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02/07/2018

One down | Too far, too fast | Skeptical justices

 
Carmen's Union
 
 
Happening Today
 
Senate Dems caucus, commission reviews Wynn, Gore at Tufts
 

-- State marijuana regulators from the Cannabis Control Commission hold public hearings today in Worcester, 9 a.m., and Danvers, 2 p.m., to give residents a chance to weigh in on draft regulations the CCC has proposed.

-- Sen. Joseph Boncore and Rep. Kevin Honan host Massachusetts Rental Voucher ‘Cookie Day,’ as part of a campaign to restore funding to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.

-- Auditor Suzanne Bump holds a closed-press meeting with Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, to discuss its priorities for this year, Auditor's Office, Room 230, 10 a.m.

-- Senate Democrats caucus today in Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler’s office, amid speculation about who will fill the permanent Senate presidency post, 11 a.m.

-- Boston Mayor Martin Walsh offers remarks at the topping off ceremony of Northeastern University's Burke Street residence hall, 10 Burke St., Boston, 11 a.m.

-- Animal advocates join Rep. Lori Ehrlich and Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives to lobby for the House to pass a bill that would prohibit the use of elephants in traveling acts, with Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, speaking, 140 Bowdoin St., Boston, 11 a.m.

-- Governor's Council holds its weekly meeting with a vote possible on the nomination of attorney Susan Sullivan as a Superior Court judge, Council Chamber, 12 p.m.

-- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets with an agenda that includes a Wynn Boston Harbor regulatory review update, an MGM Springfield opening update, 2018 community mitigation fund applications, horse racing administrative payments, 101 Federal Street, 12th floor, Boston, 2 p.m.

-- Former Vice President Al Gore speaks at a Tufts University event focused on climate change, politics and public service, Cohen Auditorium, Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, 6:15 p.m.

 
 
 
 
Today's Stories
 
Steve Wynn resigns: One down, one to go?
 

Embattled casino mogul Steve Wynn, facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, resigned last evening as head of Wynn Resorts, reports the New York Times and the Boston Globe’s Mark Arsenault. Now the question is: Will that be enough for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission? Or will the commission eventually move to strip Wynn Resorts of its Everett casino license? In a statement, the commission, which meets later today, called Steve Wynn’s resignation a “significant development” but that the commission will “maintain its focus on the ongoing investigation,” as Arsenault reports.

 
 
Baker: Pot commission going too far, too fast on regulations
 

From Josh Miller and Dan Adams at the Globe: “The Baker administration chastised Massachusetts pot regulators this week, saying their draft plan to create one of the world’s most permissive regulated marijuana markets goes too far, too fast. In a letter to the Cannabis Control Commission dated Monday, the governor’s office warned the independent agency that it had reached beyond the core mandate of the state’s marijuana legalization law by proposing the licensure of businesses not seen in other states’ recreational markets: sit-and-get-high cafés, pot delivery services not tied to dispensaries, and even movie theaters that want to offer patrons cannabis-laced snacks.”

In the past, we’ve wondered the same thing: Is the commission giving the pot industry far more freedom than another legal-but-controlled substance in Massachusetts, i.e. booze? Not that alcohol is properly regulated in Massachusetts. It’s not. It’s ridiculously over-regulated. But the pendulum for the pot industry seems to be swinging mighty far in the opposite direction.

Boston Globe
 
 
Will senators decide today on a Rosenberg replacement?
 

Senate Democrats privately huddle today at the State House -- and Chris Cassidy and Matt Stout at the Herald report they may well decide it’s time to appoint a permanent replacement for former Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “I hope we resolve this matter much sooner rather than later,” state Sen. John Keenan is quoted as saying, apparently echoing the sentiments of other Democrats.

Potential candidates for the job include Sens. Karen Spilka, Sal DiDomenico, Eileen Donoghue – and, as a late entry, Eric Lesser (see post below). Speculation about a possible Senate move today comes as yet more state leaders say/hint/suggest that it may be time for Rosenberg to go. They include Attorney General Maura Healey (MassLive), House Speaker Robert DeLeo (SHNS – pay wall) and Auditor Suzanne Bump (SHNS – pay wall). The Globe’s Adrian Walker and the Herald editorial board make clear: Time for Stan to go. 

 
 
Sen. Lesser emerges as last-minute Senate president candidate
 

He’s certainly an ambitious young senator. From the Globe’s Frank Phillips: “State Senator Eric P. Lesser, 32, of Longmeadow, is pulling together a politically and geographically diverse faction of other relatively new faces to the Senate, according to one of his Democratic colleagues who is part of the coalition. ‘I would feel very confident backing Eric as Senate president,’’ said Senator Anne M. Gobi of Spencer. ‘He would be great as well as a fresh face for the Senate.’”

Matt Szafranski at Western Mass. Politics and Insight has some thoughts on why Lesser might feel compelled to go for it. Hint: Richard Neal ain’t going nowhere.

