8 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker will help kick off the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans annual conference at the Seaport Hotel with a focus on public health, provider prices and health equity. Other speakers and panelists include Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll and Health & Human Services Secretary Sudders.
9 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors meets virtually.
10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the Massachusetts Senior Care Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show at the DCU Center in Worcester.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to discuss the implementation of sports betting.
11 a.m. | Boston hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen the newly renovated City Hall Plaza.
1:45 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Education Secretary Peyser, Higher Education Commissioner Ortega and education leaders at Mass Bay Community College for a roundtable discussion about expanding access to affordable higher education.
4 p.m. | The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Women's Network holds a panel discussion on women in construction and real estate.
Gov. Charlie Baker is back from Republican Governors Association meetings in Florida and has a host of speaking engagements on his calendar today, while it’s Gov. elect Maura Healey’s turn to head out of town.
Healey will be in Charleston, South Carolina for the National Governors Association’s seminar for new governors, according to her campaign.
Baker has engagements focused on the future of health care, senior care and affordable higher education, but in the second installment of his CNN interview with Jake Tapper that aired Wednesday it was immigration where the outgoing governor got to showcase his brand of progress-over-politics governing.
Tapper asked Baker what he thought about Florida Gov. Ron DeDantis sending a planeload of roughly 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a discussion topic Baker has more often than not avoided.
“It doesn’t solve anything,” Baker responded.
Baker went on to blame Washington for failing to develop a comprehensive, modern immigration policy, suggesting that a majority of voters, including unenrolled voters who decide toss-up races in battleground states around the country, would be willing to trade “a little of the edge they get in terms of enthusiasm from the edges of their parties” for progress.
Baker told Tapper he’s “all in on border security,” but would really like to see the federal government do something to expand eligibility for work permits to groups of asylum seekers arriving in states like Massachusetts who want to but can’t work.
Told by Tapper that many Republicans in Congress would consider that amnesty, Baker appeared taken aback: “Work? Work is amnesty? For some it will be the argument, but if there was one message in Tuesday’s election it was you folks need to figure some of this stuff out because what you’re doing isn’t working.”
Baker suggested Congress should “start on the margins” and stop trying to “do the whale” when it comes to immigration.
“In the end, this is supposed to be a business about progress,” Baker said.
The governor also discussed his response to the pandemic, saying he wished he had been able to get children back into school for in-person learning more quickly and calling the deaths at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes from COVID-19 “the challenge of my life.”
“There’s no getting around at the end of the day that is probably the single worst thing that happened in the pandemic to people here in Massachusetts,” Baker said of the Holyoke outbreak.
— Florida officials were giddy as they planned migrant flight
Returning for a moment to DeSantis and the episode on Martha’s Vineyard, the Globe’s Samantha J. Gross got her hands on text messages between Florida officials and executives from the company that would fly the Venezuelan migrants north. “Yahtzee!” read one message as it appeared the group had met its recruitment goal to fill the flight. The exchanges highlight just how calculated and organized a political stunt the flight to the Vineyard was. A separate text chain shared with the Globe also showed how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration had been looped in on the plan.
— Trump coverage comes with an asterisk
Regardless of how you feel about Gov. DeSantis’s immigration antics, it succeeded in putting him in the national spotlight at a time when the Florida Republican is emerging as perhaps the strongest foil to Donald Trump’s third bid for the White House. While it’s uncertain whether DeSantis will challenge Trump, CommonWealth Magazine’s Michael Jonas writes that the former president could also face a changed media landscape that is unwilling to give him uninterrupted air time or let his wild claims on the stump go unchallenged. Jonas reports on how the tone of the media coverage of the former president’s campaign launch Tuesday night was different from the past, and how even staid news organizations like NPR and the AP are being more critical
— Assessing Boston Mayor Wu after one year in office
GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith takes stock of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s first year in office and her ability to deliver on the sweeping changes promised during her historic campaign in 2021. While it may be way too soon to judge the mayor, Wu says one of her top priorities as she begins her second year will be to debut a rent control policy “late this year, or early next year.”
