah, but at least it’s not San Fran” may not have currency much longer.
Caught on tape: New Bedford deputy fire chief fired
Busted. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the firing of Deputy Fire Chief Paul Coderre Jr. after he was caught on video doing things at home he said he couldn’t do on the job because of work-related injuries, Linda Roy of the Standard-Times reports. The smoking gun was video of Coderre wrestling a 176-pound grill off the back of his pickup. Show off.
Topped off: State funds get Greylock project off the ground
Organizers say a long-simmering project to create an outdoor recreation center at the foot of the state’s highest peak in Adams is finally a go after state officials came through with an additional $2.8 million in funding, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Hot topic: Airbnb regulation back before voters in Nantucket
The Nantucket Select Board has approved an annual town meeting warrant featuring a hefty 107 articles, including a proposal to require registration and inspection of all short-term rentals on the island by the Board of Health that is sure to prove controversial. Brian Bushard of the Inquirer & Mirror has the details.
Redrawn: Brockton pols confident as ground beneath them shifts
New district, who dis? Susannah Sudborough of the Enterprise reports state Reps. Gerry Cassidy and Michelle DuBois both plan to seek reelection even though the districts they represent will be completely reworked into majority-minority districts.
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