10 a.m. | For the first time since the pandemic forced the shutdown of the Everett casino in March 2020, perhaps the most widely-known card game makes its return to Encore Boston Harbor. The casino plans to open 12 poker tables — open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., gaming regulators said.
11 a.m. | House holds informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.
11 a.m. | Housing reform advocates plan to rally on the Westford Town Common in support of bills pending before the Housing Committee, which is co-chaired by Rep. Jim Arciero of Westford.
11 a.m. | On the day it is due to submit a report, Special Commission on Correctional Funding holds a virtual meeting with an agenda that includes only a “review and finalization” of its report.
11 a.m. | MassINC Polling Group and Policy for Progress host Zoom event to release a new survey of major races to watch, including Democratic primary contests for the open governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and auditor races.
Happy Monday, Chris Van Buskirk here back at the helm of MASSterList and sending a huge thank you to Craig Sandler for taking over last week. I enjoyed playing lobbyist Wordle on Friday! Now, on to the news.
A central issue the next governor of Massachusetts will need to deal with is getting the economy back on track. That’s one of the main messages Attorney General Maura Healey pushed during a Sunday interview on WCVB’s “On The Record.”
“If we can’t get the economy back on track, if we can’t deal with the high cost of living, if we can’t deal with housing, we’re not going to be where we need to be,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said. “We also need to deal with childcare, which right now is a barrier that’s keeping so many women from returning to the workforce. So all of these things are incredibly important, so is addressing climate.”
The self-dubbed “People’s Lawyer” is early into her campaign for governor, beginning to stake out central issues, and looking for key differentiators that set her apart from her two Democratic opponents — Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Harvard professor Danielle Allen.
As far as policy is concerned, Healey on Sunday sidestepped questions about Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed tax cuts included in his annual budget, saying, “We haven’t seen the bill yet” and “we’ve got to see what’s there in terms of language.” The governor released his $48.5 billion spending plan last Wednesday.
Catching up with another (former) political powerhouse…
Did you survive the snowstorm this weekend? We barely did. One of us isn’t a fan of two feet of snow after growing up in the south. But don’t worry, Bob DeLeo is fine.
We assume he weathered the storm like everyone else and we heard he’s doing well in the classroom after leading the House of Representatives for 12 years. MASSterList caught up with the former speaker for a few minutes as he was leaving Gov. Charlie Baker’s final State of Commonwealth address last week.
DeLeo is now a teacher at Northeastern University where he schools undergraduate and graduate students about the legislative process and what it takes to get policy passed. He said he’s enjoying his time there with other professors and students.
“It gives me the opportunity to talk about, a lot of my speeches have to do with collaboration,” he said. “It’s great to listen to the students and to have some interaction. I’m really enjoying it.”
Any advice for or thoughts on House Speaker Ronald Mariano’s leadership so far? “He’s doing just fine,’ DeLeo said.
“I always felt that the biggest thing that a person could do as speaker, or in any position such as that, is to take you where your heart leads you. If you’re into public service for the sake of the pictures and the dinners or whatnot, then you’re not there for the right reason,” he said. “However, if you come home every night and feel like you’ve helped someone, then it’s worthwhile.”
Blizzard pounded Massachusetts with heavy snowfall
People are calling it the “Great Blizzard of 2022” and drawing comparisons to the Blizzard of 1978, which threw over two feet of snow across Boston. This time around, we all handled it about as “smoothly” as we could have, reports Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter, Marie Szaniszlo, and Flint McColgan. Boston Globe’s John Hilliard and Andrew Brinker reported that roughly 30,000 people remained without power Sunday afternoon.
Ok, while we like to call it a “Great Blizzard,” the official name was Winter Storm Kenan, and it really did pummel a good swath of Eastern Massachusetts, reports MassLive’s Benjamin Kail. Some communities in the eastern part of the state reported more than 30 inches of snow.
Man injured in New Hampshire crash suing RMV
Joshua Morin, one the people injured two years ago in a crash that killed seven people in New Hampshire, is suing the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, alleging the agency “willfully, wantonly or recklessly failed to process thousands of license suspensions and revocations reported from out-of-state,” reports Berkshire Eagle’s Amanda Burke.
More from Burke: “For Morin, who was a Marine Corps mortarman and lives in Dalton, the injuries he suffered in the crash has caused financial loss as well, as he could no longer work as a traveling, trauma-trained nurse, and now works in insurance, making ‘a quarter to a half’ as much as he used to.”
Baker looking to end monthly probation and parole fees
Monthly fees the state charges people on probation and parole would be ditched under a proposal Gov. Charlie Baker tucked away in his fiscal 2023 budget. Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports the end of the payments would eliminate millions the state collects each year, though a growing group of states have already moved to do away with them.
Correction officers union criticize body camera plan
A correction officers union in the state is pushing back against a plan to institute body cameras at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union say body cameras would endanger officers and can’t even be implemented without bargaining.
The Baker administration outlined plans for body cameras at the state’s maximum security prison last week. The program draws upon $1 million from Gov. Charlie Baker’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal (which still needs to go through the House, Senate, and conference committee talks before being signed into law).
And then there were three…?
A deadline for candidates to inform the Massachusetts Democratic Party that they intend to run for one of the six statewide offices passed on Friday, and there were no surprises, except maybe one. Former Boston city councilor and candidate for mayor Andrea Campbell filed a letter of intent with the party to run for attorney general, which is necessary for anyone who wants to be eligible for the party’s endorsement at this summer’s convention. Campbell was known to be thinking about running, and was one of three, along with Shannon Liss-Riordan and Quentin Palfrey, to file for the AG race. It was all the usual suspects for the other five contests. The treasurer’s race, with incumbent Deb Goldberg seeking reelection, was the only office with one name on the list.
Trickle down: Open Senate seat sends Worcester dominoes falling
With longtime state Sen. Harriette Chandler deciding not to seek reelection and Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty rumored to be a candidate, the Telegram’s Steven Foskett Jr. takes stock of all the political maneuvering and seat-shifting that could result in City Hall and beyond.
This day in history: Knives out for Romney after deep budget cuts
Different times. On this day back in 2003, state lawmakers were taking aim at Gov. Mitt Romney for his deep cuts to the state budget –- even though lawmakers had earlier granted him historic powers to make unilateral spending reductions amid a sea of red ink.
Keith Hovan removed as Southcoast Health CEO
Saga over. SouthCoast Health announced Friday that CEO Keith Hovan would not be returning to the hospital network after three months on leave following a reported domestic violence incident that led to weapons charges against him, Charles Winokoor of the Herald-News reports. The Herald’s Howie Carr took note of the timing, calling the news drop the “mother of all Friday snow jobs.”
Housing, eviction policy on agenda for Worcester Council meeting
Worcester City Council will take a look at local eviction policies, affordable housing, and rental assistance when it meets on Tuesday. Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett, Jr. reports orders on those topics come after councilors voted to effectively kill an order that would have established a local eviction and foreclosure moratorium.
Schools in Boston to open on Monday after winter storm
Public schools in Boston plan to reopen Monday and the city’s snow emergency ended at 6 a.m. today. GBH News’ Esteban Bustillos reports Boston Mayor Michelle Wu continued to urge residents to keep sidewalks safe as city workers clear streets.
COVID continues to impact college students’ mental health
Mental health concerns are top of mind for college healthcare staff as students return to classrooms for the spring semester. Boston Globe’s Laura Krantz reports COVID-related stressors aren’t leaving anytime soon and many higher education institutions are looking to meet increased student needs.
Coming soon: Amherst police alternative program expected by May
The unarmed community responders program promised by Amherst leaders last year amid calls to defund the police department could be ready to launch by May, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. The town hopes to hire a director for the program next month and then begin training the two-person teams that will be sent to some police calls.
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