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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MASSterList: Ballot threat, II | Monopolist grab | Remembering D-Day


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By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
06/07/2017

Ballot threat, II | Monopolist grab | Remembering D-Day


Happening Today
Health Policy Commission
In a joint meeting of its Care Delivery and Payment System Transformation Committee and Quality Improvement and Patient Protection Committee, Health Policy Commission will hear a presentation on efforts to develop a community health center-led accountable care organization and staff will provide an update on the agency's ACO and patient-centered medical home certification programs, 50 Milk St., Boston, 10 a.m.
Senate Democratic caucus
Though they will not meet in a formal session during the week, Senate Democrats will meet in a caucus today, Senate President's office, 11 a.m.
Marijuana rally
The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws host a rally to pressure lawmakers to abide by provisions within Question 4, State House steps, 11:30 a.m.
Governor’s Council
Governor's Council holds its weekly assembly with votes possible on the nominations of attorney Jeffrey Karp to the Superior Court bench and attorney Susan Sard Tierney as a Probate and Family Court judge in the Suffolk County Division, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.
House in session
House meets in full session, House Chamber, 11 a.m., with a Senate Democratic caucus at 12 p.m., and with roll calls scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
MWRA Board
The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority meets and is expected to review the performance of Executive Director Fred Laskey and discuss a possible contract extension, 100 First Avenue, 2nd Floor, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, 1 p.m.
Healey at Fenway Health
Attorney General Maura Healey will open the Fenway Health Young Leaders Council Advocacy Day, Fenway Health Auditorium, 1340 Boylston St., Boston, 6 p.m.

Today's News
Trump wakes up on wrong side of bed, Sessions now in trouble
After a bruising confirmation process that involved U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren basically being told to shut up by Senate GOP leaders, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who’s been in office just four months, is now apparently in President Trump’s dog house and has even recently offered to resign, reports the NYT.
And then there’s this telling Washington Post headline: ‘State Department distances itself from Trump, creating an alternate U.S. foreign policy.’ So Rex Tillerson is probably next on the presidential dog-house list. And one wonders how much longer Republican leaders will put up with all of this – and how much longer until they hit the impeachment breaking point if the mercurial Trump keeps going after their own. Seriously, all of these incidents are small straws that add up.
NYT
Rosenberg issues another prediction – and ballot-question threat
Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who’s already warned that there will be a ballot-question push if lawmakers don’t pass paid family leave, is now saying there will be a ballot-question push if lawmakers don’t pass a $15 minimum wage bill this session, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. Rosenberg says he generally deplores the use of ballot questions to decide legislative issues, but ...
WGBH
Shaheen says she’s related to Pocahontas, hesitant to talk to Warren about it
As far as we can tell, this is not fake news. From Chris Cassidy at the Herald: “New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says her direct lineage to Pocahontas is too touchy a subject to bring up in conversation with Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claims her own Native American heritage. ‘It’s kind of a sensitive topic,’ Shaheen told CNN when asked if she’s told Warren about her ancestry, ‘so probably not.’” Needless to say, the Herald’s Howie Carr is having a field day with Shaheen’s Pocahontas claim.
Boston Herald
What a deal: Cigarette wholesalers seek monopoly status to sell marijuana
How can lawmakers turn this deal down? From Dan Adams at the Globe: “The companies that track, deliver, and tax all the cigarettes sold in Massachusetts are seeking a similar monopoly on recreational marijuana when sales begin in 2018. They’ve asked state officials to require marijuana producers to sell all their pot products through them — just as most alcohol has to pass through a wholesaler on its way to bars and package stores.”
The word “chutzpah” does come to mind. P.S. – Anyone up for pot-infused pizza cooked South Shore style? The Herald’s Donna Goodison has the details.
Boston Globe

The most immediate danger to the state’s economy: A labor shortage
Writing at the Globe, George Donnelly, a consultant at Northwind Strategies and the former editor of MASSterList, warns that the state’s current labor shortage poses a threat to the state’s economy and he has some suggestions about what the state can do to ease the problem, at least in the long-term.
Boston Globe
Let the debate begin, Part II: More on Harvard’s rescinding admissions to obnoxious teens
Add Joanna Weiss, writing at WBUR, to the list of people who think Harvard might have been unfair when it rescinded admissions to students who wrote truly ugly, undeniably offensive things in a Facebook chat group. The teens’ only defense: They’re teens. ... This is a close call. This is not about political correctness. What they wrote was simply off the charts. But ... but they are dumb-as-rocks teens. The Globe’s Laura Krantz has more on the free-speech debate that’s erupted around the nation over Harvard’s admissions decision.
Cape Seashore group reinstated
The advisory commission that helps direct the Cape Cod National Seashore, which suddenly ceased meeting earlier this year, is back in business, Madeleine List of the Cape Cod Times reports. U.S. Rep. William Keating said the commission has been reinstated by the Department of the Interior after a month-long break meant to enable a Trump administration evaluation of the group’s value, though the person in charge of the park said no such review was undertaken.  Many had feared the administration was gunning to kill the advisory commission.
Cape Cod Times
The latest opioid horror hitting the streets: Elephant tranquilizers
From Christian Wade at the Salem News: “A powerful synthetic opioid linked to overdose deaths in New Hampshire and elsewhere has turned up for the first time in Massachusetts, according to state police. Carfentanil – which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine – was detected in state drug lab tests from three recent narcotics seizures, State Police spokesman David Procopio said.” As Christian notes, the drug is normally used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants and other large animals.
Salem News
Kennedy’s rising power-broker star
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld thinks U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy is in the position to potentially play a key role in rallying Dems behind their eventual gubernatorial nominee – and other Dem candidates and causes.
Boston Herald
Setti not worried about Democrats’ obsession with Trump
Speaking of Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Echoing Dem party chief Gus Bickford’s sentiments (and spin), Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who’s running for governor, says he’s not worried about his state party’s overwhelming obsession with all things Trump these days, saying there’s still 17 months until election day. “It’s early,” he said.
Boston Herald
Marty Walsh still on fence on whether to support Baker in 2018
But how can Setti Warren and the other Dem gubernatorial candidates win if some prominent Democrats won't even say whether they'll  back the Democratic nominee?  House Speaker Robert DeLeo isn't saying. And Mayor Marty Walsh still isn't saying, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan. Walsh is reiterating he's still on the fence on whether he’ll support his Republican pal Charlie Baker next year. O’Sullivan’s piece is a good look at how both Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren need moderate support in general to win re-election next year -- and they both seem to be getting it.
Boston Globe

