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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MASSterList: Scaled back | Secretive vote | Alkermes’ antics




By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
06/21/2017

Scaled back | Secretive vote | Alkermes’ antics

Happening Today
Baker in San Diego
Gov. Baker is in California today and will address the International BIO Convention's keynote session and welcome attendees to next year's convention in Boston, San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, Calif.
Wentworth groundbreaking
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins Wentworth Institute of Technology officials for groundbreaking on a new $55 million multipurpose academic building, 550 Huntington Ave., Boston, 9 a.m.
Pro-marijuana rally
MassCann/NORML, the Yes on 4 Coalition, and the Marijuana Policy Project hold a rally opposing the revised House marijuana bill, which is scheduled for debate in the House today, State House steps, 10 a.m.
Gonzalez on Herald radio
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez appear on Boston Herald Radio, 10 a.m.
Police cadets
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speaks at the graduation ceremony for the newest class of Boston Police Academy recruits, IBEW Local 103, 256 Freeport St. #1, Dorchester, 11 a.m.
Senate Dems caucus
Senate Democrats hold a private caucus, Senate President's Office, 11 a.m.
House marijuana debate
House meets in a formal session with consideration of a marijuana bill on the agenda, House Chamber, 11:45 a.m.
Gailanne Cariddi remembered
A noon House ceremony is planned to remember the late Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who passed away late last week, House Chamber, 12 p.m.
'Unsung Heroines’
House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Rosenberg will honor women who have made outstanding contributions to the state at the annual Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts event, Great Hall, 12 p.m.
Governor’s Council
Governor's Council holds its weekly meeting with votes possible on the nominations of District Court Judge Sabita Singh to the Appeals Court and attorney Sharon Donatelle to the Superior Court, Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m.

Today's News
Baker scales back proposed health-care tax on employers
After getting an earful from the business community, Gov. Charlie Baker is scaling back his administration’s proposed health-care assessment/tax/whatever on employers, from $300 million a year to $200 million, reports the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and SHNS at the Telegram. The AP’s Steve LeBlanc, writing at SouthCoast Today, takes a look at the governor’s other proposed Medicaid changes designed to curb rising health-care costs. A Herald editorial this morning is praising Baker’s attempt to control Medicaid spending.
House to debate marijuana bill after secretive committee vote
The House today is expected to take up the controversial marijuana reform bill that calls for a 28 percent tax on pot and stripping local voters of the right to reject marijuana shops in their communities The action follows the House Ways and Means Committee’s approval of the package on a vote of 19 in favor and 11 effectively voting present. So who voted for what? SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports the voting breakdown isn’t available. By using an electronic poll, the committee avoided holding a public vote on the bill, Young writes. Hmmm. ...
On other marijuana matters ...
Medical marijuana advocates are concerned that the House bill’s proposed regulatory structure might make it more difficult for patients to obtain pot for medical treatments, reports Christian Wade at the Salem News. Meanwhile, state Rep. Mark Cusack, the House chair of the Marijuana Policy Committee, is denying that a riff with state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is connected to his push to remove control of the impending marijuana industry from her office, writesCommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan.
So much for Dems’ Scott Brown moment
Karen Handel, a Republican, defeated Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, in a much-watched House special election seen as an early referendum on President Trump, reports the New York Times. The Washington Post’s Paul Kane says the Dem setback will likely spark inter-party debate between “peace and civility”  and “fiery rage” Democrats on how best to proceed. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is already engaging in the battle, tweeting that the Georgia election is a “wake up” call for Dems who need a “new message” and a “bigger tent not a smaller one.” Btw: An explanation for the Scott Brown reference can be found at WGBH.
NYT
Senators jockeying for Stan’s eventual departure?
Speaking of interparty jousting among Dems, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg says he isn’t going anywhere, but that’s not stopping the jockeying within Dem ranks for the eventual day the second-term president steps down, reports the Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan.
Boston Globe
OK, now the immigration crackdown is getting serious: ICE going after the Irish
In Boston, this is a big deal for those who, until recently, didn’t think the immigration debate applied to their tribe. From Dan Atkinson at the Herald: “Boston’s Irish community is on high alert after ICE agents detained a local leader for deportation, sparking fears that thousands of other illegal immigrants living and working here for years could be next. The arrest of John Cunningham — an electrical contractor and past chairman of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Boston — was particularly stunning because agents descended on his Brighton home.”
Boston Herald
At Salem State, calls for more diversity – moving forward
The Board of Higher Education yesterday unanimously approved the appointment of former state Rep. John D. Keenan as the new president at Salem State University – amid a lot of talk about how really, and truly, the state can and must do better in diversifying leadership at its public universities, Keenan’s appointment notwithstanding. The Globe’s Michael Levenson has the details.
Boston Globe

