8 a.m. | U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern heads out on his 13th annual district-wide farm tour, making 11 stops at farmland hard hit by recent weather. | 137 Easthampton Road, Westhampton
10:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu welcomes the NAACP back to Boston for their annual leadership conference. | City Hall Mezzanine, 1 City Hall Square, Boston
11:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey highlights new in-state tuition rates at public colleges for residents without legal immigration status, who will also qualify for state financial aid. | Northern Essex Community College -- Lawrence Campus, Atrium, 45 Franklin St., Lawrence
2 p.m. | Gaming Commission's Subcommittee on Community Mitigation meets to discuss the restructuring of the Community Mitigation Fund grant process and next steps.
6:30 p.m. | A proposed ordinance addressing crisis pregnancy centers will be introduced at the Worcester City Council. Multiple towns are seeking to regulate the facilities. | Worcester City Hall
Gov. Maura Healey came face-to-face with climate protesters interrupting her Nantucket fundraiser over concerns the state is already off track to meeting looming emissions reduction goals. And the group of young activists behind recent high-profile disruptions at political events say they will continue to escalate — just like climate change.
“Big updates imminent. We are cranking up the heat. We are gearing up to use tactics that Establishment Nonprofits would never dream of touching,” Climate Defiance ominously teased yesterday on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
A protester from the self-described “brand-new, youth-led group using direct action to resist fossil fuels” shouted at Healey in a video the group shared.
“Massachusetts is building 10 new fossil fuel infrastructure projects right now. We need you to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure right now. Will you commit to that, yes or no?” he asked the Democratic governor. Climate Defiance is the same group behind the hecklers who interrupted Vice President Kamala Harris last week as she addressed a crowd at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
Healey appeared calm, cool and collected, telling protesters at Saturday’s fundraiser “Let’s talk about that.”
When it comes to making progress on achieving the state’s looming decarbonization goals, however, the Healey administration and her campaign have been short on words lately.
A campaign official yesterday declined to comment for a State House News Service story on the fundraiser interruption. Last week, the Healey administration passed on a Boston Globe request for an interview on the state’s lackluster goal for reducing driving in the Bay State — which experts say is the fastest way to reduce transportation emissions that makeup 37 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Achieving 2050 net zero goals — or even interim benchmarks at the decade’s end — will require a massive transition away from the status quo in transportation, heating and building design, a state climate roadmap declares.
“The first step in the transition is to ban new fossil fuels,” the Healey-heckler said.
Healey has made climate action a centerpiece of her administration, building out a new dedicated workforce since taking office. She’s focused on the jobs and power in offshore wind development and noted in a post this month that 1 percent of the budget is now allocated to energy and the environment.
But climate activists allege hypocrisy by a government that trots out green climate goals while failing to bar fossil fuel infrastructure projects or sunset natural gas hookups in new construction. They continue to be a thorn in the side of the governor and her Democratic colleagues.
Disrupters with Extinction Rebellion in June dropped their drawers in the Senate Chamber to expose lawmakers to their message (which was scrawled across their bare bums): “Stop passing gas!” Members of the group were arrested a month earlier at a staged sit-in in the House Chamber.
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Keller @ Large
“Ambulance Alert!”: From the Dunkin’ drive-through to the halls of policy, nothing is safe from lawsuits in sue-happy America, reports WBZ political analyst Jon Keller. There isn’t any dispute, no matter how small, that can’t trigger litigation. He says a new bill aimed at curbing book bills is so vague, it almost begs it.
On display: Disciplinary records for cops, law enforcement across state now public
There’s no more hiding behind the thin blue line for cops in Massachusetts. The state’s police licensing board today released thousands of disciplinary records of law enforcement officers across the state as part of a long-awaited database they were required to create under state law, reports the Herald’s Chris Van Buskirk. The database offers the public an easily accessible look at 3,413 disciplinary records from 273 of the 440 law enforcement agencies under the POST Commission’s purview. The Boston Police Department has the third-most disciplinary records in the database, behind the Springfield Police Department, second and the Massachusetts State Police, first.
Up in smoke: Competitive cannabis industry pushes prices down and puts squeeze on businesses
Five years after the first recreation pot shops opened in Massachusetts, Eric Trickey for The Boston Globe reports cannabis business owners haven’t found the industry to be quite the moneymaker they’d hoped. Economists and business owners alike are wondering if a crash is coming as retail cannabis prices have plummeted by more than half over the past two years, from an average $13.92 per gram in July 2021 to $6.21 this summer. Cannabis competition is also up. More than 200 retail shops are in business with another 100 in the pipeline.
EPA to poo-poo board monitoring wastewater discharge in Massachusetts Bay
Federal regulators are disbanding a board of volunteer, independent scientists that has monitored the effects of the 330 million gallons of Greater Boston’s wastewater discharged daily into Massachusetts Bay for two decades. Barbara Moran for WBUR writes scientists are “shocked” by the EPA’s decision to discontinue the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel after decades of research show wastewater discharge has not harmed the bay and therefore scientists’ services are no longer required. But amid a changing climate and warming seas, environmentalists say the panel’s keen eye on everything from fish health to algae blooms to oxygen levels in the water has never been more important.
