Baker in Colorado, Markey on health care and more ...
Gov. Baker attends the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable Quarterly Meeting in Aspen, Colorado. ... U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy attends a Women2Women leader-development conference, Wheelock College, 150 Riverway, Boston, 9:30 a.m. ... U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a media availability to call on Republicans to abandon their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, 10 a.m. ... State Ethics Commission meet, One Ashburton Place, Room 619, 10 a.m. ... U.S. Rep. Bill Keating hosts a roundtable on behavioral health issues alongside state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the White Home, St. Luke's Hospital, 101 Page St., New Bedford, 10:30 a.m.
It was never very far away from the harbor as it underwent two years of repairs in dry dock. But the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, was officially returned to Boston Harbor last night after restoration efforts were completed. WCVB has a good time-lapse video of the event (after you get through the annoying 30-second ad) and the Herald has a slideshow of the re-floating project.
Gov. Charlie Baker called it: The state’s shortfall for last fiscal year, which ended June 30, came in at about $431 million, right around where the administration had projected, despite fears expressed by some that the shortfall might be considerably larger, as reported by SHNS’s Colin Young at the Greenfield Recorder. Baker has expressed confidence that the administration, through ‘nipping and tucking,’ can handle the shortfall.
Attorney General Maura Healey isn’t just opposing Eversource’s request for a $96 million electricity rate increase. She wants the Department of Public Utilities to actually cut Eversource’s current rates. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Berkshire Eagle have the details.
Metco at 50: The more things change, the more they stay the same
The Globe’s Kay Lazar reports on how METCO, the voluntary city-suburban school desegregation program, still has many of the same problems it had when it first started out 50 years ago: Isolated inner-city students within suburban schools, racial incidents, all-white school faculties, etc. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School doesn’t come out looking very good in this story.
Actually, the battle over Medicaid isn’t looming. It’s already underway, with Democratic state Reps. Christine Barber, Ruth Balser and Jay Livingstone going on the offensive at CommonWealth Magazine, saying Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is trying to have it “both ways” by criticizing national Republicans for trying to slash Medicaid while he tries to push thousands of residents off Medicaid. The AP’s Bob Salzburg at Boston.com has a good overview piece on Baker’s proposed Medicaid reforms, which lawmakers will start reviewing tomorrow on Beacon Hill.
Jeffrey Sanchez: What a long, strange trip it’s been
The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has a good profile of state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez and his long journey from the projects in Boston to a top leadership post at the State House.
Pay attention, Jeffrey Sanchez: The city of Haverhill benefitted greatly, thank you very much, from having former state Rep. Brian Dempsey atop the House Ways and Means Committee for the past seven years, Peter Francis of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Subsidies for a downtown housing project and riverfront boardwalk, among other projects, flowed into the city during Dempsey’s tenure, which has come to an end with his decision to move into a lobbyist role, a career switch we're sure many in Jamaica Plain are applauding.
Explosions are shaking nearby homes and rattling neighbors on the Hanover-Hanson line these day, reports Neal Simpson at Wicked Local. The source? Demolition experts setting off unexploded ordnance pulled from contaminated soil as part of a massive clean-up of the former National Fireworks site. The contaminated site, it should be noted, is near forested town walking trails. Not good.
Did you know Walsh hadn’t kicked off his re-election campaign until this past weekend?
The Boston mayoral campaign has gotten so much ink of late that’s it’s somewhat surprising to learn that Mayor Marty Walsh hadn’t, until this past weekend, officially kicked off his re-election campaign. The Boston Globe and Boston Heraldhave the details of the mayor’s official campaign launch.
It’s always election-day eve somewhere
It doesn’t get any more low-key than this. Tomorrow is election day in Billerica and surrounding communities, where voters will choose between Democrat Cindy Friedman and Green-Rainbow party member Ian Jackson to decide who will fill the state Senate seat vacated by the death of Kenneth Donnelly in April. Election officials say turnout is expected to be very low, perhaps below 10 percent, reports the Lowell Sun.
Clean slate: Comprise pot bill lets the previously convicted work in marijuana industry
Maybe we just missed it, but we hadn’t heard much about this provision tucked into the compromise pot bill, via Claire Parker at the Globe: “The marijuana overhaul bill, which the Legislature sent to the governor Thursday, allows people with certain prior drug convictions to enter the new industry. It also reiterates that those previously charged with marijuana offenses at the state level are eligible to get those records sealed.”
