Window Into The State House

Janey goes for it: Acting mayor announces she’s running   Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who in recent weeks sure has looked and acted like a candidate for mayor, made it official this morning: She a candidate for mayor of Boston. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter, the Globe’s Danny McDonald and SHNS’s Michael Norton have more. Guess we don’t have to provide any read-between-the-lines analysis of Janey’s launch yesterday, before this morning’s big announcement, of a new $2.5 million ad campaign to promote “all inclusive” tourism in Boston, as GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports.  
  Huh? Even Ben Downing and Danielle Allen are out-fundraising Charlie Baker   Speaking of campaigns, is this a sign Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t gearing up for re-election next year? Long-shot Dem gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing and the exploring-a-candidacy Danielle Allen last month raised more campaign funds than Baker, who hasn’t announced yet whether he’ll seek a third term or not, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. Meanwhile, SHNS’s Michael Norton reports that Allen, a Harvard professor, sure looks like she’s finished exploring a candidacy: “Possible Guv Candidate Allen Bulks Up With Team of Advisers.”  
  As the state’s fully vaccinated population nears 1.5 Million …   Switching from politics to the pandemic, here’s some good news: Nearly 1.5 million people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, reports SHNS’s Colin Young and MassLive’s Steph Solis. The bad news on the pandemic front: Spreading variants, rising case counts and … a virtual free-for-all for available vaxes. See below.  
  … the competition for vaccines grows more fierce   As the BBJ’s Jessica ‘Vaccination Whisperer’ Bartlett reports, it’s hell out there trying to snag a vaccination appointment in Massachusetts. And it’s only gotten worse with yesterday’s move to allow more people, including 55-plus residents, to register for vaccine shots, reports Simón Ríos at WBUR. From the Globe’s Kay Lazar: “State’s new COVID-19 eligibility rules open the flood gates for people to seek vaccinations.” What’s this? The Herald’s Rick Sobey catches a bunch of 18-year-olds getting vaccinated in Dorchester – and it appears to be legit. 
  Great Un-Expectations: State tax collections (and business confidence) continue to soar   The state’s tax collections last month continued to defy past dire predictions of fiscal Armageddon in Massachusetts – with tax revenues up 15.1 percent in March compared to a year ago and well above even recently revised projections, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis. Though Tufts University’s Evan Howowitz attributes most of the unexpected windfall to massive federal relief funding, it doesn’t hurt that local employers are growing more confident by the day, as BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports.  
  First day of (in-person) school: Plenty of jitters, mixed emotions and some missing teachers   It felt like early fall in April yesterday with a majority of school districts across the state finally returning, as mandated by the state, to full in-person classes, as CBS Boston reports. And things apparently went well in Springfield yesterday, MassLive reports. But they didn’t go so well elsewhere, also via MassLive: “Athol Royalston Regional School District cancels classes on Monday after 100 teachers get second COVID shot, many call out sick after ‘not feeling well.”  Reopening day sure had its share of concerns and anxiety in general, such as in Medford, reports the Globe’s Jenna Russell reports.  
  If schools are back to in-person classes, why isn’t DCF back to in-person child inspections?   From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Workers in Massachusetts’ child welfare agency are seeing only about half of the children under their watch in-person each month, state data show, illustrating the state’s heavy reliance on remote check-ins during the pandemic even as schools, day cares, and others have returned mostly to face-to-face interactions.” Of course, the David Almond case is mentioned prominently. And speaking of the David Almond case, state Rep. David LeBoeuf, in a Herald opinion piece, says it’s time for the Legislature to intervene and fix DCF’s ongoing problems.  
  Fake masks, unmasked   As NBC Boston reports, a sharp-eyed worker at South Shore Health thought something wasn’t right about a recent shipment of N95 surgical masks – and he was right. They were counterfeit. And the feds have seized the masks and are now investigating.  
  Surging applications: Elite colleges aren’t seen as so elite anymore   The Globe’s Laura Krantz has a good story this morning about how the pandemic-era shift away from standardized admission tests at “selective” colleges (i.e. top-tier/elite colleges) has encouraged a more diverse and rising number of students to apply to those schools.  
  SJC to try its hand at blackjack   Believe it or not, the state’s highest court is in the weeds, deep down in the legal weeds, when it comes to setting payout odds for blackjack at the state’s two casinos. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports on tomorrow’s unusual SJC hearing on whether Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are “allowed to offer less favorable odds than is typical in their blackjack games.”  
  The People’s Republic of Somerville: The Socialist takeover is nearly complete   The Globe’s Zoe Greenberg reports on the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s endorsement of six socialists for the Somerville City Council – and how their takeover of the once gritty, now granola, Somerville is nearly complete. Their immediate post-takeover tasks to avert counter-revolution: prove they can plow the streets and collect the garbage as well as their petty bourgeois predecessors.  
  Gavel ready: Warren will convene hearing on student debt cancellation   She’s staying on message. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will use the first hearing of her tenure as chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy to focus on the nation’s student debt crisis and its impact on minority communities, Melanie Waddell at ThinkAdvisor reports.  
  Past state GOP chairs: They’ve had it with OCPF’s Michael Sullivan   Unless we’re mistaken, there seems to be a concerted GOP/conservative effort to rally around state Sen. Ryan Fattman and his wife, Worcester Country Register of Probate Stephanie Fattman, in their ongoing feud with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance’s Michael Sullivan. The latest proof: An opinion piece at CommonWealth magazine in which six past chairs of the state GOP bemoan the outgoing Sullivan’s alleged lack of transparency in his probe of the Fattmans’ campaign committees.