Keller at Large

Keller: Healey’s slogan – Vote Mum for Governor

In this week Keller at Large, Jon Keller writes for MASSterList that there’s plenty of time for Attorney General Maura Healey to fill in the spaces on her blank-slate campaign for governor when voters start actually paying attention: “Until then, hand-wringing about Healey doing what any candidate in her position with a clue would do is a waste of skin.”

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Happening Today

10:30 a.m. | Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Massachusetts Public Health Association and other groups host a rally outside the State House to protest the April 15 end of federally-funded emergency rental assistance.

12 p.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey speaks and takes questions from attendees at the Chamber of Central Mass South Annual Meeting in Southbridge.

12 p.m.  | Gov. Charlie Baker visits the Yarmouth Police Department to hold a ceremonial bill signing for Nero’s Law allowing for the medical transport of injured K-9s.

1 p.m. | Transportation Committee holds virtual hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s $9.7 billion transportation bond bill (H 4561) to invests in things like new Green Line trolleys, electric vehicle adoption, and infrastructure upgrades.

2 p.m. | Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale attend the home opener for the Worcester Red Sox at Polar Park.

2:30 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker testifies before the Joint Committee on Transportation in his $9.7 billion transportation bond bill.

2:30 p.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey attends opening day ceremonies for the WooSox at Polar Park before touring Worcester’s Canal District with Mayor Joseph Petty.

3 p.m. | Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on Sen. Su Moran’s bill (S 2791) to prevent the discharge of radioactive materials filed in response to Holtec considering the dumping of nuclear wastewater from the decommissioned Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into Cape Cod Bay.

Today’s Stories

Good Tuesday morning.

Gov. Charlie Baker has a little more than three months left to convince Democratic leaders on Beacon Hill to make his agenda a reality before the work will become about preparing for a smooth handoff to the next governor. 

The urgency can be seen in the Republican governor’s decision to testify himself yesterday on a health care bill that would mandate increased spending on primary care and behavioral health, and he’ll be at it again this afternoon when he takes a seat in front of the Joint Committee on Transportation to sell his $9.7 billion bond bill for transportation infrastructure.

But even more urgent than those two efforts is convincing the Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Michael Day and Sen. Jamie Eldridge, to keep his pre-trail detention bill alive beyond this week. The committee faces a deadline of Friday, barring an extension, to decide whether to advance the governor’s bill or doom it to further study.

Last week, the administration launched a new social media campaign featuring recorded interviews with survivors whose abusers’ freedom while they awaited trial took a toll both emotionally and, in some cases, physically, on their victims. Yesterday, Public Safety Secretary Terrence Reidy made a more direct appeal to lawmakers themselves.

Reidy sent an email to all 16 members of the committee asking them to “take some time” and watch the videos of survivors sharing their stories during three roundtable discussions the administration has organized in recent months in Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester.  He included the lins

“By listening to their stories, it becomes clear that our system currently has significant gaps in the way it deals with dangerous individuals. These loopholes often mean that survivors live in fear, never having the peace of mind that they deserve. As Governor Baker has said at many of these roundtable discussions, the stories sometimes make you wonder whose side the system is on,” Reidy wrote in the email obtained by MASSterList.

Day’s office has not responded to inquiries about the governor’s bill over the past week or Reidy’s email, but the Stoneham Democrat’s opinion will matter greatly in the coming days with the House controlling the committee with 10 current members.


Baker’s package of $700 million in tax cuts is another major question mark hanging over the Legislature, but House Speaker Ron Mariano said Monday not to expect a verdict in the House’s fiscal year 2023 budget plan to be released Wednesday. State House News Service’s Colin A. Young reports that Mariano said the draft budget would not include tax reform, but the speaker did not rule it out down the line.


Polar Park will be the place to be this afternoon with the WooSox playing their home opener, and more than baseball on the program. Both Republican gubernatorial hopeful Chris Doughty and Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic frontrunner for governor, will be there at the same time. Maybe they’ll share a hotdog.

Walsh and Harris, the D.C. odd couple

“Hey MAH-tee!” The Washington Post’s Matt Viser returns to his Boston roots to look at the close bond that has been formed between Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Vice President Kamala Harris. Viser write that Harris has spent more time with Walsh than any other member of the Biden Cabinet, and has even given Walsh “drop in privileges” to swing by her office any time. (I hope her brings her Dunkin’.) Harris is even planning a baby shower for Walsh’s stepdaughter at the Naval Observatory. “In what has become one of the more unusual pairings in the Biden administration, Vice President Harris and Marty Walsh, the secretary of Labor, have struck up a tight bond that started with policy and has evolved into a personal connection that has surprised those close to them,” Viser writes.

Washington Post

Climate change leaving young people with “eco-anxiety”

The anxiety and emotional distress that came with the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on young people, but GBH’s Meg Woolhouse writes that many are suffering through a different kind of pandemic: climate change. “There’s a lot of, like, fear and sadness that I feel about climate change. There’s also a lot of anger,” 16-year-old Sarah Swenson, of Nantucket said. “It just feels like a very direct threat to my life and lots of people’s lives.” Experts call this eco-anxiety, and an international survey last year found that not only do nearly 60 percent of young people felt very or extremely worried about climate change, but 65 percent think their governments aren’t doing enough about it.

GBH News

Living with sharks: Just stay out of the water

If you’ve visited Cape Cod in the summer in recent years, you’ve probably seen the flags: purple with a white shark emblem. But the prospect of sharing a beach with an apex predator like the great white shark doesn’t mean staying home for most vacationers. It just means taking precautions, according to a new survey from Salem State University. Residents (63 percent) are more likely than tourists (55 percent) to avoid areas where sharks have been sighted swimming, while tourists are more likely to take precautions like obeying signage and warning systems. And more than 60 percent of tourists, residents and commercials fishers believe they can limit the risk of a shark encounter. The Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey has more details from the survey.

Boston Herald

Investigation into Red Line fatality continues

After fatal accident on the Red Line over the weekend, the Herald’s Matthew Medsger reports that federal authorities have joined the investigation into how a man whose arm got trapped in the door of an MBTA train was dragged to his death. Medsger writes that the driver of the train, hired in 2018, will remain off duty while the investigation unfolds. The victim has been identified as 39-year-old Robinson Lalin of Boston. It’s unknown how the doors were able to close with Lalin’s arm trapped in the middle. Trains are supposed to have obstruction warning systems in place.

Boston Herald

Paying for telehealth not clear cut even after new law

Telehealth had long been heralded as the next frontier in health care delivery, but its widespread adoption largely came about out of necessity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Charlie Baker, who frequently celebrates the proliferation of telehealth technology, signed a law in 2021 intended to govern how insurers cover and reimburse for telehealth visits, but the Boston Globe’s Jessica Bartlett reports that a delay in the issuance of final regulations has created uncertainty in the marketplace that threatens to erode some of the telehealth gains.

The Boston Globe

A downpayment on affordable early education

A special legislative commissioner earlier this year identified $1.5 billion in needed annual investments in early education and care to stabilize the industry, support teachers and make the cost of child care more affordable for families. The House in its budget to be released Wednesday won’t approach that figure, but it does plan to dedicate an additional $110 million for early education, including $60 million ( a $40 million increase) for teacher salaries. “It’s a beginning,” House Speaker Ron Mariano said after touring Ellis Early Learning in Boston. The Globe’s Matt Stout has more on what’s in the House plan, and what isn’t.

The Boston Globe

Racial disparities in Boston’s response to unhealthy housing

The Globe’s Danny McDonald takes a look at new research that shows where you live in Boston might determine how long it takes to get unhealthy living conditions remedies. A recent paper published in the journal Health Affairs studied complaints made a decade to City Hall about mold, pest infestations and other issues that can trigger conditions like asthma. McDonald writes that researchers found the city’s response to be “significantly slower, more frequently overdue, and less likely to result in a repair, in both racially diverse and low-income neighborhoods of Boston.”

The Boston Globe

Baker makes pitch to lawmakers on health care

Gov. Charlie Baker is playing the part of salesman this week. Yesterday, he testified before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to sell his plan to boost spending by insurers and provider networks on primary and behavioral health care. Today, he’ll testify in front the Transportation Committee on a $9.7 billion transportation bond bill to make long-term investments in infrastructure. 

