Sign up to receive the day's curated top stories, legislative schedule, press releases, and other daily features every morning in your inbox!

Today's MassInsider has not been sent yet. You are currently viewing the most recent issue.
MassInsider
Jump To...
Quote of the Day Social Media Podcast Press Releases
Today on Beacon Hill

9:30am Executive Office of Health & Human Services Public Hearing, Via Webex

10:00am Department of Criminal Justice Information Services Public Hearing, Via Webex

1:00pm "Ask the AG" with Attorney General Maura Healey on GBH's Boston Public Radio, 89.7 FM or gbh.org/news

7:30pm Basic Black on Vaccine Equity, GBH 2

Must-Reads

What Went Wrong With The 'Tiny Nonprofit' Behind The State's Beleaguered Vaccine Site » WBUR By its own account, the company is a “tiny little nonprofit.” For two decades, it built and managed simple software programs designed to streamline flu vaccine consent forms and registrations in M…

Rand Paul’s questions of transgender nominee were ‘obscene,’ says advocate » Roll Call Watch the video for more on Thursday’s events, including comments from Gillian Branstetter, spokeswoman for the National Women’s Law Center. She described the line of questioning as “dishonorabl…

Lawmakers grill governor on website problems » Commonwealth Magazine “It hasn’t been lumpy and bumpy,” said Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow. “It’s been a failure.”…

Mass Audubon Confronts Legacy Of Its Namesake As Nation Reckons With Race » WBUR "He was a slaveholder," says O'Neill. "That's clear. He was also a racist."…

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse chosen as new town manager in Provincetown, pending contract talks » Wicked Local Morse received national attention last summer, during a run for Congress, when he was accused of inappropriate sexual and romantic contact with students when he was a guest lecturer at the University …

NY: New York lawmakers grill Cuomo's health commissioner over nursing homes » Politico New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's health commissioner came under a five-hour virtual grilling on Thursday as lawmakers, including some of Cuomo's fellow Democrats, sought more details about the governor's …

NY: Leading Democratic women silent on Gov. Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal » New York Post Gillibrand’s reluctance to weigh in on the escalating scandal came despite having advocated a “zero-tolerance” policy that helped force Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota to resign his Senate seat…

NJ: Newly discovered N.Y. coronavirus variant likely already in N.J., experts say » NJ.com The variant — B.1.526 — is similar to the strain that emerged in South Africa. Experts fear this variant — like the South African strain — could be more transmissible and render COVID-19 vacci…

FL: UK variant of COVID is overtaking Florida. Can vaccines stymie it or is surge coming? » The Associated Press (AP) The more-infectious “U.K. variant” continues to out-compete other strains of the COVID virus in Florida, causing about 15% to 20% of infections, according to estimates from one major private diagn…

Stephen Miller tangles with Florida GOP freshman at House immigration meeting » Politico Freshman GOP Rep. María Elvira Salazar got into a lively exchange over immigration with former Trump aide Stephen Miller during a meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday, according to multiple GO…

STATE OF THE UNION: KELLYANNE CONWAY AND GEORGE CONWAY » Vanity Fair The Washington power couple has spent the past several years very publicly divided. Now that America is starting to get over Trump, how will they move on?…

"The twists and turns, the change in plans, the communication that changes depending on who you are talking to and from day to day, the utter uncertainty of how this vaccine rollout was going to roll out and is rolling out -- I can say as someone who has been involved in this process, and deeply involved since last March, that even I, with all my knowledge, am completely at a loss as to what is going on at times and what is going to come next."

Senator Cindy Friedman

On the state's troubled vaccine rollout during the Legislature's first COVID-19 oversight hearing Thursday morning.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

‘I do look at them in a different light:’ Tensions are high in Congress as Democrats want consequences for election-denying Republicans » Boston Globe A post office in a small Mississippi city this week became the latest battleground between Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election and Democrats still furious over that effort.…

Economic hardship and anxiety have accelerated the Republican Party’s radicalization, experts say » Boston Globe When the pandemic devastated Melissa Rein Lively’s business, she went online to make sense of what was happening. Her doom-scrolling led to the baseless conspiracy theories of QAnon.…

Opinion: Debra Haaland as interior secretary — a champion for the land » Boston Globe Of all the groundbreaking appointments President Biden has made to his administration, perhaps the boldest is his choice for secretary of the interior. Representative Debra Haaland of New Mexico, whos…

Business

Gov. Charlie Baker to announce Massachusetts restaurants can open at full capacity, bars, night clubs to remain closed » The Republican Gov. Charlie Baker will allow businesses in Massachusetts, including, restaurants, large capacity venues and indoor performance centers to open or increase capacity, according to a source with knowled…

Gillette Stadium officials release statement on reopening » Boston Herald Shortly after Governor Charlie Baker announced large capacity venues in Massachusetts will be allowed to host fans in 2021, Gillette Stadium officials released a statement Thursday on his decision.…

Parents, rejoice: Mass. summer camps can open this year » Boston Globe Massachusetts camp operators, parents, and children hoping for a fresh-air respite this summer got a long-awaited bit of good news on Thursday, as Governor Charlie Baker announced that both overnight …

Bar-top dining, Polar Park opening signs of 'light at the end of the tunnel' » Worcester Telegram With a mix of optimism and ominous warnings, signs of spring and danger possibly lurking, Thursday's weekly COVID-19 press briefing did a good job of encapsulating life for many in the city during the…

First a closure, now a breakup of the team behind Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar » Boston Globe The announcement last week that a trio of restaurants and bars in the Hotel Commonwealth — Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne — would not reopen as a result of a longstan…

State health secretary explains why employer-hosted vaccine programs are being suspended » Boston Globe The Baker administration had hoped companies could play a key role in inoculating their workers, by establishing employer-hosted vaccination programs. Now, that plan is on hold.…

The ‘new normal’ is coming: Mass. set to enter final phase of reopening in March » Boston Globe Massachusetts sports venues, concert spaces, and theaters will be able to reopen in coming weeks, Governor Charlie Baker announced Thursday, laying out for the first time a concrete timeline to bring …

Here’s a list of what Massachusetts restaurants and businesses can reopen starting Monday » Boston Herald Restrictions limiting restaurants and businesses will begin to roll back on Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced — a “good sign” for the state’s economy that has been struggling under nearly a…

Sports fans return to Fenway Park, Gillette as Charlie Baker peels back coronavirus restrictions » Boston Herald Concert halls and theaters reopen — with limited capacity — on Monday as Gov. Charlie Baker pulls the trigger on a broader reopening that next month welcomes sports fans back into stadiums in limi…

Company, owner in Boston construction accident have history of violations » Boston Globe The company involved in a pair of construction fatalities in downtown Boston Wednesday and its owner have a lengthy history of workplace violations and legal disputes in recent years, court and inspec…

Garrett Harker and his restaurant partners call it quits » Boston Business Journal The four businessmen behind Eastern Standard and other restaurants — including some of the biggest food brands in the Boston area — are splitting up.…

Mass. sports venues can open for fans on March 22; Gov. Charlie Baker to lay out limited capacity plan » The Republican Fans may soon be allowed back into pro sports venues in Massachusetts, with Gov. Charlie Baker set to lay out a plan for limited attendance at large venues Thursday.…

MassMutual launches $50M fund for Black-owned businesses, tech firms » Boston Business Journal Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. on Thursday unveiled a $50 million fund with a plan to invest half of the money in Black-owned and -managed businesses in the Bay State, and the other half in M…

Cannabis

Pot company withdraws plans for cultivation site in Chesterfield » Gazette Net Following a lengthy public forum Wednesday night, Ember Gardens has decided not to move forward with a proposed marijuana growing facility on Wilcutt Road.…

Pittsfield Bans Future Outdoor Commercial Weed Cultivation » WAMC The largest community in Berkshire County has outlawed all future outdoor cannabis cultivation following a city council vote this week.…

Civil Rights

House votes to expand legal safeguards for LGBTQ people » Boston Globe The Democratic-led House passed a bill Thursday that would enshrine LGBTQ protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws, a top priority of President Biden, though the legislation faces an …

Opinion: After a brutal year, Garland must work to reform DOJ — and restore Black Americans’ trust » Boston Globe Federal civil rights enforcement is once again becoming a priority after years of being all but disregarded when it comes to the killing of unarmed Black Americans.…

Education

Charlie Baker Joins Cadre of Governors With Bid to Force Open Massachusetts Schools » U.S. News The governor’s announcement dovetails with a handful of other governors and state lawmakers trying to push their school districts to reopen as virus transmission ticks down.…

Ban on Confederate flag urged in Northampton schools » Gazette Net JFK middle schooler Willa Polin has seen the Confederate flag in school hallways and on Zoom, she told the School Committee on Thursday night.…

Amherst officials eye cuts at elementary schools » Gazette Net The town's elementary schools will not be able to offer the same level of services in the next school year as officials intend to reduce spending to be aligned with the mandated budget increase set by…

Mount Holyoke child care center closing spurs protest » Gazette Net Mount Holyoke College on Wednesday announced that it will shutter the Gorse Children's Center and suspend on-campus child care operations at the end of June, prompting outcry from community members wh…

Walsh: More Boston Public School Students Can Return To School Next Week » WGBH As many as 7,900 more Boston students will be invited to return to school next week as part of the Boston Public School system’s hybrid school re-opening plan, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday.…

Catholic Schools Have Stayed (Mostly) Open During The Pandemic » WGBH Students and parents streamed toward Saint Brendan School in Dorchester on a recent morning, part of a middle-class scene that's largely disappeared from the Boston landscape. Kids squealed as they ju…

Half of Worcester Public Schools students opt-in for hybrid learning starting in March » The Republican Members of the Worcester School Committee on Thursday night listened to a highly detailed plan from Superintendent Maureen Binienda covering health and safety protocols for the district’s hybrid lea…

Mansfield plans to return to in-person learning for kindergartners on Monday; teachers union not happy » The Sun Chronicle Local schools are starting small with bringing students back for in-person learning. Small and cute, that is.…

Editorial: Governor Baker is right — schools must reopen » Boston Globe Children have fallen behind academically. Pediatricians report rising anxiety and depression among kids. Schools can reopen safely for in-person learning, and it’s past time they do.…

Tri-Town proposes vaccine clinic for teachers » Sippican Week The Tri-Town, alongside the Old Rochester Regional School District, have proposed a clinic at the which would provide the covid vaccine to over 1,000 teachers. The proposal, announced in a Feb. 25 sch…

School Leaders Hail State Plan to Put Kids Back in Classrooms » Vineyard Gazette Gov. Charlie Baker announced a plan this week to bring elementary and middle school students across the commonwealth back to the classroom full time this spring, pushing Island school officials to fin…

Gaming

Appeals court rules against tribe in casino case » Martha's Vineyard Times The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) will have to work with town planners and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, according to an opinion issued by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.…

Health Care

State Rep. Todd Smola criticizes closing of Baystate Mary Lane in Ware » The Republican State Rep. Todd M. Smola, R-Warren, questioned Baystate Health’s decision to shutter its Mary Lane Outpatient Center amid a pandemic during a public forum with Baystate Health President and CEO Mark…

Human Services

Boys & Girls Clubs, Y’s provide places for kids to study and play during pandemic » Boston Globe Since the moment Governor Charlie Baker ordered schools to shut down last March, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the lives of families across Massachusetts upside down. Nearly a year later, shutte…

Immigration

Opinion: Merrick Garland’s bungled response to illegal immigrant criminals » Boston Herald

Labor

Minimum wage hike must be dropped from COVID-19 relief bill, arbiter decides » Boston Globe The Senate parliamentarian has dealt a potentially lethal blow to Democrats’ drive to hike the minimum wage, deciding that the cherished progressive goal must fall from a massive COVID-19 relief bil…

Hundreds of companies cited for labor violations » Newburyport News More than 300 companies were cited for violating state labor laws amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year, according to data from the attorney general's office.…

Local Government

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno seeks neighborhood COVID vaccination sites » The Republican Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno called Thursday for five neighborhood COVID-19 vaccination sites in the name of bringing racial and economic equity to the fight against the pandemic.…

As Marty Walsh leaves, Boston councilors reintroduce tear gas ordinance he vetoed » Boston Herald City Councilors are taking another crack at limiting the Boston Police Department’s usage of tear gas and rubber bullets — a proposal Mayor Martin Walsh vetoed two months ago, but acting-mayor-in-…

Holyoke City Council President Todd McGee could become acting mayor after Alex Morse named Provincetown town manager » The Republican City Council President Todd McGee could become acting mayor after Alex B. Morse was picked Thursday as Provincetown’s next town manager.…

Lowell leaders condemn School Committee member Hoey’s use of anti-Semitic slur » Lowell Sun Lowell community and municipal leaders soundly denounced School Committee member Robert Hoey’s use of an anti-Semitic slur during a live taping of the local show “City Life” on Wednesday morning…

Plymouth receives Seaport Economic Council Grant » Wicked Local The Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $3.8 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support nine projects in eight communities, including $1,000,000 toward the rehabilitation of Tow…

From City Hall to Town Hall: Morse to Take up Provincetown Manager Gig » Western Mass Politics and Insight Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse appears set to end his tenure ahead of schedule. On Thursday night, the Provincetown Select Board formally chose Morse to be the next town manager. The Board also appointed tw…

Boston mayoral special election override bill heads to Charlie Baker’s desk » Boston Herald The state Senate passed Boston’s petition to overrule a special mayoral election, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for likely approval.…

Politics

District 6 candidates face off in forum » The Bay State Banner Housing affordability, police reform and the racial wealth gap were among the issues on the table Monday during the first candidate forum for the District 6 City Council seat, during which Kendra Hick…

Briefings: Noho Council Prez Sciarra to Take Mayoral Plunge » Western Mass Politics and Insight One month after it suddenly became wide open, the Northampton Mayoral race appears to be rumbling to life. City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra is expected to formally enter the race to lead the…

Public Health

1,928 confirmed cases, 33 deaths, and 47,820 vaccinations: See today’s new COVID-19 data from Mass. » Boston Globe The number of coronavirus vaccinations administered in Massachusetts rose by 47,820 to 1,566,301, state officials reported Thursday.…

Charlie Baker has no ‘hard answers’ on future of mass vaccination sites as Fenway, Gillette reopen next month » Boston Herald Massachusetts is plowing ahead with its reopening plans, but Gov. Charlie Baker had little to say about what would happen when two of the state’s largest mass vaccination sites, Fenway Park and Gill…

Charlie Baker, administration under fire from lawmakers fed up with coronavirus vaccine failures » Boston Herald Lawmakers sparred with Gov. Charlie Baker and administration officials during a heated, six-hour hearing where they took aim at constant pivots in the vaccine rollout and blasted online signup efforts…

PrepMod creator calls for ‘all hands on deck’ after Massachusetts vaccine website woes » Boston Herald Hours after the state’s largest vaccine appointment-booking vendor was overwhelmed by shot-seekers for another week, PrepMod creator Tiffany Tate said improving the system “requires all hands on d…

Massachusetts last week saw a 76% drop in new COVID cases since the peak; State reports 1,928 new cases, 33 deaths on Thursday » The Republican State health officials confirmed another 1,928 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, which is based on 118,144 new molecular tests, according to the Department of Public Health.…

28 Massachusetts communities at high risk for coronavirus transmission, lowest since mid-November » Boston Herald Just 28 cities and towns are at high risk for COVID-19 transmission this week, down a whopping 88% from just six weeks ago when the “red” zone swelled to a high of 229 communities.…

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker slammed for COVID vaccine website issues as he blames limited federal supply » The Republican Massachusetts lawmakers pressed Gov. Charlie Baker on his response to the online booking options for the state’s vaccine rollout as he placed the blame on a limited federal supply.…

Sudders: Mass vaccination sites short-term solution » Commonwealth Magazine HEALTH AND HUMAN Services Secretary Marylou Sudders pushed back against the view that the state is going all-in on mass vaccination sites on Thursday during testimony before the Legislature’s Commit…

‘You’re missing how broken the system is’: Baker faces rare grilling from lawmakers amid bumpy vaccine rollout » Boston Globe Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday subjected Governor Charlie Baker to the most public — and intense — vetting of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout to date, highl…

‘Your estimated wait time is 50,475 minutes’: State vaccine appointment site hits more snags » Boston Globe For the second week in a row, thousands of Massachusetts residents logged onto computers and smartphones in search of a COVID-19 vaccination shot, only to come away frustrated and no closer to their g…

‘I think we could be a model for other communities’: Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition helps bring vaccine to people of color » Boston Globe When Black residents walk through the doors of the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury this weekend for their COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll see people who look like them — administering shots, registering …

No seat for Bristol County on COVID oversight panel that grilled Gov. Baker » WPRI.com Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker made an unusual appearance Thursday before a special legislative panel, getting grilled over his administration’s glitchy vaccine website.…

No mass vaccination sites in Central Mass. » Worcester Telegram The state opened two more mass vaccination sites this week, creating a grand total of six mass locations, but Central Massachusetts does not have a site of that large-scale designation.…

Beacon Hill Committee Hears From Baker On Vaccine Rollout » WBUR On Thursday, 50,000 vaccination appointments in Massachusetts were snapped up less than two hours after they became available. Many people who are eligible to receive the vaccine were not able to sche…

Lawmakers Take Six-Hour Dive Into COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout » State House News Service Lawmakers on Thursday held a lengthy hearing on the Baker administration's COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the first in a series of planned oversight hearings by the new Joint Committee on COVID-19 and…

Boston mayor says city will follow state's reopening plan, with some exceptions » WCVB Boston mayor Marty Walsh said he would allow the city to move with the state into Phase 2 of the Commonwealth's coronavirus reopening plan, with some exceptions.…

Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell could move vaccines » Commonwealth Magazine GOV. CHARLIE BAKER has taken a lot of heat for the woeful performance of the state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution program. Given his claim to fame as an effective manager with experience in heal…

Biden marks 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses, touts vaccination efforts to governors » Boston Herald President Biden urged governors to “come together” in combating the coronavirus as his administration surpassed a key milestone in its efforts to end the pandemic.…

Appointment Software Features Pre-Registration, Notification Options, Vendor Says » State House News Service The head of the company whose technology is used to schedule Massachusetts residents for COVID-19 vaccination said Thursday a feature that allows people to pre-register for a shot when they become eli…

Walsh says state will expand capacity at Reggie Lewis Center vaccine site » Dorchester Reporter Mayor Walsh offered updates on the city’s Covid-19 response on Thursday, urging Bostonians to continue to get tested for the virus while the state-led effort to distribute vaccine shots begins to pe…

Frustrations grow as COVID vaccine sign-up issues continue » Western Mass News There’s frustration among many after it took only three hours to run out of COVID-19 vaccine appointments online this morning and a new virtual ‘waiting’ room feature didn’t go over well with …

Public Safety

Clerk Magistrate Weighing Whether To Charge Former Lynn Police Officer With Assault » WBUR A clerk magistrate is considering 90 seconds of silent video from a police holding cell as he decides whether or not a former Lynn police officer should face criminal charges for allegedly beating a m…

State Government

Massachusetts Will Move Forward with Reopening Plan in March » WBSM Governor Charlie Baker announced the updates to the reopening plan during a press conference on Thursday, February 25. Massachusetts will move to Phase Three, Step Two on Monday, March 1. Massachusett…

Baker: Mass. has received $71b in fed aid » Commonwealth Magazine THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has funneled $71 billion to Massachusetts and its residents through four COVID-19 relief programs over the last year, Gov. Charlie Baker said at a legislative oversight hearing …

Massachusetts COVID reopening: State to move to Step 2 of Phase 3 on Monday; Phase 4 to begin on March 22 » The Republican The Baker administration on Thursday announced that the state will be moving back into Step 2 of Phase 3 of its COVID reopening plan beginning on Monday as COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in a posi…

Baker Ready to Move Into Last Phase of Reopening » State House News Service Tens of thousands of people logged onto their computers Thursday morning hoping to grab one of the 50,000 new appointments being made available for a COVID-19 vaccine at venues like Gillette Stadium a…

Transportation

Free rides coming to an end as SRTA will resume collecting fares on April 1 » South Coast Today The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority will begin charging fares at a discounted rate on April 1.…

Cheshire gets $200K state grant to pave worst half of Route 116 in town » Berkshire Eagle Cheshire has landed a six-figure state grant that the town hopes will create a safer, smoother Route 116. The $200,000 from the MassWorks program will pay for resurfacing the state highway from the Sa…

**** 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. ****
The Week In Review

Most read bills of the week:

House Actions This Week: 30

Senate Actions This Week: 5


45 Bromfield Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
About Us
Privacy Policy
Connect With Us
Phone: (617) 292-1800

You have received this message because you are signed up for MassInsider. Click here to unsubscribe. Email us at info@instatrac.com. We appreciate any feedback or suggestions.

Copyright © 2021 Instatrac, Inc. All Rights Reserved.