The Back Story

ML Strategies breaks lobbying record

ML Strategies breaks lobbying record

Well-connected firm raked in more than $4m in fees in 2016

ML Strategies saw its lobbying fees soar to more than $4 million in 2016, setting what appears to be a single-year record among Massachusetts firms.   ML Strategies, which is wholly owned by the law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, has seen its business explode in the last three years. The lobbying(...)

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DeVos selection roils reform sector

DeVos selection roils reform sector

Some charter backers rush to distance themselves from ed pick

THE BATTLE OVER President Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, had teachers unions, public school advocates, and many on the political left in high dudgeon. DeVos’s record of support for charter schools and voucher programs, and her lack of any experience in district public schools, made her the target of the most organized effort to(...)

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Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Environmental group raises concerns about proposed demand charge

Eversource is proposing special charges for customers with solar installations to make sure they pay their share of the cost of operating the power grid. The proposed charges are contained in Eversource’s rate filing, which is under review at the state Department of Public Utilities. The utility says the charges are needed because many solar(...)

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Baker moves to collect tax on internet sales

Baker moves to collect tax on internet sales

Counting on $30 million in revenues in FY2018

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER IS LAUNCHING an initiative to indirectly start collecting sales tax from Massachusetts residents making purchases over the internet. The move by Baker is somewhat risky, both politically and legally. Court decisions have barred states from requiring companies outside their borders to collect and remit sales taxes incurred by their residents, but in(...)

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MassHousing conflict?

MassHousing conflict?

Official failed to disclose ties to father, girlfriend

THE STATE’S CONFLICT of interest law seems pretty straightforward. A public official may not participate in any matter in which she or a member of her immediate family has a financial interest. But real life, as illustrated by a situation at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, is rarely that simple. CommonWealth received a tip recently(...)

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Baker’s record on records

Baker’s record on records

Governor withheld documents in 33 instances

Over the past two years, Gov. Charlie Baker has responded to 33 requests for public records by either withholding the information in its entirety or releasing it in redacted form. Baker’s record on records requests, which itself was obtained through a public records request, aligns with his view that his office is not subject to(...)

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Logan inching toward agreement with Uber, Lyft

Logan inching toward agreement with Uber, Lyft

Change in Massport regs could be death knell for cabs

Massport is quietly trying to fashion new regulations to open up Logan Airport to all ride-hailing drivers but, six months after passage of a state law paving the way for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate, the sides are still unable to reach an agreement. A Massport spokeswoman said the bill(...)

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MassHousing paid settlements to terminated workers

MassHousing paid settlements to terminated workers

Three employees received a total of $144,552

THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency terminated three employees earlier this year and cushioned the blow by paying them a total of $144,552, according to records grudgingly released by the agency. The employee terminations followed soon after Timothy Sullivan was named executive director of the authority at a strange meeting of(...)

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T parking revenue up 22%

T parking revenue up 22%

Was uptick due to theft discovery?

THE MBTA’S PARKING REVENUE increased 22 percent over the last five months compared to the same period a year ago, reinforcing the notion that theft by employees of the T’s private parking lot operator may have been tempering revenue gains. The parking problem surfaced in February when daily revenue reports at MBTA lots didn’t match(...)

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Bishops press Beacon Hill for criminal justice reform   

Bishops press Beacon Hill for criminal justice reform  

Catholic leaders urge end to mandatory minimum drug sentences, other changes

THE STATE’S FOUR Catholic bishops are adding their voices to those calling for the Legislature to take up a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill when lawmakers reconvene for a new session next month. In a letter sent last week to state leaders, the bishops urged adoption of “comprehensive thoughtful reforms” that can “reduce recidivism and(...)

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