11/14/2017 07:11 AM EDT
By Lauren Dezenski (email@example.com; @LaurenDezenski) with Rebecca Morin (firstname.lastname@example.org; @RebeccaMorin_)
GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Mostly cloudy with a high of 42 in Boston today.
AN EAST-WEST RAIL POPULARITY CONTEST - There's strong statewide support for a high-speed East-West rail link between Boston and Springfield, according to a new poll out this week from Western New England University. So strong, that with a statewide average support of 74 percent, East-West rail is actually more popular than any of the state's current crop of elected officials - even the nation's most popular governor (and state's most popular elected) Charlie Baker.
State Sen. Eric Lesser, East-West rail's key Beacon Hill proponent since his election in 2015, yesterday called the poll "a wakeup call to those who question this project and have held it back." Last month Lesser bused constituents to Boston to bolster his push for the state to study the route's feasibility - a measure already OK'ed by the legislature but vetoed by Gov. Baker last summer. Peter Picknelly, the Springfield-based business leader whose Peter Pan bus company is currently the main source of travel between Boston and Springfield, emerged as a major opponent who helped scuttle the $100,000 study.
Support for the rail link predictably was highest in western Massachusetts, at 87 percent, followed by in central Mass at 80 percent, and dipping moving east to Boston and its suburbs with 73 percent. Its lowest support was at 68 percent within the North Shore and South Shore. The majority of respondents say they'd use the rail line to attend a concert, play, or sporting event, commute to a job, or visit family and friends.
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TODAY - Gov. Charlie Baker rolls out a new package of initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic including legislation and executive orders in a press conference at the State House this afternoon - The House returns to formal session for day two of criminal justice reform deliberations. The Senate also meets in formal session - The Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care holds a lobby day, with former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick listed as a special guest.
DATELINE BEACON HILL -
- "Opioid-related deaths decline by 10 percent in Mass.," by Felice J. Freyer, Boston Globe: "The number of people dying from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts dropped by 10 percent during the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in 2016, according to new data that bolsters evidence the opioid crisis may be turning a corner. But the state public health commissioner, Dr. Monica Bharel, said it's still too soon to call the change a trend."
- "Retiring Col. Richard McKeon may collect $188G pension," by Matt Stout and Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald: "Retiring state police Col. Richard McKeon could collect a $188,000-a-year pension after he calls it quits Friday, all while facing scathing criticism for ordering state troopers to delete embarrassing details from the arrest report of a judge's daughter."
- "House to vote on bill that could eliminate many mandatory minimum sentences," by Jim O'Sullivan, Boston Globe: "The House began tackling criminal justice legislation Monday - the latest step in Beacon Hill's efforts to make significant changes to the state policies like mandatory-minimum sentences and the ability to seal criminal records for some offenses."
- "Mass. lawmakers to seek $45 million influx for broadband work," by Larry Parnass, Berkshire Eagle: "The Legislature is poised to steer $45 million to a problem earlier funding couldn't quite solve: bringing broadband internet to all rural towns. Despite progress over the last 18 months in closing the digital divide, eight towns in Western and Central Massachusetts still lack a plan to obtain service."
- "Baker Calls Attleboro Mayor-elect Paul Heroux's Decision 'Incredibly Insulting,'" by Spencer Buell, Boston Magazine: "Attleboro Mayor-elect Paul Heroux has come under fire from Gov. Charlie Baker, who says his desire to keep his job as a state representative is 'incredibly insulting.' 'I think it's incredibly insulting, to the voters and to the mayors and to the legislators who take their job as a full-time job seriously, that he would even consider this,' Baker said Sunday on WCVB's 'On the Record.'"
- "FBI Report: Mass. Had Highest Rate Of Reported Hate Crimes In 2016," by Ally Jarmanning, WBUR: "Massachusetts had the highest rate of reported hate crimes in the country last year, according to a new FBI report released Monday. There were 5.9 hate crime incidents for every 100,000 people in the state in 2016, according to data from agencies who voluntarily reported offenses to the FBI. Reporting agencies included 70 communities, a dozen colleges and the MBTA."
