10 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors meets with action possible on a preliminary fiscal year 2023 budget.
10:30 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker receives his second COVID-19 booster shot and holds a media availability.
11 a.m. | Senate meets in a formal session with debate anticipated on legislation to legalize sports betting.
12 p.m. | Democratic attorney general candidates Andrea Campbell, Shannon Liss-Riordan and Quentin Palfrey take part in a Boston College Law School forum, moderated by Boston Globe editorial page writer Kimberly Atkins Stohr.
5:30 p.m. | Cohasset Republican Town Committee hosts a lasagna dinner for party members to hear from gubernatorial candidates Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty, secretary of state candidate Rayla Campbell, attorney general candidate Jay McMahon, auditor candidate Anthony Amore, Congressional candidate Jesse Brown, Sen. O’Connor, Rep. DeCoste, Plymouth District Attorney Cruz and Plymouth Sheriff McDonald.
Three and done. The House wrapped up its budget debate last night after three days, passing a $49.7 billion spending plan for the year that begins on July 1 after adding $130 million to the bottom line through amendments. House Democrats took a pass this week on tax relief, despite ample resources to spend, but that debate is not over. Next up for the budget is the Senate, which will release and debate its version of the bill in May.
On the first vote of the day Wednesday around noon, Rep. David LeBoeuf was recorded voting in favor of a package of amendments related to transportation and other topics, but it was the last time he would vote Wednesday.
LeBoeuf, a two-term Democrat form Worcester who is currently seeking reelection, had more on his plate after he was arraigned in Quincy District Court on OUI charges after being arrested the night before with nine empty nips of McGillicuddy’s and two open cans of wine in his car. He tested at roughly four times the legal blood alcohol limit, and told police he thought he was in Newton heading home, not in Quincy having just exited Route 3 south.
The MassGOP immediately demanded his resignation and called on Attorney General Maura Healey to investigate what type of revelry might have taking place while lawmakers were debating how to spend billions in tax dollars. That, however, is almost certainly not going to happen as it’s not really her jurisdiction, and House Speaker Ron Mariano said the 32-year-old gave him assurances he would seek help for his alcohol use.
“Driving under the influence is a dangerous and often deadly mistake and I am deeply relieved that no one was injured in this instance. I have been assured by Representative LeBoeuf that he will be seeking help and I will support him on his path to recovery,” Mariano said.
LeBoeuf wouldn’t be the first to salvage a political career after an OUI arrest by seeking help and returning humbled. Sen. Michael Brady managed it after his 2018 arrest and a period of losing his committee assignments. As of yesterday, there was no talk of discipline from the speaker’s office and LeBoeuf looks to be running unopposed.
THE CASE FOR CHILD CARE REFORM
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation this morning is releasing a new analysis documenting lost wages and tax revenue due to the lack of access and affordability of child care for many families. Released as the House nears the conclusion of its debate on the annual state budget, the business-backed think tank identified $2.7 billion in lost economic gains due to the child care status quo.
$812 million lost by employers in reduce productivity and turnover costs
$1.7 billion in lost wages from missed work or reduction in hours
$188 million in lost tax revenue due to lower earning.
“Massachusetts has both a child care problem and a workforce problem, which both need to be addressed to support an economic recovery from a global pandemic,” said Eileen McAnneny, president of the Taxpayers Foundation.
The House budget includes some new funding to boost salaries for early educators, which House Speaker Ron Mariano has called a good start, but Senate President Karen Spilka has also indicated a desire to tackle child care access this session.
LET’S GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
The three Democrats running for attorney general will be taking part in a forum hosted by Boston College Law School on campus at noon, and former lieutenant governor nominee and Obama and Biden administration lawyer Quentin Palfrey ensured the potential for fireworks.
In addition to disagreement over when and how often to debate, Palfrey resurrected the “People’s Pledge” Wednesday, an attempt to limit outside spending in the race in what looked to be a direct attack on former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell.
“I am asking each of my opponents to join me in pledging to participate in a clean election for Attorney General of Massachusetts in 2022,” Palfrey said. “That means rejecting special interest funded spending. That means no outside spending by developers, fossil fuel companies, charter-school backers, for-profit healthcare companies, or pharmaceutical companies.”
The Better Boston super PAC that supported Campbell’s 2021 campaign for mayor of Boston with $1.6 million in spending is still open, and it’s funders during that race included (yes, you guessed it) supporters of charter schools like Jim Walton of Walmart and Stig Leschly, the former CEO of Match Education. Bain Capital executives gave $200,000, and Joseph Mayer, general counsel of for-profit Steward Health chipped in $10,000.
Look for Palfrey to make this an issue of independence in the attorney general’s office. While Campbell’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment, an advisor to Liss-Riordan said told the other campaigns she was willing to discuss details over the coming days. “She believes outside, corporate special interest money should play no role in this race and she hopes all candidates will agree to a pledge to keep Super PACs from attempting to influence the outcome of this election,” the advisor said.
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