Happening today:

**A number of events planned for Tuesday have been canceled or postponed as a blustery nor'easter wallops the state, bringing heavy winds and dropping over a foot of snow on some regions.

9 a.m. | Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership hosts the 44th annual Simmons Leadership Conference for women featuring Gloria Estefan, three-time Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy, and TIME Magazine women of the year awardees Masih Alinejad and Quinta Brunson.

9: 30 a.m. | Lt. Kim Driscoll to go live on Talk the Talk with Bill Newman and Buz Eisenberg. | WHMP 101.5 FM, 1240 and 1400 AM

10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission holds an adjudicatory hearing on Encore Boston Harbor's acceptance of a wager on a Boston College women's basketball game against Notre Dame on Feb. 2, in violation of the state betting law that prohibits betting on in-state college games. Since then, Encore reported another violation, again involving BC women's hoops.

10 a.m. | Mass. Climate Action Network, Boston Society of Architects, and Carbon Leadership Forum Boston/Northeast Hub hold virtual press briefing about "how Massachusetts is falling behind as other states reduce the hidden climate impact of buildings."

10:30 a.m. | Congresswoman Pressley visits Dorchester to celebrate $250,000 in new "community project funding" she helped to secure for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Pressley will be joined by Big Sister President & CEO Annissa Essaibi George | 135 Humboldt Ave., Dorchester

10:45 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey speaks at the 104th annual Massachusetts Building Trades Unions convention.....MGM Springfield, 1 MGM Way, Springfield

11 a.m. | Boston Mayor Wu is a guest on GBH's "Boston Public Radio" | GBH 89.7

12:30 p.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission holds an adjudicatory hearing on Plainridge Park Casino's acceptance of wagers on a Feb. 2 Merrimack College men's basketball game against Long Island University after the sportsbook's vendor Kambi "mistakenly assigned the participant school state for Merrimack College as Florida instead of Massachusetts," according to commission investigators.

1 p.m. | House Division Chair Rep. Ruth Balser and House Judiciary Chair Rep. Mike Day host a virtual budget briefing for House members and staff to hear presentations from civil legal aid attorneys about legal issues faced by low-income residents, and "the need for additional funding in FY24 to support this essential work. | Contact Laura Booth at lbooth@equaljusticecoalition.org for more information

New polling suggests widespread support among voters for yet another minimum wage hike, but as advocates ponder a ballot petition, the question remains if it will be handled legislatively.

Especially with business groups already winding up for a fight.

Getting down to the numbers: 59% of Bay State voters said they would support raising the minimum wage in Massachusetts to $20 an hour compared to 33% who are opposed and 7% who are undecided, according to the results of a new Change Research survey poll conducted on behalf of Northwind Strategies of 711 likely voters that was shared first with MASSterList.

The strong results “surprised” Northwind Strategies founder Doug Rubin as the Bay State’s bottom wage just hit $15 in January, making it the fourth-highest in the nation after Washington, D.C. ($16.10), Washington state ($15.74) and California ($15.50), according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Bills were filed by Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester (SD 2032) and Reps. Tram Nguyen of Andover and Daniel Donahue of Worcester (HD 3965) that would raise the minimum wage by $1.25 per hour each year until it reaches $20 in 2027, where it would be tied to the consumer price index.

The deep-pocketed faction of organized labor and community groups, Raise Up Massachusetts, behind the first wage hike and a just-passed millionaire-tax ballot initiative on Friday filed campaign finance paperwork to organize yet another ballot campaign.

It’s a tactic “to force the issue a bit” on Beacon Hill, Executive Director of the SEIU State Council Harris Gruman said at a time when the high costs of housing, child care, health care and more have caused 110,000 to flee the state since COVID struck.

A single person living in Boston-Cambridge-Newton needs to earn $22.59 per hour to live comfortably, according to MIT’s “Living Wage” calculator.

Gov. Maura Healey, who has made affordability and competitiveness a cornerstone of her brand new administration, has said the minimum wage should keep up with the cost of living. An aide told MASSterList she “would review any legislation that reaches her desk” — a noncommittal answer that indicates the first-term governor who’s trying to build a pro-business reputation is likely to stay out of any wage debate.

Legislative leaders have so far let little slip over where a wage hike bill sits on their list of session priorities. 

Businesses have promised an uphill battle for the initiative they say would further burden business owners already facing ballooning costs of doing business and the highest income taxes in the nation.

