Budget and marijuana deadlines, Siemens groundbreaking, Boston Pops security and more
Today is the last day of the current fiscal year with no budget compromise ready for a vote as of last night. ... Today is also the self-imposed deadline for a compromise marijuana-regulation bill with no deal ready for a vote as of last night. ... Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the groundbreaking ceremony for Siemens Healthineers Manufacturing Facility, 333 Coney Street, Walpole, 10:30 a.m. ... Today is the last day of work for both Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ron Walker, who is leaving to take a job in the private sector, and UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley, who is taking a year's sabbatical. ... Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, State Police ColonelRichard McKeon and others brief media on security, programming and logistical details for the annual July 4 concert and fireworks show, Hatch Shellm Charles River Esplanade, Boston, 12:30 p.m. ... University of Massachusetts Amherst holds the grand opening of advanced manufacturing facilities at the school's Institute for Applied Life Sciences, Life Sciences Laboratories, 240 Thatcher Road, Amherst, 2 p.m. ... Assistant Secretary of Business Development and International Trade Nam Pham attends the first Boston African Entrepreneurship Expo, Hult International Business School, One Education St., Cambridge, 3 p.m.
Lawmakers failed to reach deals last night on a new state budget and a compromise marijuana-regulation bill, setting the stage for a potentially long July on Beacon Hill, as SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports at WCVB.
As for the budget, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Karen Spilka, speaking earlier in the day, sounded somewhat hopeful that some sort of budget deal might be reached by today, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall), though those hopes appeared to dim last night. The House and Senate previously passed a temporary state budget to keep state government operating through July, so there will be no disruption of government operations as lawmakers hash out a new budget for fiscal 2018, which officially starts tomorrow.
As for the marijuana compromise bill, lawmakers had set a self-imposed deadline of today to reach an accord on all the thorny issues related to amending the Question 4 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Joshua Miller has a good piece this morning that reviews the main sticking points facing House and Senate negotiators.
Baker administration backs off online retailers tax
This will punch another hole in an already large budget-gap hole facing lawmakers: The Baker administration is backing off plans, set to start tomorrow, to collect sales taxes from out-of-state retailers, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ. The administration insists it’s not giving up on the plan, which was being legally challenged by industry groups, and will try to forward a similar proposal as soon as this fall. SHNS’s Matt Murphy at Wicked Local reports that the administration acted soon after a court hearing earlier this week on the controversial matter.
Pretty brazen: Lawmakers use state email system to hit up lobbyists
Using the State House email system to hit up lobbyists for dough? It’s pretty brazen even by Beacon Hill standards – and some Beacon Hill lawmakers and lobbyists aren’t happy (with the use of the email system, not necessarily with the actual soliciting), as the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan reports. The fundraising is for a bi-partisan national conference of lawmakers – and those contributing to the affair, or on the request hit list, reads like a who’s who of corporate Massachusetts, many of whom have pending legislation of interest on Beacon Hill.
One for two ain’t bad: Aetna opts to move to NY, not Boston
We’ll take GE over Aetna any day, but it would have been nice to have both. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett and Catherine Carlock at the BBJ have the details about Aetna’s decision to move its headquarters from Hartford to New York, rather than to Boston.
Aetna takes a parting shot at Hartford as it leaves
The Hartford Court reports that Aetna, in announcing yesterday it was moving its headquarters from Hartford to NY, took a parting shot at Connecticut's economy and “dysfunction at the state Capitol,” as the Courant put it. In a statement, Aetna said: "The company remains hopeful that lawmakers will come to an agreement that puts Connecticut on sound financial footing, and that the state will support needed reforms to make Hartford a vibrant city once again." Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Aetna’s move is a “powerful and clear” message that the state must get its business-climate act together.
Amazon signs major lease in Fort Point, near GE and Red Hat
For Boston, this isn’t a bad consolation prize for not getting Aetna, not bad at all: Amazon.com has reportedly agreed to a 10-year, 150,000-square-foot lease for office space at 253 Summer Street, ending a lot of speculation about where and how much space Amazon might take in Boston, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock. The BBJ credits the Real Reporter (strict pay wall) for first breaking the news.
The Access Northeast natural-gas pipeline project was already on legal, financial and political life support, but yesterday the companies backing the $3 billion project took the official step of yanking its application from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. The project is now technically “on hold indefinitely,” but they effectively pulled the plug yesterday.
How bad is the latest Trump tweet storm that’s led to even Republicans denouncing his petty and vicious attacks on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinksi (as outlined by the Globe’s Annie Linseky)? Even the Herald’s Howie Carr is practically begging his good pal, the president, to stop.
Galvin tells Trump’s election commission to take a hike
Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office is refusing to cooperate with President Trump’s commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud, reports Michael Jonas at CommonWealth. “They’re not going to get it,” McNiff said of local records sought by the commission. “It’s not a public record.”
