9 a.m. | March of Dimes meets with lawmakers as part of the organization's annual March For Change to advocate for better health care for mothers and children. March of Dimes Report Card | State House
9 a.m. | Mass. Health Connector Board meets. The Connector is preparing for a flood of new enrollees as Massachusetts residents who qualified for Medicaid under expanded COVID-19 provisions lose their MassHealth coverage.
9 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors Audit and Finance Subcommittee meets virtually.
9:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey attends annual "Saving by Shaving" event to support Boston Children's Hospital | 150 Newport Ave. Ext., Quincy
10 a.m. | Lottery Commission holds public hearing on regulatory amendments that would formally "terminate" the unsuccessful All Or Nothing game and reflect its successor, the new roulette-style Wheel Of Luck game that launched on Jan. 19. | Dial (972) 301-8269, Conference ID 687061386#
10 a.m. | Mass. Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence hosts an advocacy day. | Room 428
10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets and is expected to vote to issue certificates of operation for the seven mobile betting platforms that plan to launch Friday.
11:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey visits small businesses in East Somerville to promote her administration's Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program, joined by Somerville Mayor Ballantyne, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Hao, and MA Growth Capital Corporation CEO Larry Andrews. | Mudflat Pottery School, 81 Broadway; Rincon Mexicana, 99 Broadway; Gauchao Brazilian Cuisine, 102 Broadway; Rei da Picanha, 129 Broadway; East Somerville Main Streets, 149 Broadway
5:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey speaks at Jewish Community Relations Council's annual legislative reception. Senate President Spilka is also scheduled to speak. | UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston
It’s about to get much easier to bet on sports in Massachusetts with the upcoming launch of mobile wagering at 10 a.m. on Friday.
First, the state Gaming Commission meets today where it is expected to vote to issue certificates of operation for the seven mobile betting platforms that plan to launch Friday. The commission will also continue its review of mobile betting operators’ house rules, according to the agenda.
Overall, the state will authorize 15 online sports betting licenses. Eight of those are tied to casinos or racetracks. Commissioners are slated to meet at 10 a.m. The meeting will be livestreamed at massgaming.com.
The opening of mobile sports betting platforms means gamblers will be able to place bets with the touch of their finger from their cell phones without ever having to leave the couch.
It also means more revenue for the state. Online sports betting includes a 20% tax rate compared to the 15% tax rate for retail (in-person) betting. Massachusetts sports betting law prohibits people from betting on in-state college teams other than when those teams are playing in tournaments. That includes conference tournaments of four or more teams and hockey’s Beanpot tournament.
Lawmakers estimate the state could see as much as $60 million in tax revenue from sports wagering.
Massachusetts sportsbooks took in almost $511,000 in wagers when retail betting debuted at the state’s three casinos on Jan 31, according to the Gaming Commission.
Mobile wagering is expected to quickly take over as the dominant form of betting. Thursday marks the last day would-be gamblers can cash in on sports betting promos offering pre-launch bonus bets worth up to $200, MassLive reports.
But as sportsbooks entice gamblers with promos and online ads, lawyers from Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office are sounding the alarm over a lack of regulations governing ads, saying Bay Staters — and particularly people under the legal betting age of 21 — need protection from being “unduly exposed to potentially addicting products.”
First Assistant Attorney General Patrick Moore will brief commissioners on today about his concerns as mobile betting goes live.
“With this expansion, the population of gamblers — and potential problem gamblers — may grow substantially,” his unit wrote this week in a nine-page letter that makes clear the office thinks that the Gaming Commission’s sports betting regulations are not strong enough in some cases.
Boston’s rent control policy clears its first hurdle
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan to stabilize the out-of-control cost of rent in her city cleared its first major hurdle on Wednesday. City councilors voted to cap year-over-year rent hikes at 6% plus consumer price index increases, to a max of 10%. The rule would carve out exemptions for new construction and small landlords, as well as strengthening protections against evictions, writes Sean Philip Cotter of The Boston Herald. It’s a big win for Wu, writes Commonwealth Magazine’s Jennifer Smith.
More Massachusetts cities, towns explore rent caps
New Bedford City Councilor-at-large Shane Burgo announced on WBSM’s SouthCoast Tonight that he is proposing a non-binding ballot question for the 2023 city election in November that asks residents whether or not the City should enact an ordinance to stabilize rent. New Bedford’s interest comes as Boston City Councilors approve an ordinance in their city and as Somerville City Councilors launch an exploration of their own.
State law could protect teachers of color from layoffs
Lawmakers are working to change a state law that prioritizes retaining teachers with so-called professional status during layoffs. The status given to most public teachers after three years in-district, is a law that some experts say would disproportionately affect teachers of color, who are more likely than their white counterparts to be in their first or second years teaching, writes MassLive’s Alvin Buyinza.
Mass. community colleges to drop COVID-19 vax mandates
Students at Massachusetts community colleges will no longer be requited to have a COVID-19 vaccine come this summer or fall — with some exceptions, writes GBH’s Kirk Carapezza. Since January 2022, the state’s 15 community colleges have mandated students and staffers receive the vaccine if they’re attending classes in person or working on campus. After this spring semester, though, the schools will lift that mandate.
Ex-state employee pays $70,000 ethics penalty
A former state programmer in the Executive Office of Education has paid a $70,000 civil penalty and admitted to violating the state’s conflict of interest law in connection with consultant hires that led to her family’s company receiving substantial recruiting fees.
The State Ethics Commission on Wednesday announced the disposition agreement involving Radhika Uppaluri, who also held positions in her family’s company, writes Michael P. Norton of State House News.
MBTA gets even slower: T adds 39 new speed restrictions
The MBTA added 39 new speed restrictions in February, making the region’s already-slow subway system even slower, reports Gayla Cawley of The Boston Herald. The T’s latest slow zone report shows 26 restrictions were lifted in February, bringing the total open restrictions to 83, an 18.5% increase over the 70 that were active at the end of January.
Walsh on leaving the cabinet, taking the chair
Outgoing U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh talks with the Globe’ s Jim Puzzanghera about his department from the Biden administration and his new gig as the head of the NHL players union. Walsh says he dreaded breaking the news to President Biden, cited some of the wins of his tenure in office and reveals he paid $1,467 to buy the chair he sat in during cabinet meetings.
Markey’s staff will be the first in the Senate to unionize
The staff of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey will become the first in the senate to organize into a union after the lawmaker gave them the green light on Wednesday. Jim Saska of Roll Call reports Markey voluntarily recognized the union on Wednesday and notes that Markey’s 2020 re-election campaign staff also formed a bargaining unit with his blessing.
State toll revenue nearly back to pre-COVID levels
The Department of Transportation says state toll revenue has rebounded nearly all the way back to 2019 levels as drivers return to the roads after a nearly three-year Covid-related lull, Chris Lisinski of State House News Service reports. The state’s toll take is currently just $5 million below fiscal year 2019 levels.
Somerville board votes to remove all police from schools
The Somerville School Committee has voted to permanently remove all police officers from city schools, a change pushed by a parents’ group in the wake of a 2019 incident involving a 6-year-old that drew national headlines. Marc Levy of Cambridge Day has the details.