State House

Local News
5:36 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

D.C. GOP Zaps Mass. Health Connector Chief

The head of Massachusetts’ health insurance exchange testified on Capitol Hill Thursday, along with the directors of five other state exchanges. A Republican-controlled subcommittee is examining the most troubled of the websites, set up under the Affordable Care Act. 

 In an embarrassing moment for Health Connector chief Jean Yang, Oklahoma Republican James Lankford produced the minutes from a meeting of the Massachusetts health connector’s steering committee:

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Local News
5:55 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Mass. House Debates Minimum Wage Bill

The Massachusetts House is debating a bill that would raise the minimum wage  for the first time since 2008 to $10.50 an hour by 2016.

 Representative Tom Conroy, a sponsor of the bill, says make no mistake. this increase  is not going ot make a low wage worker suddenly wealthy:

“This bill is a significant step in the right direction," he said. "And will make it just a little easier for parents to make ends meet and ease the financial pressure in their households.”

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Local News
4:12 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Remy Case Sparks Beacon Hill Crack Down

Jared Remy, son of Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, stands beside his attorney Edward Ryan Jr., left, during arraignment Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass., on murder and assault charges in the death of his girlfriend Jennifer Martel. Remy pleaded not guilty in the stabbing of Martel at their Waltham apartment on Aug. 15.
Credit AP Photo/Boston Herald, Ted Fitzgerald, Pool

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert Deleo introduced legislation at the State House Tuesday vowing to make Massachusetts one of the toughest states in the nation on domestic violence cases.  

Speaker Deleo said he began working on the bill last August, after Jared Remy – the son of the Red Sox broadcaster – was charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death. 

“I didn’t know how I could just sit back as a speaker, a father, a man and not do everything I could to stop such senseless acts of violence.”

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Local News
6:35 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Governor Declares Painkiller Crisis

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health
emergency today in response to the state's growing problem with heroin
and other opiod addictions.

"At least 140 people died  of suspected overdoses over the last months
in Massachusetts .  Levels previously unseen."

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Local News
7:31 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Minimum Wage Details To Be Released Today

The Massachusetts State House
Credit Wikimedia

The details of a proposal by Massachusetts House Speaker Robert Deleo to raise the minimum wage are scheduled for release Thursday.

Speaker Deleo has proposed raising the state's minimum wage from $8 per hour to $10.50.

Deleo's proposal sets up a potential showdown with the Senate which passed a larger minimum wage hike last year. The senate wants to raise the minimum wage to $11 dollars per hour.  

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Mass. To Spend $3 Million To Combat U.S. Food Stamp Cuts

Massachusetts will join seven other states and the District of Columbia in making an end run around food stamp cuts.

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COMMENTARY
7:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Haitian Hijacks Southie's St. Patrick's Day

State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, right, thanks Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland after Kenny spoke at the annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast in Boston, Sunday, March 16, 2014
Credit Michael Dwyer / AP

Suavely presiding over South Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a Haitian American from Dorchester, redeemed Southie’s gritty honor Sunday.

Dorcena Forry would be the first to say that she didn’t do it alone. South Boston’s political establishment -- Congressman Stephen Lynch, former State Senator Jack Hart, and State Representative Nick Collins, who last spring lost a fiercely fought special election to Dorcena Forry -- worked hand in glove to make the breakfast a study in harmony.

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Local News
9:18 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Mass. Officials Mix Concern For Menino With Jabs

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry became the first black woman to host the South Boston St. Patricks Day breakfast this year, a hosting gig that has been held by the State Senator from the First Suffolk district for decades.
Credit Abbie Ruzicka / WGBH

Top elected officials in Massachusetts have gathered at Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast mixing political humor with concern about former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's health problems.

Mayor Martin Walsh says the ex-mayor, referring to a diagnosis of cancer, told him he's beaten it before.

State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry said Sunday the breakfast was dedicated to Menino. A video featured the ex-mayor advising Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick about life after politics.

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Local News
12:13 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Dorcena Forry: St. Patrick's Day Breakfast Celebrates A Changed Boston

When State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry won her seat for the district representing South Boston (and a swath of Dorchester) last fall, she found herself immediately thrust into a swirling controversy- not about election results, or raising taxes, or rising crime, or any of the other issues that might plague politicians- but about hosting South Boston's annual St Patrick’s Day breakfast.

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Local News
6:15 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Beacon Hill Bans 'Upskirting'

Credit Wikimedia

Massachusetts House and Senate lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday to ban the practice of secretly taking photographs up the skirts of women in public just one day after the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a man who took cell phone photos up the skirts of women riding the Boston subway did not violate the law.

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Local News
7:11 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Bill Would Allow Undocumented Immigrants Driver's Licenses

A supporter of the Bill at the State House on Wednesday
Credit Sarah Birnbaum / WGBH

Hundreds of immigrant rights advocates on Wednesday pressed Massachusetts lawmakers to change the law to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.  

The hearing room was standing room only and both sides offered impassioned testimony. 

The sponsor of the bill, Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield, argued changing the law would allow people to commute without fear and decrease the number of uninsured drivers on the road:

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Local News
8:16 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Bill Would Allow Wastewater Dumping Directly Into Ocean

Environmentalists say a bill making its way through the Massachusetts Legislature could put the quality of state ocean water at risk. 

A water infrastructure bill recently passed the state senate with little fanfare. But environmentalists say that tucked into the bill is a provision that rolls back protections for ocean sanctuaries that have been in place for four decades. 

The bill would allow the dumping of treated wastewater into state ocean waters, a practice that has been banned.

ack Clark of Mass Audobahn society said he’s highly concerned.

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Local News
4:38 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Mass GOP's Top Candidates Clash With More Conservative Platform

Charlie Baker
Credit AP Photo

The Massachusetts Republican committee voted last night to adopt a more conservative platform on abortion and gay marriage, setting up a clash with two of the party's leading candidates. 

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LOCAL NEWS
6:13 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Debating A Tipped Wage Increase

Massachusetts has the lowest tipped wage in New England, at $2.63 per hour. Now, as the state legislature debates a minimum wage hike for other workers, there’s talk of increasing the minimum pay for tipped workers, too. 

GUESTS

LOCAL NEWS
6:41 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Sal DiMasi's Wife On Her Husband's Declining Health

Debbie DiMasi says her husband's health is declining in prison.

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Local News
3:13 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Rep. Carlos Henriquez Expelled From House

State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was expelled from the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Credit Twitter: @RepHenriquez

The state House of Representatives has expelled state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, who is serving a six-month jail sentence after being convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend.

The 146-5 vote came after less than two hours of debate. The expulsion takes effect immediately.

Henriquez, a Boston Democrat, addressed the chamber prior to the vote, again declaring his innocence. He said he chose not to heed calls to resign after his conviction because "an innocent man doesn't quit."

Henriquez left the chamber immediately after speaking. He was not allowed to vote.

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Local News
5:48 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Patrick Questioned On Budget Decisions

Massachusetts House Republicans sharply questioned Governor Deval Patrick's administration Tuesday over the governor's proposed budget.

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Local News
6:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Task Force Recommends 44 Ways To Toughen Mass. Gun Laws

A new report released Monday by a Massachusetts task force issued 44 recommendations to toughen gun control laws in the state.

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Local News
5:29 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

One Of DCF's Untold Stories

Kadyn Hancock was 13 months old when he died of blunt force trauma at the hand of his mother, Christina Hancock.
Credit Courtesy Andrea Rizzitano

The disappearance and presumed death of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver has brought new scrutiny to the state’s Department of Children and Families. An investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has uncovered that children receiving DCF services are about six times as likely as other Massachusetts children to die from maltreatment.

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Local News
4:28 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

DeLeo Pledges Progress On Minimum Wage, DCF, Gun Violence

A file photo of Massachusetts House Speaker RobertDeLeo during a press conference at the Statehouse in Boston in 2011.
Credit (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A day after the State of the Commonwealth and the State of the Union addresses, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert Deleo unveiled his priorities for the coming year.
 
