Keller at Large

Keller: Welcome to Smear City

On this week’s Keller at Large, Jon Keller takes a look at false rumors questioning Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s mental stability. Keller’s take: “In accord with the local political culture’s conceit that we lead the nation in everything, there’s a case to be made that Massachusetts politics is especially infested with this sort of maggot behavior.”

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Happening Today

8 a.m. | Senate President Karen Spilka speaks at a legislative breakfast hosted by Framingham State University.

10 a.m. | A $164 million bond bill designed to modernize the information technology infrastructure in the state’s judiciary system goes before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets for a virtual hearing.

11 a.m. | The Legislature’s Future of Work Commission releases its report about long-term shifts to the economic landscape.

11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session.

2 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu holds a press conference at City Hall to discuss this year’s program for outdoor dining in Boston’s North End. State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Sen. Lydia Edwards, and North End restaurant owners attend, according to the city.

Today’s Stories

Good morning.

Not even the spirit of March Madness can budge Senate President Karen Spilka off the spot. State House News Service’s Sam Doran reported last week that at least 24 senators support legalizing sports betting in the state. That’s a majority.

But speaking to reporters after a Monday afternoon meeting with Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, Spilka said the News Service survey “sort of confirmed what I have been saying, that we’re working towards a consensus to bring the bill to the floor.”

“As was noted, many of the senators basically, to paraphrase that, said that the devil’s in the details. So once we have consensus, the intention is to do that very task,” Spilka said. “… It honestly doesn’t matter where I stand if we’re able to reach a consensus. The intention is to bring it to the floor and debate it on the floor and let the senators decide.”

The push to legalize sports betting has been a years-long debate with many of the major stakeholders — casinos, sports teams, the House, Gov. Charlie Baker — all in favor of approving it. As the Boston Globe’s Samantha J. Gross pointed out last week, there isn’t formal opposition to the idea, and the hang-up mostly resides in the Senate, where Spilka has been hesitant to embrace the idea.

Supporters may take her comment that she intends to bring something to the floor as a win for now. But they’ll be mindful of the clock. Formal lawmaking is scheduled to end in July for the 2021-2022 session and the House and Senate are about to move into budget season when that process has a tendency to be all consuming for a few months.

Baker backs Anthony Amore’s auditor bid

Gov. Charlie Baker is making his entry into the 2022 statewide election cycle by endorsing Republican candidate for auditor Anthony Amore, who works as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum director of security. Boston Globe’s Samantha J. Gross has the latest details.

Boston Globe

Firm related to company overseeing Boston garage demolition was cited in 2018

A company related to JDC Demolition, the firm overseeing demolition of a downtown Boston garage where worker Peter Monsini died this weekend, was cited in 2018 for another worker fatality. Boston Globe’s John R. Ellement, John Hilliard, and Charlie McKenna report an employee of J. Derenzo Co. — which shares corporate officers and the same address as JDC Demolition — was killed as he was working at the site of Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett.

Boston Herald’s Matthew Medsger has additional reaction from Monsini’s family.

Judge resigns after being suspended without pay

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports a Probate and Family Court judge resigned yesterday after the state’s top court suspended him without pay for groping a court employee and lying about it. Judge Paul Sushchyk sent a one-sentence resignation letter to Gov. Charlie Baker advising he would be leaving his post.

More from Schoenberg: “In April 2019, a female court employee accused Sushchyk of coming up behind her in a restaurant while they were both attending a court-related conference and grabbing her butt. Sushchyk first denied the allegations, then said he touched her unintentionally.”


Former Worcester housing official sentenced to 40 months

A former top housing official in Worcester was sentenced Monday to 40 months in federal prison after a jury convicted her last summer of helping a developer steal $2.3 million. Telegram & Gazette’s Brad Petrishen reports Jacklyn Sutcivni argued on her own behalf in court Monday and said she would appeal the sentencing.

Telegram & Gazette

Pressley: ‘I don’t endorse violence in any form’

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley took to Twitter Monday to say she doesn’t endorse violence after quickly deleting a Sunday night tweet in support of actor Will Smith. Smith, if you haven’t heard by now, slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars over joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who, like Pressley, has alopecia.’s Christopher Gavin reports the congresswoman tried again with a different response yesterday, saying she doesn’t endorse violence but does support Smith’s wife and those who have alopecia.

Romney still undecided on Brown Jackson Supreme Court nomination

With the pool of potential Republican senators who could provide bipartisan support for the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court dwindling, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday he remains undecided and plans to do a ‘deep dive’ into her record and background before the Senate votes early next month. Clare Foran and Kasie Hunt of CNN report Romney voted against Brown Jackson when she was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals last year.


Report: Two state prisons neglected disabled prisoners

A new report from a private nonprofit found that specialized medical units at two state prisons did not properly protect prisoners with disabilities from a resurgence of COVID-19. WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports that the Disability Law Center on Monday released the findings of an investigation into MCI-Norfolk and MCI-Shirley’s COVID mitigation efforts for prisoners with disabilities.

More from Becker: “The report includes [the Department of Correction’s] initial response to some of the agency’s preliminary findings. The DOC said it ‘did not find substantive evidence to support the findings.’ The department said it followed public health guidelines and prisoners were provided with adequate medical care — both inside prisons and when outside health care was required.”


Healey defends prior lawsuits against Trump Administration

For Attorney General Maura Healey, more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration weren’t performative — they were targeted towards what she says were “illegal, unconstitutional, and hurtful” acts. Healey discussed her record with Kara Swisher, host of The New York Times’ “Sway” podcast, during an episode released Monday. Swisher also talks to Healey about appealing to residents who have elected a moderate Republican (a.k.a Charlie Baker) the past two cycles.

New York Times

Bucking trend, MIT will require tests for admission again

They’re back. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Monday it would once again start requiring applicants to the school to submit standardized test scores after a pandemic suspension, Maria Cramer and Eduardo Medina of The New York Times report. The move bucks a larger trend in higher education away from a reliance on the SAT and ACT. MIT officials said the tests “help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants.”

New York Times

Peabody threatens to end tax break for golf course

Peabody officials are mulling hefty fines and whether to yank a tax break from the Salem Country Club after nearly 700 trees were removed from the golf course without permission. Julie Manganis of the Salem News reports ending a 75 percent tax abatement the club receives is one of the penalties being considered by the city’s Conservation Commission.

The Item’s Anne Marie Tobin reports that a Monday site visit by the commission turned contentious as club officials barred members of the media from taking part.

Racing time: New Bedford eager to get new industrial park on the market

A plan to turn half of the New Bedford municipal golf course into an industrial business park has encountered a procedural bump in the road as officials race to make the park available to tenants as quickly as possible – and ideally before the current hot market cools. Linda Roy of the Standard-Times has the details.


Today’s Headlines


Richard Waldo is Wellfleet’s preferred candidate for town administrator – Cape Cod Times

Top state officials investigate Atkinson selectman, question residency – Eagle-Tribune


Former UMass student found guilty of 2017 rape in campus dorm – Boston Globe

Right-whale observers need whistleblower protection during wind farm construction, environmental group says – WCAI


Federal Judge Finds Trump Likely Committed Crimes Over 2020 Election – New York Times

Ukraine, Russia hold new talks aimed at ending the fighting – Associated Press

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