People, Power, and Politics


Secretary Bill Galvin hands out miniature American flags to 7th graders from Wilbraham Middle School after leading them in the Pledge of Allegiance at a Flag Day ceremony in Nurses Hall on Friday, June 14, 2024.


Mon. June 17

Planning Board Meeting


Tues. June 18

Charles River Pollution Control agenda


Housing Subcommittee


Thurs. June 20

Senior Coffee Hour w/ State & Local Officials


Town Council Office Hours at the Sr. Center


ZBA Meeting



It's been 14 years since a Massachusetts Legislature and governor teamed up to pass an on-time budget, and next week will go a long way toward determining whether that streak will be extended. It's usually around this time of year when legislators inform governors that an interim budget might be needed to keep state government operating while House and Senate leaders work on a compromise annual spending plan. So if Gov. Maura Healey puts an interim budget in play, that will be a sign that the legislative conference committee working to privately negotiate a full-year budget needs more time. On the other hand, if Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Michael Rodrigues want to surprise everyone with an on-time budget -- and give themselves more time to focus on a massive and urgent non-budgetary legislative agenda -- they'll need to unveil an accord and get it through the Legislature by the end of next week, since the governor is allotted 10 days to review bills. There is no penalty for passing a late budget, but the opportunity costs could be severe if budget talks spill into July and top House and Senate Democrats are once again consumed with budget issues during their final month of formal sessions for the two-year General Court. Climate and economic development bills, supposed priorities of the Legislature, remain tied up in committees with six-plus weeks until July 31, and the wait continues for a major Senate housing proposal. Healey is focused on issues outside the Legislature, too. She said this week that she'll soon have more to say about future plans for the stockpile of mifepristone she ordered the state to accumulate now that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to access for that abortion medication.

Crunch Time For Ballot Questions

The final days of June are also critical for sponsors of possible November ballot questions and legislative talks about possible alternative laws that might lead petitioners to end their campaigns. Talks have been occurring, without any success so far, on alternatives to the MCAS graduation requirement proposal and measures governing the rights and benefits of app-based drivers. The Massachusetts Teachers Association, which has led the campaign to halt the use of standardized tests as a graduation requirement, says they are open to compromise but won't back down from the thrust of their effort. Ballot campaigns are set to file a final round of voter signatures by Tuesday, representing one of the last steps before the ballot becomes set and the window for alternative proposals officially closes in the Legislature.

Major Legislation Churning

Gov. Healey is expected to sign legislation that emerged from a conference committee this week, which delivers new protections for victims of "revenge porn" and cracks down on people who try to exercise coercive control on others. That leaves four major proposals in conference: the annual budget, a major overhaul of gun laws, plans to introduce "wage transparency," and a measure to enable the state to put rainy day fund interest revenues on the table to sweeten the matching fund pot as the state pursues federal infrastructure law funds. As bills cycle out of conference, more of them go in. The Senate this week passed a bill increasing benefits for veterans and recently approved its version of an information technology bond. Those two bills could also soon wind up before six-person conference committees as House and Senate Democrats increasingly have turned to those panels to resolve disputes rather than exchanging amendments back and forth.

Climate Bills Haven't Powered Up Yet

Next week is expected to bring the arrival of one of the big pieces of legislation likely to be hashed out between now and the end of July, a climate and energy package of yet-to-be-seen scope. While legislative Democrats regularly point to climate change as an existential crisis that demands urgent and bold action, the issue has not been a real focus so far this session and neither branch has acted on significant relevant legislation with less than seven weeks remaining in the term. There's broad agreement between the House, Senate, Healey administration, energy companies and advocates that the existing energy project permitting and siting process is a poor model, and the Healey administration has been drafting a bill with the input of key House and Senate leaders. "With energy, we're in the siting stage now ... So we are working on those now and that's the primary focus right now," House Speaker Ron Mariano said this week. He added, "So this being categorized as a big, sweeping energy bill may not be accurate." The Senate is expected to roll out its climate bill early next week, and indications are that leadership there does not share Mariano's preference to keep things mostly limited to permitting and siting. Sen. Michael Barrett, the Senate's Energy Committee chairman, told the Boston Herald this week that the Senate bill is going to require that petitions to extend natural gas service into new areas first consider the climate impacts of such a move and whether there are other options that would be cheaper or would pollute less. He also said it will also address the replacement of natural gas infrastructure through the Gas Safety Enhancement Program, an idea that has gas workers concerned. "To be clear, removing the incentive for utility companies to proactively fix leak prone pipes in the hundreds of miles of pipeline in Massachusetts is a recipe for disaster. We are concerned that without GSEP, the natural gas system will be left to deteriorate and will create dangerous conditions for our members who are called on to make repairs and respond to emergencies," the New England Gas Workers Alliance said in a letter to lawmakers this week. "With appropriate maintenance and safety protocols, the natural gas system is safe and reliable. However, we only need to look at the Merrimack Valley disaster for evidence of what happens when safety is taken for granted."

