9 a.m. | The biggest pay raise for T workers in decades is on the agenda for the MBTA Board of Directors special meeting to authorize a collective bargaining agreement announced yesterday. | 10 Park Plaza, Boston
10 a.m. | There's no love for dirty water from U.S. Rep. Ed Markey and state officials at the announcement for the 2022 Water Quality Report Card grades for rivers that flow into Boston Harbor. | Patio of Mass Audubon Magazine Beach Park Nature Center, 668 Memorial Drive, Cambridge
10 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll tours Attleboro's Transit-Oriented Development District | Starting at Advanced Auto, 50 County Street, Attleboro
10:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey gives the oath at the Massachusetts State Police 88th Recruit Training Troop Graduation. | MassMutual Center, Springfield
Noon | Environmentalists behind a push to update the state's bottle bill celebrate MASSPIRG canvassers collecting 5,000 signatures in support of H 3690 / S 2104. | Christopher Columbus Park, North End, Boston
5:30 p.m. | Ralliers gather to demand accountability for former President Donald Trump and others in the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election and role in Jan. 6 riots. | State House steps
Fed up with inaction on Beacon Hill, one state representative is threatening to take his fight for affordable housing straight to the people. It’s a battle he may wage without the vocal support of housing advocates hesitant to get tangled up in a power play to sidestep the Legislature where dozens of reform bills sit pending.
Cambridge Rep. Mike Connolly, alongside a group of renters from Cambridge and Somerville, filed a ballot question yesterday that would grant cities and towns new “tenant protection” options — including rent control. It mirrors several provisions outlined in his Tenant Protection Act bill.
Announcing the move on Twitter he said, “This afternoon, acting in my personal capacity as a renter, I filed a petition with 15 residents of Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston to preserve the option of a 2024 ballot question relative to lifting the ban on rent control and enabling local tenant protections. More to come!”
Landlord groups — predictably — pounced in opposition, but it was crickets from housing advocacy groups, including those that back legislation proposing similar reforms.
One advocate told MASSterList that proponents need to “play their cards right” as they lobby lawmakers in support of dozens of housing reform bills currently pending before the Legislature.
“It’s not a matter of supporting rent control — we don’t want to do something that could alienate the effort on Beacon Hill,” said the advocate, who asked not to be named.
Another of the 42 ballot initiatives filed yesterday takes a shot at the Legislature’s authority. That potential question attempts to put an end to state Auditor Diana DiZoglio’s ongoing feud with top Democrats over her authority to probe the Legislature by adding “the general court itself” to the list of covered entities outlined in the state Constitution.
Wednesday’s filing is the first step in a long road to the ballot. If Connolly’s petition moves forward, it would punt the question of rent control back to voters — who banned the policy statewide in a 1994 ballot question.
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Ballot proposals: Voters could see questions on rent control, MCAS in 2024
Potential ballot questions aim to reform the role of standardized MCAS tests, allow cities and towns to regulate rent levels, and reshape rights and benefits for on-demand drivers, reports Chris Lisinski for State House News Service. They are among the 42 ballot questions tnat were filed Wednesday, proposing 38 laws that could be decided at the 2024 ballot and four Constitutional amendments that could be decided in the 2026 election.
Far out: Ballot question aims to legalize psychedelic plants in therapy
The 2024 ballot could include a question that would legalize the use of plant-based psychedelic substances for therapeutic use in Massachusetts, reports WBUR. The proposed law would create a commission to regulate use of substances including psilocybin mushrooms. People 21 and older would be able to legally consume psychedelics at a licensed therapy center.
Rising fascism: New England neo-Nazi group growing
A self-described “pro-white” group from New England that has targeted and harassed drag performers, immigrants, Jews, communists, people of color, and, sometimes, law enforcement is growing. The Globe’s Hannah Krueger reports NSC-131, which was founded in 2019 and now has some 30 to 40 members. At least ten military veterans have been linked to the group that openly embraces Nazism, her reporting reveals.
