9:30 a.m. | U.S. Army forum to highlight scholarships and career pathways available to high school students who chose to join the Army. The U.S. Army seeks to help educators understand future possibilities for students looking for such a career path," the Army said. Media must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-966-4764 and email@example.com or 508-681-5936. | Gillette Stadium, One Patriot Pl., Foxborough
11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Latino Empowerment holds its first meeting, but it's closed to press. | Governor’s Office (Room 360)
1:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey gives remarks at the Massachusetts Gold Star Spouses Recognition Day event. Lt. Gov. Driscoll and Veterans’ Services Secretary Santiago also attend, and this event is open to the press. | Senate Reading Room
Noon | Lt. Gov. Driscoll chairs a meeting of the Governor's Council; | Council Chamber
Noon | SEIU Local 509, union workers from the Mass. Commission for the Blind, and advocates hold a "speak-out" event calling for the removal of the Commission for the Blind Commissioner David D'Arcangelo. The union cites "deterioration of services at the agency." D'Arcangelo, a Republican who ran against Secretary Galvin in 2014, was appointed commissioner of the MCB in 2018 by Gov. Baker. | State House front steps
4:15 p.m. | Congressman Jim McGovern joins Worcester Zero Fare Coalition, bus riders and community leaders from "the outer towns" to support the free fare program ahead of an expected Worcester Regional Transit Advisory Board vote in the coming weeks. | Millbury Senior Center, River St, Millbury
A federal corruption conviction hasn’t kept former Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi off of Beacon Hill, just as an indictment won’t keep former President Donald Trump off the campaign trail or, maybe, out of the White House.
Trump became the first ex-president to utter “not guilty” in a court of law after he was indicted last week on 34 felony charges of falsifying documents to hide a “hush money” payment to a porn star.
In Massachusetts, state political history is replete with legal difficulties that the local press found as riveting as national and international journalists are finding this unprecedented moment. Many a misguided elected official has made the unfortunate journey from General Court to criminal courts. A partial retrospective:
DiMasi retired from the House in January 2009 three months after his indictment on federal extortion and corruption charges, and became the third consecutive House Speaker to become a convicted felon due to crimes committed in office
After serving five years in prison, DiMasi went back to work on Beacon Hill – as a lobbyist. He’s been registered since 2020, despite Secretary of State William Galvin’s best efforts to block him. The SJC ruled in January that a federal conviction doesn’t block DiMasi – or anyone else – from lobbying at the state level..
His mentor and predecessor Thomas Finneran was convicted of obstruction of justice for making “misleading and/or false statements” while under oath regarding his participation in the 2000 redistricting process where a court found maps were drawn to favor white incumbents.
Before that, former House Speaker Charles Flaherty was in 1996 fined $50,000 for tax evasion and taking free vacation housing from lobbyists.
Other notable notorious names from the wrong side of the law: Joseph DiCarlo was the first lawmaker to be expelled from the state Senate in 1977, after he was convicted of extorting a developer. Much more recently, Former Lowell Rep. David Nangle was chairman of the Ethics Committee when he was arrested in February 2020 and later pleaded guilty to using his campaign account as a revenue stream to sustain a gambling habit. He was sentenced to serve 15 months. And Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is serving six years in federal prison after being convicted of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from cannabis companies competing to open in his city.
It wasn’t a corruption conviction that embroiled Massachusetts’ premiere political elite in scandal, but a late-night car crash in Chappaquiddick in 1969. Ted Kennedy’s plunge off the bridge killed his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. He pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence. The incident and its aftermath could well have cost him the presidency, but he continued to serve in Congress until his death in 2009 and redeemed himself to the point at which he was called “The Lion of the Senate.”
As of now, Trump of course is presumed innocent – by the justice system, by roughly 45 of his fellow citizens, and let’s call it 10 percent of Manhattan. And given his recent rebound in at least the GOP primary polls, it’s just possible that this court case will flip the Kennedy scenario on its head, and send Trump toward a presidential win that otherwise would have eluded him. Stranger things have happened – though, let’s face it, not too many.
Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 12
Days with localized speed restrictions: 26
Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 287
On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 90 days without the position being filled.
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Tax relief priorities emerge on Beacon Hill
Gov. Maura Healey took was lawmakers are calling a good “first step” toward laying out tax relief priorities. As House Speaker Ron Mariano finishes up his own package of cuts, expected this month, senior care advocates see an opportunity to push for a tax credit for family caregivers. A bill by Rep. David Rogers and Sen. Jason Lewis bill (H 2932 / S 764) would create a $1,500 tax credit for costs associated with taking care of elderly or disabled family members.
