10:00 | Mass. Gaming Commission meets. After an administrative update from Interim Executive Director Todd Grossman and a legislative update from Commissioner Brad Hill, the commission will consider a set of sports betting regulations, updates to house rules for Fanatics Betting & Gaming and Penn Sports Interactive, and Race Horse Development Fund benefits for drivers and jockeys. MGM Springfield will present two quarterly reports. There will also be budget and research agenda updates. MassMutual Center – Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, 1277 Main St., Springfield
10:30 | Gov. Maura Healey Attends a Climate Jobs Massachusetts event with Rep. Decker and Mass. AFL-CIO President Chrissy Lynch. House Members' Lounge, State House
11:30 | Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. Tutwiler holds event to discuss the state of education in Western Massachusetts .Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler is the keynote speaker. Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke
6:00 | Massachusetts GOP hosts a concert fundraiser, featuring Scott Brown and the Diplomats, to support Rep. Durant's bid in the special Senate race to fill the vacancy left by former Sen. Gobi. Off The Rails, 90 Commercial St., Worcester
Gathering tens of thousands of signatures from registered voters typically looms as the largest obstacle en route to putting a question on the ballot, and the first contender among the 2024 field is about to claim success.
Workers for Uber and Lyft who want the right to unionize, and the organized labor leaders who support them, plan to announce Thursday they have collected significantly more than the 74,574 signatures needed to advance their proposal to the next phase of the process, MASSterList has learned.
So far, the campaign backed by 32BJ SEIU and the International Association of Machinists isn’t saying exactly how many signatures they’ve collected, but they will invite press to observe them drop off “thousands” to Boston City Hall this afternoon — a full 20 days before the deadline to file enough signatures with local officials.
It’s not exactly a surprise that the pair of powerful unions is plowing ahead toward the 2024 ballot undeterred, but by crowing success early, they are showing confidence in the campaign that could put more pressure on lawmakers to take them seriously.
The 41 other potential ballot questions certified by Attorney General Andrea Campbell are, ostensibly, still at various phases of the signature-gathering process.
A bid from Auditor Diana DiZoglio to make explicit in state law her ability to audit the Legislature has drawn a diverse range of supporters. The right-leaning Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance watchdog group put its weight behind gathering signatures for that measure, and a constellation of progressive activists calling themselves the Coalition to Reform Our Legislature is on board, too.
Rep. Mike Connolly’s push to get voters, rather than his colleagues, to revive local option rent control on Wednesday announced endorsements from a trio of labor and tenant group, some of whom will head out into the field to collect signatures.
Each initiative petition that receives enough certified signatures will head to the Legislature in January, where lawmakers can approve the measures, propose substitute versions or decline to take action. If nothing happens in the House and Senate by May 1, 2024, campaigns need to file another 12,429 signatures with local officials by June 19 to qualify for the ballot.
Judge lets governor cap state shelter capacity
A Superior Court judge Wednesday rejected an advocacy group’s bid to legally prevent Gov. Maura Healey’s administration from limiting the capacity of the state’s shelter system. Lawyers for Civil Rights, on behalf of three families likely to need shelter beds, argued that the administration failed to give the Legislature 90 days notice before declaring the state’s shelters full – a period required by the Dukakis-era state law that made shelter a right in the state.
Judge Debra Squires-Lee ruled that the families did not have standing to bring the case. “The notice proviso is intended to afford the Legislature the opportunity to appropriate additional funding for the program,” she wrote. “The evidence before me, however, is clear – more than a month ago, the Governor specifically requested additional appropriations for the emergency assistance program and the Legislature has failed to act.” — State House News Service | Boston Globe | Boston Herald
Note: A previous version of this edition incorrectly identified the advocacy group involved in the legal action to prevent the shelter cap. MASSterList regrets this error.
Residents in poll support right-to-shelter, less strongly for migrants
A new Commonwealth Beacon poll finds 76 percent of respondents favoring or strongly favoring the state’s unique-in-the-nation right to shelter law, including for the migrants whose superabundant arrival this fall has touched off 2023’s most unexpected crisis. Gin Dumcius writes up the results. — CommonWealth Beacon
Mayor Wu says Mass and Cass is nearly cleared of tent city
The tent city at the intersection of Boston’s Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, or Mass and Cass, is nearly cleared of occupants, Mayor Michelle Wu said. As of Wednesday, she told a radio audience, only about a dozen occupants remained, and they, like the two-thirds that have left this week, are being connected with housing or shelter opportunities. Once the last tent does come down, we will make sure that the street is cleaned and that there’s some more of the services just to kind of ensure that this area is how it should be, but that won’t be the end of our efforts by any means,” she said. At one point recently, as many as 80 people occupied the site. — State House News Service
Advisory panel members quit over Boston English decision
Eight of the 13 members of a task force advising the Boston School Department on serving students who don’t speak English fluently resigned this week after the department embraced a plan to mainstream the students into classes taught in English while providing them with additional language support. The academic world has been sharply divided for years over whether students benefit in the long-term by using English throughout the day, with some assistance, or learning in classes taught in their primary languages. School Superintendent Mary Skipper is defending the policy. — WGBH | Boston Globe
Court decision affirms land trust for Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has fought in court since 2015 for the Dept. of the Interior to hold two parcels of land in Taunton and Mashpee in trust for the tribe. On Tuesday, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in the tribe’s favor, affirming the result of a 2021 decision and the tribe’s right to the reservation land. — Cape Cod Times
A drop in price and loss of licenses for Mass. cannabis businesses
16 cannabis businesses across Mass. have alerted the Cannabis Control Commission of a loss of retail, cultivator and manufacture licenses. While cannabis businesses are still opening statewide, and the loss of any one license doesn’t necessarily force a business to shut down, BBJ’s Cassie McGrath reports that the falling price of cannabis correlates with tighter business margins and that we should expect the list of closing businesses to grow. — Boston Business Journal
Caught on tape? Cash-for-vote charge rocks Springfield mayoral election
Springfield City Councilor and mayoral candidate Justin Hurst has scheduled a news conference for Thursday where is expected to respond further to allegations that people associated with his campaign were caught on City Hall video surveillance cameras exchanging cash for promises to cast votes for Hurst. In addition to the video, a Springfield resident tells Stephanie Barry of MassLive he was paid $10 and given a ride back to a homeless shelter and several city workers said they were asked by a surge of residents registering to vote where to collect their payments . — MassLive
‘Turtleboy’ attorney claims witness intimidation laws unconstitutional
Turtleboy blogger Aidan Kearney was back in court Wednesday, where his attorney asked a judge to relax his bail conditions, saying they make it impossible for him to continue his work and made it clear Kearney will challenge the witness intimidation law under which he was charged on First Amendment grounds. — Boston.com
Overdose reversal medication hits Greenfield
The city of Greenfield has collaborated with social service agencies to place opioid overdose reversal medication, Naloxone, in four locations across the city. An effort to help with “visibility and importance of overdose prevention,” and to decrease the region’s opioid overdose fatality rates, the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County is also continuing to host virtual overdose prevention and Narcan trainings. — Greenfield Recorder
Worcester community college union faculty want a raise
Calling for a raise equivalent to other public higher education unions, members of Worcester-based community college faculty and staff union Massachusetts Community College Council will continue to rally Thursday in Worcester. According to WBJ’s Eric Casey, the union is also circulating a petition —which had over 5,600 signatures as of Wednesday morning— calling on Gov. Healey to offer them more than the 2 percent pay increase former Gov. Baker negotiated. — Worcester Business Journal
Mass DOT turns to young experts for snow-plow names
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is asking elementary school students in the state to suggest names for snow plows joining its fleet this year. The agency says it needs 12 names by Dec. 1, and issued a prepared statement that reads: “The purpose of the contest is to celebrate the snow and ice season and to help recognize the hard work and dedication shown by public works employees and contractors during the winter season.” Past winning names, which are emblazoned permanently on plows, include: “Luke Snowalker,” “Plower Ranger,” “Snow Big Deal” and “Sled Zeppelin.” — WCVB
Boston pondering more parking meters
The Boston City Council is considering a plan to expand the use of parking meters in some neighborhoods and use the funds collected through those meters for nearby beautification projects. A proponent, Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, said: “Folks in the neighborhoods who put more money into these meters should see that money directly benefit the areas in which they are placed. The goal for this hearing is to figure out how we go about setting this up around the city, so it’s not just thrown into the … general fund and sent in different directions.” — Boston Herald