Author Archives: Andrea Sears

Advocates Fear More Discrimination After Masterpiece Cake Ruling

Advocates Fear More Discrimination After Masterpiece Cake Ruling

Civil rights advocates fear the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case will encourage more attempted discrimination against LGBT people. By a 7-2 margin, the court ruled that the cake shop owner had not received an impartial hearing at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission over his refusal on religious grounds to make a wedding

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that they intend to weaken Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, but environmental groups are preparing to fight back. The standards, finalized in January 2017, require new cars to average 50 miles per gallon by 2025. Bowing to pressure from manufacturers, the Trump administration now says it will

Student Loan Bill of Rights Passes Mass. Senate

A bill to protect student loan borrowers from deceptive loan service companies has cleared the state Senate. Almost two-thirds of undergraduate students in the Bay State finish college with an average of nearly $30,000 of student loan debt. That’s a 75 percent increase since 2004. According to Deirdre Cummings, legislative director with the consumer watchdog

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

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