Today | Most joint legislative committees must decide whether to advance or spike bills under their purview, a biennial reporting deadline enshrined in a section of legislative rules known as Joint Rule 10.
10 a.m. | Governor’s Council holds public hearing on Gov. Baker’s recommended commutation of William Allen’s first-degree murder sentence. Councilor Robert Jubinville, who represented Allen at his original trial around 30 years ago, chairs this week’s hearing.
10 a.m. | Sens. Marc Pacheco and Jamie Eldridge along with Reps. David LeBoeuf, Adrian Madaro, and Christina Minicucci join Massachusetts Renews Alliance coalition to introduce key legislative priorities to improve food security and housing statewide.
11 a.m. | Democratic candidate for governor Danielle Allen holds a press conference across the street from the State House to announce what her campaign describes as “historic justice commitments that are a first for a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate.”
6:30 p.m. | Former state Sen. Dean Tran hosts a campaign kickoff to launch his bid for the Third Congressional District. Tran, a Fitchburg Republican, won a 2017 special election for the Worcester and Middlesex Senate district and reelection in 2018 before losing his bid for a second full term in 2020.
Happy Joint Rule 10 Day! We’re looking forward to seeing what bills escape committee today and which ones get stuck. Aside from that, it’s still cold out and the snow hasn’t entirely cleared away.
But here’s what you need to know today: Later this morning the Governor’s Council meets to consider the commutation of William Allen’s first-degree murder sentence, a high profile case that has drawn advocates to the steps of the State House.
The list of speakers is packed, with remarks expected from Allen, New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty, William Dickerson of Brockton Interfaith Community, and retired DOC chaplain Peg Newman, who worked with Allen for many years. Others slated to testify include Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, whose office in the ’90s prosecuted Allen’s case.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced last month that he would seek commutations for both Allen and Thomas Koonce, a former Marine who has spent the last 30 years behind bars. As State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski and Sam Doran previously reported, there has only been one other time where elected officials have commuted an inmate’s sentence in the 21st century.
It also marks the first time Baker has sought a commutation in the seven years since he took office. Now on his way out the door, Baker said he spent months “weighing the circumstances of the two terrible crimes, the actions of the two men since, and the Parole Board’s recommendation for commutation.”
Allen was involved in a robbery in Brockton in 1994 where an accomplice stabbed an occupant of an apartment. He was charged as a joint venturer and was eventually handed down a first-degree murder sentence. The person who stabbed the occupant reached a plea deal for second-degree murder and was later released on parole.
Allen has been in prison for 27 years and has widespread support for his commutation, including from the victim’s family. If the Governor’s Council signs off on the commutation, Allen would become eligible for parole.
The hearing kicks off at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed to the Governor’s Council YouTube page.
Welcome to Joint Rule 10 Day…
Today is also the day we find out which bills face a legislative death or live to see another day. Legislative committees must decide by the end of Wednesday whether to grant a bill a favorable or a negative report, or let them stall out by referring them for further study as the biennial Joint Rule 10 deadline passes.
Of course, deadlines in the Legislature are really just suggestions at this point. A number of bills in various committees have already been reported out favorably — though that doesn’t mean they’ll see a floor vote or become law — and other committees have been given extensions.
Guv candidates report January fundraising
Attorney General Maura Healey is rolling in cash after raising $426,756 in January for her gubernatorial bid. State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Harvard professor Danielle Allen reported their own record-setting months for campaign cash raising $166,125 and more than $200,000 in January, respectively.
‘Pretty solid:’ Baker says Feds commit to funding Cape bridge replacements
Gov. Charlie Baker says he received a “pretty solid commitment” from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to fund the $2 billion replacement of the bridges over the Cape Cod Canal. Mike Deehan of GBH has the details on timing of when the funding could be locked in after Baker’s productive weekend road trip to D.C.
Galvin looks to sunshine as best disinfectant
Secretary of State William Galvin wants to know what’s going on in the governor’s office. Boston Globe’s Andrea Estes reports the secretary planned to file new legislation Tuesday to make many of the governor’s emails and other documents subject to the state’s public records law. As it stands now, the governor’s office, the judiciary, and the Legislature are all exempt from the state’s public records law.
Listen, I’m a Cowboys fan so the news about Tom Brady didn’t really impact me. But the real question here is whether Tom Brady actually loves the Pats and New England. It doesn’t seem like it. He didn’t mention them once in his retirement post.
But honestly, who really needs to worry about him when the best team in the NFL (and America’s Team) plays in Dallas, Texas. The only sad thing in all of this is you probably won’t make that much money betting (legally, and outside of Massachusetts, of course) on football anymore.
If you want a more sentimental take on Brady’s retirement, check out this piece from Boston Globe’s John Powers.
‘Desire’ to act on ARPA funds before session ends
A top House Democrat teased out some details for how and when the branch may consider what’s left of the state’s ARPA allocation. GBH News’ Mike Deehan reports House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz said he expects the Legislature to use some of the remaining $2.55 billion to boost aid to Black-owned restaurants. As for a timeline? Michlewitz wasn’t specific but did say, “I think there is a desire to do something before the end of the session here.”
Worcester ordered to pay punitive damages in T&G case
A judge ruled that Worcester officials acted in bad faith by illegally withholding police records from the Telegram & Gazette in 2018. T&G’s Brad Petrishen reports Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker ordered the city to pay $5,000 in punitive damages and $100,000 in legal fees. It’s the first time an entity has been fined under a 2016 reform to the public records law.
More from Petrishen: “Kenton-Walker ruled that the city ‘cherry picked’ language, presented it ‘out of context’ and appeared to have ‘ignored’ language that refuted its position.”
Jasiel Correia II may show up to prison on Valentine’s Day
Jasiel Correia II may have to spend Valentine’s Day reporting to federal prison. The Herald News’ Jo C. Goode reports a federal judge notified via an online court docket that the Bureau of Prisons cannot accommodate a self-surrender on a weekend meaning Correia has up to (and including) Feb. 14 to report for confinement. There’s still a chance the former mayor could be granted a stay from prison pending an appeal.
Slashed: Everett Council cuts mayor’s bonus
Major downgrade. The Everett City Council voted to award Mayor Carlo DeMaria a $1,700 bonus – the same that other department heads receive and far less than the $50,000 “longevity bonus” DeMaria was seeking on top of his nearly $200,000 salary. The Globe’s Andrea Estes reports the payouts became an issue in the most recent election and that a challenger who raised the issue still wants earlier bonuses repaid to the city.
Bombs to stay: Navy won’t clean ordinance from Nomans Land
Just as many bombs, but more signs warning about them. The U.S. Navy will take a middle-of-the-road approach to securing Nomans Land, the uninhabited island three miles off Martha’s Vineyard used for decades as a naval bombing range. According to George Brennan of the MV Times, that means more money will be spent on signage and security than on actual cleanup, which some worry could disrupt the island’s wildlife population.
Springfield woman pleads guilty to $1.2M unemployment conspiracy
A Springfield resident got really good at filing CARES Act unemployment claims. So good that she filed them on behalf of more than 100 people in exchange for kickbacks in some instances, according to federal prosecutors. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports Audri Ford-Victory pleaded guilty Monday to federal wire fraud conspiracy in a $1.2 million COVID-19 unemployment benefits scheme.
More from Barry: “Ford-Victory conspired with others, including well-known New Jersey comedian Omar Thompson, 39, of Paterson, New Jersey, who also pleaded guilty in the case in November.”
So close: Worcester council kills new gas station ban by single vote
Too soon? By a 6-5 vote, the Worcester City Council defeated a measure that would ban the approval of new gasoline stations, a bid to push the city to the forefront of the climate change movement, Steven Foskett Jr. of the Telegram reports.
Rahsaan Hall wanted people to know what a district attorney does. Now he’s is running for Plymouth DA. – Boston Globe
Boston business vaccine mandates ‘not permanent,’ Michelle Wu says – Boston Herald
Panel sends moratorium on big Amherst solar projects to council – Daily Hampshire Gazette
Worcester home values rose 18 percent in 2021 – Worcester Business Journal
Former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones to help guide Biden’s SCOTUS nominee through the Senate – Politico
GOP can’t escape Trump-fueled election controversies – The Hill
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