Window Into The State House

School aid showdown?   The Globe’s James Vaznis and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky report municipal leaders representing Gateway Cities across the state have signed onto a letter asking the state to abide by the recent landmark agreement to increase school-aid funding for disadvantaged school, especially at a time when districts are getting hit hard by the current pandemic. But SHNS’s Colin Young reports (pay wall) that the state, which is facing its own financial crisis, is already signaling cities and towns to expect flat local-aid and school-aid funding for July and August. Meaning: Implementation of the new school-funding program is now in doubt. Btw: MassLive’s Steph Solis takes a look at all the revenue unknowns facing the state, as tax collections plunge amid the pandemic and economic downturn. It isn’t a pretty picture.  
  Rollins announces furloughs in Suffolk DA’s office   Speaking of government budgets, this is an ominous sign for government workers whose jobs are normally considered somewhat safe during tough economic times, to wit: Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins yesterday stunned her staff by announcing a new employee furlough plan in anticipation of tight budget times ahead. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has the details.  
  Baker’s pandemic spending bill: $350M for protection gear, $247M on emergency salaries, $81M for childcare etc.   CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg reports that Beacon Hill lawmakers are finally poised to approve a $1.1 billion supplemental budget bill requested by Gov. Charlie Baker to cover recent pandemic-related costs incurred by the state – and the bill provides “perhaps the clearest picture yet of the extraordinary amount of money government is spending on the coronavirus pandemic.”  
  As UMass Boston goes full remote, Amherst College rents the tents   SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that UMass-Boston, with its large number of commuter students, is opting to go full remote learning this fall. At Amherst College, officials still haven’t made a final reopening decision, but they’ve nevertheless ordered 20 large tents as a “contingency plan to hold fall semester classes outdoors,” reports Jim Russell at MassLive.  
  The coronavirus numbers: They’re looking good but …   The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that yesterday’s confirmed 17 new pandemic deaths in Massachusetts is the lowest reported number since April, while a report at WBUR says the state now has the lowest COVID-19 transmission rate in the country, according to a website that tracks the coronavirus. All of which is great news … but … the Globe’s Kay Lazar reports state health officials are nervously eyeing increasing coronavirus cases in southern and western parts of the country and wonder if a similar fate awaits Massachusetts as it reopens its economy. Btw: Nantucket is reporting its first coronavirus case in over a month.  
  Frontline workers: Recovering, resting and regrouping for possible second surge   Carey Goldberg at WBUR reports how frontline health-care workers, now that the state’s coronavirus cases are falling here, are using their time to recover and rest from the intensity of the recent COVID-19 surge – and how they’re also regrouping for a possible second surge in Massachusetts.  
  SJC: Justice delayed is not justice denied for violent offenders in the coronavirus era   This is a pretty emphatic decision. From the Globe’s John Ellement: “Hundreds of pretrial detainees considered so dangerous to the public or their alleged victims that they must be jailed before trial can be held considerably longer because of court delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday.”  
  Rollins opens criminal probe of T police officer accused of using excessive force against black man   As anti-racism and anti-police-brutality protests continue across the state and country, Universal Hub reports that Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins has launched an investigation into “now former Transit Police officer for possibly lying about an April 28 incident in a Forest Hills busway in which he may have shoved the man into the pavement and then kept him there with his knee on his back for 20 seconds.” Rollins says video of the incident simply doesn’t support the officer’s description of what happened.   
  Protesters reject Baker’s police bonus plan, saying it merely pays cops ‘not to be racist’   WGBH’s Tori Bedford reports that several hundred protesters yesterday marched from Roxbury to the State House, where some criticized Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to give police trainees up to $5,000 in bonuses for taking advanced classes in racial sensitivity. “Nobody should have to pay you to not be racist, that’s not an incentive,” activist Monica Cannon-Grant said. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky has City Hall covered: “Boston councilors mull rejecting Walsh’s budget over differences on police cuts.”  
  Defunding defeats: Voters reject efforts to cut police budgets   When it came time to vote, they backed the blue. Town meeting voters in Great Barrington defeated calls to divert some funding from the police department to social services organizations, Heather Bellow at the Berkshire Eagle reports. A similar story unfolded at another socially distanced town meeting in Falmouth, where voters funded a diversity coordinator position, but not by taking funds away from the police budget as one resident proposed, Jessica Hillat the Cape Cod Times reports.   
  The photo of Barr says it all   The Globe’s Joan Vennochi reviews the Walsh-Gross dustup over U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s surprise visit to Boston last week. One thing is clear: Barr got what he wanted, i.e. a photo-op with a black police commissioner, with both of them smiling for the camera, Vennochi writes.  
  And the latest I-90 Allston plan is …   The state is still trying to figure out how to proceed with the largest highway project pending in Boston – the I-90 Allston reconfiguration plan. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details on the latest potential redesign which, as far as we can tell, looks an awful lot like what we have now at the end of the Pike.  
  Transit group to MBTA: Go electric   Speaking of transportation issues, the Herald’s Andrew Martinez reports on a new $2.6 billion proposal by Transit Matters that would transform the state’s commuter rail system into a fleet of electrified, zero-emission and regional trains. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports the group is also tying its proposal to the issues of equity and jobs.