Massachusetts Legislature

Turning protest into policy reform

Turning protest into policy reform

Walking the walk isn’t enough in fighting racism

AS 40,000 PEOPLE converged on the streets of Boston in late August to march against white supremacy, Massachusetts stood as a beacon of nationwide resistance to the racist policies coming out of the White House. It was fitting; historically, many revolutions have started in Massachusetts. Raising our collective voice against bigotry is a healthy exercise(...)

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New pot czar has inhaled

New pot czar has inhaled

Hoffman says drug is 'harmless' but can be abused

DESPITE VOTING AGAINST the referendum to legalize marijuana last November, Steven Hoffman, the chairman of the new state board charged with regulating the nascent retail pot industry, said he thinks the drug is “harmless” and will cause no more problems than alcohol. “I personally believe marijuana is a harmless drug,” Hoffman said in an interview(...)

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Cannabis Commission may be scrambling for funds

Cannabis Commission may be scrambling for funds

Initial $2m budget is unlikely to stretch that far

THE STATE COMMISSION CHARGED with implementing the new legal marijuana law is starting its work with no money in its coffers and uncertainty about whether it will have sufficient funds to set up the permitting process needed to oversee a billion-dollar industry from scratch. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, whose office was given autonomy over the(...)

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Baker pushes new drug dealing charges

Baker pushes new drug dealing charges

Backs tougher penalties on sales that lead to opioid overdose deaths

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE A YEAR AFTER WORKING with the Legislature to try to stem the flow of opioids and improve addiction treatment options, Gov. Charlie Baker is targeting the peddlers of dangerous narcotics with a proposal to enhance penalties for dealing drugs that lead to overdose deaths. The governor, who sits on President Donald(...)

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Storm stirs the political pot

Government, according to a well-worn adage credited to Barney Frank, is the name for the things we decide to do together. Right now, aiding those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey is, of course, the most pressing thing we are doing together. President Trump visited Texas yesterday, and the White House and Republican congressional(...)

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Goldberg warns of NH lottery moves

Goldberg warns of NH lottery moves

Says Mass. lottery is 'sitting here like dead ducks'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THERE ARE PROVERBIAL TROOPS amassing at the New Hampshire border and the Massachusetts Lottery is “sitting here like dead ducks,” Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said Tuesday of the New Hampshire Lottery’s move to sell products online and introduce Keno. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu in July signed a bill that seeks to(...)

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Outdated state laws hard to repeal

Outdated state laws hard to repeal

Legislature content to let them stay on books

A RECENT POST by Professor Paul DeBole of Lasell College highlighted several archaic, unenforced, and/or unconstitutional state laws that have outlived their time and should be repealed. He concluded we should “at least have a conversation about whether or not to repeal them. At least the legislative hearings would be good theater.” In fact, there are at(...)

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City, Boston teachers kick the can

City officials and the Boston Teachers Union eagerly shared the news on Thursday that the two sides reached a tentative contract agreement after 18 months of negotiation. But it turns out it’s a lot easier to get to “yes” when you take one of the toughest issues off the table. The agreement, which still must(...)

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The Codcast: Tipping point for Confederate statues

After this month’s white nationalist rally in Virginia, statues of Confederate leaders are falling across the South. Protests by white supremacists against the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville have set in motion a rush to rid town greens and parks of icons to the Confederate cause. Many have decried the(...)

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Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Athol lawmaker abandons Republican Party 

Rep. Susannah Whipps joined the political in-crowd this week, switching her party registration from Republican to unenrolled.  Statewide, unenrolled voters – those not affiliated with any political party – are taking over. They became the largest political designation in 1990 and an outright majority in 2008. They represent the most voters in 132 of the 160 House districts. In Whipps’s central Massachusetts district, 66 percent of the voters(...)

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