04/20/2017 06:53 AM EDT
GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Mostly cloudy with highs approaching 60.
TODAY - Attorney General Maura Healey addresses the New England Council breakfast in Boston - Gov. Charlie Baker appears on Boston Public Radio's "Ask the Guv" segment at noon on 89.7 FM WGBH - Sen. Elizabeth Warren's book tour brings her to Boston's Old South Church for a sold-out 7 p.m. talk sponsored by the Harvard Book Store.
REEFER MADNESS ON BEACON HILL - In honor of 4/20, the folks behind the successful marijuana legalization ballot question Yes on 4 have rolled out new briefing papers for legislators. The main message: stop tinkering with or delaying the law or beware the black market. Plus ...
- DON'T take away Treasurer Deb Goldberg's power. Goldberg's office is best suited to regulate a substance like alcohol, Yes on 4 argues, and "there are no compelling public policy reasons put forward thus far to conclude the Treasurer's office cannot effectively regulate the adult-use of marijuana."
- DON'T delay the retail sale of edibles -- if it's delayed, it will encourage black market production because edibles will still be legal to possess under the law.
- DO address the tax rate (as the legislature has legal authority to do) BUT "consider the fact that Massachusetts will set the market rate for New England." The state currently has a 12 percent total tax rate for marijuana, which is in the middle of the pack among other states with legal weed. State legislators have shown interest in increasing that tax rate above 12 percent.
- DO trust cities and towns to regulate marijuana on a case-by-case basis rather than through sweeping state-wide legislation BUT be aware overzealous prohibition on a local level just boosts black market (and tax-free!) sales. Westborough is so far the only town in the state to ban pot shops outright through a local ballot question.
- Jonesing for more? READ the memo yourself.
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DATELINE BEACON HILL
- "Suzanne Bump rips 'no oversight' for pot," by Jordan Graham, Boston Herald: "State Auditor Suzanne Bump and marijuana legalization advocates are throwing water on a proposal to create an independent commission to regulate the newly legalized drug in the mold of the state Gaming Commission, which is not directly answerable to any department or elected official."
- "Baker public records stance referred to Healey," by Colman M. Herman and Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: "The state's supervisor of public records said Gov. Charlie Baker failed to comply with an administrative order to produce documents and referred the matter to Attorney General Maura Healey for action. The referral to Healey's office marks a new direction for the public records office, which reports to Secretary of State William Galvin."
- "Baker deserves a 'C' for handling, environmental groups say," by David Abel, Boston Globe: "For the second year in a row, environmental groups have issued a "mediocre grade" for the Baker administration's efforts to address issues such as climate change and land conservation."
- "Prisoner advocates demand reform, end to solitary confinement," by Lisa Wangsness, Boston Globe: "A group of clergy and prisoners' rights advocates is asking Governor Charlie Baker to investigate claims of abuse in the state corrections system and end practices such as solitary confinement, calling the practice 'barbaric and torturous.' The group delivered a list of four demands to Baker's office on Tuesday, following a press conference in front of the State House."
- "Delays in funding worry builders," by Jim Hand, Sun Chronicle: "The construction industry is starting to fret the state Legislature will be too slow in approving road repair money to take full advantage of the current construction season. John Pourbaix, executive director of Construction Industries of Massachusetts, said cities and towns need the money approved now so they can quickly get contractors to work on roads and sidewalks."
- "Senators, reps urge T: Negotiate with your workers instead of privatizing," by Nicole Dungca, Boston Globe: "The state's congressional delegation is urging the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to negotiate with a machinists union in hopes of preventing dozens of jobs from being outsourced."
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN -- "Controversial 'Rattlesnake Island' plan for Quabbin Reservoir suspended," by Jordan Grice, Masslive.com: "Plans to establish a timber rattlesnake colony on Mt. Zion Island at the Quabbin Reservoir have been suspended. Senator Anne M. Gobi, D-Spencer, announced Wednesday morning that members of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted to suspend the plan."
- "The Patriots' subdued White House party," by POLITICO's Kelsey Sutton: "It was supposed to be a party. Instead, the triumphal visit of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to the White House on Wednesday turned into a more subdued affair, overshadowed by player boycotts, a last-minute cancellation by star quarterback Tom Brady and the apparent suicide of former tight end Aaron Hernandez, convicted of murder in 2015."
- "Visa overhaul may pinch tech sector," by Christian M. Wade, Salem News: "President Donald Trump wants to overhaul a visa program that allows U.S. companies to hire foreign workers, a move that could affect hundreds of Massachusetts companies from high-tech businesses to hospitals and colleges. On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order directing the State Department and other agencies to review the H-1B visa program."
- "After the March for Science, the fight must go on," by Karen Antman, Harris Berman, George Q. Daley and Terence R. Flotte, Boston Globe: "As physicians and scientists, we can no longer afford to be isolationist in our work. We must demonstrate that science is not an impenetrable ritual practiced in the ivory towers of academia. Science is a way of thinking more than the accumulation of knowledge. And it's everywhere."
THE WARREN REPORT --
- "Cruz defends House Freedom Caucus against White House critics," by Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune: "Appearing on a panel with three conservative radio hosts, Cruz spoke multiple times about the need for the GOP to make good on its promises in the Trump era. He warned of grave consequences if Republicans fail to deliver, including the prospect of a liberal firebrand taking over the White House in 2020. ... 'If we screw all this up, you better believe the American people could elect President Elizabeth Warren,' Cruz later said."
