Happening Today:

8:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey meets with business officials to speak at a breakfast hosted by the New England Council. | Seaport Hotel, Plaza Ballroom, One Seaport Lane, Boston

11:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey offers remarks at the funeral service of the late Boston civil rights leader Mel King. As "a tribute to Mr. King," the family has invited guests to wear bow ties. Tickets are required for admission due to limited capacity. | Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Ave., Boston

11:30 a.m. | Former Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, former Democratic candidate for governor Danielle Allen, and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey are among the speakers at Harvard Business School Association's 2023 Nonprofit Board Summit that includes an hour of networking and refreshments. | Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston

1 p.m. | Gov. Healey's proposal to create a housing secretariat is on the agenda at the Local Government Advisory Commission, among other items. | Room 157, State House

6 p.m. | Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver a speech at the Kennedy Library ahead of a forum on combatting hate.

Here’s your Keller At Large Sportsbook “Empty Your Pockets Parlay” of new sporting events likely to be approved for wagering at a future Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting:

  • Nitro Rallycross “NRX,” where modified street cars hurdle 100-foot-gap jumps;
  • Power Slap, the new fighting league where contestants slap the crap out of each other, brought to you by the folks behind UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), new owners of the totally-on-the-level WWE pro-wrestling brand;
  • Street League Skateboarding, featuring special tricks performed on stairs, benches and handrails;
  • Pro Minigolf, with extra payoffs for dodging the windmill and a hole-in-one in the whale’s mouth.

Ok, we made up those minigolf course descriptions. But every other ridiculous detail of our EYP Parlay is straight from the agenda of the MGC’s most recent meeting, which featured an extraordinarily rare event – the commission actually said no to a gambling industry ask.

The request came from sports bookie DraftKings – perhaps you’ve heard of them a few thousand times if you listen to the radio, watch TV, drive on roads with billboards or know a gambling addict in the making. DraftKings had the king-sized nerve to lob in a request to take bets on the Boston Marathon just 11 days before the race date. “Our concerns include, but are not limited to, ensuring event security and potential influence on the outcome of the race,” wrote BAA Marketing Director Scott Stover in opposition.

Ya think? But as internationally-renowned gaming industry expert Father Richard McGowan of Boston College points out, “why shouldn’t DraftKings think they could get away with it? They’ve gotten away with everything else.”

Them and all the other operators who’ve rushed in to exploit the MGC’s flaccid oversight and turn the onset of sports betting into an explosion of excessive, outrageously manipulative advertising accompanied by the overnight conversion of sports broadcasting into a tout sheet. “They have really let the cat out of the bag right now and there is no way of putting it back in,” says McGowan.

It didn’t have to go down this way. Other states have limited or even banned some types of advertising. Some actually vetted sports book licensees instead of waving through sketchball operators like Barstool (“bet your house, kids and family”).

All for chump change. When sports betting was OK’d last year, supporters projected roughly $60 million in annual tax revenue, a rounding error in the state budget. Meanwhile, observers predict upwards of $5.5 billion in total take from local suckers.

Clueless lawmakers here set the tax rate way too low, 20% for online wagers. New Hampshire grabs 51%, as does New York and Rhode Island. And given how simple the technology appears to be, McGowan wonders “why didn’t the state just do this, period,” and pocket 100% of the profit?

Odd and parlays (gimme the Kenyan package once Marathon betting begins!) are ultra-easy to access. Not so data on gambling addiction and the social damage it can cause. But the carnage will manifest eventually, as the generation of addicts being groomed right now starts to pad the bankruptcy, crime and rehab stats.

When that happens, even the sleepy doorkeepers at the MGC might wake up. “That’s when you‘re gonna start seeing calls for reform,” predicts McGowan. “That’s when we’ll start asking: what have we let loose?”

MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, crash, falling debris, or critical incident: 5

*An MBTA bus collided with a vehicle on Forest Hills Avenue in Jamaica Plain April 5.

Days with localized speed restrictions: 32

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 293

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 96 days without the position being filled.

Ms. Achusetts: Women in office in the Bay State band together to protect abortion access

It was who’s who of women in Massachusetts politics that gathered in on the State House steps on Monday to stand their ground on abortion access — including to the abortion pill, mifepristone.

From Gov. Healey to Senate President Karen Spilka, Attorney General Andrea Campbell, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu vowed to work together to “stockpile” and distribute the abortion pill and provide greater protections for health workers providing care to out-of-state women.

Spilka decried the Friday ruling by a Texas judge revoking FDA approval of mifepristone — a drug that’s been on the market for over 20 years. The Ashland Democrat said it is “anti-Democratic for one man — forget about a few men.” The ruling comes around the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs leak.

Speaker of the House Ron Mariano was the sole man to speak at Monday’s press conference — or as Healey referred to him, “a good man in this fight.”

Pressley tipped her hat to her fellow female in office: Healey. The Boston rep said of Healey’s response, “damn it feels good to have leadership in the corner office.”

Here to stay: State leaders vow continued access to abortion

A ruling by a federal judge last week that suspended FDA approval of abortion pill mifepristone was “anti-Democratic,” nearly every state, local and federal official who took the mic at a Monday press conference said. But they’re taking every action to block its reach anyway. The state is “stockpiling” the pills. A new executive order by Healey also seeks to clarify that medical abortion and mifepristone are covered by a state law passed last year that helps shield providers from out-of-state prosecution

State House News Service

In partnership with UMass, the state has amassed over 15,000 mifepristone pills — over a year’s supply at a cost of about $675,000, writes Martha Bebinger for WBUR. The Healey administration has budgeted up to $1 million for the pills.