** A message from PhRMA: Are middlemen really holding down the cost of medicines? Biopharmaceutical companies set the list prices for their medicines, but it's your insurer that decides how much you pay out of pocket. More than one-third of the list price is rebated back to middlemen, but these savings aren't always shared with patients. http://onphr.ma/2AB3jW4 **
- "Liz Warren, Donald Trump could bite Charlie Baker in 2018," by Joe Battenfeld, Boston Herald: "In Massachusetts, Baker-endorsed candidates lost almost all their races, including Matt St. Hilaire, Baker's state personnel director, who got bounced off the Beverly City Council. ... Baker has done a good job keeping far away from President Trump, but that doesn't mean he's immune from Trump backlash."
- "Tax plan: What's the impact in the Berkshires?" by Kristin Palpini, Berkshire Eagle: "Berkshire County residents are in line to be among those who would personally feel the impact of the proposed GOP/Trump tax plan - 'The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act' - and if approved, it's likely going to hurt in ways that may surprise. The new tax plan, which lowers the corporate tax rate, eliminates tax deductions and modestly lowers income tax rates, is being billed by Republicans as a stimulus for the national economy, while detractors are calling it another version of 'trickle-down' economics."
MOULTON MATTERS -
- "Moulton To Ryan: Hold Hearing On Bump Stock Ban Bill," by CBS Boston: "Congressman Seth Moulton is calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to at least hold a hearing on a bill that would ban bump stocks. Massachusetts just banned the devices, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting last month."
THE TSONGAS ARENA -
INBOX - "Rufus Gifford Announces Campaign for Massachusetts Third Congressional District," from Gifford's campaign: After serving America overseas as Obama's ambassador to Denmark, Gifford returns to run in district with strong family history ... Rufus's family has called the Third Congressional District home for generations. His ancestors settled in Andover, Chelmsford and Concord. Rufus, 43, grew up in Manchester by the Sea, just outside of the district. He recently moved into a home in Concord with his husband Stephen, just down the street from his sister, aunts, uncles and cousins."
WOOD WAR - Herald: "2020 VISION" - Globe: "Mass. Pike overhaul in Allston takes shape," "Berklee fired 11 faculty for sexual misconduct," "DESPERATION AND DESTRUCTION," "IN BROOKLINE, AN UN-SITELY MESS," "War hero who also battled for equal rights dies," "GE to take knife to dividend, divisions," "For team dentist, many bonding moments."
THE LOCAL ANGLE -
- "Claim: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe $425M in debt, services cut," by Tanner Stening, Cape Cod Times: "A call for Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe members to attend a meeting Sunday afternoon to address longstanding concerns about the tribe's mounting debt claimed it has grown to $425 million and that services have been cut. A robocall circulated Saturday and Sunday urging tribe members to attend the gathering at 2 p.m. at its government headquarters in Mashpee, and saying that tribal social services, including in the youth and elder departments, have been cut."
- "Cape fishermen reap benefits of monitoring program," by Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times: "With fleets on the West Coast and in Alaska, members of the East Coast swordfishing and herring fleets and 20 New England groundfishermen all using cameras to record their fishing, the technology is gaining ground as a fisheries management tool, including off Cape Cod. This year, Cape fishermen - pioneers of the movement in New England - working with the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance, along with members of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, are set to reap some unexpected benefits for their willingness to play guinea pig: greater access to Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable fish in the sea."
- "Lowell veterans leader urges NFL boycott in Fox appearance," by Kori Tuitt, Lowell Sun: "For months, John MacDonald shared his sentiments about the National Football League protests with veterans and their families. But on Sunday morning, he had the chance to offer his perspective to a nationwide audience on Fox & Friends. MacDonald, a veteran of the Air Force who serves on the board of directors for Veterans Assisting Veterans, a Lowell-based nonprofit organization, also joined Sunday with other veterans groups at the VFW Mottola Post in Revere for an event to boycott the NFL."
- "Lawrence firefighters in Puerto Rico helping hurricane victims," by Jill Harmacinski, Lawrence Eagle Tribune: "Pagan and Gonzalez, both veteran Lawrence firefighters, arrived in Puerto Rico last Thursday to help with relief and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Maria's devastation more than 50 days ago. ... Both firefighters have relatives living in Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island and American territory which is home to 3.5 million people."
- "Worcester voter turnout study backs easier registration process," by Nick Kotsopoulos, Worcester Telegram: "For several years, voter turnout has been an issue in this city. That was underscored by the Nov. 7 municipal election when only 15.24 percent (16,301) of the city's 106,939 registered voters ended up casting ballots. It was the second smallest turnout for a municipal election since 2000, with the smallest being 14.5 percent in 2013. As bad as those numbers are, a Worcester State University study suggests that things are even worse when you take into account the large number of people who are qualified to vote in Worcester but are ineligible to do so because they are not registered."
- "Medical pot plans get green light in Peabody," by Mary Markos, Salem News: "Three medical marijuana companies looking to open in the city have gotten the go-ahead from Peabody officials to seek state approval. The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to issue letters of non-opposition to each of the three applicants: Wellness Connection of MA Inc. of 30 Railroad Ave., Revere; Phytotherapy Inc. of 25 Newbury St.; and Sanctuary Medicinals Inc. of 29 Newbury St."
DATELINE HIGHER ED - Simmons College plan to name the newly formed College of Media, Arts, and Humanities in honor of the late journalist and alumna Gwen Ifill, the school announced this morning. Ifill graduated from Simmons in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in communications.
MAZEL! - To Attorney Jim Morris, founder of the law firm Quinn & Morriss, who has been elected as chairman of the Inspector General Counsel. He succeeds State Auditor Suzanne Bump as chairman.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY - to Lowell Sun scribe Todd Feathers.
THE HOME TEAMS DID NOT PLAY.
NEW: POLITICO is accepting applications for its fifth session of the POLITICO Journalism Institute (PJI), an educational initiative focused on newsroom diversity . The intensive program, which is designed for college students, will be held May 29 to June 9, 2018. It features hands-on training for up to 12 recent grads and university students interested in covering government and politics. Students also will have an opportunity to have their work published by POLITICO. All expenses are paid for the program, reflecting POLITICO's ongoing support of journalism education, newsroom diversity and recruitment of top-notch talent. Admissions are made on a rolling basis, so APPLY TODAY but no later than Jan. 15, 2018. https://www.politico.com/pji
ICYMI: AN ELECTION RECAP EDITION OF THE HORSE RACE - Election Day has come and gone and we're here to parse who landed in the winner's circle across the state. Also, a surprise appearance by Sam Hammar, chair of the Melrose Democratic City Committee, to discuss why a partisan city committee got involved in a non-partisan municipal election. Subscribe and listen now on iTunes and Sound Cloud.
- And more details are coming VERY soon about the live Horse Race event at Ned Devine's in Boston on Nov. 28. No actual horses, just a lot of jockeying for #mapoli insights. Plus, there will be swag!
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** A message from PhRMA: Are middlemen really holding down the cost of medicines? Ever wonder who decides what you pay for your medicines? It's not who you might think. Biopharmaceutical companies set the list prices for their medicines, but it's your insurer that ultimately determines how much you pay out of pocket. More than one-third of the list price of a medicine is rebated back to middlemen, like insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). These rebates and discounts create savings of more than $100 billion, but these savings aren't always shared directly with patients. Patients share the costs. They should share the savings. http://onphr.ma/2AB3jW4 **
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