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Pike dream | No escape | Lenny Bruce's revenge

New England Clean Power Link
Happening Today
Day 2 of criminal-justice debate, new opioids initiative, Senate in session

-- The 14th annual Massachusetts STEM Summit explores ‘Progress Through Partnership,’ with some 1,400 people attending and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito scheduled to speak, DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester, starting at 8 a.m.

-- The Pension Reserve Investment Management board meets with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairing the meeting, 84 State Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, 9:30 a.m.

-- Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike attend the MassCEC board of directors meeting, 63 Franklin St., 3rd Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.

-- Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care holds a lobby day with Sens. Julian Cyr and Jamie Eldridge expected to attend, State House, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-- The Cannabis Control Commission meets, Minehane Hall, 6th floor, 19 Staniford St., Boston, 10:30 a.m.

-- House meets in formal session with plans to resume its debate on criminal justice bills, House Chamber, 11 a.m.

-- Senate meets in a formal session with remaining items on the agenda being a $244 million capital needs bond bill and possible budget override votes, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.

-- The Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government will solicit testimony on an immigration law enforcement bill and a slew of local bills, Room A-1, 11 a.m.

-- Diabetes advocates rally to raise awareness of diabetes as an epidemic, with Sens. Sal DiDomenico, Jason Lewis and Jim Welch, and Reps. Kate Hogan and Dan Cullinane expected to attend, Nurses Hall, 1 p.m.

-- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection holds a public hearing on amendments to its regulations governing the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions reductions from power plants, MassDEP headquarters, One Winter St., 2nd floor, Boston, 2 p.m.

-- Sen. Pat Jehlen and Reps. Frank Smizik and Natalie Higgins screen the documentary ‘Backpack Full of Cash,’ which is narrated by actor Matt Damon and looks at privatization of public schools, Room 350, 2 p.m.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker unveils a new package of initiatives to fight the opioid epidemic, including legislation and executive actions, Room 157, 2:30 p.m.

-- Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun is a guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker administers a ceremonial oath of office to Supreme Judicial Court Justice Scott Kafker, with Justices David Lowy and Elspeth Cypher, retired Justices Judith Cowin and Robert Cordy, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Auditor Suzanne Bump planning to attend, Great Hall, John Adams Courthouse, Pemberton Square, Boston, 4:15 p.m.

-- Environmental League of Massachusetts focuses on ‘sustainability innovation’ at its annual fall reception, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Prudential Center, 101 Huntington Ave., Boston, 5:30 p.m.

Today's Stories
House passes early-release provision for inmates

The House will continue debate today over criminal-justice reform bills, but it did make progress yesterday on one major item. From SHNS’s Michael Norton and Matt Murphy at the Lowell Sun: “The Massachusetts House unanimously approved legislation Monday that would allow inmates in state jails and prisons to shorten their time behind bars by participating in rehabilitation programming, a major policy shift intended to reduce recidivism.” The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has more on the House’s criminal-justice reform push, which overall is a considerably slimmed down version of a package recently passed by the Senate. Shira Schoeberg at MassLive reports that more than 200 amendments – yes, two hundred – have been introduced and will be considered over the course of the House debate.

Lowell Sun
State pushing forward with massive $1.2B Pike project without knowing how to pay for it

They’re still unsure where they money will come from to fund the project, but we’re pretty sure Pike toll-payers will take a hit in the end. They always do. Anyway, from Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “A mammoth highway project that would dramatically reshape the Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston and affect the commute of hundreds of thousands of motorists will move forward and likely break ground in 2020, state officials said Monday. The project, with one plan estimated to cost $1.2 billion, would replace a raised portion of the Pike between Boston University and the Charles River and straighten the roadway where it takes a looping bend through now-abandoned rail yards.”

Maybe state transportation officials can fix a crumbling elevated portion of the Pike with Allston project finances, wherever the money comes from in the end. Commonwealth Bruce Mohl has the details.

Boston Globe
Baker: Mayor-Rep. Heroux’s plan to keep two jobs is ‘incredibly insulting’

From Jim Hand at the Sun-Chronicle: “Gov. Charlie Baker is the latest politician to slam state Rep. Paul Heroux for saying he may serve as both a legislator and mayor of Attleboro for a time.” In an interview on WCVB’s On the Record show over the weekend, Baker said Heroux’s decision is “incredibly insulting” to voters. It’s also very frustrating for Republicans, who feel they have a winning candidate in the wings if a special House election were to be held somewhat soon – and that’s exactly why the Democrat Heroux is pulling his two-paycheck gambit. Spencer Beull at Boston Magazine has more.

Sun Chronicle
Baker can’t escape from the GOP’s national follies

Speaking of the governor, SHNS’s Michael Norton, writing at Wicked Local, has a good story on how Republican Gov. Charlie Baker can’t avoid getting dinged on an almost daily basis by the antics of national Republicans. The governor, who’s riding high in local polls, doesn’t appear that nervous, but he’s definitely walking a daily political tightrope.

Wicked Local
GE’s less than impressive ‘reset’

Wall Street investors weren’t very impressed yesterday by General Electric CEO John Flannery’s turnaround plans for the giant Boston-based conglomerate, pounding down GE’s stock by more than 7 percent, its biggest single-day drop in eight years, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. Sure, GE says it will sell off/spin out certain units, narrow its corporate focus, and cut dividends and executive pay, as the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports. All in all, Boston should fare well under Flannery’s plan, though GE may give the heave to one small unit in Massachusetts. But … but if investors are right, GE is not out of the woods yet. Not even close. The Herald’s Dan Atkinson and the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien have more on GE’s ‘reset’ day.

Son of Chad enters crowded Third Congressional race

Rufus Gifford, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark and a Netflix documentary star, yesterday officially threw his hat into the crowded Democratic ring in the Third Congressional race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, according to reports by SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram and Matt Stout at the Herald. The first-time political candidate is the former finance director for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and the son of Chad Gifford, the former CEO of FleetBoston and former chair of Bank of America. "I'm running in part because I feel like people have lost faith and trust in government and politics, trust we desperately need to build back," Gifford said in a video announcing his candidacy.

‘Romney being Romney’

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi is going after Mitt Romney for going after Alabama’s Roy Moore over sexual misconduct charges, recalling Romney’s own handling of a long-ago incident involving a 14-year-old girl who was strip-searched by police in Massachusetts. “In that case, Romney chose to disbelieve the victim and instead blamed the allegations on Democrats who were pushing ‘twisted, distorted mistruths,’” writes Vennochi, who, in a classy move, credits the Herald’s Hillary Chabot for first bringing up the strip-search incident.

Boston Globe
Lenny Bruce’s daughter among those asking Brandeis why it canceled campus play

A free speech group originally co-founded by noted civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate has written to Brandeis University’s president asking why a campus play that takes jabs at campus protest movements was cancelled at the university, reports Fred Thys at WBUR. “Among the signatories (of the letter) is Kitty Bruce, daughter of the late comedian Lenny Bruce, whose archives are at Brandeis and whose work is the subject of the canceled play,” writes Thys.

Oh, well. Another day, another assault on free speech on a college campus. What’s the big deal?

Berklee president faces the music over faculty sexual misconduct

College presidents are usually at both their best and worst when they grovel before angry audiences and protesters. Berklee’s president is no different. From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “Berklee College of Music president Roger Brown on Monday told a packed campus-wide forum that the renowned school has terminated 11 faculty members in the past 13 years for sexual misconduct. The admission punctuated an extraordinary day at the music school, with hundreds of students, many holding signs, marching down crowded Boylston Street at lunchtime to a gathering to discuss sexual assault and harassment at Berklee.” It was more a case of confirming, not revealing, sexual bad conduct at the school, btw.

Boston Globe
State Police chief’s lucrative fall on the sword

He hasn’t filed the paperwork yet, but State Police chief Richard McKeon is in line for a $188,000-a-year pension after he steps down later this week, amid controversy over his alleged order to scrub a police report of embarrassing details involving a judge’s daughter, report the Herald’s Matt Stout and Laurel Sweet. 

Boston Herald
T deadlocked on alcohol ads

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board reached its first-ever impasse on Monday, deadlocking 2-2 on whether to resume accepting alcohol advertising on a limited basis at the transit authority. The T did away with alcohol advertising in 2012, but agency officials, struggling to raise additional revenue, sought to bring the ads back in a way that would minimize concerns about encouraging underage drinking.”

The Mashpee Wampanoags are $425M in debt?

Something’s out of whack here. From Tanner Stenning at the 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 Cod Times
Jaywalking cell-phone yackers face fines (if they’re ever charged)

Hayley Glatter at Boston Magazine reports on a bill now before lawmakers that would tack an extra fine on jaywalkers caught in the act while staring zombie-like (our description) at their cellphones. Of course, the interesting word here is “extra,” since most jaywalkers are rarely ticketed, let alone fined, for jaywalking in Massachusetts, so “extra” means … nothing.

Boston Magazine
Mass. may hire debt collectors to chase down toll scofflaws from other states

Cracking down on local jaywalkers is one thing. Going after out-of-state toll scofflaws is an entirely different matter that requires immediate action. Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has the details on how MassDOT may hire debt collectors to track down those modern-day tollway robbers.

Opioid deaths down for second quarter in a row in Massachusetts

It’s way too early to declare victory, but this is still good news. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Taunton Daily Gazette: “Opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts declined by 10 percent in the first nine months of 2017 when compared to the same time period last year, the Department of Public Health reported Monday. The new data marks the second consecutive quarter that estimated opioid deaths have dropped, though the presence of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl continued to rise.”

