The Codcast: Grading the Legislature
The Environmental League of Massachusetts put out its latest legislative scorecard this week, and the rankings provided a number of interesting insights about Beacon Hill.
First, the Environmental League’s scorecard in its own way confirmed the House-Senate political divide raised initially by a scorecard put out by Associated Industries of Massachusetts. AIM generally gave higher ratings to House members and lower ratings to Senate members, who the business group said pursued a “more progressive, ideological approach that produced a steady stream of bills with the potential to harm the Massachusetts economy.” The ELM scorecard, which focused on votes on energy issues and environmental spending, gave high rankings to members of both branches, but senators overall did better.
Second, the ELM scorecard awarded bonus points to lawmakers for actions they took beyond votes, including those who initiated “dear colleague” letters. Dear colleague letters are a way for lawmakers to signal their view on a policy issue to leadership. Letters went out this year on solar energy and pipeline tariff legislation, and seemed to have an impact. “Up until this year, I thought dear colleague letters were a waste of time,” said George Bachrach, the president of the Environmental League, on The Codcast.
Lawmakers pass a final spending bill for fiscal 2016 that closes a massive budget shortfall in part by drawing $60 million from the Convention Center Fund. (State House News)
Reversing course, the Baker administration says it will amend regulations to include low-wage nursing home workers in the group of care providers in line for a pay raise. (Boston Globe)
The Legislature freed up money that will help fund a backlog of seniors on waiting lists for home care services. (Boston Globe)
The Globe‘s Frank Phillips writes that a long-stalled bill to provide job protections to pregnant workers suddenly seems to be moving after a story he penned last week spotlighted the clout of Associated Industries of Massachusetts wields on Beacon Hill by citing its efforts to block the legislation. (Boston Globe)
A group of Springfield city councilors raises fairness questions about a police officer who is fired for smoking a cigar during a traffic detail. The councilors noted other officers did much worse and got off with suspensions or were allowed to resign. (Masslive)
Pittsfield is installing parking meters downtown. (Berkshire Eagle)
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins says honest and open dialogue is needed to address race-related issues. (CommonWealth)
Republican leaders have second thoughts about the override of President Obama’s veto of 9/11 legislation. (Bloomberg)
A new WBUR/MassINC Polling Group survey has Hillary Clinton up by 7 points in New Hampshire, where voters overwhelmingly thought she won Monday’s first presidential debate. (WBUR)
Donald Trump has a long history of ridiculing people over their weight, and reportedly ordered one golf course he owns to fire women he found unattractive. (Boston Globe) USA Today, which has never endorsed in a presidential race, declares Trump unfit for the presidency.
Presumably eager to avoid a reprise of Gary Johnson‘s blank-drawing episode, Trump tells NECN’s Alison King that the world leader he admires is Angela Merkel — despite the fact that he has regularly savaged the German leader, once tweeting that she is “the person ruining Germany.” The monumental flip-flop draws the attention of the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza.
Johnson, Libertarian Party nominee, is the latest in a long line of third-party candidates that threaten to draw votes from Democratic presidential hopefuls and potentially tip a race into the Republican column, writes James Davitt Rooney. (CommonWealth)
A WBZ/UMass Amherst poll shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a tight hypothetical match-up with a couple Republican stalwarts — except Curt Schilling who she bloodies by 19 points — and Keller@Large says she needs to spend more time focused on Boston rather than Washington.
Nearly 1 million immigrants applied for citizenship in the last year but the backlog means most will not complete the process in time to vote in an election that could be a key to their future. (New York Times)
Someone in the state Department of Conservation and Recreation improperly used the agency’s official Twitter account to promote a Bay State Banner editorial supporting Question 2, which would allow more charter schools in the state. (Boston Herald)
Low-income residents on Cape Cod wait four to five times longer for federal housing subsidy vouchers than the national average because of the tight rental market on the Cape. (Cape Cod Times)
A Rhode Island nursing home operator and its chief operating officer will pay a $2.2 million fine to settle charges that the company fraudulently inflated Medicare bills for services from its Fall River rehabilitation facility. (Herald News)
A slew of current and former Chelmsford education officials are sued in connection with an alleged hazing incident at a summer football camp. (Lowell Sun)
A senior football player at Shepherd Hill in Worcester returns to court seeking the right to play in Friday’s game. The player, Kevin Mensah, is facing questions about his transfer from another school. He had to win court approval to play last week. (Telegram & Gazette)
Corliss McGee, president of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy since 2005, will leave her post next year to take a teaching position at her alma mater in Tennessee. (Patriot Ledger)
Next in the ongoing battle between the MBTA and the Carmen’s Union over staffing of the agency’s “money room,” a photo released by the T from a surveillance camera showing someone the T says was a union worker lying prone on a yoga mat with cash piled on a nearby table. (Boston Herald)
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack wants to step up efforts to address climate change. Enough with the pilot programs, she says, programs need to go to scale. (State House News)
The T continues to fight a Boston Herald public information request for a report on the agency’s leave policy that the T has maintained is protected as privileged attorney-client information.
The state pulled the plug on a publicly subsidized commuter bus between Marlborough and Boston because of low ridership. (MetroWest Daily News)
A commuter rail crash in Hoboken, N.J., one of the busiest transit hubs in metropolitan New York, killed one and injured 100 more during Thursday morning’s rush hour. (New York Times)
Massachusetts ties with California for the top spot in energy efficiency rankings. (Masslive)
The EPA has awarded a grant to UMass Dartmouth to test a widely held theory that oyster beds can remove excess nitrogen from salt ponds and estuaries, potentially unlocking an environmentally safe and inexpensive way to clean up runoff from farms and septic systems that can harm fish and wildlife habitats. (Standard-Times)
Millions of dollars in lottery winnings go unclaimed each year, and revert back to the state. (CommonWealth)
Both Linda Carman, who is presumed lost at sea, and her son Nathan Carman, whose potential role in her death is being examined, have been suspects in the still-unsolved 2013 killing of Linda Carman’s father. (Boston Herald)
The attorney general’s office has cleared two Brockton police officers in the fatal shooting of a man who was wielding a pair of realistic-looking BB guns and threatening to “shoot people.” (The Enterprise)
New Hampshire’s highest court ruled the private sex life of a murdered Westborough woman will not be public in her killer’s appeal. (Associated Press)
The Denver Post keeps on shrinking.The Washington Post tries to cut down on the length of stories — too much flab, editors say. (Poynter)
Donald Trump‘s candidacy has triggered civil war among the right wing media. (New York Times) Case in point: Syndicated conservative columnist Mona Charen flames Trump and his cohorts for being “hypocritical” in bringing up Bill Clinton‘s infidelities while their guy did some of his own bed-hopping while married. (National Review)