Quick reaction: Why not? It makes no sense to continue to punish people for actions long ago that are now considered legal today.
Post-Waltham inferno: Time to re-evaluate all-wood apartment construction?
WCVB has video footage of the massive weekend inferno that destroyed a luxury apartment complex that was under construction in Waltham. Robert Logan, vice president of the Waltham City Council, tells the Globe that the state needs to re-evaluate the use of wood-frame construction on apartment complexes, in the aftermath of similar fires near the Ashmont T station in Dorchester and elsewhere across the country. Our questions: Aren't all of Boston's famous triple-decker homes and many townhouse-like units made entirely of wood? So are we talking about particularly large all-wood apartment projects? Just asking.
‘The bunny got shot’: Local PR meisters respond to Sean Spicer’s departure
Local PR gurus George Regan and Rob Gray and Mike Dennehy, a N.H. GOP strategist, each had a column over the weekend at the Herald on White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s noisy departure from the White House. Their bottom line: A coherent communications strategy isn’t possible as long as a certain Oval Office individual keeps tweeting away at will.
Fyi: By sheer coincidence (as he emphasizes), the Herald’s Howie Carr was at the White House on Friday, only hours after Sean quit in a huff. In addition to meeting with the big guy, Howie bumped into Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci, offering each a specially designed “FNN” T-shirt.
Howie remembers Alan Sisitsky, the Russell Holmes of his time
Speaking of Howie Carr, he has a remembrance of the late state Sen. Alan Sisitsky, the one-time arch-nemesis of Billy Bulger, and Howie finds similarities between the political trajectories of Sisitsky and Rep. Russell Holmes, the current nemesis of House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Fyi: DeLeo is firing back at the defiant Holmes, suggesting he wasn't a good team player on his leadership team, reports Chris Cassidy at the Herald.
UMass president Marty Meehan is beefing up his administrative staff, hiring the state’s former innovation chief Katie Stebbins as a new VP of economic development, Gerry Leone, formerly from Consigli Construction, as general counsel, and John Letchford, from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, as chief information officer, reports the BBJ.
Bar association asked to investigate two ex-assistant AGs
From Shawn Musgrave at the Globe: “The state bar has been asked to investigate two former state prosecutors who worked on the case of a former state chemist at the Amherst drug lab, a month after a Springfield judge determined that the lawyers committed egregious misconduct.” The complaints letters were written by a lawyer with the Innocence Project and Northeastern law professor Daniel Medwed.
The Northeast Seafood Coalition, which has been battling environmentalists and federal regulators over a number of issues, has reeled in Gov. Charlie Baker, considered a long-time ally, for its annual fundraising gala later this week, reports Ray LaMont a the Gloucester Times.
Surprise: Opioid addicts not voluntarily submitting to clinical evaluations
The Globe’s Catie Edmondson reports on how a key provision of the state’s comprehensive law designed to fight the opioid epidemic simply isn’t working. The problem: Anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of drug addicts treated at hospital emergency rooms decline follow-up mental or behavioral health evaluations aimed at getting them eventual treatments. Gov. Baker had wanted involuntary treatments.
Party hearty: Will lawmakers put off business for national conference festivities?
From the Herald’s Hillary Chabot: “Beacon Hill pols are poised for summer vacation, getting ready to party with 6,000 lawmakers flying in from around the nation — while leaving health care reform and a massive revenue shortfall on the table. ... Local lawmakers will hobnob at Fenway Park and TD Garden as hosts of a National Conference of State Lawmakers from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9.”
Why should taxpayers be asked to subsidize anti-Israel boycotts?
Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, defends a bill now winding its way through the State House that’s designed to discourage state contractors from participating in anti-Israel boycotts, saying opponents of the bill effectively want the state to subsidize boycotts against Israel.
Berkshire lawmaker scores funding for new Pike exit study
Maybe you can get there from here. A provision in the state budget to study adding a new Mass Turnpike access ramp in the nearly 30-mile (but seemingly interminable) gap between Exits 2 and 3 survived Gov. Baker’s veto pen, Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Lawmakers in the region say the project would be a boon to residents of the so-called hill towns.
The Globe has an editorial this morning saying scrutiny of a controversial bank loan involving Jane Sanders, wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is perfectly legitimate, but it makes clear it’s not impressed with: A.) The involvement in the case by Brady Toensing, vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party and B.) The argument by Jane Sanders that the investigation is about ‘sexism.’