Happening Today:

*Berkshire County courts are closed today due to inclement weather. All other courts are open.

9:30 a.m. | Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan hosts an online workshop in partnership with the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University.

10:30 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins state and local officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Auburn for the Julia Bancroft School Apartments.

1 p.m. | Registry of Motor Vehicles officials and members of the Cannabis Control Commission and AAA Northeast host a news conference at the Worcester RMV to announce that as of January 2023 Massachusetts will be the first recreational-use cannabis state to adopt AAA's cannabis-impaired driving curriculum for teens.

It was easily the most repeated observation on the Beacon Hill holiday party circuit yesterday: “I definitely didn’t have NCAA president on my bingo card.”

President of a hospital group? Sure. White House Cabinet secretary? Perhaps, if the stars aligned. Maybe a little rest and relaxation after eight years as he prepares to become a grandfather for the first time? Definitely.

But the NCAA? Gov. Charlie Baker said when he was first approached about the job a couple of months ago he too was surprised, questioning his fit to lead the collegiate sports organization. But the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.

In a way only Baker could explain, the governor said he realized the NCAA was not unlike the other public- and private-sector places he had worked throughout his career – a “distributed decision-making model.”

For the NCAA, the attraction was a little less academic.

Baylor University President Linda Livingstone said that not only did Baker have a professional record of problem solving in large, complex organizations, but he has experience in bringing together disparate groups to find consensus and the relationships to make it happen. It’s a skill the NCAA is going to need if it’s going to cajole Congress into helping it get its arms around the new world of college athlete compensation.

It also didn’t hurt that Baker, his wife and his two sons were college athletes in their day.

Baker, in his first press conference, spoke effusively about the power of sports to overcome differences, going so far as to call college athletics “one of the truly greatest human potential development organizations ever devised.”

But when it came to NIL deals, conference realignment and student transfers – all issues roiling the college sports world – he said he needed more time.

It may not have been the president title many thought or wanted for Baker post governorship, but it’s also a far cry from sliding quietly into retirement. The Swampscott Republican (who won’t be moving to Indianapolis, but plans to spend plenty of time there) will now be playing on the national stage that he shunned when it came to politics.

Maybe Mitt Romney put it best, telling the Globe; Tal Kopan: “Boy, from the frying pan into the fire.”

Read more on Baker’s new gig:

— What will be of the New Hampshire primary?

So Baker won’t be campaigning in New Hampshire in two years. Unless it’s for the SNHU Arena to host a Sweet Sixteen game. But other potential presidential candidates are waiting to see just where the Granite State will fit into the grand scheme of the 2024 election. GBH’s Adam Reilly delves into the possibilities in play as the Democratic National Committee and President Joe Biden look to strip New Hampshire of its first-in-the-nation primary status, while New Hampshire leaders dig in – with state law on their sides.

GBH News

— New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation also partnered on an op/ed in the Globe defending the state’s FITN.

— Baker defends pardons, says Amiraults deserved a new trial

Nothing like a big new post-governorship job to push some bad news out of the headlines. But before the NCAA story took over the day, Gov. Charlie Baker defended his decision to pursue a failed pardon for Gerald “Tooky” Amirault and Cheryl Amirault Lefave. The governor told reporters that he made the recommendations because he felt the Amiraults deserved a new trial based on what he and other experts have criticized as flawed investigatory tactics. He ultimately withdrew the petition Wednesday as it appears he lacked the votes on the Governor’s Council to get it approved. The Globe’s Matt Stout has more on Baker’s reaction.

The Boston Globe

— Gay named next president of Harvard University

The NCAA wasn’t the only organization ready to announce a new president yesterday. Harvard University officially hired Claudine Gay, the dean of the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as its 30th president. Gay will replace Lawrence Bacow this summer to become the first person of color to lead the Cambridge institution.

