Today | Department of Revenue is due to report on state tax collections for January, a “significant month” that historically produces a bit more than 10 percent of the state’s annual take,
11 a.m. | House holds informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.
1 p.m. | Labor and Workforce Development Committee will hear an update from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on the status of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
Welcome to Thursday. You’re one day closer to the weekend and another potential snowstorm that could drop up to six inches of snow in some parts of the state. As if we didn’t get enough last weekend.
Weather aside, here’s what you need to know today. Gov. Charlie Baker will be on campus at UMass Lowell this afternoon to detail initial plans to invest in roadways, bridges, public transportations and environmental infrastructure projects with money from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Baker was in D.C. over the weekend where spending money from this bill was on the agenda as governors met with members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
There’s also news coming out of western Massachusetts. First-term Rep. Jake Oliveira has decided to mount a campaign for the Senate seat Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) is vacating to run for lieutenant governor.
Oliveira updated his status with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance Wednesday to indicate that he is seeking the Senate Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester district. It’s a new district that includes three communities — Ludlow, Springfield, and Palmer — that Oliveira’s ancestors settled in when they immigrated to the United States from Portugal and Poland in the early part of the 20th century.
“I’m really excited to utilize not only my experience as a House member but also to utilize my experience as a local elected official, spending 12 years on the school committee, four years as a representative town meeting member, and building on that experience to represent the district as a strong voice for Western Massachusetts in the Senate,” The Ludlow Democrat told MASSterList.
Oliveira had previously expressed interest in the seat, telling MassLive’s Jim Kinney early last month that he would be “making an announcement in the next couple of weeks.” He told MASSterList he is still in the early stages of building out his campaign but wants “to be completely transparent with folks that I’m going to be running for this seat.”
If Oliveira makes it to the other branch, he’ll already have some powerful connections. He served as then state Rep. Michael Rodrigues’ legislative director from 2008-2009 and worked on Senate President Karen Spilka’s first two Senate campaigns as a student at Framingham State University.
“Working with our partners here at the local level, within the State House and state Senate will make me an effective legislator, as a state senator up on Beacon Hill, and led me to this decision that I can do more for Western Massachusetts, and this region, as a member of the Senate than I can as a House member,” he said.
Oliveira would join a growing list of legislative colleagues looking to move up in the Legislature. Reps. Nika Elugardo and Liz Miranda are both running for the seat Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is giving up to run for governor.
The freshman representative had just under $16,000 in his campaign account at the end of December 2021, according to the most recent filing with the state campaign finance office. He banked a total of $600 that month from lobbyists at Robert F. White Associates, Inc., Brian Hickey Associates, and Tremont Strategies as well as $100 from Rep. Susannah Whipps (I-Athol).
Lewandowski joins Diehl campaign
Geoff Diehl is looking to a former Trump advisor to help him secure the governor’s office in Massachusetts. Boston Globe’s Samantha J. Gross reports that former Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski joined Diehl’s campaign in January.
Andrea Campbell jumps into AG race
Andrea Campbell, who previously ran an unsuccessful Boston mayoral campaign, announced she’s running to become the state’s top prosecutor. Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius reports Campbell launched her bid for attorney general at an event in Dorchester’s Codman Square.
More from Dumcius: “A statewide poll of 504 registered voters, conducted by MassINC Polling Group in January and released this week, showed Campbell with a lead in the race for attorney general. The race was thrown wide open after Maura Healey, the current attorney general, announced her run for governor.”
Proposed commission would evaluate case for reparations in Boston
A new proposal filed by three Boston City Councilors would set up a commission to collect data and document inequities that have affected Black Bostonians in an effort to make the case for reparations. Boston Business Journal’s Steph Solis reports the commission would eventually release a report detailing specific types of reparations.
More from Solis: “The disparities between Black and white residents in terms of access to education, financial opportunities, health care and other resources has become impossible for Boston city officials to ignore. One of the starkest examples is a figure from a 2015 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which showed that the median net worth for white households is nearly $250,000 and just $8 for Black households.”
Feisty start: Tran alleges racism at State House in campaign kickoff
Former state Sen. Dean Tran formally kicked off his challenge to U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan by calling the Democratic incumbent a “rubber stamp” for President Biden’s agenda and alleging that his run-in with the Senate Ethics Committee – which found his staffers were performing campaign duties – was a result of racism. Marco Cartolano of the Telegram has the details.
Allen wants to decriminalize drugs
Danielle Allen, a Democrat running for governor, wants to decriminalize personal use of drugs like heroin and cocaine if she’s elected to the state’s top office. Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports how a new plan from the gubernatorial hopeful would seek to address the criminalization of substance use disorder by reclassifying nonviolent personal-use possession as a civil violation rather than criminal.
From the same event, MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports Allen said she is committed to East-West rail, a project that would link Boston, Worcester, and Springfield.
Happy hour proposal sinks to the bottom of the bottle
Hopes of heading to a happy hour after work were dashed yesterday after two legislative proposals were effectively left dead in the water as the Legislature’s bill reporting deadline passed. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports legislation to overturn the state’s ban on happy hours and another to create a commission to study happy-hour policies were sent to study, effectively ending their chances of becoming law this session.
Let them eat: Healey fines Family Dollar over missing meal breaks
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey issued a $1.5 million fine against Family Dollar for repeatedly denying mandatory meal breaks for workers, Tristan Smith of MassLive reports. That affected 620 employees across 100 locations in Massachusetts.
Group says Emerson among the worst colleges for free speech
Seems a bit strong to us, but the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says Emerson College is among the 10 worst colleges in the country in terms of how it handles free speech. Rick Sobey of the Herald reports the group put Emerson on its annual list after it suspended the local chapter of Turning Point USA.
Navigating life in Western Massachusetts after leaving Afghanistan
Two Afghan women connected by chance in Western Massachusetts are helping each other navigate life in the United States after fleeing Afghanistan amidst turmoil last year. New England Public Media’s Nirvani Williams reports Fati and Malalai were placed in temporary public housing in Chicopee in November.
More from Williams: “Their lives are connected by chance, but their fears remain the same. They haven’t been able to stop thinking about their family members who are stuck back home.”
Sandisfield couple facing uncertainty after fire burned down their house
What do you do when all of your life possessions are burned away? When a fire tears through your home and leaves you with next to nothing? Take it one day at a time, for a start. Berkshire Eagle’s Felix Carroll reports how a Sandisfield couple are navigating life after a Monday afternoon fire burned down the house they were renting.
Where’d they go? Did Covid break up the Mighty Mighty Bosstones?
There are no pictures to prove it, but the Globe’s Mark Shanahan says disputes over COVID vaccinations led to the dissolution of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. At least that’s the impression that he gets
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