Today | Gov. Charlie Baker and his family are vacationing in Utah.
10 a.m. | Lawmakers dive into proposed state spending on a suite of health and human services offices at the latest Joint Ways and Means Committee virtual hearing on Gov. Baker’s $45.8 billion fiscal 2023 state budget.
11 a.m. | House holds an informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.
1:10 p.m. | Berry Institute of Politics at Salem State University and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders host a virtual panel discussion on legislation called the Massachusetts Parentage Act, a bill that GLAD says ensures LGBTQ families can establish parentage like other families.
2 p.m. | Deadline to file Senate amendments to legislation overhauling oversight and management of the Holyoke’ Soldiers Home and Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
Good morning. While Gov. Charlie Baker is on vacation this week with family in Utah, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will serve as acting governor. As he seeks out some downtime, let’s start this morning by looking at Baker’s (un)willingness to wade into the 2022 governor’s race.
For gubernatorial candidates who might have been looking for support from Baker, we have some bad news. Baker told WBZ analyst and MASSterList commentator Jon Keller Sunday morning that he is “not planning to get involved in the governor’s race at this time.”
Baker’s stamp of approval could mean a lot in a narrowing field of gubernatorial candidates. The governor served seven years in a largely Democratic state and has enjoyed enduring popularity throughout his time in office.
He’s also linked to a super PAC that has pledged to spend as much as $2 million to support moderate Republican candidates running for elected office this year. While Baker said the Massachusetts Majority Political Action Committee mostly focuses on state House and Senate races and he does not decide who the super PAC spends money on, he can “help them. I can support them. I can encourage people to support them,” he said Sunday.
Republican gubernatorial candidates Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty could benefit from some financial assistance.
Diehl reported raising nearly double what Doughty brought in last month, but still far less than what Democrats are pulling in. New numbers from the state campaign finance office show Diehl raised $64,899 in February and Doughty brought in $33,120. Diehl had just over $132,000 cash in his campaign account while Doughty reported $467,586 in the bank at the end of February (Doughty gave his campaign a $500,000 personal loan to get started).
Meanwhile, Attorney General Maura Healey raised $412,499 in February and had $4,237,371 at her disposal at the end of February. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz collected $106,607 for the month, boosting her accounting to $351,058.
The end of the pandemic is far off for high-risk individuals
Life is slowly starting to resemble what people remember from before the pandemic. But for a large group of people, the virus still poses major risks. Boston Globe’s Diti Kohli reports immunocompromised people remain highly vulnerable to COVID-19 as society largely reopens.
More from Kohli: “Not only are they more likely to be hospitalized or die with an infection, but immunocompromised patients also have a greater chance of contracting breakthrough COVID in the first place, said Dr. Camille Kotton, an infectious disease director at Massachusetts General Hospital.”
State House vax or test, mask requirements lift today
That didn’t take long. Boston got rid of its indoor mask mandate over the weekend, and the State House is following suit. After just two weeks of enforcing it, Democratic leaders in the Legislature decided Friday to drop their requirement that visitors to the State House be vaccinated or show proof of a recent negative test. Masks will also no longer be mandated inside the building. Boston Herald’s Amy Sokolow reports the policies end effective this morning with legislators citing improving COVID-19 metrics.
Thousands rally for Ukraine on Boston Common
Thousands took to the streets of downtown Boston on Sunday in support of Ukraine during a “Stand with Ukraine” rally organized by the Ukrainian Cultural Center of New England. Boston.com’s Christopher Butler reports on what U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and other had to say.
Protests against the war in Ukraine were also held over the weekend in Pittsfield, Amherst and on Martha’s Vineyard.
State to close most Stop the Spread testing sites
Massachusetts health officials said Friday that as of April just 11 state-sponsored Stop the Spread coronavirus testing sites will remain open — down from a peak of 41 testing outlets at the height of the pandemic as demand for rapid testing has plummeted 80 percent since the beginning of the year. Alison Kuznitz of MassLive has the details.
Labor disputes challenging Walsh and his ‘hands-on’ style
A year into his tenure as the U.S. secretary of labor and Marty Walsh is getting mostly kudos for his willingness to get involved in disputes between unions and employers. But two major clashes involving Major League Baseball and West Coast port workers promise to test his mettle in coming weeks, Nick Niedzwiadek and Eleanor Meuller of Politico report.
Chang-Diaz, Healey make their pitches in Worcester
The two Democratic candidates running for governor made stops in Worcester over the weekend for a Democratic Party caucus at the Hibernian Cultural Centre. Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr. reports Attorney General Maura Healey and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz chatted up a storm with attendees as they hopped from table to table.
This day in history: Lawmakers boost Pressley ahead of historic win
The tea leaves were there for reading. Four years ago today in MassterList: Four members of the Massachusetts delegation gave an air of legitimacy to Ayanna Pressley’s upstart bid to unseat 10-term U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano by what they weren’t doing. Both of the Bay State’s senators, as well as Reps. Seth Moulton and Niki Tsongas, declined to endorse Capuano in the primary.
First responders, law enforcement honor fallen state trooper
Law enforcement and first responders showed up in strength Saturday to honor fallen Massachusetts State Police Trooper Tamar Bucci, who died late last week after a tanker hit her cruiser on I-93. Boston Herald’s Flint McColgan reports colleagues remembered her as an “outstanding trooper.”
Analyst: Teachers unions lead to higher wages
Apparently it pays to have a really good union in Boston. Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports nearly 3,000 teachers at Boston Public Schools are paid six-figure salaries, which one analyst says reflects “the strength of the teachers unions here in Massachusetts.”
Mask mandate drops in Boston
The mask mandate in Boston ended over the weekend, but many people are continuing to keep face coverings on. WBUR’s Amanda Beland surveyed the scene downtown on Saturday, including how employees at the Brattle Book Shop are adjusting.
‘It’s no crazier than skiing’: Surfers catch a winter wave at Nantasket Beach in Hull – Patriot Ledger
Wu wants a new police commissioner by spring. Specialists say that may be optimistic. – Boston Globe
Five months after protests over sexual assault and Greek life erupted at UMass Amherst, what has changed? – MassLive
U.S. added 678,000 jobs in February in sign of economic health – Politico
Mastercard, Visa suspend operations in Russia after invasion – The Hill
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