An updated unemployment rate and job production numbers for April are scheduled for release by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Public health advocates, former smokers, physicians and teenagers lobby for passage of Rep. Paul McMurtry’s bill that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, prohibit tobacco sales at pharmacies and ban e-cigarette use in the workplace, Great Hall, 10:30 a.m.
Alcohol task force
The Alcohol Task Force that Treasurer Deborah Goldberg convened to review the framework governing the alcoholic beverage industry holds its first hearing, Waltham's Government Center Auditorium, 119 School St., Waltham, 11 a.m.
New Joelyn’s Home
Gov. Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay and legislators gather for the grand opening of New Joelyn's Home, a women's residential recovery program, 70 Brookledge Street, Roxbury, 12 p.m.
Horse Park master plan
New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association hosts a briefing to unveil its master plan for a ‘world-class, year-round horse park,’ offices of Boston lobbyist Brian J. Hickey, 9 Park St., Boston, 2 p.m.
Seamen's Bethel and Mariners' Home
Gov. Baker, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, legislators and local elected officials gather at the newly reopened historic Seamen's Bethel and Mariners' Home to make a funding announcement, 15 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, 3 p.m.
Justice takes oath
Gov. Baker delivers remarks and a ceremonial oath of office to Justice Elspeth Cypher as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, UMass Dartmouth - Main Auditorium, 285 Old Westport Rd., Dartmouth, 4:30 p.m.
From fringe to mainstream, the ‘i’ word is now in vogue
With the appointment of former FBI chief Robert S. Mueller to head the investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to all things Russia, there’s growing talk of possible impeachment of the president, an idea that only a few weeks ago was limited mostly to those on the political fringe, reports Domenico Montanaro at WBUR. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is now openly calling for Trump's impeachment, reports SHNS (pay wall). In a Globe op-ed, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe renews his call for immediate action on the impeachment front. Meanwhile, NYT columnist Ross Douthat says it may be time to invoke the 25th Amendment against the “child” president.
But the Globe’s Scot Lehigh says all the impeachment talk should cease now that Mueller has been appointed chief counsel for the investigation. Speaking of Mueller, we didn’t know he had such strong past ties to Boston, including serving as an assistant U.S. attorney under then U.S. Attorney Bill Weld (later governor) in the 1980s and later working at prestigious Boston law firms, as the Globe reports this morning. In other related news, U.S. Rep. Bill Keating wants a future probe to be focused on any obstruction of justice, as Keating tells WBUR. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch questions whether Trump can be trusted with information from intelligence sources, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH.
Poll: Trump trailing Warren and even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Shannon Young at MassLive reports how a left-leaning poll shows U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson leading President Trump in hypothetical matchups for 2020. But the surprise leader among Democrats? Former Vice President Joe Biden, a moderate whose strong poll numbers suggest that Warren may be the darling of the Democratic left, but not necessarily of the Trump opposition.
Baker and Vermont governor urge Trump to abide by Paris climate-change accord
Moderate Republican leaders are probably going to have to do more of this pushback, on a wider number of policy issues, if they want to survive the growing anti-Trump sentiment out there. From Benjamin Swasey at WBUR: “Gov. Charlie Baker is urging the Trump administration to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement. ... In a letter released Wednesday, Baker and his fellow Republican governor in Vermont, Phil Scott, called on federal leaders to maintain the country's Paris commitments.”
Report: One in ten towns have now said ‘no’ to pot shops
More than 10 percent of the state’s cities and towns have put some form of restriction in place on the sales of recreational marijuana, including 10 that have passed outright bans, Rick Foster of the Sun-Chronicle reports, citing data from the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Another 39 communities have passed temporary moratoriums and, so far, all of the local sales bans to be placed before voters have been approved.
Can the new ‘Globe Live’ help paper’s bottom line?
Bill Mitchell at the Poynter Institute takes a look at the Boston Globe’s latest effort to find new revenue streams, previewing Friday’s debut of 'Globe Live,' which he describes as “part journalism, part performance” that features Globe personnel basically telling tales of their journalistic exploits, sort of like a TED Talk, it appears. Tickets for the Paramount Theater show are sold out, with subscribers paying $35 a pop. While Globe executives admit the first show probably won’t be profitable, they’re hopeful sponsors can be attracted for future events.
Senate President Stan Rosenberg says authorization for the Massachusetts Lottery to start running online lottery games is not likely to happen in 2017, reports SHNS’s Colin Young. It’s just the latest setback for Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who’s been pushing for online lottery games and who earlier this week got bad news when a new survey showed little public support for the idea.
Foreign students still flocking to Massachusetts colleges despite anti-immigrant mood
The more executive orders Donald Trump signs on immigration matters, it seems, the more foreign students want to study in the U.S., particularly in Massachusetts.Fred Thys at WBUR reports that foreign-student are planning to come in record numbers this fall to Massachusetts schools, including UMass Amherst, Northeastern and Harvard, dispelling fears foreign enrollments might dip here due to the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigrants and refugees.
Meanwhile, a new MIT research study says hotels, nursing homes, restaurants, hospitals and other employers rely heavily on immigrant labor in Massachusetts, reports the Globe’s Katie Johnson. In some cases, immigrants make up roughly have [sic] the workforce of some industries in Massachusetts. Here’s the full report by MIT.
