Boston Mayor Marty Walsh meets with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, followed by a brief media availability, Eagle Room, Boston City Hall, 9:30 a.m.
MBTA mechanics hold a rally to ‘protect taxpayers, riders, workers from further transit privatization,’ Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Warren on health care
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits Manet Community Health Center for a tour and roundtable discussion with health care providers and others about substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic, 110 West Squantum Street, Quincy, 9:45 a.m.
Irish leaders at State House
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito welcome to the State House Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Irish Ambassador to the United States Anne Anderson, State House front steps, 10:30 a.m.
MassDOT and MBTA meeting
MassDOT Board and MBTA Control Board meet jointly, Transportation Board Meeting Room, Second Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 12 p.m.
College savings pilot program
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg announces a two-year pilot program, dubbed SoarMA, that will provide seeded college savings accounts to low-income Massachusetts middle schoolers in cities including Lowell, Haverhill, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester, Stoklosa Middle School, 560 Broadway St., Lowell, 1 p.m.
Gov. Baker meets privately with Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Gov. Baker's office, 2 p.m.
Marijuana hearings update
Will Luzier and Jim Borghesani, who led the Yes on 4 marijuana legalization campaign, address the upcoming hearings of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, State House front steps, 2 p.m.
Rosenberg, DeLeo welcome new lawmakers
Senate President Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo deliver welcoming remarks to new legislators, John Adams Courthouse, Boston, 4 p.m.
Ex-Congressman and AG Shannon cleans up at non-profit
Believe it or not, we were recently wondering whatever happened to ex-Attorney General and former Congressman James Shannon. Now we know, thanks to the Globe’s Andrew Ryan, who reports that Shannon retired as head of the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association in Quincy with $4.1 million in earnings and $10.5 million that he earned in 12 years at the charitable organization.
The Herald’s Jessica Heslam has an excellent package of stories this morning on how the state’s opioid crisis is actually fueling the sex-trafficking trade in the area, as young girls are lured into forced prostitution in order to pay for their drug addictions. “It’s so sad because traffickers will literally line up outside clinics and try to lure women into this industry with promises of drugs,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “Human traffickers are literally targeting and preying upon women, in particular who are drug addicted. ... With the opiate crisis, we’re seeing a rise in this kind of activity.” At the bottom of the main story are links to sidebars.
The Boston Police Department will extend its body-camera pilot program for six more months after reaching an agreement with the city’s largest police union, Bill Forry writes in the Dorchester Reporter. Police Commissioner William Evans said the department needs more data to be able to make an informed decision on whether to make the technology a permanent part of officers’ equipment.
After WGBH last week took a look at the Bay’s State’s very own ‘rust belt’ (i.e. central Massachusetts), the Globe’s Victoria McGrane went to the actual Midwest Rust Belt to interview Democrats to see if U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren, the new face of the Democratic Party, is clicking with voters there. The verdict: Sort of. Some love her, some hate her. Then there’s this: “Polls show that roughly a third of voters don’t really even know who she is, meaning there is room to grow the numbers of her admirers but also room for her critics to build on their negative portrait.”
From the Globe’s Frank Phillips: “John Kingston, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist, and major Republican donor, has emerged as a serious potential candidate for the GOP nomination to oppose incumbent Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. For the past several weeks, Kingston, 51, has been meeting with the state’s top Republicans, including political aides to Governor Charlie Baker, state party leaders, and major GOP donors as he explore a candidacy.” Republican leaders apparently like what they see. His candidacy, if it ever becomes a reality, reminds us of another time a Republican finance guy took on a sitting U.S. senator in Massachusetts, i.e. Mitt Romney vs. Ted Kennedy.
After six fires hit Springfield, mayor vows to ‘hunt down’ those responsible for ‘cowardly crimes’
After three of six fires that hit Springfield on Sunday morning were declared to have been deliberately set, Mayor Domenic Sarno was both grateful and hopping mad, as reported by Elizabeth Roman at MassLive. "Thank God no one was injured or suffered loss of life,” Sarno said in a statement. “The Springfield Police Department and Springfield Fire Department will continue an all-out full court press to hunt down the individual or individuals who perpetrated these cowardly crimes. We will continue to work hard to keep our residents safe and sound."
After the Allied War Veterans Council unconditionally surrendered to critics by rescinding its ban on a gay vets group participating in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade, some younger members indicated that maybe it was time to oust the old guard at the council, as the Herald reported over the weekend. But this morning, the Herald’s Antonio Planas reports the old guard appears to have different ideas.
‘A stereotypical outsider's movie-tinged view of Boston’
Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin absolutely shreds a Washington Post story that attempted to turn the St. Pat’s Day controversy into a big-think piece about the very nature of Boston itself. From Adam: “No, Washington Post, the South Boston parade is not ‘an inextricable part of the city's culture and history,’ it is not ‘the backbone of Boston’ and the ‘Southie’ it represents is far, far away from Boston's beating heart or, as the week's events have shown us, from the actual Southie itself.”