Namaste: Somerville yoga teacher turned convicted insurrectionist appeals sentence
Somerville yoga teacher Noah Bacon, 30, said he plans to appeal a one year and one day sentence handed down for his conviction in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. Universal Hub reports Bacon decided to travel to Washington for Jan. 6 after “a frustrated attempt to organize a meditation retreat.” He reportedly entered the Senate chambers not long after the initial breach of the Capitol, then joined the mob chanting “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy” as it made its way up to the second floor and around the Capitol.
Ethical dilemma: State climate czar took weeks to tell feds about Massachusetts job offer
Healey Administration climate chief Melissa Hoffer violated ethics rules at the EPA after she started the process of negotiating a job with the state, reports Matthew Medsger for the Herald. An Aug. 1 letter sent to Environmental Protection Agency officials claims Hoffer failed to follow the agency’s ethics rules for seeking work outside of the federal government and took three weeks to notify the agency of her plans.
Immigrant families face hurdles in forging life in Massachusetts
Migrant families coming to Massachusetts seeking safety face many challenges and strapped support resources, reports GBH’s Sarah Betancourt. Gov. Maura Healey has activated the National Guard to support migrants at Joint Base Cape Cod and launched two welcome centers in Boston and Quincy. But the influx of desperate people is so great that families are flooding nonprofits and local hospitals.
Time for change: Problems on the rise at Mass. and Cass
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said advocates are pulling outreach workers from the area of the city known as “Mass. & Cass” — an area plagued by homelessness and substance abuse — amid growing concerns for public safety, reports WCVB. The mayor has pledged change soon to come but the details are still unclear.
Too hot to handle: 6 city pools remain closed amid record heat
Six city-run pools in Dorchester and Mattapan remain closed to would-be summers during this record-hot summer due to deferred maintenance, reports the Dorchester Reporter. Repairs have been slowed to a crawl by bureaucratic red tape, leaving residents to melt in the heat.
Deal with the devil: Satanic Temple accuses Boston of discrimination
Salem’s Satanic Temple plans to appeal a federal court decision allowing the Boston City Council to exclude Satanists from delivering an opening prayer at meetings, reports Gayla Cawley for The Boston Herald. The church founder, Malcolm Jarry, alleges the judge who issued the ruling “never hid her bias” and demonstrated “dangerous and corrupt” disregard for the First Amendment in dismissing the group’s lawsuit against the city.
Quincy asks federal delegation to halt Long Island Bridge plan
Some elected officials in Quincy want the state’s congressional delegation to intervene to slow down or stop Boston’s plan to rebuild the bridge to Long Island, Peter Blandino of the Patriot Ledger reports. Quincy has fought plans to reopen the bridge since it was closed in 2014 and some in the city want the feds to press the U.S.Coast Guard to further explain its recent decision to green light the rebuild.
Baker digs in on NCAA business model challenges
Five months into his new role as president of the NCAA, Charlie Baker has begun to roll out his plans to course-correct the organization’s business model amid a host of challenges for college sports, Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reports. The former Bay State governor has recently begun briefing NCAA members on what his review of operations has uncovered and his plans to create a more agile and forward-looking organization.
Dana-Farber nurses in Merrimack Valley vote to strike
Nurses who work at the Dana-Farber satellite cancer campus in Methuen have voted to authorize a strike and could walk off the job later this month as their newly recognized union continues to seek its first contract. The Methuen-based nurses say their pay is 22 percent lower than their counterparts who work in Boston and do the same work, the Eagle-Tribune’s Monica Sager reports.
Worcester State to explore affordable campus market idea with ARPA grant
Armed with a $75,000 grant funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds, Worcester State University has launched an 18-month effort to target food insecurity among its student population, including the possibility of creating an on-campus affordable market that would accept EBT payments. Timothy Doyle of the Worcester Business Journal has the details.