Chandler to Serve on Voter Choice Board
FORMER 3RD DISTRICT Congressional candidate Alexandra Chandler has joined the Advisory Board of Voter Choice Massachusetts, which is working on bringing Ranked Choice Voting to the Bay State.
Under ranked choice, voters select candidates in order of preferences, unlike the traditional pick-one-candidate option.
Chandler cites her experience in the 10-way Congressional primary last year in her announcement. She also cites the recent Fall River election, in which Mayor Jasiel Correa was recalled, but also received a plurality of votes in a multi-way race to retain office.
THE COPPER COLOSSUS on the Mystic can stay.
That was the bottom line this week for Wynn Resorts and their Encore Boston Harbor resort hotel and casino after they escaped the clutches of the Gaming Commission with a $35 million fine and personal restitution from CEO Matt Maddox.
The Gaming Commission issued its long-awaited, much delayed verdict on Wynn Resorts’s handling of sexual assault allegations against its founder and former CEO Steve Wynn: Guilty. Time served.
Encore Boston Harbor will keep its license, and despite the commission being “profoundly disturbed” by the company’s handling of the allegations, they said they could not find “substantial evidence necessary to disrupt the licensee’s suitability status.”
The argument that the company had been pruned of its weeds and turned over a new leaf with new board members and top executives (Maddox the notable exception) won out.
So Wynn Resorts is back to moving full steam ahead toward a June opening. And the penalty, while larger than the one levied by Nevada, is a drop in the bucket for the multi-billion dollar gaming giant, and one they seem willing to quietly pay to turn the page on a damaging chapter.
Wynn Resorts wasn’t alone at the high-stakes table this week.
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS RACHAEL ROLLINS and Marian Ryan went heads up with the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), filing a lawsuit to make it illegal for ICE to arrest defendants in Bay State courtrooms.
The move came just days after U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling brought charges against District Court Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade ICE agents in a Newton courthouse. And Rollins’ demonstrated that she’s willing to go all in, if needed.
“I am in no fear of arrest. And, very candidly, if I am, it would be my honor,” Rollins said about the risk in taking on ICE and Lelling.
The lawsuit, of course, came up when President Donald Trump called into Boston Herald Radio, a friendly forum where the president said Rollins would have to “live with her own conscience” if she wants to let MS-13 gang members roam free.
“I think it’s a sad situation and very unfortunate for Massachusetts, a great place that I know very well, so many friends up there. These are people that probably don’t mind crime. They don’t mind what’s going on,” Trump said.
Gov. Charlie Baker didn’t take as clear a side this week when asked about the immigration enforcement flareup. He had not yet read the lawsuit, but said he disagreed with Attorney General Maura Healey and other Democrats that Lelling was playing politics by charging Judge Joseph.
The governor did, however, use the occasion to remind the Legislature that he filed a bill last session that would have clarified ICE’s place in the Massachusetts law enforcement continuum.
“The fact that it’s sort of drifted here into the courthouses is a function of the fact that we don’t have a detainer policy here in Massachusetts, statutorily. I think we should,” Baker said.
So how about it Mr. Speaker? Or Madam President? We’ll have to wait and see, they said.
PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS are hoping that their wait will soon come to an end to see the Legislature counter a Supreme Court ruling last summer that struck down their ability to charge non-members dues.
Speaker Robert DeLeo said last year that the House stood ready to respond to the so-called “Janus” decision, but when push came to shove at the end of the session last July the speaker said there was no consensus in the labor community. That has changed.
AFL-CIO of Massachusetts President Steve Tolman showed up to testify this week in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development backed by members of every public sector union in the state.
That included Teamsters Local 25, who last year was the one union opposed to the Sen. Joseph Boncore bill that passed the Senate, but stalled in the House. Boncore’s bill would allow unions to charge non-members for the cost of handling grievances and arbitration on their behalf.
“This is a very, very impressive show of unity,” committee co-chair Rep. Paul Brodeur said.
THE LABOR COMMITTEE hearing was one of several this week, including a Higher Education Committee where UMass President Marty Meehan was looking right past the House members to senators who, for the low, low cost of $10.2 million could, own a tuition freeze for tens of thousands of students.
“While I have so many senators here, I would say that for $10.2 million more -- and this is a big budget and I recognize the fact that there are a lot of pressures -- but for $10.2 million more, we could keep tuition even for the year,” Meehan said.
The House, like Gov. Baker, opted against fulfilling the UMass budget request. But the Senate Ways and Means Committee goes next on Tuesday.
AND MATTHEW BEATON won’t be around to see how that branch funds his former secretariat, energy and environmental affairs.
In the Baker Cabinet since the beginning, Beaton stepped down this week as secretary for a job as senior vice president of renewable energy and emerging technology at TRC Companies, a national engineering and consulting firm based in Lowell.
Baker tapped the state’s first undersecretary for climate change, Kathleen Theoharides, to replace Beaton.
While “Climate Katie,” as she’s known to staff, might not be the bow hunter that Beaton was, her appointment was well received in the environmental advocacy community.
STORY OF THE WEEK: The copper Colossus on the Mystic can stay.
The Sunday Notebook was compiled by State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy.