Baker’s move to sever Russian ties- POLITICO – POLITICO

Posted By on March 5, 2022

MARCHING ORDERS Gov. Charlie Baker is ordering executive branch agencies to terminate any contracts they have with Russian state-owned companies as the country continues its assault on Ukraine.

The governor's executive order directs agencies to review any partnerships or affiliations with those companies, the Russian government and any government-controlled entities. It encourages other agencies, constitutional offices and public colleges and universities to adopt similar policies. And it directs the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants to support Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

Its not clear how many contracts are actually at stake. Earlier this week, Baker said the state does business with roughly 100,000 entities. His office didnt respond Thursday to request for a contract tally.

Baker joins Republican and Democratic governors who are directing state agencies to cut ties with Russia. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr initiated a bill with bipartisan support that would let state Treasurer Deb Goldberg divest state pension funds from any investments in Russian companies, another tactic thats emerged in several states this week. Their bill would also bar Russian companies and government entities from accessing assets in banks overseen by the commonwealth.

These state-level sanctions are more symbolic than substantive. The $140 million in exposure to Russia already identified in the states pension fund is less than 0.2 percent of the funds total worth. That percentage is similarly low in other states. Governors and lawmakers across the country are aware theyre acting with more bark than bite. But individual states have few levers to pull against Russia over what Baker called an unjustified attack on Ukraine.

GOOD FRIDAY MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Legislation that would overhaul the states offshore wind industry sailed through the House in bipartisan fashion yesterday. But the bill, a priority of House Speaker Ron Mariano, is facing the prospect of a Senate rewrite.

House lawmakers pitched the bill which would change the offshore wind bidding process, create new tax incentives and more as a way to reestablish Massachusetts as a leader in the burgeoning industry and fuel job creation. It would also, they said, help Massachusetts meet its climate goals in the wake of Maines rejection of a transmission line meant to carry cheap hydropower south.

Senate President Karen Spilka plans to take up a broader climate resiliency bill this session that would pair offshore wind with solar and electric public transit. Michael Barrett, the Senate chair of the Joint Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee, told Playbook he hopes the Senate will go broad and spread the love more evenly across the full range of emissions-reducing technologies.

Im all for offshore wind. I think everybody in the Senate likes it for the electric power and likes it for the jobs, Barrett said. But you do have solar, and you do have energy efficiency, and you do have clean transportation.

Baker called the House bill round one of what he expects to be a very complicated back and forth during an appearance on GBHs Boston Public Radio. GBHs Mike Deehan has more on the bills tax incentives and fees for gas ratepayers.

TODAY Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and U.S. Education Sec. Miguel Cardona visit a Roxbury elementary school at 8:15 a.m. to promote multilingual learning. Wu joins the union picket line outside the Marriott Copley at 9:30 a.m., signs her real estate transfer fee home-rule petition at 10:30 a.m. in Mattapan and hosts an Instagram Live on how Boston can support Ukraine at 3:30 p.m. Cardona and AG Maura Healey participates in a MIT Title IX panel at 9:30 a.m. Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley host a roundtable on the impact of student loan debt on Black small businesses owners at 10:45 a.m. at Soleil Boston. Baker and Wu speak at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle awards at noon at the Omni Boston Seaport hotel.

THIS WEEKEND Baker is on WBZs Keller @ Large at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Rep. Jake Auchincloss is on WCVBs On the Record at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Tips? Scoops? Links still not working? Email me: [emailprotected].

Massachusetts reports 1,067 daily coronavirus cases; 3,084 infections in K-12 schools, by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: State health officials on Thursday reported 1,067 new coronavirus cases and a continuing drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations, as infections also kept falling in K-12 schools. A total of 3,084 staff and students tested positive in Bay State schools in the past two weeks, an average of 1,542 cases per week. That weekly average is down 61% from the previous report as the omicron variant slows across the state.

"Town-by-town COVID-19 data in Massachusetts," by Ryan Huddle and Peter Bailey-Wells, Boston Globe.

State Senate hires a pay consultant in wake of report that says staff pay breaks with best practice, by Samantha J. Gross, Boston Globe: A salary study commissioned by the state Senate but never publicly released found fault with the chambers hiring and pay practices for its staffers, concluding the approach can be perceived as lacking fairness and may lead to problematic staff turnover. After Globe inquiries about the report, the Senate on Wednesday announced that it had hired a consultant to serve as the chambers newly created compensation specialist. The consultant will receive a $100,000 annual salary, according to state payroll data.

