10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker visits the New Way Peer Recovery Center in Quincy for a roundtable discussion with Attorney General Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Sudders, and others to discuss progress made over the last eight years in combating the opioid epidemic.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to discuss updates to the sports betting application process, casino operations, and racing at Plainridge Park.
10 a.m. | The Massachusetts Lottery Commission meets.
1 a.m. | Student Pathways to Success coalition hosts a webinar with Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll, Mass. Business Alliance for Education Executive Director Ed Lambert, Assistant U.S. Education Secretary Amy Loyd, and Getting Smart CEO Tom Vander Ark to discuss pathways to college and careers.
2 p.m. | United States takes on Iran in a win-or-go-home World Cup match in Qatar.
5 p.m. | Treasurer Deb Goldberg gives remarks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Downtown Crossing headquarters of the New England Legal Foundation, which is led by President Dan Winslow.
Gov. Charlie Baker has roughly one month left in office, and while he recently said he wasn’t prepared to start talking about what he’s accomplished in eight years, it appears that’s about to change.
Baker, who returned to Massachusetts from a week in Ireland on Monday, will be in Quincy this morning at the New Way Peer Recovery Center to discuss how his administration has worked to fight the opioid epidemic.
The governor is gathering members of his 2015 Governor’s Opioid Working Group for the event, which happens to include Attorney General and Gov.-elect Maura Healey.
Among the accomplishments Baker is expected to highlight is the increased investments in substance use recovery and treatment on his watch. Since fiscal year 2015, budget spending has increased fivefold across multiple state agencies from $119 million when he took office to $597 million in the budget he signed in July.
The governor has also signed two major new laws, working with the Legislature in 2016 to strengthen the state’s prescription monitoring program and put a first-in-the-nation 7-day limit on first time adult opioid prescriptions.
Two years later in 2018 Baker signed another bill into law expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment and recovery coaches and improving access to naloxone. Both times, however, Baker failed to convince the Legislature to authorize medical professors to involuntarily hold a substance addicted patient for up to 72 hours for treatment.
Public attention to opioid use has waxed and waned over the years as public efforts to fight addiction have struggled to blunt the deadly impacts of the crisis. In fact, the number of annual opioid-related overdose deaths since Baker took office in 2015 have increased from 1,356 in 2014 to 2,290 in 2021, spiking slightly during the COVID-19 pandemic after years of stabilizing.
The overdose rate of 32.6 per 100,000 people in 2021 was 6.2 percent higher than in 2016 when it stood at 30.7 per 100,000.
More recently, Baker has quarreled with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu about how much support the state should be giving the city to provide treatment and help move those who are homeless and substance addicted living in the area of Mass. and Cass to supportive housing.
Wu, in an interview with WBUR on Monday, claimed the situation at Mass. and Cass was “night and day” from when she took office a year ago, according to State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski. But Wu has also sought Baker’s help to create housing options for those who are homeless outside of the city limits.
Baker, according to aides, is also expected in Quincy to discuss how the state’s distribution of over 663,900 doses of naloxone, or Narcan, has helped reverse 34,800 overdoses, and how the administration has opened up a community naloxone purchasing program.
— Healey’s career shaped by early days in private practice
Before she was a swashbuckling public prosecutor, Gov.-elect Maura Healey was toiling away as a junior attorney at a major Boston law firm defending corporate clients like the Red Sox and Steve Belkin. And, according to her and her former colleagues, it was an experience that prepared her well for what was to come, taking on companies like Purdue Pharma and President Donald Trump. As Healey prepares to take office as governor in a month, the Globe Laura Crimaldi has an interesting examination of her early legal days after law school at WilmerHale and how private practice shaped “the people’s lawyer.”
— The Royals are coming, the Royals are coming
We may have dumped their tea in the harbor 249 years ago, but Bostonians are getting ready to roll out the red carpet for the Royal family as Prince William and Princess Kate are due to arrive in the Hub on Wednesday for three days of events culminating in the Friday night presentation of the Earthshot prizes, a philanthropic venture of the royal couple to reward entrepreneurs battling climate change. It’s the first royal visit to Boston since the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip, touched down in 1976, and it’s due to be a star-studded affair with Billie Eilish among the performers expected to participate. The New York Times’s Remy Tumin writes about how the visit comes at a delicate moment for the Royal family after the death of the Queen and family drama with Prince Harry moving to California. The Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie and Katie Mogg also have all the details on their itinerary and the significance of the trip to Boston.
