Saturday, April 13, 2013
Massachusetts is one of 11 states where 17-year-olds are tried and sentenced as adults, but two bills on Beacon Hill seek to change that.
At what age should teenagers be tried as adults when charged with a crime? In Massachusetts, it's anyone 17-years-old or older, but two bills currently on Beacon Hill seek to change that. It's a law that journalists at Patch and elsewhere are well aware of, since we've answered emails and questions from people asking why a 17-year-old arrestee's name had been printed in a police log report. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 119, Section 52 defines only those 16 and younger as juveniles in the state's court system. The makes the Bay State only one of 11 states that doesn't classify 17-year-olds as juveniles. Most states—38, to be exact—don't treat alleged offenders as adults until they've reached 18-years-old. New York and North Carolina …
Friday, April 12, 2013
Winchester State Rep. Jason Lewis voted in favor of the $500 million transportation funding bill that passed 97-55 Monday evening.
Stoneham's State Rep. Jason Lewis voted in favor of the House's $500 million transportation funding bill that passed 97-55 Monday evening. The bill passed Monday by the House was at odds with a more ambitious proposal put forth by Gov. Deval Patrick, who called for $1.9 billion in new revenue to fund transportation and education initiatives in the state. Patrick had said he would veto the $500 million bill. "I voted in favor of the bill in the House because I believe that having a strong transportation system is essential to our state's economic competitiveness and growth," Lewis said. "The new funding for transportation that is in this legislation is going to do a number of important things for our transportation system. First, it will …
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Should the state forge ahead with Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to invest now? Or should it follow the Legislature leadership's proposal to address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives?
Massachusetts legislators this week answered Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious plan to raise $1.9 billion for transportation and education with a $500 million plan of their own, which says the governor is asking for too much, too soon as the Bay State shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. Who's right? Should the state forge ahead in a bold plan to invest now? Or should it cautiously address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives? While Patrick's plan includes funding for both the state transportation system and increased education funding from preschool through college, House and Senate lawmakers eschew new revenue for education, focusing solely on closing the transportation budget gap over the next five years. The …
Monday, April 1, 2013
Three bills seeks now in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary would make public the names of lower-level sex offenders.
The recent state auditor report revealing that a large number of sex offenders live at addresses registered as childcare facilities has added fuel to the effort on Beacon Hill to publicize the names of all those who've committed sex crimes. "The auditor's recent findings should serve as a catalyst to pass targeted legislation which protects the Commonwealth's citizens from dangerous sex offenders," House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. (R-North Reading) said in a statement Wednesday. "The report published today is an unfortunate example of why comprehensive sex offender legislation I filed will, in part, open the lines of communication between the Department of Early Education and Care and the Sex Offender Registry Board." Jones' …
Friday, March 22, 2013
State Sen. Katherine said budget priorities include local aid and schools; investing in early education and care; supporting seniors, veterans and vulnerable citizens; and transportation.
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Friday, March 22
Saturday, March 16, 2013
See why the state Legislature's website received an 'F' for transparency and tell us—do you agree? How transparent is your city or town government's website?
This week is Sunshine Week, when journalists and nonprofits cast a spotlight on government transparency, but there are dark clouds over the Massachusetts Legislature's website according to one organization. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Sunshine Foundation gave the state Legislature's website an 'F,' one of five states to receive a failing grade on a report card grading each state legislature website's transparency. Websites were scored in six categories. The categories, along with the score ranges for each, Massachusetts' scores and explanations were: The lead investigator on the Sunshine Foundation's Open State project, James Turk, told WGBH that Massachusetts' results were presented to the state and the Foundation "was told that not much …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
In wake of the John Burbine case, local lawmakers announce a comprehensive proposal to reform state sex offender reporting policies.
Local lawmakers told the Boston-area media Wednesday that they have filed comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the ways information about sex offenders is shared between law enforcement, state agencies, and the public. The legislation was motivated by the charges against John and Marian Burbine, both of Wakefield. John Burbine is facing 100 charges involving the sexual abuse of young children—including alleged victims from Stoneham—while his wife is charged with multiple counts stemming from the illegal day care she operated. John Burbine was classified as a level 1 sex offender after a 1989 case involving several young children—and with that classification level was able to avoid detection even when a local mother tried to check …
Friday, January 18, 2013
Fox 25 Report says Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will introduce bill Friday aimed at closing loopholes in sex offender registration system. Back in December, State Senator Katherine Clark raised some similar ideas.
As promised last month after news of the John Burbine sex abuse case first broke, which includes alleged victims from Stoneham, state lawmakers are introducing a bill aimed at closing loopholes in the sex offender registration system. A Thursday report on MyFoxBoston says that State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will introduce a bill Friday that would allow Level 1 sex offender information to be made public, and which would also an offender to be reclassified if new information came up about them. The article also quotes Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith as saying that he supports the previously mentioned items, while also citing the need for better inter-agency communication. In December, soon after Middlesex District Attorney Gerard …
Friday, January 11, 2013
Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that would require teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.
UPDATED FRIDAY, JAN. 11 at 11:55 A.M. Should school and child care employees fingerprinted before starting employment in order to check their criminal backgrounds? The Associated Press recently reported Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is considering signing legislation that would require teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks. On Friday, the state education office announced in a press release that Patrick signed the bill on Thursday, authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and school districts to conduct fingerprint-supported national criminal history background checks on all teachers, school employees and early education providers in …
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
A drop in the state's median household income led to the salary reduction.
Massachusetts lawmakers will get a pay cut this year, in accordance with a state law that links legislators’ salaries to the state’s median household income. Governor Deval Patrick’s office announced the drop in wages late last week. “As required by Article CXVIII of the Amendments to the Constitution, for the purpose of adjusting the base compensation of members of the General Court, we have ascertained, from the federal census American Community Survey and reports of average weekly wages, that the median household income for the Commonwealth for the preceding two-year period decreased by 1.8 percent,” Patrick said in a Jan. 2 letter to State Treasurer Steven Grossman. The pay cut amounts to about $1,000 annually from legislators’ current…