10:00 | Attorney General Campbell, Boston Mayor Wu, U.S. Sen. Warren and U.S. Rep. Pressley hold a press conference to share resources that could help federal student loan borrowers access Public Service Loan Forgiveness. City Hall, 3rd floor Mezzanine, 1 City Hall Sq., Boston
10:30 | Secretary of State Galvin holds a press conference ahead of municipal elections on Tuesday, as well as the special election in the Worcester and Hampshire Senate District to fill the seat vacated by Anne Gobi. Galvin is slated to discuss polling hours, special town elections and mail-in ballot requirements. State House, State Library
1:00 | Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery holds a hybrid public hearing on 10 bills dealing with youth behavioral health. Proposals look to establish a commission to study risks and best practices for children using social media. State House, Room A-1
2:00 | Gov. Healey meets privately with Lt. Gov. Driscoll, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano, followed by a press availability, according to Spilka's office. Governor's Office
Massachusetts has a long list of pressing concerns — maintaining its competitive edge against other states, fostering a talented workforce that can fuel the region’s economy, cutting greenhouse gas emissions to stave off some of the worst effects of climate change, and more.
And there’s no silver bullet that might move the needle on all of those important issues and even give Bay Staters one less thing to complain about each spring and fall. Or is there?
A state commission found in 2017 that moving Massachusetts to the Atlantic Time Zone (effectively observing year-round daylight saving time, and doing away with the “fall back” clock change that took place early Sunday) would carry a whole lot of benefits that address some of those big picture items Beacon Hill wrestles with.
Come December, the sun will set as early as 4:11 p.m. in Boston. Economic competitors like New York City and Silicon Valley hold the end of the day off a bit longer, the earliest sunsets of the year there occur at 4:28 p.m. and 4:50 p.m., respectively. Moving to year-round DST would push back the earliest sunset of the year to 5:11 p.m., “giving Massachusetts a small, but potentially meaningful, competitive advantage,” the Special Commission on the Commonwealth’s Time Zone concluded.
The special commission cited a 2003 report for The Boston Foundation and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that found the Greater Boston region’s climate is one of the greatest frustrations that drives graduates from area colleges to move elsewhere, especially the Bay Area, after graduation.
And the commission said there is evidence from 2007, when three weeks of DST was added in the spring and one week was added in the fall, that staying on DST could save a modest amount of energy now and lead to “meaningful reductions in both future energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.” That could come in handy as Massachusetts aims for net-zero emissions by 2050.
The commission also found that permanent DST “has the potential to create economic growth in Massachusetts as people tend to shop, dine out and engage in commercial activities more in after-work daylight,” and that the switch “could improve public health in the Commonwealth by eliminating the annual transition to DST — and the corresponding increase in traffic fatalities, workplace injuries, and heart attacks.” The change could also reduce street crime and boost worker productivity, the report said.
So why wasn’t the thing that has the potential to address practically her whole agenda one of the first things Gov. Maura Healey proposed when she took office in January?
Aside from the headaches that would come with Massachusetts operating on its own time (the commission said we shouldn’t switch unless the Northeast as a whole does), the greatest obstacle the 2017 commission identified is that the time zone change “could pose a safety risk during the winter to children waiting for the school bus in the dark and to adolescents driving in the early morning.”
We’ll be back to Daylight Saving Time in 125 days. Remember to turn your clocks ahead an hour on Sunday, March 10, 2024. — Colin A. Young
ADL-New England head cites UMass assault as further proof of harsh campus climates
The arrest Friday of a UMass-Amherst student who allegedly ripped an Israeli flag from a Jewish demonstrator’s hands and then spat on it is the latest example of a difficult campus climate for many Jewish students. “That this occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, immediately following a peaceful gathering held by UMass-Amherst Hillel calling for the return of the nearly 300 hostages held by Hamas, is an example of the disturbing reality for Jewish students on campus right now,” ADL New England Regional Director Jonah Steinberg said. “What this student is accused of is reprehensible, illegal, and unacceptable,” a statement Sunday from UMass-Amherst’s administration reads. “Let us be clear, these were the actions of an individual who did not speak for nor act on behalf of a group or anyone other than themselves. Peaceful advocacy and protest must and will be protected on our campus.” The Boston Herald reports that the student was released after being charged and was ordered by the court to stay off the campus. — Boston Herald
Boston City Council candidates in final pre-election push
Candidates for Boston City Council spent the weekend hitting the pavement in advance of Tuesday’s general election. With two incumbents defeated in the preliminary election and two others having decided not to seek re-election, the result will be at least four new faces on the 13-member body. Mayor Michelle Wu also worked Saturday for Enrique José Pepén, a former aide running for the District 5 seat. — Boston Globe
Healey wants off-shore wind help from Biden Administration
Gov. Maura Healey, lamenting an increasingly difficult financial climate for off-shore wind projects, says President Joe Biden’s administration needs to do more to make the industry viable, especially by extending tax incentives. “We need some help in the interim to weather these challenging times,” she said at a public event. — WBUR
Slow-moving MBTA housing compliance becomes election issue in Braintree
As a key deadline looms, officials in Braintree have yet to roll out a proposal to comply with the MBTA’s new multi-family housing mandates and some critics of incumbent Mayor Charles Kokoros–who has expressed concerns about the community being “overwhelmed” by housing–say he’s keeping his plans under wraps until after Tuesday’s election. The Globe’s Andrew Brinker has the details. — Boston Globe
How will Springfield vote-buying allegations be resolved?
The office of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin says it is working with law enforcement after Springfield election officials reported concern that some voters were being paid to cast votes–allegations supported by surveillance video. But MassLive’s Greta Jochem reports it’s not clear who would be responsible for investigating the claims and Matt Szafranski of Western Mass Politics & Insight wonders if any state-level inquiry has already been compromised. One thing seems certain: Voters won’t have any final answers before Election Day. — MassLive | Western Mass Politics & Insight
AG’s legal interpretation boosts Legislature’s bid to ward off audit…for now
Attorney General Andrea Campbell issued a letter siding with leaders in the state Legislature who have been arguing that state Auditor Diana DiZoglio lacks the legal authority to audit their operations. “I believe transparency is a cornerstone of good government, but that transparency must be achieved through methods that are consistent with the law,” Campbell said in a prepared statement. DiZoglio for some time has been seeking to audit legislative operations with no success. Following release of Campbell’s letter, DiZoglio said via X — formerly — Twitter that she will continue with a bid to let voters decide via a ballot question whether to expand the auditor’s powers. — WBUR
Nantucket board rejects voter challenge after hearing reveals law’s gray areas
After a rare Sunday session that drew a standing-room crowd, the Nantucket Board of Registrars voted to reject a challenge of a voter’s local registration on the basis that her primary residence is actually in Boston. Jason Graziadei of the Inquirer reports the challenge has divided the community, with the person who filed the challenge vowing to keep bringing attention to the issue and others worried that thousands of part-time residents could have their own voting status questioned. — Nantucket Current
Highest-end homes are selling more while everything else is selling less
Sales of luxury homes in Greater Boston are down year-over-year except in one category: homes fetching $2.25 million or more. The Boston Business Journal reports that sales of homes in that category were up 6 percent in the third quarter of 2023 compared with the third quarter of 2022. For the rest of the market, sales were down 35 percent. The BBJ cited Greater Boston Association of Realtors data putting the overall median price of a Massachusetts single-family home sold in September at $761,000 and the total volume single-family homes down one-third. — Boston Business Journal
Cell Signaling could deliver $1M to Manchester-by-the-Sea
As Danvers-based biotech Cell Signaling begins seeking local approval for a $100 million corporate campus in Manchester-by-the-Sea, town officials are getting word out that the project could mean as much as $1 million annually in local tax revenue–no small potatoes in a town with a $40 million budget. — Gloucester Times
Healey said this about migrants coming to Massachusetts
Gov. Maura Healey, veering dramatically from her message that Massachusetts is a welcoming place for workers, families and businesses, said on WCVB’s On The Record about immigrants who arrive after the state has declared its shelters full: ““There are a lot of places in the country where people can go once they cross into the United States.” As of Friday, the state was on pace to hit its self-imposed limit of 7,500 shelter any day. Healey recently succeeded in defending her administration’s cap in the face of a court challenge that was based on a state law — the only one of its kind in the country — that makes shelter a legal right. — Boston Herald