Author Archives: Andrea Sears

Mass. Bill Pushes Back Against Implementation of Video Only Prison Visits

Maintaining contact with family is important to the wellbeing of people who are incarcerated, and a bill in Massachusetts’ state legislature would ensure that in-person visits are protected. The visitation provision is part of a much larger criminal justice reform bill. According to Lucius Couloute, policy analyst with the Prison Policy Initiative, some sheriffs’ departments

Report: Tougher Drug Laws Don’t Reduce Overdose Deaths

A new nationwide study finds that putting more people in jail for drug offenses doesn’t reduce drug use or overdose deaths. On Monday, President Donald Trump called for harsher sentences– including the death penalty for drug traffickers– to combat the opioid epidemic. Jake Horowitz, director of research and policy at Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety

Multi-State Coalition to Fight Carbon Pollution

State lawmakers have launched a multi-state coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution. The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including Massachusetts. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives. Jeff Mauk is executive director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators,

Logan Airport Workers Strike For Two Days

Hundreds of workers at Logan International Airport went out on strike Wednesday afternoon, demanding fair treatment by subcontractors for JetBlue. With about 2,500 subcontracted workers at the airport, the strike is one of the biggest worker led actions at Logan in years. The wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and skycaps voted last week to

Critics Call HHS Proposal “License to Discriminate”

LGBT Americans face a patchwork of civil rights protections from state-to-state, and their advocates say a potential new government office could increase discrimination. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services released details of a proposed rule for a new division in its Office of Civil Rights for the purpose of protecting religious freedom,

Study Says Food Assistance Improves Health

A new report links access to SNAP benefits to improved health and lower health care costs. The paper, published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, compiles studies of the health status of low-income people who receive assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, and those who are eligible

Minimum Wage Increase Would Be Boon For Families that Depend on Teens’ Paychecks

A new study from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says raising the minimum wage has little impact on teen unemployment, but can have a big impact on teens and their families. On Monday, 18 states saw their minimum wages increase, but Massachusetts wasn’t among them. A bill in the state legislature would raise the

Healthcare Advocates Slam Proposed Insurance Rule

The federal Department of Labor is proposing a rule that critics say would allow the sale of what some call “junk” health insurance. Published in the Federal Register last week, the rule would loosen restrictions on Association Health Plans, offered by professional groups or other associations to their members. The Labor Department said the purpose

No More “Free and Open” Internet? Party-Line Vote at FCC Scuttles Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality rules. In a party-line vote on Thursday, the FCC approved a proposal to end regulations that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down access or prioritizing their own content. Commission Chair Ajit Pai said repealing the Obama-era rules will help consumers and promote

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