Window Into The State House

Casinos and DraftKings: Let us rule the sports-betting market   MassLive’s Dan Glaun and the Globe’s Andy Rosen report that an unusual alliance is forming on sports gambling in Massachusetts: In a letter to lawmakers, the state’s three casinos are now saying that they and fantasy sports firms (i.e. Boston’s DraftKings) should together handle the digital sports books if sports betting is legalized in Massachusetts. As Rosen notes, casinos have previously resisted an alliance with fantasy sports firms – and their banding together may head off a major private-sector fight on Beacon Hill over who wins the sports-gambling spoils. The AP’s Steve LeBlanc at the Boston Herald, meanwhile, has a good summary on all the sports-gambling legislation that will be reviewed at State House hearings this week, starting today.   
  The greatest challenge facing the Wampanoags? Perhaps themselves   Speaking of gambling, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s reservation land is in jeopardy and its plans for a casino in southeastern Massachusetts are up in the air. To top it all off, the tribe is beset by internal politics and infighting. Tanner Stening at the Cape Cod Times reports on the latest effort to oust tribal chairman Cedric Cromwell.  Meanwhile, the Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie has an update on the Wampanoag’s various external and internal woes of late.  
  ‘Races within the race’   The New York Times has a good piece on the crowded Democratic contest for president – and how it’s broken down into a series of “races within the race.” One of those races within the race: Elizabeth Warren versus Bernie Sanders over the party’s progressive block. Meanwhile, Aaron Blake at the Washington Post takes a look at what it would take for each and every Dem candidate to win the party’s nomination. For Warren, it comes down to (drumroll please) overtaking Sanders. As for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, his only chance is convincing Democrats that they “need to hand things off to the next generation and that he is the one to lead the transition.” In other words: He needs a miracle.   
  Meanwhile, Moulton’s race against time   Hurry up! The first debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is now less than a month away and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is currently one of five candidates who has yet to earn a spot on the stage due to his low polling and fundraising numbers, Tal Axelrod reports at The Hill. Some observers believe failing to make the cut would be a death knell for Moulton and others’ campaigns.    
  DeLeo to unveil $1.3B ‘Greenworks’ program   From the Globe’s Jon Chesto: “House Speaker Robert DeLeo this week is unveiling his latest salvo in the effort to offset climate change: a $1.3 billion energy and resiliency bill that would create a new grant program for cities and towns. The grant program, called GreenWorks, would be funded by $1 billion in bonds and paid out over a decade.”  
  Praying for the suspect accused of vandalizing the Vietnam War memorial?   Joseph Zinck, president of the Dorchester Vietnam Memorial Committee, is praising police for the quick apprehension of a suspect thought to have vandalized the Vietnam War memorial in Dorchester just prior to the Memorial Day weekend. But he’s also asking for members of his group to pray for the suspect, who may be mentally ill. “We can replant trees, repaint flagpoles, fix things that get broken, but I think it’s just important that we pray for the guy and hope that he gets the help that he needs,” Zinck said, as John Hilliard reports at the Globe.   
  Most Massachusetts communities seeing population growth   Heading into next year’s full census count, this is interesting: The AP at Western Mass News reports that 82 percent of the state’s towns and cities saw population growth over the past year, with big gains (either in numbers or percentage growth) in Boston, Cambridge, Framingham, Sudbury, Sharon and Stoneham. Communities in western Massachusetts and on Cape Cod, though, saw population declines.  
  UMass vs Beacon Hill showdown: Can’t they just get along?   The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that the budget standoff between UMass president Marty Meehan and state lawmakers means only one thing: “Students will be the losers.” Battenfeld suggests a grand compromise to resolve the dispute. Hint: It involves UMass administrators and Beacon Hill pet projects. As a result, we have our doubts about whether such a compromise is achievable.  
  Amid federal probe, Baker defends state prison system   Gov. Charlie Baker is defending the state’s prison system amid news that federal prosecutors within the civil-rights division are investigating the treatment of inmates in state custody, reports the Globe’s Matt Stout. “The department has complied with every ruling, every decision, and every order that’s been issued with respect to the way it operates. And we’ll continue to do so,” Baker said.  
  ‘Radical reforms are necessary at the Steamship Authority’   In a Globe opinion piece, Bill Hallstein, cofounder of Southeast Massachusetts Regional Transportation, says it’s time for lawmakers to make major changes at the struggling Steamship Authority. “The overburdened system is clearly at a tipping point,” he writes. “Radical reforms are necessary at the Steamship Authority, and that will require a fresh, independent look by the state at its operations, board structure, oversight responsibilities, and revenues.”  
  No regrets: Jewish teens help save drowning man with swastika tattoo   NBC Boston reports that a group of Jewish teenagers is being credited with alerting police about a body partially submerged in Chestnut Hill Reservoir, prompting the rescue of the man by a Boston College police officer. But the responding officer noticed something curious on the man’s body: A swastika tattoo. Through the police, the teens say they have no regrets about helping the man and only requested he be informed that it was “four young Jewish boys that helped save his life.”  
  You know it’s summer when … the media hauls out the shark-attack stories   Memorial Day is the unofficial launch of the summer season. And it’s also the unofficial launch of the media’s summer shark coverage. From Lisa Creamer t WBUR: “Callboxes And Hemorrhage Kits: What Outer Cape Cod Towns Are Buying To Address Shark Safety.” And from Joe Dwinell at the Herald (which had a two-page spread this morning on those menacing beasts of the sea): “Virtual shark net pitched to keep Cape Cod beaches safe.”  
  The school-aide formula debate: Can lawmakers overcome political divides?   The Globe’s Victoria McGranetakes a look at the school-aid formula debate on Beacon Hill – and whether it’s possible to craft a compromise before the end of the session. There’s indeed a lot of political pitfall out there, as McGrane notes.   
  Electric trolley buses vs. battery electric buses: No contest   The folks at TransitMatters write at CommonWealth magazine that old-fashioned electric trolley buses – the ones powered by overhead wires along routes – are a much better option than new-fangled battery-powered buses when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from the MBTA’s fleet of transit buses. They make a lot of great points. Check it out.  
  At this lone stop, it’s easy: Use your E-ZPass to pay for gas   Noah Bombard at MassLive reports on the lone site in Massachusetts, at the Alltown Mobil in Westoborough, where drivers can use their E-ZPass transponders to pay for their gas. If the experiment works, expect to see a lot more filling stations using the E-ZPass payment system in Massachusetts.  
  Friendly fire: Shrewsbury candidate gets caught in GOP rift   No harm, no foul? A member of the Shrewsbury Housing Authority says he was caught up in the “schism” in the state’s Republican party when the GOP endorsed one of his challengers even though he had already earned the endorsement of Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Mark Sullivan reports that Paul Campaniello — who won re-election in the end — felt the party’s backing his opponent was a “poke in the eye” and a reminder that the GOP is increasingly divided between those who back Gov. Charlie Baker and President Trump.