The Boston Herald | WBUR

Green light: New general manager takes over MBTA

There’s a new GM in town. Gov. Maura Healey’s pick to lead the MBTA, Philip Eng, arrived to his first day on the job in style — via the Green Line.

Healey called the GM pick her “most important appointment” yet.  Eng, the former Long Island Rail Road president, has been credited with turning around New York’s tardy transit system. He hopes to implement a similar 180 in Boston.

NBC 10

It’s tax relief day for the House on Beacon Hill

The House’s long-awaited tax relief package that was first teased on the heels of Gov. Maura Healey’s own plan to provide about a $1 billion in annual cuts, sees the light of day on Tuesday, House Speaker Ron Mariano told reporters, State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski reported. He revealed very few details about the forthcoming package, saying only that it will be “based on a lot of the things that we had talked about” last year when lawmakers initially approved a suite of tax code changes and then backed away from the topic.

“Everything is on the table,” Mariano repeated when pressed on specific policies.

State House News Service The Boston Herald

Bow ties all around: Remembrance for Boston legend Mel King continues Tuesday

Mourners gathered outside the Union United Methodist Church in Boston in droves on Monday as they began to pay their respects to a venerable city leader, Mel King. King — a politician, a community organizer and an advocate, a mentor. Died late last month at age 94. His early 1980s mayoral campaign is believed to have helped begin to heal a racially divided city, writes Alvin Buyinza for MassLive..


Read  what other Black Boston leaders, including former Mayor Kim Janey, had to say as they remembered the lat Mel King. 


Code blue: Hospitals, clinics suffering from nursing shortages

Staffing shortages among nurses are plaguing every part of the health care system. The Globe’s Jessica Bartlett says the lack of nurses is pushing some hospitals to controversial ends from mandated on-call shifts to mandatory overtime. Over at State House News Service, Sam Drysdale writes from the nursing home angle, but says the Legislature is considering bills that could curb the effects by increasing wages, imposing higher civil penalties for things like elder abuse elder abuse and regulating travel nurses.

The Boston Globe | State House News Services

Revere mayor to take over as DCR commissioner

The mayor of Revere — the city that lays claim to the oldest public beach — will soon leave to takeover as the Healey administration’s Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner, where he will oversee the state’s network of public parks and beaches. Brian Arrigo plans to resign as mayor on April 21, ending a run that began in 2016, and to start work for the state on April 24.

State House News Service

Boston church stands behind exiled Tennessee lawmaker

One of Boston’s oldest Black churches is standing behind one of the two Black state representatives who were expelled from the Tennessee Legislature this week. Justin Pearson joined Union United Methodist Church when he lived in Boston. He has continued his worship, regularly tuning in for Zoom services, writes Phillip Martin of GBH.


‘Ladies’ controversy in Easthampton culminates with new superintendent selection

Following a contentious week in Easthampton that reportedly included threats against some school committee members after the body rescinded a job offer to the candidate selected to be the next superintendent, a new superintendent will be offered the job.

The initial candidate’s offer was quickly rescinded when he invoked the word “ladies” in his response, addressing two female members who considered the language a “microaggression.”

MassLive The Boston Herald

Three day weekend every week? 2 lawmakers say ‘yes’ 

It’s no surprise the two lawmakers pushing for a four-day work week come from beach towns. Rep, writes Ross Cristantiello for Boston.com. Dylan Fernandes of Falmouth and Rep. Josh Cutler of Duxbury are looking to create a commission to study a 2-year voluntary program would let employers transition workers to a shorter work week without an overall reduction in pay.


Up to code: Lawamkers, advocates want gender neutral bathrooms standard as public restrooms

Gender-neutral bathrooms could soon be the norm, should a pair of lawyers get their wish an push through a change in the state building code to allow the stalls in new construction and renovations of buildings

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hot potato: North Adams needs a city clerk, again 

The North Adams City Council is once again seeking a permanent city clerk after Josh Vallieres, a recent college graduate appointed by a divided council just last summer, said the risk of burnout was forcing him to resign the job. The Berkshire Eagle’s Greta Jochem reports the next clerk will be the fourth to hold the position in about two years.

The Berkshire Eagle

Crabby: Culinary trend is good news for Cape fishing industry 

Some Cape Cod-based fishing boats facing restrictions as right whales pass through say they’re catching a break thanks to a surge in market demand for Jonah crabs, the vast majority of which are harvested in the Bay State, Denise Coffey of the Cape Cod Times reports.

The Cape Cod Times

Warren teams with AOC to call for disclosures about failed bank 

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are partnering on a push to get the largest depositors in the failed Silicon Valley Bank to disclose more details of their relationships with the banks–including whether executives received personal perks from the institution before its collapse sent shockwaves through the financial world last month.

The Hill

Homecoming: Driscoll will speak at Salem State commencement 

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll will be one of the featured speakers at next month’s commencement at Salem State University, addressing graduates of the Bertolon School of Business at Salem State University. As Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports, Driscoll will be returning to the campus she graduated from in 1989, in the city she led as mayor until earlier this year.

Salem News

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Jon Keller has been reporting and commenting on local politics since 1978. A graduate of Brandeis University, he worked in radio as a producer and talk-show host before moving into print journalism at The Tab newspapers and the Boston Phoenix. Freelance credits include the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Boston Magazine, the New Republic and the Washington Post. Since 1991 his "Keller At Large" commentaries and interviews have been a fixture on Boston TV, first on WLVI-TV and, since 2005, on WBZ-TV. He is a 12-time Emmy Award winner for political reporting and commentary. He began his Massterlist column in March 2020.