Window Into The State House

Groups urge three-month delay in new paid-leave taxes   You know something’s seriously wrong when normally warring factions agree something’s seriously wrong and needs action. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “State government should approve a three-month delay in payroll taxes needed to fund the new paid family and medical leave program, according to a coalition of business, labor and social justice groups. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, officials from Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and Raise Up Massachusetts said there’s a need for a three-month extension of the July 1 deadline for approval of employers’ private paid and family medical leave plans and the start of required plan contributions.” Let’s just put it this way: The rollout of the program, in terms of who’s taxed and at what levels, has been more than a little chaotic.  
  It’s official: Liss-Riordan is taking on Markey, hoping to duplicate Pressley’s incumbent-slayer success   Labor rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan made it official yesterday: She’s challenging U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in next year’s Democratic primary race. Michelle Williams at MassLive and SHNS’s Katie Lannan(pay wall) have the details. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that Markey is just the latest white male Democratic incumbent to face a challenge from the female left – and he may not be the last.  
  The old Friday documents dump trick, Part II: DEP threatened with sanctions, admits it botched compressor tests   This is getting most interesting. From Craig LeMoult at WGBH: “The hearing officer who presided over the Department of Environmental Protection’s hearings last week on the Weymouth gas compressor station is now ordering the DEP to tell her why she shouldn’t sanction the department for waiting four days to disclose relevant data. … The hearings were supposed to take three days, beginning on Wednesday. But after two full days of hearings, the DEP released 759 pages of new air quality data that hadn’t been shared with the petitioners yet.” And it turns out the state’s originally submitted data was, well, inadequate. The headline on Chris Lisinski’s SHNS piece (paywall): “Compressor station permit based on incomplete air tests, state admits.”  
  T agrees to ‘free the ramp’ for shorter Silver Line tunnel trips   Why it took so long to do this, we don’t know. From the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter: “The state will “free the ramp’— for a little while, anyway — as Silver Line buses will begin to use the staties’ emergency ramp to skip to the front of the traffic at the Ted Williams Tunnel this summer. MBTA officials informed the joint MBTA oversight and Department of Transportation officials on Monday about the plan to start a pilot program to let T buses to zip down the state police ramp onto Interstate 90 rather than looping around and entering the Pike farther from the tunnel.” Separately, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on the various less-than-attractive commuter options now before transformation officials as they prepare for the giant Allston-Pike project.    
  Her son is shot on Saturday, she pulls papers to run for mayor on Monday   Dan Glaun at MassLive reports that the son of Springfield community activist Yolanda Cancel, who has worked with community members and police officers to address street violence in the city, was shot and wounded outside a convenience store on Saturday. So she did something about it: On Monday, she pulled papers to run for mayor against incumbent Domenic Sarno. She has until May 28 to collect the 500 signatures required to make the ballot, as Glaun notes.  
  The Boston Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones   This is pretty amazing. The Globe’s weekday paid subscriptions fell below the 100,000 mark in the first quarter of this year, while its paid digital subscriptions rose more comfortably above the 100,000 mark. Bottom line: The Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones, as Don Seiffert reports at the BBJ. The good news is that the digital side is thriving. The bad news is the profitable side isn’t.  
  Elizabeth Warren even has plan to fix comedian’s love life   She’s proposed a plan to fix most everything else in America. So why not help fix comedian Ashley Nicole Black’s romantic life? Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine has the details on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s funny response to Black’s desperate call for love-life help. File under: “Ask Beth, II.” Btw: There’s no love loss here, via WBUR: “Years Ago, Warren And Biden Battled Over Bankruptcy. Their Fight Still Defines A Party Rift.”  
  ‘Getting people the behavioral health care they need’   Speaking of the senior senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III jointly pen an opinion piece at the Globe calling for behaviorial health care for all – as the law currently demands.  
  Was Baker really honoring Confederate soldiers in Memorial Day proclamation?   Callie Crossley at WGBH laments the emotional divide over the Martha’s Vineyard statue of a Union soldier – with a controversial plaque at the back, honoring Confederate soldiers. But what caught out attention was her passing remark about the “tension around Gov. Charlie Baker’s Memorial Day proclamation honoring both Union and Confederate soldiers.” You decide, via a Facebook page of the proclamation apparently posted by an island Democrat. To us, it reads like a statement of historic fact that the Memorial Day holiday started when both sides in the Civil War honored their dead, not the governor honoring the dead on both sides.  
  Shut down, again: Pilgrim poised to go out with a whimper   How fitting. With just 10 days left in its operating life, Pilgrim Station Nuclear Plant experienced another unanticipated shutdown over the weekend, Christine Legere reports at the Patriot Ledger. The company that operates the plant says the shutdown was done to fix an electrical line and indications are the plant will run one more time before permanent shutdown begins May 31. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015 rated Pilgrim as the country’s worst performing plant and its current owners say they are shuttering it because it loses at least $30 million annually. File under: ‘Good riddance.’  
  Advocates and state on collision course over use of Lemuel Shattuck Hospital campus   Saraya Wintersmith at WGBH reports that the planned relocation of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital from its current location just southwest of Franklin Park has sparked debate over competing visions for the post-Shattuck campus, with advocates hoping to turn it into mostly parkland and the state envisioning it being used for the chronically homeless and possibly a methadone clinic and other hard-to-site treatment services.  
  US Supreme Court refuses to hear corporate-donations appeal   From Greg Ryan at the BBJ: “The U.S. Supreme Court will not review a Massachusetts court’s decision last year upholding a state ban on corporate political donations, rejecting a request from a pair of Massachusetts businesses. Pepperell’s 1A Auto Inc. and Ashland’s 126 Self Storage Inc., with the support of the conservative nonprofit Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, had sought the review.”  
  Of pols and ‘pie holes’ …   We missed this one from the other day, i.e. Yvonne Abraham’s column in the Globe on Suffolk County Register of Deeds Steve Murphy’s less-than-civil demand that women “shut their pie holes” when it comes to talking about electing more female legislators and white male privilege, etc. etc. Needless to say, the comments are flying at Blue Mass Group and Universal Hub over Murphy’s latest outburst.  
  Gordon College plots it future amid falling enrollment and changing social views   Max Larkin at WBUR reports on the latest small college in Massachusetts to face financial troubles: Gordon College, a Christian school in Wenham that’s facing declining enrollment and a student body not always in tune with its conservative positions on social issues, such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex.  
  Governor to refile sexual predator bill in response to child serial-rapist ruling   Christian Wade at the Salem News reports that Gov. Charlie Baker plans to ask lawmakers once again to limit the release of sexual predators from prison, a move following last week’s ruling by the state’s highest court clearing the way for the eventual release of child serial rapist Wayne Chapman.   
  Meanwhile, Baker calls for full funding of ‘Turning 22’ disability program   From Mary Markos at the Herald: “Gov. Charlie Baker Monday pushed for full funding of the state’s ‘Turning 22’ program, an initiative he says fills a critical need by providing work and living support services for young adults with disabilities after they leave school-based special education.”