One thing Americans can agree on? Legalize pro sports betting, poll says

Fifty-five percent of Americans support making gambling on professional sports legal in all states, according to poll results [see below] released Tuesday.

Such gambling is currently legal in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, although pollsters found it is fairly common — one in five Americans surveyed had placed a bet and 73 percent of those who did so said it made watching the games more interesting.

The UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll found 33 percent of respondents disapproved of allowing gambling on professional sports in all states, and another 12 percent had no opinion.

Pollsters conducted live interviews with a random sample of 1,000 American adults. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish via cellphones and landlines from Aug. 14 through Aug. 21. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 points.

Flanagan, ex-senator, opens up about her role regulating legal pot in Mass.

Don’t be too hard on the towns that aren’t ready to ride the Massachusetts recreational marijuana train, said new Cannabis Control Commission member Jennifer Flanagan.

“For them, it’s not coming down to money. That’s what I think is interesting,” said Flanagan, the former Democratic state senator from Leominster, in an interview last week with the Sun.

“I understand there are taxes to be had from this and there is money to be gained, but some towns are not comfortable having it on Main Street,” she said in reference to pot shops. “We need to allow them to get there and not force their hand with it.”

Gov. Charlie Baker made Flanagan the first of five appointees to the commission, which will oversee implementation of the new state law legalizing the use, sale and growth of marijuana, based on her background as the Senate chairperson of both the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee and the Special Senate Committee on Opiate Addiction.

POW! WOW! Worcester, a photo essay [Part 2]

Don’t have time for a leisurely stroll around the whole 38 square miles of the city to see the more than 40 murals left behind by the talented artists who participated in the second annual event?

The Worcester Sun, in partnership with @igworcesterma and Jaime Flores Photography (check out their website here), has you covered. And check back with the Sun in the next couple of editions to see the city’s newest works of art through the unique perspective of Jaime and friends.

Check out Part 1 from last Sunday

Worcester Weekly: Oktoberfest, Worcester State football + more, Sept. 24-30

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 — Architectural Scavenger Hunt, 5-7:30 p.m., Leo’s Ristorante, 11 Leo Turo Way  There are so many new buildings going up in Worcester, it can be easy to forget about the treasure trove of historic, intriguing and captivating old buildings that continue to lend character, culture and rising heating bills to every hilly neighborhood and winding one-way street in the city.

Sina-cism: Railers follow in IceCats’, Sharks’ tracks — but, how closely?

The season opener for the Worcester Railers — the city’s third minor-league hockey franchise in recent history — is being seen by some as a chance to net success where the previous two clubs, the IceCats and Sharks, failed.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

I wish the Railers good luck, but how wrongheaded to think of the IceCats and Sharks as failed teams.

The IceCats arrived here in 1994 from Springfield, played 11 American Hockey League seasons, then left for Peoria, Illinois. They are now the AHL’s Utica Comets. The Sharks, after nine years in Worcester, are now the San Jose Barracuda, sharing an arena with their parent, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

The list of current and former AHL teams is long. With a few exceptions — the Hershey Bears (1938), Rochester Americans (1956), and Providence Bruins (1992) — AHL teams come and go with great frequency. Many number their seasons in single digits.

POW! WOW! Worcester, a photo essay [Part 1]

Don’t have time for a leisurely stroll around the whole 38 square miles of the city to see the more than 40 murals left behind by the talented artists who participated in the second annual event?

The Worcester Sun, in partnership with @igworcesterma and Jaime Flores Photography (check out their website here), has you covered. And check back with the Sun in the next couple of editions to see the city’s newest works of art through the unique perspective of Jaime and friends.

Editorial: Oohs and aahs for ofo

Oof, those seven hills!

Other than that, ofo’s arrival in Worcester signals a city coasting smoothly forward.

On Thursday, the Beijing-based company launched its bike-sharing program in a ceremony at City Hall, capping months of preparing and research helped by local leaders and scholars. The stars of the cheerful kickoff were dozens of bright-yellow ofo bikes, ready to get going under the guidance of anyone over the age of 18 with a smartphone, a dollar and an hour.

A little ofo 101 is in order. Don’t be fooled: These substantial, simply styled bicycles may look old-fashioned, but they’re as high-tech as they come.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 198]: State cannabis commission needs more green?

At long last, state leaders in absolutely no hurry to abide by the will of the voters when it comes to legal recreational marijuana have assembled a quintet of commissioners to craft the regulatory framework that will guide the burgeoning industry into existence next July … maybe.

