Political Happy Hour: March 4, 2016

Here’s your afternoon Bronx Bomber (doubleshot espresso, 1/8oz absinthe, 1 ½oz gin) mug of politics, from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe at the Massachusetts State House.

UBER, LYFT WOULD FACE NEW STRICTURES UNDER MASS. BILL. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has the scoop: “Ride-for-hire firms like Uber and Lyft would face new regulations under legislation circulated Friday morning by Massachusetts House leaders, including increased state supervision and government background checks for drivers, according to a copy of the bill obtained by the Globe.

The bill, backed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, refines a proposal filed last year by Republican Governor Charlie Baker ... Drivers would be subject to both a company background check and one from the state, with a range of restrictions in place depending on their criminal records. That system, said top Democrats, would be the country’s most stringent.


Lawmakers stopped short of imposing fingerprinting requirements in the committee bill, a key provision sought by the taxi industry ...” http://bit.ly/1UFfTsH

THE STATE’S MOST POWERFUL POLS LUNCHED IN EAST BOSTON TODAY. The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan has the scoop: “As his party convulses over the prospect of nominating Donald J. Trump for president, Republican Governor Charlie Baker sought the company – and cuisine – of Democrats on Friday. Baker and several top aides met for lunch at the venerable Rino’s Place in East Boston with a whole cast of powerbrokers from Eastie and beyond.

Across the table from Baker: state Representative Aaron Michlewitz, a North End Democrat whose committee hours earlier had released a revised version of Baker’s proposal to regulate ride-for-hire firms like Uber and Lyft. Next to the governor: House Majority Leader Ron Mariano of Quincy, with whom Baker has had some disagreements over film tax credit policy. Also at the table were Suffolk University senior vice president John Nucci and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, evidently back on the lunch circuit after his gastric sleeve surgery last year.


Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore, chief of staff Steve Kadish, and several younger aides joined the head table.

Top economic development adviser Jay Ash and chief secretary Carlo Basile were seated at a nearby table with former Senate president Robert E. Travaglini and his business partners, former Patrick administration chief of staff Arthur Bernard and attorney Tom Kiley. City councilor Sal LaMattina, lobbyist and former state senator Anthony Petruccelli, retired advertising executive Jack Connors, and Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau Pat Moscaritolo helped round out that side of the room. ...” http://bit.ly/1TfdENl

HOUSE SPEAKER DELEO ANALYZES TRUMP VICTORY IN MASS., via Katie Lannan of the State House News Service: “A decisive victory by Republican Donald Trump in the Massachusetts primary shows that voters are ‘disgusted with government,’ according to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who said Friday it’s unclear whether distaste for the federal government will trickle down to the state level. ... During an appearance on Boston Herald Radio, DeLeo credited the New York businessman’s win to his status as a political ‘outsider.’

‘I think the major thing that I thought of is people are disgusted with government and he really is the poster child for those people who are disgusted with government,’ DeLeo said. ...

In DeLeo’s hometown of Winthrop, Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders ... came out on top in their respective primaries. Asked if the victories of non-establishment candidates gave him pause, DeLeo said, ‘I think about that.’ ...” Link via the Enterprise of Brockton: http://bit.ly/21c2OqA


LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW, via Boston Herald Radio: bit.ly/1LEYK0b

SHOULD STATE LEGISLATORS BE WORRIED ABOUT THE NATIONAL MOOD? I’m curious on your take: joshua.miller@globe.com and @jm_bos on Twitter.

MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE DEPARTMENT — ‘PUBLIC SPACE’ WITHOUT THE L IS, well, embarrassing for the City of Boston, via screenshot from WGBH reporter Mike Deehan: http://bit.ly/1TZm6yX

YET ANOTHER SUFFOLK U DRAMA, via Joe Battenfeld on page 2 of today’s Boston Herald: “Suffolk University’s beleaguered board of trustees is planning to hire another prominent Boston public relations firm to repair damage from its unsuccessful battle to oust President Margaret McKenna, a sign that the bitter power struggle between the two sides isn’t over. The board’s move to bring on Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications was done without approval or input from McKenna and means cash-strapped Suffolk may end up paying two different PR firms — one for trustees and one for McKenna. ...” bit.ly/1RMHEgi

