On to the next ballot questions

Now that last year’s final ballot-approved law is in place (Gov. Charlie Baker signed the legislatively amended marijuana bill into law on Friday), Beacon Hill is gearing up for the next round of ballot initiatives to be placed in front of voters in November 2018. It looks like the top issues being championed are all about dollar signs.

The union-backed advocacy group Raise Up Massachusetts, which is already steering to the ballot a constitutional amendment placing an extra tax on millionaires, is planning to push for two other proposals. The first proposal would continue the group’s previous efforts to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Raise Up ran a ballot campaign three years ago that prompted lawmakers to pass an increase in the minimum wage to the current level of $11 an hour. The group may gain some momentum as key Democratic lawmakers nationally push for a hike in the minimum wage.

Another proposal from the group aims to tackle the issue of paid leave for workers. The proposal would give workers in Massachusetts up to 16 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or ill or injured family member, or for needs coming from a member’s military service. Not only that, workers would also be entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks of paid leave to recover from a serious injury or illness of their own, capped at $1,000 in benefits. This is familiar terrain for the advocates group – their campaign to push for a ballot question that required employers to give workers up to five days per year of paid sick leave was approved by voters in 2014. Both proposals have a good shot of getting on next year’s ballot given the group’s lobbying record, unless local businesses choose to stymie either initiative.

Yet another proposal may be submitted by store owners to reduce the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax in a bid to help brick-and-mortar businesses whose sales are getting pounded by the rise and continued growth of online shopping.

“It’s having a severe impact on dark storefronts, everywhere from our main streets to our major retail malls,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. The ballot initiative being considered by Hurst’s group would lower the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 or possibly 5 percent. Beacon Hill’s decision to forgo the annual sales tax holiday last year due to slumping revenues has only exacerbated the frustration of local business owners who cannot compete with online behemoths like Amazon that continue to be sales-tax free thanks to the free-ranging internet.



Braintree mayor Joe Sullivan says he’ll submit a proposal within the next week to the town council to ban retail marijuana outlets. (Patriot Ledger)

Fall River officials are looking to update city ordinances dealing with blighted and abandoned properties. (Herald News)

Still no word on why Boston’s chief of human services, Felix Arroyo, has been put on paid administrative leave. (Boston Globe)


President Trump personally dictated the language of a misleading statement issued about his son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, a move that some say could put the president and his inner circle in legal jeopardy. (Washington Post)

“The Mooch” is no more, fired only 10 days after taking the reins as White House communications director (New York Times). And in perhaps a warning of what was about to befall him, Anthony Scaramucci was also being listed as dead in the latest Harvard Law School alumni directory. (Boston Globe)

US Rep. William Keating says President Trump is ready to punish Massachusetts for voting against him. (South Coast Today

White House hardball against senators from the president’s party rarely pays off, say seasoned Washingtonians. (New York Times)

Victoria Reggie Kennedy pens a tribute to the deliberative, bipartisan lawmaking she says her late husband practiced, a far cry from the recent behavior of the US Senate. (Boston Globe)

Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympics, leaving the 2024 Games (which Boston briefly considered hosting) to Paris. (Associated Press)


Raise Up Massachusetts, which is already pushing a ballot question that would impose a special tax on millionaires, decides to also advocate for initiatives that would raise the minimum wage to $15 and require employers to offer their workers paid medical and family leave. (Associated Press) A Herald editorial calls the moves a “triple threat” to the state’s economy.

As if it’s not enough that we have Elizabeth Warren and now Seth Moulton being mentioned as potential 2020 presidential contenders, toss another familiar name onto the pile: Deval Patrick. (Politico)

Warren offers some boilerplate comments about why she ran for the Senate when asked about the candidacy of Republican challenger Geoff Diehl. (Boston Herald)


A state commission votes 5-3 to consider sports fantasy sites like DraftKings gambling operations, a regulatory setback for the Massachusetts-based firm. (Boston Globe)

Using cameras attached to balloons, a company called Altametry is testing a shark detection system at Nauset Beach on Cape Cod. (Cape Cod Times)

The venture capital sector is moving backwards, not forward, in funding more start-ups run by women. (Boston Globe)


A law firm hired by Phillips Academy says its research indicates eight former teachers engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with students. (Eagle-Tribune)


The MBTA outlines two pilot project expansions, one that would provide overnight bus service in the Boston area and the other would run daily commuter rail service to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. (CommonWealth)

Attorney General Maura Healey collects $1.1 million from LAZ Parking in connection with MBTA parking thefts. The Healey settlement follows a $4.5 million agreement LAZ struck with the MBTA itself. LAZ blamed the thefts on three employees. (CommonWealth)

Steve Poftak, the T’s interim general manager, reports on the authority’s controversial WiFi commuter rail project. (CommonWealth)

A forum in Salem on the North South Rail Link moderated by former governor Michael Dukakis attracts a standing-room-only crowd. (Salem News)

Don’t go rushing onto the roads, but traffic backups yesterday because of the reconstruction of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge weren’t as bad as projected. (Boston Globe)


The offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind throws its hat into the ring for the state’s clean energy contract, competing against hydro-electricity, onshore wind, and solar. Deepwater says it also plans to bid on the state’s upcoming exclusively for offshore wind developers.(CommonWealth)

Worcester is using hidden cameras to catch illegal garbage dumpers. (Telegram & Gazette)


Gov. Charlie Baker signs legislation extending simulcasting of horse and dog races from around the country at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, at the old dog track in Raynham, and at Plainridge Park in Plainville. (State House News)


Discovery Communications, which owns the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, announces an $11.9 billion deal to buy Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns the Food Network and HGTV. (New York Times)

The Enterprise offers a look at the Brockton locations that figure in the new movie Detroit, some of which was filmed in the City of Champions.