Sunday, June 16, 2024

DiZOGLIO ON 4: Auditor DiZoglio talks with Jon Keller about public support for her ballot question explicitly authorizing audits of the Legislature -- along with legislative resistance to the proposal. (Sunday, 8:30 a.m., WBZ-TV Ch. 4)

BOSTON SCHOOLS: Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper is on "On The Record." (Sunday, 11 a.m., WCVB-TV Ch. 5)

BUNKER HILL PARADE: Sen. DiDomenico and Rep. Ryan are honorary chief marshals marching in the Bunker Hill Parade, held annually to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, the armed services, and "the essence of American heritage while celebrating the historic neighborhood of Charlestown." DiDomenico will march behind Boston Mayor Wu and ahead of the Everett High School marching band. Parade steps off from Vine Street, continuing to Bunker Hill Street, to Main Street, to Monument Avenue, to Monument Square, to Winthrop Street and to Common Street. Streets along the route will be closed to traffic through approximately 5 p.m. (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Charlestown | More Info)

GABBY GIFFORDS AT FENWAY: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords throws the first pitch at the Red Sox game in honor of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Giffords, founder of the gun violence prevention organization GIFFORDS, is joined by advocates from Lewiston, Maine, where 18 people were killed in a mass shooting last October. (Sunday, 7 p.m., Fenway Park, Boston)

Monday, June 17, 2024

OFFSHORE WIND CONFERENCE - DAY ONE: During the first day of the Reuters Offshore Wind USA 2024 Conference, Mass. Clean Energy Center Program Director of Workforce Development Janel Granum moderates a panel on the offshore wind industry workforce (4:50 p.m.). Other day one events include a panel discussion among federal regulators on navigating growing pains in the industry, a workshop on Gulf of Maine potential from New England for Offshore Wind, and a panel on scaling up port infrastructure. (Monday, 9 a.m., Westin Boston Seaport, 425 Summer St., Boston | Tickets and Agenda)

GAMING COMMISSION: Mass. Gaming Commission meets, expecting to go into executive session to have a discussion regarding collective bargaining of the SEIU Local 888 agreement "as discussion at an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Commission." In addition to commissioners, the discussion is expected to involve Executive Director Dean Serpa, Investigations and Enforcement Bureau Director Caitlin Monahan, and MGC outside counsel David Connelly. (Monday, 10 a.m., Agenda and Access Info)

SENATE: Senate holds an informal session. (Monday, 11 a.m., Senate Chamber | Livestream)

HOUSE: House holds an informal session. (Monday, 11 a.m., House Chamber | Livestream)

PROTEIN INNOVATION DAY: Food Solutions Action, along with Sen. Finegold and Rep. Parisella, hosts Protein Innovation Day at the State House. Finegold gives remarks before discussion among companies and researchers from around the country involved with a variety of plant-based protein products that mimic meat and dairy. When Finegold and Parisella advanced Gov. Healey's $3.5 billion economic development bill last week, they added two $5 million bond authorizations for alternative protein investments to keep up with an increasing global demand for meat consumption, Finegold's spokesperson said. That includes authorizations for an equipment grant program for alternative protein companies, as well as bonding authorizations for early-stage businesses. "Climate change is real, and obviously one of the biggest reasons for that is methane, and we have to understand there's also potentially in the future a need for alternative meats, alternative ways people can get proteins. And I think this is something that is really early on and we can be a real leader in this industry," Finegold said. (Monday, 11 a.m., Great Hall)

GOLDBERG AND O'BRIEN: Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and suspended Cannabis Control Commission Chairwoman Shannon O'Brien, who was appointed by Goldberg, hold the fourth of what was initially planned as just two meetings that could lead to O'Brien's firing. Goldberg has given two justifications for O'Brien's suspension and possible firing: that the chairwoman is alleged to have made racially insensitive remarks and that she mistreated former CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins, a former Goldberg deputy. O'Brien has denied the allegations against her and in the fall sued Goldberg. The first two sessions were held in early May and the third was May 31. The assembly will not be open to the press or public. (Monday, 12 p.m., 12th floor conference room, Treasury offices, 1 Ashburton Place, Boston)

BOSTON JUNETEENTH FLAG-RAISING: The City of Boston holds a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony. "Juneteenth is a day to celebrate Black lives, honor our shared history, and recognize the enduring fight for freedom," city officials say. "We look forward to coming together as a community for this momentous occasion." (Monday, 12 p.m., City Hall Plaza, Boston)

WARREN ON TAXES: U.S. Sen. Warren speaks about her "agenda on taxes" at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The senior senator plans to "urge Democrats to back President Biden's agenda to tax the rich." Warren's office frames it this way: "The speech comes as Democrats gear up for the 2025 tax fight, when Congress will have the opportunity to make major tax policy changes as a large portion of the 2017 Republican tax cuts for the wealthy expire." (Monday, 1 p.m., National Union Building, 918 F St. NW, Washington, D.C. | Registration)

CULTURAL COUNCIL GRANTS: Mass. Cultural Council celebrates grants it offers that will support more than 400 creative workers across Massachusetts. Somerville Mayor Ballantyne and Sen. Jehlen attend. (Monday, 1 p.m., Center for the Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville | More Info)

HEALEY, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS MEET: Gov. Healey meets with Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano, their first such publicly-disclosed meeting since March 25. Press availability follows in Room 350. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., House Speaker's Office)

MARSTERS HEARING: U.S. District Court Judget Nathaniel Gorton holds a "fairness hearing" regarding the Marsters v. Healey class action lawsuit. The state agreed to a mediated settlement this winter in a case originally brought against Gov. Charlie Baker's administration in October 2022 on behalf of people with disabilities living in nursing facilities who were unable to return to the community without additional support from the state. The settlement, which is pending court approval, could cost the state $1.3 billion over its eight-year term and requires the state to move at least 2,400 people from nursing facilities to community-based residential settings over the same time period. (Monday, 3 p.m., Moakley United States Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston | Zoom)

BUNKER HILL REMEMBRANCE: Organizers host the annual Battle of Bunker Hill Remembrance Ceremony and Oration, which will be provided by Gov. Healey, according to the National Parks Service. Other speakers include British Consul General Peter Abbott, Boston Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Segun Idowu, Mohegan Tribal Historian Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, and Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation Executive Director Christian Di Spigna. The ceremony and speaking program will follow an ecumenical service and procession to the monument that begins at 1:30 p.m. at Saint Francis De Sales Parish. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., Bunker Hill Monument and Grounds, Monument Square, Charlestown)

REHAB COUNCIL: Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Consumer Satisfaction Committee of the Massachusetts State Rehabilitation Council meets virtually. (Monday, 5 p.m. | More Info and Zoom)

ROXBURY COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: Children's Services of Roxbury hosts the first in-person installment of ROXTalks, its community conversation series. Organizers say Congresswoman Pressley, Sen. Edwards and Boston City Council President Louijeune will discuss "closing the gap of generational trauma and healing for families of color." (Monday, 5 p.m., John D. O'Bryant African American Institute Cabral Center, Northeastern University, 40 Leon St., West Village F)

JALSA ANNUAL MEETING: Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action holds its annual meeting. Reps. Ruth Balser and Kay Khan, Newton Democrats retiring after this session with more than 50 years in the House between them, will be honored with lifetime recognition awards. Bill Lane, president of Superior Plumbing, will receive the Distinguished Leadership Award. The broad health Equity Compact group will receive the Community Leadership Award. (Monday, 6 p.m., WBUR CitySpace, 890 Commonwealth Ave., Boston)

WALES HAZARD MITIGATION: Town of Wales holds an info and input session related to its Hazard Mitigation and Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission also participates. (Monday, 6 p.m., Town Hall, 3 Hollow Road, Wales)

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

OFFSHORE WIND CONFERENCE - DAY TWO: During the second day of the Reuters Offshore Wind USA 2024 Conference, Mass. Clean Energy Center Senior Director of Renewable Energy Production Erica Hines moderates a panel on expanding abilities of new and existing points of interconnection, a panel discusses the 2024 rebids of previously-planned offshore wind projects, and an industry executive gives a presentation on combating misinformation in the wind arena. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Westin Boston Seaport, 425 Summer St., Boston | Tickets and Agenda)

EARLY ED INCUBATOR: Nurtury Early Education holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its early education and care incubator space, which will support family child care entrepreneurs looking to launch their small businesses. The space will provide resources like workforce development, especially for women of color, and help increase access to early education and child care options. Attendees include Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw, Nurtury Early Education President Laura Perille, and Bryan Spence of Liberty Mutual Foundation. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 1575 Tremont St., Mission Hill)

AAPI BUSINESS REPORT: Asian Business Empowerment Council releases a new report titled "Setting Roots in Rocky Soil: The State of AAPI-Owned Businesses in Massachusetts." The multiyear study was conducted to better understand the challenges and opportunities of AAPI-owned businesses, and the report will include policy and practice recommendations. ABEC, a venture seeded by The Asian Community Fund at the Boston Foundation, said the number of AAPI-owned businesses here has climbed by 187 percent over the last two decades, but the business community faces an array of challenges rooted in immigration status, language proficiency and education attainment. Rep. Tackey Chan, chair of the Massachusetts House Asian Caucus, gives remarks. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., 75 Arlington St., 3rd Floor, Boston)

EAST BOSTON CONCERT: Public school students from East Boston perform a concert, part of the East Boston Music Collective, a three-year effort focused on growing music education. Participating schools include Adams Elementary School, Alighieri Montessori School, Bradley Elementary School, East Boston Early Education Center, East Boston High School, Guild Elementary School, McKay K-8 School,O'Donnell Elementary School, Otis Elementary School, PJ Kennedy Elementary School and Umana Academy. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., East Boston High School, 86 White St., East Boston)

SENATE DEMS CAUCUS: Senate Democrats meet in a private caucus, ahead of a formal session scheduled for Thursday. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Senate President's Office)

FED PRESIDENT IN LAWRENCE: Boston Fed President Susan Collins delivers the keynote at the Lawrence Partnership Annual Meeting and 10th Anniversary. (Tuesday, 11:40 a.m., Central Catholic High School, 300 Hampshire St., Lawrence | Register)

MASSDOT BOARD: MassDOT Board of Directors meets, with an agenda that calls for potential votes on the agency's fiscal 2025 operating budget, its fiscal 2025-2029 Capital Improvement Plan, and two collective bargaining agreements. The board will also get updates on the governor's Transportation Funding Task Force and the massive project planned to straighten the Mass. Pike through Allston. (Tuesday, 12 p.m., Transportation Building, MassDOT Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | Agenda and Access Info)

SCHOOL FUNDING "GLITCH": Education funding reform advocates and analysts host a virtual press conference to discuss a new Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report that will describe a "glitch" in the Student Opportunity Act related to inflation. Event organizers say that because of an error with the multi-year funding law, recent high inflation "will rob Massachusetts students of hundreds of millions of dollars next year, and even more every year after that." Colin Jones, deputy policy director of MassBudget, hosts alongside parents, educators and municipal officials. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., RSVP to for Zoom access)

STOP HANDGUN VIOLENCE: House Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka are joined by former U.S. congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords for a press conference marking Gun Violence Awareness Month with groups including Stop Handgun Violence and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Participants will wear orange to mark the occasion. (Tuesday, 12 p.m., Room 428)

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH: MiraVista Behavioral Health Center and the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts hold a press conference to highlight their new social media campaign aimed at promoting young people’s emotional wellness. Weekly social media posts will carry short messaging like, "There’s no shame in having feelings or seeking help to deal with them" and, "Ask your teen how they are doing and take time to listen without judgement," organizers said. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, 1233 Main St., Holyoke)

DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES: Department of Developmental Services holds public hearing on a proposed regulation which, according to an advisory, implements a 2014 state law known as the so-called Real Lives Bill. The law deals with a "self-determination option for individuals eligible for services." DDS said its proposed regulation (115 CMR 14.00) "implements DDS' self-directed services" which offer "an alternative to traditional services" run through the agency and "promote independence in service planning." (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Zoom | More Info)

SPILKA ON WHITE HOUSE VIRTUAL PANEL: Senate President Spilka participates in a panel discussion about tuition-free community college as part of the White House's Virtual State Convening on Community College and Workforce Development. Biden administration officials and leaders from other states also take part, discussing economic and educational benefits of statewide universal community college programs. White House readout will be available following the event, according to Spilka's office. (CLOSED PRESS.) (Tuesday, 2:30 p.m.)

AMERICAN REVOLUTION COMMISSION: The 250th Anniversary Celebration of the American Revolution Commission meets virtually. Agenda includes updates from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, as well as a presentation about the Henry Knox Trail. (Tuesday, 3 p.m. | Agenda and Livestream)

PREVENTIVE HEALTH: State health officials hold a public meeting to seek feedback on how to prioritize the use of federal dollars from the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. The money is used to bolster public health infrastructure and help Massachusetts tackle health disparities, including prioritizing investments for "historically marginalized populations." The meeting is hosted by the Department of Public Health and the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant Advisory Committee. (Tuesday, 4 p.m. | More Info and Remote Access)

MEPA UPDATES: Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office holds a public presentation on straw proposals to update the 2010 MEPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy and Protocol and the 2021 MEPA Interim Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Register)

GREEN CITIES: Mass. Clean Energy Center Chief Program Officer Galen Nelson participates in a panel at the Global Interdisciplinary Green Cities Conference. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Berkshire Innovation Center, 45 Woodlawn Ave., Pittsfield)

TUE TAKING TESTIMONY: Senate members of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy accept written testimony on Sen. Tarr's bill, S 2558, relative to renewable energy production technologies. Testimony must be submitted via email to by 5 p.m. (Tuesday, 5 p.m., More Info)

METRO/NORTH PLAZAS: Department of Transportation hosts a virtual meeting to collect public input on plans for improvements at service plazas along major roadways, with a particular focus on plazas in Newton, Lexington, and Beverly. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Register)

ROUTE 110 WORK: MassDOT holds a public meeting to discuss proposed resurfacing and related work on Route 110 in Lowell, Dracut and Methuen. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Harmony Hall, 1624 Lakeview Ave., Dracut)

SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR PARK: Department of Conservation and Recreation holds a virtual public meeting about its action plan for Southwest Corridor Park, a 52-acre, roughly four-mile park that spans from Back Bay Station to Forest Hills Station. DCR says the park, which opened in 1987-1990, is ready for "renewed attention and investment." DCR "envisions a comprehensive and inclusive master planning process leading to a vision for both short- and long-term investments that renovate and modernize the park while strengthening and supporting the communities it serves." Interpretation services in Spanish, Haitian Creole and Chinese will be provided. (Tuesday, 6 p.m. | Register)

JUNETEENTH EMBRACE AWARDS: A ceremony for the Juneteenth Embrace Honors Awards is held as part of the Embrace Ideas Festival, which features keynote speeches, panels and live music to recognize the Juneteenth holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Organizers say the gathering "brings together local, state and national leaders to amplify anti-racism and a vision for a transformed Boston by 2030." Civic, business and community leaders will be honored for their work in making Boston a "more equitable city for all." The ceremony also incorporates performances, including those tied to spiritual and gospel music. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Massachusetts College of Art & Design, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston | More Info)

