GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS.
AMENDMENT FUELS SPECULATION ABOUT BIDEN’S CABINET — If you’re tracking what President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet may look like, here’s something to keep an eye on: State Rep. Mindy Domb filed an amendment to the House budget, up for debate this week, that would change the rules around Gov. Charlie Baker’s power to fill any future open Senate seats.
Baker could appoint anyone to the seat under existing rules, and that person would serve until the state could hold a special election. But Domb’s proposal would require the governor to appoint an interim lawmaker of the same party if a member of congress from Massachusetts vacated their seat. The amendment was reported by the State House News Service.
The proposal comes as Biden begins to consider his cabinet selections, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is often the subject of speculation for a Treasury role. Democratic sources told my POLITICO colleagues Warren planned to approach Biden about the job. It’s not clear whether Biden wants to appoint a progressive to the position, especially if the Senate, which approves cabinet selections, is held by Republicans next year. Domb supported Warren during the presidential primary.
If Domb’s amendment passes, it would clear one hurdle for a possible Warren appointment, without leaving Democrats worried about handing an open Senate seat to the Republican governor. It’s not uncommon for Beacon Hill legislators to change Senate vacancy rules, lawmakers have done so twice in the last two decades. Domb’s amendment was co-sponsored by state Reps. Christina Minicucci, Tram Nguyen and Mary Keefe.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: BARASH TO RUN FOR AUCHINCLOSS SEAT — Bryan Barash is throwing his hat in the ring to replace Jake Auchincloss, the Newton city councilor who was just elected to Congress.
The September primary created a domino effect — Rep. Joe Kennedy III gave up his House seat to challenge Sen. Ed Markey, creating an opening for Auchincloss. And now Auchincloss is giving up his seat on the council to head to Washington. The timing of Auchincloss’ resignation from the council determines when the city will hold a special election to replace him.
Barash will kick off his campaign with a virtual rally on Sunday with Newton City Council President Susan Albright, Councilor Holly Ryan and School Committee member Tamika Olszewski. The Newtonville resident works in the state legislature as general counsel for state Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler.
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TODAY — Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins and state Sen. Becca Rausch call for the release of prisoners due to Covid-19 at a press conference in front of the State House. Rep. Katherine Clark is a guest on GBH’s “Morning Edition.” The House debates a fiscal 2021 budget bill.
– “Massachusetts reports 1,184 new COVID cases, 13 deaths as Pfizer shares successful vaccine results,” by Tanner Stening, MassLive.com: “State health officials confirmed another 1,184 coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the statewide tally to 167,929. Monday’s total is based on 47,461 new molecular tests, according to the Department of Public Health. There are currently 22,815 known active cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. Officials also announced another 13 COVID-related fatalities, for a total now of 9,936 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.”
– “DeLeo backs budget debate on abortion access,” by Sarah Betancourt, CommonWealth Magazine: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo said late last week that he would frown on lawmakers using the budget as a vehicle for major policy reforms, but he backed off that stance yesterday in announcing a reproductive rights amendment sponsored by Rep. Claire Cronin of Easton would be taken up during budget deliberations this week.”
– “Massachusetts is on pace to reach, if not exceed, projected 3.6 million voter turnout in 2020 elections,” by Steph Solis, MassLive.com: “Massachusetts has already broken voter turnout records, but the latest tally of mail-in ballots coming in only bring the state closer to the Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s projection of 3.6 million. Galvin’s office reported another 42,602 ballots were accepted since 7 a.m. on Election Day. Those include ballots that arrived via mail and ballots that were placed in drop boxes on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Debra O’Malley.”
– “Budget amendments would raise taxes on corporations, capital gains in Massachusetts,” by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: “Lawmakers ignored House leaders’ pleas discouraging policy amendments to their $46 billion budget, filing a whopping 777 amendments, some proposing sweeping changes including tax increases on capital gains, corporate taxes and expansion of abortion rights — to name a few. The amendment pitched by state Rep. Mike Connolly, D-Cambridge, would raise the tax rate on unearned income — long-term capital gains, dividends, and interest — from 5% to 9% for the wealthiest tax brackets.”
– “Hotel workers hoping for pandemic job protections,” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “An amendment that will be considered as part of the House budget debate this week could give laid-off workers like Silva a small measure of hope. It would require hotel workers laid off due to the pandemic the right to be rehired into their old jobs if those jobs are brought back. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat, and pushed for by the union UNITE Here Local 26, which represents Boston area hotel workers.”
– “Hundreds of charities lose tax-exempt status,” by Christian M. Wade, Eagle-Tribune: “Hundreds of nonprofits in Massachusetts may have been stripped of their coveted tax-exempt status ahead of the holiday giving season because of an apparent computer error by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS automatically revokes the tax-exempt status of groups that don’t file required financial disclosures three years in a row. The deadline is May 15, but this year it was extended to July 15 because of the pandemic.”
