Massachusetts Legislature

New pot czar is known quantity

New pot czar is known quantity

Assistant treasurer tapped as executive director for marijuana commission

A TOP AIDE to state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg who fashioned the regulatory infrastructure for the nascent retail marijuana business when that office was set to oversee the emerging industry has been tapped as the state’s executive director of the new commission in charge of legal pot. Assistant Treasurer Shawn Collins, 31, was unanimously approved by(...)

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State: Wellesley can ignore public records request

State: Wellesley can ignore public records request

First-of-its-kind ruling cites harassment clause

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR OF PUBLIC RECORDS for the first time has allowed a governmental entity to ignore a citizen’s bid for documents because the request was a form of harassment or intimidation. The ruling by Rebecca Murray dealt with Wellesley resident Ronald Alexander, who has filed more than 200 public records requests with the town(...)

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$12m sitting unused in horse fund

$12m sitting unused in horse fund

Money a concern as racing committee sets ‘split’

STATE OFFICIALS SAID on Wednesday that $12 million is currently sitting unused in a fund that provides purses for horse races. The fund, which relies on gambling revenues that flow to the state, has often been eyed by officials on Beacon Hill looking for money to help balance the budget. So far the money has(...)

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Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Bill cautiously lays groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight

A WORKING GROUP of the Massachusetts Senate unveiled health care legislation on Tuesday that promotes the treatment of patients in more cost-effective settings while laying the groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight of hospital readmissions and payments to pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals. The working group, led by Sen. James Welch of Springfield and funded by the(...)

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Mass. citizens point the way on climate change

Mass. citizens point the way on climate change

State leaders and policymakers need to get on same page as voters

WE LIVE IN a time when the way we power our lives is literally putting our survival at stake. We’re seeing an increase in deadly natural disasters, glaciers melting at a worrisome rate, and American states and territories at risk of disappearing from the map due to rising sea levels. Yet the Trump administration seems(...)

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House bans ‘bump stock’ devices

House bans ‘bump stock’ devices

Anything that could increase discharge rate of firearms barred

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE HOUSE LAWMAKERS on Wednesday moved rapidly, and some critics said rashly, to ban any device that could be used to increase the rate of discharge of a firearm. The bill’s passage came 10 days after a shooter in Las Vegas is believed to have used a “bump stock” device to rain(...)

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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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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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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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