MATTAPOISETT WORK: MassDOT holds a public meeting to discuss proposed corridor improvements and related work on Main Street, Water Street, Beacon Street and Marion Road in Mattapoisett. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Old Rochester Regional High School Auditorium, 135 Marion Road, Mattapoisett)

BALLOT QUESTION SIGNATURES DUE: Campaigners who want to place initiative petitions before voters in November face an end-of-day deadline to file at least 12,429 more signatures from registered voters with local elections officials. Once local officials certify a sufficient number of signatures, initiative petition supporters must then file with the secretary of state's office by July 3 to secure a spot on the ballot. The final batch of signatures is traditionally due at the local level two weeks before the deadline to submit with the secretary of state's office, which this year is July 3, but the Juneteenth holiday on Wednesday pushed the date up one day. Six potential questions remain in the mix covering status and benefits for app-based drivers, unionization for those drivers, MCAS exams as graduation requirements, auditing the Legislature, increasing what businesses must pay tipped workers, and decriminalizing psychedelic substances. (Tuesday)

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

JUNETEENTH FLAG-RAISING: Gov. Healey is scheduled to speak at the fourth annual Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony hosted at the state capitol by the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. Lt. Gov. Driscoll also gives remarks, according to the caucus. "Please join us as we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans ✊🏿. While now a state and federal holiday, Juneteenth has long been celebrated by Black folks in America," the caucus' executive director, Závon Billups, wrote in the invitation. A luncheon at the Museum of African American History (around the corner at 46 Joy St.) follows the ceremony. (Wednesday, 10:15 a.m., State House steps)

JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY - STATE HOUSE CLOSED: Wednesday is celebrated as Juneteenth, a statewide holiday established under a section of a supplemental budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2020 "to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality." The State House is closed to the public in recognition of the holiday. Even though the federal Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln took effect Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn't until June 19, 1865 -- "Juneteenth" -- that news of freedom reached enslaved Black people in Texas with the arrival of Union soldiers at Galveston Bay. "While Juneteenth traditionally commemorates African American freedom, it also is a time to emphasize education and achievement," the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation wrote on its website. "The holiday is an opportunity to reflect on our nation's history and to celebrate the contributions of all of our citizens. It is a chance to shine a light on the strength of the human spirit and to begin to make a wrong right by working toward a more equitable future for all Americans." (Wednesday)

Thursday, June 20, 2024

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE: Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources accepts written testimony on a Rep. Kassner bill allowing the Town of Newbury to use "second generation anticoagulant rodenticides on private property." Testimony can be submitted to (Thursday, 9 a.m. | More Info)

EMBRACE IDEAS FESTIVAL: Embrace Ideas Festival, held in honor of Juneteenth and focused on promoting racial justice, features panel discussions and other programming. At 10:45 a.m., Austin Ashe of MIT and Brandon Terry kick off the day by sharing "their experiences in centering Black culture in education, civic engagement and campus life." Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, discusses her book, "Caste: The Origins of our Discontent" at 1 p.m. Wilkerson will be joined by Lee Pelton of the Boston Foundation and Lisa Simmons of the Roxbury Film Festival. A panel discussion at 2 p.m. with Ibram X. Kendi of the BU Center for Antiracist Research, Colette Phillips of Colette Phillips Communications, and Malia Lazu of the Lazu Group will focus on "anti-racist strategy." Registration opens at 10 a.m. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Massachusetts College of Art & Design, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston | More Info)

KERRY HEALEY AT FORWARD PARTY PRESSER: Forward Party, a political party founded by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, hosts a press conference as the group works to secure political designation in Massachusetts. Former lieutenant governor and former Massachusetts Republican Party Chair Kerry Healey is Forward Party's national executive chair and plans to attend. Mass. Forward Party Leader Keoni Aricayos and independent state representative candidate Sean Diamond also plan to participate, according to organizers. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., State House steps)

SENATE FORMAL: Senate plans to hold a formal session. (Thursday, 11 a.m., Senate Chamber)

HOUSE FORMAL: House plans to hold a formal session, with roll calls scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (Thursday, 11 a.m., House Chamber)

NORTH CENTRAL CHAMBER: North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce holds its annual meeting and business luncheon, featuring a keynote from WCVB's Anthony Everett, host of Chronicle. (Thursday, 11:45 a.m., Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Dr., Fitchburg)

