Rent control rally in front of the State House.

Happening Today:

9 a.m. | Sláinte! Gov. Maura Healey starts her day in Ireland, where she'll remain all week on her fist international official visit as governor. Other state officials join her for a closed-door meeting today with Irish business leaders. | Dublin, Ireland

10 a.m. | Lawmakers tasked with hashing out a compromise on House and Senate versions of tax relief meet in conference committee for the first time. Negotiations will open publicly then happen mostly behind closed doors. | Room 212

10:30 a.m. | U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is in district today with Chelsea leaders to celebrate $2 million in federal funding for the Downtown Broadway Infrastructure Improvement Project. | Chelsea City Hall, 3rd Floor, City Council Chambers, 500 Broadway, Chelsea

11:30 a.m. | U.S. Sen. Ed Markey will announce two new bills that would expand LGBTQ+ rights. | Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St., Boston

1 p.m. | The Joint Committee on Housing holds a hearing on 40 bills including Rep. Mike Connolly's proposal (H 3873) to establish a state social housing program. | Room B-2

7 p.m. | Greater Boston Interfaith Organization gathers 1,000 people in support for real estate transfer taxes, investments in public housing, and housing opportunities for folks reentering society after incarceration. Attendees include Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Housing Secretary Ed Augustus, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. | 477 Longwood Ave., Boston

Almost a decade after officials and affordable housing advocates started ringing alarm bells over a worsening crisis, rent is only getting higher. 

The Bay State is now considered the third-most expensive state for renters in the nation — after California and Hawaii — a new National Low Income Housing Coalition report revealed. 

In response, Gov. Maura Healey installed the first dedicated housing secretary in Massachusetts in three decades and just announced a $1.5 billion commitment to build up to 300 new affordable homes annually over the next five years. 

But 1,500 units — while “wholeheartedly welcome,” misses “the larger picture” in a state with a shortage of at least 175,000 homes, says Cambridge Rep. Mike Connolly. 

Connolly has his own plan that would build off of Massachusetts’ existing state-run public housing. The “Social Housing Act” aims to put a bigger dent in the need for more housing by the end of the decade, seeded with $100 million in state-issued bonds for new mixed-income public housing. The split of low-income, middle-income and high-income tenants would also make state-funded housing more sustainable, he said. 

The bill is up for vetting before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing on Monday. 

Relief is needed now, said Kathleen Patrón, Executive Director at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. She’s working with state public housing authorities lobbying lawmakers to fund an $8.5 billion needed to upgrade the state’s 43,000 public housing units housing roughly 70,000 people that she says are rapidly falling into a state of disrepair.

“We’re one of four states to actually have state-owned public housing. It’s a precious resource and if we don’t invest in it, we run the risk of losing units when we already are needing to build more.”

Housing advocates on many sides agree one way to raise construction funds is through a real estate transfer tax that cities and towns could levy on high-dollar property sales. The waitlist for public housing alone is 140,000 people long.

A bill before lawmakers would empower municipalities to impose their own rules on policies that would funnel cash into affordable housing funds. It has widespread support from labor unions, advocates, and developers, but the Legislature has been hesitant on the housing front so far. A similar policy that would enable rent control on the local level has gotten a cold reception from lawmakers — many of whom are also landlords profiting off high rents, a Boston Globe report revealed. 

Greater Boston Interfaith is dialing up the pressure this evening with a 1,000-person event that includes Healey’s Housing Secretary Ed Augustus in the speaking lineup.

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Talks underway on tax cuts for Bay Staters

A tax relief plan two years in the making is getting closer to the governor’s desk, with House and Senate lawmakers kicking off negotiations in a joint conference committee today, reports Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. A bipartisan group of six lawmakers from both chambers will hash out the differences between their respective tax cut proposals in closed-door meetings before bringing the bill back to chamber floors for final approval. Similar proposals failed to cross the finish line last session after negotiators learned a rarely invoked law from 1986 would require the state to send nearly $3 billion in excess tax collections back to taxpayers.

The Boston Herald

Coast Guard investigating Titanic sub underwater implosion that killed 5

A catastrophic underwater implosion of a submersible carrying wealthy tourists — including a British billionaire — on an expedition to view the Titanic wreckage is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard, reports Russ Reed for WCVB. A days-long search-and-rescue mission gripped headlines as rescuers searched for the sub that suddenly disappeared mid dive nearly 2 miles under the sea. The CEO of Oceangate, who was operating the sub when it imploded, was reportedly warned for questionable engineering choices.

WCVB | Boston 25

Bad deal: AG Campbell, Gov. Healey butt heads on offshore wind projects

Attorney General Andrea Campbell says the Healey administration’s determination to max out offshore wind production could be a bad deal for Massachusetts ratepayers who could get locked into a 20-year contract with energy companies at a time when prices are at an “unprecedented high,” reports Bruce Mohl for Commonwealth Magazine. Gov. Maura Healey is in a race to deliver on a campaign trail promise to make Massachusetts clean and green in time to meet 2030 emissions reduction goals and has her sights set on maxing out the Bay State’s offshore wind potential — pushing the region’s largest-ever wind energy bid.

