Statistically Significant

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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It’s not my party, but I’ll vote if I want to 

It’s not my party, but I’ll vote if I want to 

Party primaries are increasingly non-partisan as party registration fades

AN EVER-GROWING WAVE of unenrolled voters is slowly overtaking Massachusetts political parties. Old Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans are dying off and more and more of their grandkids are ditching the two-party structure. As the overall number of voters keeps rising, the percent of undeclared voters climbs, while the share of both Democrats and Republicans shrinks modestly.(...)

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The road less traveled

The road less traveled

Distance from Boston is an obstacle to statewide office

GREATER BOSTON IS the breeding ground for the state’s top politicians. Going back to 1900, three out of every four constitutional officers came from within 25 miles of Boston. Go out 50 miles, and the percentage rises to 85 percent. Most analysts say the state’s political axis tilts toward Greater Boston because that’s where the(...)

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Got robots?

Got robots?

Dairy farmers use technology to eke out a living

Sixth-generation family farmers Dave and Steve Barstow have stretched the limits of what dairy farmers can do to stay afloat. They opened a store and bakery on their dairy farm at the foot of Mt. Holyoke in Hadley. They generate electricity from composted cow manure and food scraps. They even market a line of farm(...)

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Why Trump’s performance matters in Mass.

Why Trump’s performance matters in Mass.

Clinton expected to win, but her victory margin could influence legislative races

REPUBLICAN KATE CAMPANALE stunned the state’s political establishment in 2014 by winning the 17th Worcester district House seat, edging out Democrat Douglas Belanger by just 43 votes out of 9,750 cast. Campanale will face Democratic challenger Moses Dixon on November 8, after Dixon defeated Belanger in the September 8 Democratic primary. Campanale is in a(...)

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Mass. chiefs approve most gun permits

Mass. chiefs approve most gun permits

Only 1.8% of applicants denied, suggesting discretion not abused

ONLY A TINY fraction of Massachusetts residents who apply for firearms licenses or identification cards are turned down, suggesting the state’s reputation for restricting gun use may be overstated. Just 1.8 percent of those who applied for Firearms Identification Cards (FID) and licenses to carry concealed weapons between 2010 and 2015 were rejected, according to(...)

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Pump slump good for government

Pump slump good for government

Lower gas prices, more driving mean more revenue

FALLING FUEL PRICES may be wreaking havoc in oil-producing countries, but they are bringing smiles to drivers in Massachusetts and helping state and local officials keep their budgets in balance. The price of gasoline has dropped by nearly half since mid-2012, when the average retail price hovered around $3.59 a gallon. By March of this(...)

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Public schools extend their reach

Public schools extend their reach

School systems across Massachusetts are boosting their revenue by taking in students from as far away as China

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AROUND the state, faced with rising costs and stagnant budgets, are turning outside their districts —even outside the country—to attract tuition money from foreign students and students from other communities inside Massachusetts. The money falls into three pots. According to fiscal 2014 figures from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 21 public(...)

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Region’s cap and trade program draws interest

Region’s cap and trade program draws interest

EPA's power plant emission plan boosts Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is drawing a lot of attention to the carbon cap-and-trade program run by nine Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, including Massachusetts. The Clean Power Plan, if it survives legal challenges, will require each state to reduce its power plant carbon-dioxide emissions to a target level set by the(...)

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Rainy day fund taking hits

Rainy day fund taking hits

Is it really raining?

THE STATE’S RAINY DAY FUND is set aside for years when the economy is tanking, tax revenues are falling, and officials are scrambling to fill budget gaps. That’s what happened in the early 2000s and in 2008 when the state was gripped by recession; the state tapped the rainy day fund to weather the economic storm.(...)

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