MBTA BOARD: MBTA Board of Directors meets. The board last week unanimously approved a $3.02 billion fiscal 2025 budget that will draw down the $307 million in remaining MBTA savings, as well as a five-year, $9.6 billion capital investment plan. (Thursday, 12 p.m., Transportation Building, second floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston | Agenda and Access Info)

HARVARD HOUSING REPORT: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University hosts a virtual presentation to release its "State of the Nation's Housing 2024" report, which will unpack the role that new multifamily rental units play in slowing rent growth and how many homebuyers have been priced out of the market. Daniel McCue, a senior research associate at the center, will present the report. Other speakers include MassHousing CEO Chrystal Kornegay, National Housing Trust CEO Priya Jayachandran and Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Managing Director Chris Herbert. NPR correspondent Jennifer Ludden moderates. (Thursday, 12 p.m., More Info)

MEPA UPDATES: Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office holds a public presentation on straw proposals to update the 2010 MEPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy and Protocol and the 2021 MEPA Interim Protocol on Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency. (Thursday, 2 p.m., Register)

BESE/HIGHER ED MEETING: Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Board of Higher Education hold a joint meeting. A spokesperson for the Department of Higher Education said the DHE and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regularly collaborate on policies and programs tied to increasing college access, and that the board chairs are looking to discuss areas they can collaborate on in the upcoming academic year. (Thursday, 3 p.m. | More Info and Zoom)

SOLSTICE CELEBRATION: Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Tepper and Mass. Clean Energy Center CEO Reichert speak at the Solar Energy Business Association of New England’s annual Summer Solstice Celebration. (Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Museum of Science, Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston)

SOUTHEAST PLAZAS: Department of Transportation hosts a virtual meeting to collect public input on plans for improvements at service plazas along major roadways, with a particular focus on plazas in Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bridgewater. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Register)

CHARLESBANK LANDING: Esplanade Association discusses its plans for "Charlesbank Landing," a year-round visitors center. The project design and timeline will be reviewed, and the public is invited to give feedback on community programming. (Thursday, 6 p.m., West End Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., Boston | Register)

ART OF HEALING: Cambridge Health Alliance hosts its annual Art of Healing Gala, this year honoring Michael Curry, president and CEO of the Mass. League of Community Health Centers. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin Land Blvd., Cambridge | Tickets)

Friday, June 21, 2024

EMBRACE IDEAS FESTIVAL: Embrace Ideas Festival continues in honor of Juneteenth. A panel discussion at 10:45 a.m. will explore "building capacity for cultural exchange"; speakers include Sheena Collier of Boston While Black, Thaddeus Miles of Black Joy Initiative, artist ReaL P, and Seneca Scott, an activist from Oakland, Calif. At 1:15 p.m., Boston Globe columnist Jeneé Osterheldt speaks with author and chef Marcus Samuelsson about "his calling to preserve and uplift African American food, music and culture and educate the masses about the richness of food across the Black Diaspora." Registration opens at 10 a.m. (Friday, 10 a.m., Massachusetts College of Art & Design, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston | More Info)

USS CONSTITUTION COMMAND: USS Constitution Cmdr. Billie J. Farrell will be relieved by Cmdr. Crystal L. Schaefer in a "change-of-command ceremony." Schafer will become the 78th captain of the USS Constitution in the ship's 226-year history. The ship will be closed to the public during the ceremony and will reopen to visitors from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Friday, 12 p.m., Charlestown Navy Yard | Facebook Livestream)

JUNETEENTH BLOCK PARTY: Embrace Ideas Festival concludes with a Juneteenth block party. Organizers say the celebration will promote new connections as attendees "come together to celebrate the spirit of liberation and freedom." (Friday, 3 p.m., Roxbury Community College Parking Lot 1, Columbus Avenue at Cedar Street, Boston)

UNEMPLOYMENT DATA: Labor officials publish Massachusetts jobs and unemployment rate estimates for May. In April, the statewide unemployment rate held at 2.9 percent, one point below the national rate of 3.9 percent, while employers shed 500 jobs. (Friday)

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