Turns out, the $2.5 million set aside for this endeavor could be cause for concern (less so, you’d think, if there was more pot available!). Hitch thinks lawmakers should stop blowing smoke.

On Beacon Hill: Vienna sausage making, the State House way

Recap and analysis of the week in local, state and federal government from State House News Service and Sun research.

BOSTON — The Legislature continued the budget process for “Fiscal Year Two Thousand and … Infinity” this past week — well, half the Legislature.

A budget document unveiled when President Trump’s approval rating exceeded his disapproval rating sauntered through its eighth month, still not truly final, as the House replaced $275 million of the $360 million in vetoes Gov. Baker made in July.

The next step in the saga must be taken by the Senate.

The hangup for now is that there’s a rhythm to legislation and, as fortune would have it, that rhythm is the same as a Viennese waltz: ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three. … And the third step of the override process was paused for the moment, as senators awaited the return of their leader from Austria and the Czech Republic.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg was in Europe — a development that first surfaced publicly when his staff said he wouldn’t be at the weekly leadership meeting Monday with Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and would phone in for the session. He did.

The president, normally quite eager to share the details of his public schedule, made no mentions of his planned sojourn.

State House News Service file

Senate President Stan Rosenberg

His travels through Vienna, Graz and Prague were underwritten by the United Nations Association of Austria, the city of Graz and the Senate Presidents Forum, which collects money from corporations such as Coca-Cola, Pfizer and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and passes it on to presidents in the form of grants for such policy and cultural forays.

Thomas Finneran, late of the Massachusetts House speakership, is on staff as moderator of Forum discussions — a role he filled during the Central Europe sessions, said Rosenberg’s spokesman.

And so the Senate, eager as it may be to restore spending after senators decried vetoes as severe and unnecessary, extended its six-week summer formal-session hiatus. The vetoes may be taken up the last week of the month, after the autumnal equinox.

The 62 overrides processed in the House chamber covered statewide programs and accounts, and Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez said another batch, addressing local needs and services, is forthcoming. [See video below.]

Republicans said the Senate should in fact be in no rush to follow the House’s lead. With state leaders mired in a years-long inability to accurately project tax revenues and then keep spending within actual receipts, GOP representatives said both branches should wait at least another month, preferably two, to see if the overrides are affordable.

For their part, the Baker administration said there was “no basis” to restore spending now, given revenue performance so far.

But Sanchez, speaking for the Democrats, said a conservative approach was already baked into the budget that landed on Baker’s desk in July — that $400 million had been removed from the bottom line before Baker saw it. The spending restorations are sustainable, he assured.

By much more than the necessary two-thirds, Sanchez and his boss Speaker DeLeo had the votes.

For much of Wednesday, House members sat chattering and nattering and fiddling with their digital devices, punctuated by the sonorous reading of one veto after another from the podium. Which items would come up and receive a “yes” vote had been decided in secret over the past eight weeks, so there was no debate.

One by one, with nary a decrease in din, representatives added money back to the commonwealth’s fiscal 2018 bottom line — the scoreboard glowing green on its leftward Democratic side, and more or less solid red on the Republican.

And while wiseguys needed both eyebrows this week — one to raise over Rosenberg’s trip, and the other over the prudence of budget regrowth — the people actually affected by the line items — people hoping to keep their apartments or their jobs — likely breathed a sigh of relief. Or half a sigh, anyhow, if that’s possible.

And by the way? If those real people avoid the hit, they won’t begrudge Rosenberg some late-summer Transatlantic meandering.

— Craig Sandler

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Minimum wage, renewable energy, online Lottery on tap
  • McGovern on health care, Warren on veterans, Polito on bike trail
  • Senators begin joint talks on language learning bill with rebuke of past efforts
  • Watch: DeLeo, Sanchez on budget veto overrides
  • Framingham contractor fined $167,500 for shoddy Worcester Airport work

Funding questions rise to top as state marijuana panel convenes

BOSTON — With the Cannabis Control Commission’s work of standing up a legal marijuana market in Massachusetts now underway, the group that backed legalization on the ballot said the commission has to start pressuring the governor and Legislature for more money.

The commission held its first business meeting Tuesday, after which Yes on 4 coalition spokesman Jim Borghesani said the group’s first order of business should be making sure they have the financial resources they need to implement the marijuana law on time.

“They have to start the pressure right away on the Legislature and the governor to make sure they get the funding that they need,” Borghesani, who also represents the Marijuana Policy Project, said.