Gov. Maura Healey returns to Massachusetts after spending the week in Ireland meeting with elected and business officials, and family.
8:30 a.m. | Full steam ahead for the Lynn Ferry service from Blossom Street Pier in Lynn to Long Wharf in Boston. | Blossom Street Pair, Lynn
10 a.m. | Press conference on public safety of the July 4 Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops concert with state officials. | Edward A. Hatch Memorial Shell, Esplanade, Boston
10:30 a.m. | Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis hosts unveiling of the department's renovated Substance Treatment Opportunity Programs facility. | Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, 5 Paul X. Tivnan Dr., West Boylston
Under the leadership of Gov. Maura Healey, Massachusetts has emerged as the strident counterpoint to anti-gay policies emerging across the country. And it can’t happen without having the power to push back.
“Representation matters,” Healey told MASSterList in a Thursday statement. “I think an important piece of when we have leaders who represent the communities they serve, we get better policies and better work done.”
The Cambridge Democrat last week filed a long-awaited update to make the state’s 24-year-old school sex education curriculum LGBTQ+ inclusive. Then on Monday, she launched a pro-LGBTQ billboard campaign in Florida and Texas flaunting Massachusetts’ strong protections for queer residents in a thinly veiled taunt of Republican governors at odds with the Bay State’s social progressivism. And on Tuesday, she traveled to Ireland to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of decriminalizing homosexuality in the country.
Truro Sen. Julian Cyr, one of three gay members in the chamber, said it’s the kind of leadership the Bay State and the nation need in a year that has seen more than 520 bills attacking the rights of LGBTQ people filed in legislatures across the country. Massachusetts, with 10 openly gay lawmakers now serving, has not seen the anti-LGBTQ push reach the State House.
“We intend to use our influence at this moment and look at all challenges we have and make sure we are meeting the moment and make sure we are living up to really being a beacon for the rest of the country,” Cyr said, highlighting Massachusetts role in legalizing same-sex marriage and leading the charge in protecting gender-affirming care.
It’s a different environment for LGBTQ officials serving in states like Florida and Nebraska, which Cyr called the “front lines of civil rights.” But there’s a record number of LGBTQ lawmakers currently in office who are fighting the record number of anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures this year. A total of 227 out-and-proud legislators are now serving — the most ever, a Victory Institute census of elected officials reveals.
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Condemnation from Mass. politicians over Supreme Court affirmative action ruling
In a move that effectively ends race-conscious college admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down decades-old affirmative action policy in a decision that reverses decades of precedent upheld over the years by narrow court majorities that included Republican-appointed justices. Condemnation from Massachusetts came quickly, delivered via Twitter:
Rep. Katherine Clark: “This only further undermines the Court and its legitimacy”
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan: “Once again, this decision by the Supreme Court will benefit the wealthy and well off.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “An extremist Supreme Court has once again reversed decades of settled law.”
Sen. Ed Markey: “The far-right, extremist majority on the Supreme Court just struck down affirmative action.”
Massachusetts college students, leaders react to SCOTUS decision
In Cambridge, Harvard students called the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling ‘a disgrace’ as leaders from colleges and universities throughout the state condemned the decision and explained it would not derail their diversity missions and would have minimal impact on Massachusetts higher education.
License to drive becomes available to all immigrants regardless of status
A controversial Massachusetts law that narrowly won the support of voters in the last election will take effect on Saturday, making driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants, WCVB reports. The legislation allows Massachusetts residents, regardless of legal status, to acquire a standard driver’s license starting July 1, 2023.
EV rider: Massachusetts ranks fourth on electric vehicle policies
Massachusetts is now in fourth place nationally when it comes to policy around electric vehicles, according to a report by an industry research nonprofit. Paula Moura reports for WBUR that the state ranked highly on policies providing incentives to buy green vehicles and install EV chargers.
MBTA to close new Green Line extension for six weeks
Barely a year after the MBTA opened the Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford, the Union Square branch will shut down for six weeks this summer, reports Gayla Cawley for The Boston Herald. Train service between Lechmere and Union Square stations, part of a Green Line Extension project that was completed last December, will be suspended from July 18 to Aug. 28, to allow for “critical repair work” by MassDOT.
Massachusetts not the bastion for gun control it once was
Massachusetts now boasts the third-lowest gun-ownership rate in the country, ahead of only Hawaii and New Jersey. Few guns means fewer gun deaths. In 2020, 3.7 in every 100,000 Bay Staters died by gunfire; nationally 13.6 did. That could change as the appetite for guns grows. Firearm sales in Massachusetts doubled to 140,000 in the decade to 2021. And new evidence suggests that Massachusetts’s gun-control rules are not being enforced.
Ex-Massachusetts Catholic cardinal not competent for trial in sex abuse case
Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is not competent to stand trial on charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in Massachusetts decades ago, reports WBUR. It raises doubts about the future of the criminal case against the 92-year-old.
Black Boston violence is public health crisis, community leaders say
In an op-ed to The Boston Globe, Black clergy and community leaders say violence in Black Boston should be treated as a public health crisis. Homicides and shootings have become far too normalized in the area known as “the murder triangle,” where a majority of Boston’s homicides take place. Members of the community share how they are rallying to assess the urgent problem and reverse the tragic pattern of violenc ahead of Bostonl hosting the 114th annual NAACP convention for the first time in four decades.
Boston mayor may hit pause on tougher affordable housing regulations
Developers might get another year before Boston Mayor Michelle Wu moves forward on proposed affordability requirements on market-rate housing in Boston. In an exclusive with the Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan, Wu says the timeline could move from early 2024 until later next year, in the hope that the economy will be on stronger footing by then. Right now, developers of many new market-rate apartment and condo buildings in Boston must put income restrictions on at least 13% of their units. Wu wants to hike that minimum to 20%.
North Adams may see hospital return after 10 years without
Berkshire Health Systems says it will move to reopen North Adams Regional Hospital with 25 inpatient beds as soon as this winter, a development that would end a decade without a fully functioning hospital. The Eagle’s Matt Martinez reports a change in federal law championed by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has helped make it financially to reopen the only hospital that served northern Berkshire County.
Army National Guard moves ahead on gun range despite environmental reviews
The Mass. Army National Guard has issued a notice soliciting bids for the construction of a machine gun training range at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod, a move slammed by environmental groups who say the move is premature because the EPA has raised concerns about the project’s impact on the local drinking water supply. Walker Armstrong of the Cape Cod Times has the details.
Dighton police chief charged with insider trading scheme, placed on leave
The Dighton Select Board held an emergency meeting Thursday where it voted to place Police Chief Shawn Cronin on leave after he was arrested and charged with insider stock trading earlier in the day. Cronin was indicted for his role in what federal authorities say was a scheme to use illegally gathered insider information in a scam that allegedly yielded Cronin and his co-conspirators some $2.2 million in profits.
Cambridge charter review searches for a better word to describe city’s mayor
The Cambridge Charter Review Committee is considering a change in title for the city’s mayor to better reflect the role’s unique position in the strong city manager form of government, but no one seems to know exactly what that word might be. Matt Rocha of Cambridge Day reports the same group is leaning against mandating term limits for members of the city council.
Weekend political and policy talk shows
Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews state Auditor Diana DiZoglio to discuss audits of the Legislature and Mass Health and proposed cuts to her budget.
On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV | State Senator Barry Finegold is the guest this week. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray join the roundtable discussion.