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Thursday, June 15, 2017

MASSterList: House retreat | Baker’s dilemma | Faust’s legacy




By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
06/15/2017

House retreat | Baker’s dilemma | Faust’s legacy

Happening Today
Ethics Commission
State Ethics Commission holds its monthly meeting and is expected to review the final report of the Legislature's ethics task force, One Ashburton Pl. - Room 619, 9 a.m.
Joint Higher Ed Committee
Nine bills dealing with in-state tuition rates come before the Joint Committee on Higher Education, including legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from a Massachusetts school to access the lower rates, Room A-1, 10 a.m.
MBTA’s Shortsleeve on Herald radio
MBTA acting general manager Brian Shortsleeve is a guest on Boston Herald Radio's ‘Morning Meeting,’ 10 a.m.
Senate chamber restorations
Senate President Rosenberg, DCAMM, CBT Architects brief media on Senate Chamber restorations, Senate Reading Room, 11:30 a.m.
‘Excellence in Teaching’
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recognizes Massachusetts educators for "excellence in teaching," with national teacher of the year winner Sydnee Chaffee, Education Secretary Jim Peyser, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Education Committee chairs Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. Alice Peisch expected to attend, Great Hall, 12:15 p.m.
Baker at chamber
Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce annual business meeting, Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, 12:30 p.m.
New veterinarian facility
Gov. Baker visits Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School to see the school's new veterinarian facility, 1050 Westminster St, Fitchburg, 2 p.m.
Healey Town Hall
Attorney General Maura Healey will host a town hall event with Sen. Linda Forry, Rep. Russell Holmes and Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Andrea Campbell to take questions from constituents and discuss issues facing the community, Great Hall in Codman Square, 6 Norfolk St., Boston, 7 p.m.
Worcester Economic Club
Gov. Baker speaks at the Worcester Economic Club annual meeting, Beechwood Hotel, 363 Plantation St, Worcester, 7:30 p.m.
Today's News
House retreats on pot bill amid widespread criticism
So there will be no vote today in the House on the controversial marijuana tax-and-regulation package approved yesterday by the legislature’s Marijuana Policy Committee. The reasons for the retreat are manifold, as outlined in reports by the Globe’s Joshua Miller and SHNS’s Colin Young(pay wall), but it comes down to two main issues: Opposition to the proposed high tax rate of 28 percent and the stripping away of public approvals of pot shops in communities.
There’s grumbling over a number of other issues, but those are the two main sticking points. House Speaker Robert DeLeo says a vote will be taken next week on a reworked bill. We’ll see. It’s going to take a lot of work to reach consensus by then. Btw: Gov. Baker declined to endorse the House package, the Herald reports, and that too probably played a small role in the yanking of the bill.
Baker’s millionaire-tax dilemma
The Globe’s Michael Levenson has a good piece this morning on how Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, is now caught in a political bind over the proposed millionaire’s tax, which yesterday received overwhelming approval at the Constitutional Convention (i.e. it was approved by the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature) and now appears headed toward the 2018 ballot, unless it’s derailed in the courts. Baker, who hasn’t taken a firm stand on the issue, is most definitely in a bind, if only because the tax, for now, appears quite popular. But it’s still a tax increase – and Baker is still popular himself. So Democrats, while not in the same type of bind, are still in a bind themselves on how hard to push this issue in next year’s gubernatorial election – without coming across as wild tax-increase fanatics.
Boston Globe
How serious is the potential legal challenge to the millionaire’s tax?
Business groups are gearing up to legally challenge the Fair Share Act (i.e. the ‘millionaire’s tax’) before it even reaches the 2018 ballot. SHNS’s Andy Metzger takes a look at some of the legal arguments expected to be made – in particular the act’s implied promise that tax revenues would be earmarked for education and transportation. Our amateur legal hunch is that business groups have a pretty strong legal case – and don’t forget the SJC is now stacked with Baker appointees.
One thing is clear: The legal debate won’t hinge on whether the act is good public policy (as Massachusetts Fair Share advocates contend) or bad public policy (as the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation contends). 
SHNS (pay wall)
Alexandria shooting aftermath: Sorrow, brief unity, then back to partisan recrimination
The state’s all-Democratic Congressional delegation is expressing support for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican, and the three others wounded in yesterday’s shooting attack in Alexandria, Va., the Boston Herald is reporting. Meanwhile, Gov. Baker announced the state and feds are stepping up local security in the wake of the shooting, especially with the upcoming Tall Ships extravaganza coming to Boston in coming days, the Herald also reports
But the collective sorrow, unity and measured responses didn’t last long, after it was learned the deranged gunman was a Bernie Sanders backer, prompting Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa to say the attack was the result of a toxic political culture driven by the left, the Globe reports. Even though Sanders said he’s “sickened” by the “attack (reports the Globe), the Herald’s Howie Carrhas let loose an anti-Bernie/lefties diatribe, typically. So by the end of the day, we were back to normal, it seems.
Globe editorial nails it
If you’re a little depressed by the entire Alexandria tragedy, read this morning’s Boston Globe editorial. You won’t feel so alone in thinking something needs to be done about our political culture. It’s a smart, fair editorial that says, yes, yesterday’s shooting, and past shootings, do indeed have links to the charged political culture at large – and it needs to change. Amen.
Boston Globe
Ethics task force punts action back to lawmakers
Before the most recent State House ethics task force was convened, Senate President Stan Rosenberg expressed reservations about the idea, noting how he’s seen so many past task-force efforts amount to nothing. History seems to be repeating itself, via SHNS’s Andy Metzger at the Newburyport Daily News: “Kicking the details to legislative committees, a task force on Wednesday recommended granting increased authority to the state commission charged with upholding the state's conflict of interest laws. ... (But) the task force finished its work without recommending a bill.”
Newburyport Daily News
UMass eyes ‘slight’ tuition increase
University of Massachusetts officials seem very reluctant to reduce the system’s spending much more – with UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy going so far as to say expense reductions amount to “death by a thousand cuts” – and so they’re now, once again, eyeing a ‘slight’ tuition hike, according to reports by the Herald’s Brian Dowling and SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Berkshire Eagle.
Calling claims he once stalked Malia Obama a ‘misunderstanding,’ Brockton man eyes mayor’s office
Brockton has a new candidate for mayor and he may be familiar to both locals and law enforcement alike. Jair Nilton Cardoso, 30, was detained by the U.S. Secret Service in April on suspicions he was stalking former first daughter Malia Obama, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Cardoso, who was not charged, calls that incident a “misunderstanding” and now says he wants to focus on revitalizing Brockton. 
Enterprise
Drew Faust, Harvard’s first female president, to step down next year
It was big news a decade ago when Drew Faust became Harvard University’s first female president and it’s big news today that she’s announced she’ll be stepping down next year. The Crimson has the full details, including how the university’s governing Harvard Corporation will commence the search for a new president in coming weeks. 
The Globe has a solid package of stories on Faust’s legacy, including her push for more diversity at Harvard and the massive expansion of financial aid for students. Here’s the Globe’s full Faust-era highlights list.
The Crimson

