Medicaid rates, Sánchez on the air, Warren town meeting
The Office of Health and Human Services holds five back-to-back public hearings today regarding planned Medicaid provider rate increases of 2.5 to 2.7 percent, 100 Hancock St., Quincy, 9 a.m. ... Energy Facilities Siting Board holds a public meeting to consider two related tentative decisions for the Exelon West Medway generating facility, One South Station - 5th floor, Hearing Room A, 10 a.m. ... New House Ways and Means chairman Jeffrey Sánchez is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m. ... Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren and Amherst state Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose greet voters and talk about issues, Black Sheep Cafe, 79 Main St., Amherst, 12:30 p.m. ... U.S. Rep. James McGovern participates in a roundtable discussion with members of the Community Health Center of Franklin County's board of directors and staff, 489 Bernardston Rd., Greenfield, 1:30 p.m. ... U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a town-hall style event to hear from constituents and discuss her work in Washington, with U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark planning to attend, Revere High School, 101 School St., Revere, 6 p.m.
Déjà vu all over again: Baker proposes revised online sales tax, trade group vows another lawsuit
This is a far more serious attempt by the Baker administration to help brick-and-mortar retailers than its tardy sales-tax holiday proposal earlier this week. From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The Baker administration has re-proposed its plan to collect sales taxes from out-of-state online retailers after abruptly pulling a previous version in June, this time in a way that will better allow for feedback from businesses and others. However, a trade group said Thursday that it plans to challenge the new proposal in court, as it did with the previous plan.”
Rockwell sons oppose Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell father’s works
Norman Rockwell’s three sons are urging the Berkshire Museum not to go through with a plan to sell two of the artist’s works to help finance a $60 million expansion at the institution, saying the paintings were donated so they could be enjoyed by the public, Carrie Saldo of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Struggling MinuteMan Health put under state receivership
From the BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett: “The state’s top insurance regulator has been placed in control of Minuteman Health, after the Massachusetts and New Hampshire insurer’s level of cash reserves fell below state requirements. On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted acting Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson his request to be appointed receiver for Minuteman, effectively placing the state in control of the insurance company."
SHNS’s Matt Murphy at MetroWest Daily News reports that the non-profit MinuteMan is a low-cost insurer organized under the Affordable Care Act. Let’s hope there’s not more ACA insurers in this condition.
Massachusetts’s long history of repeat lottery winners
Following news that the Lottery plans to crack down on suspicious repeat winners of Lottery games, the Globe’s Michael Levenson and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein take a look at the state’s dubious history of having more repeat lottery winners than any other state, including one Watertown family that cashed in 7,000 winning tickets for $11 million in just six years.
N.H. takes umbrage to Trump’s ‘drug infested den’ description
They’re not happy in New Hampshire over President Trump’s crack that he won the state last year because it’s a “drug-infested den,” reports Dan Touhy at the Manchester Union Leader. “The President is wrong,” huffed Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican. But one Trump supporter says the president called it like it is. His evidence: Nearly 500 drug-related deaths last year in the Granite State.
We obviously have our own drug infestation problem here in Massachusetts. The city of Brockton had the most residents treated for opioid-related emergencies in 2015, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports, citing state hospital data. The numbers also show the scope and reach of the epidemic—Boston’s South End ZIP code had the second-most patients treated and ranking third was the western Mass. city of Pittsfield. All but a handful of sparsely populated ZIP codes reported having patients treated.
Arrested RMV workers put on unpaid leave, feds zero in on accused ringleader
The four Registry of Motor Vehicles clerks who were arrested and charged by the feds with taking part in an identity-theft ring have been put on unpaid leave by the state, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at MassLive. The Herald’s Brian Dowling reports that the feds are zeroing in on the accused RMV ringleader’s frequent foreign travels and role in getting fake IDs to illegal immigrants.
Ferry fender-bender has hefty price tag
The June 16 crash of a high-speed ferry into a breakwater in Hyannis Harbor has already cost the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority $1.7 million, most of it from lost ticket and parking revenue, Sean Driscoll of the Cape Cod Times reports. But that price tag doesn’t include the $500,000 in repairs to the ship, most of which is being covered by insurance.
New Mueller grand jury: Ominous development or ham sandwich?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has begun using a federal grand jury to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign, according to a report at the Globe. The Herald’s Howie Carr wonders if the move will turn up anything – or confirm the old axiom that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor wants it to do so.
‘He’s going to need a big bottle of Scotch’
The Boston Globe and the New York Times both have good stories this morning on just how hard it’s going to be for Boston native and former Marine Gen. John Kelly to impose discipline on the notoriously unruly Trump White House. From Annie Linskey’s Globe piece, quoting former Clinton chief of staff and defense secretary Leon Panetta: “I told John he’s going to need a big bottle of Scotch to deal with that chief of staff job.”
Setti Warren: Do as I say, not as I do
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren has blasted away at Gov. Charlie Baker for filing legislation that would allow police, in some cases, to detain immigrants already in custody at the request of ICE agents. But it turns out that Warren, as mayor of Newton, signed off on a substantially similar measure this past February in his home city – and other cities and towns have done the same thing, despite their pro-immigrant pronouncements and declarations, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the New Boston Post.
Here’s one way to get around local opposition to legalized pot: Buy the town
Small towns of Massachusetts, you’ve been warned. From Bloomberg News: “American Green Inc., a maker of cannabis products, is taking an unusual step to attract new customers as it capitalizes on California legalizing marijuana: It’s buying an entire town. The company has acquired the tiny burg of Nipton, California, for about $5 million and plans to invest as much as $2.5 million over the next 18 months to create a pot-friendly tourist destination.”
Elizabeth Warren lauds passage of hearing-aid bill
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren thanked senators from both sides of the aisle for passing her controversial hearing-aid legislation that was tucked into the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. The provision, which was only controversial because others were targeting Warren personally, would allow more hearing-aids to be sold over the counter –with the goal of making the industry more competitive and products less expensive. It’s a good, common-sense piece of legislation.
A little of Worcester comes to Boston: WPI sets up shop in Fort Port Channel
General Electric, Amazon, Redhat and others will soon have a new neighbor in Boston’s Fort Point Channel area: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which this fall is opening a new 6,400-square-foot innovation and collaborative space on Congress Street, reports the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock. Smart move by WPI. This should further enhance its reputation and visibility.
Trump administration isn’t Harvard’s only affirmative-action foe
The Trump administration may be rattling its sword about going after higher-education institutions’ affirmative action policies. But the real legal threat for Harvard is coming from a pending lawsuit, backed by a conservative group, that’s challenging the school’s admission policies as they regard Asian Americans, reports Anemona Hartocollis and Stephanie Saul at the New York Times and Max Larkin at WBUR. The lawsuit, which has been reported on before, is “clearly aimed for the Supreme Court,” the Times reports.
Hard bargainers: Teens reject $2.6M offer by TD Garden and state
From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “TD Garden and the state have agreed to pay $2.65 million toward a recreational center in Jackson Square, a deal that falls far short of the millions of dollars that a group of teens says the Garden was obligated to kick in through yearly fund-raisers over the last two decades. The deal was unveiled Thursday after days of negotiations, but the teenagers quickly denounced the outcome. “
AG asked to enforce order to turn over browsing data
The state’s Supervisor of Public Records is asking Attorney General Maura Healey to enforce an order against the Department of Conservation and Recreation requiring it to turn the web browsing data of a fired DCR employee over to a WBZ reporter, Colman Herman of CommonWealth Magazine reports.
The Globe’s Nestor Ramos has a terrific column on former state highway chief Tom Tinlin, who suffered an aneurysm at a fundraising event that Ramos just so happened to be attending at the time. Tinlin, somewhat ironically, was saved by light traffic that day. Nestor explains.
Mais oui: Jamie McCourt set to be nominated as ambassador to France
Let’s hope she does a better job at her new post than when she and her ex-husband almost drove a venerated sports franchise into the ground. But Jamie McCourt, a major donor to President Trump, definitely has the credentials to be the next ambassador to France, including speaking French and holding diplomas from Georgetown University, the Sorbonne and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has more on her pending nomination.
In a post yesterday, a story that we linked to was attributed to one “Gintautus Dummies” at MassLive, when in fact, it was by Gintautus Dumcius, the esteemed founding editor of MassterList and now a star State House reporter. It took us all but three seconds to realize that, yet again, spell-check got the better of us. Sorry about that, Gin.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who talks with host Jon Keller about her hearing-aid bill, the president’s comments about drug abuse and her re-election campaign.
This is New England, NBC Boston, Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s topics: Champions in Action, the Boston Crusaders, Mental Health Awareness.
This week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Jim Lowell of Adviser Investments on the Dow topping 22,000 and the July unemployment report; Mike Dundas, SAGE Naturals CEO and state Cannabis Advisory Board member, on the state marijuana industry; and Boston Business Journal reporter Greg Ryan on some of the top business stories of the week.
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Yogesh Gupta, the CEO of Progress, on that company’s rebranding, the future of software and why they are a nerds’ nerd software company.
On the Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.
City Line, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: End of Summer Events (American Moor, Step, Free Fun Fridays).