Happening Today:

9 a.m. | It's time for Gov. Maura Healay to put the pen to use when she signs the $375 million Chapter 90 bill that authorizes bridge and road maintenance. | Outside by Beaver Street Bridge, Lowell. Rain location: Mayor’s Reception Room, City Hall, 375 Merrimack St, Lowell

11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey talks roads and bridges funding alongside state officials. | Heritage Park, 18 Water Street, Amesbury | Rain location: Nicholas J. Costello Transportation Center, 68 Elm Street

10:30 a.m. | U.S. Sen. Ed Markey celebrates $480,000 in federal funds for the preservation and conservation of the historic Old South Meeting House. | Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street, Boston

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu earlier this week dangled a carrot in the form of a “major step” soon to come in the Mass & Cass cleanup. 

Wu has since been silent. Her press secretary let slip no specifics and offered no timeline when asked for the announcement to come. Tania Del Rio, the Wu appointee tasked with addressing the crisis, told the Globe the new strategy would include a crackdown on violent criminals and those who engage in “dangerous behavior” amid a rise in assaults and weapon recoveries. 

Lawmakers have their own ideas for how they would like to crack down on the humanitarian crisis.

The Legislature’s just-passed budget gave a boost to a program spearheaded by Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden that gives defendants of crimes rooted in mental illness or substance use the option to participate in treatment programs in lieu of jail. Services over Sentences will see its funding more than triple upon Gov. Maura Healey’s signature to $1.4 million, with $1 million going directly to provide wraparound services for those in need at Mass & Cass. 

Sen. Nick Collins, who championed the funding increase, has long backed the program. The South Boston Democrat also pitched a $50,000 study into what it would take to turn a defunct cruise ship into a treatment hospital. 

The diversion program could be put to quick use as a Boston lawmaker pushes for another sweep to clear tents from the encampments where an estimated 232 are now living. 

Two months into the job, Boston Rep. John Moran said solving the long-simmering situation at Mass & Cass that’s so far eluded officials requires a heavy hand. Moran’s solution? Warrant sweeps and tent clearing. “The tents are our biggest problem because they provide cover as a direct source for criminal activity. All our outreach efforts are being sabotaged,” Moran told MASSterList

In a Thursday letter to Boston and State police, Moran called for “immediate action” to curb the “increasingly dire” circumstances in the area sometimes called Methadone Mile, that’s known for its homeless encampments and open-air drug market.

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Not above the law: Mini Boston rally celebrates Trump indictment 

As former President Donald Trump stood before a judge on federal charges that he tried to overthrow the 2020 election, a small rally of about a dozen people celebrated on the State House Steps. For the Globe, Tonya Alanez reports the rallies — led by Westborough activist Laurie Woodward Garcia of People Power United — touted signs and spoke through bullhorns telling America that “Boston showed up and will continue to show up” ’in the fight for freedom. 


On the right. Howie Carr carries the torch for Trump

For the Herald, Trump-loyalist and right-wing radio commentator Howie Carr makes a free speech argument for the former president. While largely avoiding the topic of the Jan. 6 riots, Carr waters down Trump’s alleged wrongdoings, making a straw man that puts the former President’s claims about a stolen election on par with comments from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and other Democrats who have lamented past election losses.

The Boston Herald

Slippery slope: Boston cop’s slide misadventure beckons tourists to take a turn

City Hall’s newest attraction is a huge metal tube made viral this week by the Boston Police officer clearly caught off guard by how quickly accelerated and got spit out the bottom the extra-tall slide. The momentum flipped him over and left him battered and bruised. But the Globe’s Spencer Buell reports dozens of daredevil tourists are taking the clip as inspiration to take a ride of their own.

The Boston Globe

Grown-ups have taken over the playground

Matt Shearer of WBZ gives the people what they want with a great man-on-the-street montage.


“Normal people, when they go down a slide, they’re fine”: Physicist explains Boston cop’s slide mistake

HuffPost spoke to a physicist to answer our burning questions about why the police officer was sliding so fast. Spoiler alert: The slide in question — it’s for children. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said she’s sure to put out a sign “or something” to warn those brave enough to give the now infamous slide a try of potential misadventures.


NIMBY: Holden first town to face suit over MBTA zoning

The central Massachusetts town of Holden is the first to face a legal challenge for refusing to comply with a new state zoning law meant to increase the housing supply in communities served by the MBTA, Trea Lavery reports for MassLive. The suit alleges noncompliance hurts residents across the state during an ongoing housing crisis. It could be the first of several battles with communities pushing back on state efforts to increase housing density in historically rural or suburban areas. 


99 problems in the Massachusetts Legislature 

Don’t miss GBH politics reporter Katie Lannan’s roundup of an eventful week in the Legislature that at least got one problem off of their desks: the state month-overdue state budget. Don’t let the agreement fool you though, Lannan said there is still plenty left over for Democrats to bicker over when they return from summer break next month. 


