Window Into The State House

National Grid workers ratify contract, ending six-month lockout   It looks like both sides got some face-saving concessions in order for this to happen, though National Grid perhaps got a little more than it gave. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The six-month at National Grid ended on Monday when employees approved a new contract that appears to give the utility what it wanted in two key areas while offering members of the steelworkers union a number of improved benefits, including what amounts to a 22 percent salary increase over 5 ½ years.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more at WGBH.   To combat congestion, Walsh wants higher fees on Uber and Lyft   This conceivably could get rolled into some sort of congestion-pricing bill on Beacon Hill. We’ll see. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “Mayor Martin J. Walsh has a new idea to beat the traffic on Boston’s streets: boost the fees on all those Uber and Lyft trips. The Walsh administration plans to lobby state lawmakers to adjust the fees that are charged on each trip in the new legislative session that began last week.” There’s no set target fee. But the administration is looking at a number of options, including possibly charging more for passengers who ride alone in Uber or Lyft cars. The Herald’s Brooks Sutherland has more on Walsh’s transportation and environmental agenda at the State House.  
  As Trump prepares to address nation, Trahan, Neal and Kennedy have their say on shutdown   President Trump, locked in a battle with Dems over the government shutdown and Mexican border wall, plans to address the nation tonight on the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border,” reports NBC News. Here’s one small surprise: U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan says the shutdown needs to end – and so Dems might have to deal with Trump on the border wall, reports Hillary Chabot at the Herald. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is warning the shutdown could impact taxpayer filings later this year, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. And U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy is simply frustrated with the entire affair, saying Trump’s wavering on issues makes a shutdown solution “next to impossible,” reports SHNS’s Colin Young.  
Elizabeth Warren is giving Iowans some of that old-time populist religion   There are a number of stories and columns this morning praising U.S. Elizabeth Warren for focusing on economic issues in the early stage of the presidential race. Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa, writes at the Washington Post that Warren appears to be hitting a nerve in Iowa by emphasizing populist economic issues. Meanwhile, the NYT’s Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, is calling Warren a “serious policy intellectual,” even though he doesn’t agree with all she says about economics. He’s also blasting the media for not paying attention to her message. Finally, Susan R. Holmberg at the NYT says Warren is right to push for more workers on corporate boards.  
  Hey, media, stop with the horse-race coverage of Warren and other candidates   Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan is blasting the media for its early coverage of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, saying the horse-race and gaffe-pouncing coverage has got to end.  But some at the Post apparently haven’t gotten the get-serious memo: “Why Elizabeth Warren — and every would-be president — prefers macrobrews.” Then there’s this bobble-heads graphic piece at the Post on how the Dem presidential field might be narrowed down (and it’s actually not a bad piece, with Seth Moulton and John Kerry making cameo bobble-head appearances). Another sinful (but fun) horse-race story, from the Globe’s Jess Bidgood: ‘Elizabeth Warren is talking about Trump. She just doesn’t want to name him.” OK, one last sinfully interesting horse-race story, from SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Spilka likes Warren, but notes that ‘it’s early’ in prez process.”  
  Baker to file standalone education-funding bill   From SHNS’ Matt Murphy: “Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he’s ‘optimistic’ that the Legislature and his administration can reach a deal to reform public education funding by the summer, despite past attempts falling apart in recent years when talks between House and Senate Democrats broke down. … The governor on Monday said that proposal would be filed as legislation separate from the budget, allowing it to have its own hearings.”
Maybe Rep. Dooley isn’t paranoid after all: Feds also concerned about Chinese-made subway cars   State Rep. Shawn Dooley has elicited more than a few snorts by airing his theory/concerns that the MBTA’’s new Chinese-made subway cars might be used as a “Trojan horse” by Chinese cyber spies. Turns out there are more than a few people in Washington with similar concerns, as the Washington Post reports. They’re also worried China is trying to corner the market on rail-car manufacturing in general.  
  The tradeoff: Repairing T’s infrastructure may require major disruptions   The good news: Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s new general manager, is determined to aggressively push ahead with a much-needed repairs and maintenance program at the T. The bad news: It could lead to major service disruptions in coming years. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has the details. Meanwhile, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that the T’s popular $10 all-you-can-ride weekend fare program didn’t have to be suspended last month before it was re-launched this past weekend. He explains why.  
  An old fire station tradition: ‘Locker room talk’   Note the cause-and-effect gender statistic in the second sentence. From the Globe’s Milton J. Valencia and Meghan Irons: “The city-commissioned review to be released Tuesday found pervasive ‘locker room talk’ and an unwelcoming culture toward women in the largely male ranks of the Boston Fire Department and urged city officials to take several steps to boost the number of women on the force. Just 16 women are in the 1,500-member Fire Department, which has been criticized three separate times for its culture over the past 19 years.” Only one percent of city firefighters are women. That’s it.  
  UMass employees may owe back payments for their pensions   As many as 3,000 employees in the UMass system may owe money to the state’s pension program because of years’ worth of incorrect payroll deductions, Lisa Eckelbecker reports at the Telegram. At least one union representing impacted workers is saying UMass should cover the shortfalls.  
  Another fight over GIC health care changes?   Speaking of state employees: After last year’s battle over proposed health-care coverage changes by the Group Insurance Commission, the Massachusetts Union for Human Service Workers & Educators, which represents tens of thousands of government workers in the state, is mighty nervous about the GIC’s announcement late last month that it will be conducting “listening sessions” for employees later this month. The union has “growing concerns” about what might be in store, reports the BBJ’s Don Seiffert.  
  Sixth pot shop set to open this Friday in Great Barrington   The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlettreports that the state’s sixth pot shop, this one in Great Barrington, is expected to open later this week. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Colin Young at WBUR reports the Cannabis Control Commission has also approved a new pot growing facility in Franklin.   Meanwhile, a proposal to open a pot shop at the old Mary Ann’s dive bar in Brighton, near Boston College, is raising more than a few concerns in the neighborhood, reports Felicia Gans at the Globe. We can’t imagine what those objections could be. Can you?  
  In Framingham, pot-growing operation seen as farmland savior   Will this be Charlton redux? The owner of Eastleigh Farm — one of the largest private tracts of undeveloped land in Framingham — is proposing to lease part of his property to a marijuana growing facility, a move he says is necessary to keep the land open. The property owner and would-be operator of the facility unveiled their plans to neighbors and the community on Monday, Jim Haddadin reports at the MetroWest Daily News.