Window Into The State House

Mickey Roache, RIP   Francis ‘Mickey’ Roache, 82, the former Boston police commissioner, city councilor and Suffolk County Registry of Deeds, has passed away, reports Universal Hub. The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo has more on the death of Roache, who served as commissioner from 1985 to 1993.  
UMass chairman: ‘Many, many, many’ colleges could close in coming years   Sounding the alarm about declining college enrollment and graduation rates across the country, UMass board of trustees’ chairman Robert Manning is warning that tough financial times lie ahead for the nation’s colleges, particularly if a recession hits. “There are many, many, many higher education institutions both private and public that are going to go out of business in this country in the next five years,” he said, as reported by SHNS’s Nicole DeFeudis at the Salem News. Considering the recent demise of Wheelock and Mount Ida collages and the soon-to-close Newbury College, it doesn’t sound like he’s exaggerating. Btw, from the Globe: “Before announcing shutdown, Newbury College recruited students from defunct Mount Ida.”  
  Union to Senate: What’s up with the National Grid bill? What’s going on?   From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Locked-out National Grid gas workers, in a new letter to Senate President Karen Spilka, are claiming that the Senate’s ‘uncertain position’ is strengthening the utility company’s position as contract talks extend closer to Christmas.” Union members want the Senate to pass a House bill calling for the state to set up benefits for any utility employee locked out in a labor dispute, a move that would put financial pressure on National Grid to settle. Btw: The Globe’s Kevin Convey writes that union members are keeping the faith in general, despite the coming holidays with no contract settlement in sight.  
Pollack: Time to replace Sagamore and Bourne bridges   State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack has finally stated what many have assumed for a long time: It’s time to replace the narrow and outdated Sagamore and Bourne bridges over the Cape Cod Canal with wider and more modern structures. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have all the details, including how the condition of the bridges are on Pollack’s “keep-me-up-at-night list.” If this ever happens, it’s going to be the Cape’s version of the Big Dig. Fyi: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and maintains the bridges, is currently studying whether to overhaul or simply replace the structures. The Progressive Caucus yesterday announced that progressive lawmakers will make up a majority in the Massachusetts Senate. Now comes the hard part: Reality. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Asked what the caucus’s agenda would be in the next session with its new majority, (Sen. Jamie) Eldridge said, ‘That’s the discussion. Can we agree on some core issues?’”  
  It’s over: Suffolk DA drops prosecution of Sean Ellis, citing lack of evidence and police corruption   The Suffolk County district attorney office has finally closed the book on the long and controversial saga of Sean Ellis, convicted in the 1993 murder of a Boston police detective, blaming old and unreliable evidence and corruption charges against detectives in the original case. Lisa Creamer at WBUR has more on the protracted and contentious legal fight that spanned more than two decades.
  Sanofi signs record mega-lease for space in Cambridge   From Catherine Carlock at the BBJ: “French drug giant Sanofi has confirmed long-rumored plans to lease 900,000 square feet across two buildings at Cambridge Crossing, further cementing the East Cambridge development site as a biotech hub and marking the largest single lease deal in the city’s history.”  Fyi: The development site was previously known as North Point. Fyi, II: Across the street, the owner of the CambridgeSide Galleria wants to convert a portion of the third floor of the retail/restaurant mecca into office space, yet the latest example of the beating bricks-and-mortar retail venues are taking in this e-commerce era, the BBJ also reports (pay wall). Fyi, III: The Globe’s Jon Chesto has an update on preliminary development plans for the Charlestown Navy Yard. And, yes, as Univesal Hub notes, it includes something that every world-class-city must now have in order to be a true world class city: A Ferris wheel. How original.  
  Healey and other AGs challenge judge’s ruling on Affordable Care Act   From Jackson Cote at the Globe: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and her counterparts in 17 other states filed a motion Monday challenging a Texas federal judge’s ruling last week that struck down the Affordable Care Act.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey yesterday said the ruling is based on “a fallacious assumption” and may well be overturned, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall). At the Globe, Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports that the Texas-based judge’s decision, if upheld, could wreak havoc with the state’s health care system.
  Pot shops update: Two more are on the way …   By the end of the week, there could be five retail marijuana stores open for business in Massachusetts, after the Cannabis Control Commission yesterday authorized the opening of two additional pot shops in Eastampton and Wareham, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at Wicked Local. Btw: The commission yesterday also made it official: It will be moving its permanent headquarters to Worcester’s Union Station, hopefully by mid-2019, SHNS reports separately at the Telegram.  
  New sheriff in town: Baker taps former councilor and Scott Brown aide for Norfolk County post   There’s a new sheriff in Norfolk County. And not just any sheriff. He’s a Republican. In Democratic territory. He’s Jerry McDermott – and the governor just appointed him to clean up town (figuratively speaking). The Globe’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) have more.
Warren calls for feds to enter generic drug-making market   Speaking of the senior senator from Massachusetts, we’re pretty sure the state’s life-sciences sector isn’t exactly wild about this idea. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has unveiled legislation that would put the federal government in position to manufacture generic drugs with the aim of bringing down prescription prices, Alex Thomspon and Sarah Karlin-Smithreport at Politico. In a Washington Post op-ed, Warren says the Department of Health and Human Services could step in to directly produce or contract production of generic drugs the private sector has dropped or ignored.  The Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act—which was immediately opposed by the generic drug-making lobby and which many believe has little to no chance of making it through a GOP-led Senate—joins proposals from several other putative 2020 Democratic hopefuls.   
  Homelessness rises by 14 percent in Massachusetts   From Cynthia Fernandez at the Globe” “Homelessness in Massachusetts increased by 14 percent this year, according to a federal report released Monday, and local advocates said the data highlight the need to quickly build more housing for the most vulnerable.”