Senate releases governance bill for Holyoke Soldiers Home: Removes layers from chain of command, by Jeanette DeForge, Springfield Republican: The Senate Ways and Means Committee released a new bill defining the oversight of the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers Homes, cutting out several steps in the chain of command the superintendents of the state-run veterans nursing homes will have to follow. The bill is substantially different from the House bill on the oversight, which passed in a 156-1 vote on Feb. 10 and has since been criticized by Inspector General Glenn Cunha as well as members of the Holyoke Soldiers Home Coalition, which is made up of former employees and family members of residents.

State Police troopers may have inflated hours they worked in hundreds of details, inspector general finds, by Matt Stout, Boston Globe: State Police troopers may have claimed to work more hours than they actually did in more than 800 paid details, spurring at least $150,000 in payouts that investigators called emblematic of possible abuse, according to the state inspector generals office. Inspector General Glenn Cunhas office said the conduct, which occurred in 2016, violated the State Polices rules at the time for paid details. And while the State Police and its largest union have since agreed to new rules governing how troopers are paid for details, Cunhas office argued that the new guidelines are ripe for more wasteful spending.

Baker explains his opposition to Mayor Michelle Wus real estate transfer tax, by Rebecca Tauber, GBH News: I dont support these sorts of things, [Gov. Charlie] Baker said. And I especially wonder why were doing this at a point in time when we have billions of dollars available to us to spend on housing, and the city of Boston has hundreds of millions of dollars available to them to spend on housing.

NEVER SAY NEVER: Baker mostly but not completely shut the door on another run for elected office. Responding on GBHs Boston Public Radio to a caller who asked when hes going to run for president, the outgoing governor said hes 65 years old now and wants to spend more time with his family. I think the likelihood I would do anything else in elected politics is pretty slim. Thats not a no.

Lady Gaga, other celebs have unclaimed property in Massachusetts, treasurer says, by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: Lady Gaga: You could be on the right track, baby, if you visit Find Mass Money. Thats according to the Massachusetts treasurers office, which revealed on Thursday that the pop icon has unclaimed property in the Bay State. Treasurer Deborah Goldberg announced the latest grouping of names that have been added to the states list of unclaimed property owners. More than 55,000 new properties worth millions of dollars belong to individuals and businesses throughout the state, including Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga.

Boston-area colleges relax pandemic protocols, by Grant Welker, Boston Business Journal: Northeastern University is taking some of the strongest steps back. It stopped posting a Covid-19 dashboard indicating test results last weekend, and has dialed back from required weekly surveillance testing to allow optional weekly tests for asymptomatic staff and students.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Rep. Jake Auchincloss is formally kicking off his reelection campaign Saturday afternoon with endorsers Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, Newton City Council President Susan Albright and council Vice President Rick Lipof.

GETTING IN: Tara Hong will launch his campaign for 18th Middlesex state representative at 11 a.m. Saturday in Lowell.

"Healey: No Regrets on 2016 Marijuana Opposition," by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service (paywall): Massachusetts voters in 2016 voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana over the objections of Attorney General Maura Healey. Six years later, as a candidate for governor, Healey doesn't regret her position. ... Was she wrong, [GBHs Jim] Braude asked. I think I'll leave that for others to judge, Healey said. Watch the clip.

Second candidate joins race to succeed Blodgett, by Julie Manganis, Salem News: A longtime North Shore lawyer is joining the race to succeed retiring District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who announced in January that he will not seek re-election. James OShea, 50, of Middleton, formally filed campaign papers with the states Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week.

As Commuters Return To Offices, Some Find Their MBTA Bus Lines Are Gone, by Brandon Truitt, WBZ: [Michael Lyons] was just one of many who used the MBTA bus lines daily. The trouble is that the lines he needs have been suspended during the pandemic. The MBTA said there are some alternative routes available for commuters to use. However, many riders say those routes make the commute time at least twice, up to four times, as long.

"Making gig drivers employees could result in major job loss, study finds," by Katie Johnston, Boston Globe: If Uber and other gig-economy companies are forced to make Massachusetts drivers employees, and they then require drivers to work at least 20 hours a week on average, between 49,000 and 74,000 job opportunities across four major ride-hailing and food-delivery platforms could be lost, a drop of 58 to 87 percent, according to a study commissioned by a coalition representing the four tech companies.

Former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia II gets another delay in reporting to prison, by Jo C. Goode, Herald News: Despite opposition from federal prosecutors that it is time for Defendant Correia to go to prison, federal Judge Douglas Woodlock has ordered a fourth delay for Jasiel Correia II. ... Correia's new date to report to a federal medium security prison in Berlin, New Hampshire is April 5. Woodlocks latest reasoning to defer Correias incarceration is the former mayors recent deadline extension in the First Circuit Court of Appeals for his defense attorneys to file arguments to either acquit him of fraud and government corruption or to offer him a new trial.

Massachusetts could receive $110 million from new Purdue settlement, by Deborah Becker, WBUR: The new settlement with Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma could provide Massachusetts with $110 million to offset costs from the opioid crisis. Thursday's settlement with all U.S. states and thousands of local governments calls for Purdue's owners, the Sackler family, to pay up to $6 billion.

More than trending hashtags: Black congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush press for end of qualified immunity after President Joe Biden calls to fund the police, by Erin Tiernan, MassLive: Black congresswomen Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush are pushing back on President Bidens State of the Union calls to fund the police instead demanding greater law enforcement accountability and an end to qualified immunity.

Massachusetts has the fourth highest levels of hate propaganda activity in the nation, report finds, by Liz Neisloss, GBH News: White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. remained high in 2021, according to a report released Thursday by the Anti Defamation League (ADL), and included jumps in antisemitic activity and white supremacist events. Massachusetts was found to have the fourth highest levels of hate propaganda activity in the country after Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas. This type of propaganda includes racist and antisemitic fliers, banners, and stenciled graffiti. At least 12 known white supremacist groups were behind hate propaganda in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

Under fire, Parole Board considers new process to terminate never-ending parole, by Sarah Betancourt, GBH News: The lawsuit [Khalid] Mustafa and other former inmates have filed the first of its kind in the state argued that the process to end parole is opaque and termination applications are rarely approved. Theyre seeking a clear process for terminating parole, with benchmarks for getting approval and requiring specific reasons for denial. The case may already be spurring change. The parole board has agreed to create formal regulations to address issues the plaintiffs have brought up, putting the case on hold.

A knockout blow: Mass General Brigham ads ruffle feathers, by Jessica Bartlett, Boston Globe: For weeks, Mass General Brigham has splashed its teal ads across newspaper pages, television screens, and the internet to rally support behind its proposed $2.3 billion expansion. The campaign, which experts estimate cost millions of dollars, has angered competitors and a legislator, who say the health system is using its deep pockets to relay misleading information to regulators and the general public. Mass General Brigham, for its part, says its using the ads to dispel misinformation spread by critics and to speak directly to patients.

Report cites uptick in welfare fraud, by Christian M. Wade, Salem News: The Department of Transitional Assistance, which oversees Massachusetts welfare system, says it blocked at least 683 attempts to use electronic benefit transfer cards to purchase banned items such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. Thats a more than 40% increase over the previous year, when the state agency blocked at least 480 illegal EBT card transactions, according to a new report.

New Bedford Police Union leaders rank high in number of complaints, by Anastasia E. Lennon, New Bedford Light: Current and former New Bedford Police Union leaders have some of the largest complaint histories among the departments nearly 240 officers, according to data provided by the New Bedford Police Department. The department submitted this summary disciplinary and complaint data to a new state agency that will have the authority to certify or decertify Massachusetts police officers in response to misconduct.

North Attleboro officials consider changing town seal, by Tom Reilly, The Sun Chronicle: They called her Helen, and she may be in line for a makeover. Shes the female figure emblazoned on the town seal and, although she doesnt have an official name, thats how workers in the town hall knew her for many years.

From law enforcement to a sitting state senator, nearly 300 New Hampshire names appear in Oath Keepers database, by Todd Bookman, NHPR: The names of nearly 300 New Hampshire residents including members of law enforcement, a sitting Republican state senator, former lawmakers, local elected officials, and military personnel appear in a database of alleged members of the Oath Keepers militia, though the extent of their ongoing involvement is not detailed.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jonathan Kraft, Rene Fielding, Henry Barrett, Deborah Ziskind and the Daily Hampshire Gazettes Bera Dunau.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Boston Globe, which turns 150 today. Today is also Boston Globe Day in Boston, per a proclamation from Mayor Michelle Wu.

HAPPY BIRTHWEEKEND to Lowell state Rep. Thomas Golden, Josh Arnold, Sharon Block, Gov. Charlie Bakers 18 campaign manager Brian Wynne, Chris Joyce, Chris Lane, Justin Backal Balik, Adam Boyajy, Tavo True-Alcal and Tamsin True-Alcal, who all celebrate Saturday; and to UMass Journalisms Steve Fox, Blake Gottesman, Jenn Queally and Lauren Young, who all celebrate Sunday.

NEW HORSE RACE ALERT: Diana DiZoglio and Republicans' moves in statewide races State Sen. Diana DiZoglio joins hosts Jennifer Smith, Steve Koczela and Lisa Kashinsky to discuss her run for state auditor. Subscribe and listen on iTunes and Sound Cloud.

Want to make an impact? POLITICO Massachusetts has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Bay State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause youre promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness among this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [emailprotected].

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Baker's move to sever Russian ties- POLITICO - POLITICO

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