Done deal: MBTA union contract signals ‘sea change’ for T

Giving their seal of approval for a $55 million contract with the carmen’s union, MBTA overseers praised big raises and retention bonuses as a sign of a “sea change” amid major hiring and retention struggles, reports Chris Lisinski for the News Service. The four-year contract will increase wages 7 percent in the first year and 18 percent over its full duration, boost starting pay for new employees, offer sign-on bonuses, expand health benefits, and more.

State House News Service

From the auditor: Diana DiZoglio has more to say on why the Legislature needs an audit

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio in an op-ed to the Globe doubles down on her mission to audit a Legislature she says is too comfortable operating in the dark. “That our audit is being met with resistance from Beacon Hill is not an example of how expansionist my vision is — it’s just demonstrative of how opaque the Legislature has become,” she says. 

The Boston Globe

Fiscal year tax revenue starts off strong, still waiting on final FY23 tally 

The final accounting of fiscal year 2023 has yet to be done, but the Department of Revenue says the current fiscal year is off to a good start in July by collecting $2.67 billion in tax revenue, $264 million or 11 percent more than was collected in July 2022, reports State House News Service. Early June that fiscal 2023 tax collections were running $583 million behind benchmarks used to craft the fiscal 2023 state budget.

State House News Service

Biden campaign brings in former Markey, Warren fundraisers

President Joe Biden is picking up two former aides to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey on his reelection campaign. Colleen Coffey, a native of Pelham, N.H., and Michael Pratt were introduced Thursday as the campaign’s finance co-directors, after both worked as aides for Warren and Markey’s Senate runs, reports Sam Drysdale for State House News. 

State House News Service

Dirty water: Please don’t swim in the Charles River 

Even if you love that dirty water, the feds are recommending you don’t swim in most of the Charles River, still polluted by combined-sewer overflows, stormwater pollution and more, says part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual “report card” for Boston’s three major rivers. WBUR’s Barbara Moran gets the grades for the Charles, Mystic and Neponset. Every summer, the EPA issues letter grades to segments of the rivers and their tributaries, so the public can track improvements in water quality.


Reckless driving on the rise in Western Massachusetts 

Amid an uptick in pedestrian deaths across the state, WWLP reports Western Massachusetts is seeing an alarming rise in reckless driving. So far this year here in Massachusetts there have been 142 fatal crashes, 21 involving pedestrians, and 23 involving motorcycles. June and August, AAA Northeast says, is when the state sees an increase in crashes and fatalities, and they contribute that to more people on the road, and dangerous driving, such as speeding and aggressive lane changing. 


Prisoners with mental challenges claim discrimination by Parole Board

Three state prisoners are claiming in a state lawsuit that the state Parole Board discriminated against them due to heir mental health disabilities and that the board’s actions have effectively denied them a path to freedom. The suit alleges the board violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide accommodations to them because of their disabilities. They also say the state has “essentially ignored” earlier court directives, GBH reports.


Westfield cop says city never paid for overtime hours 

A veteran Westfield police officer has filed a wage-theft lawsuit against the city, saying he and other cops were regularly forced to work overtime that weren’t fully compensated for, Cliff Clark of MassLive reports. Jason Perron, who is also a member of the Southwick Select Board, argues as many as 50 other officers could also be owed back pay.


Nahant uses pandemic-era rule to lower town meeting quorum 

Using a pandemic-era rollback enacted by then-Gov. Charlie Baker, the Nahant Select Board has voted to lower the minimum quorum requirement for its town meeting to just 30 voters 

Anthony Cammalleri of the Item reports the board worried that an upcoming town meeting wouldn’t be able to muster the old quorum of 75 registered voters.

Lynn Item

Pork prices could spike as 2016 ‘pig welfare’ law enforcement begins

Now that Massachusetts has the green light to start enforcing parts of a 2016 law that requires that all pork products sold in the Bay State come from pigs offered ample room to move around while being raised, consumers should expect restaurants and grocery stores to start passing along higher prices, Jesse Collings of the MetroWest Daily News reports.

MetroWest Daily News

Weekend political talk shows

Keller@Large, with Jon Keller on CBS Boston (WBZ), 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. This week’s guest is Senate President Karen Spilka discussing the Legislature’s budget, progress on tax relief, and friction between Senate and House committees.

On the Record, WCVB-TV, 11 a.m. on Sunday. The guest this week is Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker and Republican Political Analyst Virginia Buckingham join the roundtable discussion.

@Issue, NBC10 Boston or NECN, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Guests this week is U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss who will speak on the charges against Donald Trump and the 2024 election. Hosts are Sue O’Connell and Cory Smith.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList