Presented by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)
GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. TGIF!
CAN MASS. MEET BIDEN’S DEADLINE? Gov. Charlie Baker spent Thursday clashing with the state’s teachers unions over President Joe Bidens directive to vaccinate educators.
By nighttime, the president had made a new vaccine announcement that has the potential to yet again upend the state’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan. Biden is calling on statesto offer vaccines to all adults by May 1.
That’s only 50 days away, and will entail a significant scaling-up of the vaccine supply in Massachusetts.
“That doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1,” Biden said in a televised address from the White House last night.
Making every adult eligible for a vaccine is an ambitious goal. Just under a quarter of the population in Massachusetts has received a dose, according to data from theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
, and 11 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. The state is still working through people over the age of 65, or with certain health conditions, and is in the middle of a heated back-and-forth with teachers unions over how to allocate shots. Even for those eligible, finding a vaccine appointment hasn’t been easy.
Can Massachusetts open appointments to everyone in May? Baker says that will depend on vaccine supply from the federal government. The governor has said for weeks that Massachusettshas the capacity
to vaccinate more people, but is being hampered by limited access to the vaccine. State vaccination plans
floated opening vaccines to the general public sometime in April.
“I welcome President Bidens announcement and redouble my call on the federal government to do everything in its power to increase vaccine production to meet the massive demand,” Baker said in a statement last night.
Here’s something to watch: Biden’s announcement has the potential to drive a lot of traffic to the state’s brand new vaccine preregistration system today.
Beginning this morning, residents can put their information into the new system, and will be notified when it is their turn to book a vaccine, partly on a first come, first served basis. Although a tech snafu very publicly derailed the launch
of a previous vaccine booking website, Baker said earlier this week the new website will be able to handle the high volume of web traffic.
Have a tip, story, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for the Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
TODAY Gov. Charlie Baker visits St. Mary’s in Lynn for a roundtable on the importance of in-person education. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, and state Senate President Karen Spilka visit the MetroWest YMCA early education facility to highlight the American Rescue Plan. Warren, Rep. Jim McGovern and former Rep. Joe Kennedy III visit the nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. McGovern participates in a virtual press conference with Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff, and Gregory Meeks calling for congressional action to end endless wars.
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.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE RECAST TO JOIN AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION: Power dynamics are changing. Influence is changing. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that all politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is our new twice-weekly newsletter that breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics, policy and power in America. And POLITICO is recasting how we report on this crucial intersection, bringing you fresh insights, scoops, dispatches from across the country and new voices that challenge business as usual. Dont miss out on this important new newsletter, SUBSCRIBE NOW. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.
THE LATEST NUMBERS
Massachusetts saw a 10% decrease in new COVID cases last week as the number of fully vaccinated people passes 800,000, by Tanner Stening, MassLive.com: State health officials confirmed another 1,589 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, which is based on 110,385 new molecular tests, according to the Department of Public Health. Officials also announced another 42 COVID-related fatalities, bringing the death toll from the pandemic to 16,218
These 14 Massachusetts communities are at high risk for COVID-19, by Amanda Kaufman and Peter Bailey-Wells, Boston Globe. Link.
377 student, 146 staff COVID cases reported at Massachusetts schools in past week as teachers vie for vaccine appointments ahead of full-time in-person learning, by Melissa Hanson, MassLive.com: As Massachusetts educators look for COVID-19 vaccination appointments ahead of the state of full-time learning next month, state officials have announced 523 more virus cases detected in schools
DATELINE BEACON HILL
Massachusetts House passes bill that would waive taxes on PPP loans for businesses, by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: Thousands of Massachusetts business owners will have to seek tax extensions next week as a bill that will forgive millions in taxes owed on federal loans awarded amid the pandemic is unlikely to pass both branches of the Legislature by the Monday filing deadline. House lawmakers on Thursday advanced a bill 155-0 that will exempt businesses from taxes on forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans, freeze unemployment rates to two years, waive fees and certain taxes for some jobless workers and extend paid leave benefits
These businesses violated Massachusetts COVID-19 rules. Then the state gave them $1.4 million, by Matt Stout, Boston Globe: Since the summer, these and other businesses violations of Governor Charlie Bakers coronavirus orders were so egregious, regulators said, they temporarily lost their liquor licenses. But the Baker administration also determined they deserved something else: coveted COVID relief grants, even as thousands of other businesses have yet to see their applications fulfilled
Charlie Baker says there are lessons to be learned after year of pandemic emergency orders, by Lisa Kashinsky, Boston Herald: One year and 65 emergency orders later, Gov. Charlie Baker says there are lessons to be learned in how to best navigate a pandemic. If we dont all learn a bunch of lessons coming out of this about what the right way to operate and prepare for one of these in the future is we will have missed a big opportunity, Baker said Wednesday, one year after declaring a COVID-19 state of emergency
Republican delays action on climate change bill, by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: The Senate Republican leader, raising concerns about an attempt by Democrats to push climate change legislation through the chamber quickly on Thursday, used a parliamentary maneuver to delay action until next week.
Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine rollout squanders millions of dollars, local leaders say, by Kay Lazar, Boston Globe: More than half of the states local public health leaders are sending letters of protest alleging Massachusetts has wasted millions in federal money as part of the states application for new emergency planning aid from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mass. governments could get $8.1b from fed stimulus, by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: With the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a federal COVID recovery bill that passed Congress on Wednesday and that President Joe Biden is expected to sign, Massachusetts can expect to see an influx of federal relief money. State government officials would not specify how the state will use the money, saying only that the administration will review the package once it is signed and continue to optimize the use of federal resources
Despite National Drop, Mass. Unemployment Filings Climb Slightly, WBUR: First-time unemployment claims were up slightly in Massachusetts last week, while national claims fell, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 19,000 Massachusetts residents filed for benefits for the first time last week, a slight increase from the week prior
Baker rips teachers unions over vaccine stance, by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: The Baker administration and the states teachers unions are engaging in an increasingly bitter fight over plans for vaccinating educators, with Gov. Charlie Baker accusing the unions of wanting to strip vaccines from the states most vulnerable residents in order to get their members inoculated
Teachers unions respond to Baker statement, arguing he mischaracterized their proposal, by Christina Prignano and Felicia Gans, Boston Globe: Massachusetts largest teachers unions on Thursday hit back at Governor Charlie Baker after his administration issued a blistering statement accusing the unions of seeking to take vaccines from vulnerable Massachusetts residents
Baker admin created COVID vaccine supply issue by making teachers return to class by April, House Speaker Ron Mariano says, by Steph Solis, MassLive.com: A quarrel erupted Thursday between the Baker administration and the Massachusetts Teachers Association as the union asked for more vaccine doses to be set aside only for educators doses that Gov. Charlie Baker and an aide said would be taken away from older, high-risk residents
Massachusetts to unveil new COVID vaccine pre-registration website Friday morning, though launch time remains unclear, by Steph Solis, MassLive.com: Massachusetts officials do not have an exact time for residents to sign up for the new pre-registration COVID-19 vaccine website scheduled to launch Friday, though it is expected to open sometime in the morning
FROM THE HUB
At Boston City Hall, a waiting game: When will Walsh leave? by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: Another week, another round of waiting at Boston City Hall. Like a fog that just wont lift, a question has hovered above the citys political milieu since early this year: When will Mayor Martin J. Walsh leave? Rumors have swirled about how the timeline would unfold since President Biden tapped Walsh to be his labor secretary in early January, but still no answers come
In remarks to city watchdog, Janey says, I am living proof that Boston is a city of possibilities,by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: City Council President Kim Janey, likely days away from becoming Bostons acting mayor, gave an early look at her possible agenda as city executive during a speech to a watchdog group in which she emphasized that she and her soon-to-be-predecessor, Martin J. Walsh, are committed to a seamless transfer of power that maintains excellence in city operations and services
Should the Boston Residency Compliance Commission look to kick holdouts off the city payroll? by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: The Boston Residency Compliance Commission is planning to put more pressure on the citys workers to get their paperwork in though one member says the board needs to be ready to use its ability to threaten to bump rulebreakers off the payroll
Andrea Campbell wants information about inaccuracies in Boston police data, by Christopher Gavin, Boston.com: City Councilor Andrea Campbell is seeking clarity regarding alleged inaccuracies in publicly available Boston police crime statistics for the previous two years data sets in which many incidents law enforcement responded to were either recorded more than once or saw significant fluctuations year over year
Heres a look at what some of the state’s largest employers are planning for a return to office, by Catherine Carlock, Boston Business Journal: A year into a pandemic that closed offices around the world, many of the state’s largest employers still don’t know when their remote workforces will return to the workplace. But many are starting to plan on some form of hybrid model and are exploring new designs to fit the post-pandemic workplace. The question of when, or whether, to return to the office has ramped up this year, especially with increasing distribution of Covid-19 vaccines
A message from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM):
THE RACE FOR CITY HALL
Campbell And Wu Criticize Walsh’s Handling Of Suspended Boston Police Commissioner’s Appointment, by Saraya Wintersmith, GBH News: Two candidates to replace Mayor Marty Walsh have been critical of his handling of suspended Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White’s appointment. But others have carefully avoided criticizing the man they hope to replace even as they have vowed accountability, transparency and reform in city policing
ON THE STUMP
Jeff Turco Voted For Trump And Mocked Warren. Then He Won A Democratic Primary In Mass. by Anthony Brooks, WBUR: He voted for Donald Trump, suggested that Barack Obama is mentally ill, and ridiculed Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. But Jeff Turco is the favorite to win a special election in liberal Massachusetts for state representative as a Democrat
DAY IN COURT
Why Andrew Lelling chose Jones Day for his post-DOJ career, by Greg Ryan, Boston Business Journal: Andrew Lelling, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, is headed to Jones Day LLPs Boston office as a partner in its white-collar defense practice. The firm announced Wednesday that he would start the job on April 5
How Elizabeth Warrens Acolytes Infiltrated Bidenworld, by Kara Voght, Mother Jones: Over the past four years, Warrens standing has shifted, and her views have earned a hard-fought place of respect within her party. Warren likely wont clash as much with the next SEC chair, pending Senate confirmation: Biden nominated Gary Gensler, a former investment banker and Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair who has become an unlikely but loyal ideological ally for Warren. And the people who helped to advance Warrens argument have earned their places, too
Senator Elizabeth Warren Weighs In On NYC Comptroller Race, Endorsing City Councilmember Brad Lander, by Gwynne Hogan, WNYC: United States Senator Elizabeth Warren has weighed in on the crowded race for New York City Comptroller, voicing support for City Councilmember Brad Lander, whos been a vocal supporter of hers in the past
THE PRESSLEY PARTY
Rep. Ayanna Pressley On The American Rescue Plan And Criminal Justice Reform, by Tiziana Dearing and Walter Wuthmann, WBUR: Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is taking the lead on a raft of progressive resolutions and legislation that, if passed, would fundamentally change everything from criminal justice to employment
ABOVE THE FOLD
Herald: HERE WE GO!” “TRADING JABS,Globe: Biden looks to July 4 for some normalcy,” “More questions of vaccine fairness.
