10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission continues its review of the six applications it received for mobile sports betting licenses that will not be tied to an existing casino or slots parlor.
10 a.m. | Special House committee tasked with examining election results convenes a hearing on the Second Essex District, which Democrat Kristin Kassner won by a single vote over five-term Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra following a certified recount.
1 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey Speaks at the unveiling of "The Embrace," a new monument on Boston Common to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Other speakers include former Gov. Deval Patrick, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and members of the King family.
1 p.m. | Congressman Richard Neal and Westfield Mayor Michael McCabe make a federal funding announcement at the Westfield Wastewater Treatment Plant.
2 p.m. | Special House committee tasked with examining election results convenes a hearing on the First Middlesex District. Democrat Margaret Scarsdale topped Republican Andrew Shepherd by seven votes based on certified recount tallies.
Thousands of migrants from Haiti and various South American countries have been arriving in Massachusetts in recent months, straining the capacity of the state’s shelter system to provide adequate temporary housing.
One of the state’s leading immigrant advocacy groups is now urging new Gov. Maura Healey to pick up where former Gov. Charlie Baker left off and move swiftly to restart the debate over funding for shelter beds, schools and other services.
Before he left office, Baker filed legislation that would have put $130 million toward adding temporary new shelter beds, setting up an intake center to process new arrivals and supporting schools in the enrollment of new arrivals.
As that bill stalled in the Legislature at the end of the session, Baker tapped $20 million in funding from an economic development bill to set up an intake center at Devens, but advocates say it’s not enough.
The Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition is asking Healey to refile Baker’s funding request, and perhaps go further.
“Although the Legislature failed to take action on this legislation, these resources are vital in order to respond to this influx and fulfill the state’s ‘right to shelter’ obligation,” MIRA Executive Director Elizabeth Sweet wrote in a letter to Healey.
Sweet said the new administration also has an opportunity to do more than simply address the short-term housing needs of new arrivals, but also connect them with the services and outside organizations that can help with their full transition to a new country.
“We strongly urge your administration to take a holistic approach that not only includes the financial resources to address the current crisis, but also pools government and non-profit expertise to address the comprehensive set of needs of new arrivals,” Sweet wrote.
Healey’s first annual state budget is not due until March 1, and funding through the annual appropriations act would not be available until at least July. Before leaving office, Baker’s team warned that the state doesn’t have that much time with the state’s shelter system reportedly due to run out of funding to guarantee beds for families by late March.
The Legislature has yet to fully organize itself into committees to process new legislation, and might not until at least next month. Temporary Rules and Ways and Means Committees, however, have been set up in each branch and could, in theory, act quickly on a shelter funding bill.
— Illegal super PAC coordination alleged at MassGOP
The infighting at the MassGOP has escalated as the election for a new party chair draws near with Treasurer Pat Crowley now blowing the whistle on Chairman Jim Lyons over what could amount to illegal coordination between Lyons and a outside super PAC to pay for opposition research into the personal life of Gov. Maura Healey. The Globe’s Emma Platoff has the latest on the drama brewing within the state’s reeling Republican Party following the disclosure that the party owes tens of thousands in unpaid bills to vendors who are threatening legal action if they don’t get paid. Lyons is attempting to get reelected at the end of the month to lead the MassGOP for another cycle after dismal results at the polls in November.
— That’s what she was talking about!
A new study published in the journal Science appears to back up what Maura Healey has been alleging in her lawsuit as attorney general against Exxon Mobile. The new research suggests that the oil company’s internal climate science was remarkably dead on when it came to global warming, contradicting the messaging Exxon delivered to investors about the threat from climate change. Healey sued Exxon over what she believed to be the company’s misleading of the public with respect to climate change. Axios’s Andrew Freedman reports that the new research, which has been dismissed by Exxon, could “play a role in ongoing legal action.”
— Mayor backs away from “more toxic” Twitter
Please step off the @wutrain and don’t forget your belongings. CommonWealth Magazine’s Michael Jonas reports that Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who had been known for her personal use of Twitter to engage with the public and constituents, is backing away from the social media platform. Wu tells Jonas that the dialogue on the site has become “more toxic” and is increasingly not a good use of her time. The mayor continues to communicate important updates on city business through her official Twitter account.
— Advocates see opportunity to return to gun control
Hope springs eternal at the start of any new legislative session as lawmakers new and old go through the exercise of filing thousands of bills that could, or could not, become the basis for action over the next two years. The Globe’ Sarah L. Ryley reports that gun control activists and supporters in the Legislature are getting behind at least a dozen bills this session in hopes that Beacon Hill leaders will again turn their attention to gun control. While Massachusetts already has some of the toughest gun ownership laws in the country, advocates say more can be done to prevent the sale of so-called “ghost guns” or to clarify the state’s assault weapons ban.
In an interview with Java with Jimmy, Gov. Maura Healey said she supports new efforts to further restrict access to guns and prevent youth gun violence, according to MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz.
— McGovern says Amherst reparations work could become a model
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says Amherst’s nascent efforts to create a reparations framework to recognize historic discrimination against Americans of African descent could become a model for a national effort to address slavery and its impacts. McGovern, who has filed a bill to explore a reparations model, made the comments as part of a listening session staged by the Amherst organization that is still working out a plan to pay out direct financial reparations.
— Dustup over impaired driving curriculum
Not all of the Cannabis Control Commission’s members are convinced that a new curriculum adopted to help teach teenagers and new drivers about the dangers of driving while high strikes the right tone or sends the right message. SHNS’s Sam Drysdale has more on why some commissioners think the education program misses the mark.
— He got around, ’round, ’round. He got around.
Part of former Gov. Charlie Baker’s enduring popularity stemmed from the fact that people felt he was trying and that he showed up. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was the true road warrior of the administration, visiting all 351 cities and towns over her eight years in office. But Baker was no slouch either. While the governor claimed he hit at least 250 communities during his tenure, the Globe reviewed his public schedules from 2015 through 2022 and concluded that Baker made nearly 2,200 public appearances in eight years, visiting 143 cities and towns. That doesn’t include travel Baker may have done on his own time, or in conjunction with either of his two campaigns.
— Thanks, inflation: Springfield mayor touts plan to keep taxes down
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says his city will be among the first in the state to minimize local tax bills by purchasing U.S. Treasury Bonds that are paying higher interest rates thanks to inflation, MassLive’s Jonah Snowden reports. Sarno’s plan calls for the city to use $45 million from its stabilization fund to buy treasury notes that will spin off $2 million worth of interest that will be used to help balance the fiscal year 2024 budget.
— Two months after fatal crash, Hingham Apple store reopens
The Hingham Apple Store that was the site of a fatal crash in November has finally reopened and now has a series of steel bollards in place to prevent another vehicle from smashing through the store’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows, Jessica Trufant of the Patriot Ledger reports.
— Worcester plan to house homeless in former hotel wins approval
Despite staunch neighborhood opposition expressed during a hectic public hearing, the Worcester Planning Board has given its blessing to a plan to convert a former Quality Inn into 90 units of income-restricted housing, the Telegram’s Marco Cartolano reports. Most of those who spoke against the plan focused their ire on what they said was poor communication from the city and the developer.
— Santos’ claim of Nantucket ties prove impossible to fact-check
Does embattled New York Congressman George Santos, who admitted to embellishing his personal history during the campaign, own property on Nantucket as he has claimed? Maybe or maybe not, the Current’s Jason Graziadei reports. Because so many of the island’s properties are held in trusts that shield their true owners, it’s all but impossible to know who actually owns them.
The Talk Shows
Talking Politics, GBH 2, 7 p.m.: GBH political reporter Adam Reilly talks with a panel about Gov. Maura Healey’s first “Big 3” meeting with the Senate president and the House speaker, Mayor Michelle Wu’s mask mandate headed before the SJC, and Healey going public with her partner in the Boston Globe. The group will also tackle the issue of metal detectors in Boston Public Schools.
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m.: MASSterList columnist and WBZ political analyst Jon Keller talks with Tanisha Sullivan, president of the NAACP Boston chapter, about the new MLK statue and his legacy, Boston’s establishment of a reparations task force, and theNAACP convention coming to Boston.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m.: Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz is the guest. Cruz’s interview will be followed by a political roundtable discussion with Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican political analyst Rob Gray.
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