Window Into The State House

Remembering 9/11 …
There were numerous 9/11 remembrance ceremonies across the state yesterday, including one at the State House, where Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, was the keynote speaker and recalled the events of that terrible day 17 years ago. His message: Never forget.

Other solemn ceremonies were held in, among other places, West Bridgewater and Acton. The Enterprise has a piece on the two Bridgewater “snow angels” who received bravery awards named after a flight attendant on one of the hijacked planes flown into the World Trade Centers.

Marijuana growers threaten lawsuit over local pot agreements
A group representing the state’s marijuana growers says it is prepared to head to court to force the Cannabis Control Commission to review whether communities are demanding too much when negotiating local pot license agreements, SHNS’s Colin Young reports at MassLive. With the CCC saying state law does not clearly give it the authority to rule on such agreements, Peter Bernard of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council tells Young “it’s going to take a judge to sort it out.”

Meanwhile, CCC chairman Steven Hoffman said yesterday that “it’s possible” the commission could finally green-light some retail pot shops when it meets on Sept. 20, reports Tori Bedford at WGBH.

Pressure builds on Cardinal O’Malley over sex-abuse allegations
He seemed safe from criticism – until recently. The Herald’s Mary Markos reports on the mounting criticism of how Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has handled recent clergy sexual-abuse allegations. The criticism comes only days after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren dared to mention the equivalent of the “r” word (i.e. resign) if it’s shown O’Malley was aware of assault allegations at a Catholic seminary in Brighton, as WGBH’s Tori Bedford reports.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press at the Herald is reporting this morning that Pope Francis is “summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.”

Study: Transgender law didn’t lead to crime wave, mayhem and gang wars in public bathrooms
It was a bogus argument from the start – and this just confirms it. From the Globe’s Stepanie Ebbert: “A first-of-its-kind study being released Wednesday refutes the premise that the state’s transgender antidiscrimination law threatens public safety, finding no relation between public transgender bathroom access and crimes that occur in bathrooms.” Btw: We had never heard of “restroom crime reports” until now. You learn something new every day.


The tie-Baker-to-Trump strategy: Can it work for Democrats?
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld doesn’t think Democrats’ attempt to link Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to Donald Trump will work, calling it a desperate political strategy to topple a popular governor. But the Globe’s Joan Vennochi thinks it’s a legitimate issue, considering Baker’s effective endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl, an ardent Trump supporter. The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins writes that polls indeed show that Trump has become a net political negative for Republicans across the country.
Meanwhile, Lively mulls ‘campaigning actively’ against Baker
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is getting pounded by Democrats for his indirect ties to Donald Trump. Now he’s getting pounded by far-right pastor Scott Lively for not being close enough to Donald Trump. Lively, who lost to Baker last week in the GOP gubernatorial primary, says he’ll decide by tomorrow whether he’ll be “campaigning actively” against Baker this fall, report SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Colin Young.

Lively’s ultimate goal? Defeating Baker and thus clearing the way for a “conservative pro-Trump revolution to re-take the Mass GOP and the legislature in 2020, and the governorship in 2022.” You gotta hand it to him: He’s delusional, but he dreams big. Btw: The Herald’s Michael Graham is wondering who’s in charge of the state Republican party these days.

Gonzalez goes after Baker over poor condition of T properties
Now this is a legitimate issue. Whether it has traction is another matter. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “The poor condition of MBTA stations, garages, and other facilities across Greater Boston suddenly emerged as a campaign issue in the race for governor Monday, as Republican incumbent Charlie Baker and his Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, traded blame over the state of the system.”

Fyi: Separately, MBTA board member Brian Lang is demanding that the agency explain how it’s going to address the chronic delays on the Chelsea-Boston bus line, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine.


Galvin takes over recounts in Lowell and Lawrence, citing concerns about accuracy
From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Citing concerns about short-staffing and the mishandling of primary ballots, Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Monday he is taking over the elections departments in the Third Congressional District’s two largest cities, as he formally ordered a recount into its hotly contested Democratic primary.”

Alana Melanson at the Lowell Sun and Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive have more on Galvin’s action in the Third race, where candidates Lori Trahan and Dan Koh are locked neck-and-neck in preliminary vote counts.

Chinese maker of T’s new train cars pressured workers to sign non-compete agreements
State Sens. Eric Lesser, Will Brownsberger and Jason Lewis weren’t, and aren’t, happy at all that the Chinese maker of the T’s new subway cars tried to require some of its Springfield employees to sign noncompete agreements just prior to implementation of a new state law restricting such contracts, writes Jon Chesto at the Globe. The firm ultimately backed down after complaints by workers.

Meanwhile, the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien (pay wall) reports that a new Supreme Judicial Court ruling will make it harder for firms to enforce non-compete agreements with their out-of-state workers, “creating an important precedent as new state rules around such agreements go into effect next month.”

Exxon takes Healey fight to U.S. Supreme Court
From Brian Dowling at the Herald: “Exxon Mobil is taking its fight against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to the U.S. Supreme Court, appealing a decision from the state’s highest court that greenlighted a probe into whether the oil giant hid from the public knowledge of climate change risks.”



Cities push back over local pot agreements
From Sean Phillip Cotter at the Herald: “The head of the Massachusetts Municipal Association says the state should butt out of pot agreements between vendors and cities and towns. ‘Every community has different issues, different considerations,’ MMA President Geoff Beckwith told the Herald as advocates call for more oversight of the deals between the municipalities and pot shops.”

Separately, officials in the towns of Northboro and Bellingham are still trying to sort out the legal implications of Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent reversal of a policy concerning community bans on medical marijuana centers, Elaine Thompson reports in the Telegram.