Window Into The State House

Feds: State Police troopers had ticket quotas to fufill   Something to ponder during your morning and evening commutes: The Globe’s Matt Rochereau and MassLive’s Scott Croteau report that federal prosecutors are now saying that troopers with ties to the State Police unit in the ongoing overtime scandal were required to issue eight traffic tickets per shift as part of a quota system, a “practice that state courts have deemed unconstitutional and agency officials have repeatedly denied exists,” as Rocheleau writes.  
  Is the Northeast now ‘oversaturated’ with casinos?   The Globe’s Mark Arsenault reports that four upstate casinos in New York have fallen short of revenue expectations, leading to the logical question: Is the Northeast market oversaturated with casinos these days? Some experts believe that’s indeed the case. It’s not just New York casinos seeing disappointing numbers. MGM Springfield, which only recently opened its doors, is also seeing lower-than-projected revenues, as the Associated Press and MassLive have reported. So how will Encore Boston Harbor fare when it finally opens later this year in Everett? Our money is on its numbers being off too. We’ll see.  
  Oversaturated or not, cultural council stands to make a killing on gambling   File under ‘Huh?’ From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “The jet-setting Massachusetts Cultural Council — called out for lavish spending on hotels, meals and trips — is in line for a big budget bonanza under the state’s gaming law, with a new bill pending that would remove legislative control on that money. The arts council would reap a 2 percent cut of casino revenues from MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, if and when the Everett gambling mecca opens.”  
  NESN goes all in with new sports-gambling show   Speaking of gambling, it seems some local media outlets can’t wait for legalized sports gambling in Massachusetts. First, from the Herald’s Michael Silverman: “Just because sports betting is currently legal in only one New England state — Rhode Island — that has not stopped NESN from broadcasting a three-hour show five days a week devoted completely to the practice. ‘Follow the Money’ began airing (Monday) morning on NESNplus from 7 until 10, and beginning next month it will air on NESN from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.” John Ourand at the BBJ has more on NESN’s move. Meanwhile, here’s the headline on a MassLive sports-section story this morning: “Register for MassLive’s $1 Million College Basketball Bracket Challenge, Presented by MGM Springfield.” It involves a “randomly chosen” winner among registrants.  
  Let’s make a deal: Freeze UMass tuition in exchange for $26M   From SHNS’s Katie Lannan: “The University of Massachusetts could freeze tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students next year, a UMass official said Monday, if lawmakers agree to a $26 million funding increase. Otherwise, a fifth consecutive year of tuition hikes could be on the horizon.”  
  Baker administration files legislation for new ‘innovation’ schools across state   From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday filed legislation to expand Springfield’s ‘empowerment zone’ model for education statewide. Baker said the model, which he is calling ‘innovation partnership zones,’ can be used to help improve underperforming schools and ensure that every student receives a quality education.” SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) has more on the plan.  
  Markey unloads Kraft campaign donation to anti-trafficking group   The Bob Kraft massage-parlor incident just won’t go away. From Bob Mohler at the Globe: “Senator Edward J. Markey, who received $3,600 in campaign donations from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, intends to donate that money to an organization focused on ending human trafficking after Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution at an Asian spa in Florida.”  
  Meanwhile, Dems call for investigation of Florida massage-parlor founder   Still on the topic of Bob Kraft and massages: Top Congressional Democrats are now calling for an FBI investigation into the woman who founded a string of massage parlors tied to sex trafficking – including the Orchids of Asia parlor that Bob Kraft apparently frequented in Florida – and her fundraising and political-access connections to President Trump, the Washington Post reports.  
  ‘Big Reiki’ flexes its muscle on Beacon Hill   And speaking of “bodyworks” operations, the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports on what appears to be one of the most formidable lobbying groups ever seen on Beacon Hill: “Big Reiki.” Well, maybe not. But the practitioners of the palms-to-body alternative medicine do have a new lobbying group and they’re out to block any attempt to license them, as lawmakers push to crack down on human and sexual trafficking.  
  Girl who sought relief from bullying is asked to give teacher aide a massage   OK, one last massages-related item – and this one is rather incredible: A 13-year-old girl at the School for Exceptional Studies in Lawrence apparently told teacher aides of bullying by other students and that she didn’t want to participate in a gym class. OK. Sit on the bleachers. And, btw, give one of the teacher aides a massage. Maria Cramer at the Globe has the details. Meanwhile, Breanna Edelstein and Zoe Mathews at the Eagle Tribune report that North Andover school officials probably broke their own rules when they asked a girl who said she was sexually assaulted by a classmate to sign an agreement to stay away from the alleged attacker.  
  Quasi-public agencies: Six-figure salaries nirvana!   They’re all quasi-public agencies, sort of out there to the side, not really the focus of too much attention, and they mostly have this in common: They pay their workers quite well, reports the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau, who dug into new payroll data to find a lot of six-figure salaries at places like the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, MassHousing, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, etc. etc.  
  Elizabeth Warren calls for ending electoral college   In her presidential-campaign swing through the south, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday proposed eliminating the nation’s electoral college system for electing presidents, removing Confederate statues, and creating a national commission to study reparations for black Americans, the NYT reports. The latter two ideas aren’t necessarily new, fyi. The Globe’s Liz Goodwin and Jess Bisgood have more on Warren’s CNN town hall meeting in the Deep South. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Warren, who’s not doing so well in most polls, appears to have embraced her underdog status. Btw: Here’s one poll, by Emerson College, that shows Warren isn’t doing all that bad in Wisconsin. She’s at least in double-digit numbers territory.