Happening Today:

2:30 | Gov. Maura Healey participates in the first meeting of the Economic Development Planning Council. Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Secretary Hao also join. | Room 428

9:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends the Roxbury Coffee Hour. | Marcella Playground, 260 Highland Street, Roxbury

2 p.m. | Sen. President Spilka visits the site of the David Mindess Elementary School. The new school building site was cleared in November and December of 2021 that is slated to open to students this fall. | .90 Concord St., Ashland

6:30 p.m. | Attorney General Andrea Campbell accepts the Mass. Black Lawyers Association's Trailblazer Award and speak at the association's 50th annual gala. | InterContinental Hotel, 510 Atlantic Ave., Boston

Massachusetts is compelling many to flee to less expensive states as the cost of living continues to climb.

How bad is it? IRS data show 110,000 have left since the pandemic began, not a good trend in a state with a workforce shortage.

Beacon Hill wants to stem the outflow. Last year the Legislature’s Future of Work Commission released a report outlining goals to help the region deliver on the needs of a changing economy as warning signs point to a growing skills gap.

Commission Co-Chair Rep. Josh Cutler sat down with MASSterList to check in on progress toward meeting the report goals as Massachusetts confronts a reversal of fortunes and drop in tax revenues that could stymy efforts to further expand programs. (Some responses have been edited for clarity and length).

Where is the state in addressing a growing skills gap that could leave the state 120,000 workers short by 2030?

We are making strong progress in this area. In addition to Gov. Healey’s MassReconnect initiative that would pay for community college for Bay Staters over 25 with no degrees, we are funding key workforce line items at a significant level. Twenty-five Career Technical Institutes have been opened since 2020, thanks to about $16.8 million in grant funding. This has opened up 2,700 additional training slots. To date, 208

residents have successfully completed classes. 

How is the state working to reduce child-care costs and the early education worker shortage?

A lack of adequate and affordable childcare has had a ripple effect across all sectors of

our economy. The House is building on efforts to increase worker salaries in our recently passed April budget, which includes dedicated funding via the new iLottery initiative.

How would you grade the state’s progress on MBTA safety and reliability issues?

The Healey/Driscoll administration has taken some positive steps with the appointment of new MBTA board members, a new MBTA GM, and MassDOT safety chief. She has stated that she wants to cut fares for low-income riders, and public transit is a focus for her administration.

Is the state meeting equity and inclusion hiring goals?

If you look at the data for our major workforce line items you can see the strong equity lens the

Healey Administration and the Legislature have applied to our policy decision-making. The

programs being used to address the skills gap are places where we have the opportunity to

focus on diversity and equity as they are utilized and expanded.

How big of a role do the current House/Healey tax relief and budget plans play?

They provide more funding for programs that work. Tax policies put forward have focused on reducing the cost of living for Massachusetts residents, such as expanding the child tax credit and reforming the estate tax. These policies will help ensure that individuals trained in Massachusetts can remain working in Massachusetts.

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Senate ‘all in’ on budget reveal this Tuesday

Top Senate Democrats said they are “all in” on their plan to unveil their annual state budget proposal this coming Tuesday. The Senate Ways and Means Committee budget rollout will give the public a sense of where the chamber’s leadership stands on legalizing online Lottery sales, spending surtax revenue and eliminating the costs of community college for some students, reported Chris Lisinski for State House News Service.

It will also tell whether Spilka and Rodrigues factor tax relief into their budget plan like both the House and Gov. Maura Healey did. Senators have been mum so far about their timeline for any kind of tax relief. News this week of plummeting state tax revenues could prompt them to reevaluate their priorities.

State House News Service

There’s still lead in the drinking water at many Massachusetts public schools

A pervasive problem of lead-tainted drinking water persists at many public schools in Massachusetts despite state money and resources spent to tackle the problem, a new report revealed. The Eagle Tribune’s Christian Wade reports the state earned a “C-” grade for its efforts, up from a “D” in 2019. Lawmakers are debating a bill this session that would require schools to remove lead pipes.

The Eagle Tribune | State House News Service

Throwing shade: State lawmakers eye more trees in climate fight

Tree canopies could be growing in Massachusetts cities and towns — particularly in environmental justice communities where there’s currently little foliage, under a legislative proposal to launch a municipal reforestation program, reports Alison Kuznitz for State House News Service. Neighborhoods with less than 20 percent tree canopy cover are deemed top priority locations in bills filed by Reps. Steve Owens and Jennifer Armini and Sen. Cindy Creem (H 869 / S 452).

