Beacon Hill In 5

Massachusetts House Ways and Means' Aaron Michlewitz and Speaker Ron Mariano in a file photo from the release of the House budget on April 14, 2021.
State House News Service

Controlling Billions In Federal Aid Still Top-Of-Mind For Massachusetts Lawmakers, Governor

Massachusetts lawmakers are 10 days from needing a state budget for the new fiscal year, but the big fight now is about billions in federal aid and who controls it.

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Regional News

The door to the upstairs office at Iron Horse Entertainment Group's Northampton Box Office.
Ellery Berenger / NEPR

Owners Of Iron Horse Venues Hit With Fines, Penalties Over Workers' Rights Violations

Updated 3:46 p.m. The owner of several entertainment venues in Northampton and Holyoke, Massachusetts, has been hit with $100,000 in fines and restitution after the Massachusetts Attorney General's office found the rights of about 30 workers were violated.

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Sides With NCAA Athletes In A Narrow Ruling

Updated June 21, 2021 at 5:45 PM ET Faced with the prospect of reshaping college athletics, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow but potentially transformative ruling Monday in a case that pitted college athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. At issue in the case were NCAA rules that limit educational benefits for college players as part of their scholarships. The athletes maintained that the NCAA has, in effect, been operating a system that is a classic restraint of...

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Connecting Point

Robert Markey Paints Portraits of Those Lost to COVID

The advent of Juneteenth as a federal holiday this year also saw the day more widely celebrated than ever in Connecticut. While the state’s larger and more diverse cities have long held annual Juneteenth events, many of Connecticut’s smaller towns also marked the occasion this year.

A sign outside a Pride store in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

This week, Pride gas stations and convenience stores started giving a free large cup of coffee — iced or hot — to those who have been vaccinated.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Craig F. Walker / Boston Globe / Pool / State House News Service

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a COVID-19 vaccine lottery, designed to encourage people to continue to get their shots.

Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee, Massachusetts, sells marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

When Governor Ned Lamont, as expected, signs a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Connecticut, the retail tax rate would be at the high end for states in the Northeast.

Out-Of-State, Illegal Markets Scooping Up Massachusetts Sports Wagers

Jun 17, 2021
Sports betting.
Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/hinnosaar

While Massachusetts lawmakers have been slow-walking proposals to legalize sports betting here over the last three years, the revenue and jobs that the activity could provide has passed the state by as legal sports betting proliferates around the country and in nearby states, supporters told the Joint Committee on Economic Development on Thursday.

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Transportation

Boston To New York In Under 2 Hours? Lawmakers Lobby For Bullet Train In Infrastructure Deal

For years, Doug McGarrah has suffered from bullet train envy. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to travel to places like Spain or Japan, we all marvel at these wonderful ways of getting around on high-speed rail, said McGarrah, a partner at the law firm Foley Hoag in Boston. We come back to America, and we get on our systems that are — lets just say substandard. But with Congress debating a massive infrastructure bill, McGarrah and other proponents of high-speed railways hope to...

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NATIONAL

The Record Temperatures Enveloping The West Are Not Your Average Heat Wave

It might be tempting to shrug at the scorching weather across large swaths of the West. This just in: It gets hot in the summer. But this record-setting heat wave's remarkable power, size and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists and climate experts yet more cause for concern about the routinization of extreme weather in an era of climate change. These sprawling, persistent high-pressure zones popularly called "heat domes" are relatively common in later summer months. This...

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A Lobster Diver In Cape Cod Says A Humpback Whale Scooped Him Up And Spat Him Out

A commercial lobster diver says he escaped relatively unscathed after nearly being swallowed by a humpback whale, in a biblical-sounding encounter that whale experts describe as rare but plausible. Michael Packard, 56, said in local interviews and on social media that he was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Mass., on Friday morning when the whale suddenly scooped him up. "I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out," Packard later...

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