FROM THE 413
Springfield Mayor Domenic, Councilor Justin Hurst spar on citys diversity record in contracts for goods, services, by Peter Goonan, Springfield Republican: Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said this week he is proud of the citys record in hiring minority- and women-owned businesses, but City Councilor Justin Hurst said he is not seeing enough to back up the boast. Of 315 city-issued contracts in fiscal 2019, Sarno said 40, or 12.7%, went to minority- and women-owned businesses
Holyoke City Council seeks solutions to reduce citys high asthma rate, by Dennis Hohenberger, Springfield Republican: The City Councils Public Safety Committee, health and medical professionals continue a push to reduce the citys asthma rate, one of the highest in Massachusetts and the nation
THE LOCAL ANGLE
Former Fitchburg Homeless Shelter Employees Allege A Range Of Misconduct By Director, And Say Shelter Leaders Knew, by Carrie Saldo, GBH News: The assertions made by former employees are the second set of allegations levied against MacLean this year. Fitchburg police are investigating allegations that he physically and sexually assaulted homeless individuals.
Cape & Islands Seasonal Businesses Watch And Worry As Worker Visas Remain Uncertain, by Jennette Barnes, GBH News: With spring less than two weeks away, seasonal businesses on the Cape and Islands are in limbo, wondering if theyll be able to get enough help for summer. Cape and Islands businesses rely heavily on two visa programs J-1, for college students, and H-2B, for other workers, many of whom return year after year
Worcester sees small uptick in new COVID cases as state opts to shut down senior center vaccination site to reallocate doses to Worcester State University, by Michael Bonner, MassLive.com: As new weekly coronavirus cases saw a small uptick in Worcester, city officials announced the senior center vaccination would be closing by the end of the month. City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. announced during the weekly COVID briefing that the senior center, which began vaccinating residents on Jan. 11, would administer its final doses on March 30
Civil rights group sues Plymouth DA over $1.2 million bill for public records, by Wheeler Cowperthwaite, The Patriot Ledger: The Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Plymouth County district attorney’s office, which had demanded $1.2 million for the production of public records
Attleboro area educators happy to hear state changing tune on music education, by Jeffrey Peterson, The Sun Chronicle: The state has decided to change the rules on indoor vocal performances and rehearsals, and thats music to the ears of local educators. The decision by state education officials came a week after Erin Earnst, vice president of the Foxboro Music Association, told members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that performing arts programs had been treated differently than school athletics
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: PODCAST ALERT Meg Wheeler, previously a state legislative candidate, is bringing back her Elected podcast. The second season will take a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign of Kendra Hicks, a candidate running to represent District 6 on the Boston City Council.Link.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sen. Mitt Romney and Michael Gallant.
HAPPY BIRTHWEEKEND to Sunday birthday-ers Taunton Mayor Shaunna OConnell, Massachusetts Democratic Party chair Gus Bickford, MassLives Jackson Cote and Denise Lloyd.
NEW EPISODE: A YEAR ON THE CORONACOASTER On this weeks Horse Race podcast, hosts Jennifer Smith and Stephanie Murray discuss a CommonWealth Magazine investigation into a 2017 birth control law with Sarah Betancourt, and talk about the school reopening plan with Melissa Hanson of MassLive. Subscribe and listen on iTunes
and Sound Cloud
Want to make an impact? POLITICO Massachusetts has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Bay State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause youre promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness among this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [email protected].
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.
FIND OUT THE LATEST WHISPERS FROM THE WEST WING: Add Transition Playbook to your daily reads to find out what’s really happening inside the West Wing, who really has the president’s ear, and get the latest scoop from inside cabinet departments and agencies. Track the people, policies and emerging power centers of the Biden administration. Dont miss out. Subscribe today.