Kennedy: Media speculation about Trump losing his mind is fair game – but hazardous fair game
Media critic Dan Kennedy at WGBH is defending an article by STAT, a Boston Globe Media-owned web site, that speculated on whether, well, President Trump is losing his mind, or, more accurately, whether he’s undergone a “notable slide in his linguistic abilities.” But while media speculation about a president’s health is fair game, it’s a very hazardous game, Kennedy warns
WGBH
Actual retail value of those liquor licenses: $0
Officials in Cambridge are scrambling for a solution to a thorny problem: Turns out the city actually has an unlimited supply of liquor licenses, meaning that the past private buying-and-selling of permits (based on the assumption that there was a limited supply of permits) was all for naught, Jacqueline Cain of Boston Magazine reports.
Boston Magazine
Healey goes after DeVos over student loans
From the Globe’s Deirdre Fernades: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday that she intends to sue US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the federal agency over the decision to halt student loan borrower protections put in place late in the Obama administration.”
Boston Globe
SJC rules private needle exchange programs OK
From the Associated Press at WBUR: “The highest court in Massachusetts ruled Wednesday that privately run hypodermic needle exchange programs can be operated without state or community approval. The Supreme Judicial Court's ruling that allows the nonprofit AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod to continue operating in the town of Barnstable ends a yearslong legal battle.”
WBUR
Thanks to criminal records, half of unemployed in Springfield can’t qualify for MGM jobs
More than half of the unemployed population of Springfield would not qualify for jobs at the city’s downtown casino because they have criminal records, and both the casino and city officials want to change the state law as a result, Chris Goudreau of the Valley Advocate reports. 
Valley Advocate
Northampton mayor digs into his pocket to fix parking error
Now we know that Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz  is a politician who’s willing to put his money where his mouth is. Amanda Drane of the Hampshire Gazette reports that Narkewicz sent a man who accidentally fed a parking meter after 6 p.m. both a dollar bill and a handwritten apology.  
Gazette
Almost 13,000 enroll to curb their own gambling
Thousands of customers at Plainridge Park have voluntarily enrolled in the state’s Play My Way program, which enables players to pre-set spending limits, the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle reports. A team from Harvard Medical School will soon issue a report on the program, which has been billed as the first of its kind in the nation.
Sun Chronicle
Here comes the sales tax holiday debate
Several bills authorizing a statewide sales tax holiday will be debated next week, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports, and retailers are worried that as they did last year, lawmakers will take a pass on what was once a somewhat-annual tax reprieve. 
Boston Globe


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