Today | Elected officials and others wear red for “Go Red for Women” to draw attention to heart disease and stroke
9 a.m. | Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in five cases.
2:30 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joined U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Instagram Live
Maybe it’s just us (and it probably is) but Thursday felt like it would never end. That’s why we’re really happy to say good Friday morning. Only a few more hours until the weekend.
The Legislature was in full motion Thursday as they handed Gov. Charlie Baker a $101 million spending bill that directs money towards expanded mask access for public schools and more testing options for municipalities. And as the weeks passed since it was first announced, the bottom line nearly doubled as lawmakers tacked on additional spending initiatives.
One interesting non-spending element of the bill now before Baker? A section requiring the secretary of health and human services to create and implement a “comprehensive” plan to eliminate disparities in vaccination within four months of the legislation’s effective date. I’ve got a full roundup of the bill for the State House News Service.
But spending money on COVID-19 wasn’t the only major result from yesterday’s legislation sessions. The House passed a law allowing medical personnel to treat and provide transport to police dogs injured in the line of duty. The new version differs only slightly from the one that past the Senate, so its should be long before Gov. Baker gets his paws on it.
The bill, known as “Nero’s Law,” stems from a shooting in April 2018 when Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon was killed as he attempted to serve a warrant. His K9 partner, Nero, was also shot and injured that day but policy at the time prevented EMTs from attending to the dog or transporting him to the nearest veterinarian clinic.
State Rep. Steven Xiarhos was deputy police chief in Yarmouth at the time and remembers the day clearly. He recalls when officers, including Gannon, went out that day to serve the warrant only to hear screams over the radio a short while later as shots were fired.
Nero, Xiarhos said, was shot in the head, the bullet passing through and cutting in half his esophagus and trachea before landing in his shoulder.
“To us, the Yarmouth police officers, which I was at the time and they’re my family, my son is a police officer there, Nero was a symbol of that we’ll get through this, because we were burying Sean, 32 years old, our hearts were broken, but Nero inspired us to keep going,” Xiarhos told MASSterList.
The Barnstable Republican said the legislation is a common sense fix to what he described as a loophole in state law.
“These dogs, they’re worth thousands of dollars to buy them,” he said. “They’re specially trained. They’re used to find missing children in the woods or elderly people with Alzheimer’s. And they’re also used to protect police officers from criminals that are out there.”
New office to focus on Black men and boys’ advancement
A new office in Boston will address challenges Black men and boys face. Boston Globe’s Tiana Woodard reports Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of the Office for Black Male Advancement with Frank Farrow, the founder of Elevate Boston Foundation and the executive director of the new office.
Police oversight groups in Boston rounded out
Two police oversight panels in Boston are now at full strength after recent appointments made by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius reports the Civilian Review Board and Internal Oversight Panel, which fall under the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, now boast full membership.
New omicron variant detected in Mass
A new version of the omicron variant has been detected in Massachusetts, according to data from Massachusetts General Hospital. WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports the prevalence variant, BA.2, will likely increase over time.
Healey takes to WBUR, dives into candidacy
Attorney General Maura Healey was a guest on WBUR’s “Radio Boston” Thursday afternoon where she pushed back on theories that she is trying to cast herself as a moderate in an effort to draw in supporters of Gov. Charlie Baker. WBUR’s Tiziana Dearing, Amanda Beland, and Anthony Brooks have a complete rundown of Healey’s interview.
‘The $12M question:’ Worcester wonders where all the students went
The Worcester school district lost more than 250 students in the last year and enrollment is down more than 1,000 students in three years, a trend that could blow a $12 million hole in next year’s school budget. Scott O’Connell of the Telegram has the details.
Familiar ring? Springfield councilor wants pot licenses investigated
Where have we heard this before? Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst asked the office of Attorney General Maura Healey and the Cannabis Control Commission to investigate whether the process of doling out cannabis licenses is “wrought with corruption,” Patrick Johnson of MassLive reports. The city’s attorney calls Hurst’s allegations that the licensing process is rigged “preposterous.”
Baker shares plan to spending billions in federal road money
Gov. Charlie Baker went to Lowell Thursday to explain how he planned to shower money on the state’s bridges in need of repair, including the long sought Rourke Bridge replacement in Lowell, which is of importance to both UMass Lowell and Lowell General Hospital. The work in the coming years will be made possible by $9.5 billion expected from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden.
New Bedford weathers second ransomware attack
The New Bedford police department was hit with a ransomware attack late last month, but Linda Roy of the Standard-Times reports that thanks to technology put in place back in 2019 – when hackers demanded more than $5 million to release police computers from lockdown – the city was able to end the threat without paying out a penny.
Mayor backs Attleboro police chief after video surfaces of hockey-rink fracas
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux expressed support for Police Chief Kyle Heagney after video surfaced showing the chief in the middle of a post-game melee at a local hockey rink. David Linton of the Sun-Chronicle reports Heroux does not agree with a witness who said the chief acted aggressively amid the tense situation.
More snow expected Friday along with freezing rain
We’re in for another round of snow, freezing rain, and sleet today. MasLive’s Will Katcher has an interactive map for you to check out how much snow will drop in your area. The day will start off with rain that will shift to snow later on.
Sunday Public Affairs: Sonia Chang-Diaz, Jim McGovern, and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz discussing her candidacy, Attorney General Maura Healey’s entry into the race, and pandemic policy making.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: Rep. Chyna Tyler and restaurant owner Cheryl Straughter discuss the Boston Black Restaurant Challenge; Rep. Tackey Chan talks about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Tiger, and Wellesley College professor Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson discusses the state’s connection to the institution of slavery.
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