05/18/2017 07:02 AM EDT

By Lauren Dezenski (ldezenski@politico.com; @laurendezenski) and Rebecca Morin (rmorin@politico.com; @RebeccaMorin_)

GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Get ready for a scorcher - Sunny with a high of 97 (!) expected in Boston.

FROM MASSACHUSETTS WITH LOVE - As Gov. Charlie Baker continues to walk a fine line of pushing for the state's interests in Washington while not ruffling too many feathers, his office announced yesterday he had co-authored a letter to the Trump administration in defense of the Paris Climate Agreement with Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. Hours later, after advocates exhorted Baker to call on the Trump administration to extend temporary protected status for Haitian refugees, the governor's spokespeople issued a statement saying he already raised the issue when Baker met with Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly in Boston earlier this month.

One thing to note in Baker's efforts to distinguish himself from his party's president - rarely, if ever, is pushback directed toward Trump himself. As Baker continues to vow to fight for the state's interests against the backdrop of an increasingly frustrating scene in Washington (for Massachusetts, at least), he's employing the same tack he took under the Obama administration. In both cases, there are fewer chances for dealmaking between the governor and the presidents he didn't vote for.

Thus, there's a belief in the corner office that if Baker or his surrogates want to see any real traction with the Trump administration, it will happen through secretaries and cabinet members rather than the Oval Office - which is why yesterday's letter was addressed to Energy Sec. Rick Perry.

Have a tip, story, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for the Playbook? Get in touch: ldezenski@politico.com.

TODAY - Advocates lobby for Rep. Paul McMurtry's bill that would raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 and ban e-cigarette use in the workplace - The State Treasurer's Alcohol Task Force holds its first of six public hearings on regulatory issues around the commonwealth's alcoholic beverage industry in Waltham - Gov. Charlie Baker heads to the South Coast for a cultural facility award announcement in New Bedford and the swearing-in of new SJC justice Ellie Cypher at UMass Dartmouth.


- "Senate prez Rosenberg mulls new tobacco law," by Chris Villani, Boston Herald: "A bill that would raise the state's legal age for using tobacco products from 18 to 21 is gaining 'momentum' in the legislature and could become a reality, state Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg told Herald Radio yesterday."

- "Unions And Democrats Try To Halt Baker's MBTA Outsourcing Plans Before Bus Garages Go Private," by Mike Deehan, WGBH News: "Democrats in the Legislature voted in 2015 to give Gov. Charlie Baker a three year exemption from a law that limits how much state agencies like the MBTA can be outsourced to private companies, but now Democrats and unions say Baker is too bent on privatization to strike a deal with workers."

- "Walsh voices 'concerns' with Senate budget proposal," by Chris Villani, Boston Herald: "Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh says he has some concerns about a state Senate budget proposal that seeks to close a $462 million gap by relying on additional revenue sources, including fees on Airbnb rentals and changing the way the state collects online sales taxes. 'My concern the with Airbnb tax is I want some of that revenue to come to Boston,' Walsh told the Herald [Wednesday]."

- "Haitian diaspora waits on US call on immigrants' protected status," by Noble Ingram, Dorchester Reporter: "An upcoming deadline to renew a temporary residency program affecting more than 50,000 Haitians in the US has sparked a flurry of action by city and state representatives. ... Boston is home to some 16,000 Haitian immigrants; it's the third largest such population in the country. In response to the White House's ongoing silence on the issue, several local lawmakers have spoken up on the impact of this decision. On Monday, Mayor Marty Walsh sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging the two officials to support the extension of TPS for Haitian residents ."


- "Rep. Stephen Lynch: Intelligence Community Can't Trust Trump," by Tori Bedford, WGBH: "Rep. Stephen Lynch described a 'degradation' of the relationship between the White House and national intelligence services, following President Trump's controversial meeting with Russian leaders in which he revealed classified information. 'He has been very dismissive of [intelligence services] and I think, at times, disrespectful of them," Lynch said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday. 'That hurts morale, and I think that's not good for the country, it's not good for this White House to have lost the trust and support of even a small number of those agents that are risking their lives on our behalf.'"

- PRAISE FOR THE NEW SPECIAL PROSECUTOR APPOINTED TO INVESTIGATE TRUMP'S TIES WITH RUSSIA: "The American people deserve answers and Robert Mueller is a good choice to get them," Sen. Ed Markey said in a statement. Rep. Seth Moulton: "This decision shows that speaking truth to power is not only effective, but vital to protecting our democracy. The appointment of a special prosecutor will allow us to keep fighting for the facts. And by continuing to hold the White House accountable, we will get to the truth and get back to creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity for all Americans."

- THERE'S ALWAYS A MASSACHUSETTS CONNECTION: "Robert Mueller, special counsel in Russia probe, has Boston ties," by Travis Andersen and Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe: "Mueller served in Boston under William F. Weld, the US attorney at the time, and led the office for more than a year when Weld took another job in the Justice Department. ... Among reporters, Mueller was known as a tight-lipped prosecutor, routinely responding 'no comment' when queried about cases."


- "Shortsleeve alters Senate race by unenrolling from Dems," by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service: "Former TV reporter Joe Shortsleeve changed his party registration this week in his hometown of Medfield and will run for Senate as an independent. He said more than 60 percent of voters in the Bristol and Norfolk County district are unenrolled and speculated that an independent could succeed there. 'It's a huge number of people that have not signed up for the parties,' Shortsleeve said."

- INBOX: "'Victim Blaming Shows Zero Vision' - Statement from Councilor Tito Jackson on Mayor Walsh's Comments Yesterday on Road Safety," from Tito Jackson for Mayor: City Councilor Tito Jackson on Wednesday said 'Bostonians deserve so much better,' after Mayor Marty Walsh said pedestrians and cyclist share the blame with drivers during car accidents. 'The number of injuries on our roadways is rising, but victim blaming and excuse making is not going to get us the transportation network that we need, and it certainly isn't going to make our streets safer,' Jackson said.

- "Divisions in political base present challenge for Walsh in Boston mayor's race," by Yawu Miller, Bay State Banner: "Unseating an incumbent mayor is a rarity in Boston, but fractures in Mayor Martin Walsh's electoral base could present leading challenger Tito Jackson with a golden opportunity. ... If Jackson is able to capitalize on the tensions Walsh is facing as the gulf between haves and have-nots widens in Boston, he may be able to broaden his support beyond the Roxbury-based district he currently represents on the council."

- "Dem guv candidate urges House to impeach Trump," by Matt Murphy, State House News Service: "Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who may try to tie Gov. Charlie Baker to an unpopular President Donald Trump during the 2018 gubernatorial race, called for Trump's impeachment Wednesday amid reports of Trump's alleged interference into investigations of his campaign."

- "A look at Baker's potential rivals," by Felice Belman, Boston Globe: "The next election for governor is more than a year away, but already the race is beginning to take shape. Here's a look at some of the Democrats most likely to compete to take on Republican Governor Charlie Baker in his anticipated run for reelection in 2018."

- "Democrat Robert Massie kicks off campaign to unseat Charlie Baker," by Travis Andersen, Boston Globe: "Another Democrat has officially entered the fray for the party's gubernatorial nomination in 2018. Robert K. Massie, a longtime environmentalist and entrepreneur, told about 200 supporters during his formal campaign kickoff Tuesday night that he is 'irrevocably committed to liberty and justice for all.'"

WOOD WAR - Herald: "FIRESTORM" - Globe: "Special counsel appointed," "Celtics fall in opener," "GOP lawmaker in '16: GOP pays Trump," "A siege of scandal news envelops the capital," "Mueller's work in Boston on big cases made talents clear," "At teachers union, shift cuts across generations, gender."


- "A pile of problems for UMass project," by Brian Dowling, Boston Herald: "The $233 million price tag for an "essential" construction project at the University of Massachusetts Boston needs to be hiked by $11 million to truck more asbestos-tainted soil off campus, a consultant said - the project's third cost increase in as many years."

- "Brewster selectmen to consider name change," by K.C. Myers, Cape Cod Times: "The Brewster Board of Selectmen may soon rename itself to reflect more gender-neutral language. Selectman John Dickson Monday night raised the idea of referring to himself and fellow selectmen as members of the Brewster Select Board. 'I would like to applaud bringing us into the 21st century,' Selectman Cynthia Bingham said."

- "Hearing on challenges to sanctuary petition set for Sunday," by Dustin Luca, Salem News: "Election officials will hold a hearing Sunday to review the objections three residents have to a petition against the city's 'Sanctuary for Peace' ordinance. The objections challenge some of the certified signatures on the petition and contend there were violations of the city charter both during the signature-gathering process and during certification."

- "Moratoriums, bans on pot shops, piling up," by Rick Foster, Sun Chronicle: "Last November, voters throughout Massachusetts including most towns in the Attleboro area voted to allow legal adult use of recreational marijuana, including commercial sales of pot. But while it's now legal to use and cultivate limited amounts of the hemp-based drug, the establishment of legal sales has been stalled by legislative delays and opposition from a number of communities that have approved outright bans on pot shops."

- "Hadley 'grass' is now here, just look for signs," by Diane Lederman, Springfield Republican: "The signs around town started going up just days ago. Asparagus - or Hadley 'grass' - is now here. ... Wally Czajkowski, who runs Plainview Farm in Hadley, said because it was so cold and suddenly so hot, the crop is coming in fast."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - to POLITICO's national security editor and Globe alum Bryan Bender and Billerica state Rep. Marc Lombardo.

DID THE HOME TEAMS WIN? Yes and no! - The Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 but the Celtics fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-117.

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