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Today on Beacon Hill

10:00am Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Virtual Hearing

10:00am Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Public Hearing

11:00am House Session, Informal Session

12:00pm Senate Session, Full Formal Session

1:00pm Department of Labor Standards Public Hearing, Via Webex

1:00pm Joint Committee on Public Service, Public Hearing

1:00pm Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, Public Hearing

Birthdays: Rep. Colleen Garry

Must-Reads

Driven by covid deaths, U.S. life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years in 2020 » Washington Post Life expectancy in the United States dropped by a year and a half in 2020 — a continuation of a worrisome decline that was observed in the first half of last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged…

State awards $7.5M in grants to improve child care sites » Boston.com Grants of up to $250,000 were awarded to 36 organizations that primarily serve low-income families. It’s part of an annual grant program with the Children’s Investment Fund charity. This year the …

Free school lunches for all Mass. kids? Experts argue in support of state bill. » Boston.com When doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital saw a 10-year-old patient during the pandemic, the young boy’s gums were bleeding, along with other symptoms like sleeping more than normal.…

Boston Teachers Union Releases First Proposal In New Contract Negotiations » WBUR Union leaders said their priorities were based off of input from a wide group of stakeholders outside of the teachers they represent, including parents, students and community members.…

As Free Transit Gains Momentum Across U.S., It's A Big Boston Mayoral Race Topic » WBUR As the 37 bus stops in downtown Lawrence, the driver swings open the door and puts his hand over the farebox. "People are going to pay," the driver explains. "I say, no, no. This bus is free."…

In latest clash over Wuhan lab, Fauci tells Sen. Rand Paul: ‘You do not know what you’re talking about’ » Washington Post The two men — the country’s top infectious-diseases doctor and the junior Republican senator from Kentucky — have a history of heated exchanges and escalating accusations, with Paul often using …

Medical debts are bigger than was known, totaling $140 billion » Boston Globe Americans owe nearly twice as much medical debt as was previously known, and the amount owed has become increasingly concentrated in states that do not participate in the Affordable Care Act’s Medic…

‘Shockingly low’: How Mattapan came to have Boston’s lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate » Boston.com In Mattapan, where Black residents account for approximately 75 percent of the neighborhood’s population — a greater percentage than anywhere else in Boston — a mere 39 percent of all individual…

Heavily Latino SEIU Backs Janey For Boston Mayor » WGBH Boston’s local chapter of the Service Employees International Union has endorsed Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s bid to win a full, four-year term. It’s a move that could improve Janey’s standing amo…

In hearing, Baker tells Legislature ‘time is of the essence’ for spending federal COVID aid » Boston Globe Governor Charlie Baker and state lawmakers on Tuesday wrestled over how to spend billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid, with Baker urging legislators to distribute the funds more quickly and the…

The Elusive Dream of the 15-Minute City » Governing The concept that everything should be within a short walk or bike ride keeps coming up, but making it a reality raises challenging questions.…

“It was the intent of the Legislature that that $200 million was, as we would say, ‘break glass in case of emergency’ funds because we are very concerned about what we are hearing from public health officials, not only here in Massachusetts but around the country, that this new Delta variant is very aggressive, is much more contagious, than the prior Corona-19 virus,”

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues

Lawmakers and Baker continue to have disagreements over the state's ARPA money after Baker put $186 million towards those in congregate care settings. Legislators argue they were not part of the conversation.

News By Category
Beltway Politics

Big infrastructure bill in peril; Republicans threaten filibuster » Boston Globe The bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden is hanging precariously ahead of a crucial Wednesday test vote as they struggle over how to pay for nearly $1 trillion in …

Brady, Biden play political football at White House Super Bowl celebration » Boston Herald Brady and the Super Bowl LIV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers attended a Rose Garden ceremony hosted by President Biden on Tuesday, Brady’s first visit to Pennsylvania Avenue since 2005.…

Business

State encouraging fishing and seafood industries to apply for federal relief funds » News 22 WWLP.com Massachusetts seafood processors, commercial fishermen, shellfish farmers, and for-hire recreational vessel owners are being urged to apply for some of the $23.8 million in relief funds the state will…

Maine passes nation’s first law to make big companies pay for the cost of recycling their packaging » Boston Globe After a quarter-century, a Boston-based nonprofit scores a big win with the nation’s first law making companies pay to recycle the waste they produce.…

Massive re-do of Somerville’s Union Square set to break ground » Boston Globe The first phase of a long-planned remaking of 15 acres in Union Square in Somerville is set to break ground Wednesday. Development group US2, Mayor Joe Curtatone, and others will celebrate the start o…

Jeff Bezos thanked every Amazon employee and customer ‘because you guys paid for all of this,’ prompting criticism » Boston Globe The world’s richest man wanted to say thanks to the people who made his brief trip into space Tuesday possible.…

People are finally returning to the office — and their desks feel like time capsules from March 2020 » Boston Globe Post-it notes from projects of yore. Old snacks. Mugs once filled with liquids that all but evaporated. Stepping into our cubicles is a blast from the past.…

Rachel Lopez to chair North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors » Leominster Champion Rachel Lopez, president of Resource Management, Inc., has been elected Chair of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2021-2022. The announcement was made at the c…

Southwick petition for massive online car dealership withdrawn: Carvana pledges to look elsewhere » MassLive Facing massive opposition and possible lawsuits, an online used car distribution center withdrew its plans Tuesday night to build a 200,000 square-foot business on a 137-acre tobacco field in a rowdy …

Cannabis

Labor judge rules Hanover cannabis dispensary violated federal law » Boston Business Journal A National Labor Relations Board judge has found the country’s largest cannabis company to have violated federal law, saying it discouraged unionization activities at its Hanover medical marijuana d…

Civil Rights

Opinion: Radical and unyielding, Gloria Richardson’s activism cannot be erased » Boston Globe That historians often overlooked the civil rights icon never mattered to her. She only wanted to be ‘a servant to her race.’…

Education

Mass Maritime training ship TS Kennedy involved in near-land strike » Fox 25 News At least two reviews are now underway as video obtained by Boston 25 News appears to show the Mass Maritime berthed vessel TS Kennedy nearly striking ground in St. Thomas last week.…

Should the COVID-19 vaccine be required for students, faculty, and staff at schools this fall? » Boston.com Vaccine requirements for COVID-19 have begun to spark intense debates as schools lay out their fall plans ahead of a new school year. Medical groups endorse stronger vaccine requirements while some ob…

Everyone Should Wear A Mask In Schools, Vaccinated Or Not, U.S. Pediatricians Say » WBUR The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated guidance for schools Monday, recommending that all students over 2 years old, along with staff, wear masks, regardless of whether they have been vac…

After a year of tensions with district leaders, Boston teachers propose new contract to improve working conditions » Boston Globe With weeks to go until the start of the new school year — and the expiration of their current labor contract — the Boston Teachers Union unveiled a sweeping package of proposals for new policies a…

Environment

Massachusetts gets hazy from wildfires out west: Unhealthy air quality alert should go away, but tornado risk on Wednesday » Boston Herald The smoky haze you saw on Tuesday from the western wildfires, sparking an unhealthy air quality alert, should go away on Wednesday as severe weather threatens Massachusetts.…

Report Finds Ships Violating Speed Limits In New England, Increasing Risk To Right Whales » WBUR The non-profit advocacy group Oceana analyzed self-reported vessel speeds between 2017 and 2020. Overall, of the 10 mandatory speed zones established along the East Coast, the zones in New England hav…

Editorial: The heat is on cities — and it’s not going away » Boston Globe “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” Bob Dylan once sang. And right now, for much of the country, those winds are blowing hot and hotter, thanks to climate change.…

Sen. Ed Markey, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez press Congress to work Civilian Climate Corps into final budget reconciliation bill » MassLive The final annual budget bill should include a new Civilian Climate Corps to create one million-plus union jobs that bolster energy and climate projects across the country, according to more than 80 la…

Gaming

Poker Summit May Be In The Cards » State House News Service Gaming regulators are planning to get an update next week on the disappearance of poker from Massachusetts -- whether the casinos have an obligation to offer the popular game, what authority the Gamin…

Health Care

Rep. Kane receives award from rare disorders patient advocacy organization » Community Advocate State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) was recently honored by the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) with a “Rare Impact Award.”…

Albireo gets FDA, European approval for pediatric liver disease drug » Boston Business Journal Albireo Pharma Inc., the rare liver disease-focused biopharma spun out of AstraZeneca in 2008, has its first regulatory approval for Bylvay, generically known as odevixibat, a drug for a pediatric liv…

$26 billion settlement with opioid distributors, J&J expected to be announced in the next few days » Boston Globe After months of gridlock and years of litigation, thousands of communities suing the nation’s three largest opioid distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson are expected to finalize a plan in the…

Southcoast Health to require COVID-19 vaccination for employees, providers and staff » South Coast Today In a letter to employees and staff, Southcoast Health announced vaccines will be mandated for all employees, staff and providers once the FDA, as anticipated, grants full approval of at least one of t…

33 Test Positive For COVID-19 At Nursing Home In West Yarmouth » WBUR The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is monitoring a coronavirus outbreak at a nursing home in West Yarmouth.…

Housing

‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’: Worcester celebrates new residential development that will expand footprint of Polar Park community with 228 market-rate units » MassLive Sandwiched between the fan services center at Polar Park, which can communicate in more than 99 languages, and the WooSox market, the fully autonomous store that allows fans to purchase items without …

Human Services

Early education programs get financial boost from state » News 22 WWLP.com The state has awarded $7.5 million in Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund (EEOST) capital improvement grants to thirty-six organizations across the state to renovate childcare faciliti…

Garlick elected chair of new disabilities commission » News 22 WWLP.com Rep. Denise Garlick will chair the new permanent Commission on the Status of Persons With Disabilities after the Needham Democrat and registered nurse was elected by her fellow commissioners on Wednes…

Immigration

Budget provision sets standard on visa document » Commonwealth Magazine THE BUDGET SIGNED by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday includes a provision creating statewide standards for immigrant domestic violence and human trafficking survivors who are seeking documentation for ce…

Judiciary

Conditions at Springfield courthouse tied to poor health of employees; ‘sick building’ in need of immediate repairs » MassLive People who work at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse on Tuesday vented to state legislators and state Trial Court officials about inadequate and poorly functioning ventilation, water leaks, mold and oth…

A desire to serve: South Hadley native Andrew Covington making a name as a prosecutor » Gazette Net As an athlete at South Hadley High School, where he played two sports and captained the football team, Andrew Covington was an important figure in his school community.…

Labor

Economic upheaval raises stakes around job training in Mass. » WHDH Tens of thousands of workers will need to learn new skills for the jobs of the future, and senior administration officials said Tuesday that work needs to start now as Massachusetts not only prepares …

Worker advocates blast state — again — for failing to protect workers from COVID » Boston Globe A group of labor advocates is once again decrying the state’s inaction on COVID-19 workplace safety, citing its decisions to drop Massachusetts regulations on masking, distancing, and sanitization a…

AG Healey funds summer work for Lynn, Salem, and Peabody organizations » Lynn Daily News Item Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has announced that her office is awarding approximately $300,000 in grant funding to 74 organizations throughout the state to fund summer jobs for youth.…

Berkshire jobless rate ticks up for first time in six months » Berkshire Eagle The downward trend accelerated by the waning effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reversed slightly in June, as Berkshire unemployment rose to 6.1 percent, up four-tenths of a point, according to figures …

Retirement Credit Eyed to Pay Back Essential Public Workers » State House News Service Public employees in the state who worked in-person during the COVID-19 state of emergency would receive a three-year bonus retirement credit under legislation advocates pitched as a way to recognize t…

