The Landscape

Senate President Karen Spilka is calling on the Baker Administration to provide increased information to an increasingly frustrated public on when, where and how they will get COVID-19 vaccines. Appearing on WCVB-TV’s “On the Record,” Spilka outlined the opportunity to reimagine the state’s post-COVID future and “new normal” including telecommuting and the impact that would have on the state’s strained transportation system.

Governor Baker’s promise to Black and Latino communities ensuring they receive equitable access to vaccination sites is falling short. Currently, the only public vaccination site in Suffolk County is at the South Boston Community Health Center, miles away from the more diverse neighborhoods of Roxbury, Hyde Park, Mattapan and East Boston. Fewer than 14 percent of Black residents and roughly 26 percent of Latinos live in census tracts that are within 1 mile of a vaccination site, compared to 46 percent of white residents. Another mass vaccination site is slated to open February 1, at Fenway Park.

These topics are sure to be front and center Tuesday night as Baker (virtually) delivers his annual State of the Commonwealth. The agenda-setting speech is expected to outline priorities anticipated to be reflected in his annual spending bill set to be filed Wednesday. While details are emerging, a highlight of the forthcoming budget will be the Governor’s plan to fully fund the landmark $1.5 billion Student Opportunity Act of 2019.

The Boston City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday to consider changing rules that require a special election if, as expected, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh were to resign before March 5. Rather than forcing a special election in the spring, the bill would pave the way for a preliminary election in September and general election in November.  A change to the city’s mayoral election rules would require approval from the Legislature and Baker.

The News