Heroux and Lantigua, what’s the difference?
It’s an interesting dynamic building and a stark contrast between how Heroux is being treated by his fellow Democratic lawmakers and how former state representative William Lantigua was handled when he was elected Lawrence mayor in 2009.
Heroux is the target of a proposed Republican bill that would prevent him, and presumably anyone who is elected to both state and local office, from holding both positions simultaneously. Heroux is dismissing that as partisan showmanship and said he’s getting “no pressure” from House leadership to give up the seat and focus on running his city. Heroux insists he never hid his intentions and voters were fully aware when they cast their ballots for him.
Compare that to the maelstrom swirling around Lantigua, a controversial pol in his own right, when he stood his ground that he could serve two masters. He only backed down after fellow lawmakers threatened a $35 million bailout for Lawrence and then-Gov. Deval Patrick put heavy pressure on him to do the right thing.
Heroux’s rationales have been evolving, let’s just say. He initially said he wanted to remain in his seat so Democrats would have a better chance to keep it in the fold, given that there are a few strong Republicans down his way. Apparently he believes the 124 seats Democrats hold in the 160-member House would imperil the balance of power.
That reasoning soon gave way to his insistence that he wanted to push some of his bills across the finish line. Except he missed a couple key votes this week, including the major criminal justice reform bill. He also said he doesn’t want to burden his district with the cost of holding a special election. But a little-known law was passed a few years back that would apply unused salaries from lawmakers leaving the Legislature to the cost of a special election to replace them.
Gov. Charlie Baker excoriated Heroux for clinging to the seat, calling it “incredibly insulting” to both mayors and legislators who try to do their jobs full-time as well as a slap at taxpayers to collect two public paychecks, which prompted Heroux to say he’ll donate his salary.
Though not on the scale of Lantigua, pressure is starting to bear on Heroux. The Boston Globe and his hometown Sun Chronicle both ran editorials calling on Heroux to choose one or the other. But there’s little effort from his colleagues to run him out the door. It makes you wonder what William Lantigua thinks.
Bentley University public policy professor Rob A. DeLeo says the House should follow the Senate lead and pass comprehensive climate change legislation in the face of the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement. (CommonWealth) (It’s a case he might also be able to make in person at the Thanksgiving table next week, as his name’s resemblance to a particularly influential House member is not a coincidence.)
Several bills filed on Beacon Hill would reverse Attorney General Maura Healey’s 2016 ruling on “copycat” assault weapons and limit her office’s ability to issue similar rulings going forward. (MassLive)
Jim Aloisi lays out a transportation “to-do list” for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in his second term. (CommonWealth)
The Peabody City Council failed to get enough votes to pass a zoning change that would have banned retail sale of recreational marijuana. (Salem News)
The Herald editorial page admits it finds itself in “the unfamiliar position of advocating for higher taxes on sales of a legal product,” but urges cities and towns to slap the maximum allowed local tax of 3 percent on marijuana sales.
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch promised to veto a bill before the City Council that would reclassify large apartment buildings as commercial property and double the tax bill, which Koch said would dramatically hike rents in the city. (Patriot Ledger)
Stoughton Selectman David Sousa, one of three selectman targeted for recall over their actions in terminating the town manager, declared the suit by the fired administrator is “over,” but Michael Hartman, the former town manager, said it’s still alive. (The Enterprise)
The Republican tax plan cleared its first hurdle with passage in the House, but there remains lots of skepticism about it among the public. (Boston Globe)
Lawrence is one of 29 communities, and the only one in Massachusetts, to receive a letter from the Department of Justice threatening to withhold crime-fighting grants unless the police department reverses its policies preventing officers from cooperating with immigration officials. (Eagle Tribune)
Fall River’s city attorney issued an opinion that a firefighter who won election to the School Committee can keep his job this term even though voters also approved the new charter which bars city employees from serving on the City Council or the School Committee. (Herald News)
An abutter to city-owned property in Fall River is opposing Mayor Jasiel Correia’s plan to lease out public land for digital billboards that could bring up to $15 million in upfront fees and $650,000 a year in payments. (Herald News)
A new campaign aims to get more women in the building trades in Massachusetts, where they currently account for just 5 percent of the workforce. (Boston Globe)
Citing “major philosophical differences” with current and incoming School Committee members, New Bedford Superintendent Pia Durkin resigned effective the end of the year. The surprise resignation came a day after a new School Committee member met with Durkin and police had to be called and the new school committee member was served with a “no trespass” order. (Standard-Times)
Mary-Margaret Mara, the 2014 Worcester Teacher of the Year and a finalist last year for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, outlines the help Level 3 schools like hers need from the state to make progress. (CommonWealth)
Scot Lehigh says the transition in Lawrence from a district overseen by one-man receiver Jeff Riley to a one governed by a state-appointed board should keep the city’s schools on an improvement trajectory. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth reported earlier this week on details of the change — and on Riley’s possible interest in the state education commissioner’s post.
Matt Kelly, a longtime member of the Berkshire Museum collections committee, has resigned to protest the museum plan to sell 40 pieces of art to raise money, a decision he says was never raised with the committee. (Berkshire Eagle)
Vibra Hospital, a 220-bed long-term acute care facility in Springfield announced it will close in March, citing lowered reimbursement rates and changes in referral practices. (MassLive)
Energy and environment officials are grappling with potential big moves to make a big dent in the state’s carbon footprint, about 40 percent of which comes from vehicle emissions. (Boston Globe)
The Department of Energy has issued a key permit to the Northern Pass project allowing the owners of the planned $1.6 billion transmission line to carry hydropower across the international boundary from Canada and tie into the US grid. (Associated Press)
State officials have hired a contractor to begin a partial cleanup of the contaminated property of the former General Chemical in Framingham after federal officials determined the site doesn’t qualify for the Superfund program. (MetroWest Daily News)
The citizens’ advisory board watching over the decommissioning of Pilgrim power plant aired concerns over Entergy’s plans to store spent fuel cells in dry casks at 25 feet above sea level, with members saying rising sea levels and powerful storms could cause the casks to erode or be buried underwater. (Cape Cod Times)
Deepwater Wind, which operates a wind farm off Block Island and is aiming to build a larger one south of Martha’s Vineyard, has agreed to fund a five-year study by UMass Dartmouth to gauge the impact of the offshore turbines on commercial fishing and other marine industries. (State House News Service) Derrick Jackson says the competition for offshore wind facilities is getting fierce. (Boston Globe)
A Norwood woman and her 25-year-old daughter were arrested and charged with dealing drugs at Brockton District Court. (The Enterprise)
MEDIAThe Federal Communications Commission has lifted a ban in place since 1975 that prohibited media companies from owning a television station and newspaper or two TV stations in the same market. (Associated Press)