Commonwealth Magazine

Offshore wind developers pull back under growing economic concerns

Economic pressures could render moot the disagreement on offshore wind plans between the typically chummy Attorney General Andrea Campbell and Gov. Maura Healey. The nation’s first major offshore wind farm is under construction just off the Massachusetts coast, but as Healey tries to press for more projects, two multibillion-dollar wind farms have pulled the plug amid inflation and supply chain challenges, reports Jon Chesto for The Boston Globe. Experts say the state is a long way from meeting 2030 carbon goals and falling further behind.

The Boston Globe

Lawmakers look to ban book bans in Massachusetts libraries

Democratic lawmakers want to prohibit public libraries from banning books amid a trend of challenges from parents and conservative groups seeking to remove controversial titles from the shelves, reports Christian Wade for The Eagle Tribune. The bill would pull funding from libraries that enact book bans. If approved, Massachusetts would be the second state to effectively outlaw book bans because of “partisan or doctrinal” reasons. 

The Eagle Tribune

Malden-born labor boss Sean O’Brien squares up with UPS, Amazon could be next

Teamsters top boss Sean O’Brien, who hails from Greater Boston is squaring up against UPS, threatening to sign off on the largest union strike in roughly 70 years, reports Jon Chesto for The Boston Globe. About 340,000 union workers could walk off the job as O’Brien tries to make gains for members in one of his first major challenges as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Some are saying Amazon is next on his list.

The Boston Globe

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren hits on housing, health care, Supreme Court expansion in voter forum

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for a large national investment in housing, better regulations on banks and their presidents, a national health insurance hotline to help people fight rejected claims and an increase in the number of Supreme Court justices, saying the judicial branch is “out of control” in a recent forum with voters in Western Massachusetts, reports Jeanette DeForge for MassLive. She recapped many of her signature issues — universal child care, health care for all and the wealth gap.

MassLive | NEPM

Joint Base Cape Cod throws out welcome mat for homeless immigrants 

Homeless families — particularly immigrants — could soon be taking up residence at townhouses on Joint Base Cape Cod, the Healey administration announced Friday. it will open an intake center in Allston, reports WBUR. A Family Welcome Center situated at the Brazilian Worker Center will help people who seek support to access essential supplies, services and transportation to shelter. Healey will activate up to 50 Massachusetts National Guard members to support local and state authorities at the base, the governor’s office said.


Paper or plastic?: Lawmakers eye statewide plastic bag ban that’s already law in largest cities, towns

Massachusetts lawmakers who have declined to pass a statewide plastic bag ban for more than a decade are signaling they could now be open to the policy. The shift comes after cities and towns have largely already moved forward with policies of their own, reports Daniel Kool for The Globe. Nearly seven in 10 Massachusetts residents live in a place with a plastic bag ban. 

The Boston Globe

Newton residents on edge after triple homicide, police say ‘be vigilant’

Newton police are warning Newton residents to “be vigilant” and check their door and window locks after three elderly family members were found killed Sunday in an apparent triple homicide, reports Dan Hausle for WHDH. A preliminary investigation suggests there were signs of forced entry into the home. Two of the victims were about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

WHDH | NBC Boston | Boston 25

North Brookfield Pride not dampened by rain, protestors

After weeks of controversy, a series of dueling decisions from the town’s leaders and threats of lawsuits from the ACLU, North Brookfield held its Small Town Pride event over the weekend without incident, with heavy rains helping to drive away a small group of protesters. Organizers said more than 250 people took part in the event while about 20 protesters, some carrying Trump 2024 signs, were kept at bay. 

MassLive | Telegram & Gazette

Report sees benefits for colleges from in-state tuition plan for undocumented students 

A proposal to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates to attend public universities and colleges could mean millions in additional revenue each year for the state’s cash-strapped higher-education system, a new report from the Massachusetts Tax Foundation argues. Christian Wade of the Salem News reports the group says as much as $3.5 million in additional revenue annually could make its way into state school coffers.

Salem News

More fallout: Irate Easthampton residents turn attention to recalling mayor 

A group of Easthampton residents still upset about the city’s botched search for a new superintendent have cleared the first hurdle in their effort to spark a recall election against Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. Emily Thurlow of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports proponents of the recall now have 21 days to collect more than 2,500 voter signatures to force a recall election of LaChapelle, whose current mayoral term ends in 2025.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Lowell, Worcester grapple with policies on homeless camps 

Melanie Gilbert of the Sun describes the scene as Lowell officials prepared to clear a major homeless encampment because of concerns about drug dealing and other criminal activity, worries that housing advocates and those who have called tents in the city park home say are overblown. 

Lowell Sun

Meanwhile, in Worcester, the local chamber of commerce is the latest to come out against a proposed moratorium on the clearing of homeless encampments that is meant to buy officials more time to set up temporary and transitional housing.

Telegram & Gazette

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList