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Monday, November 13, 2017

MASSterList: Jarring times | GE's 'reset' | JOB BOARD MONDAY

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By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan

Jarring times | GE's 'reset' | JOB BOARD MONDAY

Happening Today
Public defenders rally, House criminal–justice debate and more …
-- Hundreds of public defenders will rally this morning outside district courthouses across Massachusetts and walk in together before court begins to demand collective bargaining rights, District courthouses.
-- U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III speaks at the New England Council about issues before Congress and his own legislative agenda, Seaport Hotel, Lighthouse Room, One Seaport Lane, Boston, 8:30 a.m.
-- Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy and local officials participate in a tree planting ceremony to commemorate the 10,000th tree planted as part of the Greening the Gateway Cities Program, Lynn Commons Bandstand, 120 Commons Street, Lynn, 9 a.m.
-- The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear a number of bills dealing with independent contractors and other matters, Room B-2, 10 a.m.
-- The House will start its debate on criminal-justice reform legislation, State House, 11 a.m.
-- The Mashpee Wampanoag will host a Thanksgiving Unity Reception to promote peace and unity for all Americans, Great Hall, State House, 11 a.m.
-- Gov. Charlie Baker attends the Semper Fi Society of Boston’s United States Marine Corps 242nd Birthday Luncheon with First Lady Lauren Baker, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St, Boston, 12 p.m.
-- The Transportation Committee will review legislation dealing with safety matters, including jaywalking and wrong-way driving, Room A-1, 3 p.m.
-- Emerge Massachusetts honors Auditor Suzanne Bump during the organization's 10th anniversary ‘Women of the Decade" celebration and annual fundraiser; Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is expected to attend, Foley & Lardner LLP, 111 Huntington Ave Suite 2600, Boston, 5:30 p.m.
-- The Cannabis Advisory Board's Market Participation Subcommittee holds a public listening session on economic development issues related to the new pot industry, UMass Center, 1500 Main St., Springfield, 6:30 p.m.
--Attorney General Maura Healey speaks at a University of Massachusetts Amherst at event hosted by the UMass Democrats, Monday, 41 Campus Center Way, Amherst, 6:30 p.m.

Today's News
Despite State Police chief’s resignation, second trooper files lawsuit over arrest report
Col. Richard McKeon, Gov. Charlie Baker’s head of State Police, may have announced late last week his plans to retire, effectively taking the fall over accusations he improperly ordered a trooper to delete embarrassing details from an arrest report for the daughter of a state Trial Court judge, as reported by SHNS’s Mat Murphy at Wicked Local.
But that move didn’t deter a second state trooper from filing a federal lawsuit against McKeon and other troopers over the redaction, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive. Trooper Ali Rei filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday, just days after trooper Ryan Sceviour filed a similar federal lawsuit, writes Croteau. Leonard Kesten, attorney for the two troopers, is telling the Herald he intends on “going right up the chain” in deposing people in the case, from lower-level supervisors to Baker’s Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett.
In a column, the Herald’s Howie Carr, while vainly pushing for elected judges, finds an interesting pattern in the case: All the major players in the controversy – McKeon, Bennett, District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud and his daughter – used to work for the Worcester County DA’s office. Separately, Howie is also praising Sceviour and Rei for standing up to their commanders.
‘Jarring early warning shots for Gov. Charlie Baker’
What do last week’s anti-Trump election results and the current controversy engulfing the Massachusetts State Police have in common? “They are jarring early warning shots for Gov. Charlie Baker,” writes the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld. We’re not sure about the latter – yet. But the former definitely spells trouble for the Republican governor’s re-election bid next year.
Boston Herald
GE’s big ‘reset’ day
This is a big day for the beleaguered Boston-based General Electric, as CEO John Flannery prepares to unveil plans to transform the giant company, as Bruce Gellerman reports at WBUR. At our deadline time, Bloomberg News was reporting that GE is indeed "shrinking the company" and "planning to focus on aviation, power, renewable-energy and health-care equipment." 
Earlier, the BBJ's Greg Ryan was reviewing speculation that GE may sell or spin out some of its units, possibly some units in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Jon Chesto said Flannery, who took command of the company this past August, has already signaled future cost-cutting measures, “including layoffs, asset sales, and wiser deployment of the company’s money.” Fyi: In a separate story, the BBJ confirms that GE is indeed conducting layoffs in Boston, though it sounds like they’re “limited” in nature.
National Grid enlists N.H. lawmakers to pressure DeLeo on clean energy
This is ‘novel’ indeed. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “National Grid, which has been raising concerns about the Massachusetts procurement process for clean energy, found a novel way to make its case: enlist the help of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Forty-four of the 200 members of the New Hampshire House recently sent a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and other political leaders in Massachusetts urging the adoption of a number of policies favored by National Grid.” 
 Mohl explains why Granite State lawmakers are getting involved in a seemingly Massachusetts issue. Hint: It has to do with hydroelectricity from Quebec, of course. 

Meanwhile, transmission developer dangles $20 million in front of western Massachusetts
What, no free toasters? From Mary Serreze at MassLive: “A company that wants to lay a high-voltage transmission cable under Lake Champlain in Vermont has pledged $20 million for low-income energy retrofits in Western Massachusetts if its New England Clean Power Link wins a major utility contract in the Bay State.” And, yes, this one also involves hydroelectricity from Canada, via a TDI New England project. “The race is on and the stakes are high for the multi-billion-dollar energy contracts,” writes Serreze. No kidding.
Court orders halt to Rockwell sale, backs up Healey claim
This was a surprise development late Friday. From Malcom Gay at the Globe: “A last ditch effort by the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to block the Berkshire Museum’s planned sale of many of its most valuable artworks was successful late Friday after a state Appeals Court granted a temporary injunction halting the sale, which was set to begin this Monday at Sotheby’s in New York. ... Healey’s challenge came after a judge in Berkshire County sided with the museum earlier this week.”
Boston Globe
As Mitt calls for Moore to step aside, Herald pundit points out Romney’s ‘brazen double standard’
In a tweet on Friday, former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney declared Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama “unfit for office” and he “should step aside” amid allegations Moore sexually abused teen girls years ago. CNN has more on Mitt’s tweet – and the Herald’s Hillary Chabot has more on a long-ago incident in which Mitt defended a former state rep and Wareham police sergeant against charges he did nothing to stop a police stripsearch of teen girl in Massachusetts.
State Houses across the country are grappling with sexual harassment charges
Speaking of sexual abuse/harassment issues, Beacon Hill has been hit with its own sexual harassment charges of late – and may yet get hit by more accusations later today (see note below). But the allegations, so far, are nothing like those flying in other State Houses across the nation, where accusers are naming names and lawmakers are losing coveted posts, as the NYT reports this morning. Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota and Colorado are among the states where high-profile lawmakers have been publicly fingered and, in some cases, are paying the consequences. 
Fyi: WBUR’s ‘Radio Boston’ talks today with an anonymous woman who “still works at the State House about sexual harassment she has faced on Beacon Hill,” according to a WBUR producer, as SHNS reports. The show is at 3 p.m. on WBUR-FM 90.9
Prosecutor to meet with teen allegedly groped by actor Kevin Spacey
We’re starting to feel like we’re morphing into Hush-Hush magazine with all the recent posts on sex, bad behavior, pols and Hollywood celebrities, etc. Anyway, from Brian MacQuarrie at the Globe: “The Cape and Islands district attorney said Friday he has scheduled a meeting with the teenage son of Heather Unruh, a former Boston television news anchor, who has accused actor Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting him at a downtown bar here in July 2016. District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the meeting will occur soon and said he is interested in ‘everything that’s relevant and material’ to the alleged assault.”
Boston Globe
‘Lying under oath about sexual activity in government offices'
OK, one more Hush-Hush post. From Shawn Musgrave at the Globe: “An investigation into a former top official with the US Marshals office in Boston found a range of misconduct, including lying under oath about sexual activity in government offices, then lying about his actions and urging some of the women to withhold details from investigators. Federal investigators characterized his false statements as criminal violations, although prosecutors declined to file charges.”
Boston Globe
Warren brings resistance message to Greenfield
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought her message to rural Massachusetts over the weekend, telling a Town Hall meeting in Greenfield that even as the GOP is busy “hacking away at the foundation of our democracy,” a grassroots resistance movement is gathering steam and power, Marcy Serreze of MassLive reports.  Miranda Davis of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports a crowd of close to 1,000 people jammed in to hear Warren cover topics from gun control to health care. 
Getting the hint: Ayyadurai to run as Independent, says Republicans ignored him
Shiva Ayyadurai, the self-described inventor of email and a speaker at this summer’s controversial right-wing “Free Speech” rally in Boston, is switching his party affiliation, saying he’s now running for U.S. Senate as an independent, not as a Republican, according to a report at WBUR. Spencer Buell writes at Boston Magazine that Ayyadurai, in an interview, accuses the Mass. GOP of being “irrelevant” and in “collusion” with Democrats -- and he says Republicans didn’t lift a finger to help him. After he launched his bid, he says, “No one even called me.” We can’t imagine why.

