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BOSTON (AP) — Advocates for people with developmental disabilities are hailing a decision by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to sign a bill easing IQ eligibility restrictions for services.

The new law will prevent the state Department of Developmental Services from automatically denying eligibility to people scoring above 70 on IQ tests.

Mass. to revamp retiree health care

Jan 10, 2013
Dwight Sipler

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick plans to recommend sweeping reforms in health care benefits for retired state and municipal employees, changes that are estimated to save up to $20 billion over the next 30 years.

The recommendations stem from a report due to be released Friday by a special commission that studied the soaring costs of retiree health care.

An administration official familiar with the report said it calls for raising the minimum years of service an employee must have before being vested in the retiree health care system from the current 10 years to 20 years.

World Economic Forum

Political observers widely expect Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to be confirmed as the nation’s next Secretary of State, leaving an interim Senate term to be filled in his wake. What they didn’t expect was the about-face this week by now retired Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, who announced that he would be interested in filling Kerry’s seat in the run-up to a special election. WAMC’s Ian Pickus spoke about Frank’s next act with Glen Johnson, who covers politics for The Boston Globe.

U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick are weighing in on a Supreme Court decision throwing out provisions of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The court also upheld the law's "show me your papers" requirement that police to check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally.

Brown called the ruling another reminder that the federal government needs to deal with the nation's broken immigration system and that the first step is securing the border.

Governor Patrick to Speak to Grads of Re-Entry Program

Jun 25, 2012

Governor Deval Patrick will address graduates of two federal court programs aimed at helping defendants and high risk ex-offenders.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

The Court Assisted Recovery Effort program helps defendants maintain sober, employed and law-abiding lives through closer supervision and assistance.

MA House Overrides Governor's Background Check Veto

May 31, 2012

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has voted to keep a bill that would require all employees of the state's Gaming Commission to be subject to full criminal background checks and drug screenings.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

State representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to override Governor Deval Patrick's veto on the measure.

Officials have placed a conservation restriction on a forest covered mountain in western Massachusetts marking the largest private land conservation deal in the state in nearly a century. WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

The conservation restriction on 3,500 acres of Brushy Mountain in the towns of Leverett and Shutesbury allows forestry operations to continue, but conserves wildlife habitat and will provide recreational access to the public on what was previously private land.

The Massachusetts budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is winning praise from municipal officials. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

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.

Feds to Launch Secure Communities Program in MA

May 9, 2012

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has notified state officials that they plan to launch the federal Secure Communities program in Massachusetts over the objections of Governor Deval Patrick and immigration activists.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan described Secure Communities as an information sharing program between federal agencies that can only be implemented by the federal government.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is slamming Alabama and Arizona over their tough immigration policies.  WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The Boston Globe reports that in a speech earlier this week at Tufts University, Patrick said the actions of states on the issue have been ham-fisted, self-defeating and even racist. He also calls much of the debate over immigration reform hysterical and poisonous.

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