Happening Today

10 a.m. | Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, Highland Street Foundation and Kraft family host the 8th annual Light of Dawnn Awards to honor three nonprofit professionals and five high school students for their impact on the community. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is scheduled to speak.

11:30 a.m. | Gaming Commission holds a public hearing to accept feedback on the development that Encore Boston Harbor‘s parent company has proposed to build across the street from the Everett resort casino. The development would eventually include an entertainment venue, retail outlets, a brewery or brewpub, hotels, restaurants and a parking garage.

2 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka sit down in private for their semi-regular weekly meeting. A media availability will follow.

6 p.m. | Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus holds a “Black Excellence on the Hill” virtual event. Senate President Spilka is expected to speak.

Today’s Stories

Good morning. Chris will be back in a few days, but I’m Matt Murphy and here again to help you get your week started.

As fighting raged on in Ukraine ahead of diplomatic talks planned for today between Russia and Ukraine, thousands of protesters demonstrated in cities around the country this weekend, including in Boston’s Public Garden, against the violence and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The global impact of the conflict, including its effect on gas prices, will continue to be a storyline locally this week, which begins with the semi-regular meeting of Beacon Hill’s “Big Three” leaders — Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka — at 2 p.m. at the State House.

The House and Senate both have formal sessions planned for Thursday after a quiet school vacation week, but leaders of both branches have not yet shared what they plan to debate. The House in recent weeks has sent the Senate two major bills dealing with oversight of the state’s two veterans’  homes and licenses for undocumented immigrants, at least one of which that could move closer to the governor’s desk.

Baker sat down with WBZ’s Jon Keller last week for a two-part interview, the first of which aired Sunday morning during which he talked about the licensing bill. While Baker did not say he would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk, the Republican did raise his concern that the House voted down 31-125 a Minority Leader Brad Jones amendment that would have required the Registry of Motor Vehicles to share information with municipal clerks looking to verify a license holders’ eligibility to vote.

“If you’re really serious about separating this privilege to drive from this right to vote, that really should have been taken seriously, so that worries me a lot,” Baker told Keller.

The governor also talked about his $700 million tax cut package, his desire to see Massachusetts remain economically competitive post-pandemic, and the idea of banning protests within 100 yards of an elected official’s home.

“We need to take seriously, this idea that our competitive position, our cost of housing, our cost of doing business, our tax policy and all the rest will matter over time and probably more than it has over the past decade,” Baker said, explaining that many workers have learned over the past two-years that they can live anywhere and still do their jobs.

Asked if he would actively work this year to defeat the ballot question proposing to add a surtax of 4 percent on income over $1 million, Baker said his “highest priority” between now and the end of July would be passing his own tax reform package.

“But I’ve said many times I don’t think we should be raising taxes and, frankly, at this point in time it’s very hard to argue that the commonwealth of Mass. doesn’t have the resources it needs to support its citizenry,” Baker said.

The governor, whose home in Swampscott has been the site of many public protests over the years, also said it “could be” a good idea to ban such actions, if not for the benefit of the elected official than for their neighbors.

“I think people ought to have a right to protest, they ought to have a right to have their voice be heard, but I do have a little trouble with this idea, especially when people don’t necessarily respect or appreciate the fact that somebody lives on either side of elected officials that we really do put them and their families in a pretty crummy place,” Baker said.

One day masked, the next day not

As school districts debate whether it’s the right time to drop mask mandates in classrooms and let teachers and students go without face coverings, the Boston Globe’s Jenna Russell explores the psychological whiplash many students may feel by the change in messaging from government leaders around masks and the struggle to feel safe without them.

The Boston Globe

Little help: Baker appeals to Walsh’s Labor Department for unemployment waiver

The Baker administration is asking the U.S. Department of Labor to release the state from requirements that it recoup unemployment overpayments made in the peak of the pandemic. The Herald’s Amy Sokolow reports the request puts the fate of millions in potential clawbacks squarely in the lap of U.S. Labor Secretary – and longtime Baker friend – Marty Walsh.

