House rules

The Massachusetts House expelled Rep. Carlos Henriquez of Boston on Thursday because the representatives couldn’t tolerate having a colleague who was serving time in jail for assault and battery against his girlfriend.

Unfortunately, the House rules didn’t envision such a situation, so Henriquez was technically expelled because he didn’t comply with a rule barring members from engaging in conduct that would substantially impair their independence of judgment. As Rep. Denise Provost of Somerville sarcastically remarked: “As far as I can tell, his judgment is a little too independent.”

Calls are already being made to change the House rules. After all, Henriquez could be out of jail in time to run again for his now-vacant seat. His colleague, Rep. Russell Holmes of Boston, believes Henriquez will run and will win.

What would the House do then?

But revamping the House rules could open a can of worms. After all, House members have been found guilty of breaking the law in the past and not been kicked out of the chamber. There’s also the upcoming federal trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien. He is accused of giving jobs to people recommended by powerful Beacon Hill lawmakers in return for those lawmakers approving increases in his budget appropriation.

O’Brien calls what he did good, old-fashioned patronage, but the US attorney’s office is calling it bribery. Should those lawmakers who engaged in horse-trading for jobs, even if they aren’t convicted of a crime, be expelled from the House?

–BRUCE MOHL  

BEACON HILL

The Massachusetts House expels jailed Boston Rep. Carlos Henriquez by a vote of 146-5, CommonWealthreports. The Rev. Mark Scott condemns the silence of black leaders on Henriquez. Juan Cofield, an NAACP official, defends his support of Henriquez. Herald columnist Michael Graham suggests Cofield equates jaywalking and assault and battery because they are both misdemeanors.

Lawmakers huddle with Olga Roche, the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, for two hours in a closed-door meeting, the State House News reports.

A good, well-known doobie: Former congressman Bill Delahunt, now a lobbyist, met with remarkable success in landing three of the 20 medical marijuana licenses awarded last week by the state. The Globe connects the dots between Delahunt and his colleagues at Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts and various local and state officials who had some influence over the license awards.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A subcommittee of the Salem City Council votes 4-1 to hike Mayor Kim Driscoll‘s salary from $100,000 to $120,000 a year, the Salem News reports.

The Item reports that 269 vehicles were towed as part of a Lynn parking ban during the Wednesday snowstorm, generating huge charges for tow trucks and $6,725 in fees for the city.

A Haverhill city councilor says he feels he was duped by former state senator James Jajuga into signing a letter indicating the town wouldn’t oppose a pot dispensary, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

An 8-year-old boy is killed at an after school program in Gardner when a cart with a TV set on top of it falls on top of him, the Sun reports.

JetBlue joins Boston‘s parking spot wars, throwing down a chair on the Logan Airport tarmac to save a space for one of its airplanes.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The Atlantic argues that the ascendance of liberal Democrats like Elizabeth Warren does not mean Warren’s wing now runs the party.

Paul Krugman hits back at “willful ignorance” on the impact of Obamacare on the labor force.

ELECTIONS

Nearly half of the campaign cash in last year’s mayoral race in Brockton came from outside the city.

GAMBLING

Saying New Hampshire stands to lose $75 million a year once Massachusetts opens a casino, Gov. Maggie Hassan reiterated her call for one resort casino in the Granite State, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

To reduce fraud, credit card companies next year plan to do away with sign-and-swipe cards and replace them with cards that require the user to input a PIN number, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit against a Seekonk refurbishing company saying the firm took parts from customers’ antique auto and appliances such as wood stoves for chrome replating but never did the work or returned the deposits.

EDUCATION

A fifth of the teaching jobs in the Boston Public Schools for the coming school year need to be filled, giving principals a golden opportunity to remake their staffs, CommonWealth reports.

A new study says women and minorities, except for Asians, continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM.)

New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait argues that the efforts by a Baton Rouge school district to secede, and thereby keep the children and tax dollars of wealthy families out of poorer neighborhood schools, shows the upside-down ideology of school politics. Liberals should be in favor of abolishing highly segregated geographical divisions in education, Chait argues, but they aren’t, because the schools that operate on citywide lotteries tend to be non-union charters. Slate’s Matt Yglesias, on the other hand, blames restrictive urban zoning policies for gentrifying poor families out of desirable school districts.

HEALTH CARE

Gov. Deval Patrick outlines a number of steps to improve the performance of the state’s troubled health care website and brings in a Blue Cross Blue Shield executive to oversee the efforts, the Associated Press reports.

Massachusetts employers could be facing increases of 5 to 8 percent in health care premiums.

A Dartmouth father is enlisting state and federal lawmakers to help him convince the FDA to allow his 8-year-old son to resume treatment for a brain tumor at a controversial Houston clinic shut down by the agency for administrative lapses.

TRANSPORTATION

MCBR , the losing bidder to run the MBTA’s commuter rail system, is not chugging off quietly into the good night, vowing instead to appeal to state officials to change their minds.

The state has given approval for the redesign of the rotary in Middleboro near Interstate 495 that regularly causes back-ups in all directions.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A raccoon that snuck into a Hingham woman’s home through a cat door and then attacked her in bed has tested positive for rabies.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/SECURITY

The Worcester courts launch an effort to reduce recidivism by addressing the drug problems of former inmates and cracking down on probation violations immediately, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The feds are beginning to tighten the screws on states such as Massachusetts that don’t require proof of citizenship before issuing driver’s licenses.

A student at Endicott College in Beverly is charged in campus attacks linked to a game called knockout, the Salem News reports.

The federal trial is set to begin for a former Plymouth police officer accused of attacking a defenseless prisoner then tryIng to cover it up.

CommonWealth ‘s Jack Sullivan sat down with Jim Braude on NECN’s Broadside to discuss his story in the most recent print issue about the use of deadly force by police in Massachusetts.

MEDIA

Greater Boston takes a look at the early career of Jay Leno, the North Andover native who signed off after 20 years at the helm of the iconic Tonight Show.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

SOCHI OLYMPICS

Derelict hotels and now, no yogurt.