Detractors of Rep. Mike Day’s firearm bill at a public hearing last week said top lawmakers hadn’t been listening to their apprehensions about the gun reform package. But Day has heard out at least a few critics, if you take a look at his campaign checkbook.
The House’s point-person on the Judiciary Committee, Day was anointed last year by Speaker Mariano as the chosen author of a House firearms package. After some pushback to the initial proposal this summer, Mariano pressed pause until the autumn, and Day returned with a rewritten version last week. That’s queued up for a floor vote this afternoon in the House.
And well before the marathon gun reform hearing last week, Day seems to have been listening. The Stoneham Democrat’s political finance records this year have been littered with references to gun policy development — from expensing a half dozen meals with staff and fellow legislators after stops on his “listening tour” that led up to the controversial bill’s release in June, to a trio of late-summer gatherings to discuss others’ unease with the proposal.
Day reported spending a total of $168 in campaign funds in late August for a dinner and two lunches — one meal to talk with a constituent about “gun dealer concerns” over the bill and another to speak with a campaign donor about their concerns, and another for a “colleague to discuss [their] concerns over firearm safety bill.” In June there were over $400 in tabs from various Beacon Hill area establishments for meetings with lawmakers involving the bill.
For all of his meetings with colleagues, a number of them still think there’s room for improvement with the bill. After a Tuesday deadline, state reps had filed 49 amendments — the majority of them (36) coming from Day’s Democrat peers. Read ’em here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H4135/Amendments/House. Who knows, maybe some of them could actually spur a real debate today in the often-quiet chamber. —S.D.
Breaking: Healey backs transfer taxes, accessory dwellings in $4.1B housing bill
“The Healey administration wants to give cities and towns like Boston the power to impose a new fee on high-price real estate transactions and steer the revenue into affordable housing development, pitching a local-option transfer tax alongside more than two dozen other measures in a sweeping new housing legislation.” — State House News Service
Speaker wants to keep his gavel
House Speaker Ron Mariano announced Tuesday that he plans to seek re-election from his Quincy constituents next year and reappointment as speaker from his fellow Democratic legislators. He has held the seat since 2020. Mariano turns 77 years old on Halloween, and thanks to recent moves by lawmakers will not face any pesky term limits for legislative roles. He told reporters he might not serve out a term if re-elected. — State House News Service
Advocates say most Uber, Lyft drivers making less than minimum wage
A report by a coalition of groups that want state lawmakers to make it easy for Uber and Lyft workers to unionize states that most such drivers in Massachusetts make less than the state-mandated minimum wage of $15 per hour. The median take-home pay, according to the report, is $12.82 per hour. A spokesman for a group representing ride-share and teach workers said the report was engineered to produce the low figures. — Boston Business Journal
MBTA floating idea of new Red, Blue Line connections
The MBTA is holding hearings on a proposal to build a connection for the Red and Blue subway lines at the Charles/MGH station. Linking the two lines there would reduce congestion at other downtown transfer stations riders use to make the two-stop hop between the two lines. The project would involve closing the Bowdoin Blue Line station and would take about five years to complete at a cost of about $850 million. The public comment period ends Oct. 31. — WCVB
Lawmakers want to shift to taxpayer-funded early childhood education
Lawmakers want the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer funds to expand and build early childhood education and relieve most families of paying for it, the State House News Service reports. A measure that would bring the change about is called the Common Start bill. The state already helps families with well below the median household income pay for child care. — State House News Service
Starbucks threatens union with legal action after pro-Hamas posts
Starbucks is warning a union representing 8,000 of its workers nationwide that it will take legal action if it doesn’t stop using the company’s name and logo in its communications. The shot comes after the union made since-deleted social media posts widely condemned for being pro-Hamas. — The Jewish Voice
Worcester council decides against regulating anti-abortion clinics
After more than a year of work and months of debate, the Worcester City Council decided against creating rules regulating clinics that claim to offer abortion services but actually try to direct women to alternatives. The 7-4 vote to end consideration of the ordinance came after the city’s lawyer recommended against passing it.— Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Poverty among Hispanic Massachusetts residents exceeds national average
The percentage of Massachusetts Latinos who are technically considered to be impoverished stands at about 20 percent, according to the latest census data. The figure represents a a drop of 10 percentage points from 2005, but Latinos remain twice as likely to live in poverty than Massachusetts residents as a whole. Axios Boston reports that the Latino poverty rate in the state has been a concern for more than 40 years and at one point was the highest in the country. — Axios Boston
Lobbyists cashing in on change in administrations
The changeover in party control of the State House and the launch of a new two-year legislative session have driven significant business for the state’s lobbyists, State House News Service reports. From January through June, 10 lobbying firms collected more than $1 million each, data from the secretary of state’s office indicates. Industries whose businesses spent the most on lobbying came from sectors including health care, biotech and construction. See the full list of lobbyists accompanying the linked story. — State House News Service
Legislation takes aim at dark money influencing town meetings
Lawmakers from the Cape and Islands are co-sponsoring legislation that would close a loophole in state political finance laws that has allowed unlimited anonymous spending aimed at influencing town meeting decisions. The bill from state Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Dylan Fernandes comes after Nantucket saw several years of heavy spending by an off-island real estate firm aimed at convincing voters to block regulations on short-term rentals. — Nantucket Current
Move over or pay up
State lawmakers are considering increasing the penalty for driving closer than necessary to emergency vehicles stopped on Massachusetts highways. The penalty would increase to $250 from $100 when no accident is involved. Drivers found responsible for accidents that they could have avoided by moving over could be fined $5,000 or jailed for one year. — WBZ
Senior housing — not weed farm — now on deck for Berkshire Mall property
The owners of the Berkshire Mall and its surrounding land say they will shelve plans to create an indoor cannabis-growing facility and instead will invest $200 million to turn most of the site into age-restricted housing, including assisted living units and a nursing home. The shift comes amid increasing saturation in the cannabis market and after one of the last retail tenants on the property, Target, refused to relax its own rules barring pot-related businesses from being located nearby. — Berkshire Eagle
Last and not least: ‘Several reasons not to have sex in an MBTA elevator, including if you already have warrants out for your arrest’
Adam Gaffin outdoes himself with this brief and steamy police report item. — Universal Hub