Presented by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)
GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS.
STATE STREAMLINES VAX REGISTRATION The orange octopus has, as they say, been canceled.
The state is launching a new vaccine preregistration systemtomorrow. The program will replace the Thursday morning appointment drop on the state’s “Vax Finder” website, which filters vaccine seekers to third-party websites to book their shots. Now, people hoping to get a vaccine at one of the seven mass vaccination sites will put their information into the new preregistration site beginning Friday, and will later be notified when they can book a slot.
One of the first questions Gov. Charlie Baker got at a press conference announcing the new site on Wednesday: Will the system crash?
That’s where the octopus comes in. When the state rolled out its Vax Finder website last month, and uploaded a week’s worth of appointments to the platform, many who logged on were met with an error message. First-day traffic overwhelmed the site for several hours. The Vax Finder page displayed a four-armed octopus with a question mark hovering over its head, which was soon plastered on TV stations
, news articles
and social media. Just take this Boston Magazine headline
: The New Antihero of the Massachusetts Vaccine Rollout: The Four-Armed Octopus of Doom.
And so the octopus became a symbol of the state’s beleaguered vaccine rollout, which at the time was slower than much of the country. (Thats changed Massachusetts now ranks 7th in the country for percentage of the population thats received a dose). A number of news stories noted how much the Vax Finder website
, and that octopus error message, was costing the state. And the site crash also came up during a rare vaccine oversight hearing hosted by Beacon Hill lawmakers, who pointed out it was stressful for residents to log on once a week and scramble to find appointments.
This time around, Baker says he’s confident the new site will not crash on Friday. The state is partnering with Google on the preregistration system, which has put together similar operations in other states.
A way to preregister for the vaccine has been on the wishlist of many state and federal lawmakers. Among the most vocal wasRep. Katherine Clark
, a powerful House Democrat who led members of the congressional delegation in calling for a new system back in February.
Have a tip, story, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for the Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
TODAY Rep. Ayanna Pressley is a guest on WBUR. Rep. Jake Auchincloss is a guest on GBHs Greater Boston. Rep. Lori Trahan participates in an Energy and Commerce hearing on “Kids Online During COVID: Child Safety in an Increasingly Digital Age.”
A message from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM):
The Senate enters 2021 facing the immediate challenges of moderating the pandemic and setting Massachusetts on the road to economic recovery. Senate President Karen Spilka is not only looking at long-term issues such as the effect of COVID on remote work, transportation and child care. Register here for AIMs Executive Forum featuring the Senate President as she outlines her vision for the commonwealth.
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THE LATEST NUMBERS
One year after the COVID emergency declaration, 784,789 people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated, by Tanner Stening, MassLive.com: State health officials confirmed another 1,413 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which is based on 93,800 new molecular tests, according to the Department of Public Health. Officials also announced another 53 COVID-related fatalities, bringing the death toll from the pandemic to 16,176
DATELINE BEACON HILL
Emotional Charlie Baker chokes back tears as he reflects on one year of pandemic life in Massachusetts, by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: An emotional Gov. Charlie Baker choked back tears as he reflected on one year of life under the coronavirus pandemic that permeated almost every aspect of life in the Bay State, killing more than 16,100 and shuttering businesses and schools en masse
State lawmakers poised to pass revised climate bill, by David Abel, Boston Globe: A month after Governor Charlie Baker returned a landmark climate change bill to the Legislature with a host of suggested amendments, lawmakers are poised to approve a new bill that would reject some of his more substantial changes
Another perk to getting the COVID-19 shot: fully vaccinated travelers to Mass. from out-of-state dont have to quarantine, by Travis Andersen, Boston Globe: Travelers from out-of-state who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine once they get to Massachusetts, provided at least two weeks have elapsed since their final shot and they dont have symptoms, according to updated regulations posted to the official state website at mass.gov
Baker: We could do 2m doses a month but getting only half that, by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: Gov. Charlie Baker said on Wednesday that the state has the capacity to administer 2 million inoculations a month, but the federal government and d vaccine manufacturers are providing only half that amount. At a press conference at a West Bridgewater manufacturer of hospital-grade masks, Baker said the state could easily administer 1 million doses a month and could probably do 2 million
