A bipartisan State House stand against Postal Service cuts 

Boston isn’t Washington, and President Trump’s concerns don’t represent Beacon Hill Republicans.

As if that weren’t clear enough already, Massachusetts House Minority Leader Brad Jones, a North Reading Republican, is spearheading a letter alongside Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo urging Congress to ensure the “safe and timely delivery of mail-in ballots” for the November election.

The joint letter by the Democratic and Republican House leaders started circulating Wednesday to get co-signers. The fact that DeLeo and Jones are the top signers virtually ensures that the entire House membership will sign on.

The letter comes amid national concern over steps Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee, has been taking that could potentially slow down mail service in advance of the November presidential election. DeJoy tried to cut costs by cutting down on overtime, banning extra trips, and taking a number of mail-sorters and mailboxes out of service. DeJoy only backed off his plan amid a national outcry questioning whether the cuts were part of Trump’s strategy to limit the use of voting by mail.

A number of states, including Massachusetts, have vastly expanded mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Trump has raised concerns that this will open the door to increased voter fraud. While both Democrats and Republicans have supported expanding voting by mail this year, Democrats have generally been the strongest proponents of methods to increase ballot access.

In Massachusetts, more than 1 million residents have already requested mail-in ballots. Attorney General Maura Healey, with support from Secretary of State William Galvin, signed onto a multi-state lawsuit challenging the post office’s actions.

While Healey and Galvin are both Democrats, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has also said the post office needs more money. And the joint House letter shows that the issue does not belong in the domain of Democrats alone.

DeLeo and Jones wrote in an email to House members that although DeJoy announced a temporary delay to certain organizational cost-cutting measures, “We believe there are still many other issues that threaten to undermine the Postal Service’s operations and must be addressed as soon as possible.”

They wrote in their letter, which is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and will also be sent to the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation, that lawmakers are “extremely concerned” about a letter the US Postal Service sent to Galvin saying it could not guarantee all mail-in ballots in November would be delivered in time to be counted. “This is completely unacceptable as it would effectively disenfranchise a significant number of American voters,” DeLeo and Jones wrote.

The House leaders continued, “The cost-cutting measures implemented by the Postmaster General directly impact a trustworthy service the American people rely on to receive prescriptions, receive their Social Security checks to pay the bills and now these measures directly impact the peoples’ constitutional right to vote.”

The bill establishing vote by mail in Massachusetts passed the House 157-1 and the Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Baker. It seems that both passing vote-by-mail and implementing it truly is a bipartisan issue in Massachusetts.

SHIRA SCHOENBERG

FROM COMMONWEALTH

The Justice Department seeks reinstatement of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev death penalty. “Ultimately, this decision is not about deterrence. It is about justice,” said US Attorney Andrew Lelling. 

Senior living complexes are caught in COVID-19 limbo on testing.

Baker to offer mobile testing resources to K-12 schools. 

Opinion: Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone says a color-coded map is not a back-to-school plan.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

BEACON HILL

Fiscal watchdogs say the state doesn’t have the money to make the $100 weekly contribution required to go with the $400 the Trump administration is offering for extended unemployment payments. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

South Hadley moves into the red zone for COVID-19, meaning it’s a high-risk area. Town officials partly blame the surge in cases on a party in nearby Amherst attended by young South Hadley residents. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

John Soares, who is Cape Verdean, was elected president of the Boston firefighters union, the first time the union will be led by a person of color. (Boston Globe

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Some people are complaining that the state’s flu vaccine mandate takes away personal choice. Gov. Charlie Baker says it will drive down hospitalizations and leave room for COVID patients. (MassLive)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, a key architect of his 2016 campaign, was arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a private nonprofit that raised money to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. (New York Times

ELECTIONS

Joe Biden officially became the Democratic presidential nominee and urged the country to choose hope over fear and darkness, casting his campaign as an effort to unify a country riven by a divisive president. (Washington Post

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorses Joe Kennedy III for US Senate over the incumbent, Ed Markey. She praises his help in taking back the House from the Republicans. (WBUR) The Berkshire Eagle also backs Kennedy over Markey in an editorial. The Pelosi endorsement — against an incumbent Democrat — has enraged liberal Markey supporters. (Boston Globe

US Rep. Richard Neal and his challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, tangle over the tenor of the campaign and Congress’s response to COVID-19 in their final debate, but only briefly touch on allegations that Morse had sexual relationships with students at UMass, where he was a lecturer. (MassLive)

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments on Monday in an appeal filed by Fourth Congressional District candidate Becky Grossman to extend the vote-counting period for mailed ballots in the September 1 primary. (Boston Herald

Rep. Seth Moulton, who toppled a Democratic incumbent in a primary on the way to winning his seat, is now facing two primary challengers in his reelection bid. (Boston Globe)

The owner of a New England for Trump retailer, which sells Trump-related merchandise in 13 stores in three states, says business is brisk and merchandise is flying off the shelves. (Telegram & Gazette)

Communities have set up close to 200 drop boxes where voters can drop completed mail-in ballots. (MassLive)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Even as they are allowed to reopen, entertainment businesses are struggling to survive, amid coronavirus-related changes. (The Salem News) Showcase Cinemas is opening nine theaters in Massachusetts next week. (Telegram & Gazette)

Holyoke is home to more businesses applying for cannabis licenses than any other city in the state. (Boston Business Journal) CommonWealth previously spotlighted Mayor Alex Morse’s effort to have the city become a pot powerhouse. 

Housing advocates are concerned Cape Cod real estate might become even less affordable. (Cape Cod Times)

EDUCATION

Kevin Mulvey, Quincy’s new school superintendent, says he plans to focus on diversifying the district’s staff. (Patriot Ledger)

ARTS/CULTURE

Barrington Stage switches gears, moving to virtual presentations, to comply with state reopening mandates. (Berkshire Eagle)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A new State of the Coast report focused on North Shore communities warns that towns must plan for the dangers caused by climate change. (Gloucester Daily Times)

New Bedford terminal wins a staging contract with Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind for their offshore wind projects. (Standard-Times)

MEDIA

Gannett newsrooms, whiter than the communities they serve, promise broad change. (Nieman Journalism Lab)

President Trump’s campaign buys up ad space all over the Washington Post website, prompting a furious debate. (Fast Company)

PASSINGS

Retired Worcester fire chief Dennis Budd, who led the department through the tragic Worcester Cold Storage fire in 1999, dies at 72. (Telegram & Gazette)