 
 
McCormack
 
 
New England Patriots show Senate how an orderly succession should be handled
 

So Josh McDaniels is staying with the Patriots after all? The Globe’s Ben Volin has details on the surprise move by the Pats’ offensive coordinator to stay with the team, signaling that the franchise may have a succession plan in place for the day Bill Belichick calls it quits. As a MassterList reader put it to us: “Gotta say the Pats have changed the conversation after their own catastrophic loss this week. On to The Draft Combine!”

 
 
Alleged post-Super Bowl rioters have their day in court
 

UMass Amherst students arrested in the post-Super Bowl mayhem on campus appeared in a Belchertown court room Tuesday, with one student facing a felony charge after allegedly throwing a chunk of ice at a campus cop, Sarah Robertson of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. The other six—one of whom was arraigned Monday—face disorderly conduct and related charges. The students may also face disciplinary reviews under the student code of conduct. Ah, the agony of defeat!

Gazette
 
 
Super Bowl hangover one day, tsunami alert the next … poor New England
 

The National Weather Service wants New Englanders to know: The tsunami warning issued yesterday morning was inaccurate. There was never any tsunami headed toward New England. A test tsunami warning meant only for government agencies somehow reached the general public via an AccuWeather alert. Fox 25 has more on the bogus tsunami alert with eerie echoes of last month’s bogus missile alert in Hawaii.

Fox25
 
 
Galvin: Trump administration trying to ‘sabotage’ 2020 Census
 

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said Tuesday that he believes President Donald Trump is "sabotaging" the 2020 census in Massachusetts. ‘It is obvious to me...the Trump administration intends to politicize this census,’ Galvin said. ‘They are clearly setting us up for a shortfall in states such as Massachusetts...It's nothing less than sabotage.’” 

MassLive
 
 
 
 
SJC justices appear skeptical about millionaire’s tax
 

Three examples make a trend (or pattern), as they say in journalism, so it’s pretty safe to say that more than a few Supreme Judicial Court justices yesterday were skeptical about the constitutionality of the proposed millionaire’s-tax ballot initiative, based on the reporting of Greg Ryan at the BBJ, Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine and Andy Metzger at SHNS (pay wall). Of course, there’s seven SJC justices, so it’s not clear if a majority is skeptical toward the proposed referendum. Still …

Btw: Remember that this is now a Baker-era dominated SJC, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that, philosophically, proponents of the tax got a grilling yesterday. Btw II: Rachelle Cohen, editor of the Herald’s editorial pages, makes clear where she stands: “This isn’t at the end of the day one for the voters to decide; it’s one for the court to do what Attorney General Maura Healey failed to do — prevent this from reaching the ballot in the first place.” 

 
 
Healey urges Baker not to let utilities dictate fate of Northern Pass
 

All we’ll say is that it’s a very weird law that allows utilities to tell the state from whom and where it must buy billions of dollars of clean energy. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday urged Baker administration officials to actively participate in deliberations over what to do about the stalled Northern Pass hydro-electricity project, and not leave the decision exclusively to the state’s utilities. Healey apparently decided to write to Judith Judson, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resource, because of confusing signals coming out of the Baker administration.”

CommonWealth
 
 
Lawmakers sound caution on surging state revenues
 

Senate Ways and Means chairwoman Karen Spilka and House Ways and Means chairman Jeffrey Sanchez are not exactly jumping for joy at surging state tax revenues that are now more than $800 million above current fiscal-year budget projections, agreeing with the Baker administration that it’s too early to tell whether the flood of cash represents a genuine surplus or if it’s merely a mid-year budget mirage. SHNS’s Colin Young has the details at the Telegram.

Telegram
 
 
A curriculum vitae item for next Harvard president: Impeccable anti-Trump credentials?
 

More proof that academic types sometimes have an overly high regard for themselves: The Globe’s Laura Krantz reports that many academic types outside of Harvard hope the next president of the nation’s leading university will be someone who can stand up to Donald Trump in defense of academic freedom and all that’s good in this world. Considering that 99.9 percent of potential presidential candidates will probably possess strong anti-Trump sentiments anyway, such a requirement seems almost redundant.

Boston Globe
 
 
SHNF Save the Date
 
 
South Coast Rail service by 2022: This time for sure?
 

They’ll believe it when they see it. Residents of New Bedford and Fall River are cautiously greeting news that commuter rail service to the South Coast could begin as early as 2022 under a phase-in plan, using the existing Middleboro route, that was contained in a recent environmental filing. As Steve Urbon of the Standard-Times reports, enthusiasm over the news was tempered for many who have heard similar promises before: Then-Gov. William Weld once infamously told officials they could sue him if the service wasn’t up and running by … 1997. 

South Coast Today
 
 
Third District candidates struggle to differentiate themselves at crowded Hudson forum
 

Good luck sorting this out, Third District voters (not to mention reporters). The 13 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas participated in the first public forum of the campaign. As Chris Liskinski reports at the Sentinel & Enterprise, there were far more differences in style than there were policy disagreements. The forum had some intrigue, though: A 13th candidate—Leonard Golder of Stow—joined the fray while organizers said a yet-unnamed 14th Democrat had come forward wanting to take part after the deadline had passed. 