FROM THE HUB
Incoming Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey seeking rare residency waiver for coronavirus czar, by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: Acting-Mayor-in-waiting Kim Janey is seeking a residency waiver for her recently announced coronavirus czar a move several members of the city residency compliance commission questioned
Liquor Stores Say Business Has Been Booming, But They Worry About Their Customers, by Henry Santoro, GBH News: There is an old saying: When times are good, people drink. And when times are bad, people drink more. That observation appears to be proving true during the pandemic. Local liquor store owners say their business has been booming over the past year which is good for their bottom line but that they are also worried their customers might be drinking too much
Struggling Boston teens find few support options, fueling record absentee rates, by Bianca Vázquez Toness, Boston Globe: After schools closed last year, many nonprofit organizations set up learning hubs that would allow small groups of students to join together and be overseen by an adult as they Zoomed into their classrooms. Yet educators and families say very few were made available to high school students a shortcoming that has helped fuel record chronic absenteeism rates among Bostons teenagers in recent months
MGH Establishes New Center To Study Psychedelic Mental Health Treatment, by Deborah Becker, WBUR: The center will focus on studying how and why the brain reacts to psychedelics, and its research could shed new light on what their use could mean for mental health treatment
Colleges are planning for a more normal fall, by Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe: As the pace of vaccinations quickens, officials at the University of Massachusetts system, Harvard and Northeastern universities, and the Wentworth Institute of Technology said this week that they are planning for a more traditional return of students and faculty next academic year
Report: Single women own more homes than single men, especially in Boston, by Megan Johnson, Boston Globe: Single women own more homes than single men in the countrys largest metropolitan areas, and Boston has the biggest gender gap in homeownership, according to a new report released Wednesday. The research from LendingTree found that single women own more homes than single men do in the countrys 50 largest metropolitan areas, but of all those metro areas, Boston shows the biggest gender gap in homeownership
THE RACE FOR CITY HALL
Massachusetts Nurses Endorse Essaibi George For Mayor, from the Essaibi George campaign: Today, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) endorsed Boston City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi George in her campaign for Mayor of Boston, citing her ongoing leadership in public health and support for frontline workers long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Warren Builds Clout With Biden Through Pipeline of Staff Picks, by Nancy Cook, Bloomberg: Joe Biden has shown little appetite for Elizabeth Warrens trademark campaign proposal, a wealth tax, but shes won something else from the president, as nearly a dozen of her allies and former aides have joined his administration. The Massachusetts senators associates hold top posts at the White House and at federal agencies handling issues ranging from financial regulation to national security and climate change
Elizabeth Warren On Vaccinations: ‘I’ve Really Been Shocked At How Slow Massachusetts Has Been To Roll This Out, by Arun Rath, GBH News: It’s been a year since Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts. Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined GBH News All Things Considered host Arun Rath to reflect on a year of COVID-19 and discuss the relief package passed by Congress on Wednesday.
A message from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM):
Think daylight saving time should be year-round? Ed Markey, other senators do, too, by Shannon Larson, Boston Globe: If you think the extra hour of sunlight in the evenings when the clocks spring forward in March should be a permanent fixture year-round rather than just lasting for eight months youre not alone. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and a bipartisan group of his colleagues in the Senate are looking to do just that by reintroducing legislation that would make daylight saving time, which begins this Sunday, permanent nationwide
House gives final OK to Biden’s $1.9T Covid aid plan, by Sarah Ferris, POLITICO: The House on Wednesday approved a $1.9 trillion relief package for the pandemic-ravaged economy, delivering President Joe Bidens first legislative achievement after a frenzied eight-week sprint in Congress. The bill which some Democrats say will become the most progressive law in generations passed with zero Republican votes, while Maine Rep. Jared Golden was the only member of Biden’s party to vote no
ABOVE THE FOLD
Herald: SLOW POKES, GONE, BABY, GUN,Globe: Huge stimulus a crowning moment for Democrats,” “State says booking a shot will be easier.
