10:30 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito attend an opening celebration for a New Balance manufacturing facility in Methuen.
11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session and Senate meets without a calendar.
1:30 p.m. | U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb for a virtual discussion about city-level action to advance clean energy and climate justice priorities hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund and League of Conservation Voters.
2 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Ronald Mariano, and other legislative leaders meet privately at the State House. A media availability follows.
3 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is a guest on WBUR’s “Radio Boston.”
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, the assistant House speaker, went on a local Sunday talk show this weekend with praise for President Joe Biden’s performance on last week’s four-day trip to Europe where she said the president helped show “the strength and power of a unified force” in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
“I think it is absolutely appropriate that this week he was in Europe, he was in Brussels, in Poland, seeing for himself and making the case with our NATO allies to have Russia leave the G20,” Clark said on WCVB’s “On The Record” Sunday morning. “To make sure that we continue to apply more sanctions and more economic pressure to force Putin to retreat from this atrocious war that he is waging,”
The war in Ukraine is now over a month old. Over three million people have already fled the country and Biden announced in Europe that the United States would welcome up to 100,000 fleeing the war in Ukraine.
In Massachusetts, state lawmakers are in the process of allocating $10 million to help support refugee resettlement with a focus on those coming from Ukraine. That money is included in a supplemental budget currently making its way through the legislative process.
Clark applauded Biden’s decision to welcome refugees into the U.S. and potentially extend temporary protective status to Ukrainians. As for Massachusetts, she said the state has a responsibility to help receive people fleeing the war.
“I think that is a role that I’ve seen the commonwealth step into time and time again, whether it was the crisis in Haiti, Afghanistan,” she said. “We know here in Massachusetts our immigrant roots and refugee roots for so many of our families, and we’re going to be here to help Ukrainians.”
Two other things to watch this week…
Both the state House and Senate have formal sessions scheduled for later this week. Neither branch has said what they plan to consider, but look for House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka to shed some light on their plans after they meet with Gov. Charlie Baker at 2 p.m.
Also: State lawmakers could name a conference committee to iron out differences between the two versions of a roughly $1.6 billion spending bill that contains the aforementioned money for refugee resettlement. The legislation includes money for COVID-19 response, winter-damaged roads and rental assistance.
Baker’s 2022 decision goes national
Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision not to seek reelection this year didn’t just open the field. Kara Voght for The Atlantic writes that Baker — one of the most popular governors in the United States — opting out of the 2022 statewide election is a dark omen for the country’s two party system.
More from Voght: “Single-party rule at the state level is close to a modern high: All but 12 states are under unified control of a single party, meaning that either Democrats or Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and the legislature. Baker’s departure practically guarantees that Massachusetts will join those ranks.”
South Easton man killed after Boston garage partially collapsed
Law enforcement officials identified Pete Monsini of South Easton as the construction worker who fell nine stories to his death after a portion of a Boston parking garage collapsed over the weekend. MassLive’s Erin Tiernan reports Monsini was in a construction vehicle when the floor gave way.
The incident has prompted the MBTA to suspend Green and Orange Line service through the tunnels underneath the parking structure until their integrity can be assessed by engineers. The transit disruption could last several days.
Pressley tweets, deletes support for Will Smith after Oscar slap
The Will Smith-Chris Rock slap heard around the world from Sunday night’s Oscar telecast appears to have briefly ensnared a member of the Mass. Congressional delegation. Politico’s David Cohen reports U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted out a message of support for Smith, who apparently stood up for his wife after Rock made a hair-related joke. Pressley, who like Jada Pinkett-Smith suffers from alopecia, reportedly deleted the message as backlash against the incident grew.
Former Lesser staffer plans to jump into 8th Hampden House race
A former aide to state Sen. Eric Lesser is set to enter the race to succeed state Rep. Joseph Wagner, who does not plan to seek reelection. Western Mass Politics & Insight’s Matt Szafranski reports Joel McAuliffe, a Chicopee city councilor, plans to announce his campaign for the 8th Hampden House district on Monday.
