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Today on Beacon Hill

10:00am Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, Public Hearing

11:30am Acupuncture Day on the Hill, Grand Staircase, State House

Must-Reads

Oprah for president? Get a grip, America » Boston Globe YES, SHE CAN! But, no, she shouldn't. …

New MassHousing chief has an atypical background » Boston Globe Chrystal Kornegay would be the very first person to say that she doesn't fit anyone's traditional image of a banker, not even her own. …

Lobbying firms combine to form Tremont Strategies » State House News Service Boston-based lobbying firms Beacon Strategies Group and ADS Ventures are combining to form Tremont Strategies Group. …

How a Coal Baron's Wish List Became President Trump's To-Do List » New York Times Robert E. Murray, the chief executive of Murray Energy, wrote a lengthy "action plan" last year for President Trump. There's not much left undone.…

3rd District candidate Koh raises another $800,000 » The Lowell Sun ANDOVER -- Building on early fundraising success, Dan Koh announced Tuesday that he raised $810,000 between October and December, bringing his campaign total to about $1.6 million less than five month…

NC congressional districts struck down as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders » The News and Observer A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina's election districts for U.S. Congress on Tuesday as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders and gave lawmakers until Jan. 29 to bring them new maps…

'Mitt-ism' vs. 'Trumpism': Romney's return to national stage flares GOP divide » The Washington Post Mitt Romney's comeback on the national stage, through the byway of his probable bid for the Senate in Utah, has prompted a sharp debate among Republicans over whether traditional political figures are…

Why Massachusetts Is the Healthiest State in the Country » Healthline Massachusetts was ranked the “healthiest state” in the 2017 report from the United Health Foundation (UHF). Massachusetts also got high scores in the federal National Healthcare Quality an…

"Given the interest we are already seeing in the primaries and the successful implementation of early voting in the 2016 State Election, I believe offering early voting for the State Primaries would provide a greater opportunity for voter participation,"

Secretary of State William Galvin

Commenting on his decision to schedule the statewide primaries for the day after Labor Day.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

Moulton To Trump: Focus On Allies, Not Tweets And 'Buttons' » WGBH News Following President Trump's Twitter war with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Rep. Seth Moulton called on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and others in the administration to develop stronger alliances wi…

Business

Lawmakers seek answers on auto insurance rates » The Eagle Tribune Consumer advocates have long argued that drivers living in minority neighborhoods pay higher auto insurance premiums than those with similar driving histories who live elsewhere.…

U.S. Says Massachusetts Cannot Sue Student Loan Servicer » US News and World Report

Civil Rights

Woman allegedly killed by husband in North Adams was well-known transgender advocate » Boston Globe The woman allegedly murdered by her husband in their North Adams home was a longtime transgender advocate who helped create a beauty pageant for transgender women, friends and activists say.…

Crimes

Massachusetts hedge fund manager pleads guilty to fraud » Reuters BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts hedge fund manager pleaded guilty on Tuesday after prosecutors accused him of misusing millions of dollars from investors to pay for lavish personal expenses like a …

Domestic Relations

Domestic violence and LGBTQ groups offer support, advocacy following killing of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien in North Adams » MassLive A group of domestic violence and LGBTQ advocacy organizations are calling for increased awareness and services for domestic violence victims following the killing of North Adams transgender activist C…

Education

Spilka hosts Tuesday forum on cutting-edge educational concept in Ashland » The Metro West Daily News Social and emotional learning, commonly abbreviated to SEL, will be the focus of a forum Tuesday night at Ashland's Warren Center, hosted by Spilka. The evening will feature speakers from the Rennie C…

Keenan inauguration will draw Baker, others to Salem » The Salem News

Environment

The Big Stink: Raw sewage and untreated wastewater pouring into Massachusetts rivers » Boston Herald Some 2.8 billion gallons of untreated wastewater — including raw sewage — is pouring into Bay State rivers and streams annually during heavy rainfall, state records show.…

Trump Drops Florida From Offshore Drilling Plan, and Other States Ask: What About Us? » Governing The Trump administration's sudden reversal on Tuesday sparked a backlash among the other state leaders who have voiced opposition to the plan to drastically expand oil and gas drilling off their coast…

The Big Stink: Sewage flows in Massachusetts rivers » Boston Herald Clean-up efforts in peril; cost to fix runs to millions …

Gaming

Fresh off legal win, Vineyard tribe could eye bigger prize » Boston Globe The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has new leverage in its plans to build a gambling hall on Martha's Vineyard and is signaling a readiness to lobby for a more lucrative prize — a casin…

Health Care

Massachusetts accuses mental health center of unlicensed patient care » Reuters Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday announced she has sued a mental health center owned by private equity firm HIG Capital, accusing them of billing the state's Medicaid program for…

Meet Eva, the voice-activated 'assistant' for doctors » Boston Globe It takes only a few seconds to click a button and open a window on a computer. But for a busy doctor sifting through patient records, those clicks can add up to extra hours spent at a computer each da…

AG: Mental health company's clinics, including Attleboro's, bilked the state » The Sun Chronicle South Bay Mental Health Center Inc. is being sued by the state for allegedly fraudulently billing the state for mental health services provided to patients by unlicensed, unqualified and unsupervised …

Weymouth Mental Health Clinic named in Healey lawsuit » Wicked Local Weymouth Weymouth Mental Health Clinic is among 17 mental health clinics operated by South Bay Mental Health Center that allegedly provided mental health care services to patients by unlicensed, unqualified an…

Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance Issues Final Regulations Implementing the EMAC Supplemental » National Law Review As we reported in a previous post, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in August 2017 signed into law H. 3822, “An Act Further Regulating Employer Contributions to Health Care” (the  

Bill would reduce barriers for foreign-trained medical professionals in Massachusetts » WWLP 22

Housing

Kornegay chosen for MassHousing chief » State House News Service A top Baker administration policymaker will take the reins of MassHousing, a quasi-public agency that has provided more than $22 billion for affordable housing since it was created more than 50 years …

Immigration

Trump offers compromise, then confusion, on Dreamers » Boston Globe President Trump and congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to pursue comprehensive changes to immigration policy if negotiators can also strike a deal to establish legal protections for some undocumente…

Judge blocks Trump decision to end young immigrant program » Boston Herald A federal judge on Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration's decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.…

Rep Madaro Blasts Trump Administration for Ending Temporary Status for Salvadorians » East Boston Times

Judiciary

Democratic Leaders: Criminal Justice Overhaul a Priority » capecod.com Legislative leaders are putting criminal justice reform at the top of their to-do list for the coming months.…

Mentally ill inmates sue Bristol sheriff over solitary confinement » Boston Globe Three inmates with serious mental illness filed a lawsuit against officials at the Bristol County Jail Tuesday, alleging they were placed in solitary confinement for at least 22 hours a day while rece…

Labor

Foreign-trained med professionals face barriers in Massachusetts » State House News Service An epidemiologist from northeast Africa, unable to practice medicine in America after eight years here, earns a living as a home health aide for developmentally disabled adults.…

Legislative

Sen. Tran names Gardner Councilor Boudreau as chief of staff » Worcester Telegram

Local Government

New Developments Light the Way in Chicopee » Business West Mayor Richard Kos is fond of pointing out that Chicopee is alone among Western Mass. communities in having two exits off the Mass Pike — and now it has a third 'beacon' of sorts, as he calls it…

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: High school is not new mayor's biggest challenge » The Sun Chronicle I disagree with The Sun Chronicle's assertion that Mayor Paul Heroux's biggest challenge is the proposed new high school.…

Forum On Safe Communities Act Draws Crowd » Cape News Close to 70 people—from Falmouth, Martha's Vineyard and beyond—filled the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room at Falmouth Public Library on Monday, January 8, to hear about the Safe Communit…

State may owe towns for early-voting period » Sentinel & Enterprise Bump determined in February that parts of the state's early voting law imposed an unfunded mandate on municipalities. In a letter she sent Monday to the governor, legislative leaders and state budget …

Bump: Early voting cost communities $1M » Newburyport News The state auditor told legislators Monday that Massachusetts cities and towns spent more than $1 million in unfunded mandate costs to set up early voting in the 2016 general election. …

Grafton designated Green Community, receives grant » Community Advocate Grafton – Grafton recently received a grant of $157,485 from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as part of the Green Communities program to complete renewable energy and energy efficienc…