Alkermes’s Bay State connections: Donations, lobbying and lots of big promises
WGBH’s Gabrielle Emanuel has an excellent piece summarizing Alkermes PLC’s controversial marketing blitz of its opioid-treatment drug, a campaign that has largely focused on lobbying and donating funds to pols and law enforcement officials here and elsewhere. Those who have received donations or hired as lobbyists read like a who’s who of Massachusetts politics: Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg (donation recipients) and former Lt. Gov. Tom O’Neill (lobbyist), among others, reports Emanuel, who, besides her own reporting, has synthesized recent investigative reports on Alkermes by the New York Times and NPR. Good stuff.
WGBH
Scholarly brawl over whether a total clean-energy future is possible
As Massachusetts lawmakers and others across the country push for a complete transition to clean-energy sources later this century, MIT Technology Review and the New York Times are reporting on a major fight among scholars over whether such a future is feasible. We’ll let the two publications sort out the arguments, but the NYT’s Eduardo Porter is clearly siding with critics who say an all-clean-energy future isn’t in the technological and economic cards.
Pollack: Hurry up on climate change response
Mass. Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack told the Boston Mobility Summit that more urgent action is needed on the transportation front to help the state react meaningfully to the threat of climate change, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. “We’re not moving fast enough,” she said.  Governor Baker, are you listening?
CommonWealth
UMass eyeing tuition increase of 2 to 3 percent
It’s smaller than last year’s tuition increase, but it’s still a tuition increase expected to draw more than a little attention. SHNS’s Stephanie Murray has the details on the likely 2 to 3 percent tuition hike at the University of Massachusetts.
SHNS (pay wall)
‘Baker had no choice’
Even though he’s previously expressed qualms about the state declaring “winners and losers” via targeted economic-incentive packages, Gov. Charlie Baker succumbed to the inevitable by embracing a new $500 million package for the biotech industry, writes the Globe’s Shirley Leung. “The reality is that Baker had no choice but to extend Patrick’s winning strategy. Had he not, it would have been like Bob Kraft not renewing Tom Brady’s contract.” She also notes Baker is running for re-election.
Boston Globe
The T’s double-dipping union bosses and six-figure interim GM
The Herald’s Matt Stout reports how top officials at the Boston Carmen’s Union recently started collecting lucrative T pensions – even while still holding down lucrative full-time union jobs. Meanwhile, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that the T is now paying its new interim GM $260,000 a year, a hefty figure “intended to show potential candidates for the permanent job that the T is willing to appropriately compensate a new general manager.”
Everett’s 29-year-old Wonder Woman
A 29-year-old realtor from Brazil is trying to shake up perhaps the most hard-core old boy’s club in Massachusetts: The Everett City Council. The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert has to the details.
Boston Globe
Walsh brushes aside Jackson’s call for a debate
Behind in the polls and fundraising, Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson is calling for a debate with Mayor Marty Walsh, who, needless to say, is brushing aside the demand, reports the Herald.
Boston Herald
‘Banana Republic’
Think things are bad here with the state facing a half-billion-dollar shortfall and the T having a $1.2 billion unfunded liability? At least we’re not Illinois, where the governor is referring to his state as a “banana republic” and where lawmakers are grappling with $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, $13 billion in unpaid bills, the lowest credit rating in the country and, soon, it might even forego Lottery winning payouts for Powerball and Mega Millions.
Fox News
Huh? WGBH News sponsors content on MassLive
There’s nothing wrong here. It’s just sort of, well, interesting, i.e. WGBH News running sponsored content (under the headline ‘You’ll Never Believe What Your Digital Footprint Can Reveal’) at MassLive. The content, designed to look like a news story, is accompanied by ads for WGBH News. We knew WGBH and WBUR, both local NPR stations, have been competitively going at it lately. But we had no idea. ... Fyi: The content was clearly marked as sponsored and there’s a tagline at the end identifying it as “advertiser paid.” 
MassLive (sponsored ad)
Brockton finds funds to reduce pink-slip count
File under: Still bad, but not as bad. The Brockton School Committee has voted to add 52 of the 179 teachers previously pink-slipped back on the payroll after finding some additional funds, Anna Burgess of the Enterprise reports.
Enterprise
Lowell’s $336M high school finally gets the nod
After a long and divisive debate, the Lowell City Council voted, 5-4, to build a new five-story, $336 million high school at Cawley Stadium, moving the school away from the city’s downtown, Todd Feathers reports in the Lowell Sun. Fyi: the $336 million figure is not a typo.
Lowell Sun
NTSB takes a pass on ferry crash
The National Transportation Safety Board has decided not to launch a formal investigation into the Martha’s Vineyard ferry crash that injured several passengers on Friday, Madeleine List of the Cape Cod Times reports. The Steamship Authority says weather, including “strong winds and choppy seas,” was to blame for the mishap.
South Coast Today



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