N.H. lawmaker resigns over his ‘Red Pill’ misogynism
New Hampshire Rep. Robert Fisher abruptly resigned yesterday for his involvement in a misogynistic online forum, dubbed ‘The Red Pill,’ even though a House committee narrowly voted to recommend no disciplinary action against him, reports Ella Nilsen at the Concord Monitor. The Globe’s James Pindell has more, including how the online forum once described rape as not “an absolute bad."
Rosenberg says there’s growing ‘momentum’ to raise tobacco-purchase age
Senate President Stan Rosenberg sounds confident that lawmakers this session will approve legislation that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco in Massachusetts from 18 to 21. We’ll see. Grocery store owners hate the idea and the House refused to go along with the move last year. The Herald’s Chris Villani has more.
‘Hey, big healthcare, pay the sales tax like the rest of us!’
Jon Hurst, head of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, is sick and tired of his members having to pay ever more for health-care – and he’s blaming health-care providers. “Some of these providers are among the largest employers in the state, are far wealthier than most ‘for profit’ employers, yet due to their tax status, they pay no corporate income tax, no commercial property taxes, and incredibly, no sales tax. With their direct tax avoidance they force the rest of us to pay more in taxes. More taxes, on top of uncontrolled, escalating health insurance premiums."
Gonzalez goes after Baker again, this time over assessment tax
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Democrat Jay Gonzalez, a candidate for governor, went after Gov. Charlie Baker for the second time this week, lambasting the Republican on Wednesday for putting forward a ‘not well thought out’ plan to assess many businesses to pay for a MassHealth spending problem they may not have created.”
Did Taunton police go too far in taunting the lizard lady?
Most everyone got a hearty yuck from the OUI arrest of a woman who had a hidden ‘Bearded Dragon Lizard’ tucked down her brassiere. But did the Taunton police cross the line by almost gleefully humiliating the women in a Facebook post? The Globe’s Nestor Ramos takes a look at the social-media messaging.
Witness to entire courtroom: ‘(F---) all you racist white (mother-------) … stinking white (b----).’
A former prisoner who has accused a Worcester police officer of making racist comments and assaulting him is now the one headed for a night in the clink because he previously missed showing up to testify – and now he’s really mad. Via Melissa Hanson at MassLive: “When told that he would be held overnight at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction in order to testify on Thursday against the police officer who allegedly attacked him, Gerald Jones broke into a profanity-laced outburst. ‘(F---) all you racist white (mother-------),’ Jones exclaimed at Worcester Superior Court Judge Richard Tucker and the attorneys in the courtroom. He also swore at Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta, who is prosecuting the case, and called her a ‘stinking white (b----).’”
Now it’s a fivesome: Mt. Auburn Hospital is also joining Beth Israel-Lahey merger
This is no longer a merger. It’s a formation of a new, formidable provider network to compete with Partners Health Care, with Mt. Auburn Hospital the latest to join a merger that includes Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Clinic, New England Baptist and, as of just earlier this week, Anna Jaques Hospital, as the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports. State regulators must still approve all this, but it’s going to be hard to reject, considering the size of Partners.
Senate hopes to shorten waiting list for end-of-life care for children
With $2.6 million tucked aside within the Senate’s propos $40.3 billion state budget, senators are hoping to whittle down the number of families on a waiting list to get quality-of-life care for their terminally ill children, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at Wicked Local. Sen. Sal DiDomenico said the money for palliative care will hopefully be enough to eliminate the current waiting list.
UMass Boston and the MBTA: Two peas in the deferred-maintenance pod
Greg Sullivan, the former state inspector general and current research director at the Pioneer Institute, is praising Education Secretary Jim Peyser for trying to bring order and common sense to UMass’s capital-projects process, replacing the current all-you-can-eat-buffet approach that’s led to the financial meltdown at UMass-Boston. Sullivan’s ultimate insult: He compares UMass-Boston to the MBTA in terms of deferring maintenance on existing facilities/systems while rushing to build and expand.
Speaking of UMass-Boston’s finances, from the Herald’s Brian Dowling: “The $233 million price tag for an ‘essential’ construction project at the University of Massachusetts Boston needs to be hiked by $11 million to truck more asbestos-tainted soil off campus, a consultant said — the project’s third cost increase in as many years.”
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday he would work to boost trade between the U.S. and New Zealand and solidify a close relationship to help keep China from exerting too much influence in the region if he is confirmed as ambassador to the island nation, according to an Associated Press report at the Sun Chronicle. The hearing lasted under an hour and featured U.S. Sen. Ed Markey calling Brown the “perfect person” for the post.
No going back: Shrewsbury keeps plastic bag ban in place
Shrewsbury town meeting rejected a proposal to throw out the town’s ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags, which is now set to take effect on July 1, Elaine Thompson of the Telegram reports. Shrewsbury had been poised to be the first community in the state to undo a plastic bag ban after it was approved.
Teachers’ union, city hall spar over contract-talk breakdown
The Boston Teachers Union and city officials are accusing each other of being responsible for a breakdown in contract talks, Kathleen McKiernan and Chris Villani of the Herald report. The city says union officials walked away from the bargaining table, while the teachers say the city procrastinated on negotiations to the point where they crumbled.