Happening Today:

8 a.m. | The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association hosts its annual conference of women leaders in health care at the Westin Waltham.

10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to continue its review of sports betting regulations.

11 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito travel to Ashfield for an event celebrating the work through the Last Mile program to bring broadband access to communities in western Massachusetts.

11 a.m. | Higher Ed For All coalition presents its priorities for legislative action and funding. Speakers include Max Page, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Beth Kontos, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

2:15 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visit Mercy Medical Center in Springfield for an update on construction of the Andy Yee Palliative Care Unit.

3 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joins the Prince and Princess of Wales for a harborside walk along Piers Park.

3:30 p.m. | JFK Library Foundation hosts environmental town hall with students from in and around Boston, featuring Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll, U.S. EPA Associate Administrator Rosemary Enobakhare, and Earthshot Prize CEO Hannah Jones.

6 p.m. | The 81st annual Boston Common Tree Lighting celebration.

The Changing of the Guard is clearly underway.

With Boston and Massachusetts playing hosts on the world stage this week to the Prince and Princess of Wales, it’s clear that the United Kingdom isn’t the only jurisdiction with a new head of state.

Gov.-elect Maura Healey, just three weeks removed from her historic victory for governor, has been thrust into the limelight this week. While impatience grows with the pace of her team building and an eagerness to understand more clearly what her priorities will be come January, Healey is getting a taste of what it means to be the face of Massachusetts while it’s famously popular current governor, Charlie Baker, takes something of a back seat.

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Baker was on hand at Logan International Airport yesterday to welcome Prince William and Princess Kate to Boston, but it was Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu at City Hall Plaza late yesterday afternoon introducing the royals to the gathered masses.

And later in the night, it was Healey (and Wu) again sitting courtside with the royal couple at the TD Garden as the Celtics took care of business against the Miami Heat.

Today, Wu will stroll with William and Kate along the harbor in East Boston’s Piers Park and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll will represent the new administration at an environmental town hall with students at the Kennedy Library alongside Hannah Jones, the CEO of William’s Earthshot Prize, which is what brought the royals to Boston in the first place.

On their first day in Boston, William and Kate took in City Hall, admiring the photos of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II on her 1976 visit to the city and declared Boston the “obvious choice” to host the Earthshot awards ceremony due to the city’s “universities, research centers and vibrant startup scene.”

During his time in office, former Gov. Deval Patrick took part in a trade mission that brought him to England and Baker has also crossed the pond to learn more about the U.K.’s offshore wind efforts.

Perhaps this royal visit will be as much about diplomacy for the Royal Family as it is about Healey jumpstarting her administration and its clean energy agenda.

Check out some of the coverage from Prince William and Princess Kate’s arrival:

— Clark completes rise to No. 2 slot in Dem House leadership

It’s official. The Democrats may be out of power in the U.S. House of Representatives, but Massachusetts is seeing one of its own grow in stature on Beacon Hill. U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark was elected minority whip by her colleagues on Wednesday, locking down the number two position in the Democratic caucus after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several of her top lieutenants stepped aside for a new generation of leaders after the midterms. Clark will work with new Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York to steer the Democratic agenda in Washington. The Globe’s Tal Kopan has more on Clark’s rise from the Melrose School Committee to become one of the most powerful figures in D.C.

The Boston Globe

— Boston City Council takes shot to let younger teens vote

The furthest the Legislature has gone to expand voting rights to teenagers is authorizing 16- and 17-year-old to preregister. But Boston could be about to test the appetite of a new governor and an empowered Democratic majority to go further. GBH News’ Adam Reilly reports that the City Council voted overwhelmingly to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu must still sign off on the petition before it goes up Beacon Hill for the Legislature to consider. As Reilly notes, the Legislature has not advanced similar petitions from other communities in the past. But as anyone at the State House knows, it often takes several tries to break through.

GBH News

— Equity theft hurts hundreds of homeowners in Mass., report finds

Massachusetts is one of a dozen states faulted in a new report for allowing municipalities and private investors to “steal” equity from homeowners who are behind on their property taxes.

The Eagle-Tribune’s Christian Wade cites a Pacific Legal Foundation report that identified about 315 homes in the state from which more than $48 million in equity was taken. A lawsuit has been filed in the Supreme Court and state lawmakers have filed a bill to close the equity loophole in state tax law, but the bill went nowhere last session.

The Eagle-Tribune

— Two House seats still hang in the balance as recounts ordered

Secretary of State William Galvin ordered a hand recount in the two remaining undecided races from the Nov. 8 election, giving local officials until Dec. 10 to clarify the winners of two House seats north and west of Boston. Rep. Lenny Mirra, a Georgetown Republican who saw his district dramatically altered by redistricting, is clinging to a 10-vote lead as he looks to both keep his job and prevent an already bad year for House Republicans from getting worse. Meanwhile, in the 1st Middlesex District Democrat Margaret Scarsdale leads Republican Andrew Shepherd by 17 votes. This is a district that had been represented for years by Republicans based in Groton. As Matt Stout of the Globe reports, Democrats will control at least 132 of the 160 seats in the House when the new session begins again in January, pushing Republicans to their lowest total to start a session since 2009, regardless of the recounts.

The Boston Globe

— New England governors get blowback from mariners

Gov. Charlie Baker was one of several New England governors over the summer to write to the Biden administration urging the administration to lift restrictions on foreign vessels carrying fuel into domestic ports. The Jones Act, they said, was preventing critical LNG supplies from reaching the region at a time when energy prices heading into the winter are poised to hurt many working families. The Gloucester Daily Times’s Christian Wade reports, however, that Congress has been reluctant to consider relaxing the rules on foreign transport of fuel and the governors are getting pushback from mariners who say rescinding the Jones Act would cost domestic jobs and do little to address price spikes and fuel shortages.

Gloucester Daily Times

— Have we already seen the last first primary in New Hampshire?

Has New Hampshire’s FITN status finally run out of runway? The Globe’s James Pindell looks at what might happen as the Democratic National Committee meets in Washington over the next three days to take a fresh look at the presidential primary calendar and considers giving away the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary to somewhere like Nevada or South Carolina. Of course, this matters for Massachusetts too as the lure of an early win in New Hampshire is one of the few things, other than fundraising, that brings candidates for the White House anywhere near here. The New Hampshire primary also translates to big campaign spending on media in the Boston market, which stretches to southern New Hampshire, and with local businesses.

The Boston Globe

— Swimmers dive into battle with DCR over access to “Comet” Pond

Technically, long-distance or open-water swimming at Asnacomet Pond in Hubbardston is not allowed. But don’t tell that to the avid swimmers who relish their time in the chill waters and like to push the boundaries a bit. The Telegram’s Henry Schwan reports that open-water swimming fans are going to battle with the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation over a new watershed plan that they say would restrict their access to the waters where they most enjoy getting their exercise. Fights over open-water swimming in state-owned waters are not new as officials have responded to safety concerns and drownings by limiting swimming to restricted areas, especially in areas heavily trafficked by boats and other recreational activities. But even Sen. Sen. Anne Gobi believes the push by DCR to finalize its watershed plan by the end of year feels rushed, and is urging more time for the new Healey administration to get into office and get their feet wet.

Telegram & Gazette

— Councilor says he will challenge Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

Longtime Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst will challenge Mayor Domenic J. Sarno in next November’s election. MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports Hurst, a five-term councilor, could become the city’s first Black mayor if he manages to unseat Sarno, who was first elected in 2007 and is the city’s longest-service chief executive. Matt Szafanski of Western Mass Politics & Insight also writes that Hurst might not be the only one gearing up to take on Sarno.

MassLive | Western Mass. Politics & Insight

— New Bedford election commissioner says race played into assault

Manny DeBritos, the chairman of the New Bedford Board of Election Commissioners, says he was the victim of a hate crime when he was assaulted outside City Hall last month, Arthur Hirsch of the New Bedford Light reports. DeBrito says his assailant used racial slurs during the attack. Police say a Lakeville man faces assault charges and that the circumstances of the crime remain under investigation.

New Bedford Light

— Framingham back in the market for a citizen participation officer

Framingham is once again looking to fill the position of citizen participation officer after a second candidate tapped for the position backed out at the last minute, Lillian Eden of the MetroWest Daily News reports.  Mayor Charlie Sisitsky has been trying to fill the position, created by the charter change that brought a city form of government, since he took office early this year.

MetroWest Daily News

— Worcester homeowners will pay more as property values soar 

The average Worcester residential property tax bill will rise nearly 10 percent next year, even after the City Council voted to shift more of the burden onto commercial and business property owners. The Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton explains that most of the increase is tied to a dramatic rise in property valuations, with single-family home values up 16 percent year-over-year.

Telegram & Gazette

MORE HEADLINES:

Metro

North Station commuter rail gates show promise – CommonWealth Magazine

MIT to de-cloister itself, to re-open some buildings to the public – Universal Hub

Brockton diversity board on hold amid finger-pointing – The Enterprise

Training center for life sciences to open at former Globe site in 2023 – Dorchester Reporter

Massachusetts

Fall River police officer Nicholas Hoar arrested in connection to alleged assault – The Herald News

Holyoke mayor hopes more vacation days will attract new Public Works superintendent – MassLive

Clean Heat Panel Sees “Real Burdens” Ahead – State House News Service

National

U.S. gas prices plunge toward $3 a gallon as demand drops worldwide – The Washington Post

House Committee Obtains Access to Trump’s Tax Returns, Ending Long Fight – The New York Times

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