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Friday, May 12, 2017

MASSterList: NIH optimism | This ain't no Watergate




By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
05/12/2017

NIH optimism | This ain't no Watergate


Happening Today
 
School building authority
 
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs the Massachusetts School Building Authority Board meeting, 40 Broad St. - Suite 500, Boston, 10 a.m.
 
 
‘Mothers Out Front’
 
Members of the environmental group Mothers Out Front Massachusetts deliver ‘strollers full of postcards’ to Gov. Charlie Baker's office, asking him to help create a better environment for children, Room 360, 10 a.m.
 
 
Vets home ribbon cutting
 
Gov. Baker, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Mayor Martin Walsh and Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry gather for a ribbon-cutting event to mark a 24-month, $35 million renovation and construction project at the New England Center and Home for Veterans, 17 Court St., Boston, 12:30 p.m.
 
 
Malden city hall demolition
 
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash gives remarks at celebration of demolition of Malden's existing Pleasant Street City Hall complex to make way for site redevelopment, 200 Pleasant St., Malden, 12:30 p.m.
 
 
Fall River project completion
 
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, legislators and city officials gather to celebrate the completion of the $227 million Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project in Fall River, 5 Water St., Fall River, 3 p.m.
 
 
Warren meeting in Ware
 
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a regional town-hall style meeting, Ware High School Auditorium, 237 West St., Ware, doors open at 6 p.m. and meeting starts at 7 p.m.
 
 
McCourt Foundation Gala
 
Gov. Baker attends the McCourt Foundation Gala with First Lady Lauren Baker, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 7:15 p.m.
 

Today's News
 
Baker warns of taking meat ‘cleaver' to budget if House bill passes
 
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, used some rather blunt language yesterday to describe the ‘serious consequences’ to the state budget if the House GOP health-care plan is passed by the U.S. Senate, reports Lane Lambert at the Patriot Ledger. “Everybody agrees the Affordable Care Act ought to be fixed. But we should not just take a (meat) cleaver to it,” Baker said at a South Shore Chamber of Commerce event.
Patriot Ledger
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Governor sounds optimistic about preserving NIH funding
 
There is some good news on the federal budget front: Appearing on BloombergTechTV earlier this week, Gov. Baker sounded optimistic that a bi-partisan effort in Washington can avert possible deep cuts in NIH research funds flowing to states. “This is one thing Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on in Washington,” Baker said of the net pluses to the economy of NIH research grants. “There’s a lot of people in D.C. who get why these (NIH) investments pay off.” He said he feels “pretty good” about the feedback he’s getting about support for NIH funding. Bloomberg video via Michael Norton at SHNS (pay wall).
Bloomberg (video)
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Rep. Erlich: Why are N.H. residents getting Massachusetts earned-income tax credits?
 
With the state facing a possible half-billion dollar budget shortfall, Rep. Lori Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat, wonders why so many out-of-state residents (read: mostly southern N.H. residents working in Massachusetts) qualify for earned-income tax credits from the Bay State, reports Christian Wade at the Salem News. Erich is the primary sponsor of a measure, tucked into a draft budget, that would strip the tax credit from out-of-staters.
Salem News
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Would you do business with this Russian-owned cyber security firm?
 
There’s bad publicity. Then there’s really bad publicity – and Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm whose US headquarters are in Woburn, just got a full dose of the latter yesterday, stemming from the ongoing furor over the firing of FBI director James Comey, according to reports by the Globe’s Dan Adams and the BBJ's Kelly O’Brien. The one-word answers by government officials about whether they’d ever use Kaspersky software were brutal, simply brutal.
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‘The Russia scandal isn’t Watergate’
 
The Globe’s editorial board sure sounds tired of all the Watergate comparisons emerging from the Comey-firing controversy, saying the “hackneyed media tradition of putting ‘-gate’ after every political scandal” obscures the fact that each scandal may be different. Well, OK. Then again, the Globe’s James Pindell counts all the ways Comey-gate is like Watergate – and how it isn’t like Watergate.
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Arrested Otis Forest activists want the state to throw the book at them
 
Pipeline activists are crying foul over the state’s anti-martyr tactic of reducing charges against 24 people arrested during protests over construction in the Otis State Forest, Heather Bellow reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Prosecutors want to reduce the charges from trespassing on state land—a charge carrying potential jail time—to civil charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct that bear just a $100 fine. But protestors say they want the attention of a full-scale criminal trial.
Berkshire Eagle
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Revolving door: Lawrence mayor fires ‘rogue’ police officer -- again
 
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera has once again fired police officer William Green, a longtime outspoken critic who has been let go twice before only to win his job back each time, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports. This time, Rivera has the backing of a hearing officer’s report, which found Green abused sick leave and abandoned a security post. Green says he may appeal and also indicated in a YouTube posting that he plans to press forward in his campaign to unseat Rivera in November’s election. 
Eagle Tribune
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Nurses mull putting staffing issue before voters in 2018 (reportedly)
 
Massachusetts nurses are weighing whether to pursue a 2018 ballot campaign that would limit the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ. The Massachusetts Nurses Association argues that overloading nurses with too many patients harms the quality of health care. Right now, the referendum talk sounds like a classic case of a group trying to gain bargaining leverage against adversaries, in this case health-care providers. So we’ll see where this goes.
BBJ
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NH lawmaker faces disciplinary action for online misogynistic activities
 
