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Today on Beacon Hill

9:00am Statewide Independent Living Education Day, Great Hall, State House, Boston

10:00am Impaired Driving Event, Grand Staircase, State House, Boston

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

12:00pm 2019 Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest Awards Ceremony, Nurses Hall, State House, Boston

5:30pm Reception for Sen. Eric Lesser

5:30pm Reception for Sen. Mike Rush with Sen. President Karen Spilka

6:00pm Rep. Jennifer Benson's First Annual Saint Patrick's Day Celebration

6:00pm Campaign Kickoff for Everett City Council Candidate Renee Solano

6:30pm Rep. Shaunna O'Connell's Birthday Celebration

7:00pm Rep. Shawn Dooley's St. Patrick's Day Party

Must-Reads

Lawmaker is cleared after accusation of grabbing colleague » Boston Globe State Representative Paul McMurtry was cleared Wednesday by an ad hoc committee of state lawmakers that investigated allegations that he grabbed the backside of an incoming legislator during a legisla…

BETO O’ROURKE: “I’M JUST BORN TO DO THIS” » Vanity Fair Riding around with Beto O’Rourke as he comes to grips with a presidential run. …

Joe Biden’s And Bernie Sanders’s Support Isn’t Just About Name Recognition » FiveThirtyEight As we documented in a three-part series back in 2011,1 the notion that early polling is meaningless or solely reflects name recognition — a popular view even among people we usually agree with — i…

How Lobbying Has Changed in Donald Trump’s Washington » Washingtonian Paying shills who go on Fox News, planting super-targeted ads in the President's Twitter feed, and all the other eyebrow-raising ways lobbyists are trying to reach their audience of one. …

House Dems to test Wilbur Ross’ ‘survivor’ status » Politico He’s been accused of flouting federal ethics rules, adding an illegal citizenship question to the 2020 Census and even falling asleep in meetings. Rumors of his pending ouster have been floating aro…

On Climate, Does Gov. Baker Deserve An 'A' — Or An 'Incomplete'? » WGBH Charlie Baker’s trip to Washington to talk climate change earlier this year was a story with an irresistible plot: Here was a Republican governor, urging members of his own party to grapple with a t…

Students interrupt WBUR gun violence event » Commonwealth Magazine Some of the students noted there wasn’t a single African-American panelist who experienced gun violence at the $10-a-ticket event. WBUR host Deborah Becker said March for Our Lives student activist …

Warren’s affordable housing bill is now backed by Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib » Boston Globe Representative Ayanna Pressley, one of the most prominent freshmen in Washington, is among the new backers of Warren’s American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which is also being introduced Wedn…

“I do not know, and may never know, why the false public statements were made about me, but I am grateful I had the opportunity to participate in a process that uncovered the truth,” said McMurtry, who also thanked “those who stood by me and supported me during this most difficult time while my character was called into question.”

State Representative Paul McMurtry

Speaking after being cleared of sexual assault charges during a democratic caucus last night.

News By Category
Business

Zipcar disruption reveals vagaries of tech connectivity » Boston Globe On Saturday, customers of car-sharing service Zipcar made a startling discovery. No matter what they did or how hard they tried, they couldn’t get the cars they had reserved to turn on.…

State senators make pitch to business group » The Haverhill Gazette State Sens. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, and Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, are looking at several ways of bringing more money to the Merrimack Valley through a number of legislative efforts.…

Hemp is a new opportunity for Massachusetts farmers -- but current state law is locking them out » MassLive Growing hemp is now legal in Massachusetts, and in the United States. But many Massachusetts farmers still cannot grow hemp due to a barrier posed by state law relating to the definition of agricultur…

Women underrepresented at Mass. business groups » Commonwealth Magazine Lewis pushing bills mandating women on state, corporate boards …

Civil Rights

147-8: Mass. House Overwhelmingly Votes To Ban Conversion Therapy For Minors » WBUR The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to ban the practice of conversion therapy for minors, renewing an effort that lawmakers failed to complete last summer.…

MA lawmakers differ over conversion therapy reporting » South Coast Today More than just wanting to support young people afraid they won’t be accepted for their sexual orientation, proponents of banning conversion therapy in Massachusetts argue that it’s also dangerous …

