MASSACHUSETTS

Coverage of Massachusetts from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

For Massachusetts to meet its 2050 climate change emission goal, the state is going to have to green the grid, replacing fossil fuel power plants with clean renewable energy sources. To do this, the commonwealth is banking on offshore wind.

“Offshore wind is the linchpin of Massachusetts clean energy strategy and critical to our success,” said State Sen. Michael Barrett, head of the committee that oversees utilities and energy.

By 2030, developers of offshore wind hope to install over 2,000 turbines in the seas from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

It’s a snowy afternoon in early January and the carpool lane at the Bromfield High School in Harvard, Mass. is packed with cars. But the families inside aren’t here to drop off their kids. They’re here for COVID-19 tests.

“I’m going to just swab each side about four times around,” says a healthcare worker to 13-year-old Emma Squire and her 16-year-old sister, Molly. The two girls look straight ahead as they got the test.

At a press conference on June 9, 2020, members of the Springfield City Council observe a moment of silence to remember George Floyd, who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

A hearing will be held on Tuesday in Hampden Superior Court on the City Council's lawsuit against Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Carolyn Robbins / The Republican / Masslive

A group that settles refugees in western Massachusetts said the future of the program is unclear, even with the change at the White House.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the "grand bargain" bill on June 28, 2018. He's shown here with the two legislative leaders, as of 2021, Senate President Karen Spilka (left) and House Speaker Ron Mariano (second from left).
Sam Doran / SHNS

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the climate bill passed by lawmakers in the final hours of the last legislative session. Many lawmakers were very pleased with that bill they crafted over five months and they plan to send it right back to the governor.

Massachusetts Cannabis Commission Reshaped To Start 2021

Jan 15, 2021
Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman heads the group responsible for setting up the regulations for legal, recreational marijuana use in the state.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Freshly restocked with three new members, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is gearing up for a year that will include the implementation of recently-approved regulations that allow for home delivery of non-medical marijuana, continuing to press for legislation that Beacon Hill mostly ignored last session, and possibly even another round of regulatory revisions.

Massachusetts Gov. Baker Vetoes Omnibus Climate, Emissions Reduction Bill

Jan 14, 2021
Morning traffic on the Mass Pike.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Scuttling what looked to be a major session-ending accomplishment for the Massachusetts legislature, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday vetoed ambitious climate legislation over his concerns that key pieces of the bill could stymie housing construction, and that the legislature did nothing in the bill to help cities and towns adapt to the effects of climate change.

Few Mass. House Members Have Walked Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's Path

Jan 14, 2021
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh waved as audience members in the Massachusetts House Chamber applauded him after he was mentioned by Gov. Baker during the 2017 State of the Commonwealth speech.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said during a speech to the city Tuesday night that he is going to bring Boston with him when he goes to Washington, D.C., to serve in the Biden administration as secretary of labor.

After 10 months of contending with the coronavirus pandemic, the largest addiction treatment provider in Massachusetts expressed relief as it began vaccinating workers and long-term patients against the virus.

Spectrum Health Systems received 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, and as of Tuesday, the company had administered about half of the first doses to staff and 20 people in residential addiction treatment.

Mass Vaccination Site Planned For Gillette Stadium

Jan 12, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivers a briefing Tuesday, January 12, 2021, after touring the Worcester Senior Center, where vaccinations started Monday for first responders.
Ashley Green / Telegram and Gazette / Pool / State House News Service

Gillette Stadium will become home to the first mass vaccination site in Massachusetts, opening its doors next week to first responders before ramping up to administer thousands of doses per day as eligibility expands, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.

A driver buckles up.
Facebook / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

A highway safety advocacy group says Vermont and New Hampshire are "dangerously behind" adoption of recommended traffic laws, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are faring only slightly better. 

A photograph of the exterior of the Massachusetts State House taken on September 21, 2013.
Noah B Kaplan / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/noahkaplan

While the U.S. Capitol was being stormed last week, state lawmakers in Massachusetts took their oaths beginning a new legislative session.

Mount Holyoke College students listen during a rally held to address historical allegations of sexual misconduct by a Mount Holyoke College professor, in December of 2018, at the college in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hamphire Gazette / gazettenet.com

College students in Massachusetts would be anonymously surveyed about their experiences with sexual misconduct on campus and would have access to new, confidential resources in the event of sexual assault, under a bill that's now on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk after a last-minute flurry of activity in the legislature this week.

Calls Grow In Massachusetts To Remove Trump From Office

Jan 7, 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
State House News Service

Calls to remove President Donald Trump from office after he incited a violent riot in the U.S. Capitol swept across Massachusetts on Thursday, coming from the state's Republican governor and every member of the all-Democrat congressional delegation.

