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Amid Some GOP Gripes, A Staycation For Massachusetts Gov. Baker

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito on election night in 2018.
Sam Doran
State House News Service
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito on election night in 2018.

It appears the message from Massachusetts tourism officials worked: Governor Charlie Baker is staycationing. He's on vacation at least through this week. But it's not all fun and sun.

Chris Lisinski, State House News Service: He's not the only one to have decided that August is a great time to take some time off, with most of the legislative work on pause until at least next month. The governor's office says that he is still in pretty frequent communication with his cabinet members and with key staff, and will address any matters that come up.

But as you said, he's enjoying a little bit of time up in Gloucester with his wife. Staycationing is a more accurate description than vacationing, probably.

Carrie Healy, NEPR: So Baker and his political team appear to have worked out this very visible fight with the state Republican Party. What's going on there?

Yeah, this is something that came up a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, the state Republican Party complained to a software company known as Salesforce that it had been locked out of donor databases, you know, key files that list who they might be able to contact and fundraise off of since about July. And in doing so, [the party] kind of implied that Baker's political team had access, while the state party itself did not have access.

For what it's worth, Baker's team says that they were also locked out and that they had submitted a sort of a proposal through Salesforce to divide access to the databases with the party, but that the party did not go along with that. And we found out last week that the party had regained access to this after threatening legal action. But, based on our last look at it, it seems like Baker's team was still unable to get that full access.

What's this really all about?

Yeah, I think that the origins of all of this disagreement still remain a little bit unclear, to be totally honest. But it does seem to be another signpost in this ongoing—I don't know if you want to call it a "feud" or just a "disagreement" between Baker and the GOP ever since current chairman Jim Lyons was elevated to that top post in January. The two of them have just seemed to adopt different approaches and different strategies about messaging.

Last time we heard, there were still conversations going on about a compromise on the different hands-free cell phone bills passed by the state House and Senate. Now, those negotiations have dragged on for weeks now. Are we going to see a final bill this year?

Well, the lawmakers on that committee are hopeful that we will see a final bill, much sooner than this year. I've been in touch with them over the past few weeks. They came quite close to having a deal done on July 31, typically the final day here before many lawmakers take a late summer recess. But that collapsed at the last minute.

Since then, they're being a little bit coy and reserved about where things stand and will only tell us that they continue to discuss it, and continue to be optimistic. But they have been talking about this for a good two months now, and we're still waiting to see where exactly this is all going to end up.

Finally, something you see every day: an increase in state police presence at the Statehouse. As I understand, there's no clear reason why. What do we know?

An increased number of Massachusetts State Police are on duty at the Statehouse in Boston.
Credit Sam Doran / State House News Service
State House News Service
An increased number of Massachusetts State Police are on duty at the Statehouse in Boston.

We don't know all that much, to be totally honest.

State police have confirmed that there's no specific incident or threat that they're in response to, but those of us who work here in the building have noticed for about a month, maybe a little bit longer, more and more state troopers alongside the Statehouse rangers that we see every day, particularly at the entrances to the building.

And we haven't really been given a clear reason for this.

Keep up here with Beacon Hill In 5.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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