Sexual education debate, Anti-Ryan rally, R.I. Gov. Raimondo on the air
Lawmakers’ mid-year campaign finance reports are due today. ... The MassDevelopmentboard of directors meets with Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ashattending, 99 High St., Boston, 10 a.m. ... Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visits the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the launch of its new Dunk Works ‘maker lab’ designed to boost innovation in marine robotics, 86 Water St., Woods Hole, 10 a.m. ... The House meets in formal session, 11 a.m. ... The Senate is expected to debate legislation governing sexual education in schools and mental health education in high schools, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m. ... Local 1199SEIU is planning a rally outside a New Balance facility to protest the appearance of House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, in Lawrence today, 12 p.m. ... Gov. Charlie Baker joins Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliverand MassDOT officials to tour the project to replace two Route 3 bridges, Braintree, 11 a.m. ... Treasurer Deborah Goldberg gives the keynote address at Banker & Tradesman's Women of FIRE event, Boston Courtyard Marriott Downtown, 12:45 p.m. ... Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m. ... Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito announce 2017 Community Development Block Grants, State House, 2:30 p.m. ... Boston Mayor Martin Walsh talks with WBUR'S Meghna Chakrabarti and the Globe's Meghan Irons about his reelection bid, UMass Boston, Healey Library, 3 p.m. ... Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is a guest on ‘Greater Boston,’ WGBH-TV Ch. 2, 7 p.m.
John McCain diagnosed with same brain cancer that took Ted Kennedy
This is a sad one, no matter your political leanings: U.S. Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, reports the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss. As Matt Viser tweets: “This is sadly reminiscent of Ted Kennedy, who like John McCain was diagnosed with a brain tumor known as glioblastoma.” Via the Herald’s Chris Cassidy, Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, tweeted last night that her “thoughts and prayers are with Teddy’s and my friend @SenJohnMcCain tonight and with @cindymccain and their family. God bless.”
Dempsey officially resigns, scramble for his seat begins
In Haverhill, let the election games begin. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “Brian Dempsey, who represented Haverhill on Beacon Hill for nearly 27 years and served most recently as Ways and Means chairman, officially resigned from the House on Wednesday. After Dempsey gave a roughly 30-minute farewell address on the House floor, the House clerk read Dempsey's resignation letter, which was filed Wednesday and took effect upon the clerk's receipt of it.” No date has been set yet for a special election to fill his seat, but it’s expected to be a very crowded race.
Lawmakers give preliminary OK to pot compromise, final bill expected on Baker’s desk today
From the Globe’s Joshua Miller: “The Massachusetts Legislature advanced an overhaul of the voter-passed marijuana legalization law Wednesday, with lawmakers accepting a House-Senate compromise bill in the afternoon. The cannabis legislation was accepted by a vote of 136 to 11 in the House, and, in the Senate, by a standing vote — one in which senators stand to be counted but are not individually recorded — of 15 to 5.” Miller notes both chambers are expected to take final votes today and send the legislation to Gov. Charlie Baker. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more at Wicked Local.
In related news, state Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Mark Cusack, both of whom helped draft the bill, insist a controversial local-oversight provision is indeed legal and should withstand any constitutional challenge, though some private attorneys have their doubts, reports the Globe’s Dan Adams. Meanwhile, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is bemoaning the bill’s compromise 20-percent tax on retail sales of marijuana, saying he wishes the tax was higher, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Boston Business Journal.
‘In a remarkable public break …’
OK, this isn’t local political news, but it is remarkable news: A sitting U.S. president openly bemoaning his appointment of an attorney general because the AG is being “very unfair” regarding an investigation involving the president. Even for President Trump, this is pretty off the charts. The NYT has more. Now back to local news.
Warren’s fundraising is double the total raised by the rest of the delegation combined
To put U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fundraising over the first six months of 2017 into perspective: Her $8.65 million is nearly double the amount raised by the rest of the state Congressional delegation combined, excluding U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, whose numbers weren’t available, reports MassLive. But Markey’s fundraising pace over the first three months of the year indicate his updated numbers wouldn’t have made much of a ratio difference. MassLive has details.
Third time’s the charm? A broker tells the Dorchester Reporter that a new buyer has emerged for the now mostly vacant Globe building and surrounding land on Morrissey Boulevard and the two parties are “closing in on an agreement.”
