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Shelter money fading, but ‘not at the end of the line’
04-19-2024 9:15 AM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — State dollars for the emergency family shelter system are dwindling, and restaurateurs who for years enjoyed expanded outdoor dining and the ability to sell drinks to go remain “in limbo” amid a sustained period of legislative...

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‘The biggest barrier is us’: Existence of overdose prevention centers in Mass. slowed by stigma
05-20-2024 5:22 PM

ByBRENDAN NORDSTROM

Cheryl Juaire lost two of her sons to the opioid epidemic — Corey died from an overdose in 2011, as did Sean 10 years later in 2021.Juaire, founder and president of the nonprofit Team Sharing Inc., now advocates for overdose prevention centers in...


Spilka pledges ‘comprehensive climate bill’ in Senate
04-24-2024 2:04 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Signaling the potential for more change in the transportation and energy sectors, Senate President Karen Spilka revealed Monday that the Senate plans to tackle a major climate bill within the next three months.The Ashland Democrat said at a...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, March 25-29
04-05-2024 1:53 PM

By BOB KATZEN

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from the week of March 25-29. There were no roll calls in the House last week.DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES (S 2713): Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, March 18-22
03-29-2024 4:14 PM

By Bob Katzen

 THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from the week of March 18-22. There were no roll calls in the House last week.REVENGE PORN AND TEEN SEXTING (S 2703): Senate 40-0, approved a proposal that would...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, Feb. 26-March 1
03-13-2024 8:19 AM

By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ votes on one roll call from the week of Feb. 26-March 1. There were no roll calls in the Senate last week.USE INTEREST FROM STATE’S “RAIN DAY FUND” TO LEVERAGE FEDERAL FUNDS (H...


Senate portrait honors Abigail Adams; nominations sought for next woman to be memorialized in upper chamber
03-05-2024 4:46 PM

By SAM DORAN

BOSTON – As she unveiled a portrait of early women’s rights advocate Abigail Adams late last week, Senate President Karen Spilka announced an open call to the people of Massachusetts to nominate the next woman who will be permanently memorialized in...


Ending legacy admissions, providing menstrual products in all state buildings among many bills to emerge from Higher Education Committee
03-04-2024 4:49 PM

By XINYI YANG

BOSTON — Area lawmakers’ proposals to require menstrual products to be available for no cost in all state buildings, establish special dorms for students in recovery, and consolidate overlapping higher education financial aid programs all cleared a...


At state budget hearing at GCC, school officials share unique challenges faced by rural districts
03-03-2024 11:14 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

GREENFIELD — School officials and community members from up and down the Pioneer Valley honed in on one of the most important local education issues — rural school funding — during a state budget hearing late last week that also included discussion...


Senate plans another sex education reform vote this week
02-25-2024 6:01 AM

By SAM DRYSDALE

Senators this week are expected to vote again on a bill to update the state’s sex education guidelines, something the chamber has already approved four times without getting buy-in from the House.The Senate Committee on Ways and Means polled the...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, Feb. 5-9
02-17-2024 2:21 PM

By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.This week Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on some of the bills that were approved by the 2023-2024 Legislature through February 9, 2024 and signed into law by Gov. Maura...


GCC nursing students talk single-payer health care, workplace safety concerns with WMass legislators
02-13-2024 8:04 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

GREENFIELD — Some two dozen aspiring nurses spent Monday morning rubbing elbows with four of the region’s top politicians, where they were able to ask what they could do to drum up support for single-payer health care to how to better protect medical...


With police support, Senate to debate gun bill Thursday
01-29-2024 4:21 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — A wide-ranging, police-endorsed gun reform bill rolled out by Senate Democrats late last week could be headed for a vote as soon as Thursday. The measure is likely to generate considerable opposition among firearm owners.After months of...


As solar array and battery storage debate heats up, Whately backs municipal zoning bill
01-23-2024 10:24 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

WHATELY — Joining several neighboring communities in the Pioneer Valley, Whately’s Select Board has signaled its support to write a letter to the Legislature advocating for legislation that could allow municipalities more control over solar energy...


MEMA chief: Weather delivering more ‘gap disasters’
01-15-2024 9:32 AM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — The climate crisis is fueling a steady growth in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather, and Massachusetts cities and towns face an increasingly common conundrum trying to respond to those emergencies.Many of the disasters that have...


Lawmakers weigh standard to guard access to library books
01-12-2024 2:33 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Amid a historic surge in book challenges in schools and public libraries across the state, some lawmakers are hoping to codify protections to prevent books from being removed from public spaces.Sen. Julian Cyr of Truro and Rep. John Moran of...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, Jan. 1-5
01-12-2024 9:04 AM

By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes from the week of January 1-5. There were no roll calls in the House last week.WHEELCHAIR WARRANTY AND REPAIRS (S 2541): Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a bill that...


Comerford, Blais propose new trust fund for state disasters
01-10-2024 5:08 PM

By SAM DORAN

BOSTON — As towns and cities see a rise in natural disasters that require greater emergency response than their local resources can support alone, two western Massachusetts lawmakers renewed their call Tuesday to divert a portion of excess capital...


Beacon Hill Roll Call, Dec. 25-29
01-07-2024 8:33 PM

By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on the number of times in the 2023 session each senator sided with Democratic Gov. Maureen Healey and voted to sustain/support...


Comerford’s ‘blue envelope’ bill clears Senate; would guide how police interact with people with autism
01-04-2024 4:33 PM

By Sam Drysdale

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed three bills during its first formal session of 2024 on Thursday, including the one dubbed “blue envelope” filed by Sen. Jo Comerford that would require new guidance on how police officers should...


Second O’Brien probe clouds disciplinary outlook
01-01-2024 2:29 PM

By Colin A. Young

BOSTON — A judge has cleared the way for Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to hold a hearing on the potential termination of Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien, but the scheduling of that meeting is now tied to an open investigation that...

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