Opinion

A Rikers view of criminal justice reform

A Rikers view of criminal justice reform

Race, economics, and politics played key roles in incarceration policies

I LEFT MY HOMETOWN of Boston three years ago to find myself inside Rikers Island. What I witnessed inside that most infamous jail complex would become my education on the system of incarceration and the staining effects it has on people caught between crime and justice. In 2014, I was appointed a deputy commissioner at(...)

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It’s now Massachusetts’ turn

It’s now Massachusetts’ turn

After wins elsewhere, transgender rights faces key test in Bay State

FOR MANY, ELECTION NIGHT 2017 was a glimmer of hope after a downright dark political year. Races all over the country made history. One of the most significant was the election of Danica Roem in Virginia, one of the first openly transgender people elected to a state legislature in the United States. History was recorded,(...)

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Dear Gov. Raimondo: Express trains wrong ask

Dear Gov. Raimondo: Express trains wrong ask

Let’s improve existing service and help all passengers

DEAR GOVERNOR GINA RAIMONDO: We read with interest your call for express rail service from Providence to Boston. You are spot-on in thinking that improved rail connections regionally will be beneficial to the people, the economies, and the environments of our respective states. But rather than single express trains serving a few commuters, we respectfully(...)

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Tougher distracted driving law badly needed

Tougher distracted driving law badly needed

Bill, stalled in House, would also help education effort

DESPITE AN INCREASED AWARENESS of the dangers of distracted driving, we are more tethered to our phones than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed every hour and more than 1,000 are injured as a result of distracted drivers. This epidemic shows no signs of slowing. According to(...)

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Report raises doubts about gas ‘crisis’

Report raises doubts about gas ‘crisis’

Did utilities create shortage with unused capacity requests?

EVERSOURCE AND OTHER REGIONAL UTILITIES have long claimed that New England desperately needs new natural gas pipelines to meet electricity demand, with the “polar vortex” of 2013-14 as a prime example. Electricity prices rose sharply throughout New England at that time because of pipeline constraints, according to the utilities and regional grid operator ISO New(...)

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Airbnb’s smoke and mirrors

Airbnb’s smoke and mirrors

Lawmakers, public shouldn't be duped by company's embrace of taxes in short-term rentals

IN HIS NOVEMBER 8 op-ed in CommonWealth (“Time for state to catch up on Airbnb tax”), Airbnb executive Will Burns raises many excellent points about why it is time for the state to act on the taxation and regulation of short-term rental platforms. It is important, however, that lawmakers and the public see through the(...)

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Addressing inmate addiction must be a priority

Addressing inmate addiction must be a priority

Treatment for prisoners will help address the state's opioid crisis

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS recently passed by the Massachusetts Senate and released by the House Committee on Ways and Means provide sensible reform to failed criminal justice approaches, including doing away with some mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses. These reforms are both pragmatic and just. By shifting the focus away from laws and(...)

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Time for state to catch up on Airbnb tax

Time for state to catch up on Airbnb tax

Massachusetts is leaving money on the table

STARTING NOVEMBER 1, New Hampshire became the fifth and latest New England state to allow Airbnb to collect taxes on behalf of its community of hosts and guests, and remit that revenue to the state. The Granite State will join Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont – as well as more than 300 other jurisdictions(...)

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Lawmakers must make hospital rates fairer

Lawmakers must make hospital rates fairer

Left unresolved, price disparities will undermine affordable health care

HEALTH EQUITY MOTIVATED Massachusetts’ first-in-the-nation, near-universal healthcare coverage in 2006.  Now, it should be a guiding principle as we tackle rising healthcare costs so necessary to keep the healing and caring power of healthcare within reach for everyone. By the same token, we, as physicians and clergy, believe in working together to remove all barriers to the(...)

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