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has more details on how Baker and his bill were received by top Democrats who will decide the bill’s fate this session. He writes that some had concerns about the approach driving up costs in the health care sector, while other worried about finding the workforce needed to deliver added services.

State House News Service’s Katie Lannan also writes that Sen. Cindy Friedman expressed concern that the Legislature might not have the capacity to sort through all the complexities before the end of its session in July, asking the governor: “If we are limited in what we are able to do, are there things in this bill that you believe are of such high priority that you would say, ‘We gotta do this?'”

CommonWealth Magazine

Watching the wastewater for COVID signs

COVID-19 levels in wastewater north and south of Boston continue to climb, but the harbinger of past surges has not yet resulted in case counts to rival the omicron wave. The Herald reports that the virus’s prevalence in Boston-area wastewater has quadrupled since bottoming out in early March and the 1,333 average daily cases reported by DPH over the weekend are up 38 percent from the previous weekend, but still far below the 20,329 daily cases reported in early January.

Boston Herald

A venti latte and a union card

Baristas and other employees at Starbucks in Brookline and Allston voted Monday to unionize, reports WBUR’s Darryl C. Murphy. “This only makes it better for everybody, for our customers, for our partners, for our managers,” said Kylah Clay, a barista and organizer at the Allston location. “I think this will be a really great thing for all of us.”

Murphy writes that a Starbucks spokeswoman said in a statement the company will “respect the process” and “will bargain in good faith.” The Brookline and Allston cafes are the first to unionize in Massachusetts, but MassLive’s Erin Tiernan writes that they probably won’t be the last with employees at cafes in Worcester, Newton and nearly 200 other locations across the nation having already filed petitions to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board, according to Starbucks Workers United.

Speaker sides with mayor, not representative, for Lt. Gov.

First it was Andrea Campbell for attorney general. Then it was Maura Healey for governor. Now House Speaker Ron Mariano has a horse in the race for lieutenant governor: Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “She is the best kind of leader; inclusive, accountable, and focused on results,” Mariano said in a statement. “She will be a valuable partner for our work in the House and the best advocate for the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.” MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz has more and Mariano’s decision to side with Driscoll over several lawmakers seeking the post, including a member of his own Democratic caucus in the House.


Dock it: Island leaders urge lawmakers to pull Steamship Authority legislation

Community leaders from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket united on Monday to call on lawmakers to shelve a bill that would establish term limits for members of the Steamship Authority’s board of directors. Brian Bushard of the Inquirer & Mirror reports some leaders are annoyed the bill was filed without local consultation or buy-in.

Inquirer & Mirror

Equity report finds “harsh realities” at UMass Memorial

UMass Memorial Health has published its first ‘health equity’ report and the hospital system’s leadership says it shows the network has “more work to do” to create a more equitable and inclusive workforce. Katherine Hamilton of the Worcester Business Journal has the details.

Worcester Business Journal

Retiring Worcester superintendent says run for office may be in her future

Outgoing Worcester schools chief Maureen Binienda tells the Telegram’s Jeff Chamer that beyond tending to her garden and traveling, her retirement plans could include a run for office. Binienda says she is waiting for the dust to settle from a tumultuous time for the schools and the city and will consider whether to get “involved in a leadership role in Worcester” early next year.

Telegram & Gazette

Fired troopers promise legal action

The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports some of the 12 State Police officers fired last Friday for failing to comply with Gov. Baker’s vaccine mandate are lawyering up and making plans to file a fresh lawsuit.

Boston Herald

RIP, Leonard Alkins

State House News Service’s Chris Van Buskirk look at the life and career of Leonard Alkins, a longtime face of the NAACP Boston Branch with a four-decade career in the Legislature. Alkins died of cancer Sunday, the two report.

State House News Service

Today’s Headlines


Boston community members voice concern over possible state takeover of schools – Boston Globe

U.S. Representative Ro Khanna Discusses Big Tech at Harvard IOP Forum – The Crimson


Amherst students may face charges over school assaults – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Newly formed Springfield Board of Police Commissioners vows independence, trust and openness – MassLive


2024 hopefuls are already in a dark-money arms race – Politico

Maryland expands abortion access as lawmakers override Republican governor – The Guardian

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