Happening today:

10:45 a.m. | Mayor Wu attends a walk-through of Fenway Park hosted by the Red Sox ahead of Opening Day. | Fenway Park, 4 Jersey St, Boston

11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey testifies before the Joint Committee on Revenue on their tax relief package, H.42, An Act creating tax relief for affordability, competitiveness and equity. Lt. Gov. Driscoll also testifies. | Room A-1 | Agenda and Livestream

11 a.m. | Rep. Ashe and Sen. Gobi host Massachusetts homeowners for a "Residents Against Crumbling Concrete" legislative advocacy day, where organizers say they will call for legislative action "aimed at addressing the pyrrhotite and crumbling foundation issue" that central Massachusetts residents face. | Room 428

1 p.m. | Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators holds briefing to talk about strategic and legislative priorities for the 193rd session. | Room 428

1 p.m. | Committee on the Judiciary takes public testimony on 11 legislative proposals to amend the state Constitution, including three measures that would linguistically account for non-male governors and lieutenant governors. | Room A-2 and Virtual | Full Agenda

6 p.m. | Mayor Wu gives remarks at the Women Veterans' Roundtable hosted by the Office of Veterans Services. | West Roxbury VA Auditorium, 1400 VFW Pwky, West Roxbury

Keller at Large

Conservatives can’t stand her and liberals say she’s not left enough, but that’s not stopping U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren from running for a third term in office. WBZ political analyst Jon Keller writes that the Senate’s foremost consumer advocate has local approval languishing in the low 40s.


Today’s News

If you read the Massachusetts Constitution, you’d never know there’s a woman in charge.

Gov. Maura Healey last year became the first woman and the first openly gay person elected governor in the Bay State. Yet in the state Constitution there are only male terms, Healey is referred to as ‘His Excellency.’ Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll is referred to as ‘His Honor.’ 

That’s something first-term state Rep. Jenny Armini of Marblehead would like to change.

“Words matter,” Armini told Patch. “Language is how we communicate our values, and it’s a tool by which citizens learn who and what is important.”

Armini wants to add “Her” and “Their” versions of both titles with a pair of proposals (H 30H 31). Sen. Will Brownsberger’s proposal (S 10) would replacing male-only pronouns with “he or she” and “his or her.”

Armini will testify before the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday pressing to “capture the progress made” for women serving on Beacon Hill and set the stage for non-binary lawmakers by using inclusive language in the Constitution. 

Women first stepped into the State House as lawmakers in 1923, but the state’s nearly 250-year-old Constitution is still 100 years behind in recognizing that women have a place in government.

Armini, who served as chief speechwriter for former acting Gov. Jane Swift, said the exclusion of “her” “speaks to a different time in our nation’s history.”

As of this year, five of the state’s six constitutional officers are women. Massachusetts is the only state in the nation to have women serving in both the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s offices.

Women make up just 30% of the state Senate, with 12 total members and 32% of the House, with 51 members. The ratio doesn’t quite reflect the state population where over half of the 7 million residents are women — 51%, to be exact. 

Armini is hopeful progress toward a more representative Legislature can be made in part by wielding more inclusive words.

“Actions often follow accordingly,” she told Patch.

A shift toward more inclusive non-gendered language is catching on in the corporate world and in university halls, including at Yale and Penn State.

Both dropped masculine terms “freshman” and “upperclassman” in favor of the gender-neutral “first year” and “upper-level students.”

MASSterList recently got its own lesson in gendered language when a reader pushed back on use of the word “freshman” to describe Gov. Maura Healey’s fledgling administration.

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MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 6

Days with localized speed restrictions: 18

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 279

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 82 days without the position being filled.

Full speed ahead: New GM has track record of getting transit system on time

Longtime engineer and former President of the Long Island Rail Road Phillip Eng will become the next general manager at the MBTA as Gov. Maura Healey’s administration sets out to put the ailing transit agency on firmer footing. Eng could earn more than $500,000 per year.

His appointment ends a months-long search process that began before Healey took the oath of office.