State Police face legal fights over ‘racist jokes, homophobic taunts, sexual advances and lewd remarks’
Speaking of old guards, State Police are facing their own exclusionary controversies, as reported by Nestor Ramos at the Globe: “In interviews and court documents uncovered through a statewide review of dozens of recent lawsuits filed against the department, troopers and civilians say they have endured racial slurs and racist jokes, homophobic taunts, sexual advances, and lewd remarks — claims the state has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle.”
The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan and the Herald’s Hillary Chabot both have pieces this morning on how Dem leaders aren’t exactly wild about the Democratic candidates who have either announced or said they’re interested in running for governor next year. Who do they really want? Attorney General Maura Healey, who has repeatedly said she’s running for re-election as AG.
Setti to take official step to make his unofficial candidacy official one day, official says
Now this is getting down into the political weeds. From the Globe’s Frank Phillips: “Newton Mayor Setti Warren will take his first official step toward running for the Democratic nomination for governor Monday, when he intends to change the wording on his official political campaign committee documents to state that his ‘office sought’ is ‘governor,’ his political spokesman Kevin Franck said.” But Franck said the move is not an official confirmation of any official decision.
Norwegian and German-tied firms eye wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts
Denmark’s Dong Energy is not the only European firm with an interest in building wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts. Statoil, a Norwegian oil company, and PNE Wind, a Chicago-based subsidiary of a German firm, have submitted unsolicited lease requests for two ocean tracts with a total size of 388,569 acres, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. The federal government has indicated that it intends to proceed with a competitive leasing process for the ocean tracts, Mohl writes.
From Donna Goodison at the Herald, whose print headline adorns this post: “Liquor store owners want to get in on selling legal pot rather than seeing another source of revenue go up in smoke — a combination some in law enforcement see as a risky mix of booze and weed.”
MBTA may shut down some commuter rail lines over weekends
From Nicole Dungca at the Globe: “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is considering shutting down entire commuter rail lines during several weekends over the next two years, a move that would allow the agency to make mandated safety upgrades and help close a yawning budget gap.”
The Greyhound Friends, a Hopkinton adoption shelter for greyhounds and other dog breeds, is not only facing accusations of animal cruelty, but Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is also investigating the organization's operations and financial management, reports Jonathan Phelps at Wicked Local, citing tax documents. A recent accounting report highlights "significant funding losses" during the first nine months of 2016, Phelps writes.
There’s no guarantee that Mohegan Sun will prevail in the case, but at least it now has a fighting chance to do so, as CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports: “The State Supreme Judicial Court reopened the casino legal wars on Friday, ruling that Mohegan Sun can challenge the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s decision in late 2014 to award a license to Wynn Resorts for a $2.4 billion casino in Everett. The ruling plunges the Gaming Commission into uncharted waters, and it’s unclear what would happen if Mohegan Sun were to prevail in court.”
Hundreds of apartments eyed on would-be Milford casino site
A developer plans to turn vacant land in Milford that had once been eyed for a potential resort casino (before the town voted overwhelmingly against the idea) into a complex of at least 300 apartments, using the state’s 40B affordable housing statute to override local zoning restrictions, Zachary Comeau of the MetroWest Daily News reports.
Local bank executive says Dodd-Frank is next on Trump’s hit list
Cape Cod Five’s Dorothy Savarese, who was among a grup of community bank executives who met with President Trump last week, said the president is looking to move very quickly to make changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that was passed in the wake of last decade’s Wall Street meltdown, reports the Herald’s Jordan Graham. “He made it very clear to his staff, who’s very supportive of this as well, that he wanted to move in a very expedient way toward making whatever changes can be made very urgently,” said Savarese.
At least four proposals to redevelop the long-vacant Worcester County Courthouse were submitted to the city by Friday’s deadline, including one that would include a giant glass pyramid similar to the one outside the Louvre in Paris and two new towers with more than 300 apartments and retail uses, Tom Quinn reports in Worcester Magazine.
Federal agents and state police are being enlisted by Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick in a show of force meant to help address a surge in gang-related violence in the city, including three recent execution-style slayings, Jill Harmacinkski of the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Some businesses on Cape Cod say they are already seeing less activity from potential overseas visitors for the coming summer season amid outrage and confusion over the Trump administration’s travel ban and other actions, Sean Driscoll of the Cape Cod Times reports. The state’s secretary of housing and development says the Baker administration has been hearing from tour operators and others that planned visits are being cancelled and says Baker plans to make the state’s concerns known to Washington.
Sharknado: Great White Sharks on the rise off Cape Cod
The media is definitely limbering up for a summer of Great White Shark stories galore. The latest evidence: A pre-snow blizzard AP report carried by CBS Boston (and numerous other local media outlets) on the rise of Great White Sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, from 80 individual shark sightings in 2014 to 147 white sharks spotted last summer, based on new Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries data.