Ex-Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson now Trump’s Massachusetts campaign chief (again)
Bristol County’s controversial, longtime former Sheriff Thomas Hodgson will again serve as Donald Trump’s Massachusetts campaign chairman, reports Emma Platoff for The Globe. Hodgson spent two decades as sheriff in Bristol County before he was ousted last fall by former Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux. Hodgson first served as Trump’s Massachusetts chairman in 2020 for the Republican’s failed reelection bid. He was a vocal supporter of the former president for years while in office. He volunteered inmates to help build Trump’s southern border wall and faced accusations of mistreatment of inmates in an immigration detainment facility in Dartmouth he ran for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The Biden Administration canceled that contract in 2021.
The fine print: Budget includes policy for so-called data equity among racial, ethnic groups
Tucked inside the $56 billion state budget signed by Gov. Maura Healey this month is a so-called data equity provision that slices into the idea of homogeny in Black, white, Asian and Latino ethnic groups. The new law directs Massachusetts to begin collecting more-detailed data in an effort to sharpen policymakers’ understanding of the needs and challenges of a diversifying population. For The Boston Globe, Matt Stout reports the policy is the most expansive in the nation and will require state agencies already collecting figures on race and ethnicity — from the demographics of those receiving food stamps to COVID-19 boosters – to add data-access inquiries.
Failing grade: Coalition says MCAS ballot question doesn’t meet standard, urges AG to reject
A coalition of business groups and former state education officials penned a memo to Attorney General Andrea Campbell urging her to reject a proposed ballot question that would scrap the MCAS high school graduation requirement. For the Eagle-Tribune, Christian Wade reports the groups argue a referendum proposed for the 2024 elections — which would end the decades-old mandate requiring 10th-graders to demonstrate proficiency in math, English and science to graduate — is unconstitutional because it seeks to accomplish two unrelated goals in the same question. Provisions in initiative petitions, by law, must be “related” or “mutually dependent” to qualify for the ballot.
Building blocks: Lego to set up headquarters on Boylston in one of city’s biggest office leases of late
Lego is breathing life back into Boston’s business sector. Jess Aloe for the Boston Business Journal reports the toy company’s lease is one of the largest office leases in the city this year. It brings another brand-name tenant for the project known as Parcel 12 at 100 Boylston St. that’s also slated to be the headquarters of CarGurus. Lego is leaving Connecticut for its new headquarters in 2026. The Danish company’s offices will be spread over five floors and take up more than 100,000 square feet.
Wu picks side in District 5 council race, endorses Enrique Pepén over Ricardo Arroyo
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is backing her former employee Enrique Pepén for the District 5 City Council seat in a rejection of former ally and embattled incumbent Ricardo Arroyo. For The Boston Herald, Gayla Cawley reports on the endorsement in one of fall’s most closely watched municipal races, first reported by Politico. Pepén worked as the executive director of the Boston Office of Neighborhood Services under Wu. The mayor has also backed Henry Santana, her former director of civic organizing, or councilor-at-large, and Sharon Durkan, a political fundraiser who worked for the mayor when she was a city councilor, for the District 8 seat.
Farm group says new pork regulations will have little impact on how animals are raised
The head of a group that represents Massachusetts farmers says a law set to take effect later this week will not have much impact on how pigs are raised in the state, reports NEPM. The law, which was passed by Massachusetts voters through a ballot question in 2016, requires pigs on farms be provided enough room to turn around and lie down. It also requires pork produced outside the state, but sold within it, to meet the requirements.
Worcester pub delays awards edition after photo shoot incident
The Worcester Business Journal said Monday it would delay the release of its annual 40 Under Forty edition and event after an apparent assault at a pre-publication gathering of this year’s award winners. Details are scant, but WBJ Editor Brad Kane writes that police are investigating what went down at a four-hour gathering where those being honored were being photographed.
Mass. workers, this time at Michaels, again leading national push to unionize
Hadley: Labor hotbed. Dusty Christensen of The Shoestring reports workers at the local Michaels store hope to hold a vote to form a union soon–a first for the national chain with more than 1,200 outlets. Unionization pushes at other national chains, including Trader Joe’s and Barnes and Noble, also got their start in the Pioneer Valley town.
Wait up: Amherst school board chair resigns days after superintendent
Amherst Regional School Committee Chair Ben Herrington has abruptly resigned, citing the local political climate–a move that comes just days after the district parted ways with its longtime superintendent. Herrington called Amherst a “hard town to be in the public spotlight in” and said many in Amherst “from my experience mistake public service for servitude.”
Lawsuits target GE, Monsanto over Pittsfield PCBs
Five lawsuits have been filed in recent days against GE and chemical giant Monsanto by families in the Pittsfield area who say their cancer and other illnesses were caused by PCBs from GE’s plant along the Housatonic RIver. The Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow reports one plaintiff’s attorney says more suits are coming, and that his clients will claim both companies long knew the contaminants were dangerous.
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