COLLEGE POLITICS — HOT ONLINE, “Sombreros at Bowdoin tequila party ignite campus controversy,” via Eric Russell of the Portland Press Herald: “Members of the student government at Bowdoin College in Brunswick [Maine] will vote Saturday on whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings of two of its own members for violating a nondiscrimination policy when they attended a ‘tequila party’ last month. According to the Bowdoin Orient, the campus newspaper, articles of impeachment have been introduced against students Duncan Cannon and Clare McInerney, both members of the Class of 2018. Members of student government will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. to vote on those articles. ...” bit.ly/1TYWMJk


MORE FROM THE BOWDOIN CAMPUS PAPER, via Meg Robbins and Harry Rube: “... At the party, several students wore sombreros, and the email invitation stated ‘we’re not saying it’s a fiesta, but we’re also not not saying that :) (we’re not saying that),’ sparking backlash ...” http://bit.ly/1oVOQNl

Disclosures: I am a Bowdoin alum and former reporter for its student-run (and nation’s oldest continuously published college weekly) newspaper, the Bowdoin Orient.

HARVARD POLITICS, via the Associated Press: “A committee made up of faculty, students, alumni, and staff has recommended that Harvard Law School ditch its seal because of its ties to an 18th century slaveholder. The committee announced Friday that it recommended to the university’s governing body that the seal be dropped. ...” Link, via NECN: http://bit.ly/1QS81hm

PRESIDENTIAL — TRUMP BACKS OUT OF CPAC, via CNN: “Donald Trump will no longer speak at the annual conservative confab CPAC this weekend, he announced Friday. Trump was scheduled to speak at the annual gathering of the who’s-who of the conservative world Saturday, but said he would be campaigning, instead. ...” http://cnn.it/1LYBSnl

SMART TWEET from @daveweigel of the Washington Post: “Skipping CPAC just clarifies the unofficial Trump message: I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me.” http://bit.ly/1oVFvox


TWEETED PHOTO THAT MADE ME LAUGH, via @patcaldwell of Mother Jones: “This Trump coloring book is something else” http://bit.ly/1RMIzNG

OCCASIONAL FEATURE — EVERYONE’S A CRITIC. The pop culture report from top Mass. pols, continuing today with Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst, who chatted with me from Western Massachusetts, where it had just stopped snowing.

ROSENBERG: “I haven’t had time to do reading or movies or anything like that, but what we do is a lot of DVR and a lot of on demand. So we watched the whole ‘West Wing’ series, starting on July Fourth, ending on Thanksgiving Day.”

ME: All the seasons?

ROSENBERG: “The entire eight years in that period. ‘House of Cards’ is out, so we’ll start that this weekend. We DVR things like ‘Madam Secretary,’ ‘Scandal,’ things of that nature. Busman’s holidays, anything to do with politics at the federal level, it’s all loaded into my DVR.”

ME: And when you say ‘we,’ you mean you and your fiancé, Bryon Hefner?

ROSENBERG: “And Bryon, yeah.”

ME: How did you find ‘The West Wing?’

ROSENBERG: “I loved it. I loved it. I didn’t have a chance to watch it when it was actually current. And people, of course, talked about it forever. Then they stopped talking about it. And this summer we were just looking for a longterm project, something we could do together, evenings, weekends, when we’re hanging out. So Bryon suggested, ‘Let’s do West Wing.’ And we did it.”

ME: Do you have a favorite character?

ROSENBERG: “Nope. I love them all!” [laughter]

ME: What a good political answer.

Here are my earlier chats with Governor Charlie Baker (Likes ‘Homeland,’ ‘Person of Interest,’ and ‘The Blacklist’ on TV) Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (longtime fan of the band Chicago) and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston (watches, yes, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’).

GOSSIP STORY EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT, via TMZ: “A construction worker found a knife buried on the perimeter of the former O.J. Simpson estate ... and it’s currently being tested by the LAPD in a top secret investigation ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ. The story is incredible. ...” http://bit.ly/1L7r8rT

MAINE TOWN FACES CROTCH CHOICE, via the AP: “A small Maine town is once again putting forth a referendum before its residents asking to change the name of a road because its posted signs are constantly stolen as a prank. ... [T]he referendum to rename Katie Crotch Road to Cadie Road is one of several items to appear on Friday’s ballot in the town of Embden ... The town is burdened with replacing the road signs at a cost of several hundred dollars annually. Charles Taylor, chairman of the Board of Selectman, says the thefts occur so frequently that ‘you would think every dorm room in the state of Maine should have one by now.’ A previous motion to rename the street failed at the 2012 Town Meeting.” Link via the Sacramento Bee: http://bit.ly/1Sow5hw

Donald Trump would never change it.

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I shall return on Monday.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.