Crimes

Trojan Horse: How A Mass. Businessman Allegedly Faked His Son's Way Into USC » WBUR Before he allegedly paid a $220,000 bribe to secure his son's admission to the University of Southern California, John Wilson had a question: "Would the other kids know [my son] was a bench warmer sid…

Education

Cummington squeezed on $71.8M school vote » Gazette Net As Cummington continues preparations to leave the Central Berkshire Regional School District, officials are imploring the district to reconsider an upcoming vote on a $71.8 million school building pro…

McCandless Asks 5.7 Percent Increase for Pittsfield Schools » iBerkshires Superintendent Jason McCandless is asking for a $3.4 million increase to the school's budget for fiscal 2020. The large 5.7 percent increase comes as Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a budget that give…

State's recovery high schools turn to Legislature for funding help » Worcester Telegram Nearly four years after opening, Worcester’s Recovery High School, a special educational program for teenagers on the rebound from addiction, has helped dozens of students get their education – an…

In college admissions, the American Dream has gone bad » Boston Globe The veil has been lifted. So now what? Will we finally fix the way we do college admissions in this country? Or will we still cling to the useful — and destructive — American fiction that every ki…

Here’s how Boston investigators uncovered what’s being called the biggest college bribery scam in history » Boston Globe It started, improbably, with a securities fraud investigation out of Boston, a so-called pump-and-dump stock scam that extended overseas.…

Mass. resident accused of paying to fake son’s sports credentials in admissions scandal » Boston Globe John B. Wilson’s son wasn’t a standout water polo player, certainly not someone who would have attracted the attention of the University of Southern California, whose team had won a record-setting…

Transcripts open a window into audacious admissions scam » Boston Globe The lengthy FBI affidavit that lays out the details of the massive college admissions cheating scam is peppered with excerpts from recordings of conversations between William “Rick” Singer, the al…

AG Healey drops case against Mount Ida College officials » Boston Business Journal Officials who oversaw the precipitous decline and controversial closure of Mount Ida College are claiming victory after Attorney General Maura Healey declined to pursue litigation against them.…

Dozens of people are vying to be next Boston school superintendent » Boston Globe The search for a new leader of the Boston Public Schools has attracted more than three dozen candidates, including 12 superintendents, according to information released Wednesday.…

Sen. Marc Pacheco joins Read Across America with Raynham Middle School students » Taunton Gazette Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton) visited Raynham Middle School to celebrate Read Across America with the school’s sixth grade class. Read Across America is a national initiative held annually on …

We the People: Representatives advocate for increased education funding » The Harvard Press State Sen. Jamie Eldridge and State Rep. Jennifer Benson are supporting increased education funding, proposing legislation, cosponsoring the highly visible PROMISE and CHERISH acts, and meeting with l…

Welch believes compromise is possible for revised school budget » The Reminder State Sen. James Welch said he is looking forward to his new assignment in the state senate: Senate Chair of the Committee of Financial Services.…

Environment

Judge Declines ExxonMobil's Motion To Dismiss Case Set To Put Climate Change And Corporate Responsibility On Trial » WBUR A judge in Boston federal court will allow a first-of-its-kind climate change lawsuit against a major corporation to move forward.…

Adapting to climate change in Kingston » Wicked Local Kingston The impact of climate change on residents and businesses, natural resources and infrastructure and steps Kingston can take to reduce those impacts was the focus for about 35 stakeholders attempting to…

Federal

Trump makes a correct, if belated, call on the 737 » Boston Globe Better late than never and better safe than sorry, as the old sayings go. So credit where it’s due: President Donald Trump made the right decision Wednesday afternoon, when he finally grounded the t…

Gaming

DraftKings angling for piece of pro sports betting » The Herald News With legislation to legalize and regulate sports betting on the horizon in Massachusetts, representatives from a Boston-based mobile sports wagering service visited the State House on Thursday to remi…

MGC releases Wynn agreement, meeting minutes » State House News Service As part of a compromise to have a lawsuit against it dismissed, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission agreed to exclude certain information its investigators gleaned about allegations involving former c…

Health Care

Opioid litigation has Big Pharma scrambling to maintain reputation » Becker's Hospital Review Several drugmakers and pharmacy chains are hard at work responding to the hundreds of lawsuits accusing them of fueling the deadly opioid epidemic in the U.S. While billions of dollars are at stake fo…

