Happening Today:

1 p.m. | Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers holds a briefing on the SUPER Act (H 1253 / S 160) sponsored by Reps. Barber and Kushmerek and Sen. DiDomenico which take aim at the shortage of behavioral health professionals. | Room 428

2 p.m. | Boston City Council Committee on Civil Rights and Immigrant Advancement holds a hearing regarding the federal court order to pass a new council district map. | Iannella Council Chamber, 5th Floor, Boston City Hall

4:45 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu gives remarks at the City of Boston's Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration. | City Hall Plaza, Boston

6 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey speaks at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting. | Omni Seaport Hotel, 450 Summer Street, Boston

There may be few winners when dealing with the ever-worsening impacts of climate change, but there are definitive losers, says Stephen Long, director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy.

And all too often, he says, the losers are “the poorest and most vulnerable” in society

Dianne Hills, executive director of My Brother’s Table in Lynn says to look no further than heat effects to see the inequities. 

“The poorer you are living in an urban area, the more likely you are to experience urban heat, which can be as much as a 20-degree difference,” she said.

Heat-trapped areas tend to be minority and low-income neighborhoods, Hills told MASSterList.

Long said there is a long list of potential projects to address a swathe of climate inequities — like investing in urban tree canopy — that can make bearing the negative burden of climate change more equitable among social classes.

How much money is needed to adequately address climate inequities? No one actually knows because — at least in Massachusetts — there’s no direct research digging into the far reaches of funding needs.

Long’s best guess — or at least an attainable guess — places the figure around $100 million in annual allocations. What’s clear is “there is not enough money to do everything we need to do regarding climate change,” he said.

Newly filed legislation, backed by Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Reps Natalie Blais and Patricia Duffy (S472/H750), would create a Climate and Community Resilience Fund that would raise up to $100 million a year through a property insurance surcharge. 

The money would be funneled to help soften the blow of environmental injustices on historically harmed communities, similar to what Gov. Charlie Baker’s failed Transportation Climate Initiative sought to do. DiDomenico says the funding would address efforts “reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring homes and communities are resilient amid the changing climate, and creating good-paying climate jobs across Massachusetts.”

The exact mechanism and levy would be left to an independent board, defined in statute and primarily comprised of environmental and economic justice community-based organizations who would also help decide how to prioritize and distribute the funds.

The board would consider the responsibility of property owners with commercial, residential, industrial or another type of insurance and levy an agreed-upon percentage to support the resiliency fund.

A hearing is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday before the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

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Keller at Large

The great redistricting debate is bringing fissures to light between members of Boston’s city council as the hyperpolitical, racially-tinged wrangling over election maps leaves many with a chip on their shoulder, writes WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller. Councilors are scrambling to shore up a map this election year after a judge last week tossed out their first attempt.


Healey taps former Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus for housing secretary

Massachusetts has a standalone housing secretary for the first time in 30 years.

Gov. Maura Healey has tapped former Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, a move first reported by State House News Service and confirmed by her administration on Monday. The announcement completes the process of re-establishing a dedicated secretariat to focus on housing and production as Massachusetts confronts a worsening affordability crisis that’s driving prices out and sending strapped residents fleeing the state for greener — or at least cheaper — pastures.

The governor created the position earlier this year after she promised to make housing a priority on the campaign trail with a dearth of roughly 200,000 housing units currently confronting the state.

Healey’s plan to split the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into two separate offices takes effect on May 30.

Augustus will “drive an ambitious, collaborative strategy to increase housing production and lower costs across the state,” Healey said, noting the former state senator and chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern “left Worcester a stronger city than it was a decade ago.”

Healey pointed to “booming” economic development including thousands of new housing units. 

But not everyone is convinced Augustus is the person for the job. He oversaw the state’s third-largest public housing authority and ushered in a $240 million landmark redevelopment of Worcester’s Canal District, but rents skyrocketed under his leadership.

