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POLITICAL HAPPY HOUR: July 3, 2014

Here’s your afternoon dose of politics, from Michael Levenson of the Boston Globe, filling in for Joshua Miller, who has probably hit the beach with a stack of OCPF reports:

GET READY TO HEAR A LOT ABOUT QUESTION 3: From me on BostonGlobe.com: It seems the most mundane of bureaucratic tasks: assigning numbers to ballot questions. But the numbers, unveiled Thursday, will become an inescapable feature of the political landscape this fall: emblazoned on bumper stickers and ballyhooed on TV. So, without further ado, here are your numbers, as chosen by Secretary of State William F. Galvin. Question 1 would repeal the state law that adjusts the gas tax based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. Question 2 would expand the nickel bottle-bill deposit to most non-alcoholic and non-carbonated drinks. Question 3 would repeal the state gambling law, the hottest issue on the ballot. Question 4 would allow employees to earn and use sick time. http://goo.gl/itRf0Y

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STRONG JOBS REPORT, STOCK MARKET UP: Via The Associated Press: US hiring last month was the strongest since the tech boom of the late 1990s and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. The news helped drive the Dow Jones industrial average above 17,000 for the first time.http://goo.gl/wn0Pn4

LOTS TO DO, NOT A LOT OF TIME: Lawmakers will be under pressure to act on a range of controversial issues with just about three weeks left in the legislative session, when they return after the holiday weekend. Still on the agenda are budget vetoes from Governor Deval Patrick, a bill to replace the abortion clinic buffer-zone law that was struck down by the Supreme Court, and a lifting of the charter school cap, along with domestic violence legislation, a campaign finance measure, a gun control bill, and a water infrastructure bill.

SCOTT BROWN DISMISSES ‘SOCIAL OPINION,’ BACKS HOBBY LOBBY RULING: Via WKXL radio in New Hampshire: Scott Brown backed the Supreme Court’s divisive Hobby Lobby ruling, saying: “I’ve supported in the past - and will continue to support -- the right of people of faith to practice their faith, even though that may be out of touch with social opinion.” http://goo.gl/l6zDDn

HILLARY CLINTON PAID $250K TO SPEAK AT UCONN: The University of Connecticut is defending its decision to have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak on campus in April for a fee of more than $250,000. A UConn spokeswoman said Clinton was paid through the university foundation and said it was unfortunate that critics have linked the fee to a 6.5 percent tuition hike. Clinton spoke at the university after appearing at another paid gig in Boston, the Simmons Leadership Conference, at the Seaport World Trade Center. From the AP: http://goo.gl/zeXVtA

COMPOUNDING PHARMACY BILL ON GOV’S DESK: Via the Globe’s Martin Finucane: The Legislature gave final approval Thursday to legislation toughening oversight of compounding pharmacies. The bill was passed in response to the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak at a Framingham compounding pharmacy that killed 64 people and sickened 751. http://goo.gl/k1atYS

BURLINGTON, VT., ABANDONS ITS BUFFER ZONE LAW: Via The Burlington Free Press: Vermont’s largest city has stopped enforcing a protest-free zone around abortion clinics after the Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts buffer-zone law last week. http://goo.gl/X00wYT

FIREWORKS A GO -- IF THE WEATHER HOLDS OUT: Via the Globe’s Zachary T. Sampson: Technicians are preparing for tonight’s fireworks show over the Esplanade, officials said Thursday. “Right now we are good to go with the fireworks, if the weather holds out,” said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for Boston 4 Productions. http://goo.gl/SVAwXo

Have a happy Fourth of July weekend. Political Happy Hour — and my colleague, Joshua Miller — will return on Monday. For those not on this email list, it’s free to join. Click here to sign up for Political Happy Hour.

Michael Levenson can be reached at Michael.Levenson@globe.com.
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