Happening Today

9 a.m. | Department of Elementary and Secondary Education hosts virtual Student Government Day 2022 featuring remarks from Gov. Charlie Baker, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Serge Georges Jr., Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Ronald Mariano.

10 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu gives remarks at the Boston Fair Housing Commission’s Fair Housing Month Kick Off Breakfast at City Hall

Today’s Stories

If we told you Gov. Charlie Baker had changed his mind and was running for a third term after all would you believe us? We figured not. Happy April Fools’ Day. Be vigilant out there.

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Now let’s get on with the less exciting reality of Friday.

The two Democrats who are actually running for governor both want to, or at least will, debate each other. Now it’s just a question of when and how many times. Attorney General Maura Healey said Thursday she would agree to two debates, not three, and that they must be after the Democratic Party Convention on June 4, not before.

That’s not even in the ballpark of the three pre-convention debated Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz wanted. 

“The arrogance of dodging debates is the kind of attitude that drives voters away from our party and from participation in the political process,” Chang-Diaz shot back.

The Chang-Diaz campaign is trying to hold Healey to a standard the attorney general set eight years ago in a totally different campaign when in April 2014 she challenged her Democratic opponent to a debate a month until the primary. Of course, Healey at that time was in a similar position to Chang-Diaz — trying to gain ground on a perceived frontrunner and introduce herself to an electorate that, for the most part, was unfamiliar with her work.

This is one of the first little scraps between Chang-Diaz and Healey in what has mostly been a quiet race with little fanfare. And don’t expect Healey to all of a sudden agree to a battery of debates. Two is now probably the number. 

MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz and State House News Service’s Matt Murphy have more details.

Healey on sports betting: ‘It is the way now’

In other Maura Healey news, the state’s top prosecutor is voicing support for legal sports betting in Massachusetts. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports Healey said “sports betting, it is the way now, and I’m confident the Legislature will work something out.”

State House News Service

A ‘housing crisis’ in the Berkshires

Local officials are warning of a housing crisis in Berkshire County. Berkshire Eagle’s Scott Stafford reports average rent prices have risen to $940 for a studio, $1,116 for a one-bedroom, and up to $1,653 per month for a three-bedroom.

More from Stafford: “Part of the issue is that since the coronavirus pandemic began, investment firms have been buying up mom and pop-owned rental properties and, in many cases, raising the rents.”

Berkshire Eagle

‘Not done:’ Scott Brown says more runs for office await

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown tells Joel Barrett of the Salem News that even as he focuses on getting his wife, Gail Brown, elected to Congress in New Hampshire, he doesn’t plan to stay on the sidelines of electoral politics indefinitely himself. Brown predicted another bid for office in the future and indicated he’ll be actively helping Republicans in both the Granite State and back here in Massachusetts during this year’s election cycle.

Salem News

Going up: State’s payroll costs on sharp incline

The state’s payroll rose to a record of $8.39 billion last year, a $19 million year-over-year increase driven largely by overtime costs. Christian Wade of the Gloucester Times has the details on who earned what and where on the list Gov. Baker appears.

Gloucester Times

Family plans to file lawsuit against Boston bar after stabbing

The family of the Marine who was stabbed to death in front of a Boston bar earlier this month plans to file a lawsuit against the establishment. Boston Globe’s Travis Andersen reports the family says the lawsuit will allow them to “fully investigate” whether the bar could have prevented the incident.

Boston Globe

UMass Lowell poll shows even split on involvement in Ukraine

Americans are nearly evenly split on whether the U.S. should do more to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia, with 46 percent backing military enforcement of a no-fly zone, a new poll conducted by UMass Lowell finds. Trea Lavery of the Sun reports the divide appears to cut across traditional partisan divides.

Lowell Sun

Everybody loves free gas

You better head to Norwood early on Friday. Ernie Boch is planning to hand out 7,000 gallons of gas on a first-come, first-serve basis. Patch reporter Mary Ellen Gambon writes the free offering comes as gas prices remain at elevated levels.

Patch

Pols, advocates celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

Yesterday was International Transgender Day of Visibility, and a number of prominent lawmakers and LGBTQ activists made their way to the steps of the State House to condemn a number of laws they say undermine the rights of transgender youth across the country. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports Senate President Karen Spilka said she was “deeply concerned” about measures in place in Florida and Texas.

MassLive

Push for short-term rental regs in Great Barrington hits conflict-of-interest snag

Short-term rental rules are on hold in Great Barrington after an anonymous email alleged virtually the entire Select Board has a conflict-of-interest because members live within 300 feet of accommodations available to rent on Airbnb. Heather Bellow of the Berkshire Eagle reports the town hopes the state’s Ethics Commission can clarify the situation ahead of another planned vote next week.

Berkshire Eagle

Public Affairs Shows: Chris Doughty, Mike Connolly, and more

Friday

Talking Politics, WGBH-TV, Ch. 2, 7 p.m.: Post-Gazette Editor and Publisher Pam Donnaruma and Boston Globe Columnist Joan Vennochi join host Adam Reilly to discuss the recent debate over outdoor dining in Boston’s North End. State Rep. Mike Connolly also joins to talk about making housing more affordable.

Sunday

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m.: State House News Service’s Matt Murphy and Katie Lannan discuss Gov. Charlie Baker’s lame duck status, the politics of the gas tax, prospects for legalized sports betting, and the governor’s race.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m.: Republican candidate for governor Chris Doughty talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5, Sunday 12 p.m.: Celebrity therapist Dr. Jeff Rocker discusses the Will Smith and Chris Rock incident. Dr. Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip talks about the emotional toll alopecia can have on women and their families.

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Cape Codders raise money, collect supplies for Ukraine – Cape Cod Times

Boston chief financial officer to depart in April – Boston Herald

Massachusetts

Lead defendant collapses, 2 officers may face jail time after convictions in Springfield assault trial – MassLive

Baker chief of staff Lepore leaving administration – CommonWealth Magazine

Nation

Bernie Sanders looks to shoot down Bezos’ moon plans – Politico

House set to pass marijuana legalization Friday – The Hill

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