10:30 a.m. | Sens. Joni Ernst and Jeanne Shaheen are panelists at the Kennedy Senate Institute's third "Senate Project" event that aims to bring back a "culture of consensus" through bipartisan conversation. | Kennedy Institute, Columbia Point, Dorchester
11 a.m. | Massachusetts Association of Realtors hosts a "Day on the Hill" to advocate for home ownership and private property rights amid the statewide housing affordability crisis. | Great Hall
Noon | Gov. Maura Healey attends the Women Veterans Recognition Day ceremony and presentation of the Deborah Sampson Award. | Memorial Hall
1 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey speaks at the World Medical Innovation Forum opening. | Grand Ballroom, Westin Boston Seaport District, 425 Summer Street, Boston
2 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey meets privately with legislative leaders. A media availability will follow. | Senate President Spilka's office, third floor, State House
Second-Amendment crusaders seeking to strike down an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts have not deterred Beacon Hill’s efforts to keep strict controls in place. Armed not with bullets but with data, lawmakers actually want to further expand gun regulations.
At least two sets of legislation would address a growing concern about so-called “ghost guns.” Massachusetts currently has no law restricting untraceable or undetectable firearms — like those made with 3-D printers.
Bills from Rep. David Linsky and Sen. Jamie Eldridge (HD 352 / SD 1469) and Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Cynthia Creem (HD 2143 / SD 2031) are trying to change that.
Gov. Maura Healey is on board and has been for months.
Lawmakers and gun control advocates say a comprehensive state law is needed as the federal courts continue to gut a Biden-era rule attempting to crack down on untraceable firearms.
But do gun laws actually prevent gun violence?
Advocates give a resounding “yes.” And they’re quick to point to data to back it up.
Massachusetts had the lowest rate of deaths by firearm in the nation in 2021, the most recent year for which U.S. Centers for Disease Control data is available. Joining them low on the list are other states — including Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island — considered to have strict gun-control laws like background checks, limits on the number of guns a person can own and bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
Massachusetts’ 27-year-old ban on assault weapons is under fire from the Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights. The group has asked for an immediate injunction as they play out their attempt to overturn a 1998 ban made a permanent law in 2004 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. They and other groups are launching challenges on state gun laws nationwide.
The federal courts recently declined to impose an injunction on an Illinois ban embroiled in a similar suit. — potentially good news for Massachusetts. Gun-control advocates say Massachusetts should continue to shore up state regulations in the wake of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court suit which struck down a New York law limiting carrying guns outside the home without “proper use.”
It’s important, advocates tell MASSterList, that state laws anticipate the fallout, which could soon include assault rifle-style ghost guns in Massachusetts if Second-Amendment activists get their way.
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A divided, contentious MassGOP continues under new party chair
The state’s troubled Republican Party coined a new leader earlier this year, but the party’s internal fissures appear to be taking some time to smooth over, reports Emma Platoff for The Boston Globe. A Thursday meeting — the party’s first in over a year — devolved into some five hours of shouting matches and contentious debate.
Cannabis regulators consider new rules for veterans and pot
Cannabis Control Commission members might remove registration fees for veterans using the medical marijuana program in order to expand the use of a drug many say is far safer than the opioids veterans are frequently prescribed to manage pain, writes Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. Though the state is home to hundreds of thousands of veterans, many of whom would qualify for medical marijuana as a result of service-connected disabilities, veterans are not entering the medical marijuana program at nearly the same rates as other adults, largely due to cost and red tape.
Wave your flag: Pride returns to Boston after a 3+ year hiatus
A long hiatus on LGBTQ+ Pride events in Boston is finall over. Pride returned to Boston this weekend, culminating on Saturday with a massive parade. Pride’s return has been long and winding. In 2020, organizers were criticized for not including people of color and trans people in the organizing committee and subsequent parades were canceled. In the aftermath, a new group, Boston Pride for the People, formed to pick up the pieces of Boston’s central Pride event.
Massachusetts has a health crisis when it comes to Black maternal outcomes at childbirth
In an op-ed to WBUR from a Bay State doctor, lawmaker and advocate, women leaders ask why the state’s prestigious medical institutions have yet to erase a persistent Black maternal health crisis here in Massachusetts. The state still tolerates a status quo that delivers profoundly disparate access to care and leads to vastly different clinical outcomes based on race and neighborhood, with the most obvious being for pregnant Black women and birthing individuals.
Bay State business leaders wary of $2.5 billion unemployment fund mistake
State business leaders are urging Beacon Hill not to pass the cost of a $2.5 billion blunder in the misuse of federal funds to cover the cost of unemployment claims. The revelations that surfaced in a recent audit have “deeply concerned” many business owners, reports Christian Wade for The Newburyport News. The Healey administration is working to fix a problem that occurred under a previous gubernatorial administration. Employers are already paying additional jobless insurance for pandemic-era claims.
Bidding war: It’s never been harder to rent an apartment in Boston
Amid a record-low supply of available apartments, desperate renters are resorting to bidding wars, which The Globe’s Beth Teitell called a “final insult” to those suffering in Boston’s out-of-control housing market. Some are even offering to pay more than the landlord is asking by hundreds of dollars — per month.
Human trafficking victims get visa help
Victims of labor and sexual trafficking are finding allies in Massachusetts law enforcement who are helping them apply for special immigrant visas key to finding housing and jobs, reports Christian Wade for The Eagle-Tribune. The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security saw 515 visa requests last year.
Wild elections in Longmeadow as races take shape
Town elections in Longmeadow are coming up and the race for School Committee has been rocked by the revelation of both old social media and an opinion piece on guns one candidate wrote, reports Western Mass Politics.
Community programs cut as Heroux sharpens focus on jails
A program that provides wearable tracking devices for those suffering from dementia and autism is among the community programs that Bristol County Sheriff Paul Heroux is phasing out so that he can direct more of his annual budget to improving conditions in the county’s jails. The Sun-Chronicle’s David Linton reports Heroux felt the tracking program could be spared because commercial options are now available, and that anti-bullying and comfort dog programs will also be cut.
Double duty: Amid job cuts, Brockton superintendent will also be high school principal
Brockton Superintendent of Schools Mike Thomas will also serve as co-principal of Brockton High School when classes resume in the fall, an unusual arrangement that comes amid a budget crunch that has already seen the district lay off 130 teachers. Christopher Butler of the Enterprise reports Thomas will not receive any additional salary for the extra job title.
Green rush ghost town? Still-empty Holyoke mills are symbol of cannabis industry slowdown
Massive warehouses and onetime mill buildings in Holyoke that were scooped up by investors ahead of the arrival of legal cannabis in the state continue to sit vacant as speculation about a local weed-driven real estate boom gives way to cold market realities. MassLive’s Jim Kinney digs into the numbers.
Going down: Nantucket sees 25 percent drop in summer rental demand
Real estate agents on Nantucket say summer rentals on the island are down 25 percent, marking the end of a massive surge in demand that came during the coronavirus pandemic, Dean Geddes of the Inquirer & Mirror reports.
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