7:30 a.m. | Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy gives the keynote during a breakfast at Woodman’s in Essex hosted by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.
9 a.m. | Supreme Judicial Court meets to hear several cases, including three challenging questions currently on track to appear before voters on November’s ballot.
9 a.m. | Public Health Council meets to consider Mass General Brigham’s request for approval to expand on the Massachusetts General Hospital main campus and at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.
10:30 a.m. | Fiscal Alliance Foundation holds a press conference with David Tuerck of the Beacon Hill Institute to discuss their amicus brief in the case before the Supreme Judicial Court challenging to description of the “millionaires tax” that will go before voters in November.
11 a.m. | Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate holds press conference to discuss the release of a report on the case of Harmony Montgomery.
7:30 p.m. | Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who is poised to join the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, joins former WCVB sports correspondent Mike Lynch for the 40th anniversary of the Salem State University Foundation, Inc.’s speaker series.
Good Wednesday morning.
— NOT IN MASSACHUSETTS: The leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade washed across the country like a tsunami on Tuesday, potentially signaling an end to almost 50 years of legal precedent. It could also usher in a raft of state-level abortion restrictions.
But not in Massachusetts. State political leaders, including Assistant U.S. House Speaker Katherine Clark, Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka, rallied outside the State House. Clark said people should use their votes this November “to make sure that equality and justice for all is not just a saying, it is actuality and reality,” according to my colleague Katie Lannan.
The Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of the draft decision written by Justice Samuel Alito, but stressed that it was not a final ruling from the court. While the overturning of Roe v. Wade has been anticipated as a likely outcome since the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, seeing it on paper sparked fierce reactions on both sides. But in Massachusetts the response was fairly one-sided.
Gov. Charlie Baker, who was in D.C. for meetings Tuesday, tweeted that the overturning of Roe “would be a massive setback for women in states without responsible laws protecting abortion access and reproductive health services.” The Republican in 2020 vetoed a bill to codify a right to an abortion in Massachusetts law over objections to provisions in the bill revising parental consent and late-term abortion laws, but he has always supported Roe.
What will change in Massachusetts? For people who live here, the right to an abortion is safe. It’s both written in state law and has been upheld as a right by the Supreme Judicial Court. Some worry, however, that the ruling could lead to an influx of women from other states flooding here for reproductive health care.
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a candidate for governor, said: “We must do everything we can to expand access to abortion and ensure Massachusetts shines bright as a sanctuary for those seeking care both in and out of state.”
The Globe’s Matt Stout and Gal Tziperman Lotan also report that groups like the ACLU of Massachusetts believe the Legislature should consider protecting in-state abortion providers for litigation initiated by states that have banned abortion. Connecticut passed a measure along those lines last week, the wrote.
— All of that leads us nicely to a new book published by University of Massachusetts Press titled “The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism: Reputation Meets Reality.”
MASSterList chatted with one of the authors and editors of book Erin O’Brien, associate professor of political science at UMass Boston. The book was edited by O’Brien and Central Connecticut State University Professor Jerold Duquette, with contributions from Maurice T. Cunningham, Lawrence Friedman, Shannon Jenkins, Luis F. Jiménez, and Peter Ubertaccio. It’s available now through UMass Press or on Amazon May 17.
ML: What is Massachusetts exceptionalism?
O’Brien: Simplified, it’s this idea that it’s better here. In politics and policy we are vanguards and that the elements of Massachusetts politics and policy that should be emulated.
ML: Is this notion purely false bravado, or is there any truth to it?
O’Brien: “There is A truth to it, but it depends on where you look. K-12 education is a great example. We are exceptionally strong. In terms of funding public higher education, we’re like 35th or 38th. It’s not inaccurate, but it’s only half the story.
ML: Despite its comparatively small size, Massachusetts pushes a lot of politicians out onto the national stage. Is that because they were steeped in this culture?
O’Brien: On one level, Massachusetts has a highly professionalized Legislature and politics. Other states have it too, but Massachusetts is rare in how professionalized it is. The other part of it is a lot of people come through Massachusetts, right? Every kid at Harvard wants to be president. And to win in Massachusetts it’s hard because there’s a lot more talent than there are seats so if you’re an Elizabeth Warren or a Seth Moulton you fought a tough battle to get there, so wer’e sort of sending out varsity all the time.
ML: Is this idea of being a shining example for other to follow unique to Massachusetts?
O’Brien: It happens in other states but in a different way. When we do it better here, it’s linked to public policy. There’s an intellectualism that Massachusetts celebrates as exceptional. And then there are others, like Texas, where it’s more cultural with the the flags and apparel and ‘Don’t Mess with Texas,’ but it’s not a swagger born of governmental effectiveness.”
ML: Why write this book?
O’Brien: We thought we had something unique to say as professors. There’s a lot of great journalism and political operatives who will tell you what Democrats think and Republicans think but there’s also a scholarly perspective, and we have the luxury of long timelines and can bring some data to the conversation.
ML: What can readers expect to find when they open this book?
O’Brien: No reader will have a one sentence conclusion on Massachusetts It’ pushes some nuance. Really deep dives on 12ish facets of Massachusetts politics. Any reader who wants to form opinions or make statements about Massachusetts politics, this is a book that will leave you more informed and I promise it won’t bore the hell out of you.”
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