Happening Today

Today | Members of a interagency task force studying the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have until the end of the day to provide feedback on the group’s draft report.

10 a.m. | State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee holds a hearing on three bills, including a Sen. Marc Pacheco act establishing a moratorium on the procurement of structures or activities generating PFAS emissions.

11:30 a.m. | Interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden is a guest on GBH News’ “Boston Public Radio.” Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Hayden to the post after Rachael Rollins left the office to serve as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.

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Today’s Stories

Happy Friday! Did this week fly by or is it just us?

We’re now only a few short days away from the State House reopening to the public for the first time in roughly two years. And like a lot of people in the state, we still have a lot of questions about how Tuesday will play out.

Count House Minority Leader Brad Jones among the lawmakers who are anxious “because I still don’t have some of the details on how it’s going to be.” The North Reading Republican said he hopes whatever plan Democratic leadership puts into place “will be brief so that we can get to a more traditional open State House.”

Jones pointed to indications from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu that a proof-of-vaccination requirement could soon be lifted in the city as COVID-19 metrics trend in the right direction.

“Hopefully, we can follow suit and get back to some sense of normalcy, even with some precautions still in place,” he told MASSterList, while walking around the halls of the State House. “I don’t know if it’ll be that busy next week, obviously, because it’s school vacation week.”

As far as staffing his office, Jones said he wants “to be smart about it.” 

“I’d rather have everybody in on those days when we’re in session and we’re actually doing something,” he said.

Legislative leaders announced Monday when they throw the doors to the “People’s House” back open to the open to the public on Tuesday those seeking to enter will need to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask while in the building. But outside of that, specific logistical details have been slow to arrive and answers to a list of questions were not forthcoming from leaders on Thursday.

Who will check vaccination status? What entrance will be open to the public? Who will enforce mask wearing while people are inside the State House? How will officials deal with protestors or those who refuse to show proof of vaccination? If at-home tests count, how can you prove when they were taken?

Spokespeople for Senate President Karen Spilka and Speaker Ron Mariano said “we can confirm that discussions and meetings have continued throughout this week to finalize preparations and logistics ahead of Tuesday’s opening to the public.”

Sen. Diana DiZoglio, who is running for state auditor, told MASSterList she is “thrilled” the State House is reopening to the public after more than 700 days since its closure.

“I have for months been calling for a safe reopening and am so excited that the communities we serve will again have full access to their building, including the legislative sessions where we set the policies that impact them,” she said. “An open State House is critical to inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility in our state government.”

Baker: No immediate plans to lift masking in hospitals

The Baker administration indicated they do not have immediate plans to lift masking mandates at hospitals, nursing homes, or other settings where they are “standard operating procedure.” Boston Globe’s Matt Stout and Emma Platoff report Gov. Charlie Baker doesn’t see masking in these locations occurring “in perpetuity” but will remain “until people are really comfortable” that the virus isn’t a threat.

Boston Globe

Party of one: Baker promises to support moderate candidate

He won’t be on the ballot in November, but Gov. Charlie Baker says he stands ready to lift up candidates who share his moderate approach to politics and governing. Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff reports Baker’s PAC has $2 million ready to be put to work and will try to provide the type of support the state’s Republican party would provide if it weren’t in the grips of leadership and fundraising crises.

Boston Globe

DiZoglio releases social justice plan

Sen. Diana DiZoglio unveiled a new social justice plan that seeks to shake up the status quo on Beacon Hill. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports the plan includes a series of audits like diving into “equitable implementation” of legal cannabis, taking a look at the Department of Early Education and Care, as well as setting up implicit bias training for police in the state.

MassLive

Can you do the committee shuffle?

Senate Democrats reorganized the leadership of a few committees and assigned a new senator to lead the Community Development and Small Business Committee. State House News Service’s Colin A. Young reports Sen. Lydia Edwards will co-chair that committee.

More from Young: “The changes affect six committees and six senators, though it is unclear exactly how much sway the new committee chairs will have this session given that public hearing season is over and most committees had to either wrap up their work or seek extensions for specific bills by early this month.”

State House News Service

Former Quincy resident arrested overseas on terrorism charges

A former resident of Quincy was arrested in Sweden, officials said, in connection to a series of fires at Jewish-related sites. Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill reports Swedish police arrested Alexander Giannakakis near Stockholm though the U.S. plans to seek extradition so he can be tried in Boston.

Patriot Ledger

Curry College goes virtual after racial threats

Curry College said it would go entirely virtual, not because of coronavirus but because of a spate of hate incidents, including a note with a specific threat against Black students and graffiti that includes a swastika, Laura Krantz and Charlie McKenna of the Boston Globe report. A $10,000 reward for information on the perpetrators is also being offered.

Boston Globe

Former coal plant to become wind manufacturing facility

A former coal plant is slated to become the first offshore wind manufacturing facility in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday. Associated Press’ Jennifer McDermott reports Italian cable manufacturing company Prysmian Group finalized an agreement to take over the 47-acre site.

Associated Press

State officials report 2,326 new COVID cases

State health officials reported 2,326 new COVID-19 cases Thursday as hospitalizations continued to drop and K-12 infections declined. Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey reports the number of students and staff in Massachusetts schools has declined 42 percent from the previous week.

Boston Herald

Incoming: Detailing Axios’ plans to compete in New England

Matt Szafranski of Western Mass Politics & Insight catches up with Axios’  Nick Johnston and digs up more details about the newsletter’s plans to set up a local Boston edition later this year – part of a nationwide push into local journalism. Two reporters will be hired for the local effort and Szafranski suggests a key question will be whether Axios can reach beyond Boston proper with its coverage.

Western Mass Politics & Insight

Development teams looking at Seaport land

It’s a race to see who will get to develop a mixed-income residential project on land owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority in Boston’s Seaport District. Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan reports the site is 27,000-square-feet and sits on D Street, just above the I-90 tunnel. Nine development teams have notified Massport that they’re interested in the site.

Boston Business Journal

Gardner police chief, deputy on leave amid unspecified investigation

The Gardner police chief and a top deputy have been out on paid administrative leave since late last month, a move Mayor Michael Nicholson says is meant to protect the integrity of an unspecified investigation. Stephen Landry of the Gardner News reports the move came after four police unions took votes of no confidence in the department’s leadership.

Gardner News

Cold weather moving in on Friday

Dave Epstein for WBUR reports that Boston tied a record high of 61 degrees Thursday afternoon, originally set back in 1981. But don’t get too comfortable, because a cold front has the potential to bring the temperature back down.

WBUR

Sunday Public Affairs: Karen Spilka, Stephen Lynch, and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Karen Spilka discusses State House reopening, driver’s licenses for the undocumented, sports betting and health care policy.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch joins hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a roundtable discussion with political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham. 

CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: A look at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy; a discussion on a new T.V. series on Abraham Lincoln; and a new production is scheduled to take place at a theatre in downtown Boston.

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Bunker Hill housing redevelopment project receives $3.5M MassWorks grant – Charlestown Patriot-Bridge

School Committee outlines search for new superintendent – Boston Herald

Ghislaine Maxwell’s onetime home in Massachusetts to list for $7.295 million – Wall Street Journal

Massachusetts

Moulton introduces Right Whale Coexistence Act – Gloucester Daily Times

Nation

Workers’ historic wage gains at risk in Fed inflation fight – Politico

All members of Congress but no guests invited to Biden’s first State of the Union address – Washington Post

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