Rep. Ed Coppinger (D-West Roxbury) Credit: State House News Service

Happening today:

10 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors meets virtually.

Noon | Activists with Massachusetts Peace Action rally for an "urgent ceasefire and peace talks" to settle the Russian war in Ukraine. The Boston rally will start at Downtown Crossing and walk to the JFK Federal Building, where participants will deliver letters and petitions to the offices of Sens. Markey and Warren. Rev. Vernon Walker and Rep. Connolly plan to attend. Other events will take place in Springfield, Worcester, Northampton and Greenfield | Downtown Crossing

1:30 p.m. | Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Susan Collins gives remarks via pre-recorded video as part of a panel discussion at the 2023 US Monetary Policy Forum in New York City, hosted by the Initiative on Global Markets of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

1:45 p.m. | U.S. Sen. Markey joins local officials and education leaders to tour the planned Cyber Range at Bridgewater State University and discuss training students in cybersecurity. Speaking program begins at 2:15 p.m. | Bridgewater State University, Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center, Room 271, 24 Park Ave., Bridgewater

Seven weeks after lawmakers on Beacon Hill were sworn in to serve out their current terms, Boston is already gearing up for two special elections to replace lawmakers moving on to new jobs.

West Roxbury Rep. Edward Coppinger, a Democrat, became the first member of the 193rd General Court to formally signal his intended departure, filing a letter of resignation with the House clerk’s office just after noon on Thursday.

He’ll be the latest lawmaker to leave public service and go to work for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, a powerful trade group where he’ll fill the newly created position of head of government affairs.

Coppinger’s resignation beat that of Rep. Jon Santiago, who last week announced he is leaving the Legislature to head the Veteran’s Services Department. Gov. Maura Healey handpicked the Boston Democrat and major in the U.S. Army Reserve to serve as the department’s first cabinet-level secretary, effective March 1. Santiago, who is also an emergency medicine physician, still had not filed a formal resignation notice as of Thursday afternoon.

The lawmakers’ pending departures means the House will need to schedule special elections to fill both Santiago’s Ninth Suffolk District and Coppinger’s 10th Suffolk District seat, where tens of thousands of Bostonians are soon to be without representation.

A contest over Coppinger’s West Roxbury district is already taking shape. Two people have filed paperwork with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance: Brian Gaillardetz and David Giordano.

So far, one sole candidate has been attracted to the 9th Suffolk District race to replace Santiago: Brian Kearney.

Coppinger’s leap over to MassBIO is not an uncommon path for lawmakers leaving Beacon Hill. The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout points out that Coppinger is the latest lawmaker to take a job with the influential lobbying arm.

Former Sen. Joe Boncore became the organization’s CEO when he resigned his office in September 2021. He stepped down about a year later and is being succeeded by Kendalle Burlin O’Connell.

Before Boncore, former Rep. Robert Coughlin and former House Speaker Thomas Finneran led MassBIO.

Healey gives glimpse into local aid ahead of budget rollout

The budget that Gov. Maura Healey will file next week will boost the largest source of state education aid by almost 10 percent in what the administration said would be the biggest percentage increase since the last millennium.

Local officials and then the general public got a preview of the first Healey-Driscoll state budget on Thursday when the administration shared preliminary local aid estimates based on the spending bill

State House News Service

Hedging their bets: Gaming commission investigates more Illegal bets at Encore

After self-reporting erroneous bids taken amid the sports betting rollout earlier this month, Encore assured regulators that it had addressed the problem. But Encore Boston Harbor in Everett is again under Gaming Commission scrutiny for taking forbidden bets on BC women’s hoops.

State House News Service

Overdue reform long-term care eyed for House early action

Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic thrust problems at nursing homes and similar facilities into public view, elder care advocates are optimistic that a sweeping reform bill high on the House’s agenda will address conditions that contributed to the devastation. House Speaker Ron Mariano has signaled the bill is a candidate for early action.

State House News Service

Raising the buck: Another minimum wage bump already in consideration

Efforts to increase the minimum wage in Massachusetts year-over-year have been met with a mix of resistance and enthusiasm since the so-called “grand bargain” of 2018. Now, with that $15 an hour rate finally realized as of Jan. 1, state officials are proposing another round of wage hikes. A new proposal lays out a series of four annual rate hikes to bring the standard wage up to $20 per hour by 2027. 

The Cape Cod Times

Massachusetts continues crusade for abortion access

Despite efforts to enshrine abortion access and expand care in Massachusetts in the fallout over the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, advocates say Massachusetts still faces a threat from efforts to restrict interstate travel and medication for abortions.

Northampton Democrat Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa has filed legislation that would eliminate co-payments and deductibles for reproductive health care, providing relief for those who need it.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Postpartum depression takes center stage on Beacon Hill following Duxbury child slayings

The tragic deaths last month of three young Duxbury children, allegedly killed by their own mother’s hand, has  renewed efforts on Beacon Hill to expand and increase access to perinatal mental health care.

Lindsay Clancy, the 32-year-old mother charged in the deaths, was suffering postpartum depression and psychosis due to being overmedicated after the birth of her 8-month-old son when she allegedly killed her own children before attempting to take her own life, her lawyers claim.

MetroWest Daily News

Murder or suicide? Latest on murder trial of cop who allegedly killed his wife

It’s up to jurors to decide if Amy Fanion’s death was by her own hand or by that of her police officer husband of more than 30 years who was wrapped up in a budding affair. Fanion died from a gunshot wound to her head in the couple’s home in Westfield on May 8, 2018, in front of their dining room table set with their daily lunch of peanut butter sandwiches.


Topless cannabis shop proposed in Western Mass wants to put ‘joint’ in strip joint

A longtime Western Massachusetts strip club is angling to transform the business into what could become the nation’s first topless cannabis dispensary.

Owners of Club Castaway in Whately are seeking the go-ahead from local officials.


Middlesex DA says inquest under way in Cambridge police shooting 

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan confirmed Thursday that her office has launched an inquest into the Jan. 4 fatal shooting of a college student by Cambridge police. Marc Levy of Cambridge Day reports both victim advocates and local police welcomed news of the inquiry and expressed optimism it could lead to more information about the death of 20-year-old Arif Sayed Faisal becoming public.

Cambridge Day

Holyoke police audit finds department poses ‘substantial risk’ to city

An outside audit of the Holyoke police department found the agency poses “substantial risk” to the city and suggests “drastic steps” be taken, including seeking accreditation in the future, the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s James Pentland reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Would-be cops running into trouble on fitness test, Fall River chief says

Fall River’s police chief says the department is running into a problem as it tries to boost staffing: As many as half of the recruits who start the process of becoming a cop cannot complete the physical fitness requirements, which include a timed 1.5 mile run. Dan Medeiros of the Herald-News has the details.

The Herald News

State changes lanes on Sumner closure 

State transportation officials say they will close the Sumner Tunnel to all traffic for two months this summer, half as long as originally planned. But the Herald’s Gayla Cawley reports the move means the tunnel will also be closed for two months during the summer of 2024.

The Boston Herald

Weekend political and policy talk shows

Keller@Large, Sunday, 8:30 a.m, WBZ-TV: Political analyst Jon Keller’s guest is Ed Flynn, Boston City Council president, on the rent control debate, crime concerns, expansion of city nightlife 

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MASSterList editor Erin Tiernan is an award-winning reporter who brings a decade's worth of experience covering state and local politics from the halls of the State House to city streets. Her work can be found in The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, MassLive and Wicked Local. She was the New England Newspaper and Press Association's 2019 Reporter of the Year.