Winter 2014

Winter 2014

Winter 2014 Editor’s note

Winter 2014 Editor’s note

For the discriminating wonk

Public policy at times can be very theoretical and dry, but this issue isn’t like that at all. It draws you in with great writing and photography that helps you understand some of the biggest challenges facing our society today and the people who are trying to address them. Our cover story, for example, focuses(...)

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Leading the fight against e-cigarettes

Leading the fight against e-cigarettes

For Susan Liss, the former top lobbyist for Massachusetts in the capital, the battle is personal

When Susan Liss became the top lobbyist for Massachusetts in Washington in 2006, she had a million things to juggle, from the rollout of the state’s new health care law to the search for federal funds. But it was a tough personal time for such a big assignment: Her husband, Jeffrey Liss, a partner with(...)

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Winter 2014 correspondence and updates

Why no Olympian effort on racial diversity? Just after I read your Fall 2013 cover story, “No seat at the table,” an article appeared in the Boston Globe about an effort by business chieftains to explore bringing the Summer Olympics to Boston. We learned that the team has already recruited Mitt Romney as an advisor(...)

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Dark money rising

Dark money rising

Outside money, lots of it hard to trace, is flooding political races in the US, dramatically altering the campaign playing field. Wendy Kaminer, iconoclastic lawyer, civil libertarian, and political observer, and Liam Kerr, who heads a group that’s part of the spending spree but nonetheless worries about its impact, consider what it’s doing to campaigns and what, if anything, should be done ab

Citizens United upended electoral politics across the country. The 2010 Supreme Court decision, and the court rulings and regulatory decisions that have followed, held that corporations and unions could spend unlimited amounts of money on political efforts. The case recast the role of already weakened political parties, shifting money and power further outside the party(...)

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Sex at the cellular level

Sex at the cellular level

Dr. Paula Johnson is trying to convince the nation’s medical and research establishment that men and women really are different

What do you mean when you say every cell has a sex? Men and women are different down to the cellular and molecular levels. You either have two X chromosomes, making you a female, or you have an X and a Y, making you a male. That is a fundamental biologic difference that makes men(...)

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Post-coal decisions

Post-coal decisions

Brayton Point to close in 2017

Coal-fired power plants are failing across Massachusetts. They’re closing down because they can’t compete with power plants that burn cheap natural gas. And as the coal plants close, communities are left wondering what to do with them. A fight has broken out in Salem over redeveloping that city’s failed coal plant as a gas-fired power(...)

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DOR to taxpayers: Don’t forget use tax

DOR to taxpayers: Don’t forget use tax

Peanuts that add up

Revenue department commissioner Amy Pitter has three words for those still debating whether sales tax should be paid on Internet purchases: pay use tax. Policymakers in Washington and on Beacon Hill may be split on whether out-of-state companies should be required to collect and remit sales tax on purchases made by Massachusetts residents. But Pitter(...)

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Lawrence school receiver cuts central office staff by 30%

Lawrence school receiver cuts central office staff by 30%

Savings go to schools

Two years ago, when Jeff Riley was put in charge of Lawrence’s failing school system under a new state law, he made a surprising declaration for someone who had just been handed broad authority over virtually every aspect of the district’s operation: He was not planning to use those powers as a state-appointed “receiver” to(...)

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