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CommonWealth’s Winter 2018 issue is out!

Politics, Ideas, and Civic Life in Massachusetts

Apps are wild in CommonWealth’s winter issue, which is in the mail and up on our website today. The apps we’re writing about are Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft – all of them popular with the public but creating headaches for policymakers who are slowly – and warily – grappling with their fallout. Jack Sullivan writes about Airbnb, an

A year of opportunity and impact

A Recap of 2017

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2017 was a year of opportunity and impact for the MassINC family, which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group. Please take a moment to look through our top highlights of the year and consider making a year-end donation that will help us continue our efforts to improve the quality of life in

T notes: Bus lanes do save time

Big changes may be coming on the Green Line

MBTA OFFICIALS ON MONDAY said initial results from two experiments in Boston and Somerville showed dedicated bus lanes could dramatically cut route times. Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager, said a one-day test on December 12 of a dedicated bus lane on Washington Street between Roslindale Square and the Forest Hills T station showed travel

Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

How much editorial license should opinion writers be given?

HERE AT COMMONWEALTH we are great believers in open debate; that’s why we run so many opinion pieces. But sometimes the debate becomes so spirited that people want us to step in and become referees. One such instance was the recent back and forth between Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union, and Liam Kerr,

Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Riley leaving after six years, may seek state education commissioner’s post

  EDUCATION OFFICIALS UNVEILED the next chapter in state oversight of the Lawrence schools on Wednesday with the announcement that the state receiver, Jeff Riley, will be stepping down at the end of the school year in June and new state-appointed board will oversee the district. The state took control of the city’s struggling school system

Inequality, criminal justice reform are linked

Incarceration approach is hollowing out the middle class

FOR ALL THE TALK about inequality these days, it’s rare to see policy proposals that could actually make a difference. Politicians of all persuasions rail against the disappearing middle class, and then do very little to find common ground on viable solutions to the problem. The criminal justice reform legislation introduced in the Senate last week is an

Senate goes big on criminal justice bill

Sweeping proposal would touch most parts of system

THE SENATE IS poised to consider a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would reform everything from the bail system to mandatory minimum sentences and fees and penalties that weigh heavily on low-income defendants. The bill aims not only to reduce incarceration rates, but to eliminate various ways people get tripped up by a system that sometimes

House, Senate poised to go separate ways on criminal justice bills

Branches would need to reach agreement afterwards to move reforms forward

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE   THE HOUSE AND SENATE appear poised to go their separate ways on the major issue of criminal justice reform, perhaps meeting in the middle at some point in the future after what one senator predicted will be a “fairly lengthy evolutionary process.” The Judiciary Committee on Thursday opened voting on two

Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Does Baker’s approach represent middle ground?

Debate over immigration policy has bubbled up for years at the federal level, and now the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Lunn v. Commonwealth has brought it to the forefront for state legislators, too. Attention has coalesced around three bills, each touching on a similar set of issues,

Mass. rating plan deemed unfair to high-poverty schools

Report faults state system for not using ‘growth’ as bigger factor

MASSACHUSETTS GETS A poor grade from a Washington-based policy organization on how its plan to comply with a new federal education law treats schools with high rates of poverty. But a number of education policy thinkers in the state are pushing back against the report and say its message undermines an important pillar of education reform

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