Window Into The State House

Lowell goes through motion of searching for new city manager before hiring Sen. Donoghue
Her days in the Senate appear numbered. From Todd Feathers at the Lowell Sun: “She was never mentioned by name, but state Sen. Eileen Donoghue loomed large over Tuesday’s City Council discussion about how to select the next city manager. Donoghue has expressed her interest in the job in private phone calls and conversations with city councilors over the past week and appears to be a strong front-runner to succeed Kevin Murphy when he steps down in April. While no councilor has publicly endorsed her, she is in a strong enough position that Councilor Rita Mercier suggested the council end the ‘charade’ of a search process and offer the job to Donoghue.”
To avert medical marijuana shortages, commission orders retailers to maintain weed reserves
Kind of like a blood bank? From SHNS’s Colin A. Young at MassLive: “Hoping to assuage fears that medical marijuana patients could find their medicine in short supply when dispensaries begin selling to the newly-legal retail market, state pot regulators on Tuesday agreed to a policy that will require dispensaries to hold some marijuana aside for medical patients.”
Confirmed: Amazon to hire at least 2,000 employees in Boston
Last month’s news that Amazon was looking to lease one million square feet of office space was the first indication that the tech giant had big plans for Boston. Now we have more details, via Mayor Marty Walsh: Amazon may hire at least 2,000 employees – perhaps as many as 4,000 by 2025 – for its new space in Boston’s Seaport, according to reports by the Globe’s Tim Logan, the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock and Kelly O’Brien and the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo. Note: The jobs are not tied to Amazon’s plans for a second North American headquarters, a decision Amazon hasn’t reached yet, Walsh stresses.
Are State Police in a leadership crisis?
The Globe, in an editorial, says the recent staff “restructuring” move at the Massachusetts State Police sure looks like a “leadership and institutional crisis at the agency,” tied to the recent TrooperGate controversy and the highly questionable hiring of State Trooper Leigha Genduso, an admitted drug dealer and money launderer. Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr continues to pound away at State Police, saying the unfolding drama is starting to resemble scenes from ‘The Departed.”
Andrea Campbell on criminal justice reform and who she’d call to change a flat tire
Lisa Weidenfeld at Boston Magazine has a fun and informative Q&A interview with new Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, who talks about why she’s so devoted to criminal justice reform, what it’s like being the first African-American woman to head the council and how Councilor Tim McCarthy would be her go-to-person if she had a flat tire that needed changing.


Feds and utilities reject environmental group’s claim of price rigging
From SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “Federal regulators and a major utility on Tuesday refuted claims an environmental group made last summer that suggested New England energy prices were jacked up because of the behavior of two companies. … Researchers commissioned by Eversource said the paper ‘failed to account for the basic principles underlying Eversource’s obligation to its customers’ and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission determined the study was ‘flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.’”
Worcester has invested $54K in PawSox pursuit, including $525 per hour lawyers
The city of Worcester has spent more than $54,000 on consultants—including a $525-an-hour attorney—on its efforts to woo the Pawtucket Red Sox, Melissa Hanson reports at MassLive, citing public records. Most of the money has gone to two high-profile consultants: UMass economic Andrew Zimbalist, who bills at $225 an hour, and former Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan, whose law firm bills the city $525 for his time.
Millennium is dead serious about that seemingly crazy gondola idea
Rather than retreat in the face of ridicule, Millennium Partners and Cargo Ventures are pushing ahead with designs for a private gondola “whisking thousands of commuters over the traffic-clogged South Boston Waterfront,” reports Jon Chesto at the Globe. If anything, they now believe the gondola idea is more feasilbe than originally thought. All we can say is: Good for them. It may or may not be a sound idea. But at least they’re dreaming – and a gondola would indeed look pretty cool.
Sessions — and Lowell — target opioid companies
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday that the Justice Department is setting up a new task force that will target companies that make, market and distribute opioids to determine if they’ve contribute to the opioid epidemic, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, the city of Lowell is poised to join the growing number of local towns and cities suing prescription opioid manufacturers over their role in the opioid crisis, reports Todd Feathers at the Lowell Sun.


Stay calm: House harassment report due tomorrow
Don’t panic, Beacon Hill. Names will not be named (we believe). From Matt Stout at the Herald: “Beacon Hill is poised to plunge back into the sexual harassment spotlight tomorrow, when House attorneys release a raft of recommendations to improve the chamber’s harassment policies in what one lawmaker called the ‘most comprehensive’ dive he’s seen in decades.”
Point-Counterpoint: Janus v. AFSCME, good or bad?
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Steven Tolman, head of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, co-author a Globe op-ed blasting the “pernicious assault on public sector workers” via the Janus v. AFSCME case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby says good-riddance to a past legal ruling that allowed public unions to collect dues from non-union employees.