Biden to attend Mitt Romney’s summit
More on Democrats and Republicans banding together, from the AP at the New York Times: “Just days after launching a new political action committee, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden will join Republican officials and donors at a weekend retreat hosted by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.”
NYT
D-Day Anniversary: List of 441 Massachusetts residents buried at Normandy American Cemetery
We were so busy yesterday posting on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway that we missed that it was also the anniversary of the D-Day invasion. But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, a veteran, didn’t forget, issuing a classy statement giving “thanks to the brave Americans who stormed the beaches of France.” The MetroWest Daily Newsalso didn’t forget, running a piece about a local vet, Bill Eagleson, who flew bombing missions over France on June 6, 1944.
But what really struck us was Wicked Local’s pieceon all the D-Day statistics, including, sadly, the full list of 441 GIs who enlisted from Massachusetts and were killed on D-Day and in ensuing days -- and who are now buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in France (scroll down for list). One last note:MetroWest Daily News also had a piece on Framingham’s Joe Gross, who survived the sinking of the USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway.
Take that, Amsterdam and Berlin
Here’s a nice bragging point for all those concerned about Boston’s place in the world: Deutsche Bank says Boston is the eighth best city in the world in terms of quality of life, beating out all other U.S. cities and besting even Amsterdam, Helsinki and Berlin, reports Business Insider, via the Boston Globe. Hell, we even beat out Paris! Fyi: We could be wrong, but the photo accompanying BI’s Boston blurb sure doesn’t look like Boston.
Business Insider
MGM Springfield one step from having pesky new neighbor
A bill authorizing the construction of a third tribal casino in Connecticut cleared the legislature in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and is headed to the governor’s desk in the Nutmeg State, meaning the yet-to-open MGM Springfield casino will likely face a competitor just down the I-91 road, reports the Hartford Courant.
Hartford Courtant
Earned income tax expansion runs up against budget reality
Even though it has won surprisingly strong bi-partisan support, a Beacon Hill push to double the state’s match to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit is running into a problem: The tight state budget. SHNS’s Colin Young reports on the wrangling over expanding the popular anti-poverty program.
SHNS (pay wall)
MBTA settles civil rights suit with Roxbury woman
A Roxbury woman who accused MBTA police officers of pepper-spraying, beating and then arresting her, all because she told one of the officers to stop screaming at another African-American woman, has reached a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the T, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said terms of the settlement are not being disclosed.  Meanwhile, the Herald is reporting that the ACLU is hoping the settlement will lead to genuine transit-police reforms at the MBTA.
MassLive
As lawmakers mull self-driving car regulations, Lyft joins with MIT start-up to test drive cars in Boston
Zeninjor Enwemeka at WBUR has a good piece on the five key issues lawmakers are considering when it comes to regulating self-driving cars, including safety, liability and electronic-hacker concerns. Lawmakers better hurry up, since the self-driving era is almost here, with Lyft and an MIT start-up, nuTonomy Inc., now planning joint test runs of autonomous cars in Boston, reports Kelly O’Brien at the BBJ.
WBUR

Optometrists launch radio blitz to push glaucoma bill over the top
Supporters of letting optometrists perform glaucoma procedures are launching 30-second radio spots in an attempt to win final passage of a glaucoma provision that was tucked into the Senate budget. The ads, paid for by the Mass. Vision Foundation, will run on WBZ-AM and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Here’s theirpress release and an audio recording of the ad.
‘Sclerotic troika of septuagenarians,’ Part II
Former U.S. Rep. Michael Harrington, a Democrat, is not the only one who thinks Democrats, at least those in the U.S. House, are led by “sclerotic troika of septuagenarians.” Writing at the Boston Herald,Colin Reed, executive director of a Republican communications Super PAC, thinks the entire party is run by “geriatric Dems” who won’t get out of the way of younger members.
Clark: Trump’s air-traffic privatization plan has crashed on takeoff
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, says President Donald Trump’s call to privatize air traffic control services is unlikely to win the support of her committee, based on the fact that members opposed the idea just last year, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at Wicked Local. “We had a hearing on it a few weeks ago, and reading the tea leaves, a few weeks ago it did not sound like it had great Republican support,” Clark said.
Wicked Local
Holyoke to try new tack to, literally, curb panhandling
Another city is trying yet another tactic to address the issue of panhandling. This time, it’s Holyoke, where city councilors voted to test out a plan to use physical barriers to keep would-be panhandlers from approaching vehicles at busy downtown intersections, Mike Plaisance of MassLive reports.
MassLive
Isabella who? MFA seeks more of the spotlight
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has laid out a new strategic plan that includes some 50 initiatives aimed at drawing more visitors and increasing the diversity of gallery-goers and employees alike, Andrea Shea of WBUR reports. Plans include outdoor movie screenings, discounted passes to college students and a free-pass program for immigrant families new to the area. 
WBUR
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