Winter 2016

Winter 2016

Waiting his turn

Waiting his turn

Richie Neal, a centrist Democrat from Massachusetts and a master of the inside, bides his time at Ways and Means

PAUL RYAN’S ASCENSION to the House speaker’s chair in October meant some reshuffling at the Ways and Means committee he was leaving behind, a panel with jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Social Security, Medicare, and welfare. The GOP picked Texan Kevin Brady to move up, as Rep. Richard Neal and his fellow Democrats looked on. For(...)

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Another approach on drunken driving

Another approach on drunken driving

24/7 Sobriety program better at changing long-term behavior

A TOUGH BUT fairly low-tech approach to drunken driving prevention is showing some promise in a handful of states and starting to pick up converts across the country. Called 24/7 Sobriety and pioneered in South Dakota, the program typically requires individuals convicted of a second or subsequent drunken driving offense to visit a testing facility(...)

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Bridj revs up

Bridj revs up

Private bus company looks to supplement, not replace, MBTA service

AS THE MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board mulls axing late-night buses and trains to save money, the chances of some sort of wee-hours bus service surviving may rest with a start-up called Bridj. Matthew George, Bridj’s 25-year-old founder and CEO, sees his two-year-old bus company not as a competitor to the MBTA, but as a(...)

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Bump sees physical education inequality

Bump sees physical education inequality

State auditor says there's a link between obesity and lack of PE resources

STATE AUDITOR SUZANNE BUMP says a 2014 audit her office conducted of the state’s child obesity programs turned up income correlations that are strikingly similar to what CommonWealth uncovered in its report in the fall issue on high school sports (“Rich-poor divide in high school sports”). CommonWealth found that sports participation in high schools across(...)

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Falls are a concern at assisted living facilities

Falls are a concern at assisted living facilities

State collects information but lacks analysis for root causes

NEW STATE DATA suggest falls are a major problem at assisted living facilities across Massachusetts, with roughly two of every five residents ending up down on the floor over the course of a year. Falls among elders are a serious public health problem. Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for(...)

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An exit sweetener

An exit sweetener

Ousted DCR commissioner cashes in on way out the door

CAROL SANCHEZ, the former commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, pocketed $8,200 for doing nothing after she was apparently pushed out the door in early November. Sanchez served seven months as commissioner before abruptly announcing her departure, prompting speculation of bad blood between Sanchez and her boss, Matthew Beaton, the secretary of energy(...)

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Big Three dynamics

Big Three dynamics

How long will they remain ‘one happy family?’

JUST BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS kicked into high gear, the Big Three—Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg—sat down for a joint interview with the State House News Service. They said almost nothing of substance in the interview, but the fact that they were all sitting together talking about each other(...)

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Letters, Winter 2016

MASSPORT HIGHLIGHTS MISPERCEPTION I am writing in response to Jack Sullivan’s informative article (“Contracting system isn’t saving money,” Fall ’15) to correct a misperception some readers may take from the piece. Initial estimates are not a guaranteed maximum price and one needs to clearly differentiate the initial good faith estimate—which Massport requests when the design(...)

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