Opioid crisis never left Berkshire County even as pandemic demanded attention
With the pandemic (hopefully) on the decline and public attention shifting elsewhere, another public health crisis is making its way back to the forefront: the opioid crisis in Massachusetts. Berkshire Eagle’s Francesca Paris reports opioid overdose deaths increased sharply during the pandemic — 56 people died in 2020 compared to 39 the year before.
More from Paris: “As the world debated virus policy, masks and vaccines, families across the Berkshires mourned siblings, parents and, often, adult children lost to addiction.”
MBTA plan has Crighton expressing disappointment
The Senate’s Transportation Committee chairman is feeling disappointed after the MBTA’s five-year capital investment plan did not include money to electrify the Newburyport/Rockport line of the commuter rail. Lynn Daily Item’s Adam Bass reports Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) said he doesn’t “know anyone who would be opposed to this.”
More from Bass: “The plan, released on Thursday morning, does not include the $815 million needed for the electrification of the Newbury/Rockport line ― also known as the Environmental Justice Corridor project ― despite the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board giving the plan initial approval in 2019.”
Hold your fire: EPA expects lengthy review of Cape Cod machine-run range
The EPA now says it will likely be late 2022 before it finishes its environmental review of a proposed machine gun firing range at Joint Base Cape Cod, a process it originally said could be wrapped up sometime this spring. Rachel Devaney of the Cape Cod Times reports the agency says it is awaiting more paperwork on the controversial project from the National Guard.
Two different looks into Michelle Wu’s mayorship
Both of Boston’s major daily newspapers dove into Mayor Michelle Wu’s tenure so far in City Hall with looks at how she has handled adversity. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter explores how Wu has dealt with controversy after controversy in the first moments of her mayorship — often by choice.
Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff explored how misinformation targeting Wu’s mental health and her ability to lead has been weaponized against her. One false rumor questioning her stability has been spreading throughout online comment sections, Platoff reports.
New number one? New UMass hoops coach likely among top-paid state workers
UMass Amherst plans to announce Frank Martin as its new head men’s basketball coach on Tuesday and MassLive’s Matt Vautour reports that with a contract paying him $8.5 million over five years he’s likely to take a place at or near the top of the list of the highest-paid employees of the Commonwealth.
Worcester commissioners frustrated with lack of outdoor dining approval
Officials on Worcester’s License Commission say they are frustrated with legislators for not moving quickly to approve an extension of outdoor dining. Telegram & Gazette’s Kim Ring reports the commission voted to extend temporary outdoor dining in the city through April 1, 2023. But the move was contingent on the state approving an extension as well.
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill included an outdoor dining extension in a supplemental budget that passed the Senate last week. Both branches have now said yes to outdoor dining, but State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reported last week that the bill will now likely head to closed-door conference committee talks where the two branches will iron out other differences.
This day in history: Spicer comes to town to boost Diehl in Senate race
On this day back in 2018, then-U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl said former White House spokesman Sean Spicer would headline a fundraising event meant to boost his prospects in the GOP primary. The Globe’s Matt Stout reported at the time that Spicer would appear at a $250 per head dinner and that Diehl’s campaign was promising more Trump-related endorsements were on the way.
Diehl is now running for governor with the endorsement of Trump and another former Trump aide – Corey Lewandowski – on the payroll.
Markey, Keating tour Maritime Academy
Two members of the state’s Congressional delegation made their way down to Buzzards Bay Saturday to tour Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Center for Responsible Energy. Cape Cod Times’ Sarah Carlon reports Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. William Keating said the center is uniquely situated to help implement renewable energy technology.
North End outdoor dining spat continues
Outdoor dining in the North End has drummed quite a bit of controversy in recent weeks as restaurant owners continue to oppose a $7,500 fee. Boston Globe’s Diti Kohli reports Boston Mayor Michelle Wu threatened Friday to cancel outdoor dining in the neighborhood if restaurants found new restrictions “unworkable.”
McGovern spends weekend connecting with voters in new district
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern spent the weekend reaching out to voters in mostly rural communities that have been added to his legislative district through the decennial redistricting process. McGovern is running for reelection in the newly constructed district, and Chris Larabee of The Recorder reports the Worcester Democrat talked about both national issues and hyper-local topics as he toured the area. Think sidewalks in Greenfield.
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