Massachusetts

Voters, Courts Slowly Taking Redistricting Power from Lawmakers | 11-16-2018

While Congressional and state legislative races drew most of the attention on Election Day, those races were hardly the only critical issues voters would decide. Missouri, Colorado and Michigan became the latest states to endorse independent commissions...

Democrats Gain in State Elections | 11-09-2018

Buoyed by the votes of suburban women and independents, Democrats gained hard-won ground in the nation’s statehouses in Tuesday’s midterm election. Democrats won seven governorships and six legislative chambers previously held...

Mixed Results for Closely Watched Ballot Measures | 11-09-2018

Marijuana legalization was one of the most prevalent issues on state ballots on Nov. 6. And with the approval of one of those measures, Proposal 1 , on a 54-46 vote, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational...

Host of Closely Watched Propositions on Ballot | 11-02-2018

On November 6, voters in 37 states will consider 158 ballot measures, just one more than the 157 propositions in 2016, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. Among the issues on the ballot...

Baker Pitches Coordinated MA Fentanyl Effort | 11-02-2018

Calling the synthetic opioid fentanyl “the most dangerous element in street drugs here in the commonwealth,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) filed legislation last week seeking $5 million to launch a pilot program for a “regional...

Education - November 5 2018 | 11-02-2018

Education in MA: The MASSACHUSETTS House and Senate endorse a revised version of SB 2631 , a bill previously amended by Gov. Charlie Baker (R) that would make student-led civics projects part of Bay State high school and eighth grade curriculum. The...

Superstition Ain’t the Way | 11-02-2018

It’s traditional come World Series time for mayors of the cities of the teams involved to make a showy bet on the outcome. But don’t tell that to Boston Mayor Mary Walsh. As the Los Angeles Times reports , Walsh just said no to making a bet...

Budgets in Brief - October 22 2018 | 10-19-2018

CA RECEIVES NEARLY $1B REVENUE WINDFALL IN Q1 CALIFORNIA took in $990 million more in personal income tax revenues in the first three months of the current fiscal year (July 1 to Sept. 30) than projected in June. Sales tax revenues came in slightly...

Governors in Brief - October 19 2018 | 10-19-2018

BAKER WANTS MA TO NEGOTIATE BETTER DRUG PRICES Calling escalating prescription drug prices “the single biggest driver, at this point, to the rising cost of health care in MASSACHUSETTS ,” Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is preparing to introduce...

States Seek to Maintain Net Neutrality | 10-12-2018

At least 32 states have introduced legislation this year that would require internet service providers to uphold net neutrality principles, according to analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net . Many of those...

Opioid Taxes Not Faring Well This Session | 10-12-2018

Minnesota state Rep. Dave Baker (R) sponsored a bill ( HB 1440 ) this session that would have imposed a “penny a pill” fee on every opioid painkiller pharmaceutical companies sold in the state to provide funding for opioid abuse prevention...

Baker Remains Most Popular Governor | 10-12-2018

For the seventh quarter in a row, polling by Morning Consult shows that the ten most popular governors in America are all Republicans. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker topped the list with a 70 percent approval rating, followed closely by Maryland Gov...

Governors in Brief - October 15 2018 | 10-12-2018

Baker Opposes MA Nurse Staffing Mandates MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said a recent report by the state Health Policy Commission has convinced him to vote no on Question 1 , a ballot measure that would require strict nurse-to-patient ratios...

State’s Age Impacts Fiscal Health | 10-05-2018

The older a state is, the more likely it is to have fiscal problems. That’s one of the findings of an analysis of state fiscal health by William Bergman, director of research for Truth in Accounting, a nonprofit that advocates for transparency in...

Governors in Brief - October 8 2018 | 10-05-2018

INSLEE ISSUES WA HEP C DIRECTIVE : WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a directive that orders state agencies, tribal governments and other local public-health officials to coordinate a strategy to eradicate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) by 2030. State...

Lawsuits Forcing States to Spend Millions on Hep C Treatment | 09-28-2018

A federal judge in Indiana ruled this month that denying or delaying treatment of prison inmates infected with hepatitis C constituted cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. A similar ruling last...

Governors in Brief - October 1 2018 | 09-28-2018

WALKER DECLARES NATIVE LANGUAGE EMERGENCY Saying the government must support the “revitalization” of native languages, ALASKA Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued Administrative Order 300 last week calling for indigenous place names to be shown...

Data Privacy Popular Issue in States | 09-14-2018

At least 33 states have considered legislation this session dealing specifically with the privacy of personal data. Nineteen of those states have enacted data privacy measures. They include California, which enacted AB 375 , modeled after the European...

Governors in Brief - September 17 2018 | 09-14-2018

SNYDER SIGNS ‘BAN THE BOX’ ORDER MICHIGAN Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed Executive Order 2018-4 , which directs some state agencies to no longer ask job applicants about any criminal history in the initial application process. The so-called...

Many States Taken Action but Many Yet to Act on Wayfair Ruling | 09-07-2018

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that a law passed by South Dakota had freed it from a longstanding legal precedent barring states from imposing sales taxes on internet and mail-order retailers that did not have a physical presence within their...

Some States Resist Expanding Short-Term Health Plans | 08-31-2018

A new regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services will allow insurers, starting on Oct. 1, to offer bare-bones, short-term health insurance plans as a longer-term, low-cost alternative to the coverage prescribed by the Affordable Care...

Slow Progress on Public Pension Reform | 08-17-2018

The economy is on a tear, with the national growth rate high and unemployment low. Eighty percent of U.S. companies have reported earnings that exceed Wall Street forecasts. City and state revenues are surging, as the Great Recession fades in the rear...

Baker Signs Major MA Opioid Bill | 08-17-2018

Citing the ongoing opioid and heroin crisis he said “has tragically claimed scores of lives and broken families across the Commonwealth,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed off on an expansive measure that imposes a number of new...

Business - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

MA Governor Vetoes Section of HB 4732 MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) vetoes a section of a $1.1 billion economic development package ( HB 4732 ) that would have barred “bad faith” allegations of patent infringement by so-called “patent...

Health & Science - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

IL Governor Signs HB 5245 ILLINOIS Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signs HB 5245 , legislation that requires hospitals to train enough medical providers in how to treat sexual assault patients that when a victim arrives, a trained provider is present within...

Giddy Up Go A Go Again | 08-17-2018

With the session winding down last month, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a bill extending authorization of the Bay State horse racing industry. But with the hour late and everyone exhausted, lawmakers neglected to send it to Gov. Charlie Baker, inadvertently...

States Look at Eliminating Lower Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers | 08-10-2018

Forty-three states currently allow restaurant operators to pay employees who receive tips, such as waiters and bartenders, less than the state minimum wage, with the minimum hourly rate for such tipped workers set by the federal government at $2.13. This...

Education - August 13 2018 | 08-10-2018

OH Governor Signs SB 216 OHIO Gov. John Kasich (R) signs SB 216 , which makes dozens of changes to the Buckeye State education system, including how teachers are evaluated, allowing third-graders to take tests on paper, softening the law on excessive...

Budgets in Brief - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

ONLINE SALES TAX PLAN FAILS IN NH In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair , allowing states to collect sales taxes from online sellers located out-of-state, the NEW HAMPSHIRE Senate, meeting in special session...

Politics in Brief - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

STATES TEMPORARILY BLOCK 3D PRINTABLE GUNS U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik temporarily blocked the TEXAS -based company Defense Distributed from publishing blueprints on the Internet for making plastic guns on 3D printers. That decision came...

Health and Science - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

MA Endorses HB 4866 and Signs HB 2515 The MASSACHUSETTS House and Senate endorse HB 4866 , which would establish a statewide standing prescription for the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. The measure, which also allows local governments to exchange...

The Social Policy - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

MA Governor signs SB 2260 MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signs SB 2260 , legislation that overturns a number of “antiquated and inappropriate” Bay State laws, including one that made abortion illegal. The measure also strikes down...

All or Parts of 31 States ‘Sanctuaries’ as of Early 2017 | 07-20-2018

As of February of last year, at least five states had laws limiting how much local law enforcement had to cooperate with requests from federal authorities to detain immigrants, according to analysis of data from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center by...

