The Codcast: Pot politics

After a dumbfounding outburst by House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday evening, it appears the House and Senate are finally getting down to business. A fiscal 2018 budget is slated for a vote on Friday and the House and Senate lawmakers trying to broker a deal between the branches on marijuana legislation are finally getting back to work.

In this week’s Codcast, CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas, Jack Sullivan, and Bruce Mohl analyze the legislative maneuverings of the last week, particularly around pot. Why did DeLeo issue a statement denouncing those who would link the budget and pot negotiations for political leverage, and then say the negotiations were never linked by the House? Even though his comment appeared to point the finger at the Senate, it turns out there was no evidence anyone, let alone any senators, had engaged in political machinations. The speaker’s spokesman said DeLeo made the statement solely in response to press queries.

And we kick around a bunch of other questions as well. Why is the Senate at ease with the marijuana law passed by voters in November, while the House is so eager to rewrite it? Is a voter-approved law sacred and unchangeable, or should lawmakers feel free to rework it if they feel it’s drafted poorly? Why do the Senate and House, both dominated by Democrats, get along so poorly? And why is trying to gain political leverage by linking two separate bills so bad? After all, politics and deal-making is the business of Beacon Hill, so why is the speaker shocked if someone actually engages in that business?



House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano said he is unaware of any attempt to link the budget and pot negotiations on Beacon Hill. (CommonWealth) Lawmakers signal a fiscal 2018 budget accord is reached, and plan a quick vote on Friday. (State House News)

Three of the state’s independent authorities offer financial aid to the Baker administration in its efforts to balance the fiscal 2017 budget. (CommonWealth)

Secretary of State William Galvin talks about voter-related issues, including his refusal to turn over information to the presidential commission on voter fraud, which he said is a fraud. (Greater Boston)

Some see Gov. Charlie Baker’s appointment of a prominent gun rights advocate to direct the state Department of Fish and Game as an effort to appease his right flank — and a poke at Attorney General Maura Healey, who has tussled with gun-rights advocates over her strict enforcement of gun laws. (Boston Herald)


The Hoosic River Revival hires Matthew Miller as its executive director to lead efforts to revitalize and restore the Hoosic River in North Adams. (Berkshire Eagle) CommonWealth did a One on One Q&A with Hoosic River Revival founder Judy Grinnell in the Spring issue.

A former Framingham deputy police chief has filed suit against the town and the department saying he was forced to resign after being harassed and badgered by the chief and another deputy in retaliation for complaints he filed alleging “myriad improprieties” in the department. He is the third police officer to file suit against the town. (MetroWest Daily News)

A Lowell Sun editorial says a possible major construction project in Tyngsboro is jeopardized by the inability of the town to offer liquor licenses to developers.

In the wake of a $4 million judgment in a discrimination suit, the Brockton City Council has adopted a new ordinance governing hiring practices for public workers including a requirement that when applicants have equal qualifications, the decision should be made to mirror the city’s demographics. (The Enterprise)


Hamburg, Germany is in near-lockdown after police use water cannons to break up violent protests at the G-20 summit of world leaders, where President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet one-on-one. (New York Times)

Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of US Government Ethics, resigns his post after a stormy series of months battling with the Trump administration. (Time)

Experts say Melania Trump has lost any credibility as crusader against cyberbullying — an initiative she said she would take on as first lady but has yet to take any action on — because her husband is a cyberbully. (Boston Globe)


John Kingston, a wealthy Winchester businessman, has hired a Pennsylvania Republican operative as part of his early moves toward a potential run next year against US Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Boston Globe)

A Herald editorial pans a lawsuit challenging the state law requiring residents to register to vote 20 days in advance of an election.


George Carney, owner of the former dog track in Raynham as well as the Brockton Fairgrounds, has had initial conversations with the Stronach Group, which controls about 40 percent of the thoroughbred horse racing market in the country, about the potential revival of racing in Massachusetts. (The Enterprise)

Low-income tenants in the Mass Pike Towers in Boston’s Chinatown are in a court battle with the building’s owner, Trinity Financial, over the price for the 200-unit development that the tenants hope to buy in order to ensure that it is preserved as affordable housing. (Boston Globe)

Airbnb reports a big jump in bookings in Boston and on the Cape over the long July 4 weekend, resulting in more than $6 million in payments to owners. (Masslive)


The Westport School Committee is set to vote on fee changes that would increase school lunch prices for elementary students and decrease sports and transportation charges for junior and senior high school students while reducing the full-time nurse to part-time to pay for part of the reductions. (Herald News)

The belt-tightening at the University of Massachusetts Boston will mean the shutdown of a daycare center that serves staff and faculty at the school as well as poor families in Dorchester and South Boston. (Boston Globe)

Attorney General Maura Healey joins with 18 other Democratic AGs in a lawsuit against US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her department’s delay in issuing rules to protect student loan borrowers. (Boston Globe)

Nine women who had been admitted to one of Harvard’s creepy, formerly all-male social clubs are booted out. (Boston Globe)


Endo International PLC is pulling its opioid painkiller Opana ER off the market at the request of federal regulators who say the drug is being abused by users. (Associated Press)


The Steamship Authority has confirmed the identities of the captain and pilot of a fast ferry that crashed into a jetty at the entrance of Hyannis Harbor last month. The two men, one of whom has been working for the Authority for more than 43 years, have returned to work on a limited substitution basis. (Cape Cod Times)

Yet another tale of airline customer-service idiocy, as United Airlines forces a woman to hold her two-year-old child on her lap for a three-hour-plus flight from Houston to Boston after it sold his seat to a standby passenger even though the woman had paid for the toddler’s seat. (Boston Globe)


Hackers have been targeting computer networks of companies operating nuclear power plants and other energy facilities in the US and other countries, according to internal reports by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. (New York Times)

The MBTA is refusing to release information on how much Eversource is paying for an easement to lay power lines along an abandoned railroad bed between Hudson and Sudbury. (MetroWest Daily News)


State Sen. Joseph Boncore, whose district includes the Suffolk Downs racetrack that lost out on bid for a casino license, says he favors letting the state gambling commission divert money from a fund set aside for the horse race industry for other uses. (Boston Herald)


Nonfatal shootings in Boston are up nearly 30 percent so far this year, prompting a CIty Hall meeting today of police and community leaders. (Boston Herald) The mayhem has the heavily affected neighborhoods on edge, even though overall crime stats are down. (Boston Globe)

A Quincy caregiver charged with stealing more than $15,000 from an elderly patient in Weymouth retains her state license to practice as a certified nurse aide while the investigation is ongoing, allowing her to work in other facilities. (Patriot Ledger)


Fox Business Network has suspended anchor Charles Payne pending an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, the latest incident in the year-long sexual harassment scandal  that continues to roil corporate parent 21st Century Fox. (New York Times)