News

Attleboro-area lawmakers get earful, for and against, Common Core

Published: March 28th, 2016

By Kayla Canne Correspondent

BOSTON – As the Legislature wrestles with a response to a proposed ballot question that would repeal Common Core educational standards in Massachusetts, area school officials, teachers and parents are weighing in with plenty of opinions.

And, they range from support of the repeal to keeping the standards intact.

“The debate about Common Core seems to be based on a misunderstanding, as the rhetoric often utilized, borrowed from other parts of the country, does not match the context in Massachusetts, which is the national leader in public education,” said Attleboro Superintendent-elect David Sawyer, who believes Common Core standards are improving student achievement. Read the rest of this entry »

Vote expected Monday on MBTA fare increase plans

Published: March 28th, 2016

By Kayla Canne Correspondent

BOSTON – Transportation officials will have to weigh consumer input against fiscal needs Monday as they take action on two proposals to increase fares for public transportation across the state.

More than 73 percent of over 8,000 respondents expressed “negative feelings” toward fare increases for train and bus service last month in a public comment period held by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Many cited poor service as a key reason for their opposition.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh faces bring out Attleboro area voters, officials say

Published: March 28th, 2016

By Kayla Canne Correspondent

Area election officials credit the compelling presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders for near-record voter turnout for Tuesday’s Massachusetts primary, saying the fresh, sometimes radical, ideas of this year’s candidates stimulated interest in a range of voters seeking change.

“Last night we saw voters come out who haven’t voted in a number of years – or never before,” David Torpey, chairman of the North Attleboro Election Commission, said Wednesday. “People seem more passionate about their ideas.”

Read the rest of this entry »

New Attleboro School Chief is Ready to ‘Move Forward’

Published: March 28th, 2016

By Kayla Canne Correspondent 

Although he says Attleboro schools face “disappointing” state funding, incoming Superintendent David Sawyer is confident the district will press ahead when he takes over the top job in July.

“The budget forecast for this year is not good,” he said. “But we can’t let it be an excuse.

“You can still move forward, even when the wind is blowing against you. You just need to have the right technique, and that’s part of what the strategic plan does.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Bill pending to raise age to buy tobacco products statewide in Massachusetts

Published: March 28th, 2016

By Kayla Canne Correspondent 

Anti-tobacco advocates and industry representatives might disagree on the age someone should be allowed to buy tobacco products, but they do agree on one thing: Tobacco laws are most effective and fair when they are consistent statewide.

State legislators are considering a bill that would increase the tobacco age in Massachusetts from 18 to 21 years old, a move that could make Massachusetts the second state nationwide with such legislation. Read the rest of this entry »

Leominster-inspired COLA bill is referred to Senate study

Published: March 22nd, 2016

By Heather Goldin Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON — If Leominster’s municipal retirees thought the Legislature would help get the city’s Retirement Board to approve their first cost-of-living increase on their pensions in six years, they will have to wait.

The Joint Committee on Public Service voted recently to refer to Senate study a bill that would have mandated a statewide cost-of-living increase of 3 percent annually if returns on a community’s pension investments exceed the city’s assumed rate of return for two consecutive years. The vote effectively means the bill will not be taken up this legislation session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Studious start for Stephan Hay

Published: March 22nd, 2016

By Heather Goldin Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON — Stephan Hay said his first week on the job as Fitchburg’s new state representative was quite the learning experience.

“There is protocol to learn, there is the building to learn, there is the schedule to learn,” the state’s newest representative said in an interview Thursday from his new office in Room 33 of the Statehouse. “None of them are overwhelming, but just a lot as a new person coming into this environment.”

Hay was in his basement office Thursday of the otherwise quiet Statehouse on Evacuation Day, getting up to speed on his new legislative duties. Read the rest of this entry »

Historic Opioid Bill Is Signed Into Law

Published: March 16th, 2016

Caption: Gov. Charlie Baker signs a substance-abuse bill into law Monday at the Statehouse, joined by state and county officials including, front, from left, Sen. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster, and, back left, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and, behind Flanagan, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis. SENTINEL AND ENTERPRISE / HEATHER GOLDIN

Caption: Gov. Charlie Baker signs a substance-abuse bill into law Monday at the Statehouse, joined by state and county officials including, front, from left, Sen. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster, and, back left, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and, behind Flanagan, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis. SENTINEL AND ENTERPRISE / HEATHER GOLDIN

 

By Heather Goldin Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON — A tearful Gov. Charlie Baker signed a landmark substance-abuse bill into law Monday, thanking the families affected by opioid abuse for sharing their stories and assuring them that the new law is a “signal to you that the commonwealth is listening.”

Surrounded by a crowd of Democratic and Republican legislators — including one of its chief architects, Democratic Sen. Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster — state officials, along with recovering addicts and their families, Baker acknowledged the collaborative effort being made to deal with the deadly opioid epidemic. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Calls For Used-Car Dealer Training

Published: March 16th, 2016

By Heather Goldin Correspondent

Massachusetts independent car dealers want to add a level of professionalism to their sometimes maligned profession by supporting state legislation that would require the training of used-car dealers in the commonwealth.

“Almost anybody can become a Class 2 licensed dealer,” said Jeff Haggerty, who represents the Massachusetts Independent Automobile Dealers Association, in support of the bill during a Joint Committee on Transportation hearing Monday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Statehouse Rally Calls For Homeless Aid

Published: March 16th, 2016

By Heather Goldin Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON — More than 100 advocates, legislators and those touched by homelessness filled the Great Hall of the Statehouse Thursday morning to lobby for more money and kinder regulations to help the state’s growing homeless population.

“A man or woman fleeing domestic violence, an unaccompanied youth who was kicked out of their home — no one deserves to be homeless,” Tina Giarla, a legislative advocate from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, told the gathering at the group’s legislative action day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories