7:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu gives remarks at the 15th Annual Martin Luther King Community Breakfast at the Roxbury YMCA.
8:30 a.m. | Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission meets.
9 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins Java with Jimmy for an interview.
10 a.m. | Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan hosts a virtual meeting of the Anti-Hate Anti-Bias Task Force.
10 a.m. | Cannabis Control Commission meets.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets.
12 p.m. | State and federal officials join the Brazilian Worker Center and the Boston College Law School Civil Rights Clinic to release a report summarizing a year-long study of the 2015 domestic workers' "bill of rights" law.
Left-leaning Democrats have been wandering around the State House in recent days looking for bread crumbs….crumbs that will lead them to a conclusion on whether Gov. Maura Healey will be a progressive champion in the Corner Office, or govern more from the center.
While it’s way too soon to be making judgments on Healey’s progressive bonafides as governor, it’s not too soon to consider who she will be working with and what it might take for her to be successful.
Progressive Massachusetts published its legislative scorecard yesterday grading lawmakers in the House and Senate based on votes they took during the 2021-2022 session.
The results show a decidedly centrist Legislature where – left’s face – the bulk of the decisions about what will and won’t get done on Beacon Hill get made. A plurality in both the House and Senate earned Cs, and more than half of lawmakers in each branch (97 in the House and 22 in the Senate) were given a grade of C or lower.
Only 11 lawmakers in the House and Senate earned As from the group, and of those only six are returning for the new session – Sens. Jamie Eldridge, Patricia Jehlen and Becca Rausch and Reps. Mike Connolly, Dan Sena and Erika Uyterhoeven.
That means Healey is going to have to work with a relatively moderate Legislature. Senate President Karen Spilka was not given a grade because of the infrequency with which she votes, while last session’s Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues got a B-.
On the House side, Speaker Ron Mariano and his Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz both received a C+.
Some of the faces have changed to start this new session, but that’s unlikely to move the needle much.
Progressive Massachusetts policy director Jonathan Cohn noted the “strong dynamic of legislators voting lockstep with the speaker,” which led to 45 House Democrats receiving the same score as the speaker.
“We are looking forward to the new legislative session,” Cohn said. “At the end of the day, legislators decide what votes we can score by what recorded votes they request and what bills they advance. We hope that the return of unified Democratic governance inspires the Democratic majorities to expand their policy ambitions.”
— Does this sound like you or someone you know?
“This individual will be responsible for the overall operations and day-to-day administration of the MBTA and will prioritize the reliability, safety and on-time performance of bus, train and commuter rail services for MBTA ridership while ensuring a ‘state of good repair’ and the delivery of capital maintenance and modernization projects.”
That, according to the Herald’s Gayla Cawley, is what the MBTA and Gov. Maura Healey are seeking in a new general manager after a job posting went up yesterday from the firm leading search. Cawley reports that the job description is available on “at least three job sites with national and international reach, particularly in Canada..”
— O’Brien and cultivator cleared in ethics investigation
Ties between Cannabis Control Commission Chairwoman Shannon O’Brien and a Greenfield pot cultivator raised concerns about Greenfield Greenery’s application for a license, but BBJ’s Cassie McGrath reports that an investigation has cleared the company of improperly handling O’Brien’s transition from cannabis executive to regulator.
— Troubled bridges over water
The state’s ongoing quest to secure federal funding to replace the “obsolete” Bourne and Sagamore Bridges spanning the Cape Cod Canal generates big headlines, in part because of the big price tag on both those projects. But as the Globe’s Christina Prignano and John Hancock report, hundreds of bridges from the Cape to the Berkshires are in need of replacement or repair.
— Business Roundtable’s Jones tapped to lead labor office
Gov. Healey continues to fill the empty seats in her Cabinet, tapping Massachusetts Business Roundtable Executive Vice President Lauren Jones as her new secretary of labor and workforce development. For Jones, it’s a return to government service after she spent years working in the Patrick administration under former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and then the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. She also spent time at City Hall under former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz has the details on her appointment.
— Expectations high for Healey’s climate agenda
Climate activists have high expectations for the new Healey administration after the governor made a number of promises on the campaign trail. Now it’s up to officials like Melissa Hoffer, the state’s new climate chief, to deliver. Hoffer joined advocates on a call yesterday as the sides look to forge a productive working relationship. SHNS’s Colin A. Young reports that Hoffer told the groups, “We just don’t have time,” to spend on issues that divide and must work together in ways government and the private sector maybe haven’t in the past.
— Farmer challenges law that allowed town to profit from foreclosure
State tax law allows local governments and private investors to profit off the sale of foreclosed properties well beyond the debt that was owed, making Massachusetts just one of 12 states with such a law. The Eagle-Tribune’s Christian Wade reports how a Bolton Alpaca farmer is challenging that paradigm in a federal lawsuit after the town made a $310,000 profit from the sale of his property after he fell $60,000 behind on his taxes.
— Undisclosed deal ends Harvard lawsuit over remote classes
Harvard University has settled a lawsuit filed in 2020 that sought tuition reimbursements for students who argued they suffered economic damage when their classes moved online in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crimson’s Miles Herszenhorn and Claire Yuan report. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
— All aboard? Edaville owner plans massive housing development
The owners of Edaville in Carver say they want to use the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law to develop part of their property into more than 300 units of housing, CBS News Boston reports. Owners say they plan to continue to operate the railroad attraction during the Christmas season only.
— Lawmakers to urge DPU to revisit winter energy prices
Berkshires-based lawmakers are among those urging the Department of Public Utilities to reconsider its approval of natural gas and electricity rate increases, noting that oil prices have dropped since some of the eye-popping increases for the winter season were given the green light. The Berkshire Eagle’s Matt Martinez reports state Rep. John Barrett III of North Adams has led the push and has convinced about 85 other lawmakers to co-sign the plea for a fresh look at the rates.
— Worcester looks to speed adoption of in-law apartment zoning
The Worcester City Council has directed staff to move as quickly as possible to clear the way for a zoning bylaw change that would allow accessory or in-law apartments in the city for the first time, the Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton reports. Councilors say the change, which would still require property owners to go through a special permitting process, could help create new affordable housing across the city.
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