Window Into The State House

Feds to drop City Hall extortion case?
Mayor Walsh must be crossing his fingers on this one. From Maria Cramer at the Globe: “Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they may have to drop extortion charges against two city officials accused of strong-arming organizers of a Boston music festival if a judge does not reconsider his planned instructions to the jury, the latest twist in a public corruption case that has dogged the Walsh administration for two years.” The case was weak from the start, so the feds, who have already lost a major Teamsters-related case in Boston, may be looking for an out of any kind.
Globe eyes major boost to home-delivery rates
Already one of the most expensive newspapers in the country, the Boston Globe is about to get even pricier for customers who still want papers delivered to their homes, Don Seiffert reports in the Boston Business Journal. Rates may be going up as much as 80 percent for some subscribers, which means that some customers will pay more than $1,300 a year to receive the Globe at home. Given the paper’s on-again, off-again struggles in the home-delivery space over the past year-and-a-half, Seiffert notes the move may be part of a larger strategy to get more customers to digital subscriptions.

If that’s indeed the strategy, it’s huge gamble. A lot of subscribers, we suspect, will be dumping their print subscriptions when they find out how much they’ll be paying.

In the fight against opioid addiction, MGH takes a non-abstinence stand
Martha Bebinger at WBUR has an important story coming out of Massachusetts General Hospital: “The hospital has just become the first ED in Massachusetts to offer buprenorphine to patients with an opioid use disorder who want to start treatment on the spot. There will be at least one doctor in the ED, 24/7, trained in a protocol that guides patients through the transition from active drug addiction to managed addiction with MAT. It’s a basic, but profound shift.”


Patrick on running for president: ‘It’s on my radar screen’
He’s already signaled he’s interested in running for president, but former Gov. Deval Patrick broadcast that signal a bit louder during a recent interview with a radio station in Kansas City, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout and the Globe’s Michael Levenson. “It’s on my radar screen,” Patrick told KCUR. “I am trying to think through 2020, and that’s a decision I’m trying to think through from a personal and family point of view and also whether what I believe is going to be on offer by somebody.” Hmmm. “On offer”? Is he referring to a possible vice president-ticket offer? We might be misreading it. Here’s the KCUR interview.
Warren, Markey et gang bail on Capuano
From the Globe’s Joshua Miller: “Giving an unexpected cold shoulder to a colleague and fellow Democrat, both Massachusetts senators and two of its representatives are declining to back 10-term incumbent Michael E. Capuano in his congressional primary fight against Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley.” They are Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Seth Moulton and Niki Tsongas. Other members of the Congressional delegation, all within relatively safe districts, are with Capuano.

Fyi: In a primary contest in which the race and gender of the two candidates are playing a major role, Capuanao has picked up some key support of late – from civil rights icon John Lewis (Globe) and Maxine Waters (SHNS – pay wall). Capuano seems happy, via Twitter, with the latter’s support.

Dan Koh’s impeccable resume. But can he win in the Third?
Speaking of Congressional races, Dan Koh is clean cut, earnest, polite, thoughtful, a graduate of Andover and Harvard, and a former wunderkind at Boston City Hall. But can the 33-year-old Koh win in the gritty, albeit changing, Third Congressional District? Malcolm Burnley at Boston Magazine takes a look at Koh and his candidacy.
The eyes of Texas are upon you, Republicans
Still speaking of Congressional races, the big story coming out of primary-election Texas yesterday was not that we now know Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and will be facing a somewhat tough re-election race against U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat. Instead, it’s about how Democrats came out in force in Texas yesterday, “providing fresh evidence that liberal enthusiasm could reshape even deeply Republican states come November,” reports the Washington Post.
Trump administration targets California’s ‘sanctuary’ laws. Is Mass. next?
 One more national item of potential/likely local importance, via the NYT: “The Trump administration escalated what had been a war of words over California’s immigration agenda, filing a lawsuit late Tuesday that amounted to a pre-emptive strike against the liberal state’s so-called sanctuary laws.” The action comes as Massachusetts lawmakers push for a compromise “sanctuary state” bill here. Now back to local politics of the immediate kind …


Keenan goes for it: Quincy senator says he’s ‘actively seeking’ Senate presidency
The Herald’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that Sen. John Kennan, a Quincy Democrat, is now an open candidate for the Senate presidency on Beacon Hill, joining a crowded field of candidates who include Sens. Karen Spilka, Sal DiDomenico, Eileen Donoghue (if she stays in the Senate), Eric Lesser and Mark Montigny (perhaps).
SJC hears two big cases tied to state elections
The Herald’s Bob McGovern reports on yesterday’s hearings before the Supreme Judicial Court on two key cases dealing with voter registration and the state’s ban on corporate campaign donations. The voter registration case stands to benefit Democrats, while the corporate donation case stands to benefit Republicans. McGovern has more.
Will the state now have to reimburse Annie Dookhan defendents millions in court fees and fines?
The damage done by disgraced former state-lab chemist Annie Dookhan could grow even bigger if drug defendants win a new federal lawsuit asking that the state reimburse them for their court fees and fines, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Defendants believe a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision backs up their claims. Considering that the tainted Dookhan cases involved more than 20,000 people, we’re talking potentially millions of dollars here.
DPH recommends Beth Israel-Lahey mega-merger
If Partners HealthCare wasn’t so big, one wonders if regulators would have approved this counter-mega-merger by other hospitals. From Max Stendahl at the BBJ: “The state Department of Public Health has recommended approval of a massive merger involving Lahey Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and three community hospitals. Staff at the DPH issued a report on Monday finding that the deal, one of the largest hospital mergers in state history, “is likely to improve health outcomes and quality of life.” The deal still must be approved by the state’s Public Health Council, though it typically accepts staff recommendations.”
Hinds brings good news on Berkshire Flyer to district
State Sen. Adam Hinds brought good news back to his district for supporters of a push to connect the western-most part of the state with New York City. He says that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has expressed support for a trial run of the Berkshire Flyer, Kristin Palpini reports in the Berkshire Eagle. Hinds said the DOT is open to backing a seasonal pilot run, but probably not until the summer of 2019.


Playing cat and mouse with Baker
This is a somewhat overly dramatized piece that actually shows how pols and their aides, frequently, refuse to let reporters ask government leaders and political candidates even the most mundane questions, this time focusing on Gov. Charlie Baker’s refusal (via his aides) to answer questions by the Globe’s Laura Krantz and Shirley Leung. The same story could have been (and has been) written about the media-dodging antics of Mitt Romney, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, etc. etc. etc.
Warren: Revisions to Dodd-Frank are ‘dangerous’ and may lead to recession
U.S.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren — fighting not only Republicans but also swing-state Democrats – is decrying a bill that would water down Dodd-Frank financial regulations passed after the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, saying it’s dangerous and could lead to a recession, reports Shannon Young as MassLive. “The bill lets lenders make peoples’ lives a lot more miserable for one reason only: So that lenders can make bigger profits,” she said.
The Cannabis Control Commission’s next mission: The actual rollout of pot shops
The Cannabis Control Commission yesterday largely wrapped up its work on new regulations for the retail sale and distribution of marijuana in Massachusetts – and CCC chair Steve Hoffman says he remains confident the retail rollout will proceed as planned on July 1. But he says there’s still a lot of work to do,