- "Warren, Markey take on FERC over Otis forest pipeline permit," by Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle: "Two U.S. senators from Massachusetts have stepped into the pipeline fray in an effort to slam the brakes on Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s plans to start tree cutting in Otis State Forest. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey asked FERC to revoke its April 12 notice to start tree cutting and construction because they said the agency lacked quorum to make the decision."
ON THE STUMP
- INBOX: Paul Feeney, former chairman of the Foxboro Board of Selectmen, formally announced his candidacy for the Massachusetts State Senate seat being vacated by Senator James Timilty . From Feeney's campaign: "Feeney currently works as a technician for Verizon and an official for IBEW Local 2222. In addition to his one term on the Foxboro Board of Selectmen, Feeney previously served as the first Chief of Staff to Senator James Timility, a senior campaign official for Congressman Stephen Lynch's bid for Senate in 2013 and Massachusetts State Director for the Bernie Sanders for President Campaign. Paul is 39 years old resides in Foxboro with his wife Laura who owns and operates a small business."
- "Almost 40 candidates sign up to seek city office in Boston," by Meghan E. Irons, Boston Herald: "Other lesser-known potential mayoral challengers emerged Wednesday. They are Mary A. Franklin, a vocal public safety advocate from Roslindale; Donald M. Osgood Sr. of Dorchester; and Christopher G. Womack."
WOOD WAR -- Herald: "SHOCKING END" - Globe: "Violent end to a troubled life," "In end, O'Reilly factor was hypocrisy," "Mass. still struggles with high inmate suicide rate," "A day of celebration, tragedy, and omissions," "Partners looks to R.I. to expand."
THE LOCAL ANGLE --
- "Recreational pot sales may be banned for now," by Arianna MacNeill, Salem News: "Potential recreational marijuana sales in the city may not be allowed until after the end of next year. The City Council and Planning Board will soon consider a moratorium on all recreational marijuana-related zoning uses in Beverly until December 2018. A joint public hearing between the two groups is planned for May 30."
- "Cambridge planning Airbnb rules in bid to address housing costs," by Sara Feijo, Cambridge Chronicle: "Concerned with the city's skyrocketing housing market, Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelly and his aide have drafted regulations limiting the use of short-term rentals such as Airbnb. But Airbnb representatives say the online company generates significant economic benefits for the city's small businesses."
- "House budget more generous to local schools, but old issues persist," by Scott O'Connell, Worcester Telegram: "But according to the state's district-by-district 'cherry sheet' estimates, many districts in Central Massachusetts would see a relatively larger percentage funding increase, or in some cases even a net reduction, thanks to big swings in the House's charter school tuition reimbursement calculations."
- "Under State Control, Are Southbridge Schools Improving," by Henry Epp, New England Public Radio: "In 2015, the district's graduation rate was 64.7 percent. According to the state's education commissioner, just 41 percent of students reached proficiency in English Language Arts on the standardized test that year. The numbers were even lower in math and science. Suspension rates were high. So last January, the state took control of the Southbridge schools. ... So over a year in, how's it going?"
- "Massachusetts air quality improves, but challenges remain," by Jonathan Dame, MetroWest Daily News: "Air quality in Massachusetts and the nation continues to improve, but many residents still breathe air that could be harmful to their health, according to a new report. Bristol and Essex counties received failing grades for ozone concentrations in the American Lung Association's 2017 'State of the Air' report, which analyzed air quality data for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. That is a significant improvement from last year, when seven of 13 counties rated received 'F' grades for ozone based on the association's stringent grading metric, including Middlesex County."
- "Children's Center scandal still looming, BSU to celebrate day care's history," by Tom Relihan, Brockton Enterprise: "With the child endangerment trial of its former director just two months away and its permanent closure imminent, Bridgewater State University's day care center has planned a celebration of its three decades on campus. The planned celebration, detailed in an e-mail from acting director L. Eileen Estudante addressed to "friends and colleagues,' is scheduled for May 5 in Burnell Hall."
- "Overall homeless count on Cape, Islands at 5-year low," by Chris Lindahl, Cape Cod Times: "An annual snapshot census of homeless people living on the Cape and Islands conducted earlier this year shows the population of people living on the streets and in shelters is at its lowest level in the past five years. The annual "point in time" count Jan. 24 found 324 homeless people living in the region, the vast majority of them in shelters or transitional housing. That is 70 fewer people than were counted on that date last year, an encouraging sign for those who work in homelessness prevention and outreach."
- "Red Sox buy Cape Cod solar credits," by Adam Lucente, Cape Cod Times: "The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, home of the Green Monster, invested in another kind of green on Patriots Day, buying renewable energy credits from solar installations at two Wellfleet buildings as part of an effort to reduce the baseball team's carbon footprint."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY - to Dorchester State Rep. Dan Hunt, legislative aide to Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz Jessie Zimmerer, David Beauregard of Armstrong Advisory Group, Josh Delaney, senior education policy adviser for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Colin Reed, executive director of America Rising
DID THE HOME TEAM WIN? No! -- The Red Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 0-3. The Bruins fell to the Ottawa Senators 0-1.
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