— Nov. 8 turnout beats expectations
More than 2.5 million Bay Staters voted in the general election earlier this month, beating projections made by Secretary of State William Galvin as more people than expected turned up on Election Day to vote. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that while the number of ballots cast did not exceed the 2018 midterms, it was the first time since the 2020 presidential primary in March that in person voting on Election Day accounted for more than half of the recorded ballots. Kuznitz has all the numbers.
— Biden, William and Kate share Boston limelight Friday
William and Kate won’t be the only dignitaries in town on Friday. The Globe’s James Pindell scoops that President Joe Biden, just days after leaving Nantucket where he enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with his family, will be back in Massachusetts. Biden is due to appear at a Democratic fundraiser to support U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in his runoff election in Georgia. Pindell writes that it’s unclear if Biden will attend the Royals’ Earthshot awards celebration Friday night, and the White House did not comment.
— Healey transition team rounds into shape
Gov.-elect Maura Healey was at the State House Monday for a private meeting with House Speaker Ron Mariano as the two look to get on the same page and forge a working relationship. While the details of what was discussed were not shared and it remains unclear how the agendas of the two Democrats will meld, Healey took public steps Monday to fully form her transition team by announcing dozens of policy leaders who will join the committee she set up to help her explore how to get started on issues like jobs and climate change. The teams are full of plenty of recognizable names, from former Treasurer Steve Grossman to former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, and have enough to keep the rumor mill on possible Cabinet appointments churning with people like Sen. Eric Lesser, a candidate for lieutenant governor this cycle, tapped to help with transportation.
— Body cameras come to Souza-Baranowski
WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports on how 50 correction officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster are now wearing body cameras as part of a $1 million program to improve safety in the prison.
— Meet the Legislature’s freshman class
Five new senators and 21 or 22 (depending on a recount) new House members will take office in January after elections that saw significant turnover from departures, retirements and other changes after a round of redistricting. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski introduces you to the new faces, even if some are just moving to another side of the building.
— More quit from Twitter’s Boston office
After a round of layoffs in Twitter’s Boston office earlier this month, Boston Business Journal’s Lucia Maffei reports that more employees are leaving the downtown office, resigning amid Elon Musk’s tumultuous takeover of the derided but ubiquitous social media platform.
— Elected School Committee in Boston? Not so fast
What happened to the idea of an elected School Committee in Boston? The Globe’s Julian E.J. Sorapuru reports that despite expressing an openness to the concept during her campaign, Mayor Michelle Wu has “no immediate appetite” to pursue such a reform at a time when the Boston Public Schools are under new leadership and the close oversight of the state.
— Polar Park tax district collections lag
Revenue from the special tax district created to help Worcester pay the debt on Polar Park has fallen short of projections for a second straight year, but a one-time property sale means the city should be able to cover its obligations both this year and next, Kevin Koczwara of the Worcester Business Journal reports. City officials say they remain confident the project will pay for itself, which was a key selling point when the Red Sox moved their AAA affiliate to Worcester in 2021.
— Suit over Haverhill cannabis shop fees headed to trial
The city of Haverhill says it is ready to go to court to defend its collection of a 3 percent community impact fee from retail cannabis shops as a closely watched lawsuit questioning the need for the fees moves forward, Mike LaBella of the Eagle-Tribune reports. The owners of Stem are seeking $750,000 in fees and interest while the city says it remains open to a settlement that meets somewhere in the middle.
— Dairy farmers in holding pattern as O’Brien conflict delays license
The owners of a Greenfield dairy farm with plans to convert the property to a cannabis growing facility say they’re stuck in neutral while the Cannabis Control Commission sorts out potential conflicts of interest involving new Chairwoman Shannon O’Brien. Shira Schoenberg of CommonWealth reports the family says it has not heard anything from the CCC since staff was ordered to do more homework to ensure O’Brien properly severed her business ties with two cannabis companies. The farm has already missed one growing season and the family is worried further delays will put the 2023 season in jeopardy as well.
— Clearance sought to discharge radioactive wastewater into bay
Holtec International said Monday it has formally asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection to allow it to discharge treated radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay, the Globe’s Nick Stoico reports. Company representatives also said at a public meeting Monday that they could not promise that no discharges would take place before the permitting process is complete.
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