ELECTEDS SPLIT OVER TSARNAEV — Rep. Ayanna Pressley broke ranks with the Biden Justice Department after federal prosecutors urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that a lower court tossed last year.
While the 2013 bombing was “devastating,” Pressley said, “no nation should be in the business of executing people.”
President Joe Biden “has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the death penalty and has the historic opportunity to finally bring an end to this inhumane, racist and flawed practice,” Pressley said in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed that the Department of Justice would move in conflict with the President’s stated policy position and abandon promises made to voters.”
Pressley is driving calls for Biden to end federal executions and re-sentence inmates on death row, and her team has a “consistent dialogue” with the White House on the matter, a senior Pressley staffer said. After the Justice Department this week followed in the Trump administration’s footsteps with Tsarnaev, the staffer said Pressley’s team was assured that prosecutors were acting independently from the White House and that Biden wants to return to the pre-Trump precedent of not carrying out executions.
GOP Gov. Charlie Baker took an opposite tack yesterday and reiterated his belief that “Tsarnaev should face the death penalty,” adding, “I would agree with the Biden administration on that.”
A spokesman for Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a member of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation, said that “given the circumstances” of this particular case, “Jake respects the Justice Department’s decision.”
Auchincloss signed onto a Pressley-led letter in January calling on Biden to commute the sentences of all federal prisoners on death row, but is not among the more than 90 consponsors of Pressley’s Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021 — a list that includes Reps. Katherine Clark, Lori Trahan and Jim McGovern, and Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren.
A McGovern spokesman said he “does not, and has never, supported the death penalty.” Markey and Warren have both called to abolish the death penalty, and their offices pointed to prior statements about supporting life without parole for Tsarnaev. Spokespeople for Clark, Trahan and Reps. Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch and Richard Neal did not comment.
Rep. Seth Moulton said that while he supports the Justice Department’s “independence” and believes Tsarnaev is a “terrorist and a punk,” he remains “fundamentally opposed to the death penalty” in part because there’s “no way to guarantee the United States will not kill an innocent person.”
Still, Moulton said in a statement, “I hope Tsarnaev spends the rest of his miserable life rotting in jail.”
GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Gov. Charlie Baker is reviewing legislation that would restore remote public meetings, to-go cocktail sales and other pandemic-era policies after state lawmakers hammered out a deal yesterday to bring back certain measures that lapsed with the end of the state of emergency. More from State House News Service’s Katie Lannan.
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TODAY — Boston mayoral candidate City Councilor Michelle Wu releases her housing agenda at a 9 a.m. press conference in Dorchester. The “Vax Express” train makes its first of seven stops at the Blue Hill Avenue station in Mattapan from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a press conference at 11 a.m. Acting Boston Mayor Kim janey gives remarks at 1:30 p.m. at a groundbreaking for a Ruggles Street project creating accessible sidewalks and other upgrades; hosts a press conference at 3:30 p.m. at city hall on “next steps for the Boston School Committee” and a Covid-19 update; and speaks at the Mentoring Murals unveiling at 5:30 p.m. at Grove Hall.
The new Special Legislative Commission on Structural Racism in the Massachusetts Probation Service holds its first meeting at 2 p.m. chaired by state Rep. Tram Nguyen and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge. Rep. Seth Moulton reintroduces the Brandon Act to allow service members to confidentially seek mental health treatment at 3 p.m. in D.C. State Sen. Eric Lesser talks sports betting and expired pandemic provisions on Bloomberg Baystate Business at 5:35 p.m.
– “Massachusetts surpasses 4 million fully vaccinated residents as active COVID cases decline to 2,429,” by Tanner Stening, MassLive.com: “The number of active COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts continued to decrease on Tuesday, now down to 2,429 from the 2,636 reported the day before. Massachusetts health officials reported 55 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Officials also reported another 2 COVID-related fatalities, bringing the death toll from the pandemic up to 17,586.”
– “Days Late, Beacon Hill Gets Its Post-COVID Act Together — Almost,” by Mike Deehan, GBH News: “If ‘in the nick of time’ has been the unofficial motto of the state legislature in recent years, ‘better late than never’ may soon be what the 2021-2022 session becomes known for. After allowing emergency protections associated with the COVID-19 pandemic to expire Monday night, the legislature Tuesday evening finalized a bill that would renew, after the fact, many of the emergency policies put in place to protect renters, restaurants and local governments during the pandemic. … If Baker signs the measure Wednesday, the gap in state policy will have lasted around 40 hours.”
– “Unknown to Most, Mariano Voted Last Week from Florida,” by Matt Murphy, State House News Service (paywall): “[House Speaker Ron Mariano’s] office confirmed Tuesday that the speaker voted remotely during last week’s Constitutional Convention on Wednesday and during a Thursday formal session, utilizing COVID-19 emergency rules that allow legislators to participate in House business remotely without being in the State House. Mariano returned to Massachusetts on Monday after being fitted for a pacemaker and remaining in a Florida hospital for a period of time while doctors monitored his condition and adjusted the device.”
– “Is state primed for sports betting?” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies is holding another hearing on sports betting this Thursday, with 19 bills under consideration. These include a bill by Gov. Charlie Baker, who supports allowing sports betting, and another one by the co-chair of the committee, Sen. Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat. … At least 31 states have now authorized sports betting, and others have bills at various stages of consideration. States that have legalized sports betting include nearly all of Massachusetts’ neighbors: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.”
– “Mental health and housing instability worsened for LGBTQ youth during pandemic, report says,” by Alexandra Chaidez, Boston Globe: “The pandemic exacted a heavy toll on the mental health of LGBTQ youths across Massachusetts as they faced housing insecurity and other challenges, according to a new report from the state.”
– “Massachusetts announces vaccine lottery with five $1 million payouts,” by Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com: “Massachusetts is giving unvaccinated residents a million reasons to get their shots. In an effort to boost vaccinations, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new ‘Mass VaxMillions’ lottery, offering fully vaccinated residents the chance to win one of five $1 million payouts or $300,000 college scholarships.”
– “COVID was likely present in Massachusetts in December 2019, new study says,” by Tanner Stening, MassLive.com: “A new study from the National Institutes of Health suggests that COVID-19 may have present in Massachusetts as early as December 2019. … The positive samples came as early as Jan. 7 from samples in Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the researchers said.“
– “Massachusetts launches Bluetooth coronavirus alert as state of emergency ends,” by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “As the Massachusetts COVID state of emergency ends, Bay State health officials on Tuesday announced the launch of a smartphone alert to let people know if they have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus.”
– “Remaining Latino Member Of Boston’s School Committee Says Rebuilding Trust More Important Than Representation,” by Esteban Bustillos, GBH News: “Ernani DeAraujo of East Boston is the sole Latino left on the Boston School Committee after it was announnced last week that Lorna Rivera and Alexandra Oliver-Dávila had resigned over revelations that they sent disparaging texts about white residents in West Roxbury during a contentious committee meeting last fall. Those resignations prompted local Latino leaders to call on Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey to fill the vacant seats with other Latino members, but DeAraujo told GBH News that his focus is on regaining community trust.”
– “Former student representative to Boston School Committee says he met with Suffolk DA about use of unorthodox therapy,” by Laura Crimaldi, Boston Globe: “Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins met virtually Tuesday with current and former members of a Boston Public Schools student government group, some of whom were exposed to an unorthodox form of group therapy under the supervision of an outside contractor.”
– “With housing at center of Boston mayor’s race, labor and developers are organizing to push candidates,” by Matt Stout and Tim Logan, Boston Globe: “A group of pro-development forces, led by one of Boston’s biggest construction unions, is marshaling resources and at least $500,000 to try to influence Boston’s mayoral race, in which housing has emerged as a major issue with little consensus on how to tackle it. Notably, the Responsible Development Coalition, as the group calls itself, is not immediately endorsing a candidate in the six-way race, and may never.“
– “Michelle Wu looks to city of Boston resources in Methadone Mile mayoral plan,” by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: “Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu’s plan to deal with the rough situation at Methadone Mile would include creating a regional task force and immediately conducting an audit of all the city’s properties to see where Boston could quickly add supportive housing.”
– “A lottery for exam schools in Boston? Mayoral hopefuls react to the idea,” by Danny McDonald and James Vaznis, Boston Globe: “Candidates running for Boston mayor had mixed reactions to the idea of nixing the traditional testing process for the city’s trio of highly competitive exam schools, with some contenders criticizing the proposal, while others maintained they looked forward to recommendations from a task force while stopping short of full-throated support for the idea.”
– “At Boston Pride forum, candidates talk cops at parade, loss of queer spaces,” by Rebeca Pereira, Dorchester Reporter: “The candidates who participated in the panel included John Barros, who served as City Hall’s economic development chief, state Rep. Jon Santiago, and City Councillors At-Large Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu. The forum was moderated by NBC10 Boston’s Sue O’Connell. Recent allegations against the organization Boston Pride, which sponsored the forum, overshadowed candidates’ policy pitches.”
– ICYMI: The Massachusetts Nurses Association has endorsed both David Halbert for Boston City Council at-large, and at-large Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia in her reelection bid.
– “’We’re In A Bad Way’: Calling For A Civic Rebirth, Danielle Allen Launches Gubernatorial Bid,” by Adam Reilly, GBH News: “Harvard professor Danielle Allen officially entered the Massachusetts governor’s race Tuesday, calling for a radical strengthening of social bonds in the Commonwealth and asserting that, during COVID-19, ‘the powerful plainly abandoned the powerless.’”
– More: “In launching gubernatorial bid, Danielle Allen says Democrats have ‘settled for too little’ under Baker,” by Matt Stout, Boston Globe: “The event marked [Danielle] Allen’s first formal introduction after she spent months exploring a gubernatorial bid. She stuck largely to broad strokes, calling transportation, education, social justice, and climate change priorities with few policy specifics, and said she’d govern with a desire to lift up those marginalized.”
– UPDATE: Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw pulled out of a Father’s Day fundraiser with Massachusetts GOP Chair Jim Lyons after learning of the intraparty drama, a source familiar with the congressman’s planning told me. Crenshaw’s folks told the MassGOP of their cancellation around 7 p.m. Monday evening. Shortly after 10 p.m., the MassGOP blasted out an email from Lyons saying the event was canceled “due to planned protests.”
– More: “Texas Republican congressman cancels event with MassGOP over internal drama,” by Emma Platoff, Boston Globe: “The Crenshaw event was not the only one disrupted by the internal divisions in the state party. Lyons had been scheduled to speak at a June 26 event for the Massachusetts Federation of Young Republicans, but the group disinvited him recently, chairman Joe Paru said.“
– “The year that broke America’s mayors,” by Lisa Kashinsky, POLITICO: “City leaders across the country are calling it quits after an exhausting year navigating the front lines of an unprecedented confluence of crises that touched nearly every aspect of human life. … mayors in cities big and small, urban and rural, are giving up — for now — on their political careers. In the process, they’re shaking up the municipal landscape, creating a brain drain in city halls and upsetting the political pipeline all over America.“
– “Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Ayanna Pressley reintroduce legislation to stop government use of facial recognition,” by Amy Sokolow, Boston Herald: “Facial recognition is facing a showdown in Congress. U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren are joined by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley in reintroducing legislation to tamp down on the government’s use of biometric technology, which includes facial recognition.”
– “Liberal unrest threatens to doom bipartisan infrastructure talks,” by Burgess Everett, Sarah Ferris and Marianne Levine, POLITICO: “Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are vowing to oppose any infrastructure accord that lacks major policies to tackle climate change. … ‘I can’t support any infrastructure package that does not include child care, clean energy and requiring the rich and powerful to pay a fair share to get this done,’ said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).”
– “The Blue Line Was Named For Boston Harbor. Now The Sea Threatens The Service,” by Simón Rios, WBUR: “The MBTA Blue Line is one of the most important transit links in the region, connecting the North Shore with downtown. … But the T says the Blue Line faces a growing threat from the ocean. A recent study on the Orient Heights Car Yard found that, by 2070, the entire facility would be under several feet of water during a so-called 100-year storm. And other stations along the line, as well as the mile-long tunnel under the harbor, are also at risk of flooding.”
– “First recreational marijuana dispensary opens in Upper, Mid-Cape areas,” by Jessica Hill, Cape Cod Times: “Triple M is now selling recreational cannabis products out of its Echo Road location, making it the first recreational marijuana dispensary in the Upper Cape and Mid-Cape areas.”
– “Minority marijuana businesses seek state-backed capital,” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “All the state’s social equity programs are worth nothing if entrepreneurs of color cannot access the money they need to start a business. That was the message from marijuana entrepreneurs – and one state regulator – who testified at a hearing of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy on Tuesday.”
– “UMass Lowell to remain closed Wednesday while investigating ‘cybersecurity incident’,” by Charlie McKenna and Christine Mui, Boston Globe: “The University of Massachusetts Lowell will cancel classes and business operations for a second straight day Wednesday while the university investigates a possible cyber security breach, officials said.”
– “Holyoke Soldiers’ Home reopens search for new superintendent after first pick backs out,” by Stephanie Barry, Springfield Republican: “Holyoke Soldiers’ Home trustees are headed back to the drawing board to find a new superintendent after their first pick backed out over family concerns.”
– “Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine picked for top municipal post in Natick,” by Henry Schwan, MetroWest Daily News: “Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine is in line to become Natick’s next town administrator. The Select Board voted 5-0 Monday night to pick Chapdelaine from among four finalists. … Chapdelaine beat out Natick Deputy Town Administrator James Errickson, Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison and Concord Deputy Town Manager Kate Hodges.”
– “Hull keeps state of emergency as legislative inaction throws wrench into meeting plans,” by Wheeler Cowperthwaite, Patriot Ledger: “The local state of emergency in Hull will stay despite the state’s designation ending Tuesday as Hull officials express worry about federal funding and reimbursements that could be contingent on it.”
– “Her son is dead, and Dracut High School’s yearbook contains calls for alleged shooter’s release,” by Robert Mills, Lowell Sun: “Lowell Police found Adrian Kimborowicz, 20, laying on his back on Sutherland Street on Sept. 26, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his chest. … The 2021 yearbook for Dracut High School includes two student photographs captioned with ‘free Mello’ — an apparent reference to the 18-year-old Dracut man, Christian ‘C-Mello’ Lemay — whom Lowell Police allege shot Kimborowicz while aiming for another man.”
– “Gambling revenues up at Encore Boston Harbor, down slightly at MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park,” by Peter Goonan, Springfield Republican: “It was the second consecutive monthly dip for MGM, after an upward trajectory from November to March.”
MAZEL! – to at-large Boston City Council candidate Alex Gray and his wife, Lauren, who recently welcomed their son, Emerson Michael Gray, into the world.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to Mac Cerullo of CNHI/Newburyport Daily News, MassINC’s Richard Parr, Nicholas McCool and Bill Shaner. Happy belated to former 3rd District congressional candidate Alexandra Chandler, who celebrated Tuesday.
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