Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care’s second annual summit, JFK Library and Presidential Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, 10 a.m.
Public Service Committee
Staff at the Committee on Public Counsel Services, backed by SEIU Local 888, will push for legislation to allow the public defenders to collectively bargain at a hearing held by the Public Service Committee, Room A-2, 11 a.m.
Down Syndrome Advocacy
House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg are expected to attend Mass Down Syndrome Advocacy Day, Grand Staircase, 11 a.m.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg will be the keynote speaker at a policy event hosted by Education Reform Now, an affiliate of Democrats for Education Reform, Omni Parker House, 60 School St., Boston, 12 p.m.
Local Government Advisory Commission
Mayors and local officials will hear an update from the Baker administration on state finances and climate change efforts at a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, Room 157, 1 p.m.
Legislation pertaining to corporate excise taxes and tax credits will get a hearing before the Joint Committee on Revenue, including Rep. Josh Cutler’s bill that seeks to close off-shore tax haven loopholes, Hearing Room B-2, 1 p.m.
Local liquor licenses
The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will consider testimony on bills that would award 52 additional liquor licenses to communities including Boston, Peabody, Wrentham, Dracut, Dedham, Devens and Salem, Hearing Room B-1, 1 p.m.
Sugary drinks tax
Sen. Jason Lewis holds a legislative briefing with former Boston Bruin Bob Sweeney and medical professionals in support of an excise tax on sugary drinks, Room 428, 2 p.m.
Bar association opioid panels
Massachusetts Bar Association hosts a series of discussions dealing with responses to the opioid epidemic, with speakers from law enforcement, the judiciary and Legislature, Massachusetts Bar Association, 20 West St., conference room 101, Boston, 4 p.m.
Immelt on Boston: ‘This town is going to be one of the most important cities in the world’
If General Electric’s Jeff Immelt harbors any doubt about his bold decision to re-locate GE’s headquarters to Boston, he most certainly wasn’t showing it yesterday at the official groundbreaking for the company’s new corporate home along the Fort Point Channel. "This town is going to be one of the most important cities in the world, and GE can be part of that renaissance," Immelt said yesterday, as reported at the Herald.
The Boston Business Journal has a mini-slideshow of GE’s new headquarters, focusing on its planned interior. And WBUR has more on yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremonies, as well as a nearby protest over the rich incentives package GE received for moving its headquarters to Boston. Meanwhile, the Berkshire Eagle reports on how environmentalists worry GE’s move to the Bay State count effect the Housatonic River cleanup.
Baker says May revenue numbers will probably dictate future budget action
Not surprisingly, State House leaders yesterday didn’t come up with an agreed-upon plan on how to deal with the state’s looming half-billion dollar budget shortfall. But Gov. Charlie Baker did emerge from a leadership meeting yesterday saying that officials are currently not thinking of revising next fiscal year’s budget projections, focusing instead on the current fiscal-year mess. May’s revenue numbers will be key in deciding what to do, Baker indicated, as reported by SHNS’s Matt Murphy at WBUR.
But there was good news yesterday on the budget front, via state transportation chief Stephanie Pollack: Revenue numbers for the Pike's new all-electronic tolling system are coming in right on target, as reported by MassLive’s Gintautus Dumcius, and the federal government’s transportation bill is actually great news for the state, as reported by Colin Young at SHNS (pay wall).
John Oliver cusses out Emily Rooney for three-year-old comment
At least Emily Rooney, host of WGBH’s classic ‘Beat the Press,’ now knows that John Oliver, or more likely his producers, occasionally watch her weekly show, after Oliver playfully (sort of) went after Rooney for remarks she made about his own show three years ago during a debate over net neutrality, reports Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin, who has a video of Oliver’s diatribe about a long ago diatribe.
Obscure GOP Senate candidate says he knows how to expose Elizabeth Warren’s ‘massive weakness’
Shiva Ayyadurai, an entrepreneur who claims to have invented email and now dreams of toppling U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, apparently has a plan to defeat Warren in 2018. "I know that Warren — in spite of (what) people think she is — is extremely weak," the Republican candidate tells Shannon Young at MassLive. "She's a formidable enemy, but weak in the sense that where she's fundamentally coming from, her basis of where she's coming from, has massive weakness and I know how to expose that weakness."
He didn’t provide details about the secret plan, other than to say Warren is part of a “neo-caste system” that’s “extremely spineless.”
Baker administration rejects 10-year phase-out of state support for Greenway
The state has been talking about soon weening the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway off of state funding. But the non-profit conservancy had a counter proposal: How about a 10-year phase-out plan? The administration, needless to say, isn’t buying the suggested timeline, reports Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth and Matt Stout at the Herald.
Let’s face it: The Judiciary Committee’s hearing yesterday was all about Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and his ideas on ICE cooperation and use of inmates to build the Mexican border wall – and Democratic lawmakers’ attempts to block Hodgson’s ideas. So it’s no surprise that there was some sparring yesterday between Hodgson, making a star appearance, and lawmakers, as reported by the Herald’s Dan Atkinson and MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg.
Speaking of immigration-related issues, opponents of the Salem City Council’s decision to declare the city a ‘sanctuary for peace’ appear to have gathered more than enough signatures to have voters decide whether to overturn the measure in November, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports. The move puts on hold the council’s order.
