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Sabadosa bills bring pregnancy loss out of shadows
07-02-2024 2:31 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

Two bills presented by Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa that passed last week will support families who have experienced pregnancy loss by adding paid pregnancy loss leave to the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law and establishing a public information campaign...

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PFAS bill has majority support, but uncertain outlook
06-30-2024 5:02 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Two powerful lawmakers are trying to push a widely supported bill to ban toxic “forever chemicals” over the finish line before the looming end of session, but neither said Tuesday that the issue is a priority for their branch.House Speaker...


‘Home equity theft’ bill passed by House
06-28-2024 4:00 PM

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

BOSTON — The House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a bill that, if signed into law, would prohibit a practice commonly known as “home equity theft,” or the governmental taking and reselling of tax-foreclosed property without...


Franklin County resident-inspired bills ‘on track to pass,’ Comerford says
06-03-2024 3:12 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Two bills inspired by the stories and concerns of Franklin County residents are working their way through the Legislature and are “on track to pass,” according to Sen. Jo Comerford, who worked with her constituents to get the pieces of legislation...


Franklin County reps speak to House budget amendments
05-07-2024 4:34 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

Franklin County representatives got about half of what they asked for in amendments to the House version of the fiscal year 2025 state budget.After two separate votes, 11 of the 21 amendments proposed by Franklin County representatives were adopted by...


Sen. Comerford talks health care legislation with region’s physicians
03-15-2024 3:55 PM

By LIESEL NYGARD

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Before a room filled with local health care professionals, state Sen. Jo Comerford shared details about legislation she’s filed this session in hopes of bolstering the health care system to “do well by” those physicians and, in turn,...


Markey bill includes funds for paraprofessional hires, training
02-20-2024 4:24 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

The region’s paraeducators could receive additional support from the federal government when it comes to recruitment, training and retention as part of a bill proposed in Congress by Sen. Ed Markey.The bill — called the Preparing and Retaining All...


GCC nursing students talk single-payer health care, workplace safety concerns with legislators
02-13-2024 5:01 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

GREENFIELD — Four women representing western Massachusetts in the state Legislature visited Greenfield Community College on Monday for a panel discussion about health care with second-year nursing students.State Sen. Jo Comerford was joined by state...


Neal, McGovern: $78B tax bill a win for families
02-05-2024 5:00 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL and CHRIS LARABEE

SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal touted a new tax relief bill passed by the House of Representatives this week, and shared his views on U.S. foreign policy during a gathering with the press on Friday morning.Speaking at the atrium inside the...


PFAS, slew of other agriculture-related bills on the move on Beacon Hill
02-02-2024 5:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — Prohibiting PFAS from consumer products sold in Massachusetts remains an objective for Sen. Jo Comerford, who sees a recently advanced legislative bill to protect soil and farms from such contamination as an important first step to...


Bill seeks to relax forest management practices
11-30-2023 5:02 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

BOSTON — Multiple Franklin County and North Quabbin residents testified Wednesday in favor of a bill that aims to change forest management and conservation efforts in the state.H.4150, “An act relative to forest protection” filed by state Rep. Carmine...


Hearing shows rifts over extent of gun regulation
11-30-2023 8:53 AM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Most lawmakers seem to agree that something needs to be done about so-called “ghost guns,” but a fierce debate continues about the extent of additional gun regulation such as restricting where legal gun owners can carry and updating the...


Advocates back legislation seeking more local control on large-scale solar projects
11-19-2023 5:00 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

BOSTON — Local residents recently shared their opinions with the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on proposed legislation that would allow for more local control over large-scale solar projects.S.1319/H.2082, “An Act Regarding...


Western Mass legislators want rural representation in housing bond bill
11-05-2023 9:56 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

Rural legislators and organizations are working hard to make sure they get a portion of Gov. Maura Healey’s five-year, $4.12 billion housing bond bill that was unveiled earlier this month.Since Healey took office in January, she has created the...


Pioneer Valley residents testify in favor of rural school aid bill
11-01-2023 4:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

BOSTON — Educators, town officials and students from across the Pioneer Valley appeared before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education on Monday to share their support for bills that would codify several recommendations to ensure the stability...


Aid in dying forces try again, with Healey on their side
10-23-2023 5:00 PM

By ALISON KUZNITZ

BOSTON — Grieving family members who have watched the agonizing, slow deaths of their loved ones clashed Friday with members of the disability community and conservative groups over the prospect of legalizing medical aid in dying, resurfacing...


Bills look to address ‘glaring omission’ preventing spouses from being paid caregivers
10-23-2023 9:59 AM

By ALISON KUZNITZ

People could be paid to act as caregivers to spouses with disabilities under proposals promoted at a legislative hearing Monday to address the state’s shortage of personal care attendants.A slew of family members — including children, grandparents,...


Massachusetts House advances gun law changes; debate shows divide over whether proposal will curb gun violence
10-19-2023 4:00 PM

By Chris Lisinski

BOSTON — Most House Democrats lined up Wednesday in support of a major overhaul of the state’s firearms laws, easily hurdling over procedural complaints and sending the Senate a measure that has generated incendiary criticism from gun owners and...


Local group pushes psychedelic legislation as D.C. outfit aims for ballot
09-07-2023 11:32 AM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Advocates for decriminalizing psychedelic drugs are hoping to get traction on Beacon Hill and in Massachusetts cities and towns this year, though they are taking different approaches to changing the law.Grassroots coalition Bay Staters for...


Local advocates press Healey to fund Municipal Reforestation Program
09-07-2023 10:03 AM

By MARY BYRNE

Franklin County advocates were among the 21 groups and 258 people to sign a letter sent to the Healey administration on Tuesday, encouraging passage of a bill that would provide funding for a Municipal Reforestation Program. The letter asks that the...


Massachusetts Senate clears “X” gender choice for driver’s licenses
07-31-2023 4:05 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

BOSTON — The Senate moved Thursday to give people the option to select a nonbinary “X” identification on their drivers’ licenses and birth certificates, a choice LGBTQ allies have been advocating for years.The Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to...

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