In the spotlight: Massachusetts community colleges
Community colleges are having a moment, with the Healey administration having placed $20 million to make attendance free for older returning students, and the state’s employers crying out for people with job skills in sectors from childcare to chip manufacture.
Along with the rest of us, Lt. Gov. Driscoll is eager to see what becomes of that MassReconnect initiative in the House budget, likely to be unveiled next week. So a ribbon-cutting she attended yesterday at the Leominster campus of Wachusett Community College carried a bit more import than it normally would.
One recurring theme of speakers at that event – the role community colleges play in closing the state’s (and nation’s) racial educational equity gap. Congressman Jim McGovern, Sen. John Cronin, Rep. Michael Kushmereck and Gardner Mayor Mike Nicholson were also on hand.
Head of Mass Commission for the blind to step down
David D’Arcangelo, who was named to lead the commission in 2018 by Baker’s administration, will leave his post Friday following a report by The Boston Globe that detailed turmoil within the agency, including allegations of verbal abuse, questionable spending, and subpar services.
Mass medical community wants to continue masking in health clinics, hospitals
Health groups are urging the Healey administration to continue universal masking in health care settings as the clock winds down on federal and state public health emergencies for COVID-19, which lift on May 11. Massachusetts was among several states that maintained universal masking in health care settings as the CDC eased restrictions, but plans to lift that rule come May, writes Kay Lazar for The Boston Globe.
Body camera data, footage create ‘incredible strain’ for DAs
District attorneys are finding themselves overloaded with footage as officer-worn cameras and body cam footage become a more regular piece of evidence in court cases. Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni told lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday that the uploading, downloading, viewing and streaming of body camera footage “has caused an incredible strain,” writes Colin Young of State House News Service.
Ex-Cop turned Republican state rep wants to legalize magic mushrooms
Actually, Southwick state Rep. Nicholas Boldyga has offered three pieces of legislation that would see a broad range of psychedelic drugs, including magic mushrooms, made legal for adult use, writes Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. It’s an unexpected proposal from the Republican lawmaker “widely regarded as the most conservative” in the Legislature, but he says the substances could help those suffering from mental health issues. Bay Staters for Natural Medicine helped pen the bills.
Gobble gobble: Randy turkeys harassing Dedham residents
Police in Dedham are offering safety tips to help residents avoid aggressive turkeys that have reportedly been “following” and “intimidating” people as breeding season ramps up through May, writes Rick Sobey for The Boston Herald. Several residents, including a USPS letter carrier have reported incidents to Dedham Police
Cars retake Memorial Drive on Saturdays in Cambridge
Memorial Drive between Gerry’s Landing Road and Western Avenu has been shuttered to motor vehicle traffic on spring and summer weekends throughout the pandemic in an effort to give better access to the Charles River waterfront. But despite city support to continue the full-weekend closure to cars, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation has voted to reopen car traffic on Saturdays, keeping Sunday-only closures.
Easthampton meeting crashes amid outrage over “ladies” comment, withdrawn job offer
The Easthampton School Committee–which sparked local outrage and grabbed headlines when it retracted a job offer to a would-be superintendent after he used the word “ladies” to refer to female board members in an email–was forced to cancel its meeting Tuesday night after hundreds tried to join remotely. Emily Thurlow of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has the details on the scene that unfolded and what might happen next.
Wealthy neighbors still trying to Nantucket clam shack
Two weeks after the Nantucket Select Board rejected their arguments against liquor and entertainment licenses for a proposed clam shack on Old North Wharf, a group of wealthy neighbors that includes billionaire money managers Charles Johnson and Charles Schwab is continuing its efforts to stop the proposal. Jason Graziadei of the Nantucket Current reports an attorney for the neighbors has asked the Conservation Commission to halt work on the proposed fish market while also exploring possible state-level appeals to authorities such as the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
On the move, again: Augustus leaves Dean College post after 9 months
Former state senator and Worcester city manager Ed Augustus Jr. will leave his role as chancellor of Dean College after just nine months. Augustus was the first person to hold the post and indicated in a note to the Franklin college’s board that the school would be better served under the singular leadership of President Kenneth Elmore, who was hired at the same time. Augustus, who last held elected office in 2009, said he’s not sure what he’ll do next.
Southbridge teachers union demands changes after high school gun incident
The union representing teachers in Southbridge is demanding school leadership explain why the high school wasn’t locked down in the wake of a March incident in which a student posted a video of himself showing off a gun in a school bathroom. The Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton reports the union also wants new safety protocols put in place for the district, which has operated under state receivership since 2016.