Window Into The State House

  Governor: Lawmakers may act this week to delay paid-leave tax   It doesn’t sound like a done deal yet – and Gov. Charlie Baker himself doesn’t sound exactly thrilled with the idea. Still, from SHNS’s Colin Young: “If state government is going to approve the three-month delay in payroll taxes needed to fund the new paid family and medical leave program that advocacy and business groups have pushed for, it is likely going to happen this week, the governor said Monday.” House Speaker Robert DeLeo adds: “It’s something that we’ll consider. Whether or not we will agree to that extension is yet to be seen.”  
  House will take up Janus bill amid torrent of ‘bluster and B.S.’   Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that the House this week will finally take up the so-called “Janus bill” that would allow unions to charge non-members fees for various services, in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that restricted non-member funds flowing to unions. The expected action comes amid growing acrimony on Beacon Hill between Speaker Robert DeLeo and AFL-CIO president Steven Tolman, who has harshly criticized DeLeo for not moving more aggressively on union-backed initiatives. In turn, state Rep. Daniel Cullinane, without naming names, has condemned Tolman’s rhetoric as mere “bluster and B.S.,” reports WGBH’s Mike Deehan. The Herald’s Mary Markos has more on the upcoming Janus-bill action.  
  Development uproar brings mayoral challenger in Quincy   Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch is facing a challenger in this fall’s election — and it appears she’s motivated by opposition to a Koch-backed plan for a massive development on Hospital Hill. Brenda Ryan, who has been a critic of the proposal, has pulled nomination papers, signaling her intent to challenge Koch, who has been mayor since 2008, Erin Tiernan at the Patriot Ledger reports.  
  The art and science of using zoning codes to block multifamily housing   A new 123-page report to be released today at the State House outlines all the ways suburban towns use zoning rules to block new multifamily housing in Greater Boston, from lot size requirements to parking minimums to age restrictions. The Globe’s Tim Logan has the details, as Beacon Hill lawmakers debate how to spur more housing in the region. Boston Globe  
  Expand and contract: T extends later-night bus service on some routes, but eliminates post-1 a.m. program   From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “About 150 nighttime bus trips per week introduced as a pilot in and around Boston will become a permanent feature on the MBTA, but the T will no longer offer service after 1 a.m. after officials cited insufficient ridership and high costs. The MBTA plans to continue to offer greater frequency on key bus routes between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m., and several lines will see final trips past 12:30 a.m.” CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl has more on the T’s split decision on late-night bus service, in a piece headlined: “Boston: the 22-7 city in terms of transit.”  
  Moulton asks for donations. Instead, he gets an earful   The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld reports that U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton issued a plea for campaign donations on Facebook in order to make the Democratic debate cut – and instead got an earful from readers on everything from Medicaid for All to his anti-Nancy Pelosi campaign last year.  
  Star attraction: Kevin Spacey’s attorneys rip into Cape & Island’s DA   It’s what big-bucks attorneys are paid to do. From Dan Glaun at MassLive: “An attorney for actor and sexual assault defendant Kevin Spacey made explosive allegations against the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office in a court hearing Monday, claiming that prosecutors have known since 2017 that Heather Unruh deleted text messages from her son’s phone before turning it over to state troopers.”  
  The old apologize-and-deny tactic of the high and mighty   Speaking of high-profile legal proceedings, Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine thinks he sees a pattern forming, with New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who is facing prostitution solicitation charges, and state Sen. Michael Brady, who goes to trial today on a DUI charge, both publicly apologizing for their actions – and then effectively denying their actions by fighting the cases. One more apologize-and-deny case would definitely make it a trend. Kevin Spacey’s case (see above post) doesn’t qualify. He’s just fighting.  
  Next stop, Bourne: CapeFlyer’s new stop a hit with passengers   It’s only one extra stop — at a temporary railroad platform – but it’s already a hit with some passengers and others, i.e. the CapeFlyer’s new summer train stop in Bourne, in addition to other stops along the weekend South Station-Hyannis route. Beth Treffeisen at Wicked Local has the details.  
  Troubling trend: Massachusetts college enrollments continue alarming decline   A new report shows the number of students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges continues to decline, following a national trend that has many smaller liberal arts schools struggling with severe financial pressures, Grant Welker reports at the Worcester Business Journal. Enrollment dropped 1.2 percent this year — representing the loss of more than 5,000 students — the National Student Clearinghouse reports and the number of students in Bay State schools is down some 6 percent since 2014. Meanwhile, Dusty Christensen at the Daily Hampshire Gazette talks with some of the just 15 incoming freshmen on their way to Hampshire College this fall despite that school’s very public financial struggle for survival.  
  Pressley’s PAC would help those challenging incumbents   She says it has nothing to do with new party rules that make it harder for newcomers to challenge incumbent Democratic members of Congress. You decide. From Kimberly Atkins at WBUR: “U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is launching a new leadership political action committee to help boost Democratic candidates — including those challenging incumbents. The committee, called the Power of Us PAC, will also fund civic engagement efforts and help cultivate a diverse pipeline for community activists and organizers to access federal-level campaigns.”  
  The latest hope and dream for City Hall Plaza: Actual trees?   The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and the Globe’s Milton Valencia report on yet the latest plan to transform what many consider one of the ugliest public spaces in America: The wind-swept City Hall Plaza in Boston. The latest proposal includes actual trees – yes, trees – in an effort to make the brick-covered monolith more park-like. The design sketches actually look pretty good. Fyi: We’re among the minority who sort of like the Brutalist-designed City Hall. It’s the hideous outdoor plaza that makes you want to pop a Zoloft every time you pass it.  
  Virtually empty Springfield Plaza and Swansea Mall to get makeovers   Speaking of wind-swept plazas, here’s yet more evidence that shopping malls are sucking wind big time in this e-commerce era. Jim Kinney at MassLive reports that the owners of Springfield Plaza are now mulling adding housing to the sprawling 72-acre site in the hopes of revitalizing the property. Meanwhile, Peter Jazinski at the Herald News reports that the new owners of the largely vacant Swansea Mall are planning a multi-use complex combining retail, housing and other tenants.  
  The Bruins: ‘Boston’s latest would-be champs are truly Boston’s’   This NYT piece was written before last’s night unfortunate Bruins loss to the Blues, but it still holds, i.e. how Boston finally has some actual Bostonians on one of our championship-contending sports teams. And it’s true: The Bruins have three of ‘em.  
  Just in case: Worcester school board may lawyer up for school funding suit   File under: ‘Hoping for the best but …’ The Worcester School Committee could vote on Thursday to formalize an agreement with a pro bono attorney who would represent the city in a potential education funding lawsuit against the state – assuming lawmakers don’t take action this year on changing the school-aide formula, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. Michael Angelini, who chairs the firm Bowditch & Dewey, has already been advising the board and would take on the more formal role for free.  
  Pats players blitz lawmakers with appeal to boost education funding   Speaking of education funding, New England Pats players Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Matthew Slater, and Duron Harmon pen a joint op-ed in the Globe calling for additional state funds for low-income school districts. Fyi: They’ve all been previously active in the education-funding debate.