GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. It’s Tuesday.
EXCLUSIVE: CLARK BILL WOULD ESTABLISH SUPPLY CHAIN CZAR — Rep. Katherine Clark will file a bill today that would require the president to appoint a czar to oversee the medical supply chain. The legislation comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is Clark’s latest step in a weeks-long push to establish an official who would serve as a central point of authority for the health care system, supply chain officials and individual states as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In Massachusetts, equipment like masks are in demand as coronavirus cases continue to increase, though at a lower rate than in April. Plus, the state’s reopening guidelines for businesses say all employees wear face coverings.
Clark will file the bill with Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider. The legislation calls on the president to appoint a “Medical Supplies Response Coordinator” who would oversee the supply chain as it pertains to medical devices, drugs, personal protective equipment and vaccines. The coordinator would report to Congress on gaps in the supply chain and monitor the price of supplies.
“Politicizing the response effort and refusing to acknowledge the need for adequate medical supplies has put our frontline workers and the people they serve in danger. This is unacceptable, and our essential workers deserve better,” Clark said. “Our government’s solution to this challenge must be coordinated, robust, and led by the experts.”
Clark and Schneider wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership in April, along with two dozen colleagues, calling for the creation of a supply chain czar position. And language that’s similar to this new bill was passed by lawmakers earlier this month as part of the HEROES Act. The bill.
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TODAY — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a guest on JALSA’s “Schmoozefest” livestream. Sen. Ed Markey and Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George host a livestream. Rep. Joe Kennedy III visits Square One in Springfield, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke and the John Zon Community Center in Greenfield.
– “Massachusetts reports 44 new coronavirus deaths, cases climb by 596,” by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: “Coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 44 on Monday as the state reported 596 new cases as key coronavirus metrics continue a downward trend. A total of 93,271 cases of coronavirus cases have been reported in the state and 6,416 people have died from the highly infectious virus, according to Department of Public Health data.”
– “Business was brisk for some, slow for others, as shops, retailers, reopened doors Monday,” by John Hilliard, Tonya Alanez and Jeremy C. Fox, Boston Globe: “Across Massachusetts, shops and retailers welcomed customers back for the first time Monday since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close more than two months ago. But it was far from business as usual. Barber shops around the state were jammed. Retailers, though, reported a slower start, in some cases frustrated about curbside pickup requirements as part of Governor Charlie Baker’s phased-in reopening plan for some of them.”
– “Black and Latinx activists say state is reopening too soon,” by Anissa Gardizy, Boston Globe: “Black and Latinx activists marched to the Massachusetts State House on Monday to advocate for communities of color, who they say are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis and the state’s reopening plans. The group said it represents about 50 organizations in Boston, including the local chapter of Latinx organization Mijente and the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition.”
– “Boards of health combine education, enforcement,” by Sarah Betancourt, CommonWealth Magazine: “As businesses start to reopen this week, local boards of health are both educating firms about the state’s rules on COVID-19 and policing them. The goal is to keep businesses and their patrons safe, so education and compliance are the top priorities. Fines of $300 would only be issued for the third, fourth, and fifth offenses. After that, a cease and desist order is possible.”
– “Retailers, restaurants, bars left on sidelines,” by Christian M. Wade, Eagle-Tribune: “Retail and restaurant groups are blasting the state’s reopening plans that are keeping them on the sidelines. Beginning last Monday, retail stores were allowed to open for the first time in weeks but only for curbside pickup and to fill remote orders. Customers aren’t allowed inside stores until a second phase of the reopening, which could be weeks away and depends on trends in COVID-19 cases.”
– “In Gateway Cities, lots of hurdles to remote learning,” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “Many Massachusetts teachers are making herculean efforts to reach students while school is closed and get them engaged in online learning. Even when done well, it is challenging. And in many cases, students, particularly in low-income areas, are falling through the gaps.”
– “State representatives demand changes at Tewksbury Hospital,” by Emma Murphy, The Lowell Sun: “In response to reports of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages, mandatory double shifts and lacking transparency at Tewksbury Hospital, local state representatives are demanding changes. On Friday, Reps. Dave Robertson, Colleen Garry, Tram Nguyen, Tom Golden and Rady Mom sent a letter outlining five action items to Massachusetts Health and Human Services Director Marylou Sudders.”
– “Regulator: Enough is enough with record requests,” by Colman M. Herman, CommonWealth Magazine: “State regulators are starting to say enough is enough when it comes to people who file an unusually large number of public records requests. Rebecca Murray, the state’s supervisor of public records, previously ruled in favor of Wellesley and Natick officials who sought permission not to fulfill public records requests filed by people whose motivation seemed more about harassment than about accessing information.”
– “What Massachusetts Got Right In Its Pandemic Response,” by Adam Reilly, WGBH News: “To say COVID-19 has hit Massachusetts hard would be an understatement. To date, the disease taken the lives of more than 6,000 people statewide, a total surpassed only by New York and New Jersey. Still, Massachusetts residents think highly of the state’s response. Case in point: In a Suffolk University/WGBH News/Boston Globe poll taken before reopening began, 84 percent approved of Gov. Charlie Baker’s handling of the pandemic.”
– “Mass. License Or ID Expiring This Summer? Don’t Worry. The RMV Says You Have Time To Renew,” by Lisa Creamer, WBUR: “Did your Massachusetts driver’s license expire in the last two months? Will it expire this summer? If so, don’t fret about getting to the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles to renew it right away amid the pandemic. Due to ongoing public health concerns around the coronavirus, the state’s RMV is offering extensions to people whose licenses or IDs have expired since around the start of the crisis, as well as to those whose licenses will expire throughout the summer months.”
– “With reopening comes the threat of a second wave of COVID-19, scientists warn,” by Dasia Moore, Boston Globe: “It could start in a half-empty restaurant or a Sunday morning church service, with a stray cough or a joyful hymn. Public health experts warn that without a vaccine or a heavy dose of caution, Massachusetts could easily be hit by a second wave of COVID-19 infections that rivals the first.”
– “Thousands wait to take US citizenship oath amid virus delays,” by Philip Marcelo, The Associated Press: “Wendy De Los Santos passed the test to become a U.S. citizen just days before government offices shut down nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-March, officials said they would tell her in a few weeks when she could publicly recite the oath of allegiance, the final step before becoming an American citizen. More than two months later, she’s still waiting.”
– “Virus creates ‘unknown, volatile environment’ for health insurers,” by Jessica Bartlett, Boston Business Journal: “The recent slowdown of most health care that’s not related to the coronavirus could end up helping the bottom lines at some the state’s biggest health insurance organizations — especially after big losses in the first quarter. But a host of other factors — including soaring unemployment, the cost of testing for Covid-19 and higher payouts for telemedicine — could hurt their financials in the long term.”
– “Cleaning isn’t just cleaning anymore. It’s a major consumer confidence play,” by Adam Vaccaro, Janelle Nanos and Tim Logan, Boston Globe: “As the Massachusetts economy begins to reopen, expect to see cleaning crews just about everywhere. Custodians will be tending to elevators throughout the day, while wiping down counters between transactions will be a crucial part of sales clerks’ jobs. Sanitation work that used to be done when nobody was looking will now be put front and center like office decor.”
– “Massachusetts allows outdoor high school graduations in July, but, no hugging or handshaking allowed,” by Heather Adams, MassLive.com: “Virtual graduations are not the only option for high school seniors across Massachusetts, as the state released new guidelines. Graduations held after July 19 can be held outside, the guidelines state.”
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: “Mass Alliance Endorses Erika Uyterhoeven for State Representative,” from the Uyterhoeven campaign: “Mass Alliance, a coalition for political and advocacy organizations that work together to build a progressive Massachusetts, is proud to announce its endorsement of Erika Uyterhoeven, candidate for State Representative.”
– FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: “Alejandra St. Guillen Endorses Jordan Meehan for State Representative,” from the Meehan campaign: “Today, Alejandra St. Guillen, 2019 candidate for Boston City Council At-Large, announced her endorsement of Jordan Meehan for State Representative. ‘It is my honor to endorse Jordan for state rep,’ said St. Guillen.”
– “With Massachusetts courts closed during pandemic, divorce and child custody cases have been put on hold; ’People feel helpless,’ attorney says,” by Melissa Hanson, MassLive.com: “With Massachusetts courthouses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than just criminal cases have been slowed down. People filing for divorce, or parents seeking custody of children, have seen their cases in probate court placed on pause.”
– “Democrats see Warren as rising VP contender as coronavirus reshuffles 2020 race,” by Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica, CNN: “Joe Biden is thinking big. Confronted with the prospect of taking office next year in the depths of a historic economic and health crisis, Biden is now talking about a bolder presidency, with ambitions stretching beyond the restoration of pre-Donald Trump normalcy. And there is a growing sense in Democratic circles, particularly among the progressive wing of the party, that there is one sure way to show he means it: Make Elizabeth Warren his running mate.”
– “Recreational Marijuana Shops Reopen For Business In Mass. — With Restrictions,” by Zeninjor Enwemeka, WBUR: “Pot shops are once again open for business in Massachusetts — with some limited operations and new guidelines. Under the state’s reopening plan, recreational marijuana stores are now allowed to take online and phone orders to offer curbside pickup to customers.”
– “They Survived the Worst Battles of World War II. And Died of the Virus.” by Ellen Barry, The New York Times: “This story comes up for a reason. Mr. Miller, 96, who survived what was for Americans the bloodiest battle of World War II, died of complications from the coronavirus on March 30 inside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. The virus has spread in more than 40 veterans’ homes in more than 20 states, leading to the deaths of at least 300 people. The conditions inside the 247-bed, state-run home, where Mr. Miller had lived for five years, were so chaotic that his children cannot recount them without breaking down.”
– “Pittsfield schools brace for cut in state aid as as district’s fiscal future uncertain,” by Richard Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle: “A 10 percent cut in state aid to Pittsfield Public Schools would mean closing two of the city’s 12 school buildings. School Superintendent Jason McCandless made that startling analogy as the Pittsfield School Committee puts forth a new $65.1 million budget that the board hopes is devoid of a drastic cut in Chapter 70 money, the annual state funding for K-12 public education.”
– “East Longmeadow golf course slams restrictions, fine amid busy weekend,” by Andrew Martinez, Boston Herald: “Driving range shutdowns are hurting golf facilities ahead of the busy summer season, an East Longmeadow golf course operator said Sunday after his course was hit with a $300 fine Friday for reopening its range amid coronavirus restrictions. The town issued Fenway Golf a cease and desist order Friday afternoon for opening its driving range, which isn’t permitted in Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening orders.”
– “DATA DEBATE: When it comes to the coronavirus, nursing home secrecy frustrates family members,” by Jeannette Hinkle and Trevor Ballantyne, Herald News: “Each week, the state Department of Public Health releases information showing which nursing homes have coronavirus outbreaks. The data the state releases is limited, showing only the general ranges of COVID-19 infections at skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities.”
– “McMahon hints at possible fall rematch with Moran,” by Geoff Spillane, Cape Cod Times: “‘Round 1 goes to the lady from Falmouth.’ Those were the first words from Republican James ‘Jay’ McMahon III during a post-election interview Thursday, indicating a possible rematch with state Sen.-elect Susan Moran, a Democrat, later this year. Moran, a member of the Falmouth Select Board and the town’s representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, defeated McMahon, an attorney from Bourne, in last week’s Plymouth and Barnstable District state Senate special election.”
– “Facebook fundraiser for laid-off workers gets scrutiny,” by Dustin Luca, The Salem News: “A group in Salem that’s supporting restaurant workers laid off due to COVID-19 was nearly given a heart attack at the hands of Facebook late last week — but the issue has now been resolved. Behind You, an organization that does not have its own nonprofit status, raised more than $35,000 through a Facebook fundraiser that ended in April.”
– OUT TODAY: “Local authors track a mob boss in ‘Hunting Whitey’”: by Fred Hanson, Patriot Ledger: “Authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge follow the trail of mob boss Whitey Bulger from disappearance to death in ‘Hunting Whitey.’ It was an eventuality that James ‘Whitey’ Bulger had prepared for. A life on the run, with a violent man needing to maintain a constant lookout and as low a profile as possible.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to Rachel Pollak, Hana Veselka Vizcarra, Sunny Lee, Allison Davis Tuck, Shahid Masood and Brendan Deady.
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