Hodgson facing contempt charge for late court arrival
It’s not quite up there with the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse, but controversial Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is blaming traffic snarls for his late arrival to a criminal trial yesterday, a tardy transgression that prompted a federal judge to order Hodgson to appear at a civil contempt hearing, reports Danny McDonald at the Globe and SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Patch.
‘Perfecting the model of technocrat’
Noting his sky-high poll numbers and risk-averse style, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi says Gov. Charlie Baker is well on his way to “perfecting the model of technocrat with just enough heart to satisfy 7 out of 10 voters in a state that went bigly for Donald Trump’s opponent.”
Here’s a true Beacon Hill technocratic move, via the Herald’s Matt Stout: “Gov. Charlie Baker has signed off on a controversial bill that allows Braintree’s interim police chief to work full-time and still collect a $116,000 annual pension, a move a top police union official warned could pave a path for more double-dipping.”
In Berkshires, worries over Baker’s budget priorities
Berkshire lawmakers say Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto pen hit their region particularly hard, with everything from public safety equipment to tourism dollars slashed from the state’s $39 billion spending plan, Eoin Higgins of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker now has his fifth judge sitting on the Massachusetts Supreme Court, after the Governor’s Council yesterday confirmed Baker’s latest nominee to the state’s highest court, Appeals Court Justice Scott Kafker, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton and Matt Murphy at the Salem News.
Attorney General Maura Healey has endorsed Mike Kelly, a former aide to the late Mayor Tom Menino, in the hotly contested District 2 race in Boston against Ed Flynn, son of former mayor Ray Flynn, reports Dan Atkinson at the Herald. The move is being described as ‘bold’ and Healey, who has said she’s not a gubernatorial candidate, is portrayed in the story as a “possible challenger to Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018.” Make of it what you will.
Not that the outcome of the hotly contested District 2 race will make much of a difference on the council. WGBH's David S. Bernstein reports that the Boston City Council may look different than it did just a few years ago—with a slew of newer members better representing the city’s diverse population—but the council continues to vote largely in lock-step with Mayor Marty Walsh.
WBUR's Deborah Becker has a Morning Edition piece on Rep. Jeff Sánchez's rise to a top leadership post in the House and how he's now considered one of the most powerful Latino elected officials in the state.
Hold the champagne: Local reactions to Senate health-care bill implosion
Some local health-care officials are delighted that the latest Senate Republican health-care bill has imploded, but they’re still on guard against a revised bill rising from the rubble, reports Martha Bebinger at WBUR. “I don’t feel any sense of champagne being uncorked anywhere," said Bill Henning, executive director of the Boston Center for Independent Living. "People are rightfully very cautious at this point."
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern tells the Boston Herald that’s it’s time to fix ObamaCare, though he doesn’t sound optimistic bi-partisan support can be found to do so.
Lynch: Republicans caught out on a health-care limb are none too happy
With only a hint of schadenfreude, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat, says some House Republicans desperately wanted another crack at voting to repeal ObamaCare, reports Molly Boigon at WGBH. “In the minds of maybe 20 to 25 percent of the Republican House members, they were not happy about having to take a tough (House) vote in favor of a bad bill that’s going nowhere,” said Lynch. “I think they were figuring that if a more moderate version came back (from the Senate), they could vote for that version and sort of pay for their prior sins.”
Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth Magazine takes a long look at the question of what all the new casino competition in New England will mean in the long run—especially if Connecticut ups the stakes with a third casino just down the road from MGM’s planned complex in Springfield. It’s all told with the cautionary tale of Atlantic City looming in the background.
Get us out of here, Part II: DOC to transfer 14 out of Bridgewater
We missed this follow-up story yesterday from the Globe’s Maria Cramer: “The state Department of Correction agreed Tuesday to transfer 14 men committed for drug and alcohol addiction out of a treatment center for sex offenders, seeking to resolve allegations that the men were mistreated.”
DeLeo: Lawmakers ‘still discussing’ sale-tax holiday but …
House Speaker Robert DeLeo held out the slimmest of slim hopes that lawmakers may yet approve a sales-tax holiday this year, but don’t bet on it. From Deleo, via SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “Right now still discussing it, but I think based upon what's happening in the budget we'll have to take a look again at the finances, the present condition that we're in.” The present day condition remains bleak, last time we checked.