Even though fellow Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has urged him to resign, N.H. Rep. Robert Fisher, who reportedly set up a misogynistic online forum, is refusing to go. So now the Granite State’s Legislative Administration Committee must decide what to recommend to other lawmakers regarding Fisher: take no action or reprimand, censure or expel him, reports Josh Rogers at WBUR.
WBUR
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Lawmakers push bill that would prohibit marriages for those under 18
 
Saying they want to protect mostly young girls married off before they turn 18, lawmakers and child advocates are pushing legislation that would ban marriages of anyone under the age of 18 in Massachusetts, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. In Massachusetts, nearly 1,200 people under the age of 18, mostly girls, got married between 2000 and 2014, some of them as young as 14, oftentimes via arranged marriages to older men.
MassLive
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Gonzalez on Baker patronage: Do as I say, not as I did
 
With the Baker administration fending off questions about the controversial hiring of the son of supporters of Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is now going after Gov. Baker over his patronage record, reports the Globe’s Frank Phillips. “To win votes, he campaigned on specific promises to end patronage and make government more transparent,’’ said Jay Gonzalez. “In governing, he has broken those promises.”
But, wait, Phillips notes in a separate piece that Gonzalez was a “key player” in a rather infamous patronage incident while working as a senior aide to former Gov. Deval Patrick. The controversy at the time: the hiring of then-Senator Marian Walsh at the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority. A true blast-from-the-past hiring.
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The fun part of being governor: Dishing out capital project funds
 
Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday touted a new $2.26 billion capital spending plans for projects across the state, including funds to improve care at the 135-year-old Chelsea Soldiers' Home and to replace a crumbling parking garage at UMass Boston, reports Mike Deehan at WGBH. The capital plan also has money for State House improvements, including $13 million for the repair and renovation of the Senate chamber, reports Matt Murphy at SHNS (pay wall).
WGBH
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Uber opposes caps on driver hours
 
Another day, another objection from Uber, it seems. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “Uber, which has earned a reputation of fighting regulators at nearly every turn, is contesting a proposed rule in Massachusetts that would cap the number of hours its drivers can work in a day or week, despite complying with similar standards elsewhere.” It’s as if it fights for fights sake, a sort of automatic default position.
Boston Globe
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So what Mass. towns gave the most to Democratic PACs last quarter?
 
Massachusetts residents donated nearly $460,000 to Democratic groups last quarter, far more than the $112,998 given by Bay State residents to Republican organizations, reports the BBJ’s Don Seiffert. So what towns were the most generous to Dem groups? Sorry, you’ll have to look it up at the BBJ. There are a few, though not many, surprises.
BBJ
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Markey pushes for answers on veterans’ brain injuries
 
From the Herald’s Jack Encarnacao: “U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey is calling on the head of the Veterans Administration to probe the Boston VA and how it handles brain injury claims, citing a Herald special report that highlighted alarming error rates and a local Marine whose brain mass was overlooked by agency doctors.”
Boston Herald
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Disease prevention program at risk of ending
 
The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, created as part of the state’s health-care cost containment law, is facing an uncertain future, as its four-year funding dries up this June and advocates scramble to convince lawmakers it’s worth funding again, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. The program focuses on improving health in areas with high rates of preventable diseases.
MassLive
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Is the Trump administration angling to disband Cape advisory commission?
 
Following up on previous reporting at the Cape Cod Times, the Globe’s David Abel writes about the controversy over a local commission that advises the Cape Cod National Seashore. What started out as a Trump administration suspension of commission meetings is now viewed by some as a possible all-out attack on the sanctuary’s conservation efforts and other environmental protections, reports Abel.
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Amherst votes for Trump impeachment measure
 
From Diane Lederman at MassLive: “As expected, (Amherst) Town Meeting has joined Leverett and Pelham in approving a resolution calling for U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern to begin the impeachment process of President Donald J. Trump. The vote here Wednesday night was 116 to 13.”
MassLive
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Car owners stiff communities on $176 million in excise taxes
 
Mass. cities and towns are owed $176 million worth of unpaid excise taxes, helping to exacerbate already strained local budgets, Christian Wade reports in the Salem News. Boston has $23 million worth of the automobile taxes on its books; Lawrence is owed $2.3 million. But communities have less leverage in collecting excise payments than they do in forcing homeowners to pay property taxes, Wade writes.
Salem News
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No sizzle: Brockton’s mayoral field slow to materialize
 
Despite speculation that several members of the Brockton City Council would enter the race for mayor, the contest only has two official candidates so far, including incumbent Bill Carpenter, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Carpenter, who has a daunting $54,000 in his campaign account, is facing a challenge so far only from Jimmy Pereira, a 25-year-old transportation and community planner. 
Enterprise
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Sunday public affairs TV
 
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks with host Jon Keller about the highlights and lowlights of his term, the city’s fiscal standing, and the city’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program. 
This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 4, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Mother’s Day, ‘Duty Free’ documentary, HAIRraising Cut-a-thon.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks and Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung talk about the groundbreaking at the new GE Innovation Point, the future of health care, the laptap ban on flights from Europe to the US, a proposed sugar tax and other business issues.
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Topic: The ups and downs of being a Millennial worker in Boston. From housing to transportation to nightlife, the show hears from Justin Kang of City Awake, a chamber program, Melissa James, CEO of Tech Connect Inc. and Megan Schleck of COIN at John Hancock. 
On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. Guest: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-Anchor Janet Wu.
CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama and the Arts.
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