State House News Service | MassLive

Net negative: ‘Unexpected’ decline in Haddock, a staple Atlantic fish, cuts quotas

Expect less haddock on plates in restaurants and around New England this summer. Regulators have chopped quota limits on the staple Atlantic white fish that’s a popular fish-and-chips selection after researchers found “haddock stock declined unexpectedly,” reported Patrick Whittle for the Associated Press. Catch quotas were cut by more than 80% to prevent the fish population from collapsing.

AP News

Tale of two cities: Boston neighborhoods see 23-year life expectancy gap

Two miles can make a difference. A 23-year difference, to be exact. Life expectancy is nearly 92 years for residents in a section of the Back Bay while residents near Nubian Square in Roxbury have the shortest expected life span in the city at just under 69 years, reports Martha Bebinger for WBUR. The figures come from a “startling” analysis from the Boston Public Health Commission.


Mass attorney general lays out her agenda

First-term Attorney General Andrea Campbell is teetering for balance as she weighs her role as an advocate as “the people’s lawyer” against the practical demands of being the state’s “top cop,” reports Jennifer Smith for Commonwealth Magazine. Five months into the job, the former Boston city councilor is laying out her agenda.

Commonwealth Magazine

Police disciplinary records could soon be public as board weighs decision

The disciplinary records detailing thousands of reports of alleged misconduct among Massachusetts police officers could be released to the public as soon as next month, reported Chris Van Buskirk for The Boston Herald. The head of the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission which oversees law enforcement licensing said the release could happen after the agency’s next meeting in mid-June.

The Boston Herald

Massachusetts package stores oppose expansion of beer, wine sales

A bill that would create a new kind of beer and wine license for “food stores” and give cities and towns the greater authority to decide how many to issue to local supermarkets and convenience stores is facing strong opposition from package store owners, reports Christian Wade for The Eagle Tribune. Package store owners say the move would saturate the beer and wine market with big competitors, driving mom-and-pop stores out of business.

The Eagle Tribune

AG investigating allegations of racial bias in Boston police gang unit 

Boston police’s gang unit and controversial gang database are under fire, this time from allegations of racially biased policing. Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office says it’s investigating, reports Sean Cotter for The Boston Globe. The allegations lay out an apparent “pattern” from 2018 to the present.

The Boston Globe

Report from Pioneer Institute says high earners driving Mass exodus

An outward migration of taxpayers and income leaving Massachusetts has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, with the state’s top earners leading the exodus, reports Christian Wade for The Eagle Tribune. The findings come from The Pioneer Institute’s new ”Tax Reality Sets In” report based on newly released U.S. Census data.

The Eagle Tribune

Bill would stop harassment of sports officials

A bill backed by the Massachusetts Umpires Association would put a stop to the harassment of sports officials, reports Allegra Zamore for NBC. Sports officials will rally at the State House on Tuesday in support of the bill they say would protect many from physical assault under penalty of punishment or fine. The bill is before a committee for a hearing on Tuesday.


Red flag: Much of Massachusetts is under a brush fire warning as blaze smolders in Lynn Woods

Smoke from a large brushfire at Lynn Woods Reservation smoldered throughout the weekend, closing public access to all trails north of Walden Pond, WCVB reported. It was a reminder to remain vigilant amid dry and windy conditions that prompted state emergency officials warn of brush first potential after a Fire Weather Watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Tuesday and Wednesday.


So far, so good: MGM Springfield revenue holds up amid arrival of sports betting 

MGM Springfield brought in $23.7 million in slot and table gaming revenue in April, a modest increase over last year’s level but one that came amid the first full month of legal sports betting in the Bay State. Jim Kinney of MassLive has all the numbers.


State auditor will look at UMass plan to transfer jobs to private foundation

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio says she will seek a legal review of plans to shift jobs from UMass Amherst to a private foundation, a move that unions say could mean the end of more than 100 jobs. Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the auditor’s move comes as university administration has promised not to cut jobs immediately.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Not here: Hingham becomes 25th Bay State community to ban plastic water bottles

Voters in Hingham have backed a ban on single-use plastic water bottles and the South Shore town will become the 25th city or town in the state to have such a law on the books when it takes effect next January, the Patriot Ledger’s Joel Barnes reports. 

The Patriot Ledger

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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.