If the unions continue to “leverage Beacon Hill,” Hurst said businesses will be forced to “leverage the unions” in an effort to block another wage hike.

Read more about the poll on State House News.

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What’s the point of public discourse if it’s not a little rough around the edges? WBZ political analyst Jon Keller said Bay Staters won’t have to find out. His latest column dives into the Supreme Judicial Court’s recent decision upholding folks’ right to be “rude and insulting” in public meetings.


MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, or critical incident: 0

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 267

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 68 days without either being filled.

Slow zones the new norm for T commuters

MBTA officials are asking T riders for “patience” and recommending they plan for at least an extra 20 minutes into their commutes as Tuesday brings the sixth consecutive day of widespread slowdowns on subway lines into Boston — just the latest disruption to slow and snarl commutes in recent months.

The Boston Globe | GBH State House News

Incoming: Healey announces hiring panel in State Police colonel search

In her search for a new State Police colenel with “integrity and managerial competence” to lead the department, Gov. Maura Healey could be the first to take advantage of a provision of the 2020 policing reform law allowing the State Police colonel to be hired from outside of the department’s current ranks. She’s announced a six-member panel to help guide the process.

State House News Service

Bleeding out: Mass. hospitals spend $1.5B on temporary workers

Temporary staffing costs at the state’s hospitals are skyrocketing amid a chronic shortage of nurses and other health care workers.

That’s according to a new report by the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, which found that hospitals spent more than $1.5 billion on staffing costs in 2022, a more than 150% increase over the previous year. More than 77% of payroll costs were for temporary registered nurses, the report said.

The Eagle Tribune

Bank on it: Advice for Mass. account holders after SVB collapse

The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank have prompted some local banks to post online and social media messages about their differences from these banks and the unique insurance fund that protects all deposits at almost three-quarters of Massachusetts-based banks.

More than two dozen customers lined up outside Silicon Valley Bank’s Wellesley office Monday, waiting hours to withdraw their money from the failed institution after regulators pledged to make all the funds available.

Banker & Tradesman WBUR | WSJ | Bloomberg

Massachusetts doctor long sounded alarm on faulty preterm birth drug

Massachusetts Dr. Adam Urato has pushed back for two decades on the only pill the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ever approved to prevent preterm births, which happen in about 10% of pregnancies and can cause life-long consequences. Makena. It was widely accepted by doctors and promoted as the best care available for high-risk pregnancies. But Urato wasn’t confident. He was right.


Right whales giving boaters a slow zone south of Cape, islands

Another slow zone has been added south of Martha’s Vineyard due to the presence of North Atlantic right whales, which analysts say are one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.

NOAA reported Monday that a New England Aquarium aerial survey team on Friday detected the presence of right whales south of the Vineyard. Teams also redetected the presence of right whales south and southeast of Nantucket. All of the right whale slow zones are in effect through March 25.

State House News Service

Boston Police fire outspoken Covid critics

The Boston Police Department has fired a sergeant and a patrol officer who were among the loudest critics of the city’s Covid vaccine mandate for first responders. Sergeant Shana Cottone, who led multiple protests outside the home of Mayor Michelle Wu, and officer Joseph Abasciano, who was known to be under investigation for possibly being in Washington during the Jan. 6 riots, were both fired in what unions say was a political move orchestrated by the mayor herself.

The Boston Globe | The Boston Herald

Matter of time: Spilka says East-West rail definitely on the way  

During a tour of Union Station in Palmer, Senate President Karen Spilka said it is no longer a matter of if but when the state will build out an East-West rail connection from Boston to Springfield and beyond. Spilka cited the tight labor market as one factor pushing the project toward fruition, though MassLive’s Jim Kinney reports she didn’t have any news on when the legislature might be ready to act.


Berkshire lawmakers back student school board member’s quest for voting power 

Lawmakers from the Berkshires are among those getting behind a bill that would give voting power to student members of the state’s school committees, where they currently serve in an advisory role only. The Berkshire Eagle’s Sten Spinella reports just one state, Maryland, currently gives student board representatives full voting status.

The Berkshire Eagle

Chatham eyes senior center in quest for ‘attainable housing’ 

Voters at Chatham Town Meeting will be asked to greenlight a plan that not only builds a new senior center but converts the current one into desperately needed housing aimed for the local workforce, Zane Razzaq of the Cape Cod Times reports. 

Cape Cod Times

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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.