The Harvard Crimson

— Baker taps Jubinville for Framingham court post

Governor’s Councilor Robert Jubinville was just reelected in November. But he’s already preparing to leave for a new job – provided that he can convince his sometimes unpredictable colleagues to let him leave. Jubinville was nominated Thursday by Gov. Charlie Baker for the vacant Framingham clerk magistrate position. SHNS’s Sam Doran has more.

State House News Service

— Boston’s push on affordable housing

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is pushing forward with plans to force residential developers to build far more affordable units than ever before. The Globe’s Catherine Carlock has details on the plan from City Hall.

The Boston Globe

— Not exactly putting on the Ritz

With shelters overrun by an increase in homelessness and newly arriving migrants fleeing their home countries, the Baker administration sought to relieve the pressure by opening an temporary emergency shelter space at Devens where families could be housed for a short period while they find more permanent accommodations. But with the facility now up and running, WBUR’s Gabrielle Emanuel reports that the conditions are not what advocates had been expecting, with tight quarters, showers in outdoor tents and a winter draft.


— Worcester scrambles to add shelter beds amid homelessness spike

Kiernan Dunlop of MassLive reports on the efforts of Worcester nonprofits and government agencies to find or create more shelter beds in the city amid a 50 percent increase in the number of people living on the streets. A November count found 226 unsheltered people, well above last year’s count of 150 and far above the 141 currently available temporary shelter beds.


— Lavish party request ruffles Easthampton council feathers

A funding request to use $18,000 worth of cannabis stabilization funds to pay for a party celebrating a new school opening in Easthampton is getting push back from some city councilors who think the splashy event may send the wrong message to taxpayers. The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Emily Thurlow has the details. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

— Westfield lifts tobacco-sales license moratorium 

Saying the threat of a wave of adult-only tobacco shops opening in town seems to have been overblown, the Westfield health board has lifted a moratorium on new licenses to sell nicotine products that has been in place since 2021. Peter Currier of MassLive reports the board adopted the ban in the wake of changes in state law relating to vaping products that had some worried that smoke shops would pop up on every corner.


— Worcester Board of Health flags hospital capacity concerns 

All five members of the Worcester Board of Health have signed onto a Telegram op-ed that warns the public that local hospitals are facing a capacity crisis again and urges residents to get vaccinated and boosted and to return to indoor mask-wearing. 

Telegram & Gazette

The Talk Shows


Talking Politics, GBH 2, 7 p.m.: GBH political reporter Adam Reilly talks with a panel about the biggest stories of 2022, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sending migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, the partial collapse of the T, and Maura Healey’s election. GBH Political Editor Peter Kadzis, Boston Globe Columnist Joan Vennochi and Bay State Banner Senior Editor Yawu Miller join to discuss. 


Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m.: MASSterList columnist and WBZ political analyst Jon Keller talks with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren about the crypto meltdown, the year in review and her 2023 priorities.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m.: Gov.-elect Maura Healey is the guest with hosts Janet Wu and NewsCenter 5 Political reporter Sharman Sacchetti. Healey’s interview will be followed by a political roundtable discussion with Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican political analyst Rob Gray.

More Headlines:


Study says Boston schools may face ‘fiscal cliff’  – CommonWealth Magazine

GE picks Kendall Square for HQ for energy business – Boston Business Journal

MBTA looking to buy Boston’s Widett Circle for rail storage – Boston Herald


Fifth town approves amended Housing Bank legislation – Martha’s Vineyard Times

Last furrier in Worcester, Furs by Michael, closing after 66 years – MassLive

Cape Air transitioning to electric planes, but it will be a while – Inquirer & Mirror

Adams says yes to a Lenox developer’s $15 million Greylock Glen campground proposal – The Berkshire Eagle

Plainridge reports usual drop in revenue from Oct. to Nov. – The Sun Chronicle


Schumer and Pelosi give their blessings to a Biden 2024 run – New York Post

Will NH Gov. Chris Sununu Run For President? – NECN

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