Window Into The State House

The wrath of Lynch: It works   SHNS’s Chris Lisinski confirms that the MBTA’s retreat on proposed transit service cuts is indeed a full retreat to pre-pandemic service levels, though some pols, like U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, are taking a trust-but-verify approach towards the T’s new promises. Speaking of Lynch, here’s Universal Hub’s headline regarding the full-retreat news: “Angry Steve Lynch is the best Steve Lynch.” In an editorial, the Globe gives credit to the entire congressional delegation for putting pressure on the T to reverse its service cuts, but it does single out Lynch for special praise, saying his threat to cut future federal funding if the T didn’t retreat clearly worked.   Historic evening: Janey takes over as acting mayor after Walsh wins Senate cabinet approval   The Marty Walsh era is over. The Kim Janey era has begun. And it’s a new chapter in the history of Boston, which now has its first female and Black mayor. WBUR’s Callum Borchers and GBH’s Adam Reilly have more on last evening’s historic transfer of power at City Hall. “It’s hard to overstate the significance of inaugurating a woman of color as acting mayor of Boston,” says one observer. No kidding. This is, after all, Boston, of the still relevant Common Ground history of Boston. In op-eds at the Globe, Walsh bids farewell while Janey introduces herself, so to speak. Residents were celebrating in Roxbury last night, reports the Globe’s Danny McDonald. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter has more from City Hall.    
  Another topic lawmakers may want to raise with Baker: The state’s multimillion-dollar vaccine call center   Switching over to the pandemic: As the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports, Gov. Charlie Baker will be back in the virtual hot seat today as lawmakers hold their second COVID-19 oversight hearing. And, lo and behold, the Globe’s Kay Lazar and Anissa Gardizy this morning report on another topic lawmakers may want to raise with Baker: The multimillion-dollar call center the administration scrambled to launch after the initial disappointing debut of Vaxfinder.  
  Baker’s explanation for his falling poll numbers: COVID fatigue   It’s about COVID fatigue, not the vaccine rollout. Or so says Gov. Charlie Baker of his plunging poll numbers of late. GBH’s Mike Deehan has more.  
  ‘No Vaccine, No Job,’ Part II: Healey says vaccines should be mandatory for State Police and prison guards   Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing got the ball rolling by saying teachers and police should be required to get vaccinated – or else (SHNS). Now Attorney General Maura Healey is saying State Police and prison guards should be required to get vaccinations, though she doesn’t quite say ‘or else.’ SHNS’s Katie Lannan and the Globe’s Amanda Kaufman have more on Healey’s mandatory-vax pronouncement.  
  At least some major school districts plan to return to in-person classes by April 5   As expected, Boston school officials announced yesterday they will seek a state waiver to delay a return to full-time in-person elementary classes on April 5, though they say they’re committed to reopening by the end of the month, reports the Globe’s James Vaznis. And Worcester has also said it plans to seek a waiver. So we have the state’s largest and second largest school districts now balking at the April 5 deadline. But … but from the state’s third largest school district, via MassLive’s Peter Goonan: “‘We’re going to be ready to go’: Springfield schools prepare for return of students to classrooms, with COVID safeguards.” Ditto Chicopee (MassLive). And the Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill reports that Quincy schools may actually beat the April 5 deadline.  
  Senate and House reach agreement on pandemic relief bill   Beacon Hill lawmakers have ironed out their differences on a COVID-19 relief package – and it looks like the Senate prevailed in its push for a low-income tax break in the bill, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Michael Norton. The legislation is expected to head to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk on Thursday.
State to thousands of public-college students: No pay, no transcripts or degrees   Speaking of higher education, Kirk Carapezza and Jon Marcus at GBH report the Massachusetts public colleges and universities, including UMass, are playing academic hardball with nearly 100,000 grads and ex-students who owe them money, even if it’s not a lot of money: No pay, no transcripts or degrees. And some can’t afford to pay.  
  The other rollout problem: Family medical leave program   The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett confirms that all is not well with the start of the state’s new family leave program, with many users saying the process is slow and confusing. Sound familiar?  
  Second thoughts: After two Facebook controversies, Chicopee councilor drops re-election bid   Never mind. Chicopee City Councilor Lucjan Galecki–who has twice in recent months sparked calls for his ouster due to his social media posts–now says he won’t seek re-election to the council, saying he is satisfied with the diversity of the rest of the field. Jeanette DeForge at MassLive has details.   
  Triple threat: Markey’s filibuster claims don’t match history, fact checker says   Mostly false. That’s the conclusion of the Washington Post’s Salvador Rizzo about the claim made by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey that the Senate filibuster was created to protect and enhance the political power of slaveholders. Rizzo slaps ‘three Pinnochio’s’ on Markey’s tweet on the subject, saying he extended a popular Democratic talking point well beyond facts supported by the historical record.