State House News Service

Life sciences industry joins push to end gun violence 

Leaders from the life sciences industry are stepping up and taking a stand against gun violence with a new group, Life Sciences to End Gun Violence Epidemic, that’s lobbying for prevention measures, reports Rowan Walrath for the Boston Business Journal. A recent open letter asked biopharmaceutical leaders to join in the organizing process, advocating for “meaningful, evidence-based policies that will prevent and reduce gun violence.” A couple hundred have signed on so far.

Boston Business Journal

Bill proposes makeover for controversial MCAS exam 

Lawmakers could shake up the state’s controversial MCAS exam with a bill that would end the tests’ use as a high school graduation requirement and prevent the state from taking over low-performing districts, reports Max Larkin for NEPM. The state’s largest teachers union has thrown its support behind the Thrive Act.


Wind industry ‘very pleased’ with Massachusetts plans to expand offshore facilities

CEOs for big wind Avangrid and SouthCoast Wind were relieved and “pleased” by the state’s request for proposals for more offshore wind projects. The draft RFP advances the bidding process for the state’s fourth round of contracts, reports Jennette Barnes for CAI. Unlike in the past, the draft RFP allows bidders to index their prices to inflation.


Worker, 4 injured killed in explosion at Newburyport pharmaceutical facility

One worker was killed and four others injured on Thursday in a powerful explosion that tore through a pharmaceutical chemical plant, ripping the roof off the Newburyport facility, WCVB reported. The explosion prompted U.S. Sen. Edward Markey to demand greater accountability from the troubled facility. 

WCVB | The Washington Post

Quincy School Committee nixes Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in city schools

Quincy school officials squashed a student-led push to get the Lunar New Year recognized as a school holiday in the district when they voted to approve a school calendar that does not include the Chinese holiday as a day off, reports Esteban Bustillos for GBH. Members referenced the lack of historical precedent and questioned if they were to adopt holidays based on student demographics in the heavily Chinese district.

WGBH | The Boston Globe

Duxbury mother accused in child murders still in hospital

The Duxbury mother who is accused of strangling her three young children before jumping out a window of the family’s home, has been moved to a different hospital, reports The Patriot Ledger. Doctors transferred Lindsay Clancy to Tewksbury State Hospital because they believed she needed extended mental health care. Her next court date has been delayed to July 25.

The Patriot Ledger | WCVB

May the Fourth be with you: MassDOT gives nod to Star Wars 

References to Star Wars took over highway signs on Massachusetts highways on Thursday, an ode to the nerdy high holiday on May 4, which has come to be known as Star Wars Day.  This sign on the inbound turnpike at Beacon Street in Kenmore Square today, that read “Only a dianoga likes litter.” It’s a reference to the scene in the trash compactor with the dianoga tentacle.

Universal Hub

Going down? Report says Christmas Tree Shops will be next to file for bankruptcy

Massachusetts-based retailer Christmas Tree Shops, which has grown to more than 80 locations nationwide since its founding on Cape Cod in 1970,  is poised to file for bankruptcy court protection as soon as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Wall Street Journal

Fall River Councilor admits to harassment, avoids felony charges

Fall River City Councilor Pam Laliberte has admitted to misdemeanor charges in connection with her harassment of the wife of a former lover. Jo Goode of the Herald-News reports Laliberte avoided felony charges that could have led to her removal from the council. Laliberte’s current term expires at the end of the year and she has yet to declare her intention to run again.

Herald News

Committee of one: Uxbridge school board sees mass resignations 

The Uxbridge School Committee is down to a single member following the recent resignations of six members and will likely be unable to conduct any official business until after voters refill the seats at the May 23 election.  The Telegram’s Jeff Chamer reports the district’s superintendent has hired an outside firm to investigate what led to the exodus. 

Telegram & Gazette

Don’t say ‘field:’ Smith College’s move to end use of loaded word draws strong reaction

The Smith College School of Social Work says it will no longer use the word “field” to describe the profession its graduates work in, citing its ties to slavery. Not surprisingly, the move has drawn strong reaction, with hundreds of readers weighing in with their thoughts on one MassLive story about the move.

Daily Hampshire Gazette | MassLive

Weekend political and policy talk shows

Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews new state Democratic Party Chair Steve Kerrigan discussing party complacency, public-employee union clout within the party, tax and education policy, and the emergence of third-party movements.

On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV | Gov. Maura Healey is the guest this weekend where she will discuss her strategy for job creation, the push to make the state more competitive, the dramatic April decline in state tax revenue, and the continuing safety issues with the MBTA. Sharman Sacchetti and Ed Harding host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Virginia Buckingham join the roundtable discussion.

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList