Happening Today:

8 a.m. | Bay State climate policy takes center stage at the Clinton Global Initiative's Spotlight Session where Gov. Maura Healey is the keynote. | New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY

10 a.m. | The Cannabis Control Commission meets to discuss and potentially vote to adopt the draft marijuana industry regulations that were subject to a public hearing on Sept. 8. | Worcester Union Station, Worcester

1 p.m. | Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hearing on 15 bills related to opioids. | Room A-1

1 p.m. | Joint Committee on Education holds a hearing on legislation related to school buildings and school finance as project prices have risen in recent years. | Hearing Room A-2

1 p.m. | Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities holds a hearing on bills that deal with the Department of Developmental Services and supported decision-making as well as guardianship. | Room B-1

Hurricane Lee may have spared Massachusetts for the most part, but Uber and Lyft drivers say the storm dealt them another kind of blow not visible on radar. 

Surge pricing was cut off in rideshare apps on Friday afternoon when Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm’s anticipated punch. State law forbids ride apps to charge surge fares during declared emergencies, blocking companies from jacking up the price of fares when demand outpaces driver supply. Surge pricing typically serves as a lucrative incentive for drivers to hit the road and cash in on elevated fares at busy times.

But with surge pricing off the table on Friday, many drivers opted to stay home — temporarily stranding throngs of late-night revelers facing long waits for rides home after bars closed, a scene weekend taxi driver Rahim Abbasi captured in a photo shared on social media.

Abbasi — who dropped Uber and Lyft to drive a cab part-time instead — has a full-time gig as a union organizer. He’s working with rideshare drivers caught in a long-simmering battle over whether they should be classified as employees and what benefits tech companies should be required to provide. Voters appear likely to get the final word next November with dueling questions — backed by big tech on one side and labor unions on the other — likely headed for the ballot. 

Drivers themselves have been split on the issue with some in favor of remaining independent contractors with maximum flexibility and others seeking full-time employment status that would put ride apps like Uber, Lyft, Door Dash and Instacart on the hook for wage guarantees, benefits and allow drivers to unionize.

The state of emergency, which was lifted midday on Saturday, underscores the uncertainty in the rideshare arena. Drivers told MASSterList their earnings have been dropping and are unpredictable.

The Attorney General this spring takes the companies to trial, alleging in a 2020 suit filed by then-Attorney General Healey, that they misclassified drivers to skirt employer obligations.

Lawmakers this session are considering a pair of bills dubbed a “bill of rights” for app-based drivers that would classify them as full-time employees complete with health benefits and paid sick leave. It would also license workers in each municipality they drive, among other regulations.

Send tips to Erin Tiernan Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter. Did someone send you this edition? Subscribe here!

Martha’s Vineyard a backdrop to Black political power

The island of Martha’s Vineyard has deep political association in popular culture with white elites, like the Kennedys and the Clintons, but Martha’s Vineyard’s rich Black history has now made it a growing center of Black political power, reports The Boston Globe. Up-and-coming and established politicians have been traveling there to raise money and rub elbows with influential players from across the country and cultural sectors.

The Boston Globe

Driving records go dark under new immigrant driver’s license law

MassDOT is putting state driving records under lock and key and will no longer release them to the public as the new immigrant driver’s license law takes effect. The records were considered public and easily accessible before the July 1 start date of the driver’s license law, which provides a pathway to legal driving for immigrants who can provide some form of documentation. The Herald’s Chris Van Buskirk reports that language included in the law bars the state from releasing any information related to a Massachusetts license holder.

The Boston Herald

Baby boom: Pandemic sees rise in birth rates in Massachusetts

The pandemic was also an era that brought a mini-baby boom to Massachusetts as most people were stuck at home amid government shutdowns of business and schools, reports Christian M. Wade for the Gloucester Times. There were 69,127 births to Massachusetts residents in 2021, an increase of 4 percent over 2020. The data are a reversal of a nearly decade-long decline in the state’s overall birth rate.

The Gloucester Times

Off the job: Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien suspended

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg has suspended Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien, one year into a five-year term. Goldberg’s office confirmed the suspension to the Business Journal last week. The treasurer appointed O’Brien to the commission about a year ago. The commission referred comments to Goldberg’s office, which declined further comment.

Boston Business Journal

Long-shot Republican sues to keep Trump off 2024 ballot

A long-shot Texas Republican presidential candidate has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to keep former President Donald Trump off next year’s Massachusetts ballot, reports Christian M. Wade for The Eagle-Tribune. John Anthony Castro is expected to file the challenge on Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston. The lawsuit argues that a rarely used clause of the 14th Amendment of U.S. Constitution prevents Trump from being elected to a second term, over his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Castro has filed similar legal challenges in New Hampshire and more than a dozen other states.

The Eagle-Tribune

Anti-Trump super PAC aims to flood GOP primary, courts unenrolled voters

A new super PAC that’s already making in-roads in New England wants to “weaken and defeat” former president Donald Trump in key states like New Hampshire. Their plan is to convince independent and Democratic voters to switch parties for the primary and cast a ballot in the GOP race. The Globe’s Matt Stout reports the group is eyeing expansion into Massachusetts, where undeclared voters outnumber registered Democrats and Republicans. 

The Boston Globe

Ex-Boston cop indicted in Capitol insurrection

A former Boston police officer has pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, reports Ally Jarmanning for WBUR. Joseph Fisher was indicted in the District of Columbia earlier this month on eight charges, including assaulting a police officer and committing physical violence in the Capitol. He was arrested at his home in Plymouth back in March. He retired from BPD in 2016.


You can blame Boston for America’s ice obsession

On a journey to understanding America’s ice obsession, GBH reports it all started right here in Boston with the enterprising Frederic Tudor, who wanted to bring ice to the tropics. The Tudors were one of the wealthiest families in Massachusetts. The family had servants who harvested large blocks of ice out of the lake on their estate, and an ice house to store that ice underground, where it could stay cool year-round.


‘Toxic’ environment cited after candidate hit with vandalism in Worcester

Worcester City Councilor Etel Haxhiaj is blaming the city’s “toxic and hateful” political environment after her home was targeted by vandals who threw a baseball at her house and toppled political signs. Police are investigating.

MassLive | The Boston Globe | Telegram & Gazette

Residents, assemble! Cambridge charter change could add direct democracy

Looking to infuse more direct democracy into city government, the Cambridge Charter Review Commission is considering a number of changes, including the introduction of resident assemblies that would offer advice to elected officials or even make direct decisions. Matt Rocha of Cambridge Day reports the assemblies would likely be randomly chosen from those interested in serving to help ensure diversity.

Cambridge Day

Attleboro’s Hall sets sites on GOP state committee seat

Former Attleboro City Councilor Julie Hall, who previously launched unsuccessful campaigns for state representative and Congress as recently as 2022, has launched a bid to capture a seat on the Mass. Republican State Committee. George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports Hall will be trying to unseat Angela Davis, who has held the position for more than a decade.

The Sun Chronicle

Uxbridge official ordered to stay away from school after confrontation over blog post 

The superintendent of Uxbridge schools has ordered Selectman Stephen Mandile

to stay away from the town’s schools after a parking-lot confrontation–caught on video–apparently sparked by a blog post. The Telegram’s Jeff Chamer has the details.

Telegram & Gazette

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList