Keller at Large
Keller: The Race To Be Number Two
There has been shortage of scoffing at the crowded field running for lieutenant governor – a job with zero legal responsibility and only as much power as the governor allows. But in this week’s column for MASSterList, Jon Keller makes the case for why it might not be consolation prize everyone makes it out to be.
7:30 a.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey gives opening remarks at the three-day 2022 National Cyber Crime Conference hosted by her office at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood to provide law enforcement, prosecutors and investigators with tools and information to help combat cyber crimes.
8:30 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker joins UMass President Marty Meehan, Congressman Richard Neal and UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy to cut the ribbon on the new UMass Aviation Training Center in Chicopee. Later in the morning, Baker will help reopen the Westover Air Reserve Base runway at 9:30 a.m. and cut the ribbon on new solar projects on the UMass Amherst campus at 1:30 p.m.
9 a.m. | Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets for an initial discussion and vote to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the competency determination regulations affecting students in the classes of 2026–2029.
10 a.m. | Former Congressman Joe Kennedy III endorses Andrea Campbell for attorney general in an event at Portugalia Marketplace.
12:30 p.m. | Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Wolensky takes part in a virtual Greater Boston Food Bank event to discuss the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to health and hunger equity.
2:30 p.m. | U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren chairs a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy focused on “Child Care and Other Policy Tools to Combat Bottlenecks and Inflation.”
Good Tuesday morning. And go Green! The Celtics closed out the sweep of the Brooklyn Nets last night in gritty fashion in the first round of the NBA playoffs and now await the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks-Chicago Bulls matchup.
Over the years, it has not been unusual to see House lawmakers huddled around a small television in the back of the chamber during late-night sessions when a big playoff game was taking place, but the House called it quits on the first night of its budget debate last night well before the final whistle.
Unsurprisingly, the House rejected a series a tax amendments offered on the first day by Republicans seeking to implement some of Gov. Charlie Baker’s tax cuts and to temporarily suspend the state’s 24-cent gas tax. Rep. Mark Cusack called it “premature” to consider some of the tax breaks given that his Revenue Committee is still reviewing Baker’s full package.
Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic frontrunner for governor, said in an interview on GBH’s Boston Public Radio that she’s open to cuts. “We do need to find ways to give people relief. I think tax cuts should be part of it, I just want to make sure that that relief is targeted,” she said.
ON THE OTHER HAND….
Baker’s $700 million tax cut proposal would be more than offset by revenue expected to be generated from a 4 percent income surtax on millionaires, but before the political fight can be waged the legal tussle must be decided.
The deadline passed Monday for amicus briefs to be filed in the case brought Massachusetts High Tech Council President Chris Anderson and 54 other plaintiffs against Healey and Secretary of State William Galvin seeking to influence how the ballot questions is described to voters when they go into the voting booth.
It’s sort of like jury instructions. Opponents object to supporters characterization of the proposed tax on income over $1 million as a revenue generator that would be spent on education and transportation. They argue that because the money would go into the general fund and be subject to appropriation by future Legislature’s there’s no guarantee years from now how that money would be spent.
“The ballot summary and statement explaining what a ‘Yes’ vote means should be unequivocal in stating that the amendment does not require new revenue be directed to transportation and/or education. The voters of the Commonwealth deserve and expect transparent and accurate information,” said Jim Rooney, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs, as did the Beacon Hill Institute and Mass Fiscal Foundation, the Pioneer Institute and the New England Legal Foundation, led by former Rep. Dan Winslow.
The plaintiffs must file their final brief replying to the Attorney General’s office by today, and oral arguments are scheduled for May 4 before the Supreme Judicial Court. Attorney Kevin Martin, who is representing the plaintiffs, believes that if an agreement can’t be reached on the language of the voter description the court could strike the whole question, citing a 1951 case Sears v. Treasurer in which the results of a successful ballot initiative were invalidated when the courts determined the description given to voters was not adequate.
Martin said he expects the SJC to issue a decision in June or early July, before the ballot guides must be printed by the Secretary of State’s office.
Rose pleads guilty, sentenced in molestation case
Patrick Rose, the former president of the Boston police patrolmen’s union, pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing six children over decades, and was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. The case has been a stain on the Boston Police Department since the Globe first reported a year ago that Rose had been allowed to keep his badge and stay on patrol despite an internal affairs investigation that concluded it was likely he had molested at least one child. The Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Ivy Scott have more on the conclusion of the case.