— Worcester PD has paid out millions to settle claims
A day after the Justice Department announced it would be investigating the Worcester Police Department for its use of excessive force and potentially discriminatory policing, MassLive’s Tom Matthews reports that the department has paid out millions to settle lawsuits over the past decade. The site details some of the lawsuits that have brought against the department, including allegations of fabricating evidence and discrimination in officer promotion decisions.
— Harvard and Yale law schools pull out of U.S. News rankings
Harvard and Yale will no longer be playing the law school ranking game, withdrawing the prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings in a direct challenge to a system that has become hugely influential to prospective students and employers. The New York Times’s Anemona Hartocollis reports that the schools are taking issue with the ranking criteria, which they believe devalues efforts to recruit lower-income students, provide financial aid based on need and encourage students to go into low-paid public service law.
— Pockets of support for Medicare for all
Since Massachusetts began mandating health insurance, the leap pursued by some advocates to Medicare-for-all has been slow to catch on at the State House. While some lawmakers support it, leadership has been more cautious about upending the health care system, particularly as they’ve seen efforts in other states like Vermont fall apart. However, voters in some parts of the state think it’s worth a shot. Non-binding referendums placed on the ballot by advocates in 20 House districts signaled their support for a Medicare for all system and called on their representatives to back it. The Eagle-Tribune’s Christian Wade reports that organizers targeted districts represented by top House Democrats, including Speaker Ron Mariano’s Quincy-based district.
— The struggle to find beds for patients in need of care
Emergency rooms are stuffed and patients waiting to be discharged can’t find the beds they need in long-term care facilities to create more space. The Globe’s Kay Lazar went behind the scenes of the struggle in the state’s hospitals to meet the demand for care. “I am so excited when someone gets a bed. It feels like we just got them into Harvard,” a Tufts nurse focused on finding patient’s follow-up care told the Globe.
— Haverhill High cancels football season amid hazing allegations
Haverhill High School has canceled the remainder of its football season while the city’s police department investigates an alleged hazing incident involving team members, Mike LaBella of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Mayor James Fiorentini reviewed video of the incident, called it “disgusting” and said he supported the superintendent’s decision to halt all football activities and place coaching staff on administrative leave pending results of the investigation. Haverhill was slated to play Lowell on Thanksgiving, but will forfeit instead.
— They really like him: The View hosts want Baker for 2024
Gov. Charlie Baker’s comments about the Republican party moving on from former President Donald Trump have landed well with the hostesses of “The View.” Ryan Vermette of the Lynn Item reports Sara Haines was particularly impressed with Baker, who she admitted had not previously been on her radar: “This is the guy the Republican Party should be grabbing.” Baker has repeatedly said he has no interest in running for higher office, including president, and told CNN’s Jake Tapper this week that he’s not sure his New England Republicanism would play in other parts of the country.
— Mass. Republicans leery of Trump 2024
With the Trump 2024 campaign off the ground, GBH’s Adam Reilly talked with some of the state’s more prominent Republicans, including past and present elected officials and candidates. What he discovered was that few were surprised to see the former president jump into the race, but they also weren’t exactly excited. “I think his thought process is often dominated by ego,” Weymouth Mayor and former state senator Robert Hedlund said.
— Reborn: Shuttered Wilson’s in Greenfield to become apartments
Greenfield Mayor Roxanne Wedegartner has announced that a public-private partnership will see the former Wilson’s Department Store, which closed nearly three years ago, converted into 65 mixed-income apartments and a ground-floor grocery cooperative. Mary Byrne of the Recorder has the details.
— Daughter of former Fitchburg mayor pleads guilty to tax evasion
Christianne Mylott-Coleman, the former chief of staff to former state Sen. Dean Tran, has pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return after prosecutors allege she failed to report income from her home health businesses over a five-year period. Mylott-Coleman, who is also the daughter of former Fitchburg Mayor Dan H. Mylott, is scheduled to be sentenced next March, the Telegram’s Craig Semon reports.
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