Happening today:

8:30 | Anna Maria College and Molly Bish Center for the Protection of Children and the Elderly hold legislative briefing on mental health in schools. Anna Maria College, Campus Center/Dining Hall, 50 Sunset Ln., Paxton

9:15 | Boston Schools Supt. Mary Skipper will join Congresswoman Pressley, Sen. Lydia Edwards, Rep. Dan Ryan, and Warren-Prescott K-8 School Principal Michele Davis in celebrating Black History Month at Warren-Prescott K-8 School Auditorium, 50 School St., Charlestown

9:30 | Mayor Wu makes an announcement regarding major investments in affordable housing. Former Blessed Sacrament Church, 361 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

10:00 | American Red Cross of Massachusetts and Rep. Driscoll present a showcase of American Red Cross services to lawmakers, staff and members of the public. Nurses Hall, State House

10:30 | MASSPIRG will present findings from its recent report, "Failing the Fix." Organizers say Americans dispose of 416,000 cellphones per day, and only 15 to 20 percent of electronic waste is recycled. Senate Reading Room, 4th floor, State House

When it comes to the promise of a “more affordable” Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey said she’s prepared to put her money where her mouth is — but she’s likely to leave the minimum wage war to the Legislature

While teasing her yet-to-be revealed bundle of progressive tax relief proposals, Healey was noncommittal when asked if the state should “take the next step” and further raise its just-hiked $15 an hour minimum wage during a Wednesday interview on WBUR.

The freshly minted governor in her inaugural address positioned herself as a “partner” to Bay State business. Industry advocates have been vocal in their pushback on a pair of bills seeking a new raise boosting the state minimum to $20 an hour by 2027.

A spokeswoman after the interview clarified for State House News Service that Healey would review any legislation that hits her desk and supports a minimum wage that “keeps up” with the cost of living.

The impact of the 2018 law that this January netted Massachusetts one of the highest minimum wages in the United States hasn’t fattened the pockets of workers as much as initially intended. 

Historic levels of inflation in a state that was already among the most expensive in the nation, coupled with a housing crisis and soaring child-care costs — to name a few — mean $15 an hour still doesn’t add up to make ends meet in households across Massachusetts.

Far from it, points out MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. On average in the Bay State, a single person needs to earn just over $21 an hour to adequately cover basic costs like food, housing and transportation. A family of four with the added expense of child care, would need to make a little more than $43 an hour. Anyone living in the Boston metro area would need to earn a couple dollars more per hour more, it shows.

But Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Doug Howgate in a Thursday report outlines how breaks for child care expenses, housing, seniors, estate tax and more could provide “meaningful” relief that could put more than $1 billion back in the pockets of strapped families.

Healey plans to unveil her tax relief plan on March 1 alongside her first state budget proposal as governor.

WBUR | The Boston Globe | MassLive

Next state police colonel could come from outside ranks 

With State Police Col. Christopher Mason slated to retire on Friday, Gov. Maura Healey hinted she might look outside the ranks for the department’s next leader — an unprecedented move made possible by a recent law change that came amid a scandal-ridden era. In the meantime, Healey plans to name an interim state police colonel while she and her team search for someone with the “integrity and managerial competence” to take the role on a permanent basis.

NBC Boston | NECN

Boston city councilors support an elected school committee

In a split vote Boston city councilors on Wednesday signaled their support for a shift back to an elected school committee. For 30 years, the city’s school committee membership has been at the discretion of the mayor — a model current Mayor Michelle Wu isn’t keen on changing. The proposal to change the city’s charter, however, is pretty much dead in the water because it requires Wu’s signature to advance to the Legislature.

The Boston Globe The Boston Herald | WCVB

No shake-ups in state Senate leadership

State Senate President Karen Spilka shuffled the deck on leadership and committee assignments made public Wednesday, keeping in place all of her top deputies from last session but putting different senators in charge of most committees.

State House News Service

University leadership names pick for next UMass Amherst chancellor 

UMass President Marty Meehan has named his top choice to lead the system’s Amherst campus once the current chancellor departs at the end of the school year. The board of trustees will vote Thursday on his pick: University of Illinois-Chicago Interim Chancellor Javier Reyes. 


Encore loses $$ in early sports betting action

Bettors plunked down more than a half-million dollars on the first day of legal in-person sports wagering in Massachusetts. The spending generated almost $10,000 in tax revenue for the state, with none coming from Encore Boston Harbor, which netted a loss of almost $75,000 on just over $370,000 in wagers.

State House News Service

Ambulance rides in Massachusetts cost double the national average, study finds

Across the U.S., patients pay an average $761 for a trip in a public ambulance compared to $1,578 in Massachusetts, finds a report from the state’s Health Policy Commission.

State House News Service

Advocates warn of hunger ‘cliff’ as federal benefits bump ends 

Leaders of food banks across the state are warning lawmakers that the number of people experiencing food insecurity in the state could spike as a pandemic-era boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helped blunt the impact of inflation for many low-income families expires at the end of the month. The Herald’s Matthew Medsger has the details.

Boston Herald

Decision made: Rep. Ramos to run for mayor of Springfield 

State Rep. Orlando Ramos has scheduled a news conference for this morning where is will announce he’ll be a candidate for mayor of Springfield, MassLive reports. Ramos served on the Springfield City Council before moving to the legislature in 2020 and would be the fourth candidate already in the race — not including Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has yet to say if he’ll seek another term.


After a century-long ban, Salem mulls allowing rooming houses again 

Hoping to help alleviate the housing crisis in the Witch City, Salem officials are considering rolling back a ban on single-room occupancy dwellings, often called rooming houses, which have been illegal in the city since zoning was first adopted in 1925, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports.

Salem News

Cambridge announces police changes after fatal shooting sparks protests 

Police in Cambridge will be outfitted with body cameras for the first time and the city will develop an alternative response team for some calls as the city responds to weeks of protests in the wake of the Jan. 4 police shooting of local resident Sayed Faisal, GBH’s Esteban Bustillos reports. While many of the changes have been called for by protesters who have repeatedly disrupted City Council meetings in the weeks since the shooting, some continue to call on the city to reveal the name of the officer involved.


Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList