The Back Story

The gateway debate over marijuana

The gateway debate over marijuana

Science favors backers of legal pot, fear favors opponents

CHRIS LOWE, A 41-year-old carpenter on Martha’s Vineyard, has smoked pot since his early 20s, both legally and illegally. When he lived in Montana, he had a certificate to grow, sell, and use medical marijuana until the state changed its laws. He says he qualifies for medical marijuana in Massachusetts, but doesn’t bother because the bureaucracy(...)

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Hunting the source of leaks

Hunting the source of leaks

As SJC is finding, it’s a very slow process

Ralph Gants, the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, asked the attorney general’s office, the State Ethics Commission, and the US Justice Department on Nov. 9 to investigate whether someone from their agencies improperly leaked to the Boston Globe an impounded transcript of an interview with House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Nearly six months later,(...)

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Rent Faneuil Hall for $500 a day

Rent Faneuil Hall for $500 a day

Mayor Walsh says rent right where it should be

The city of Boston is renting out historical Faneuil Hall at bargain-basement rates of $250 to $500 a day, a fraction of what function halls elsewhere around town charge. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took advantage of the low rates last November when she held a rally at Faneuil Hall, where she was endorsed by(...)

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And when we get behind closed doors …

And when we get behind closed doors …

Conference committees prefer to deliberate in private

Something highly unusual is happening up on Beacon Hill. A legislative conference committee, a group of six lawmakers tasked with finding common ground between the House and Senate on a piece of legislation, is meeting in public. The conference committee working out in the open is trying to reconcile House and Senate bills updating the(...)

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Inside the solar negotiations

Inside the solar negotiations

Size of net metering cap hike emerging as problem

A legislative conference committee trying to bridge a philosophical gap between the House and Senate on solar power is making progress, but some new stumbling blocks are emerging. Sources familiar with the discussions say the two sides are starting to bridge their differences over how much solar developers should be paid for the electricity they(...)

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Spotlight sends out a survey

Spotlight sends out a survey

Novel way for investigative team to gather information

The Boston Globe Spotlight Team earlier this month sent an email to nearly 200 private, independent schools in New England asking them to fill out an online survey documenting instances of sexual harassment and abuse at their institutions and how those situations were handled going back as far as 25 years. “We need your help,”(...)

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Ballot question spurs unusual hospital alliance

Ballot question spurs unusual hospital alliance

Association opposes initiative even though most members benefit

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera came to the State House on Tuesday to testify in support of a ballot question that would revamp the way hospitals are compensated and steer an extra $5.8 million to his city’s largest employer, Lawrence General Hospital. But Dianne Anderson, the president and CEO of Lawrence General, doesn’t feel the same(...)

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Bogus Health Connector website shut down

Bogus Health Connector website shut down

State official calls site ‘woefully deceptive’

The Baker administration has shut down a shadowy commercial website masquerading as the official Massachusetts Health Connector and referring customers to health insurers while collecting a fee in the process. The real Connector is a state clearinghouse for health and dental insurance plans, helping individuals, families, and small businesses secure health and dental coverage. About 208,000(...)

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Listen to what’s not said about solar

Listen to what’s not said about solar

Utilities and developer engage in disconnected debate

In the increasingly contentious debate over solar energy, listen to what’s not said as much as what is said. The state’s utilities and their business allies talk about the high cost of solar, but never mention its benefits. Solar developers and advocates talk about the benefits, but almost never talk about the cost. The result(...)

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Mass Housing hires new chief in 10 minutes

Mass Housing hires new chief in 10 minutes

Lightning-fast action called smart succession planning

It took less than 10 minutes for the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency to name a new executive director last month. The authority’s board convened at 2 p.m. on Jan. 12. After approving the minutes from the last meeting and welcoming a new member, the board voted to go into executive session “to discuss strategies with(...)

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