– “Hundreds of ‘erroneous’ license suspensions yet to be resolved as Sen. Eric Lesser urges the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to give update,” by Douglas Hook, MassLive.com: “Sen. Eric P. Lesser wrote to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles Jamey Tesler to get answers on the hundreds of ‘erroneous’ license suspensions to drivers for out-of-state violations that were previously resolved. ‘These erroneous suspensions have forced many drivers into a frustrating appeals process amid the pandemic that has only exacerbated the existing backlog of driving violations that came to light last year,’ Lesser wrote.”
– “Quincy firm pays $250,000 to settle allegations of illegal campaign donations,” by Shelley Murphy and Dugan Arnett, Boston Globe: “Boston Property Ventures, a Quincy real estate development and investment management firm, has paid the state $250,000 to settle allegations that it made illegal campaign contributions to 11 state and local politicians, including Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. The payment marked the second highest civil forfeiture obtained by state campaign finance regulators, officials said.”
– “Is Pfizer’s vaccine a ‘magic bullet?’ Scientists warn masks, distancing may last well into 2021,” by Kay Lazar, Boston Globe: “A nation in the grip of a raging pandemic got a glimmer of hope Monday with the drug maker Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine showed early success among a small number of people in its drug trial. But with so many unknowns about the first batch of coronavirus vaccines still in development, vaccine and infectious disease experts warn that the public should be prepared to stay the course with 2020-style precautions for months to come, and perhaps longer.”
– “Pandemic worsens across New England, leading many to wonder what went wrong — and whether there is time to reverse course,” by Martin Finucane, Dasia Moore, Travis Andersen and Dugan Arnett, Boston Globe: “More than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases each day in Massachusetts. A nursing home outbreak in Maine. Record peaks in infections in Connecticut. In Vermont and New Hampshire, the single highest daily caseloads since spring. In Rhode Island, the highest rate of positive tests since May.”
– “Mayor Walsh nearly tripled fund-raising haul in October; had more than $5.7 million on hand,” by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has yet to publicly announce whether he intends to seek a third term, nearly tripled his fund-raising haul in October compared to the previous month, according to state records. The Walsh campaign received more than $317,000 last month, a jump from the $106,000 raised in September, according to filings with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance.”
– “New COVID-19 Outbreak At MCI-Norfolk Worries Prisoners Advocates,” by Jenifer B. McKim, GBH News: “At least 140 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, Mass., — about 11% of the population at the medium security facility that houses some of the state’s oldest and sickest inmates. Two prisoners have been sent to a nearby hospital for care and are said to be in stable condition, state officials said Monday.”
– “Boston’s real estate industry sees greater predictability under President Biden,” by Catherine Carlock, Boston Business Journal: “David Begelfer, principal of CRE Strategic Advisors, says the local commercial real estate industry is ‘fairly optimistic’ about the projected Biden/Harris administration. ‘The likelihood of another stimulus bill, a clear and rational Covid response, and a long-overdue infrastructure bill will all bring investment and predictability to the markets. The likelihood of a tax increase and the loss of the carried interest deduction is small,’ said Begelfer, who is also the former CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts.”
– “’Just The Beginning’: For Boston Activists, Harris’ Election Sparks Joy, Tempered By Determination,” by Adrian Ma, WBUR: “On Saturday night, when Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris gave a victory speech to the nation alongside Joe Biden, Boston City Council President Kim Janey said she got emotional as she watched with her granddaughter. ‘I got teary-eyed as I sat with my granddaughter and I thought of all the little girls all over the country watching history unfold right before their eyes,’ Janey said in Boston on Sunday morning.”
– “Allies rally behind Everett city councilor,” by Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe: “After being chided for attending council meetings remotely and pressured by her colleagues to resign, Everett’s only Black councilor on Monday night got an outpouring of support from allies — and, later, a mea culpa of sorts from her fellow councilors. About 100 people — including US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, Boston City Council President Kim Janey, former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, and former Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot — rallied outside Everett City Hall beside Gerly Adrien, the first Black female councilor in the city’s history.”
– “Somerville offers new relief for small businesses,” by John Laidler, Boston Globe: “The city recently announced it is offering a new $750,000 round of relief in the form of forgivable loans, which do not require repayment if conditions are met. The grants, acquired through Somerville’s federal Community Development Block Grant funds, will be provided in two categories.”
– “Facing Budget Shortfall, MBTA Plans Major Service Cuts,” by Bob Seay, GBH News: “The MBTA says it is facing a $579 million deficit next fiscal year due to the pandemic and will have to cut costs by sharply reducing subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry service. In plans released Monday, the transit agency detailed the services it proposes to reduce or eliminate.”
