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BOSTON (AP) — Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has joined a growing list of Republicans who've ruled out running in a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the departure of former Sen. John Kerry.

Healey said Monday she was grateful for the advice of those who urged her to get into the race but said she's decided against it.

BOSTON (AP) — Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown won't be running in a Massachusetts special election to fill Democrat John Kerry's seat.

A person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss it says Brown will not run.

Brown was defeated in November by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He had won the seat in a special election in 2010.

U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by Kerry, who is leaving the Senate to become Secretary of State.


BOSTON (AP) — Mayors from across Massachusetts are calling on Congress to take action to reduce gun-related violence.

More than a dozen mayors from Massachusetts cities met with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Thursday to renew their push for tighter gun laws.

A recent report released by the Inspector General of Massachusetts claims that the state’s welfare system could be paying out up to $25 million in fraudulent benefits.

A document released this week by state Inspector General Glenn Cunha studied eligibility information from those benefitting from the state and federally funded Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. The cash assistance program is overseen by the state Department of Transitional Assistance.

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has rejected challenges to a state law that requires gun owners to keep their weapons in a locked container or equipped with a safety device.

Ruling in two separate cases Tuesday, the Supreme Judicial Court found that the requirements of the state's gun storage law "are reasonably designed" to prevent people not licensed to carry a gun from gaining illegal access to a gun, including felons, the mentally ill and children. The court said the law does not violate the Second Amendment right to keep guns for self-defense in the home.

The announcement of the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan plan to immigration reform was welcomed among advocacy groups in Massachusetts. A central pillar of the plan introduced by the so-called “Gang of Eight” is the Path to Citizenship, which would in part make undocumented immigrants to register with the Federal government, undergo background checks, and pay back taxes among other requirements.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has unveiled a series of sentencing reforms, including efforts to curb sentencing on youth offenders convicted of first-degree murder. 

Governor Patrick released a bill titled “An Act to Reform the Juvenile Justice System in the Commonwealth.” Two primary focuses of the bill would extended juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 years old to 18 years old, and would also prohibit mandatory life-sentences without parole for those convicted of first degree murder between ages 14 and 18.

In a prepared statement the Governor said…

According to new data, 4-year high school graduation rates in Massachusetts are on the increase, while the dropout rate is on the decline.

State officials recently announced that the 4-year graduation rate has improved in the Bay State for the sixth year in a row. JC Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that the statewide dropout rate also decreased to 2.5% in the last school year.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today released his FY 2014 budget proposal. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports that the Governor is planning to invest in three key areas: education, innovation, and infrastructure.

Governor Patrick’s $34.8 billion budget proposal follows his State of the Commonwealth speech last week where he called for more investment in transportation including streamlining public transportation and improving roads and bridges, as well as a significant boost to education spending.

According to state officials in Massachusetts, the unemployment rose to 6.7% in December, and for the Berkshires, the unemployment rate is now above the state average.

Although the numbers released by the State Executive Office of Labor and Workforce development are not seasonally adjusted, the Berkshires now face an unemployment rate at 6.6% That’s up half a percentage point from October and November, and the highest it’s been since February 2012.