State House News Service | WHDH | The Boston Globe

No opposition for Housing secretary under Healey administration

Massachusetts could have its first housing secretary on May 1. The process for reorganizing the bureaucratic structure of state government does not follow a bill’s typical path through the Legislature, and instead is tied to a compressed schedule for consideration. The committee has 10 days after the public hearing to report on the plan, and the Legislature then has 60 days to approve or disapprove of the proposal. Unlike a typical bill, the measure is also not subject to amendment. If the branches don’t act on it within those 60 days, then Healey’s plan would take effect,

State House News Service

RMV could see flood of new drivers with access for undocumented immigrants

If all 200,000 newly-eligible undocumented immigrants apply for a driver’s license next fiscal year, their applications would far exceed the number of first-time license applications the Registry of Motor Vehicles issues every year. On average, about 120,000 people in Massachusetts get a driver’s license for the first time each year, according to the Department of Transportation.

State House News Service

Evictions climbing in Massachusetts pressure Beacon Hill to act

Evictions are spiking in Boston and across Massachusetts putting state legislators under increasing pressure to extend key COVID-era protections for tenants that are slated to expire next week. Adam Reilly of GBH is joined by Andrea Park, the director of community driven advocacy at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and state Representative Mike Connolly to discuss that push and the political challenges currently facing legislation that could mitigate housing insecurity.


Robert Kraft launches campaign against Jewish hate amid anti-Semitic reports

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has seeded a $25 million campaign to ‘Stand Up To Jewish Hate’ as anti-Semitic reported incidents spike to record highs across the region and country. Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism announced its new initiative for all Americans — and especially non-Jews — to #StandUpToJewishHate by using the blue square emoji on social media as a unifying symbol of support.

The Boston Herald

AG Campbell says credit card companies can help fight gun violence

Last week, Campbell joined 13 attorneys general from other states in sending a letter to the four major credit card companies, urging them to help “disrupt” gun violence. Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover earlier this month announced a pause on plans to adopt a new code distinctly categorizing sales at gun stores, a feature supporters say would help flag suspicious purchases made with credit cards.


It’s ice: Unpredictable weather strains snow, ice budgets

Snow totals are the lowest in years, but plows and salt trucks were on the streets more than ever as MassDOT battled a “major increase” in weather events, including ice storms that require massive resources, State House News Service reports. Officials say climate change has made weather more unpredictable and snow and ice removal budgets harder to plan as a result.

State House News Service

Bank of America signs on for a decade as Boston Marathon sponsor

Bank of America has signed a 10-year deal to become the new sponsor of the Boston Marathon starting in 2024, replacing insurance company John Hancock. The event will surpass $500 million in money raised for charity since 1989 this year. The marathon has an economic impact of $200 million annually on Greater Boston.

Boston Business Journal

Auburn school chief who resigned amid dissertation probe gets second chance

The former superintendent of schools in Auburn, who departed after a teacher questioned the veracity of his PhD dissertation, has landed a principal’s job in the Quaboag Regional School District, the Telegram’s Brad Petrishen reports. Though Auburn was largely mum on his departure last spring, Casey Handfield now acknowledges his academic missteps, which prompted Johns Hopkins University to rescind his doctorate.

Telegram & Gazette

Waiting list: Warren’s re-election bid reminds young Bay State pols of roadblocks to ascension

Jess Bidgood and Tal Kopan explore what U.S. Sen. Elizbaeth Warren’s decision to seek a third term means for other Bay State pols who want opportunities to move up the ranks. With both Senate seats potentially locked up for the foreseeable future, members of the state’s Congressional delegation and even those in state-level posts with D.C. dreams of their own are being forced to play the long game.

The Boston Globe

Back at it: State seal panel rolls up sleeves, again 

After blowing past its original deadline for a report, the Special Commission on the Official Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth says it is ready to restart efforts to suggest changes now that Gov. Healey has proposed a fresh deadline later this year, the AP’s Mark Pratt reports. 

The Gloucester Times

Meanwhile, voters at town meetings in Ipswich and Swampscott will be among those taking up non-binding referenda in support of changing the state seal and flag. 

The Salem News

‘Damaging:’ Chamber of Commerce hammers New Bedford on rent control question

The head of the One SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce is the latest to blast the New Bedford City Council for advancing what he calls “damaging” ballot questions– including one on whether residents want rent control in the city–without first soliciting public input.

New Bedford Light

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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.