Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues speaks alongside Senate President Karen Spilka at a press briefing in 2019. Credit: [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

When former Speaker Bob DeLeo and his deputies moved to eliminate a short-lived reform effort limiting the number of terms House Speakers could serve, the Herald and others were quick to dub him Speaker for Life. Now comes Senate President Karen Spilka’s Ways and Means chair Michael Rodrigues, proposing that the Senate remove the bonds that have held Spilka to but eight years. The Senate debates its rules for the upcoming session Thursday, and we’d imagine that Vegas wouldn’t dare give odds that this one won’t go through.

What rationales get deployed when a powerful elected official naturally wants to hold onto the power? Probably the lamest one is that the Senate president must seek reelection by her colleagues, and thus faces a version of term limits every two years. That might make sense if someone actually challenged the president. Another excuse is the House doesn’t have them, so why should the Senate, which ignores the idea that perhaps the House should have term limits as well.

Senate President Spilka is demonstrating a fundamental law of politics: Few leaders balk when they have the power to extend the duration of their power. More info below:

Healey surveys the State of the Union

Gov. Healey’s attendance at the State of the Union was the first time denizens of the State House could remember a sitting Mass. governor attending a SOTU — not for a long time, certainly.  Gov. Baker was, shall we say, less than eager to attend any of President Trump’s addresses — and of course there were no Republican Congress members to invite him. In advance of the speech, the Eagle-Tribune’s lead story was about the couple from New Hampshire who were invited to the address because of their work on drug addiction after the passing of their daughter. MassLive featured the Nortonsmiths, who filed the suit that brought equal marriage to Massachusetts.

Walsh not Labor Secretary for Life by any means

Reports were widespread yesterday that former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is leaving the Biden cabinet after the State of the Union to become executive director of the National Hockey League’s players’ union.  Speculation about possible future political scenarios for Walsh was also rampant.   

CBS News Boston | Boston Globe

Wu introduces members of Boston’s new Reparations Task Force

Boston is now one of the largest cities in America with a panel devoted to identifying how to redress the wrongs of slavery. If the task force comes up with substantive recommendations — such as cash disbursements to the descendants — yesterday’s press conference could wind up step one in a huge story.


Alewife garage will reopen, shuttle buses will continue for now

MBTA officials said the Alewife T garage will partially reopen today.  It was closed after a driver rammed into its top level and sent 10,000 pounds of cement into the lobby of the station, shutting down subway service between Alewife and Davis.  As the station is repaired, commuters will board the Red Line at the headhouse beneath Russell Field in North Cambridge, via a walkway from the garage to the headhouse.

State House News Service |

Lawrence mayor’s chief of staff arrested, fired after child pornography allegations

Jhovanny Martes-Rosario, chief of staff to Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena, pleaded not guilty in Lawrence District Court yesterday to two counts of illegal possession of child pornography. “Jhovanny admitted he had a curiosity for (child sexual abuse material) and that is why he stored it, further stating that he has been searching for and storing it for ‘years,’” according to a statement of facts that was filed Lawrence District Court, and quoted in the Eagle-Tribune.

Lawrence Eagle Tribune | WCVB

Salem six: Half dozen mayoral hopefuls sets up preliminary election to replace Driscoll 

Six candidates have secured spots on the ballot in the special election race to succeed now-Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll as mayor of Salem, setting up a March 28 preliminary election. Dustin Luca reports the field includes first-time candidates, a former mayor and the person currently filling the seat on an acting basis. 

Salem News

Mount Holyoke makes history with presidential pick 

Mount Holyoke has named Danielle Ren Holley as its 20th president, making her the first Black woman to lead the school on a permanent basis in its 186-year-old history. The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Scott Merzbach reports that Holley, 48, a career legal educator and social justice scholar, arrives from Howard University, where she served as law school dean.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Worcester diocese slammed for redacted priest abuse report 

A report released Friday by the Catholic Diocese of Worcester that provides an update on the number of priests accused of sexual abuse is inadequate because Bishop Robert McManus continues to refuse to name the accused clergy, an advocacy group representing victims says. The Telegram’s Marco Cartolano has the details.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

T rehires contractor after critical report on performance 

Dan Atkinson, reporting for DigBoston, explains why experts say the MBTA’s decision to award the contract to run the agency’s Transit Police dispatch operations to a private contractor even after a scathing audit on the company’s earlier performance is evidence of deeper problems with the T’s contracting processes.


GE retrenches to downtown office building as part of its wind-down

Once heralded as a major economic coup, GE’s presence in Boston will be represented by 30,000-square-foot lease at One Financial Center.  And soon, after it splits off its energy unit next year, “GE’s Boston headquarters will be no more,” Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal Reports

Boston Business Journal

ICYMI: The 2022 Mass. state employee salary database has arrived

Running this link one more day for the curious: It’s that time of year again — the annual state salary base that breaks by individual some $9 billion in spending.


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Keith Regan is a freelance writer and local news junkie who has been on the MASSterList morning beat since the newsletter’s earliest days. A graduate of Northeastern University and Emerson College, Regan lives in Hopkinton with his wife, Lisa.