President Obama pressed his so called opportunity agenda. Governor Patrick vowed to tackle inequality. And on Wednesday, Speaker Deleo pledged to take on poverty.

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Local News
11:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Gov. Patrick Addresses Child Welfare Office

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says the failure of the Department of Children and Families to keep track of a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy was inexcusable, but has provided the state with an opportunity to re-examine the agency.

Patrick met on Monday with representatives of the Child Welfare League of America, which he asked to conduct an independent review of the agency. He later told reporters that he’s asked the league to report back by the spring.

Jeremiah Oliver has not been seen by relatives since September and is feared dead.

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Local News
2:14 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Deval Patrick On DCF, Chet Curtis, Getting Minorities To Run For Office

Gov. Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan Thursday afternoon for his monthly Ask the Governor segment. 

Here's some bites from Patrick's interview:

On the passing of Boston news anchor Chet Curtis:

He was always gentleman, always warm. And it came across in his reporting as well. I think that's one of the reasons we all felt we trusted his reporting.

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Local News
12:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Mass. Rep Convicted Of Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

A Massachusetts state representative has been convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend and been sentenced to six months in jail.

Democrat Carlos Henriquez of Boston was convicted Wednesday in Cambridge District Court of two assault and battery charges. He was acquitted of a third assault and battery charge, as well as larceny and witness intimidation charges.

The woman told police Henriquez punched and choked her.

Local News
4:26 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Report: Mass. Wasted $27 Billion On Unneccesary Medical Expenses

A new statewide report finds Massachusetts may have wasted as much as $27 billion on unnecessary medical expenses in 2012.

The report by the Health Policy Commission estimates that nearly four out of every $10 spent on health care in Massachusetts is wasted. One of the largest parts of that – about $700 million  - went towards readmitting hospital patients who could have stayed home if they'd had better discharge planning.
 
Lynne Nicholas, president of the Massachusetts Hospitals Association, said this is something hospitals are trying to address.

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Local News
5:09 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

School Superintendent Says DCF Ignored Reports Of Suspected Abuse

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families is facing more criticism, this time from a central Massachusetts schools superintendent.

This started last month when it became clear state social workers had lost track of Jeremiah Oliver, age 5, who is feared dead.

Now concerns are surfacing about a DCF office in Whitinsville, where the school superintendent alleges the agency ignored repeated reports of suspected abuse.

Governor Deval Patrick said the DCF commissioner is trying to get the facts.

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Local News
1:05 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Report: Unfunded Costs Choking Budgets In Mass.

A new report says Massachusetts cities and towns have shed more than 15,000 jobs in the past six years, and pension obligations, health care and borrowing costs will continue to squeeze budgets for the foreseeable future.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says municipalities face a total of $45 billion in unfunded liabilities and meeting those responsibilities could divert resources from schools, public safety and other services.

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Local News
3:18 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Gov. Patrick On His Cousin's Commutation, Jeremiah Oliver

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joined Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Friday, as he does each month for his "Ask the Governor" segment. On this month’s docket was a range of topics.

Many callers were particularly interested in asking the governor about the fallout from the Jeremiah Oliver case and the workload of DCF social workers:

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Local News
4:46 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

The Year In Massachusetts Politics

There was no presidential contest, no major turnover in Congress,  and just two states held gubernatorial races in 2013, but Massachusetts seemed to be in a perpetual state of special election. That, coupled with this year’s contentious Boston mayoral race – made for some juicy political headlines. 

Local News
5:13 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Mass. Legislature Sluggish On Gun Control

After talking about the issue for years, the Massachusetts legislature could soon take up gun control legislation.

There are dozens of proposals before the legislature including one from Governor Deval Patrick to limit gun purchases to one a month and require background checks at gun shows. Lawmakers held public hearings through the summer, but there's been silence since.

On the eve of the anniversary of the Newtown shootings, Speaker of the House Robert Deleo released a statement saying "we are poised to take action."

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Local News
5:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Mass. Officials Expect Modest Economic Growth Next Year

Massachusetts revenue officials told lawmakers today to expect modest economic growth next year, while warning there are a lot of uncertainties. The state will use the forecasts to determine how much revenue to count on for the next budget.

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