Health & Science - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

MA Supreme Judicial Court Rules The MASSACHUSETTS Supreme Judicial Court unanimously rules that judges can require defendants with substance use disorders to remain drug-free as a condition of probation and send them to jail if they relapse (NEW YORK...

Politics in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

CA REQUIRES REPORTING OF VOTER DATA BREACHES CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation last week requiring people and organizations that obtain voter registration data to report security breaches of that information. Assemblyman Marc Berman...

Governors in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

RAIMONDO ORDERS RI PLASTICS TASK FORCE Responding to the failure of several legislative efforts to mitigate the impact of plastic waste on the environment, RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) issued Executive Order 18-06 , which will create the “Task...

Some State, Local Bond Issuers Going ‘Green’ | 07-13-2018

A growing number of states and municipalities are going “green” with their bond sales. Developed about a decade ago to allow environmentally conscious investors to identify investments aligned with that priority, green bonds have become a...

Budgets in Brief - July 16 2018 | 07-13-2018

TRUCKING INDUSTRY SUES RI OVER NEW TOLL SYSTEM The American Trucking Association and three companies - MASSACHUSETTS -based, convenience-store chain Cumberland Farms; MASSACHUSETTS -based cargo carrier M&M Transport Services; and NEW JERSEY -based...

Health & Science - July 9 2018 | 07-06-2018

MA Governor Signs HB 4670 MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signs HB 4670 , so-called “red flag” legislation that allows family or household members to petition the courts for a one-year renewable order suspending gun ownership rights...

Politics in Brief - July 9 2018 | 07-06-2018

MA HIGH COURT UPHOLDS PRE-ELECTION DAY VOTER REGISTRATION BLACKOUT MASSACHUSETTS’ Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, has upheld a state law barring voters who haven’t registered at least 20 days before Election Day...

Straws Latest Flashpoint in Battle Over Plastics | 06-29-2018

Today, a visitor to a Bon Appétit cafe will have no problem finding plenty of tasty things to nosh on. But finding a plastic straw for their soda or a plastic stirrer for their coffee will soon be impossible. San Francisco-based Bon Appétit...

States Cracking Down on Plastic Straws and Polystyrene Containers | 06-29-2018

At least 11 states have introduced bills this session related to polystyrene food or beverage containers, most of them prohibiting their use, according to LexisNexis State Net’s legislative information system. Five of those states have also introduced...

Baker Signs MA ‘Grand Bargain’ | 06-29-2018

Culminating a broad effort to prevent several major policy issues being decided by voters at the ballot box, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed off on a so-called “grand bargain” that will gradually raise the Bay State minimum wage...

Govs Differ on Border Separations | 06-29-2018

The ongoing controversy over family separations at the U.S. border with Mexico has spurred a bipartisan group of governors to pull back or reject outright President Trump’s request to send National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats...

Governors in Brief - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

BROWN MOVES DAYLIGHT SAVINGS BILL TO CA BALLOT CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 807 , a measure that will allow Golden State voters to decide if they want to stay on daylight saving time year-round. If voters approve, the measure would still...

Business - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

MA Senate Approves SB 2546 The MASSACHUSETTS Senate approves SB 2546 , which would allow the Bay State attorney general to file civil actions and issue stop work orders in wage theft cases. The measure, which also would create a trust fund to repay...

Health & Science - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

MA House Approves HB 4664 The MASSACHUSETTS House approves HB 4664 , a bill that would ban the use of so-called conversion therapy, a controversial practice aimed at changing the sexual orientation and gender identity of minors. It moves to the Senate...

The Local Front - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

MA Attorney General Approves Extension In a ruling with statewide implications, MASSACHUSETTS Attorney General Maura Healey (D) approves an extension of a temporary moratorium on legal cannabis shops and other marijuana businesses through June 2019...

Nobody at the Wheel | 06-29-2018

In spite of some tragic failures, the slow movement toward autonomous cars is rolling forward. The latest proof comes from Massachusetts, where State House News Service reports that Gov. Charlie Baker (R) recently signed off on an agreement to allow testing...

The Local Front - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

CA Cities Adopt Flavor Tobacco Ban Days after SAN FRANCISCO voters upheld a ban on all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarette liquids , the SAN MATEO County Board of Supervisors endorses a similar ban. Several...