Rosenberg on the outs

He’s already been banished to a basement office. The question now is whether the next move for Sen. Stan Rosenberg will be out the State House door.

The long-awaited report of the Senate Committee on Ethics was released Wednesday, and it landed like a ton of bricks on the chamber’s one-time president, who spent nearly three decades steadily mastering the ways of the Senate only to see his 2015 rise to its top position go up in smoke, a dumpster fire of scandal instigated by his unstable spouse.

The report accuses Rosenberg of failing to protect the chamber from his husband, Bryon Hefner, “whom he knew was disruptive, volatile, and abusive.” It says a “firewall” Rosenberg vowed to place between Hefner and business of the Senate when issues first surfaced about his behavior in 2014 was entirely ineffective. Among the findings that the report says demonstrate that was the fact that Hefner was given the password that allowed him unfettered access to Rosenberg’s Senate email account, a violation of Senate IT rules.

On the broader issue of allegations of persistent harassment by his spouse, the report concludes that Rosenberg “knew or should have known that Hefner racially and sexually harassed Senate employees and failed to address the issue adequately.” The issue of racial harassment was a new element of the saga, which had previously centered on charges of sexual misconduct.

Hefner is facing multiple criminal charges related to sexual assault on three men and distributing nude photos of a fourth man.

The Ethics Committee report recommends that Rosenberg be barred from any leadership positions or committee chairmanships for the balance of the current session and for all of the upcoming 2019-2020 two-year session. The full Senate will convene today to consider whether to accept the committee recommendations or modify them.

Asked yesterday whether the ethics committee should have gone further and recommended Rosenberg’s expulsion, Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the committee’s chairman, said his continued membership in the Senate is a matter for Rosenberg’s constituents to decide at the ballot box.

But other Beacon Hill leaders are not willing to show such deference to the good people of Rosenberg’s Pioneer Valley district. Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey wasted little time yesterday in calling for him to resign from the Senate. They have been joined by several of Rosenberg’s Senate colleagues, including, notably, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, a liberal stalwart who was among Rosenberg’s biggest supporters when he took the Senate president’s reins in 2015.

Rosenberg has yet to respond to the ethics report. If he has any thoughts of remaining in office, as WGBH’s Peter Kadzis lays out, he’ll have a lot of explaining — and apologizing — to do.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo voices support for the so-called “red flag” bill pending in the House, which would allow courts to order temporary seizure of guns from anyone deemed a danger to themself or others. (Boston Globe) Here’s a Q&A with Reed Shafer-Ray, a Harvard senior who brought the idea for a “red flag” gun bill to the House. (CommonWealth) A Herald editorial offers support for the gun measure (though it calls the current wording of the bill “imperfect”).

The real estate industry pushes back against Gov. Charlie Baker’s bill mandating home energy audits that would produce energy efficiency scores. (Eagle-Tribune) An Eagle-Tribune editorial said the proposal goes too far, and the audits should be voluntary. “Where does it end?” the editorial asked. ‘Should sellers pull together a report on neighborhood crime and traffic, or disclose the MCAS scores of area schools?”

Community health centers seek a $30 million stabilization fund on Beacon Hill. (State House News)

State Rep. Chris Walsh of Framingham died Wednesday night after a nearly three-year battle with cancer. He was 66. (MetroWest Daily News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Advocates for the homeless are decrying as “inhumane” a new median in downtown New Bedford designed to curb panhandling by using cobblestones turned sideways to prevent people from walking or standing on them. (Standard-Times)

Marshfield officials are taking steps to make the town beaches more wheelchair and walker friendly by placing plastic mats over the sand. (Patriot Ledger)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Rudy Giuliani, a new member of Donald Trump’s legal team, said the president reimbursed another attorney who paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 on the eve of the election. Trump had previously said he wasn’t aware of the payment. (Associated Press)

Trump backed a push by conservative lawmakers to pressure the Justice Department over the Russia probe and said he would “have no choice” but to use his powers as president to intervene. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

It’s never too soon: Though the midterm elections are still half a year away, poll numbers are already rolling in for the 2020 presidential race, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren tops a would-be field of candidates in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. (Boston Globe)

As expected, Judith Knight jumped into the race for Berkshire County district attorney. She will face off against Andrea Harrington and Paul Caccaviello, the current DA who got the job in a handoff from David Capeless and Gov. Charlie Baker. (Berkshire Eagle)

Town elections in Danvers drew little voter interest for several races, as some vacancies were filled by write-in candidates and some weren’t filled at all. (Salem News)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Attorney Mark Gold stepped down as an officer and director of the New England Museum Association after advising the Berkshire Museum on its controversial sale of artwork. (Berkshire Eagle)

The commercial fishing season began May 1, but New Bedford fishing vessels remained tied up because federal officials did not allocate quotas to the two sectors those boats work because of violations stemming from the case of Carlos Rafael, the “Codfather” in the Whaling City. (Standard-Times)

EDUCATION

Could there be a City of Boston takeover in UMass Boston’s future? (Boston Globe)

A federal judge dismissed claims against the Stoughton school superintendent in a suit over a teacher’s year-long sexual relationship with a student but allowed claims of negligence against the town and the high school principal to proceed. (The Enterprise)

The Quincy College Board of Governors will debate a motion to fire President Peter Tsaffaras amid turmoil over the school’s struggling nursing program and his dealings with employees. (Patriot Ledger)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A Rhode Island initiative has sharply reduced overdose deaths among ex-prison inmates. (Governing)

TRANSPORTATION

JetBlue launched its inaugural flight from Worcester to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 6 a.m. Thursday with a return flight scheduled for 10:50 p.m. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority is targeting young people to make them aware of the benefits of using public transportation and wean them off ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Pilgrim Station has been shut down more days this year than the last four years combined. (WBUR)

CASINOS

Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of casino mogul Steve Wynn, warned in a presentation filed with the SEC that she thinks Wynn Resorts could end up selling its Everett casino to avoid negative fallout and possible revocation of the license by Massachusetts regulators if they find that current top officials in the company knew about allegations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn and failed to act on them. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The State Police is badly in need of reform — but an outside change agent is not allowed by law, with statute requiring the governor to name a head of the agency from within, something that at least one policing expert says should change. (Boston Herald)

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans calls the current system that gives State Police broad authority over areas of the city’s Seaport district “broken.” (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

Baby Breitbarts are popping up around the country. (Politico)