The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This one law so dramatically altered American society that, looking back, it seems preordained—as Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate and a key supporter of the bill, said, “no force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” But there was nothing predestined about the victory: a phalanx of powerful senators, pledging to “fight to the death” for segregation, launched the longest filibuster in American history to defeat it.

This critical turning point in American history has never been thoroughly explored in a full-length account. Now, New York Times editor and acclaimed author Clay Risen delivers the full story, in The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act.

Massachusetts already has some of the nation's toughest gun laws, but legislative leaders see room for improvement.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday asked Jack McDevitt, an associate dean at Northeastern University, to lead a special commission on gun violence, with a possible focus on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

NY Advocates Say Condom Evidence Is Unhealthy

Apr 17, 2012

Advocates for New York sex workers are coming to Albany to push for legislation that would ban condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, arguing the law-enforcement tactic is bad for public health. 

VT Governor Signs Mental Health Bill

Apr 5, 2012

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law an overhaul of the state's mental health system.  WAMC's Pat Bradley reports...

Wednesday's bill signing was the culmination of a process that got underway in earnest after Tropical Storm Irene in late August flooded and forced the closing of the Vermont State Hospital.