FROM THE 413
A Mass. college town weighs Black reparations, by Philip Marcelo, The Associated Press: Amherst, some 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Boston, is among hundreds of communities and organizations across the country seeking to provide reparations to Black people. They range from the state of California to cities like Providence, Rhode Island, religious denominations like the Episcopal Church and prominent colleges like Georgetown University in Washington
State reserves space for jury trials in downtown Pittsfield hotel, by Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle: Pinched by coronavirus pandemic safety precautions, officials with the state Trial Court are expanding their footprint in Pittsfield. They have made a $854,100 reservation at the Holiday Inn & Suites, starting Monday
A howling good time on Leverett Pond, by Max Marcus, Daily Hampshire Gazette: In the darkness, something vaguely like a coyotes howl, but not quite, rings out over Leverett Pond. It is quickly followed by another, coming from somewhere nearby. Then more. Theyre answering one another. This has happened every Sunday at 8 p.m. since not long after the pandemic began
State commission says it will be back sooner rather than later to check on Hampden County retirement board, by Emily Thurlow, Springfield Republican: Members of the commission that oversees the states public pensions say they are following up on the findings of an audit of the Hampden County Regional Retirement System, and that the county retirement boards members are committed to cleaning up the issues
THE LOCAL ANGLE
Hate groups’ symbols showing up on North Shore, by Erin Nolan, The Salem News: Recruitment materials such as stickers and flyers for Patriot Front and other groups recently began popping up in several North Shore communities including Peabody, Beverly and Salem, according to local officials
Lawrence to hold hearing on renaming Columbus Day for indigenous people, by Allison Corneau, Eagle-Tribune: First, it was students at Lawrence Public Schools who convinced local leaders to change the school calendar to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day in mid-October. Now, the City Council plans to hold a public hearing to see if city residents want to adopt an ordinance to follow suit
Lowell City Council seeks further review of possible mechanism to remove elected officials for egregious conduct, by Alana Melanson, The Lowell Sun: Citing concerns with the slippery slope of seeking a charter change to allow elected officials to be removed for egregious conduct, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed an amended motion that will put the idea through further vetting by the Law Department
Chatham, feds reach truce on disputed fishing rights, by Doug Fraser, Cape Cod Times: With the keystroke of an electronic signature, the Select Board signaled an end Monday night to seven years of bitter wrangling with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over control of fisheries in the waters off Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Worcester to seek waiver from state’s school reopening timeline, by Scott O’Connell, Telegram & Gazette: Faced with a sudden mandate from the state to get kids back to school, the city superintendent on Wednesday said she will seek a waiver to put off the start of full-time in-person learning in Worcester until May
Local Media Has Fared Better Than Expected Throughout Pandemic, Says Journalism Professor, by Arun Rath and Meghan Smith, GBH News: Long before the pandemic, media watchers have been debating the changing media landscape due in large part to the rise of the internet and the fall of consumers’ attention spans and how those forces have impacted local news outlets
NEW EPISODE: A YEAR ON THE CORONACOASTER On this weeks Horse Race podcast, hosts Jennifer Smith and Stephanie Murray discuss an investigation into a 2017 birth control law with CommonWealth Magazine’s Sarah Betancourt, and talk about the push to reopen schools with Melissa Hanson of MassLive. Subscribe and listen on iTunes
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A message from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM):
The COVID-19 pandemic transformed workplaces around the globe. One of the consequences of this transformation in the United States has been a mass exodus of women from the workforce. Women, and particularly women in communities of color, have been hard hit from both a health and economic perspective. They have also been hampered by the move among schools to remote learning and limited access to childcare.
At Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), we believe businesses must increase value for society and be a force for positive change, therefore, we are calling attention to the loss of women in the workforce with the goal of finding solutions.
We are spearheading the conversation about the Pink Slip phenomenon across the commonwealth. We want tobring this issue to life for the business community and deliver specific action steps that can be taken immediately to reverse this alarming trend. We know WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS.
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