– “Proposed commuter rail cuts a concern,” by Cyrus Moulton, Telegram & Gazette: “Local government and transportation officials expressed concern – albeit not surprise – at proposed cuts to the commuter rail unveiled by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Monday. The reductions would include no commuter rail service after 9 p.m. on the weekdays and no weekend service.”
– “With Supreme Court to hear ACA case, 422,000 Massachusetts residents could lose coverage,” by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Boston Globe: “The percentage of people without health insurance would soar and Massachusetts would lose billions in critical federal funding if the US Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, a new report warns. The latest legal challenge to the decade-old law known as Obamacare goes before the court Tuesday. A new analysis from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation estimates that 422,000 Massachusetts residents would lose their coverage in the extreme scenario that the law is struck down.”
– “For a Trump Fan, a Week When Victory Ebbed Away,” by Ellen Barry, The New York Times: “Nick Rocco went into Election Day amped up. A 26-year-old hair stylist, he spent the past few months campaigning for President Trump, taking special satisfaction in offending Biden supporters. It was still summer when he got kicked off his town’s community Facebook page for his pugnacious pro-Trump posts. When someone stole the Trump sign from his yard, he replaced it with half a dozen new ones, one featuring an expletive.”
– “Rep. Katherine Clark On What The Election Means For House Democrats,” by Tiziana Dearing and Walter Wuthmann, WBUR: “As final votes come in, the election appears to be a mixed bag for Democrats. Joe Biden has been declared the winner in the presidential race, and Democrats will keep the House of Representatives, but likely with the narrowest margin in 18 years.”
– “As budget debate begins, Berkshire lawmakers pitch funding priorities,” by Danny Jin, The Berkshire Eagle: “When the House begins debate on Tuesday about the proposed state budget, it will consider a number of amendments filed by Berkshire County representatives. House leaders had warned representatives that the typical ‘earmarks’ for local spending may not be funded this year due to a pandemic-induced revenue shortage. Representatives filed 777 amendments, which — while fewer than in most years — are expected to require two to three days of debate.”
– “Wanted: A house to buy in a red-hot market,” by Alex Thompson, Daily Hampshire Gazette: “After being outbid for her first choice in Easthampton during a two-month housing search, Alix Sorrell located and purchased a home in Greenfield this fall. ‘I think I just got really lucky because there are no houses to buy,’ says Sorrell. ‘It feels like a total fluke.’ Employed in graphic design for a San Francisco company and having returned to the East Coast a while ago, after growing up in the Springfield area, Sorrell said the process that led to buying the home in the Valley was ‘very challenging.’”
– “Newly elected state legislators Adam Gomez, Orlando Ramos eye keeping their Springfield City Council seats,” by Peter Goonan, Springfield Republican: “State Rep.-elect Orlando Ramos said Monday he is ready to join the House in January, but will also serve out the final year of his term on the Springfield City Council. State Sen.-elect Adam Gomez, also a Springfield Democrat, said he is still considering whether to finish the final year of his term on the council. He represents Ward 1, which includes the North End and downtown area.”
– “Black Families Together calls on Worcester Public Schools to remove police officers from school buildings,” by Tom Matthews, MassLive.com: “Black Families Together, an organization focused on addressing systemic racism and inequalities for Black people in Worcester, says its number one demand requiring immediate action is the removal of school resource officers from Worcester Public schools.”
– “Framingham to consult with MA Secretary of State after Census fraud allegation,” by Jeannette Hinkle, MetroWest Daily News: “Framingham is waiting to hear from the Massachusetts Secretary of State about the consequences of a Census-taker’s allegation that she was instructed by a supervisor to enter false information about Framingham households for the nation’s once-a-decade headcount. Public Information Officer Kelly McFalls told the Daily News on Monday that the city is expecting to discuss the subject with Secretary of State William Galvin’s office on Tuesday.”
– “Franklin native helps Biden to White House,” by Stephen Peterson, Sun Chronicle: “The country’s new president has an area native to thank for helping get him to the White House. President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, 44, is a native of Franklin, graduate of Franklin High School, and is being called the unsung hero of the presidential campaign.”
REMEMBERING ALLAN L. ‘JAY’ CICCONE, JR., via Newton Patch: “Newton City Councilor Allan L. ‘Jay’ Ciccone, Jr. died unexpectedly on Saturday. He was 55. ‘With a heavy heart, I mourn alongside all of Newton over the sudden passing of [Councilor Ciccone],’ Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement.” Link.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to MassINC’s Steve Koczela and Shawn Duhamel.
NEW EPISODE: DOWN FOR THE COUNT – On this week’s Horse Race podcast, hosts Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith and Stephanie Murray break down the results of the 2020 election, with insights on the presidential race, local contests and polling. Subscribe and listen on iTunes and Sound Cloud.
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