Happening Today:

9:00 | The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets remotely, covering topics including chronic absenteeism, early literacy and public adult education, as well as votes on statewide measures of progress and fiscal 2025 budget proposal

10:30 | Gov. Maura Healey holds a press conference to announce $27 million in grants to fund deep energy retrofits and energy efficiency upgrades, building system electrification and onsite renewable energy generation in 10 affordable housing developments. This is the first round of grants under the state's Affordable Housing Deep Energy Retrofit Grant Program | Village at Brookline, 77 Village Way, Brookline

1:00 | The Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a hybrid public hearing on about 40 bills dealing with privacy issues. Issues include updating wiretap statutes, installing protections around doxing, the disclosure of personal information without an individual's consent that can lead to stalking, physical harm or safety threats, and protecting journalists from being compelled to disclose sourcing information. The agenda also includes bills focused on law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology and abortions | Room A-2

6:00 | MassDOT holds a public meeting to provide the public with information on the proposed improvements on Route 28 in Yarmouth and Barnstable | Town Hall, Select Board Meeting Room, 1146 Route 28, South Yarmouth

In the days since the state’s emergency assistance shelter system hit a ceiling on the number of families it would take in, about 90 families have been added to a waiting list for shelter, said Kelly Turley, associate director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, at a candlelight vigil on the State House steps Monday night. 

Meanwhile, as of the most recently available data 40 families who were previously in the system have been exited out of shelter, according to State House News Service tracking of state data. 

Gov. Maura Healey has imposed a capacity limit for the EA system of 7,500 families. The cap was hit on Nov. 9, when data showing 7,517 families were enrolled triggered a new Healey administration regulation to allow the shelter system to begin to turn people away. 

By the next day, Nov. 10, state data reported there were 7,545 families in the system. That was the day certain families began to be added to a waitlist for eventual housing, and were directed to seek help from community groups. 

In the time since, reports show that families, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, have been sleeping in churches, in Logan Airport, and in one instance — when they were directed to South Station at night — a nonprofit put up the money for hotel rooms. And now the state says it’s setting up an overflow site at its transportation building. 

And while close to 100 families are hoping for a way into the shelters, others are leaving out the other side. 

For four days, the EA system didn’t enroll any new families while it moved 22 out of the system. By Nov. 14, shelters housed 7,523 families — down nearly two dozen from a few days before. 

Healey has said her administration is focused on helping families get out of the EA system through programs like HomeBASE and helping to expedite work authorizations. 

Housing Secretary Ed Augustus also filed an emergency declaration that gives the state the authority to cut off how long a family can stay in shelter with 30 days’ notice, though it hasn’t yet been 30 days since he filed that directive, meaning families are not exiting the system through that route yet. 

As of Nov. 15, the system began enrolling families again. That day it brought on four new families, for a total of 7,521. 

In total, 15 new families have been added since Nov. 10. And as of the most recent public data, the number currently enrolled is floating right above Healey’s cap. — Sam Drysdale


Political analyst Jon Keller lines up his list of “political turkeys” who have “befowled” local politics this year. — MASSterList

Remembering grass-roots strategist and ‘political genius’ John Walsh

Walsh, 65, had a track record of historic campaigns in Mass. political history. He not only helped Deval Patrick become the state’s first Black governor in 2006 and Ed Markey keep his Senate seat in 2020, but early on utilized strategies that would later be used in Obama’s presidential victory. Politicians across Massachusetts mourned the death of the former Dem. Party chairman on Monday, remembering his calls to “trust the grass roots.” — Boston Globe | State House News Service

State workers protest unfunded raises, contracts

Over a hundred state workers gathered on the front steps of the State House on Monday to express frustration with elected officials who have left collectively bargained raises for public sector workers unfunded. The adjourning of formal sessions of both the House and Senate last week without the completion of the spending bill means workers are not seeing their raises, and are feeling “held hostage” by the Legislature. — State House News Service

Retired Norwell pediatrician arraigned on assault, rape charges

Since the first two alleged victims came forward, the Patriot Ledger’s Peter Blandino reports, 22 more alleged victims have accused retired pediatrician Richard Kauff of sexual assault. Kauff was arraigned on Monday on child rape and indecent assault charges in Hingham District Court, where he was released from custody on a $50,000 bail. According to Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Beth Kusmin, the number of allegations “has been growing exponentially” since the original charges became public. Kauff denies all charges and will appear in court next on Jan. 11. — Patriot Ledger

Rooms in MBTA headquarters converted to overnight shelter as shelter crisis continues

Officials announced Monday that conference rooms in the MBTA’s headquarters will temporarily house eligible families overnight who haven’t found space in the packed shelter system, reports State House News’ Chris Lisinski. Up to 25 families can reportedly fit, and the space has cots and limited amenities during evening and overnight hours. Gov. Healey’s team projects the site will operate for about two weeks until another safety net shelter program comes online. — State House News Service | WBUR

News investigation finds flaws, bias in Mass. police racial profiling study

An investigation by the Cape Cod Times, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and USA TODAY questions how a study on racial profiling in traffic stops was “procured, influenced and framed by staff at the state’s public safety agency.” Researchers found no support for patterns of racial disparity in traffic stops in the “independent” study, though reporters with USA TODAY have found hundreds of emails suggesting the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security “tightly controlled” the researchers’ work, along with a flawed methodology and data collection. — Cape Cod Times

Wu backs universal basic income, wants to move past limited pilots 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu supports providing a universal basic income to struggling residents but rather than pilot programs being tested in other cities, wants Boston’s philanthropic community to back larger-scale efforts to deliver the direct payment help to everyone who needs it. Gintautas Dumcius of CommonWealth Beacon reports Wu’s recent comments come ahead of a City Council proposal to provide $7,600 worth of direct payments to all 115,000 people in Boston whose income falls below the federal poverty line. — CommonWealth Beacon

Canton votes to review police amid Karen Read case controversy 

A massive crowd of voters at a Canton special town meeting voted Monday to fund an outside investigation into the town’s police department, which is caught up in the controversy swirling around the Karen Read murder case. Read’s defense team is advancing a theory that police are framing her for the murder of her boyfriend and that police are covering up the true story. — Boston Globe

New state police unit to improve hate crime response

The Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team (HART) is a new State Police unit working with law enforcement agencies and community partners to address hate-based incidents tied to race, ethnicity and religion, among other biases. HART is staffed by four-to-five sworn State Police members, a “diverse and multilingual group of troopers who have demonstrated exceptional investigative experience and skill,” according to Interim Col. John Mawn Jr. — State House News Service | WBUR

Mass. October home sales fall to 12-year low

This October, Mass. saw the fewest number of single-family home sales for any October since 2011, a result of below normal inventory, record prices and increasing interest rates. Mass has an incredibly low vacancy rate, something Gov. Maura Healey and Housing Secretary Ed Augustus hope their five-year $4.12 billion housing bond bill can help ease. The bill has yet to move since it was sent to the Housing Committee on Oct. 18. — State House News Service

Push to reinstate masking in hospitals through holiday season

At a virtual press conference on Monday, the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity pushed health systems to revisit masking policies following the CDC’s published outlook for the season, in which it predicted a surge of Covid-19, RSV and flu cases. — Boston Business Journal

Three Bay State synagogues targeted with bomb threats 

Bomb threats made via email and phone prompted the evacuations of three synagogues across the state on Sunday and prompted police to evacuate homes and close streets. While police say all the threats –in Hingham, Northampton and Needham– turned out to be hoaxes, they come amid a surge in similar anti-Semitic attacks. — Daily Hampshire Gazette

Still flowing: Springfield will send another $2 million in ARPA funds to residents 

Citing continued demand from households still feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he’s moved another $2 million worth of federal American Rescue Plan cash into a direct-payment account, boosting the total being sent to residents in payments of $1,400 to $12 million. — MassLive

UMass medical school cuts jobs as state takes over recovery program 

UMass Chan Medical School has informed regulators that as many as 70 jobs will be eliminated as the state’s public medical school in Worcester transfers oversight of substance recovery programs for young people back to the state. — Worcester Business Journal


Revere mayoral race headed toward recount

Charter group leans toward changing Cambridge government to strong mayor from city manager

Lawmakers pushing for MBTA Commuter Rail electrification by 2035

A bigger Harvard? Rethinking access in ‘elite’ higher education

Feds arrest Brazilian sex offender in West Tisbury

Lawsuit filed against Billerica Select Board in response to rejected town center petition

‘Re-wilding’ Massachusetts cranberry bogs

Lowell councilors call for Corey Robinson to ‘step aside’

Dozens gathered at a ‘Free Palestine’ rally in Pittsfield, marching from The Common to the steps of City Hall

The first recreational pot sale in Mass. was 5 years ago. That edible is preserved in a museum

Hundreds of new residents are likely coming to Main Street in Hyannis. Is downtown ready?

Why are there so many wild turkeys on the loose in Massachusetts?

Boston looks back 60 years after JFK assassination

Sam Drysdale is a reporter with the State House News Service and a graduate of Boston University. Drysdale has written for newspapers on Cape Cod, the South Coast and greater Boston. She lives in Brookline with her cat, Nubbs.

Keith Regan is a freelance writer and local news junkie who has been on the MASSterList morning beat since the newsletter’s earliest days. A graduate of Northeastern University and Emerson College, Regan lives in Hopkinton with his wife, Lisa.