Political Notes: Delegate takes fire for flag comment » Cape Cod Times Deborah McCutcheon, the Truro representative on the Barnstable Assembly of Delegates, is facing a backlash for comments made at last week's public hearing on the partnership between the Barnstable Cou…

Polito promotes Green Communities program in Holland » WWLP 22

Marijuana

State officials who opposed marijuana law now defending it » State House News Service Three constitutional officers who each opposed marijuana legalization are now defending the newly-legal pot industry and pushing back against U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, whose statements have sewn a…

Marijuana shops in Mass. go cash-only with fear of federal crackdown » Boston Globe A majority of the state's medical marijuana dispensaries were forced to stop accepting debit cards from patients Tuesday, after threats of a federal crackdown prompted a key payment processing company…

Governor Baker tells U.S. attorney no evidence pot contributes to opioid use » Boston Herald The Bay State's top federal prosecutor should focus on fentanyl — “the thing that's killing people” — Gov. Charlie Baker said, instead of threatening legalized marijuana.…

Editorial: US attorney disappoints on legal marijuana » Gazette Net The new U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, is clearly out of tune with the state's voters and top officials in pronouncing Monday that he will not “provide assurances that certain c…

Medical marijuana facility sees April start, Cambridge's third despite a new paranoia » Cambridge Day The Trump administration's encouragement of a revived marijuana drug war is not slowing the growth of local dispensaries, and Cambridge is due to get its third with the projected April opening of Revo…

Feds won't rule out pot prosecution » Wicked Local Allston-Brighton As the legal marijuana industry attempts to establish itself under Massachusetts state law, the top federal prosecutor in the state said he cannot and will not rule out prosecuting state-sanctioned ma…

State officials who opposed pot low now defending it » Lowell Sun Three constitutional officers who each opposed marijuana legalization are now defending the newly-legal pot industry and pushing back against U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, whose statements have sewn a…

Baker says US attorney should focus on opioids, not pot » Turn to 10

What you need to know about the Justice Department's clash with legal marijuana in Massachusetts » Boston.com

Fed threat spurs med marijuana dispensaries to go cash only » State House News Service

Opinion

Oprah for president? Get a grip, America » Boston Globe YES, SHE CAN! But, no, she shouldn't. More than an international icon, Oprah Winfrey is damn near a miracle. …

Carr: Hacks can't help selves on taxes » Boston Herald Sometimes, when something really bad happened at the State House, I would ask the late Bob Crane why anyone would do something that stupid, and he always had the same answer: “They can't help th…

Trump turns in a presidential performance » Boston Globe WONDERS NEVER CEASE. On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump played a completely unaccustomed role: that of president of the United States of America.…

Move over, Oprah; Trump has some favorite things too » Boston Globe Somewhere in Tennessee, the president speaks: “Thank you very much, Secretary Perdue, for that fine introduction. There could be no better person to be our Secretary of chickens, I mean Agricult…

If Sessions Wants To Roll Back States' Rights On Legal Pot, We'll See Him In Court » WBUR It's starting to feel like Groundhog Day when it comes to The Trump administration trying to punish Massachusetts.…

Lawmakers are right to resist update of wiretap law » Boston Globe In the article “Wiretap law update resisted” (Page A1, Jan. 2), Martha Coakley, former state attorney general, asserts that Beacon Hill lawmakers' “unwillingness” to expand wir…

Editorial: Tackling drugs, crime » Boston Herald A lot of folks inside and outside state government are trying to read the tea leaves?.?.?.?make that cannabis leaves .?.?. about the future of recreational marijuana, in the wake of comments by the ne…

EDITORIAL: Federal input on pot industry is wise » The Lowell Sun This state's recreational marijuana industry, already rejected or restricted by many communities, now faces a new but not totally unexpected obstacle -- the federal government.…

Atkins: President pushover folds DACA deal » Boston Herald President Trump's top campaign selling point was his claim to be a master dealmaker — the author of “The Art of the Deal” who would be a far superior negotiator than any of his pred…

Lift up, or lock up? » Cape Cod Times A major piece of legislation that would reform the Massachusetts criminal justice system is making its way through the Statehouse and may be voted on as early as this month. …

American public education is failing miserably in STEM (Guest viewpoint) » MassLive

Editorial: Put kibosh on tax talk » Boston Herald

Time for a revolution, MBTA riders » Boston Globe

Politics

Here's what Massachusetts voters think about Mitt Romney running for US Senate in Utah » MassLive Massachusetts voters are fine with Mitt Romney, their former governor, running to replace US Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who says he plans to retire.…

Massachusetts still likes Charlie Baker, poll says » Boston Globe Massachusetts still likes Governor Charlie Baker, according to a new WBUR poll.…

WBUR Poll: Baker's Popularity Continues To Soar, While Trump's Continues To Slump » WBUR Gov. Charlie Baker continues to enjoy the kind of approval ratings that most politicians can only dream of.…

Who? Poll shows voters don't know Baker's challengers » Herald News Poll results released Wednesday morning by WBUR show that a strong majority of voters remain unfamiliar with the three Democrats running to unseat Gov. Charlie Baker, whose job approval rating remains…

Randolph Dems to start talking about governor's race at meeting » Wicked Local Randolph The Randolph Democratic Town Committee will hold its January monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at Town Hall, 41 S. Main St.…

Single senate candidate taking nothing for granted » Wicked Local Saugus Current State Rep. Brendan Crighton running full out for Third Essex District. Brendan Crighton doesn't like to take anything for granted, which is why he is running a full on Senate campaign for the …

Special elections set for Attleboro state rep race » The Sun Chronicle ATTLEBORO — Special election dates have been chosen for a race to fill the state representative seat vacated by Mayor Paul Heroux.…

Old guard of Massachusetts politics bids farewell to a former state treasurer, Robert Q. Crane » Boston Globe The old guard of Massachusetts politics came out in full force to pay their respects to former state treasurer Robert Q. Crane, who died Friday at 91.…

Elizabeth Warren gives lukewarm response to Beth Lindstrom jab » Boston Herald Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren vowed to “change” the GOP tax cuts she claims hands “giveaways to billionaires and giant corporations,” but stopped short of calling for a …

Blowback over day-after-Labor Day primary » Berkshire Eagle BOSTON — Scheduling the statewide primary elections for the day after Labor Day is "a brazen example" of Secretary of State William Galvin "trying to depress voter turnout," the secretary's Dem…

Could This Man Be Your Next Governor? » Boston Globe

Maura Healey's pollster is working for a gubernatorial candidate (Hint: It's not her) » Boston Globe

Setti Warren appeals to JP voters » Bay State Banner

Brookline's Rebecca Stone seeking House seat » Wicked Local Brookline

Former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin endorses Setti Warren for governor of Massachusetts » MassLive

Setti Warren just got endorsed by another former New England governor » Boston.com

Public Health

Kraft-funded van will bring addiction services to city streets » Boston Globe Another prominent Boston-area business leader is stepping up to address the state's opioid crisis.…

Recovery coaches called key in opioid battle, but will rules hamper effort? » The Lowell Sun A year ago, a man who had been a frequent, if unenthusiastic, participant in Lowell House's addiction treatment programs tried a new tactic.…

Thirteen-state coconut recall sparked by DPH testing » State House News Service

State Finance

DiDomenico Announces Release of his FY18 Budget Earmarks » Everett Independent

State Government

Early voting proposal for Massachusetts primary supported by Senate president, but 1 city clerk calls it 'a total waste of our time' » MassLive Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin's proposal to have early voting before this year's state primary has gotten support from at least one of the legislative leaders who could make it happen.…

Blowback over setting day-after-Labor Day primary » State House News Service Scheduling the statewide primary elections for the day after Labor Day is "a brazen example" of Secretary of State William Galvin "trying to depress voter turnout," the secretary's Democratic challeng…

State primary election set for Sept. 4 after conflicts » The Seattle Times BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts' top elections official has chosen Sept. 4, the day after Labor Day, to hold the state's 2018 primary.…

State could pay back early-voting money » The Metro West Daily News

Taxation

Is the new federal tax law a good thing for Massachusetts? Full impact won't be known for years, according to Gov. Charlie Baker » MassLive The impact of the new federal tax law on Massachusetts won't be known for years, Gov. Charlie Baker said.…

Massachusetts GOP Blasts Beacon Hill Dems Over Tax Uncertainty » New Boston Post The Massachusetts Republican Party on Tuesday issued a politically-charged statement in response to remarks made by House Speaker Robert DeLeo regarding the potential for new taxes.…

