Window Into The State House

Tentative deal reached to avert federal shutdown   Let’s hope this stick:. From the Washington Post: “Key lawmakers announced a tentative deal late Monday that would avert another government shutdown at the end of the week while denying President Trump much of the money he’s sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.” Fyi: Gov. Charlie Baker, before last night’s agreement, had urged lawmakers in Washington to reach agreement to avert another shutdown that would only harm “regular people.” He added that the state was “better positioned” to deal with another shutdown if it happened, reports MassLive.  
  It’s official: We have the worst traffic in the nation   No mention of how we’re also the worst drivers in the nation. From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “Gridlock during the peak of the morning and evening commutes was worse in Boston in 2018 than in any other major metropolitan area, even Los Angeles with its infamous traffic, according to a report from Inrix, a transportation data firm that publishes annual rankings of congestion around the world.” Fyi: At his website, Mayor Marty Walsh reacts to the new report – and outlines all the steps the city is taking to relieve traffic congestion. Unless we’re mistaken, he seems to be throwing the state under the bus on some matters. You decide.  
  The Pike’s coming mini-Big Digs   Speaking of transportation matters, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on how state transportation officials are planning to handle a series of coming construction projects – including the planned 1000 Boylston Street residential tower over the Pike – in order to minimize, hopefully, expected Pike traffic congestion caused by all the construction. Fyi: Mohl has a separate report on how the T, during last week’s mammoth Patriots victory celebration in Boston, had to throw open some fare gates to accommodate the crush of passengers trying to get onto trains. T officials said they were more concerned about public safety than collecting fares.  
  The state’s highway tunnels and bridge repairs bill: $1.6 billion   One last transportation-related post, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski at the Lowell Sun: “The Metropolitan Highway System, a network of major bridges and tunnels in and around Boston, will likely need $1.6 billion in maintenance and upgrades over the next decade, according to a review presented to transportation officials Monday. ‘We have a big job ahead of us,’ said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.” A big job indeed.
More on the ‘likeability’ of female presidential candidates …   The Boston Globe has been pounding into the issue of gender double-standards faced by female candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are running for president. Now the NYT has its own report, which borders on an outright opinion piece at times, on the “likeability” and other gender double-standards faced by woman on the campaign trail. Fyi: In an opinion piece at the Globe, Barbara Lee is cautiously optimistic that female candidates this year can overcome the double standards.  
  At Salem State, Moulton draws a crowd as he ponders White House bid   Speaking of presidential wannabes, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton held a student town hall at Salem State University Monday, an event transformed into a media crush by reports earlier in the day he was considering a run for president. Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports that the congressman was well-received by students and that at the behest of one student, Moulton signed a pledge promising not to take donations from the fossil fuel industry.   
  Restaurants seek to prune beer gardens run by brewery rivals   The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that state Sens. Ed Kennedy and Nick Collins have filed a bill that would limit the number of one-day licenses that bars could have to run outdoor beer gardens. So who’s behind this effort? The restaurant industry, which is none too happy about all the craft-brewery beer gardens that are popping up when the sun is out. Jon has the details.  
  What do you get when you combine a former prosecutor, cop and state lawmaker? A pot shop dream team!   This is interesting. From Sean Philip Cotter at the Herald: “A former state rep, an ex-Suffolk County prosecutor and a former high-ranking Boston cop are teaming up to run a proposed pot shop in Allston. Former Suffolk County prosecutor Amy McNamee is listed as the CEO of Union Twist, a recreational and medical marijuana shop proposed for 259 Cambridge St. Former Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey is the security consultant and former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Boston from 1999-2011) is the chief operating officer. All three are listed as the company’s ‘founding team.'”  
  Goldberg to huddle with lawmakers about DOJ ruling on online lottery games   From SHNS’s Colin Young: “While she is in the nation’s capital this week, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is planning to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation to discuss how a Department of Justice ruling could affect her wish to see the Massachusetts Lottery begin selling products online. … In an opinion reached late last year and released publicly in January, the DOJ reversed a 2011 ruling that gave states legal cover to sell lottery products online.”
Smith & Wesson rebuffs nuns, stands by Second Amendment   Take that, sisters. From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “The parent company of Smith & Wesson rebuffed a group of shareholding nuns who asked the company to do more to fight gun violence saying — in part — that its gun customers wouldn’t stand for it. ‘The Company’s reputation as a strong defender of the Second Amendment is not worth risking for a vague goal of improving the company’s reputation among non-customers or special interest groups with an anti-Second Amendment agenda,’ management at Springfield-based American Outdoor Brands Corporation wrote in a 20-page response issued Friday.”  
  Still a toddler: State’s marijuana industry needs more time to fully ‘mature,’ regulator says   Speaking of pot, the state’s emerging marijuana industry will take considerably more some before it reaches full ‘maturity,’ says Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steven Hoffman, as Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. Besides approving more retail pot stores across the state, regulators must still tackle thorny issues such as marijuana cafes and figuring out how to address drugged driving. Fyi: The industry will be taking another baby step toward maturity tomorrow, with the planned opening of a new retail pot shop in Hudson, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local.  
  What does the Herald’s owner really want from Gannett? Its real estate   The Washington Post has an interesting story about how Alden Global Capital, the bottom-feeder hedge fund that ultimately owns the Herald and other newspapers across the country, has a little-known subsidiary that has been quietly buying up real estate being unloaded by struggling newspapers across the country. It’s even purchased real estate from Gannet, the newspaper publisher that Alden reportedly wants to buy.  
  Committee assignments held hostage, Day 40   SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that 40 days after lawmakers were sworn into office, there’s still no new legislative committee assignments coming out of the offices of Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. They say be patient. The assignments are coming soon.  
  Though a ‘big fan’ of his former boss, Baker holds off on backing Weld for president   Gov. Charlie Baker, who once served in the administration of former Gov. Bill Weld, is not allowing himself to get dragged into 2020 presidential politics so early in the game, yesterday declining, politely so, to endorse Weld if he should indeed run for president as a Republican. “I’m a big fan of Bill Weld the person, but the decision he makes to run for office is very much his own,” Baker said, as reported by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Btw: Unless we’re reading it wrong, it sure sounds like Baker doesn’t believe any GOP challenger can knock off President Trump.