Taunton Gazette
Funds for Soldier’s Home, western Mass. broadband still bottled up

Amid all the talk about criminal-justice and health-care reform on Beacon Hill, lawmakers by tomorrow must still pass a $244 million borrowing bill for the Chelsea Soldier’s home and western Massachusetts broadband access, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). At the Berkshire Eagle, Larry Parnass reports on how the money is needed to bring broadband to rural towns.
Mass. had highest rate of hate crimes last year in U.S.

This is pretty astounding in this bluest of blue states. From Ally Jarmanning at 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.” Are college incidents driving up the numbers? Just wondering.

Worcester lands a team, but it’s not the PawSox

Worcester officials plan to announce tomorrow an agreement to bring a professional arena football team to the city, the Telegram & Gazette reports. The newly formed team, the Massachusetts Pirates, will join the National Arena League, which played its first season earlier this year. The paper notes that two prior arena football teams have called the downtown venue home over the past two-plus decades, often for short stays. 

Study: Registration a barrier to voters in parts of Worcester

A Worcester State University study finds that voter turnout in the city is even worse than thought and that racial disparities in voter registration levels argue for policies such as automatic registration, Bill Shaner reports in Worcester Magazine. “To put a fine point on it, people of color in a city that touts its diversity are not participating in the electoral franchise as much as their white counterparts in part because of the need to register to vote in advance of an election,” the study’s authors write. 

Worcester Magazine
Quincy pulls employees out of state-run insurance group

From a policy-wonk standpoint, this is interesting: Quincy’s 2,100 city employees will no longer be part of the state’s group health insurance program, known as the Group Insurance Commission, with the city opting instead to brave the private insurance market as of Dec. 1, Sean Phillip Cotter repots in the Patriot Ledger. The city determined it could get better rates from private insurers. The City Council was poised to vote on the move Monday night before the city’s attorneys determined their approval was not required. 

Patriot Ledger
MJ Event v3
Warren: ‘We’re ready’ …. Diehl: We are too

As national Republicans and GOP donors lock-and-load in preparation for the battle next year to unseat (or at least weaken) U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts and her supporters say they’re prepared for the onslaught, reports SHNS’s Stephanie Murray (pay wall). "We're ready," Warren said. Meanwhile, Republican Senate candidate Geoff Diehl is testing out one of many lines of attacks expected to be deployed against Warren – that she’s allegedly done nothing for Massachusetts. The Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson has the details.

Poll: Majority of residents favor high-speed rail between Boston and Springfield – without costs being mentioned

Seventy-four percent of Massachusetts residents favor high-speed passenger rail between Springfield and Boston, according to a new poll by the Western New England University Polling Institute, as reported by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Tim Vercellotti, director of the institute, says “opinions may change” when costs estimates are finalized and presented to the public. That’s a rather safe assumption, we’d say.

‘The hottest controversy in town’

What controversy? What town? Why, the controversy over where to build a new elementary school in Brookline, where big-name lawyers and public-relations specialists are being hired by various factions in the well-to-do community. “We’re talking about a school, it’s not a nuclear waste dump,” said Neil Wishinsky, chairman of the board of selectmen. The Globe’s Laura Krantz has much more.  

Boston Globe
Job Board
Today's Headlines

Berklee president promises changes after explosive report on abuse - Boston Globe

Teens who discovered Boston Garden owed millions for a JP rec center wonder what else the Garden forgot about - Universal Hub


Lynn’s Hong Net enters the crowded shadow primary for potential House election - Lynn Item

Why U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is encouraging more veterans to run for office - WGBH

Write-in candidate for Leominster mayor calls for recount - Telegram & Gazette

Audit cites lack of oversight at Salem State - Salem News

As crime concerns grow in Pittsfield, community weighs potential benefits of a youth center - Berkshire Eagle


Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks during campaign - Washington Post

Sessions faces grilling over Trump campaign contacts with Russia - Politico

Beacon Hill Town Square

To view more events or post an event listing on Beacon Hill Town Square, please visit

Nov. 14, 6 p.m.
Author Talk: "Jordan Marsh: New England’s Greatest Department Store"
Hosted by: Mount Auburn Cemetary
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Nov. 14, 7 p.m.
Donna Brazile - Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House
Hosted by: The Coop Event Series
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Nov. 15, 7:30 a.m.
Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization
Hosted by: State House News Forum
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Nov. 15, 8:30 a.m.
Lecture: Managing the Non-Profit Using the Operating Model Canvas
Hosted by: Cape Cod Community College
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Nov. 15, 10 a.m.
MassInc Gateway Cities Innovation Institute: Fifth Annual Awards
Hosted by: MassInc
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Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Boston Business Journal
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  • Wide ranging summary of the latest news on Massachusetts politics, public policy, and government
  • Rich array of sources, both conventional and niche
  • Beacon Hill's most comprehensive Calendar of upcoming political, policy and advocacy events
  • Check our Job Board identifying Beacon Hill's best new positions available in government, politics and public policy