Sentinel & Enterprise
 
 
Anyone who wants to be a somebody in Boston needs to be on this show
 

Have you been on Jim Braude and Margery Eagan’s Boston Public Radio show on ‘GBH? If not, you’re a nobody. But if you want to be a somebody, you need to get on the show, writes Simon Van Zuylen-Wood at Boston Magazine. It’s a good piece about a great show that grows more influential by the day, it seems.

Boston Magazine
 
 
JetBlue subcontract workers set to strike today
 

From the Globe’s Katie Johnston: “A group of 500 baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, and skycaps at Logan Airport plans to go on strike late Wednesday afternoon in what is expected to be one of the largest labor actions at the airport in recent years. The workers for ReadyJet and Flight Services & Systems primarily serve JetBlue Airways and are protesting what they say are threats and intimidation from management as they attempt to organize a union.”

Boston Globe
 
 
MassFiscal
 
 
Rushing could face his own challenger
 

Another day, another challenger to a Dem incumbent. From Mike Deehan at WGBH: “House Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing could face a primary challenge this fall. Jon Santiago, a Boston Medical Center emergency medicine resident and Ward 4 committee member, filed to run for the Ninth Suffolk seat Monday. Rushing, a veteran South End Democrat, has represented the Ninth Suffolk District, which includes most of the South End and stretches from the Fenway and Back Bay into Roxbury, for over 35 years."

WGBH
 
 
Goldberg: The ‘woefully underfunded’ ABCC came close to layoffs last year
 

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told legislative budget writers yesterday that the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission narrowly escaped major layoffs this summer due to chronic underfunding of the alcohol regulatory agency, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Goldberg pleaded for more funds for the agency, which a task force recently concluded is “woefully underfunded and understaffed.”

MassLive
 
 
Massachusetts firms licking their wounds after wild Wall Street rides
 

Before yesterday’s partial rebound of U.S. stocks, how bad was it on Wall Street for Massachusetts companies over the prior week? The BBJ’s Don Seiffert has compiled a slide-show list of the top 20 hardest hit Bay State firms rocked by Wall Street gyrations of late. 

BBJ
 
 
Former mayoral candidate Connolly to head Lawrence school oversight board
 

From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine: "John Connolly, who made education the centerpiece of his unsuccessful 2013 campaign for mayor in Boston, has been tapped to chair the new state-appointed board that will oversee the Lawrence public schools. The state’s acting education commissioner, Jeff Wulfson, named Connolly to helm the board, which will assume the role of state receiver currently held by Jeff Riley. Riley is slated to become the state’s next education commissioner post after winning the recommendation last week of the state education board.”

CommonWealth
 
 
MASSPA Free Trial Month
 
 
Bentley University taps former Michigan dean to replace Gloria Larson
 

Bentley University has named the former dean of the University of Michigan’s business school to replace outgoing president Gloria Larson, the school’s first female president and former Weld-Cellucci cabinet secretary, reports Max Stendahl at the BBJ. Alison Davis-Blake assumes her new post in July.

BBJ
 
 
Is Seaport better prepared for climate change than we thought?
 

Bob Seay at WGBH takes a look at how some of the newer buildings in the Seaport district fared better than what might have been expected following the recent “bomb cyclone.” But the Conservation Law Foundation said the city could be doing much more in mandating climate resiliency.

WGBH
 
 
Never-ending Muslim cemetery dustup costs town counsel his job
 

The fallout continues from last year’s back-and-forth over whether to allow an Islamic cemetery in Dudley. Selectmen on Tuesday voted to cut ties with Town Counsel Gary Brackett, with some board members saying Brackett misled them about procedural steps taken after the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester filed a civil rights suit against the town. 

Telegram
 
 
Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 

How ready is Boston for future floods? - WGBH

Should Boston stop using cash? - Boston Magazine

 
Massachusetts
 

Randolph town councilor arrested on drug charge - Patriot Ledger

In Williamstown selectman, Berkshire County gets its voice on state transportation panel - Berkshire Eagle

Zoo director in Attleboro charged with illegally obtaining animal medications - Sun Chronicle

Swampscott principal: I’m transgender - Lynn Item

 
Nation
 

Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade - Washington Post

FEMA contract for 30 million meals gave only 50,000 - New York Times

 
Beacon Hill Town Square

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

 
Feb. 8, 12 p.m.
Author Talk and Book Signing with Rosalyn D. Elder
Hosted by: State Library of Massachusetts
 
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Feb. 15, 9 a.m.
Harvard National Model United Nations Conference in Boston
Hosted by: Harvard University
 
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Mar. 2, 7:30 a.m.
Mass. Marijuana Summit II: New regs, federal threat, financial hurdles
Hosted by: State House News Forum
 
A dynamic and controversial industry is only months from launching in Massachusetts. The regulations are complex and the barriers to entry formidable. How can we make sense of the arrival of recreational marijuana, an industry that may soon exceed $1 billion annually? More Information
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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