Massachusetts

  Western Massachusetts cities are vying for the state’s lone casino license for that region.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that polling shows a demographic split among residents.

Massachusetts Broadband Institute

In a crowded gymnasium at the Farmington River School in Otis, Massachusetts, a class of fifth graders seated in front of a large projection screen was able to video chat with students across the world at the Vive Digital broadband center in Bogota, Colombia…

Students also communicated with staff at NASA’s Godard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

  In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays discusses the Massachusetts special election with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Photo by Scott Bauer (USDA ARS)

BOSTON (AP) — A new report is urging Massachusetts officials take more drastic steps to combat Lyme disease, from launching aggressive public education campaigns to exploring expanded crossbow hunting to cut down on the number of deer that may be carrying ticks.

The report released Thursday by a special legislative commission also said the state needs to enhance its Lyme disease surveillance methods to get a better idea of the scope of the problem.

BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court will hear arguments in April in an appeal of a judge's ruling granting a taxpayer-funded sex change for a Massachusetts transgender inmate.

The state is appealing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ordering prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence.

On Thursday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston scheduled a hearing for April 2.

Kosilek was named Robert when convicted in the 1990 murder of wife Cheryl Kosilek.

Dwight Sipler

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is renewing his push for new revenues to pay for transportation and education initiatives, while acknowledging concerns about his plan to raise the state income tax.

The tax changes proposed by the governor, aimed at raising nearly $2 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1, have so far received a lukewarm reception from legislative leaders on Beacon Hill.

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is lifting a ban on driving on Massachusetts roads as of 4 p.m.

The driving ban that went into effect at 4 p.m. Friday because of the massive snowstorm is lifted immediately for Nantucket County and communities west of Interstate 91. It's lifted for everyone else as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

BOSTON (AP) — Republican State Rep. Daniel Winslow has officially entered the race for the U.S. Senate.

Winslow said in letter to supporters and GOP activists on Thursday that he would be a candidate in the special election to fill the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.

    House Republicans remain in control for the 113th Congress. In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that House rules make life in the minority difficult.

    The redistricting process put several incumbents in reshaped districts. In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he is comfortable with his new constituents in the Berkshires.

    The number of craft breweries has exploded in recent years. In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he is working on a tax change for such breweries.

The state’s top law enforcement official, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says when it comes to communications technology criminals have the upper hand because the state’s current wiretap law has not been upgraded since 1968.

WAMC

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she's disappointed Senate leaders weren't able to come up with tougher changes to the filibuster rule that allows minority parties to bottle up legislation.

The Massachusetts Democrat had vowed to join with other Democrats to limit use of the filibuster — a move she said would help break gridlock in Washington by curbing the ability of Republicans to block votes.

Mass. GOP wants to make tax hikes harder to pass

Jan 23, 2013
Mark Crawley / Flickr

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts House Republicans are proposing new rules that would make it harder to pass tax hikes or dip into the state's rainy day fund.

As part of a package of rules changes, the GOP wants to require two-thirds votes for all tax increases or withdrawals from the stabilization fund.

BOSTON (AP) — Testimony has begun in a class-action lawsuit alleging that thousands of Massachusetts children in foster care have been abused and neglected.

The first witness Tuesday was a young woman who spent years in multiple foster homes.

Lauren James said she often did not get enough to eat, was forced to scrub floors and prescribed up to five psychiatric drugs at a time.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts rose a tenth of a point in December to 6.7 percent reflecting an economy that is still sluggish.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts has gone up slightly, or has  steady in each of the last six months. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate is down just two tenths of a percentage point, according to a report from state labor officials.  Kevin Lynn, business manager at the Future Works Career Center in Springfield said both job openings and hiring activity dropped in December.

In the weeks following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, politicians and pundits across the country have been searching for a solution to help prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future – and in the neighboring state of Massachusetts, lawmakers and advocates are hoping that a discussion on mental health issues can be made a priority in the next legislative session. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more...

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says four cabinet secretaries departing his administration all left on their own and would have been welcome to stay for the final two years of his term.

Patrick officially announced Thursday that Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan, Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez and Education Secretary Paul Reville, will leave next month.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has released a new framework to help protect water resources in the Commonwealth. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more…

This week Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and its agencies released a new set of guidelines that promise to manage water consumption to maintain and conserve healthy rivers and streams.

Our next guest has a tough job - and I would do it is a second. John Holl travels the country chronicling the story of American beer for his website www.beerbriefing.

If high school students could vote, President Barack Obama would sail to an easy re-election. A mock vote was held at 130 high schools across the country, and on Sunday night, the votes were counted. Obama received 50 percent of the vote and 316 electoral votes, while Mitt Romney took 41 percent of the popular vote, and 208 electoral votes. This mock election has been held every four years since 1988. It was organized by Jim Shea a teacher at Northfield-Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.