ma en MA House Backs Teacher Evaluation Bill <p>The Massachusetts House has approved a measure calling on school districts to implement a new teacher&nbsp;evaluation&nbsp;system and place performance ahead of seniority in deciding future layoffs.&nbsp; WAMC&rsquo;s Lucas Willard reports&hellip;</p><p>The legislation, which has already been approved by the Senate, resulted from a compromise struck between the Massachusetts Teachers Association and an advocacy group called Stand for Children that had proposed a statewide ballot question.</p> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 11:43:02 +0000 Lucas Willard 42016 at MA House Backs Teacher Evaluation Bill Obama Heads to MA for Fundraisers <p>President Barack&nbsp;Obama is stopping in Massachusetts to raise money for his re-election campaign and fellow Democrats.&nbsp; WAMC&rsquo;s Tristan O&rsquo;Neill reports&hellip;</p><p>The president&#39;s first event on Monday is a small campaign round-table at Hamersley&#39;s Bistro in Boston&#39;s South End with 25 people. Tickets cost $40,000 per person.</p><p>Obama will later speak to 1,800 people at Symphony Hall in Boston. General admission started at $250 with top seats going for $2,500. A limited number of $144 tickets were available for younger supporters.</p> Mon, 25 Jun 2012 11:30:05 +0000 Tristan O'Neill 41738 at Obama Heads to MA for Fundraisers Massachusetts Set to Honor 2012 Teacher of the Year <p>Governor Deval Patrick and education officials are planning to honor Massachusetts&#39; top teachers at a Statehouse ceremony.&nbsp; WAMC&rsquo;s Tristan O&rsquo;Neill reports&hellip;</p><p>As part of today&#39;s event, awards will be presented to the 2012 Massachusetts&nbsp;Teacher of the Year, the 2012 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year and winners and finalists of the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.</p> Mon, 18 Jun 2012 11:16:10 +0000 Tristan O'Neill 41227 at Massachusetts Set to Honor 2012 Teacher of the Year MA House to Take Up Health Care Bill <p>The Massachusetts House of Representatives will be taking up their version of a bill that aims to lower unnecessary health care costs in the coming years.</p><p>State representatives will begin debate Tuesday on their health care cost containment bill and its multiple amendments.</p><p>The House&#39;s bill is designed to even out disparities in the costs of hospital services by requiring hospitals that charge more than 20 percent above the state median price for a service to pay a 10 percent surcharge into a fund to help support hospitals serving the poor and most vulnerable.</p> Mon, 04 Jun 2012 11:10:33 +0000 40356 at MA House to Take Up Health Care Bill MA Towns Push against Citizens United <p>Nearly 60 Massachusetts cities and towns are urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court&#39;s ruling in the Citizens United case. WAMC&rsquo;s Lucas Willard has more&hellip;</p><p>A total of 56 cities and towns from across the state have passed resolutions on the issue, with more expected to vote on similar resolutions in the coming weeks.</p> Wed, 23 May 2012 11:52:37 +0000 Lucas Willard 39574 at MA Towns Push against Citizens United MA Group to Host Symposium on Problem Gambling <p>The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling will host a symposium on problem gambling to discuss whether western Massachusetts is prepared to deal with expanded gambling.</p><p>The council is preparing communities to address problems associated with gambling as the state awaits the arrival of casinos after legislation was passed to expand gambling in the state. The prevention, intervention and treatment of problem gambling will be discussed.</p> Mon, 21 May 2012 11:21:44 +0000 Tristan O'Neill 39399 at MA Group to Host Symposium on Problem Gambling MA Adds Jobs for Fifth Straight Month <p>The Massachusetts economy added jobs for a fifth straight month and the unemployment rate in April fell to its lowest level in 3 &frac12; years.&nbsp; WAMC&rsquo;s Paul Tuthill reports&hellip;</p><p>The April unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell to 6.3 percent as the state added 2,500 jobs according to a report from the state office of Labor and Workforce Development.&nbsp;</p><p>Led by the high tech sector, the state&rsquo;s economy has been recovering from the Great Recession faster than the nation&rsquo;s as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent.</p> Fri, 18 May 2012 12:14:07 +0000 Paul Tuthill 39259 at MA Adds Jobs for Fifth Straight Month Senate Panel Hikes Local Aid in MA Budget <p>The Massachusetts budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is winning praise from municipal officials. WAMC&rsquo;s Lucas Willard reports&hellip;</p><p>Senate leaders say the spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1 would boost local aid by $275 million over current year levels and provide full funding for unrestricted local aid. An earlier budget proposal by Governor Deval Patrick had made $65 million of unrestricted aid contingent on state revenues reaching certain benchmarks in the current year.</p> Thu, 17 May 2012 11:20:58 +0000 Lucas Willard 39172 at Senate Panel Hikes Local Aid in MA Budget MA Attorney General Wants to Toughen State’s Open Meeting Law <p>Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to toughen the state&rsquo;s open meeting law. WAMC&rsquo;s Paul Tuthill reports&hellip;</p><p>Coakley on Monday proposed a new regulation that would allow state and local governmental bodies to be punished if they act with &quot;deliberate ignorance&quot; of the law, which requires most meetings to be accessible to the public.</p><p>Under current regulations, public entities can be fined up to $1,000 for violating the law, but only if the violation is found to be intentional after a previous warning from a court or prosecutor.</p> Tue, 15 May 2012 12:22:30 +0000 Paul Tuthill 38989 at MA Attorney General Wants to Toughen State’s Open Meeting Law Early Start and End to MA Asparagus Season? <p>The warm March brought an early asparagus crop to farms that are known for it in western Massachusetts.&nbsp; WAMC&rsquo;s Tristan O&rsquo;Neill reports&hellip;</p><p>Now farmers are wondering if the cool spring will bring an early end to the season.</p><p>Sunderland farmer Michael Wisserman tells The Republican of Springfield he wasn&#39;t fooled when the temperature hit the 80s in March. He knew cool weather was coming.</p><p>So even though he was harvesting in April, a full month earlier than normal, now he wonders if the season can last its usual length, into late June.</p> Mon, 14 May 2012 11:55:10 +0000 Tristan O'Neill 38903 at Early Start and End to MA Asparagus Season?