Meanwhile, Amherst town meeting members voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Sanctuary Community Bylaw that, among other things, prohibits town employees from participating in, and municipal money from being used toward, the establishment of a Muslim registry, reports Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Shrewsbury police probe ugly campaign mailer that targeted Muslim candidate
And yet another update from the immigration front, this one as nasty as they get: Police in Shrewsbury are probing what they call a ‘hate-filled’ campaign mailer that landed in mailboxes one day before the town election urging a vote against a Muslim candidate for selectman, Elaine Thompson of the Telegram reports. The target of the mailer, Pakistan-native Rashid Shaikh, who did not win one of the two seats being contested, said the mailer—which urged voters to “Say no to Muslim politicians”—contains a number of lies, including that his son attends UMass Amherst free-of-charge. “It was very, very hurtful,” he said. “Honestly, it made me cry that people could go that low.”
Confederate flag temporarily banned at Easthampton High
Easthampton Superintendent Nancy Follansbee has issued a two-day ban on displays of the Confederate flag in the town’s schools, reversing an earlier decision that said the symbol was protected as free speech and putting the issue squarely in the laps of the school board, Mary C. Serreze of MassLive reports.
The Hill on Monday published a list of 43 potential candidates who it says could challenge Donald Trump in 2020 and despite his fervent denials, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s name appears on the list. In naming Moulton, Lisa Hagen notes that the congressman publicly denied his interest in running but still used the attention his potential candidacy garnered as a fundraising trigger. Also on the list from Mass: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Gov. Deval Patrick, who Hagen notes is a close ally of former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod.
Judge: No, the nation of Venezuela doesn’t have to recognize Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage law
From Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin: “A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit against Venezuela by a Venezuelan national and his Massachusetts husband seeking to have their marriage recognized by that country's government. Carlos Javier Holder Wendell had sued the Venezuelan government last August, seeking to force its consul in Boston to formally recognize his marriage so that he and his husband could visit relatives in that country.” The judge did add an interesting caveat that theoretically kept the legal door open for Holder and his husband.
Medical schools to start teaching how to have end-of-life discussions with patients
In non-frank language, the state’s four medical schools say they plan to start teaching medical students how to have frank discussions with patients about “what they want from life,” a sort of backward way of saying they’ll be taught how to have end-of-life discussions if a patient becomes gravely ill. The Globe’s Felice Freyer has more.
Markey: GOP health-care plan ‘immoral,’ ‘cruel,’ inhumane,’ a ‘massive giveaway’
We can’t understand why U.S. Sen. Ed Markey can’t be more forthright about what he really thinks. The story from Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.
Btw: Markey doesn’t think the Senate will, or can, approve the House Republican health-care legislation, reports Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe. “The Republicans are now looking for a unicorn, something that can make the radical right-wing members of the House of Representatives happy, and a bill that can make simultaneously those senators that come from states that have already opted into the Affordable Care Act happy.”
Rosenberg: GOP health-care plan ‘compromised our plan’ and may require tax hike
In a somewhat more reserved way, Senate President Stan Rosenberg is also miffed at the House GOP’s vote to cut ObamaCare, saying it has ‘compromised’ the state’s universal health-care system and may require state tax increases down the road, if the Senate doesn’t make major revisions to the House proposal, as reported at CBS Boston.
Optometrists: Hey, we can save the state $20M, just like that
While State House leaders contemplate the possible humongous hole blown in the state budget if ObamaCare is repealed, the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists says allowing optometrists to treat glaucoma and other eye infections could save the state’s Medicaid program $20 million a year, based on a new study conducted by a former MassHealth director for the trade group, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Lowell Sun.
Reviewing all the reasons why Question 2 failed so miserably
Bad marketing, bad messaging and bad timing were among the reasons cited at a recent panel about why Question 2, which would have expanded the number of charter schools in Massachusetts, was so resoundingly defeated last fall by state voters, as Michael Jonas reports at CommonWealth. This part is unquestionably true: “One huge factor in the outcome, agreed strategists from both sides, was voter uncertainty about the effect of more charter schools on the finances of traditional district systems.”
As he seeks Senate confirmation for NZ post, Brown backs group attacking Warren
Not exactly smart timing: Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, whose nomination as the next U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa must still be confirmed by the Senate, has lent his support to the fundraising efforts of a political action committee that’s ripping into U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who defeated Brown in 2012 and who, well, is a member of the Senate, reports Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth. The PAC’s chairman is taking responsibility for the attacks, saying Brown didn’t have anything to do with the wording of the fundraising letter.
Former FCC chair joins Boston startup’s advisory board
We missed this one from late last week. From Dylan Martin at BostInno: “A Boston startup has gained an important ally: Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Confirm.io, which provides mobile identity authentication services, announced on Thursday it's added Wheeler to its advisory board, which also includes former PayPal executives Hill Ferguson and Dickson Chu, former Groupon general manager Mike Shim and DocuSign executive Ryan Cox.”
Harvard black students plan to hold their own commencement
Harvard’s African-American students plan to hold a separate Black Commencement 2017 before the traditional campus-wide commencement, reports the Globe’s Michael Levenson. The event would follow in the footsteps of a Harvard students of Latin American descent holding their own annual ceremonies.
Framingham’s city backers spent nearly $90K on government-switch campaign
The group that successfully convinced Framingham voters to transform the country’s largest town into a city spent $89,000 over a two-year period on the campaign, compared to just $10,000 spent by the leading opposition group, Jonathan Dame of the Metrowest Daily News reports. Framingham First spent just over $33,000 this year alone, most of it on signs and advertisements, though nearly $4,000 was doled out for legal costs associated with a recount of the narrow 112-vote victory.