Minicucci won’t seek reelection
Did Republicans just get a gift in the 14th Essex House district? Two-term state Rep. Christina Minicucci announced Monday that she would not stand for reelection in 2022, reports Wicked Local’s Bryan McGonigle That might not have been as big a deal even a month ago, but it’s late in the game for an incumbent to step aside. The Democrat currently represents parts of North Andover, Lawrence and parts of Methuen and Haverhill, but because of redistricting Minicucci would have been introducing herself to new voters in Boxford, Groveland and Amesbury. While there’s still time for a Democrat to gather the 150 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, the May 3 deadline is coming up fast for anyone who doesn’t want to have to run a write-in campaign. Meanwhile, Republican Joe Finn – a retired special agent in charge of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General – is already running.
Warren uses Twitter to bash Musk’s purchase of Twitter
With tech billionaire Elon Musk reportedly on the verge of purchasing Twitter for $44 billion, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the deal “dangerous for our democracy.” This is not the first time Warren and Musk, the founder of Tesla, have quarreled as she has called for higher taxes on billionaires and tighter regulation of the technology industry. The Globe’s Nick Stoice reports that U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark also had some words for Musk, who is outspoken on social media and has said he wants Twitter to be a haven for free speech.
Early College program celebrated in Fall River
Gov. Charlie Baker was in Fall River on Monday to tout the success of Durfee High School’s early college program, which allows high school students to take classes and earn college credits before they graduate to get a head start on a degree. CommonWealth Magazine’s Michael Jones reports that the state’s Early College initiative currently enrolls about 5,400 students at 50 high schools, but Baker said, “If it were up to me, this thing would be available at every school in Massachusetts.”
Litter. There you see it, there you don’t
Curbside trash pickup in a city like Worcester is exactly the type of service taxpayers think they’re paying for with their property taxes. But why then are some neighborhoods pristine, and other constantly covered in litter. GBH’s Sam Turken digs into this question and how pay-as-you-throw programs designed to encourage recycling can lead disparities in cleanliness depending on the affluence of a neighborhood.
Protester arrested outside Wu’s home
In a first after months of protests outside Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s Roslindale home, Boston police made an arrest charging Shannon Llewellyn with “willful violation” of a new city ordinance restricting protests outside private residences between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. The Globe’s Emma Platoff reports that it’s the second time Llewellyn has been cited for violating the new ordinance and “appears to mark an escalation in police response to the ongoing protests outside Wu’s home.” Llewellyn, according to Platoff and police reports, continue to bang on a pot after being warned by police to stop.
All aboard the NYC-Berkshires express
Massachusetts and New York transit officials announced an agreement that will pilot weekend rail service from New York City to Pittsfield beginning this summer. The Berkshire Eagle’s Larry Parnass writes that the Berkshire Flyer will leave Penn Station on Friday afternoon and depart Pittsfield on Sunday afternoon, a four-hour trip in each direction. If successful, it could become a permanent route.
Wu’s budget plan could be a start for school rebuilding
The Globe’s Christopher Huffaker looks at Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan to study six new school construction projects in what he writes could be a start to for the city to begin upgrade it’s aging school facilities. While a lot of details are yet to be filled in, Huffaker also asks whether the $788 million in the mayor capital plan for schools is enough.
Leicester man cleared of murder charge sues Worcester police
A Leicester resident who was charged with murder by Worcester police and later cleared has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming officers fabricated evidence against him, ignored exculpatory facts and discriminated against him because he is Black. Marco Catalono of the Telegram reports Dana Gaul’s lawsuit names five different officers as well as the department and the city.
Green monster? Healey looking into legality of a cashless Fenway
Sure it’s convenient, but is it legal? MassLive’s Erin Tiernan reports Attorney General Maura Healey says she is looking into the legality of the Red Sox’ decision to go cash-free at Fenway. Tiernan notes that Shannon Liss-Riordan, who is running for AG, has also raised questions about whether the new practice runs afoul of state law. Businesses in Massachusetts are required to accept cash as a matter of equal access, but the Red Sox are toeing the line by using kiosks that allow fans to put cash onto a special debit card to be used in the stadium, kind of like a CharlieCard.
No change: Recount confirms two-vote win on Martha’s Vineyard
Election officials in Oak Bluffs hand-counted all 1,091 votes cast in the April 14 town election and came up with the same result: A two-vote victory for incumbent Select Board member Gail Barmakian over challenger Dion Alley, reports Abigail Rosen of the Martha’s Vineyard Times.
Latest Harvard poll of youth voters has bad news for both parties
The latest poll of Americans under 30 conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics shows the popularity of President Joe Biden falling but Republicans not faring much better with the country’s youngest voters. Matthew Medsger of the Herald and the Crimson’s Miles Herszenhorn have all the details.
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