We gathered questions from editors across Patch’s coverage area in Massachusetts.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
A look back at what happened over the past week in the U.S. Senate race.
Just a little more than two weeks until the primary election to see which Democrat and Republican will go head to head to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by John Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State. Monday night, U.S. Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) and Edward Markey (D-Malden) met in their second debate which contained few fireworks. The debate, held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and sponsored by the college and the Boston Herald, lasted about 45 minutes and touched a wide variety of issues on which the two Democrats mostly agreed. On Wednesday night, it was the Republicans’ turn as they went face to face in the WBZ-TV studios moderated by the station’s Jon Keller. Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan…
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The new plan would create $500 million in new revenue over the next five years.
State House and Senate lawmakers have announced a joint transportation plan which would close an estimated five-year, $2.3 billion transportation budget gap through tax increases to cigarettes, gas and new taxes on business technologies. The plan, which would create $500 million in new revenue, focuses on long-term financing for the state’s regional transit authorities and the state department of transportation, asks the MBTA and MassDOT to continue to hit revenue and savings targets, moves employees off of the capital budget for three years and fully funds the state ice and snow budget. The plan was unveiled at a State House news conference Tuesday led by Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Therese …
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2014 would raise $1.9 billion in new revenues through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. Is the state's economy ready for this?
After years of treading water in the state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick has put forth an ambitious $34.8 billion proposal for the coming fiscal year that would make significant investments in education and transportation by raising $1.9 billion in revenue, through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. The question: Is the state's economy ready for this? To raise that funding, Patrick's proposal would increase the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling personal exemptions. It'd also lower the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Several tax breaks for both personal income and businesses would be eliminated. The gas tax would be indexed to inflation, ensuring gradual increases in what …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The bill looks to close loopholes in existing state laws, require mental health background checks, strengthen gun storage requirements and require liability insurance for gun owners.
The following is a press release sent by the office of state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick. State Rep. David P. Linsky announced today that he has filed “An Act to Reduce Gun Violence and to Protect the Citizens of the Commonwealth,” comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation aimed at closing loopholes in existing state laws, requiring mental health background checks, strengthening gun storage requirements, and requiring liability insurance for gun owners. “This bill is a comprehensive effort to reduce all types of gun violence – murders, intentional shootings, accidental shootings and suicides. There is not one solution to reducing gun violence – we can’t eliminate it – but there are a lot of common-sense steps that we can take …
Monday, January 21, 2013
Massachusetts comes in 50th in pet ownership.
Submitted by the AVMA The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently released its U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, which revealed that Massachusetts ranks 50th out of 50 for pet ownership with 50.4 percent of households owning a pet. In 2006, which was the last time the AVMA put together the sourcebook, Massachusetts again made the bottom 10 list of pet owners, ranking 47th with 50.7 percent of households owning a pet. Massachusetts also ranked in the bottom 10 for dog ownership in 2011 with the lowest dog ownership of any U.S. state. The survey is conducted by the AVMA every five years and always includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The most recent survey, conducted in 2012 but based on December 31, …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would tighten gun control laws in Massachusetts while increasing funding for mental health services and enhance background checks. Is this sensible, or reactionary?
Are new proposed laws regarding guns in Massachusetts and mental health services sensible and pragmatic steps, or reactionary measures that won't increase safety? Gov. Deval Patrick introduced new legislation Wednesday along those lines in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, CT. "I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country," Patrick said in a press release. The bill would require gun purchasers to undergo background checks at gun shows, reduce access to high-powered rounds of ammunition, and limit licensed individuals to purchasing a maximum of one gun per month. Punishments …
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Massachusetts has some old, sometimes funny morality laws about cursing and other no-nos. But sometimes those laws play havoc with modern-day living. Is it time to clear the books?
Massachusetts is famous for its out-of-date laws. The Boston Globe cites a few, like a cursing ban at sporting events. But there are other laws, passed over 100 years ago, which could complicate present-day political and legal dilemmas. But these old laws sometimes have a major effect on modern day issues. Representative Byron Rushing, D-South End, reminded the Globe that Governor Mitt Romney used a 1913 law about residency rules to prevent out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts. That old law was scrubbed from the books in 2008, five years after it was cited by Romney. The 19th-century anti-abortion laws are a particularly thorny issue, according to the Globe. They may be relics of a time past, but that didn't stop the …
Monday, December 10, 2012
A Massachusetts gun owners group is lobbying for passage of a bill that would confer lifetime gun licenses.
Way too much red tape. That's the complaint of the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts, a group that is urging passage of a law that would abolish the requirement of having to renew a gun permit every six years, according to the Boston Herald. For comparison, Massachusetts vehicle drivers' licenses need to be renewed every five years. But the league says local police cannot keep up with timely gun permit renewals, and legitimate gunowners go license-less until the cops get time to do the paperwork. The law now allows 40 days for turning around license applications. In Boston, almost 1,000 people have applied for gun permits so far this year, with waits running about 10 weeks, the Herald quotes police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca as …
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Somerville congressman told WCVB he wasn't sure if Sen. Scott Brown would run, or win, if Sen. John Kerry leaves the Senate to accept a cabinet position.
Rep. Michael Capuano told WCVB he would "consider" running for Senate if Sen. John Kerry leaves the legislative body to join President Barack Obama's cabinet. That said, Capuano told the TV station, "I can't deal the cards," and that he wasn't officially "planning anything." If Kerry, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, joined Obama's cabinet, it could lead a number of prospective candidates to consider running for his seat. Among those possible candidates would be Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who recently lost a bid for reelection to Elizabeth Warren. In regard to Brown, Capuano, a Democrat, told WCVB he wasn't sure if the Republican would run again, or win. Capuano ran for Senate once before during the 2010 special election to…