Patient acuity adding to pressure on nursing homes, HPC director says » State House News Service Nursing homes in Massachusetts are caring for residents with more complex medical needs while patients who used to be admitted to facilities are instead being cared for in their own homes, according t…

Purdue Pharma weighs bankruptcy, announces development of fentanyl antidote » Boston Globe Purdue Pharma’s chief executive said the company is considering bankruptcy as it faces a cascade of lawsuits alleging that the drugmaker played a key role in driving the nation’s opioid crisis, in…

AG: Longmeadow nursing home among 7 found in state to have deadly negligence, abuse » News 22 WWLP.com After a multi-year investigation, Attorney General Maura Healey found 7 nursing homes in Massachusetts that were responsible for patient negligence or death. …

Injuries, deaths cited in nursing homes settlement; no Berkshire sites fined » Berkshire Eagle As a result of a multiyear investigation into their systemic failures in care, some of which resulted in injuries or death, seven nursing homes in five counties will have to pay more than $500,000 in …

After deaths and injuries, nursing homes agree to penalties, closures in state settlement » Boston Business Journal Attorney General Maura Healey has settled lawsuits with seven Massachusetts nursing homes, and will require one operator to leave the state for nearly a decade.…

Patient Deaths Cited In Mass. Settlement With 7 Nursing Homes » WBUR It was the summer of 2015, and Betty Crane was looking forward to her 70th wedding anniversary in December.…

Seniors blast state for ‘failing elders’ » The Herald News Gathering in the State House Monday, dozens of senior advocates chanted to state legislators: “Massachusetts can do better.”…

State shouldn’t define pharmaceutical ‘value’ » Commonwealth Magazine THERE’S A REASON that Americans get access to new cancer medicines two years earlier, on average, than patients in Europe: prices in the United States respond to medical needs and market demands, no…

Housing

Older Americans hurting for housing, support » The Haverhill Gazette As more Americans live longer, it is becoming increasingly evident that the country is ill-prepared to help them lead healthy, independent lives.…

It’s time to act on housing » Commonwealth Magazine THE 347 FAMILIES living in the Fairlawn apartments in Mattapan have good reason to be scared. Last year, when the owner put the property on the market, city officials worked with a well-respected non-…

Human Services

Massachusetts House - again - votes to lift welfare family cap » The Republican The Massachusetts House voted Wednesday to lift the so-called family cap, which denies additional welfare benefits for children born while a family is already receiving welfare.…

Immigration

Rep. Domb seeks to lift restrictions for sanctuary churches » Gazette Net A nine-month extension of a variance will allow the First Congregational Church to continue providing temporary shelter for an undocumented immigrant and father of four from Guatemala.…

Healey joins Trump emergency declaration challenge » Commonwealth Magazine Says president may divert federal funds slated for Mass. …

Judiciary

Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction to be reinstated, court rules » Boston Globe Aaron J. Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction must follow him to his grave, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday as it jettisoned a murky 44-year-old legal principle that would have era…

Labor

Stop & Shop union plans rally in Western Mass. over lack of contract » Boston Business Journal The United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 rally will be on Wednesday, March 20 at the Chicopee Stop & Shop.…

America’s backward approach to paid family leave » Boston Globe America is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide paid family leave for its citizens.…

Legislative

State Rep. Paul McMurtry cleared of sexual harassment allegations by committee » WCVB A special committee formed by the Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo unanimously voted to take no action against Rep. Paul McMurtry, who was accused of sexual harassment.…

House probe of allegations of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Paul McMurtry nearing conclusion » The Metro West Daily News The House investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Paul McMurtry toward an incoming woman legislator at a House retreat appears to be nearing its conclusion, with a summary of …

McMurtry cleared in backside touch charge » Commonwealth Magazine If the touch occurred, it was unintentional, panel says …

Second roll call enables Athol, Southwick reps to reverse votes » State House News Service The House on Wednesday gave Rep. Susannah Whipps of Athol a rare second chance to record a vote in favor of a ban on conversion therapy after the independent legislator said that her initial vote agai…

Local Government

Ashland manager proposes $64M budget » The Metro West Daily News With May Town Meeting just 48 days away, Town Manager Michael Herbert has posted a draft of a proposed $64 million fiscal 2020 general budget on the town's website.…

The top 100 earners on Worcester's payroll include 81 police officers, 3 firefighters and only 10 women » The Republican Only 10 percent of Worcester's top 100 earners, according to 2018 payroll records, are women.…

Selectmen set town manager pay at $190,000 » The Eagle Tribune The next town manager will likely be paid at least $190,000 per year. The selectmen voted 4-1 Monday evening to set that number as the base salary for the post. Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile was…

North Andover deputy manager leaving for Wellesley » The Eagle Tribune Former Town Manager Andrew Maylor is not the only official who has left North Andover for a job with greater pay and responsibilities.…

Marijuana

Patients, consumers sound off on pot preferences » Lowell Sun Medical marijuana patients and recreational consumers gave state regulators plenty to consider as the Cannabis Control Commission sets out this spring to revise and republish the regulations governing…

Baker pushes bill to combat drivers impaired by marijuana » Boston Globe Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday urged lawmakers to pass his bill aimed at cracking down on stoned drivers as more recreational marijuana stores open around the state.…

Politics

Women politicians discuss goals, challenges at Mansfield panel » Wicked Local Mansfield Three women politicians shared what inspired them to run for office, the challenges of campaigning and the work they hope to accomplish at a panel discussion in Mansfield this week.…

Public Health

Opioids, vaping carry high risks; officials say few overdoses here » Harvard Press Opioids are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, speaker Mike Hugo said in a public presentation at the Bromfield School last week. His March 5 talk dealt with both opioids an…

State Government

Massachusetts joins multi-state lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration » The Republican Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday that Massachusetts has signed on to a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s declaration of a federal emergency at the United Stat…

AG Healey complicit in violating US laws » Cape Cod Times This is a complaint against Attorney General Maura Healey and others complicit for usurping the power of the Legislature to the detriment and denial of the rights of the public, and for the violation …

Cyberattack shuts down Committee for Public Counsel Services network, leaving bar advocates unpaid » The Republican The Massachusetts public defender agency has been unable to access its IT network for weeks, following a cyber attack that forced the shutdown of its email service.…

Media must inform public, not push an agenda » Cape Cod Times There is sunshine. And then there is glare. We’ve all had it happen around 4 p.m. driving west. The sun hits just the right angle, and the illumination turns to a glare we cannot see through.…

Taxation

Who’ll benefit from Mass.’ new hotel taxes? » Boston Globe The people who market the various corners of Massachusetts are watching the millions in new hotel taxes roll in, and they want a piece of the action.…

Gas Tax Hike Being Floated As State Looks To Boost Transportation » Brookline Patch As state lawmakers place a premium on improving the state's transportation infrastructure, some leaders are looking at bringing back the idea of increasing the state's gas tax.…

Transportation

EDITORIAL: Increased fares can't be only solution to 'T' funding » Lowell Sun Despite an earful from the public and politicians about already high fares and inconsistent service, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday vote…

Former Senate president prods DOT to expand rail study » Berkshire Eagle Enough open houses. Hold public hearings. That was former Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg's pointed message Tuesday, as the state Department of Transportation used a Springfield event…

North Andover reps blast MBTA fare hikes » Wicked Local North Andover A more than 6 percent fare hike approved this week by the MBTA has lawmakers crying foul. …

Boncore sees Baker as 'biggest challenge' on transit money » Sentinel & Enterprise Sen. Joseph Boncore, who chairs the Joint Committee on Transportation, was happy to see House Speaker Robert DeLeo indicate Tuesday that a wide range of options to increase revenue for transit improve…

Dialing up the road safety debate » Commonwealth Magazine ROOTED IN ONE of the most abominable facets of the nation’s past, racial profiling remains a risk today for drivers of color. At the same time, the havoc caused by motorists distracted by smartphone…

Mass. legislation targets driving while high » Worcester Telegram Public safety advocates, regulators and marijuana industry representatives on Thursday endorsed Gov. Charlie Baker's administration's proposal to reduce death and injuries from impaired driving and to…

Walsh: Let’s look at bus-traffic issues on Blue Hill Ave. » Dorchester Reporter

Utilities

Seabrook nuke plant gets 20-year license extension » The Salem News NextEra Energy, the group that operates Seabrook Station, officially had its operating license renewed until 2050 after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted its approval Tuesday.…

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