Local Government

Lowell Election Commission seeks to hire expert to subdivide districts for 2021 election » Lowell Sun The Lowell Election Commission voted 3-1 Tuesday in favor of hiring another election expert, who would be tasked with guiding the city through subdividing its new districts for the preliminary and gen…

Haverhill Mayor Says He Supports Overhauling City’s Electoral System » WGBH Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said Tuesday he plans to re-open talks with city councilors about overhauling the city’s entirely at-large election process, one day after receiving a letter from a …

With federal aid, small towns keep it simple » Commonwealth Magazine WHEN MICHELE GIARUSSO, the municipal assistant in the small town of Leyden, read the rules governing the distribution of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, her response was: “You’ve…

Politics

Charlie Baker’s Cape Cod fundraiser back on the books for September » Boston Herald A high-profile Cape Cod fundraiser for Gov. Charlie Baker is back on the books, the Herald has learned, rescheduled for September after an erroneous invitation forced the campaign to cancel.…

City council race: Deeqo Jibril running for District 4 » The Scope Deeqo Jibril, a community organizer, advocate and small business owner, is running for District 4 city councilor to represent the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as parts of Roslinda…

Edwards, influential city councilor from East Boston, endorses Wu for mayor » Boston Globe City Councilor Michelle Wu has won the endorsement of fellow Councilor Lydia Edwards, a close colleague and a powerful political ally from East Boston, a strategic neighborhood in what has become a he…

Public Health

Cape Cod is weathering a surge in COVID cases at the height of tourism season — including many among vaccinated people » Boston Globe State officials dispatched teams of health workers to Cape Cod and issued new safety guidance amid worrisome signs Tuesday that COVID cases are on the rise across the renowned summer playground.…

366 confirmed cases, 6 deaths, and 7,513 vaccinations. See today’s COVID-19 data from Mass. » Boston Globe Massachusetts on Tuesday reported 366 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 6 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, and another 7,513 vaccinations administered, the Department of Public Health said.…

Delta variant now makes up 83 percent of COVID-19 cases in US » Boston Globe Health officials say the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge and accounts for an estimated 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases.…

More than half of Mass. children ages 12 to 15 have received a COVID-19 shot, but push may have plateaued » Boston Globe Ten weeks after they became eligible, 55 percent of children ages 12 to 15 in Massachusetts have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While that’s higher than the national average, lo…

Ferriabough Bolling: Mask up – we’re not out of the COVID woods yet » Boston Herald Whether some choose to believe it or not, we’re in the eye of a deadly storm as COVID infections surge with the introduction of an even more deadly virus mutation just as we were lifting safety rest…

Massachusetts coronavirus cases rise 366, the highest single-day count since late May » Boston Herald Health officials on Tuesday reported 366 new coronavirus cases as infections jump to the state’s highest level in nearly two months.…

Harvard report: Pandemic affect on kids shows negative academic and social impacts » Boston Herald Parents overwhelmingly feel as though their child’s academic and social development has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, according to a Harvard report, and even toddlers had more temper tan…

Public Safety

Moratorium Bill Could Block Women’s Prison in Norfolk » State House News Service Recounting stories of trauma and suffering behind bars, dozens of formerly incarcerated Bay Staters, families of inmates and advocates urged lawmakers Tuesday to order a temporary halt on construction…

Howie Carr: From lab scandal to pool death, a statie’s sad story » Boston Herald Is ex-State Police Capt. James J. Coughlin #1818 ready for his close-up Wednesday morning at Dedham District Court? Coughlin has been living large on his State Police pension of $131,961 a year.…

Boston police emphasize de-escalation, disengagement in mental health calls » Boston Globe If denied entry, disengage. If a person facing involuntary hospitalization becomes combative or refuses services, disengage. No more restraints. No more forced entry. Leave and try again later.…

Activists seek moratorium on prison construction » Commonwealth Magazine MASSACHUSETTS HAS THE lowest incarceration rate in the country and its inmate population continues to decline steadily, yet the state is still investing heavily in prisons and jails. A bill sponsored…

State Government

Gov. Baker Urges Legislature To Quickly Spend Federal COVID Funds » WAMC Massachusetts legislators today held what is expected to be the first of many public hearings on how to spend almost $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act.…

Economic experts back Massachusetts Legislature’s slow approach to spending federal coronavirus relief dollars » Boston Herald Economic experts backed the Legislature’s take-it-slow approach to doling out a remaining $4.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding as Gov. Charlie Baker found himself at odds with Democrat…

Fall Hearings Underscore Go-Slow Rescue Act Approach » State House News Service More than two months after the federal government gave Massachusetts roughly $5.3 billion to deal with the broad ramifications of the pandemic, the Legislature kicked off the public hearings that will…

Legislative budget writer says Baker ignored law in spending plan » Commonwealth Magazine A TOP LEGISLATIVE budget writer on Tuesday accused Gov. Charlie Baker of violating state law with his plan to immediately spend $186 million of federal recovery money on health care and job training i…

Massachusetts VaxMillions Giveaway first registration deadline is Thursday » Boston Herald Fully vaccinated Massachusetts residents must register by Thursday if they want to cash in on the first of five $1 million in cash prizes or college scholarships in the state’s VaxMillions Giveaway.…

How Mass. May Use Millions From Opioid Settlements » WBUR An advisory group has started hashing out criteria for how the state will use millions of dollars that has already started flowing from multiple lawsuits stemming from the opioid crisis.…

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s $186 million ARPA investment leaves little for COVID variant response, top state Democrats say » MassLive While Massachusetts lawmakers are seeking public input into how to spend millions in federal aid, Gov. Charlie Baker has already announced plans to dedicate $186 million — nearly all of the federal …

Lawmakers question Baker's plan to spend billions in federal funds » Boston Business Journal State lawmakers on Tuesday pushed back against Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to quickly spend almost $3 billion in federal recovery funding, questioning whether his recent use of just a fraction of …

Transportation

Tewksbury To Get Bridge And Road Repair Funds From State Bill » Tewksbury Patch Tewksbury will get a share of a $350 million transportation bill approved by the statehouse, Rep. Dave Robertson said.…

Karyn Polito announces over $6 million in funding for ‘Complete Streets’ program » Boston Herald Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito made a stop at a busy Newburyport intersection Tuesday to announce over $6 million in funding for 18 municipalities through the “Complete Streets” program, designed to help c…

All lanes of I-93 south in Medford will reopen ‘at some point’ Wednesday, officials say » Boston Globe All lanes on Interstate 93 southbound in Medford will reopen “at some point” Wednesday as crews work to repair the Roosevelt Circle overpass after it was hit by a truck Monday, according to Depart…

What Would It Take for Boston to Become a Car-Free City? » Boston Magazine After generations spent building a city around cars, Boston has reached a crisis point. Here’s how we can become a place for people instead.…

CFO Anticipates Regional Transit Authority Funding Vote Soon » State House News Service House leaders may be poised for budget veto override votes, and that could mean more money for regional transit authorities.…

Seaplanes will finally launch from Boston Harbor in just a few weeks » Boston Globe

Western Massachusetts communities get grants for roadway, sidewalk safety » MassLive The Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced $6.5 million in grants statewide for road and sidewalk safety projects, including $167,000 that will allow Springfield to make improvements alon…

Utilities

Feud between energy giants puts state’s climate goals at risk » Boston Globe A proposal to build a $1 billion transmission line to bring hydropower from Canada to Massachusetts has survived years of thorny negotiations and court challenges to win critical state and federal per…

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Recipe of the Week

Greek-Style Watermelon Salad

New York Times Cooking

Ingredients

3 cups cubed watermelon

2 large ripe tomatoes

1 medium cucumber

1 small red onion

⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives

⅓ cup crumbled feta

 Some chopped parsley and mint

 Olive oil and red-wine vinegar

 Salt and pepper

Directions

In a large bowl combine 3 cups cubed watermelon; 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped; 1 small red onion, sliced; 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives; 1/3 cup crumbled feta; and some chopped parsley and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and serve.



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