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New England News
7:43 am
Thu June 28, 2012

MA House Backs Teacher Evaluation Bill

The Massachusetts House has approved a measure calling on school districts to implement a new teacher evaluation system and place performance ahead of seniority in deciding future layoffs.  WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

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.

The organization has said it would be willing to drop the ballot initiative if the bill becomes law.

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New England News
7:30 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Obama Heads to MA for Fundraisers

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is stopping in Massachusetts to raise money for his re-election campaign and fellow Democrats.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

The president's first event on Monday is a small campaign round-table at Hamersley's Bistro in Boston's South End with 25 people. Tickets cost $40,000 per person.

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.

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New England News
7:16 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Massachusetts Set to Honor 2012 Teacher of the Year

Governor Deval Patrick and education officials are planning to honor Massachusetts' top teachers at a Statehouse ceremony.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

As part of today's event, awards will be presented to the 2012 Massachusetts 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.

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New England News
7:10 am
Mon June 4, 2012

MA House to Take Up Health Care Bill

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.

State representatives will begin debate Tuesday on their health care cost containment bill and its multiple amendments.

The House'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.

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New England News
7:52 am
Wed May 23, 2012

MA Towns Push against Citizens United

Nearly 60 Massachusetts cities and towns are urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

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.

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New England News
7:21 am
Mon May 21, 2012

MA Group to Host Symposium on Problem Gambling

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.

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.

New England News
8:14 am
Fri May 18, 2012

MA Adds Jobs for Fifth Straight Month

The Massachusetts economy added jobs for a fifth straight month and the unemployment rate in April fell to its lowest level in 3 ½ years.  WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

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. 

Led by the high tech sector, the state’s economy has been recovering from the Great Recession faster than the nation’s as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent.

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New England News
7:20 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Senate Panel Hikes Local Aid in MA Budget

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.

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New England News
8:22 am
Tue May 15, 2012

MA Attorney General Wants to Toughen State’s Open Meeting Law

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to toughen the state’s open meeting law. WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

Coakley on Monday proposed a new regulation that would allow state and local governmental bodies to be punished if they act with "deliberate ignorance" of the law, which requires most meetings to be accessible to the public.

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.

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New England News
7:55 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Early Start and End to MA Asparagus Season?

The warm March brought an early asparagus crop to farms that are known for it in western Massachusetts.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

Now farmers are wondering if the cool spring will bring an early end to the season.

Sunderland farmer Michael Wisserman tells The Republican of Springfield he wasn't fooled when the temperature hit the 80s in March. He knew cool weather was coming.

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.

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