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Today on Beacon Hill

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

12:30pm Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu on GBH's Boston Public Radio, 89.7 FM or gbh.org/news

7:00pm Rep. Patricia Haddad and YW Boston President & CEO Beth Chandler on Greater Boston with Jim Braude, GBH 2

Birthdays: Rep. Sean Garballey

Must-Reads

Rush Replaces Timilty on Holyoke Home Panel » State House News Service Just over a month before its report is due, the Legislature's panel investigating the deadly Holyoke Soldiers' Home coronavirus outbreak is getting a new co-chair.…

JOE BIDEN’S HONEYMOON WITH PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS IS OFFICIALLY OVER » Vanity Fair With his announcement that he “will not” cancel $50,000 of student loan debt, Biden commenced the first battle with the progressives who helped to elect him.…

As climate change increases flooding, Mass. likely to see damaged-property costs surge, report says » Boston Globe By mid-century, nearly 50,000 homes a year in Massachusetts will face a substantial risk of structural damage from flooding, an 11 percent increase from today, according to a report.…

Why are Latinos so overrepresented in the state child welfare system? » Commonwealth Magazine This disparity has long been recognized by those within the child welfare system. But amid a national reckoning on race, advocates for children say there needs to be a broader conversation on why raci…

'I also defaulted': Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley reveals her experience with student loan debt » Yahoo Finance "Like 85% of Black students, I had to borrow; and like so many of those students, I also defaulted on those loans," Pressley said during a press conference organized by the American Federation of Teac…

Thousands of Mass. hospital workers have been sickened with COVID since the start of the pandemic » Boston Globe More than 14,000 health care workers at the state’s largest medical centers and hospital systems have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic....…

U.S. investigating possible ties between Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Capitol rioters » Washington Post The U.S. official and others familiar with the investigation cautioned that the role of firebrands like Stone and Jones may be important mostly to painting a complete picture of that day’s events, r…

FL: Lots of Democrats are thinking of running for Florida governor. Who will step up? Can any defeat Ron DeSantis? » SunSentinel Graham is one of the marquee names frequently mentioned as potential candidates, along with Val Demings, the Central Florida congresswoman; Charlie Crist, the St. Petersburg congressman and former gov…

“My hair’s on fire about the whole thing,” Baker told GBH in an interview. “I can’t begin to tell you how pissed off I am.”

Governor Charlie Baker

Acknowledging that Massachusetts officials failed to adequately prepare for a surge of residents trying to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments online as the state expanded eligibility, leading to an hours-long website crash on Thursday morning.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

White House says Biden is ‘eager’ to go to Texas, possibly as soon as this week » Boston Globe As some have suggested that President Biden should travel to Texas as it faces the fallout from last week’s winter storm, the White House said he is “eager” to visit and could head there “as s…

Democrats already maneuvering to shape Biden’s first Supreme Court pick » Boston Globe After meeting in the Oval Office earlier this month with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and his fellow senior House Democrats, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina made a …

The lost hours: How confusion and inaction at the Capitol delayed a troop deployment » Boston Globe At 1:09 p.m. Jan. 6, minutes after protesters had burst through the barricades around the U.S. Capitol and began using the steel debris to assault the officers standing guard, the chief of the Capitol…

Biden to mark nation crossing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths » Boston Globe President Joe Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House.…

Business

Editorial: Restaurants don’t need indoor dining. They need a bailout. » Boston Globe Democrats’ proposal to include $25 billion in restaurant grants in the next major COVID relief package could save restaurants — and lives.…

People's United to be acquired by M&T Bank for $7.6B » Boston Business Journal M&T Bank has agreed to acquire People's United Financial Inc. in an all-stock deal worth approximately $7.6 billion, giving the Buffalo-based bank a major brick-and-mortar footprint in Greater Boston.…

Worcester chamber asks city to reopen bar dining » Worcester Business Journal The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has asked City Manager Edward Augustus to consider reopening bar dining in a Feb. 17 letter from Alex Guardiola, chamber director of government affairs and p…

Boston Calling cancels 2021 festival » Boston Business Journal Organizers of the Boston Calling music festival say the show has been canceled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.…

Cannabis

Resinate threatens lawsuit if Grafton denies marijuana license under ‘First to the Finish Line’ policy » Grafton Common Grafton’s “First to the Finish Line” policy on retail marijuana is already receiving pushback, with Resinate issuing a threat to sue the town if it is denied one of the town’s two licences.…

Education

Biden aides continue push for school reopenings by April » Boston Herald Top Biden administration officials insisted on Sunday that K-8 schools can safely reopen by April, even without requiring all teachers to be vaccinated first, as some states make educators a priority …

UMass Amherst resuming in-person classes after coronavirus surge, lockdown » Boston Herald UMass Amherst students will head back to in-person classes on Monday after the campus shut down for two weeks amid a coronavirus surge.…

Look Ahead, Pittsfield: Public schools to complete transition back to hybrid learning » Berkshire Eagle By the end of this week, Pittsfield Public Schools will have completed its transition back to hybrid learning. Getting to this point has not been without its challenges. The School Committee has press…

Mass. schools start pooled testing for coronavirus » WHDH Dozens of school districts will start pooled COVID-19 testing this week, but officials say many more schools aren’t ready to launch.…

Democratic AGs — Led By Healey — Call On Biden To Cancel Student Loan Debt » WGBH Seventeen Democratic state attorneys general on Friday called on the federal government to cancel tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.…

Lowell Schools Adopt Pooled COVID Testing For Students, Staff » NBC Boston The Lowell, Massachusetts School District is welcoming students back to class with the option of free and voluntary weekly coronavirus testing.…

After a year of remote learning, Brockton students return part-time to classrooms Tuesday » The Enterprise Almost a full year after Brockton Public Schools students were last physically in school buildings, some children will return for the first time this week.…

Newton mayor calls for greater state oversight of Boston College’s COVID-19 response » Boston Globe Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is urging state officials to strengthen oversight of Boston College’s handling of campus COVID-19 cases after the university reported dozens of new coronavirus infection…

Environment

Hamilton becomes first Mass. town to mandate composting » Boston Globe Gretel Clark has spent the last few decades of her 84 years on a mission to save the planet, starting with the trash-disposal habits of her town of Hamilton. This month, thanks largely to her efforts,…

Commonwealth Approves Sewage Spill Alert Bill » Cape Cod Online In the latest of several attempts by the state to combat climate change and pollution, Governor Charlie Baker has signed a bill requiring water suppliers to alert residents of sewage leaks in their ar…

Federal

Interior Department withdraws appeal in Mashpee tribe's land-in-trust case » Cape Cod Times In a big victory for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday withdrew its appeal in the U.S. District Court in the tribe's land-in-trust case.…

Health Care

Hospitals confront water shortages in winter storm aftermath » Boston Globe Hospitals across the South grappled with water shortages Sunday as the region carried on with recovery efforts in the wake of a devastating winter storm, and the weather offered a balmy respite — te…

Community health centers gear up for broader role in coronavirus vaccination » Boston Globe Community health centers are gearing up for an expanded role in the state’s vaccination effort, widening the pathway into the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19.…

Cape Cod Healthcare receives bitcoin donations totaling $800,000 » Boston Globe On Friday morning, a team at Cape Cod Healthcare got an e-mail from a donor telling them to check their newly established bank account that can process cryptocurrency transfers.…

Housing

As climate change increases flooding, Mass. likely to see damaged-property costs surge, report says » Boston Globe By mid-century, nearly 50,000 homes a year in Massachusetts will face a substantial risk of structural damage from flooding, an 11 percent increase from today, according to a report.…

As evictions loom, one city shows how to save homes and families » Boston Globe For 25 years, Irma found steady work as a nanny. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, the family she worked for no longer felt comfortable with her taking the T to their house.…

Human Services

COVID taking toll on providers' ability to help the homeless » South Coast Today Wintertime usually signals the holiday season filled with gifts, laughter and joy against a snowy background, but for over the 18,000 homeless people in Massachusetts, winter is a time of struggling t…

Immigration

AG Healey sues organization Libre for preying on vulnerable immigrants » News 22 WWLP.com Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Libre by Nexus for taking advantage of vulnerable immigrants and promising them their release from detention centers.…

Legislative

A look at how often Massachusetts senators bucked party leadership » Lowell Sun This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on the percentage of times local senators voted with their party’s leadership in the 2020 session.…

Massachusetts lawmakers want to decriminalize all drugs, raise soda tax » Boston Herald A bill to legalize drugs across the board and another to tax sugary drinks by up to 24 cents on a can of soda stand out among the thousands filed by lawmakers as they kick off a new session under the …

Lipper-Garabedian Has Been Hard At Work Without Ever Being There » Melrose Patch The freshman lawmaker has not worked a day in the State House, but her recent appointments show she's done a lot to attract responsibility.…

Local Government

Complaint seeks to appeal Deerfield ZBA’s approval of Dollar General store » Gazette Net A complaint has been filed to appeal the Zoning Board of Appeals' decision to approve a special permit with conditions for the proposed development of a Dollar General store on Routes 5 and 10, at the…

Billerica Mall renovation project to go back before Planning Board this week » Lowell Sun Despite rejecting the permit for a major renovation to the Billerica Mall in September, the Planning Board will hear the project again this week, after the developer appealed the decision and a judge …

Chicopee receives approvals to open COVID vaccination site but is waiting for doses » The Republican After operating a COVID-19 testing site for nearly two months, city officials now have received approvals to open a vaccine site.…

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. targets racial equity, police reform in calling for removal of officers in schools, banning facial recognition technology, implementing online use-of-force database » The Republican To “disrupt systems of racism and inequity,” Worcester’s City Manager signed an executive order Friday afternoon and submitted a series of recommendations for City Council approval that include …

Politics

WAKANDA II seeks to back sole Black candidate for mayor » Boston Globe For members of Boston’s Black political establishment, the time is ripe to elect the city’s first Black mayor. Black leaders have been holding virtual planning sessions, fine-tuning a candidate qu…

Sanders, Kennedy, Healey wade into 19th Suffolk race to replace DeLeo » Boston Herald Big names are wading into the special election to fill Robert DeLeo’s 19th Suffolk seat as the primary nears. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Juan Pablo Jaramillo on Friday, a key pickup f…

Charlie Baker Has Made Plenty Of Mistakes. Why Is He Still So Popular? » WBUR Politically speaking, Massachusetts is a jumble of contradictions. This very blue state has become even bluer. Hillary Clinton trounced Donald Trump here in 2016, winning 61% of the vote, but in 2020,…

Smiling on the outside » Boston Globe Super Happy Fun America always claimed to be kidding. But the group’s history suggests otherwise.…

More women, more people of color and more LGBTQ: Worcester’s race for city council just got a lot more diverse » The Republican For a young Konneh, representation was among the things missing. With her mantra in mind, Konneh launched a campaign for a Worcester City Council at-large seat.…

For Downing, politics are personal » Commonwealth Magazine ON PAPER, Ben Downing looks very much like someone who might launch a run for governor while still in his 30s, which is what the 39-year-old Democrat did earlier this month, becoming the first declare…

Poll indicates Baker remains wildly popular » Commonwealth Magazine A NEW POLL from The MassINC Polling Group out this week finds Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker still riding high with 74 percent approval and just 20 percent disapproval among the state’s voters. Th…

Opinion: For Charlie Baker, ‘sorry’ is the hardest word » Boston Globe Three other words that he doesn’t like to say about the botched implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination website: ‘That’s on me.’…

Public Health

Massachusetts coronavirus vaccine rollout: 40,983 more shots given » Boston Herald Massachusetts health officials on Sunday reported that more than 40,000 coronavirus vaccine doses were given in the state during the last day of vaccination data, as Phase 2 of the rollout ramps up wi…

Opinion: Remove the waiver requirement for buprenorphine prescribing » Boston Globe As specialists caring for patients with addictive disorders, we have seen first-hand the disastrous consequences of limiting prescribing access.…

Opinion: Overdose prevention sites save lives » Boston Globe Despite their success in saving lives and other documented public health benefits, there are no sanctioned overdose prevention sites in the United States. Why?…

Pfizer-BioNTech shot stops COVID-19 spread, Israeli study shows » Boston Herald The Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine appeared to stop the vast majority of recipients in Israel becoming infected, providing the first real-world indication that the immunization will curb…

Beset by critics, Baker now stressing speed and scale for COVID-19 vaccination » Boston Globe Stung by criticism it was moving too slowly, the Baker administration has overhauled its approach to delivering COVID-19 vaccines in just three weeks, increasingly relying on a network of massive faci…

Travelers Plan To Quarantine, Test In Massachusetts After February Break » CBS Boston As February school vacation week comes to an end in Massachusetts, schools are taking extra coronavirus precautions to accommodate families who traveled. Travelers at Logan Airport on Sunday were busy…

New mass vaccination site opening at Natick Mall » WHDH Officials will open the state’s sixth mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Monday, as residents continue to wait for vaccines after delays and website problems.…

Baker Needs to Appear Before COVID Committee [OPINION] » WBSM Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker needs to appear before the newly-created special legislative Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness when it convenes this week on Beacon Hill.…

Charlie Baker to testify on Massachusetts coronavirus vaccine rollout at Legislature’s oversight committee hearing » Boston Herald Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to testify at the Legislature’s oversight committee hearing next week on the state’s rocky coronavirus vaccine rollout, the House chairman told the Herald.…

Editorial: Baker Must Be Held to Account » Banker & Tradesman A timely and effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations is critical to righting Massachusetts’ economy and enabling the state and its businesses to exit this never-ending state of crisis. And someho…

Massachusetts reports 1,316 new COVID cases, 46 deaths Sunday as Dr. Anthony Fauci notes ‘terrible’ 500K US death toll » The Republican Massachusetts public health officials on Sunday reported 1,316 new COVID-19 cases and 46 new coronavirus-linked deaths.…

Vaccination process shows signs of improvement, after professor gives state failing grade » WCVB Massachusetts – the state that is home to world class health care – continues to trail other states in the effort to vaccinate millions of people against COVID-19, but there are signs of progress.…

'Emergencies begin and end locally': Fairhaven, Acushnet outraged at state's vaccine decision » South Coast Today Fairhaven and Acushnet officials say they were ready to distribute the vaccine, but the state "pulled the rug from under" them by diverting supplies to the mass vaccination sites.…

Arlington woman who built centralized coronavirus vaccine appointment site says Massachusetts system ‘hindering’ people » Boston Herald An Arlington software developer who spent her maternity leave building an online vaccination platform that rivals the state’s said the status quo is “hindering” people from getting access to the…

Maryland company behind Massachusetts vaccine registration issues ‘didn’t know’ slots were opening to new groups » Boston Herald A Maryland-based company under fire for some of the website failures that plagued coronavirus vaccine signups here on Thursday said it “didn’t know” eligibility was opening to another 1 million …

Massachusetts surpasses 1.2 million COVID vaccine doses administered, 225K over the last week » The Republican Massachusetts has administered a little over 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the statewide rollout began in December, according to the latest weekly vaccine data.…

Lawmakers seek $25.2 billion for vaccine equity as part of budget plan, Markey says » Boston Globe Senator Edward Markey said Saturday that lawmakers are seeking $25.2 billion to address COVID-19 health disparities nationally and protect vulnerable populations hardest hit by the pandemic as part of…

Massachusetts leaders push Charlie Baker to restore coronavirus vaccine distribution to local health boards » Boston Herald Doug Kress didn’t receive any coronavirus vaccines to distribute this past week. The Somerville director of health and human services said it “doesn’t look like we’re getting any” doses in t…

'Vaccine Redlining': Massachusetts' Congressional Delegation Talk About Vaccine Access » WBUR After about a full year of the coronavirus crisis, data have gradually revealed what many predicted would happen: people of color, as well as people who are medically or financially vulnerable, are ex…

Healey calls for more attention to equity in state’s coronavirus vaccination campaign » Boston Globe Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey waded into the public debate over coronavirus vaccine distribution Monday, touring a site in this hard-hit city and pressing Governor Charlie Baker to furth…

‘Something approaching a normal summer’: Springfield sees small uptick in new COVID cases, but health officials optimistic among vaccination push » The Republican The city recorded a small uptick in new coronavirus cases last week after over a month of falling numbers, but officials said Monday that the outlook remains positive for the months ahead as vaccinati…

Public Safety

NH prosecutors fight bid by Massachusetts State Police sergeant for release on bail in assault case » Boston Herald Prosecutors in New Hampshire are fighting an appeal by a Massachusetts State Police sergeant accused of strangling his girlfriend who wants a judge to release him on bail while he awaits trial.…

Massachusetts law enforcement group calls for reinstating Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White » Boston Herald A Massachusetts law enforcement group of Black leaders is calling for the reinstatement of Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White, who wa…

What happens now with Police Commissioner Dennis White? » Boston Globe Before Mayor Marty Walsh leaves his beloved Boston for the Beltway, there is one particularly awkward piece of business left to be resolved.…

State Finance

Rating Agency Sees Savings Drawdown as “Moderate” » State House News Service A key credit rating agency on Monday gave its blessing to Gov. Charlie Baker's proposed $1.6 billion withdrawal from the state's rainy day fund and suggested the state could have some budgetary flexib…

State Government

State mum on contract details with software vendor behind signup snafu » Berkshire Eagle As it deals with the fallout from last week's COVID-19 vaccine scheduling fiasco, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration is not saying how much taxpayer money it has agreed to pay the Maryland-based soft…

Taxation

Beware of taxes on unemployment benefits amid coronavirus pandemic, group says » Boston Herald “I do think it’s ironic that the federal government is giving on the one hand and subjecting it to a tax on the other,” said Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation,…

Transportation

Lawmakers renew push to expand driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts » The Republican State legislators renewed their push to expand driver’s licenses to immigrants without status, refiling a bill last week. The bill, HD. 448/SD. 273, would allow residents, regardless of immigration …

Utilities

Feds to take second look at Weymouth gas compressor approval » Boston Herald Federal regulators are taking another look at their earlier approval of the controversial Weymouth compressor station, giving opponents “hope” they may still be able block the natural gas project …

Could a Texas-style blackout disrupt New England? Unlikely, but the crisis is a warning » Boston Globe All the oil, gas, and wind supplies in Texas simply weren’t enough to keep the lights on. Single-digit temperatures froze up much of the state’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions of homes an…

Lawmakers push to ban internet data caps » Newburyport News A pair of Democratic lawmakers want to prohibit internet service providers from capping customers' data use as part of a proposal giving the state authority to regulate the industry.…

Social Media Spotlight

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The Week Ahead

Monday - 2/22

Birthdays: Rep. Sean Garballey

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

12:30pm Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu on GBH's Boston Public Radio, 89.7 FM or gbh.org/news

7:00pm Rep. Patricia Haddad and YW Boston President & CEO Beth Chandler on Greater Boston with Jim Braude, GBH 2

Tuesday - 2/23

Birthdays: Rep. Michael Moran, Rep. Leonard Mirra

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

12:00pm Rep. Bill Driscoll on GBH's Boston Public Radio, 89.7 FM or gbh.org/news

2:00pm FutureX Discover: The Virtual Workforce hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Via webcast

7:00pm Health Care in the Time of COVID hosted by Mass-Care, Via Zoom

Wednesday - 2/24

11:00am House Session, Formal Session

7:00pm Women’s Network featuring Nneka Nwosu Faison of WCVB-TV hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Via webcast

Thursday - 2/25

9:00am The Future of Health Care hosted by the Boston Business Journal, Via GoToWebinar

11:00am Senate Session, Informal Session

11:00am Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, Vaccine Distribution Oversight Hearing

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

6:00pm 19th Suffolk Candidate Forum hosted by State House News Service, Via Zoom

7:30pm Discussion on COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout with Sen. William Brownsberger, Via Zoom

Friday - 2/26

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


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