Saturday, April 13, 2013
Massachusetts is one of 11 states where 17-year-olds are tried and sentenced as adults, but two bills on Beacon Hill seek to change that.
At what age should teenagers be tried as adults when charged with a crime? In Massachusetts, it's anyone 17-years-old or older, but two bills currently on Beacon Hill seek to change that. It's a law that journalists at Patch and elsewhere are well aware of, since we've answered emails and questions from people asking why a 17-year-old arrestee's name had been printed in a police log report. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 119, Section 52 defines only those 16 and younger as juveniles in the state's court system. The makes the Bay State only one of 11 states that doesn't classify 17-year-olds as juveniles. Most states—38, to be exact—don't treat alleged offenders as adults until they've reached 18-years-old. New York and North Carolina …
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Should the state forge ahead with Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to invest now? Or should it follow the Legislature leadership's proposal to address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives?
Massachusetts legislators this week answered Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious plan to raise $1.9 billion for transportation and education with a $500 million plan of their own, which says the governor is asking for too much, too soon as the Bay State shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. Who's right? Should the state forge ahead in a bold plan to invest now? Or should it cautiously address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives? While Patrick's plan includes funding for both the state transportation system and increased education funding from preschool through college, House and Senate lawmakers eschew new revenue for education, focusing solely on closing the transportation budget gap over the next five years. The …
Saturday, March 16, 2013
See why the state Legislature's website received an 'F' for transparency and tell us—do you agree? How transparent is your city or town government's website?
This week is Sunshine Week, when journalists and nonprofits cast a spotlight on government transparency, but there are dark clouds over the Massachusetts Legislature's website according to one organization. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Sunshine Foundation gave the state Legislature's website an 'F,' one of five states to receive a failing grade on a report card grading each state legislature website's transparency. Websites were scored in six categories. The categories, along with the score ranges for each, Massachusetts' scores and explanations were: The lead investigator on the Sunshine Foundation's Open State project, James Turk, told WGBH that Massachusetts' results were presented to the state and the Foundation "was told that not much …
Friday, January 11, 2013
Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that would require teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.
UPDATED FRIDAY, JAN. 11 at 11:55 A.M. Should school and child care employees fingerprinted before starting employment in order to check their criminal backgrounds? The Associated Press recently reported Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is considering signing legislation that would require teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks. On Friday, the state education office announced in a press release that Patrick signed the bill on Thursday, authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and school districts to conduct fingerprint-supported national criminal history background checks on all teachers, school employees and early education providers in …
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013 allows store owners to place scanners in the aisles, making shoppers do their own price checks, instead of individually marking each item.
Starting on New Year's Day 2013, Massachuetts is the last state in the union to abolish a law requiring individual price tags on all food items. Instead of having the prices marked on every item, as has been the law since 1987, grocery stores can now install aisle price scanners every 5,000 square feet that would display the prices of scanned items. Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in July after earlier passing in the House and Senate—with only two senators in session. The bill, called "An Act relative to clear and conspicuous price disclosure," has been strongly supported for years by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, who argued that the current system creates less accurate pricing, lowers the level of service for …
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Incumbent Jason Lewis defeated challenger John DePinto in the Democratic race for state representative in the primary election on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Incumbent Jason Lewis defeated challenger John DePinto in the Democratic race for state representative in the state primary on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Lewis rolled in Winchester, receiving 1,801 votes to DePinto's 215, according to unofficial AP results reported on boston.com. The race was much closer in Stoneham, where Lewis won by a margin of 109, getting 1,050 votes to DePinto's 941. Overall, Lewis received 2,851 votes in both towns, or 71.2 percent of the vote, and DePinto received 1,156 votes, or 28.8 percent. Lewis will be challenged in November by Republican candidate George Georgountzos, who won the Republican primary as he was unopposed.