Happening Today:

10 a.m. | MBTA Board meets. Online participation is also available through the T's website | MassDOT Board Room, Transportation Building, 2nd floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

10 a.m. | House members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy take public testimony on more than two dozen bills including a health impact assessment on extraction or transportation or compression of natural gas. | Room A-1 and Virtual

10 a.m. | Massachusetts State Retirement Board holds virtual meeting. To access the meeting, email MSRBCommunications@tre.state.ma.us.

10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets for an update on the status of their office space following a burst pipe, and are also expected to discuss changes to sports betting house rules for Fanatics and DraftKings.

6:30 p.m. | MassBay Community College holds an information session on MassReconnect, which would provide free community college for residents ages 25 and older without a college degree.

Somebody should tell Kelly Ayotte she’s running for governor of New Hampshire. The former U.S. senator, who’s hoping to replace outgoing Gov. Chris Sununu, can’t seem to keep Massachusetts off her lips. In fact, turning the Bay State into her punching bag seems almost central to her campaign, blaming the northern gateway cities for her state’s drug problem.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen drugs — the fentanyl — being trafficked off our southern border from Lowell and Lawrence Massachusetts and it’s killing our citizens,” Ayotte said in a recent interview on “Fox and Friends.”

And in her latest hit, Ayotte — a Republican — appears to be using Donald Trump’s playbook. Ayotte came hard for WBZ political analyst and MASSterList columnist Jon Keller, dismissing him as “Fake News” after he called out her “racially tinged” attacks on Lawrence and Lowell — cities with large Latino populations — in a recent report. Bullying the “fake news media” is a favorite pastime of the former president too.

Ayotte has turned the Bay State into her campaign trail punching bag, 

Keller has seized onto Ayotte’s obsession with its neighbor to the south in multiple reports in MASSterList and on WBZ this week — catching the attention of the candidate, who went on a Twitter tirade yesterday 

“Fake News @kelleratlarge from @wbz attacked me as racist for stating the truth — fentanyl is being trafficked from Biden’s open border to Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. That’s ridiculous. Here’s some REAL NEWS for you, Jon,” she tweeted, starting a threat with 10 links to news stories where Massachusetts drug dealers were caught trafficking or selling to New Hampshire markets.

Ayotte came out of the gate picking on Massachusetts, telling voters during her campaign launch last week, “We are one election away from becoming Massachusetts in New Hampshire, and I’m not gonna let that happen.”

Ayotte lost her U.S. Senate seat in the 2016 election to now-Sen. Maggie Hassan. Her loss has been chalked up to an initial rejection of Trump-style politics. The Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham says perhaps running against Massachusetts is easier than taking on her Granite State opponents.

Gov. Maura Healey, a native Granite Stater who has waded into the New Hampshire governor’s race with her endorsement of Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, is keeping her nose clean and staying out of the battle with Ayotte.

“I think this is Kelly Ayotte showing concern that she’s not seen as Trumpy enough — pardon the expression — by the GOP base in New Hampshire which is pretty pro-Trump and I think competitors will remind voters of her past differences with the former president,” Keller said.

Keller says picking on Massachusetts is a losing strategy for Ayotte, who he said should instead be focusing on the state she’s looking to lead. To that, Ayotte says: “The media can attack me all it wants

Raises in the Senate follow renewed union pitch

Two days after state Senate staffers renewed their year-old push to unionize — this time with the backing of U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Senate President Karen Spilka said employees hired before May 1 will get a 7.5 percent pay bump, effective Monday. The announcement came in an email to staffers yesterday afternoon.

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio ups heat on battle with Legislature

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio is taking the next step in her bid to audit the Massachusetts Legislature, saying she’s ready to get the courts involved after a months-long standoff with top lawmakers, says Katie Lannan for GBH. DiZoglio yesterday announced that she’s pursuing litigation against the House and Senate, and sent a memo to Attorney General Andrea Campbell asking for her support. A Campbell spokesperson said the office is reviewing DiZoglio’s letter and will “respond in due course.”


Budget delay complicates free college plan

A new academic year nearing is right around the corner and community colleges are tentatively moving forward with plans to help students 25 and older attend for free — even though the program has not yet been approved within the fiscal 2024 budget that’s stalled in negotiations on Beacon Hill. Alison Kuznitz reports community college leaders say the delay in striking a budget deal means they have less time to implement MassReconnect.

State House News Service

Boston to implement lower raises than union wants

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu plans to implement far lower raises than what a union of municipal security guards is seeking, with her administration saying the two sides have reached an impasse in negotiations and that the city can’t afford the group’s demands, reports Gayla Cawley for The Boston Herald. The decision comes after the union’s president criticized Wu for nullifying raises the City Council voted to give them in this year’s budget, saying that it was the latest slap in the face in what’s been an “embarrassing” negotiations process.

The Boston Herald

Progressives are the new thorn in the side of the Boston City Council

Michael Jonas for CommonWealth Magazine writes the Boston City Council’s leftward shift in politics should have progressive activists feeling good about their prospects for driving change on big policy issues. Instead, they’ve been put back on their heels by shocking revelations about the driving record of one progressive city councilor and the ethical failings of two others. 

CommonWealth Magazine

Abortion supporters back crisis pregnancy center regulations

Opponents of a proposed state bill that would prevent deceptive advertising at pregnancy resource centers used a lengthy public hearing in Boston on Monday to make their case why the bill is deficient, reports The Daily Hampshire Gazette. Testimony from several nonprofit groups and individuals argued that the bill would violate free speech, uses discriminatory language, has vague definitions, and contains legal problems and moral concerns.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Advocates take aim at how utilities fund political activities 

The Conservation Law Foundation is leading a push to add Massachusetts to the list of states that have moved to block utilities from charging their ratepayers for political activities such as lobbying and advertising meant to sway public opinion, Miriam Wasser of WBUR reports. Several states, including Connecticut and Maine, have recently adopted rules that say utilities can only fund such activities from their own profits.


Leaning in: Holden joins the joke after ‘shcoool zone’ snafu 

Why fight it? As photos of a misspelled school zone warning painted on a Holden road went viral in recent days, officials in Holden decided the best course of action was to join in on the fun. The Telegram’s Jeff Chamer reports bad weather prevented an immediate fix to the embarrassing situation so leaders took to social media to poke fun at themselves instead.

Telegram & Gazette

Another loss for foes of PCB landfill for GE river cleanup 

Environmental groups hoping to halt plans to build a landfill in Lee to accept PCB-contaminated dredgings from the Housatonic River as part of GE’s half-billion dollar cleanup have lost another round in court this week, the Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow reports. The group wanted a federal court to throw out the EPA’s 2020 agreement on the cleanup.

The Berkshire Eagle

Westport tightens belt after voters say no to tax hike 

Westport voters have rejected a Proposition 2 ½ override that town leaders said was necessary to keep staffing and services at current levels. The failure of the $1 million tax hike means vacant jobs in several departments, including the police and fire departments, will likely remain unfilled for at least the rest of the fiscal year, Matthew Ferreira of the Standard-Times reports.

The Herald News

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList