Happening Today:

9:00 | Gov. Healey gives remarks at the UNCF Breakfast to recognize Black History Month and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Attendees include Lt. Gov. Driscoll, Secretary Hao, Secretary Tepper, Secretary Snyder, Secretary Jones, Secretary Tutwiler, Acting Secretary Beckman, and Deputy Secretary Terry — Grand Staircase, State House.

10:00 | Associated Industries of Massachusetts President and CEO John Regan virtually hosts his eighth annual State of Massachusetts Business address.

10:00 | Mass. Gaming Commission meets to get reports from its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau on the illegal acceptance of in-state college wagers at both Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino.

10:30 | Speaker Mariano and both Ways and Means chairs, Rep. Michlewitz and Sen. Rodrigues, are scheduled to speak at a Head Start Advocacy Day event. Other scheduled speakers include Rep. Schmid and Sen. Keenan, who are described by organizers as "Head Start champions.".....Great Hall, State House

10:30 | Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley visits the African Community Economic Development of New England (ACEDONE) to discuss $643,003 in federal funding she recently secured to support small businesses in predominately Black, brown and African immigrant communities. She will be joined by Boston City Councilor At-Large Ruthzee Louijeune, ACEDONE leadership, small business owners, and advocates, for a roundtable discussion and press conference.....89 South Street, Suite 203, Boston

1:00 | Local Government Advisory Commission meets for first time since Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll took office. Local officials plan to outline priorities in main local aid accounts: unrestricted general government aid, special education reimbursements, and minimum school aid under Chapter 70. Lt. Gov. Driscoll, the former mayor of Salem, attends the virtual meeting

Massachusetts is a proverbial fat cow, having fed on the sweet grass of excess tax revenue and federal relief funds. So fat that the domestic beast can barely walk across a field and is dying to be milked. Should lawmakers share the bounty of the cow with their constituents or anticipate that the fields may dry up? So spaketh Senator Pat Jehlen, last week, invoking the Bible about the excess funds and the need for prudence.

“I’m going to call you back to Joseph,” Jehlen said at a Massachusetts Association for Community Action briefly and covered by the State House News Service. “And Joseph said, there’s going to be fat years — fat cows, and lean cows. The moral was, in a fat year, prepare for the lean years.”

Jehlen’s remark may reflect a growing indifference to follow through on last year’s nearly completed but unrealized tax cut plan, which was eclipsed by the Great And Unexpected State Tax Rebate required by law. But there are other Biblical references that could be equally applicable to the state’s brimming coffers, including returning to some of the $500 million in tax cuts proposed last July. There were provisions that benefited seniors through the senior circuit breaker tax credit and working families through the earned income tax credit. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” (Proverbs 3:27)

Perhaps the matter needs to be referred to the Committee on Fat Cows. Expect the issue of tax relief to resurface March 1 when Gov. Healey files her first budget, for she seems determined to offer targeted tax relief along the lines originally proposed last year.

Washington Wish list: Healey debriefs after her first policy foray to D.C.

Maura Healey returned from Washington (the NGA, meetings with the Congressional delegation, appearances with the President, etc.) with the floundering Cape Cod bridge replacement project and the East-West rail link top of mind — or that is, hoping to fix those needs in the minds of federal decision-makers.  Via the Globe, Chris Lisinski of the SHNS reports.

Boston Globe

Wu’s rent control proposal begins a multi-level process — and many conversations

Perhaps you’re serious about addressing the housing crisis — but just how serious?  Mayor Michelle Wu’s rent hike cap aka rent control proposals, unveiled yesterday with specifics and as it evolves will calls politician from city councilors to legislative leaders to the governor to take a stand. Among the considerations: Should cities be allowed to control their own destinies (and control rents)?

State House News Service | Boston Globe

From the MTF, a guide to what’s ahead

A classic under-the-radar story for the hardcore state-government community (i.e., you).  The Mass. Taxpayers Foundation prepared primers for 11 key state issues, and they’re roadmaps for the year or two ahead.  Chris Lisinsky of the News Service wrote up an overview.

State House News Service

Taunton residents denied in their bid to stop casino

They took their chances in court, and lost: A federal judge yesterday ruled in favor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is holding 321 acres in trust in Mashpee and Taunton should the Wampanoag tribe wish to use it for future casino development.


Why the Thrive Act could serve as alternative to receivership

State receivership does not seem to have improved the districts that have been placed there, and now a growing group of activists is saying the time has come to end the approach — before it has a chance to get to the Boston schools. The Bay State Banner has an excellent write-up of the Thrive Act, intended as a receivership alternative. (This isn’t the first legislation to be called the Thrive Act.)

Bay State Banner

Report says hundreds waiting for nursing home beds  

Hundreds of patients in Bay State hospitals are waiting days or weeks to be discharged into nursing home care, according to a report from the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association that casts new light on a crisis in long-term care exacerbated by the pandemic. Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune reports a long-term staffing shortage is seen as one of the major hurdles to opening up more beds.


Meanwhile, mayors and state lawmakers representing the Springfield area met on Monday with the owner of four care facilities that have been slated for shutdown because of new state limits on the number of patients in a single room. MassLive’s Jeannette DeForge reports officials are hoping to save the 300 beds and 360 jobs that are on the chopping block.


New super PAC aims to elect Black candidates in local races

Political consultant Reynolds Graves plans to support Black Democratic candidates in local races through his newly formed super PAC, the 1866 Action Fund, Saraya Wintersmith of GBH reports. Graves says the group and its donations could help newcomers to politics level the funding playing field with incumbents in down-ballot races.


Gloves stay on in Attleboro mayoral debate

The four candidates in the upcoming Attleboro special election to select a new mayor debated on Monday and largely avoided clashing with one another, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. The candidates spent much of the event introducing themselves to voters, who will go to the polls on Feb. 28 to pick a successor to former mayor Paul Heroux.

Attleboro Sun-Chronicle

Following the money on sports-betting lobbying 

With in-person sports betting now legal and live, Chris Van Buskirk of MassLive’s digs into state records to find out who spent big over the past year to influence lawmakers as they put the final touches on betting legislation.


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