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Friday, July 14, 2017

MASSterList: Leadership void | Get us out of here | No joke




By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
07/14/2017

Leadership void | Get us out of here | No joke


Happening Today
NGA meeting, Markey presser, Rico book signing
National Governors Association Summer Meeting continues today in Providence with sessions on how to create tomorrow's global economy and cybersecurity, while governors will also discuss health care, Rhode Island Convention Center. ... Gov. Charlie Baker meets with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and members of his cabinet, Room 360, 10 a.m. ... U.S. Sen. Edward Markey holds a press conference at the Gavin Foundation's Devine Recovery Center condemning the new health care bill released by Senate Republicans, 70 Devine Way, South Boston, 10:30 a.m. ... CannaCon, a convention dedicated to the marijuana industry, continues with sessions focusing on medicinal plants, professional cannabis industry perspectives, branding and marketing, Hynes Convention Center, 11 a.m. ... Former Red Sox third baseman Rico Petrocelli makes an appearance at Quincy Market to sign his book, ‘Tales From the 1967 Red Sox Dugout,’ South Market, outside Wagamama, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 1 p.m.
Today's News
Dempsey exit sparks House leadership scramble
State Rep. Brian Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means and considered heir apparent to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, stunned State House folks yesterday with the surprise announcement that’s he’s leaving to take a lobbying job at high-powered ML Strategies – and there’s no shortage of speculation about who might succeed him. The drumroll, please ...
The short list from the Globe’s Joshua Miller and Jim O’Sullivan: Current committee vice chair, Stephen Kulik, and Representatives Alice Peisch of Wellesley, Thomas A. Golden Jr. of Lowell, Sarah K. Peake of Provincetown, Joseph F. Wagner of Chicopee, Michael J. Moran of Brighton, and Peter V. Kocot of Northampton. The short list from the Herald’s Dan Atkinson and Jack Encarnacao: Reps. Aaron Michlewitz, chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, Wagner, chairman of Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Ways and Means vice chairman Kulik and, described as a dark horse, William Straus, chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation.
CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas and Bruce Mohl write that it sure looks like Dempsey simply got tired of waiting around for DeLeo to retire, though Dempsey says that’s not the case. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot writes that despite the State House leadership scrum, the fact is that “the job of House speaker has lost much of its allure in recent years, considering three of the last four men to hold it ended up indicted.” SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has much, much more on the leadership turmoil caused by Dempsey’s stunning move.
Dempsey’s move also alters Haverhill’s political landscape
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune’s Peter Francis reports how Rep. Brian Dempsey’s surprise announcement he’s leaving the State House has completely changed the political dynamics in his home district -- just as locals were gearing up for city elections this fall. One local observer is predicting that five to ten candidates may ending up competing for Dempsey’s seat.  
Still short: Collins and other senators holding up latest Senate health bill
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and a few other senators are apparently holding firm against the latest Senate GOP plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, imperiling legislation that many Massachusetts lawmakers say could have huge negative consequences for the state. The Washington Post and the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins has more details and thoughts on why the plan is gaining little traction on Capitol Hill.
Massive Medicaid fraud crackdown
In other health-care news: Turns out that the two Massachusetts people arrested earlier this week were part of a massive nationwide crackdown on Medicaid fraud totaling $1.3 billion. That’s right: One billion, three hundred million dollars. Dan Glaun at MassLive has the sordid and infuriating details.
MassLive
Get us out of here: Addicts sue state over conditions at Bridgewater
Addicts who were civilly committed to treatments at Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater are finding out what a lot of other people know about Bridewater: It’s not a nice place – and they want out. The Globe’s Maria Cramer has the details.
Boston Globe

No joke: Warren raps rapper as the next Donald Trump
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to make one thing clear: She’s not joking when warning that Detroit bad boy Kid Rock could become the next Donald Trump, if he indeed runs for and wins a U.S. Senate seat in Michigan, reports the Herald’s Chris Cassidy. “I know a lot of people are thinking: this is some sort of joke, right?” Warren wrote in an email blast. “But we all thought Donald Trump was joking when he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced his campaign, too.”
Boston Herald
Tufts Medical is going the distance
Tufts Medical Center is showing no signs of calling an end to its four-day lockout of 1,200 nurses who held a one-day strike earlier this week, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. The hard-line stance comes as dozens of state lawmakers joined nurses on the picket line yesterday and urged Tufts to end the standoff, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Berkshire Eagle. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren showed her support for nurses by sending over gallons of coffee to picketing workers and supporters, while Rep. Ed Coppinger sent over boxes of cheese pizza from Beacon Hill’s Florina, MassLive reports. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that operations at Tufts Medical seem to be running smoothly with replacement nurses, though the nurses union thinks otherwise. 
LePage: ‘Charlie Baker’s governing to the newspapers’
The Globe’s Thomas Farragher bumped into Maine Gov. Paul LePage at a golf course up north and got a brief chance to talk to a man who hates talking to reporters. It’s a fun piece that includes LePage’s thoughts on our very own Charlie Baker, who LePage thinks is a nice guy but not combative enough, unlike himself.
Boston Globe
Taking on Partners: Beth Israel, Lahey and others sign mega-merger agreement
There were a number of big business stories yesterday in Boston. The first: Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Health and 11 other hospitals yesterday ended months of talks by finally signing a definitive agreement to merge, setting the stage for a potential health-care showdown with Partners Healthcare, reports Martha Bebinger at WBUR. But first they have to get approval from the state’s Health Policy Commission, which will look at whether the merger will impact health-care prices in the state.
WBUR
Manulife exploring a John Hancock spinoff or IPO
This is another big business story for Boston, which just hasn’t felt the same since Toronto’s Manulife bought the storied Boston-based John Hancock in 2004. The WSJ is reporting that Manulife is now looking at either spinning off the insurer or teeing it up for a possible initial public offering. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has additional details.
WSJ (pay wall)
DraftKings and FanDuel merger, RIP
Finally, on the business front: Less than a month after federal regulators moved to block the merger between Boston’s DraftKings and New York’s FanDuel, the two fantasy sports companies officially called off the deal yesterday, rather than fight the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling that said a merger would lead to a “near monopoly” within the industry, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien.
BBJ
Score: Teens find a long-ignored fundraising clause in Garden agreement
All a group of teens wanted was a little help raising money for a new neighborhood hockey rink. Then they found a long-forgotten clause in the enabling legislation for construction of the current TD Garden – and now city, state and Garden officials are scrambling to figure out how to comply with an old legislative requirement to hold civic fundraisers at the arena. It’s a great story by the Globe’s Milton Valencia.
Boston Globe
Braintree board yanks license of motel where a cop was shot
The Braintree Board of Health has revoked the operating license of the troubled Motel 6 franchise where a local police officer was shot in May, saying security upgrades and other changes—such as not allowing customers to pay for rooms with cash—are not enough to address myriad safety concerns. 
Patriot Ledger
Baker, rest of Trump opioid panel miss deadline
Gov. Charlie Baker doesn’t seem to have answers as to why the Trump-appointed panel on the opioid crisis is already behind schedule, Chris Cassidy and Jack Encarnacao of the Herald report. The group chaired by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, who's been a little busy with beach-related matters of late, is expected to file an interim report at the end of this month and is still facing an Oct. 31 deadline to make recommendations to the president. 
Marijuana-induced snake oil? Not quite
What looked preposterous to us merely made us look preposterous. After we ran a post yesterday over the yanking of a South Boston billboard that read ‘States that legalized marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths’ – a message we compared to a ‘marijuana-induced snake oil’ pitch – a number of readers emailed in yesterday. “Um.... not quite snake oil,” wrote one ML reader, pointing to this Reuters story at NBC touting a recent report that asserted that, yes, states with legalized pot are experiencing fewer opioid deaths. Another ML reader sent in this Jama link, as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl also pointed out yesterday, that says, well, you guessed it. Both pieces explain why there’s a connection – and show why we’re going to steer clear of rendering clinical medical-marijuana opinions in the future.
Banned at Harvard, Part II: The Irony, the irony …
Another ML reader wrote in yesterday, mercifully not about medical marijuana. Seeing our “Banned at Harvard” post yesterday about a panel recommendation to abolish single-gender student clubs at the university, the reader writes: “Ironic. When I saw ‘Banned at Harvard’ I thought you were writing about this slightly older (Harvard) story, which has just hit some of the blogs. Getting rid of the clubs and frats/sororities does seem a little ‘Puritanical.’ Confusing!” The NYT piece is about Harvard scrubbing out a “till the stock of the Puritans die” line in a school song.
Worcester bids adieu to Paris Cinema
It’s far from the largest project under way to remake downtown Worcester, but the razing of the infamous Paris Theater building to make way for a beer garden is a symbol of the progress being made, reports Walter Bird Jr. of Worcester Magazine.
Worcester Magazine
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Eileen McAnneny, head of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, who talks with host Jon Keller about the state’s budget woes, pot revenues, and the split within the business community over the employer health-care tax.
This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: Those who serve the community by helping children learn teamwork, assisting the homeless and serving those with addictions.  
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung and the Boston Business Journal’s Doug Banks weigh in on the top business stories of the week, including the stalled marijuana bill, the new GOP healthcare plan, the Tufts Medical Center nursing strike and Amazon coming to Fort Point.  
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. This week: Myomo chief executive Paul Gudonis and stroke patient Jessica Peters talk about the company’s life-changing product, a battery powered brace that allows many people who have suffered paralysis to regain use of their arms and hands.  
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Kirsten Hughes, chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.



Today's Headlines
Metro
Massachusetts
Nation
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