While GOP touts tax law, Baker sees only "wild guesses" » State House News Service Members of his party are campaigning for public office touting the benefits of the GOP-led tax reform, but Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday it could be years before it's possible to know whether the Re…

Thousands Rushed to Prepay Their 2018 Property Taxes » Governing But there's uncertainty about whether the IRS will accept the workaround. …

Transportation

The MBTA's general manager had a weird morning on Twitter » Boston Globe Days after deleting a pair of controversial tweets, the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority briefly went underground on Twitter, preventing unapproved followers from read…

Amendment filed to fund pollution mitigation efforts on I-93 in Somerville » Wicked Local Somerville The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) has been researching air pollution mitigation efforts for I-93 in Somerville. And now, thanks to a state amendment filed by State Rep. Mike Conn…

Greenbush trains packed amid ferry suspension, Wollaston closure » The Patriot Ledger Andrea Honoré said the Greenbush commuter rail is usually crowded during her commute from Weymouth Landing to Boston and back each day.…

MBTA's GM 'updates' Twitter account after briefly blocking reporters » Boston Herald MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez briefly blocked local transportation reporters and advocates on his Twitter account this morning, before later resurfacing under a different name on the social media …

Healey urges caution as MBTA considers bus maintenance contract » Boston Globe

Report: Sales tax has not been MBTA lifeline, as envisioned » State House News Service

State cancels solar project at Lakeville MBTA station » South Coast Today

Utilities

MASSCAP requests additional $25 million in fuel assistance funds » Sampan The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) is urging Governor Charlie Baker and members of the Massachusetts legislature to include $25 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assista…

Social Media Spotlight

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Speaker Bob DeLeo

@SpeakerDeLeo

Gintautas Dumcius

@gintautasd


Yesterday's Late-Breaking News

GovTech 100 » Government Technology

Mass. business confidence index hits 17-year high » Worcester Telegram

Amazon's looking to grow in Boston's Seaport. Here's where it could go. » Boston Business Journal

Instead of marijuana crackdown, federal prosecutors should focus on fentanyl, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says » MassLive

State sues mental health care company over improper Medicaid payments » Boston Globe

Commuter Rail Service on Newburyport/Rockport Line Canceled » Boston Globe

Mass. Primary Is Set For Sept. 4, Galvin Says » WBUR

What did voters say about choosing the 2018 Massachusetts primary date? Read the emails they sent to Secretary William Galvin » MassLive

Governor Baker Signs Lynnfield Charter Bill » Andover Patch

5 things to know about the Mass. standoff with the feds over marijuana » Boston Globe

Trump Admin Rescinding TPS Will Affect Thousands of El Salvadorans in Massachusetts » Boston Globe

Kornegay in mix for top MassHousing job » State House News Service

**** Here’s a great way for you to get your message in front of a large and sophisticated audience of government relations professionals. It’s an especially nice way to communicate with them if you don’t have the time or capacity to create banner ads, or advocacy-oriented web pages. For more information, please contact us at massinsider@instatrac.com. ****
Recipe of the Week

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 pound sirloin tips, trimmed

3½ tablespoons soy sauce, divided

6 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 dried red chilies (such as arbol or Japones), stemmed

1½ tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted

5 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon white sugar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1½ cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

Directions

  1. Cut the meat into 2-inch pieces, then thinly slice each piece against the grain. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the black pepper. Stir to evenly coat. Set aside at room temperature.

  2. Meanwhile, break open about half of the chilies, then transfer all of them to a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Toast over medium, pressing the pods against the skillet, until fragrant and darkened in spots, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the cumin seeds. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the grapeseed oil to form a paste.

  3. Add 2 teaspoons of the remaining grapeseed oil to the empty skillet and heat over high until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots and partially softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the cumin seeds and chilies. Return the skillet to high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil, then arrange half of the beef in a single layer in the skillet and cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook until no pink remains, 60 to 90 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the onion. Repeat with the remaining grapeseed oil and beef.

  4. In the skillet over low heat, cook the garlic paste, mashing the mixture, for 1 minute. Add the beef, onion, chilies and cumin seeds. Stir in the remaining 2½ tablespoons of soy sauce, the vinegar and sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the sesame oil and cilantro.



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