Boston Herald

“Fair Share” tax supporters start building grassroots support

Danny Jin of the Berkshire Eagle checks in with grassroots organizers as they prepare to battle what will promises to be a deep-pocketed campaign aimed at defeating the millionaire’s tax ahead of the November vote on the proposal. Progressive organizers have begun making pitches to local boards and committees, emphasizing the benefits the tax windfall could bring for transportation and education.

Berkshire Eagle

Rapid response: Lawmaker files bill to purse Russian products from Bay State

Days after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, state Rep. Patrick Kearney has filed legislation that would immediately ban the purchase and sale of Russian-made products. The Scituate Democrat says the bill is mainly meant to send a message to the federal government, Flint McColgan of the Herald reports.

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire….

…..Gov. John Sununu ordered all Russian-made spirits removed from state-run liquor stores, MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports a similar ban would be unlikely to take root in Massachusetts where the liquor distribution network is in private, and not state, hands. 

Also on Friday, MIT said it would drop out of a 12-year-old partnership with the Russian government aimed at creating a new Silicon Valley near Moscow. Philip Martin of GBH has the details.

Taunton residents file second lawsuit challenging Wampanoag land rights

A group of residents has filed a second lawsuit challenging the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s rights to build and operate a casino in Taunton, an action that comes after federal officials reversed their earlier ruling and found the tribe has ancestral rights to the land. Asad Jung of the Cape Cod Times reports the lawsuit is similar to one that was filed back in 2016.

Cape Cod Times

New Bedford mayor wants to buy the century-old armory

A bargain? In this market? New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell wants the city council to give him the go-ahead to buy a 100-year old armory building from the state – for $10. Linda Roy of the Standard-Times reports the state has pledged to spend $3 million upgrading the property and that the long-term plan is to find a developer to convert it to housing.


Smith College president Kathleen McCartney stepping down next year

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney will step down next June after a decade at the helm of the Northampton institution, Dusty Christensen of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. She joins the leaders of Tufts, MIT and WPI in announcing plans to retire in recent weeks.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Moving on: Sweeney departing state lottery after seven eventful years

Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney is leaving his post after seven years for a job in the private sector and Colin Young of State House News Service reports he is leaving behind a much larger and more profitable lottery system.

State House News Service

Getting in: Belchertown’s Saunders announces bid for 7th Hampden District seat

Former Belchertown Selectman Aaron Saunders says he’ll make a bid for the new 7th Hampden District seat being vacated by Rep. Jake Oliveira, who is seeking to move up to the state Senate. Domenic Poli of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has the details.https://www.gazettenet.com/Aaron-Saunders-running-for-state-rep-45288239

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Ethics Commission still pursuing answers in Troopergate scandal

Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports the state Ethics Commission wants to talk directly to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. about whether Early was involved in seeking to change a police report in what became known as the Troopergate scandal in 2017.

Telegram & Gazette

International students still closed off to work opportunities

The continued closure of many Social Security Administration offices has made it difficult for international students to find work now two years into the pandemic, reports Meera Raman for the Boston Business Journal. Raman writes that 1,200 S.S.A. offices remain closed for walk-in services.

Boston Business Journal

This day in history: Another fireworks frenzy fizzles

Ten years ago today, Michael Norton of State House News Service reported public safety officials were pushing back hard against the latest effort by state lawmakers to consider legalizing fireworks in the Bay State. That effort, like many before and after, would end without any bangs.https://www.statehousenews.com/news/20121847

State House News Service

Today’s Headlines


Lynn’s new mayor, Jared Nicholson, vows to oversee ‘inclusive growth’ – CommonWealth Magazine

Legal Sea Foods founder George Berkowitz dies at 97 – Boston Globe

Sale of leases for wind farms off New York raises more than $4 billion – New York Times


Are campaign donations to MA sheriffs too suggestive of pay-to-play? CT may have solution – Standard-Times

Ballot count on St. Vincent Hospital nurses union decertification slated for Monday – Telegram & Gazette


‘I’ve got morons on my team’: Sen. Mitt Romney hits Reps. Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene – Arizona Central

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