Resolve Seeks New Or Revised Massachusetts State Seal And Motto

Jan 7, 2021
Massachusetts state law calls for the seal to include "a blue shield with an Indian thereon, dressed in a shirt, leggings and moccasins, holding in his right hand a bow, and in his left an arrow, pointed downward, all of gold."
Chris Van Buskirk / State House News Service

Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday took a step toward potentially replacing the official state seal and motto, a victory for activists who have argued for decades that the current versions disparage Native Americans.

Massachusetts Legislature Agrees To $626 Million Economic Development Bill

Jan 6, 2021
The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

With many businesses in Massachusetts on the brink after months of scraping by through the pandemic, the state legislature struck a late-night deal Wednesday to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy in an effort to spur job growth and keep businesses afloat.

Mass. Legislature’s Opening Day Forecast: Cloudy With A Mix Of In-Person, Remote

Jan 5, 2021
The new speaker of the Massachusetts House, Ron Mariano.
File photo / State House News Service

Wednesday will bring a new General Court on Beacon Hill, but lawmakers must work around the same old public health crisis.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
CMH2315FL / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/21953562@N07

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on Monday about whether a Christian college has to abide by anti-discrimination laws.

Massachusetts House Advances New Version Of Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Jan 5, 2021
Mount Holyoke College students listen during a rally held to address historical allegations of sexual misconduct by a Mount Holyoke College professor, in December of 2018, at the college in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hamphire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The Massachusetts House gave initial approval to a new version of legislation that aims to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, advancing a measure that many legislators want to get to Gov. Charlie Baker before the Tuesday end of session.

Vaccine Plans In Massachusetts Shaping Up For First Responders, Older Residents

Jan 4, 2021
U.S. Air Force Veteran Robert Aucoin, 78, gets a temperature check prior to receiving his COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on December 29, 2020.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

First responders can start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts next week, officials announced Monday, another milestone in the efforts to roll out immunization to key groups covered by the first distribution phase.

Negotiators Reach Deal On Major Massachusetts Climate Bill

Jan 4, 2021
A customer pumps fuel at a gas station.
Charles Minshew/KOMU / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/komunews

After six months of private talks, Massachusetts legislative negotiators have reached an agreement on a major bill to accelerate the state's pace toward addressing the global problem of climate change.

A swearing-in ceremony at the Massachusetts Statehouse on December 14, 2020.
File photo / State House News Service

With the change of the calendar year comes change at the Statehouse. Massachusetts lawmakers will begin a new legislative session on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.
Steph Solis / Masslive / Masslive.com

The Massachusetts secretary of state said he's concerned the Trump administration has sabotaged the census for political reasons.

Massachusetts Gov. Baker Signs Landmark Policing Reform Law

Dec 31, 2020
Jasmine Sinclair, who organized a protest in Northampton, Mass., delivers a list of demands, including a one-third reduction in the budget for the Northampton Police Department.
Ben James / NEPR

As the year and legislative session come to a close, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday signed into law legislation creating a police accountability and oversight system under which officers need to be certified every three years and can lose their certification for violating to-be-developed policing standards.

Massachusetts Emissions Roadmap Envisions 'Decade For Action'

Dec 30, 2020
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
File photo / State House News Service

The rest of the 2020s need to be "the decade for action" on climate change and energy policy if Massachusetts is to meet its mid-century greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, and that will require sweeping changes in the ways that people in Massachusetts heat their homes, get to work and around town, and generate electricity, the Baker administration said Wednesday.

Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano addressed his colleagues Wednesday, December 30, 2020, after being elected leader of the House.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

The Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano era is here, and there will be no gently paced transition period.

Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert McManus.
Diocese of Springfield

The Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, recently said it will expand its public list of priests accused of abuse to include those implicated after their death. But some other dioceses in Massachusetts don't have lists posted on their websites at all.

DeLeo Reflects On Record-Setting Run As Massachusetts House Speaker

Dec 30, 2020
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo walks across the Mount Vernon Street archway at the Statehouse on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

As the sun set on his time in the Massachusetts House, Speaker Robert DeLeo took to the House floor one last time Tuesday to reflect on a three-decade Beacon Hill career that he said he tried to center around one overarching philosophy: that "what this job is all about, very simply, is helping people."

White-tailed deer tracks in snow.
Connecticutbirder / creativecommons.org

When the five deer first appeared — pausing at a neighbor’s, then coming into our yard — it was like a visitation from beyond. They seemed otherworldly with their stature and poise, warm brown against the awfully white snow.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo To Resign Tuesday Evening

Dec 28, 2020

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, plans to resign from the legislature after 30 years on Beacon Hill on Tuesday.

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