Politics

Islanders want their pot, too

Islanders want their pot, too

Residents urge state commissioners to help them navigate federal obstacles

THE “LISTENING TOUR” by the board charged with regulating the state’s emerging marijuana industry landed on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday, where the two members heard pleas from pro-pot advocates to help their island as well as Nantucket steer clear of the federal obstacles no other communities in Massachusetts face. About 70 people crowded into the West(...)

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Democracy isn’t working in Massachusetts

Democracy isn’t working in Massachusetts

Crowded winner-take-all primaries, incumbency, and special elections subvert will of voters

ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1998, David Nangle, then a State House aide, was effectively elected to the Massachusetts Legislature even though 76 percent of the voters in the district where he ran chose someone else that day. Nangle won the Democratic primary for an open Lowell-based seat in the House of Representatives by garnering just 24(...)

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All quiet for Baker on the DC front 

All quiet for Baker on the DC front 

Democrats in congressional delegation give him high marks

FOR RICHARD NEAL, the 15-term congressman from Springfield, the reopening in June of the city’s Union Station was a deeply moving moment. Neal, in 1977, had launched his first campaign for a seat on the Springfield City Council there and had at the same time promised to rehabilitate the decaying landmark. It took a while,(...)

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Diversity data gaps

Diversity data gaps

Surprisingly, some state agencies don't track their minority hiring

EVERY YEAR, THE governor’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity publishes a detailed report on the diversity of the workforce at each of the executive branch secretariats, now numbering nine. But many other parts of state government —the constitutional officers, the Legislature, the judiciary, and the various state authorities—rarely, if ever, release any diversity data(...)

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A new breed of advocacy

A new breed of advocacy

These advocates are driven by data rather than ideology

THIS ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS a new breed of advocacy that appears to be emerging here in Massachusetts, an advocacy driven more by data than ideology. Our Conversation introduces you to Marc Ebuña, Ari Ofsevit, and Andy Monat. You’ve probably never heard of these three relatively young men from a group called TransitMatters. They aren’t quoted regularly(...)

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Pushing ranked choice with beer (and pie)

Pushing ranked choice with beer (and pie)

A recipe to revive democracy in Massachusetts elections

AMERICANS ARE ALL too familiar with the divisive saga of the 2016 presidential contest, but few are aware of the quiet revolution that blossomed in Maine and is now taking flight in Massachusetts. On November 8 last year, Maine voters enacted Question 5, making Maine the first state in US history to upgrade its voting system(...)

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Challenging DeLeo

Challenging DeLeo

House speaker facing a revolt from the outside

HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO has a challenger—but it’s not a member of the chamber he oversees. The insurgency is coming instead from a 27-year-old Franklin resident who says he’s grown weary of the consolidation of House power in the office of one man. “We don’t think the speaker should have the amount of power he(...)

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Senate to unveil Medicaid legislation

Senate to unveil Medicaid legislation

Rosenberg says bill will include Baker, commission proposals

THE SENATE IS PREPARING to unveil legislation designed to pare back the cost of health care and MassHealth by cobbling together ideas put forth by Gov. Charlie Baker, a commission on hospital price variation, and a Senate research study. At a cost trends hearing on Monday hosted by the Health Policy Commission, Senate President Stanley(...)

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Forensic science commission is needed

Forensic science commission is needed

Lab scandals show need for greater oversight

LET’S TALK NUMBERS, specifically 23,595. As of June 1, 2017, that was the number of convictions that were vacated as a result of Annie Dookhan’s misconduct at the Hinton Drug Laboratory between 2003 and 2009.  There’s another number out there – the number of convictions that will be vacated as a result of Sonja Farak’s(...)

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Graham-Cassidy would be devastating for Mass.

Graham-Cassidy would be devastating for Mass.

Bill would gut CarePlus, which serves 300,000 residents

CHUCK IS A 58-YEAR-OLD MALE  with multiple chronic physical and mental health conditions, including diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and depression. On top of his urgent medical needs – for which he frequently visits emergency services – he is chronically homeless. Chuck is a real person, one of nearly 2 million Massachusetts residents whose(...)

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