Capuano downplays potential Dem primary challenger
Rep. Michael Capuano didn’t seem all that concerned yesterday that Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen is eyeing a run against him in next year’s Democratic primary election, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. “If Nadeem or anybody else wants to run, so be it,” Capuano said on ‘Boston Public Radio.’ “I’m not going to pretend to play the game that I want opposition, of course I don’t, but at the same time, I’m pretty comfortable with where we are.”
Meanwhile, Capuano’s free rides on Fairmount (briefly) boosted ridership
The question now: Was it worth it? The two-week free ride on the T’s Fairmount commuter rail line cost U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano’s re-election coffers $53,000 and led to a brief surge in ridership—as much as 25 percent—that, predictably, fell off again after the promotion ended, Natasha Ishak reports in CommonWealth Magazine.
The BBJ has an editorial lamenting the threats of pushing statewide referendums on issues if lawmakers don’t do what activists want, calling it a “billy club” and “urgency-creation” method of choice by many, including Senate President Stan Rosenberg. We get what they mean (as does Stan, for that matter), but here’s the thing: The threats often work, such as the tech community’s threat a few years back to launch a ballot initiative if the odious “tech tax” wasn’t repealed – and it was indeed repealed.
Meanwhile, retailers and anti-abortion activists prep for ballot initiatives
Speaking of ballot initiatives, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, which is battling with lawmakers on a number of tax issues, is pushing forward with plans for a potential sale-tax-cut ballot question, as SHNS is reporting(pay wall). Meanwhile, frustrated anti-abortion activists yesterday pledged a grassroots campaign for a constitutional amendment (and ballot question) to overturn a SJC ruling on public funding of abortions,reports SHNS(pay wall).
Map of where foreign-born immigrants settle in Boston
The BPDA has a cool neighborhood-by-neighborhood map of the top 20 countries of birth for foreign-born immigrants in Boston. We think most people probably won’t guess which is the top country. Hint: It’s not a Latin American country. Check it out. Fascinating. Via Universal Hub, where the fur is flying in the comments section.
As expected, the Senate yesterday passed legislation that would ban drivers from using their hands on cellphones to talk or text, relying exclusively instead on hands-free Bluetooth technology. The House and Gov. Charlie Baker appear generally supportive of the idea, but the issue now is whether there’s enough time to pass a bill, reports the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro.
Boston cop suspended for ‘black people have met their match’ video
From WHCH-TV: “A Boston police officer has been suspended for a year after creating and sharing a racially offensive video. Authorities say the Joseph De’Angelo’s video was set up like a fake movie trailer, which included a tag line that said, ‘This summer, black people have met their match.’ Boston Police Commissioner William Evans called the video ‘troubling’ and ‘upsetting.’”
Polito on all things Nantucket: Opioid addiction, pot law, immigration, STEM education, fiscal policies
One would think the topics of beaches, fishing and ferry service would come up at least once in an interview about Nantucket in N-Magazine. But the editors and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, admirably, stuck to what’s most pressing for full-time residents on the summer resort island.
Gloucester mayor shares personal pain over opioid crisis
At an event for the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, Trump drug czar Richard Baum pledged “concern and commitment” toward addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, but it was personal stories of the epidemic that seemed to leave the deepest impression, Ray Lamont of the Gloucester Times reports. Among those sharing their stories at the Angel program event was Gloucester Mayor Romeo Theken, who spoke about her daughter’s battle with heroin. “We can’t win every battle, but we are going to win this wear,” she said.
UMass Memorial late in filing reports of drug-exposed babies
UMass Memorial Hospital failed to file required reports on the births of drug-exposed babies to the Department of Children and Families in a timely manner, a state audit has found, Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports. UMass was late with 79 reports out of 456 substance-exposed newborns from 2014 to 2016.
The office of state Auditor Suzanne Bump has been using an agreement struck in 1999 to charge the MBTA for annual audits, even as the T’s new oversight board has been rooting out unnecessary spending on its own, Eric Rasmussen of Boston25 News reports. Outgoing T GM Brian Shortsleeve says the payments—$136,000 annually—and the scope of the audits are under review.
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Democrat Joanna Weiss and Republican Charley Manning in a roundtable discussion about Gov. Baker’s approval ratings, Seth Moulton’s battle with Nancy Pelosi and the latest Trump tweetstorm.
This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s focus: North of the City, part of ongoing look at New England’s ‘staycations.’
This week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. This week’s focus and guests: Boston’s summertime waterfront, featuring Tom Glynn, Massport CEO, on the growing Cruiseport business; Alison Nolan, principal and general manager of Boston Harbor Cruises; and Kelley Yelle, Entertainment Cruises General Manager.
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Sonia Lo, the CEO of Freshbox Farms, talks about indoor farming, the technology that makes it possible, the impact on nutrition and health, plus the implications for the environment and the workforce.
On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Gus Bickford, chair, Massachusetts Democratic Party, who discusses political issues 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: Summer Fashion Finds.