The ghost of King Arthur’s strip club still lingers in Chelsea
For decades, it seemed every other sensational crime and political scandal in Massachusetts had a King Arthur’s strip club angle of some sort. A Middletown firm is now trying to resurrect the abandoned King Arthurs in Chelsea, promising a “new era of adult entertainment” – and some city officials aren’t happy. The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi has more.
Boston Globe
Vanu Bose, 52, RIP
Another sad passing in Massachusetts. From David Harris at the BBJ: “Vanu Bose, the son of Bose Corp. founder Amar Bose and a technology pioneer in his own right, died on Saturday at the age of 52 after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Bose was the founder and CEO of Vanu Inc., a Lexington firm that provides wireless infrastructure and was the first company to receive certification for software-defined radio from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, according to MIT.”
After nearly a year of all-electronic tollways, motorists rack up $16.6 million in unpaid tolls
First, the bad news: Drivers without E-Z passes racked up $16.6 million in unpaid tolls during the first eleven months of all-electronic tolling along state roadways. Now the good news, for those of you who pay tolls and resent freeloaders: The same motorists racked up $14.3 million in late fees. Coleman Herman at CommonWealth magazine has the details.
Anti-abortion activists out to make lawmakers squirm
The issue is ostensibly about public funding of abortions in Massachusetts. But as the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert notes, the drive to change the state Constitution to restrict Medicaid funding for abortions will also “return a thorny political debate long silenced by the judiciary to the legislative arena, where activists could then try to pressure their representatives to cut off public funding.”
Boston Globe
Airbnb’s ‘smoke and mirrors’ tax ploy
Paul Sacco, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Lodging Association, isn’t buying Airbnb’s “smoke and mirrors” call for lawmakers to tax the budding apartment-rental business, saying Airbnb just wants to “appear sympathetic to taxation” in order to avoid full regulation and taxation that other lodging establishments have to comply with in Massachusetts.
Dairy farmers seek tax credit help amid souring sales
From Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune: “Beleaguered dairy farmers could be getting more money from the state to offset losses from souring milk sales. A bipartisan proposal gaining traction on Beacon Hill would double the state’s dairy farm tax credit to $8 million, which supporters say would prevent more farms from going bust. The measure, which was cleared two weeks ago by the Legislature's Revenue Committee, has support from dozens of lawmakers.”
Eagle Tribune
If history is any guide, Dan Koh faces uphill battle to win Tsongas seat
Attention Dan Koh, Nadeem A. Mazen, Abhijit “Beej” Das and possibly Rufus Gifford: Merrimack Valley voters haven’t been exactly kind to candidates who move into the district to run for Congress. Just ask John Kerry. The Globe’s Frank Phillips has more on the history of voters there rejecting blow-in candidates.
Boston Globe
As property values rise, Worcester tax bills will soon follow
Worcester property owners are about to be reminded that a rising tide lifts all boats—including the one carrying the tax bill. As values finally recover from a long post-recession lull, the city may face pressure to use the city’s budget surplus and its dual tax rates to cushion the blow for residential property owners as it sets tax policy for the coming year, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports.  
Forgotten Revolutionary War veteran, a slave, honored for his service
With the holiday weekend over, here’s one last Veterans Day story, and it’s a good one, on a writing tutor and self-described history buff who this year made sure a Revolutionary War hero and slave, Charles Paine, was honored in Franklin. Scott Calzolaio has the details at Wicked Local.
Wicked Local
Lynnway auto auction facing lawsuit
Just days after being hit with $267,000 in fines from OSHA for safety lapses, the Lynnway Auction in Billerica has been served with a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of one of the five victims killed in a 2014 crash at the facility, Rick Sobey of the Lowell Sun reports.
Lowell Sun
Amid low turnout in elections, activists push for automatic voter registration
Competitive races are a far better way to get voters revved up and headed to voting stations, but that’s not always going to happen, unfortunately. From the AP’s Steve LeBlanc at “The lackluster turnout in some municipal elections this week has energized advocates hoping to make it easier for people to register to vote. The activists want state lawmakers to adopt something known as automatic voter registration — a system that automatically updates voters’ information whenever they alert one of several state agencies of a change of address or other pertinent change in their status.”

Today's Headlines
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