Topics by Sarah Birnbaum
A report from the Child Welfare League of America calls for better technology and increased staffing levels at the DCF to prevent future tragedies and better ensure the safety of those the agency should protect.
A day after the State of the Commonwealth and the State of the Union addresses, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert Deleo unveiled his priorities for the coming year. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Republicans had a chance to gloat last week when the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously to repeal the controversial tax on software services, just two months after it was adopted.
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey greets shoppers at a supermarket in West Roxbury. With Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the state three to one, Markey is relying on conventional Democratic strategy in this special election.
As the special June election looms, Senate hopeful Democrat Ed Markey continues to challenge his opponent, Republican Gabriel Gomez, to join him in signing a "People’s Pledge" to limit outside spending on advertising. So far Gomez, behind in raising funds for the election, has refused.
Thousands gathered at MIT's Briggs Field with vice president Joe Biden, family, and police officers to remember slain MIT police officer Sean Collier.
The Massachusetts Senate has approved a compromise version of the controversial “three strikes” crime bill. The 31-to-7 vote came one day after the House overwhelmingly approved the legislation.
A fight is being waged on Beacon Hill over a newspaper’s request to keep tabs on the comings and goings of lawmakers — and the controversy has provoked additional press criticism of Gov. Deval Patrick.
At a public hearing on the compact that Gov. Deval Patrick signed with Mashpee Wampanoag tribal leaders, southeastern representatives expressed concern that the project could be frozen for years.
With the formal session deadline approaching, lawmakers hold a public hearing on the governor's casino agreement, officials consider the price of placing calls from prison and the June job numbers get released.
The deal grants the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe the exclusive right to operate a casino in the southeastern part of the state. It's the most concrete development yet in the race to establish casinos in Massachusetts.
At a State House hearing, transportation officials said the total cost of the Big Dig is continuing to grow, starving the state of funds for other road and bridge projects.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. But if it's struck down, the practical ramifications in Massachusetts may be relatively small.
Gov. Deval Patrick praised the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on immigrants. But he wasn't entirely satisfied — and neither were some of his critics.
President Barack Obama makes a campaign swing through Boston, a proposed casino in East Boston draws opposition and a film and television studio pushes ahead in Devens.
Massachusetts high school students will soon be required to take at least 3 years of lab-based science classes to get into the state's 4-year public universities.
The bill passed after officials rejected a bid by five senators to replace the MBTA's current governing board with a new one.
Officials join scientists at the BIO International Convention and the House and Senate take up transportation spending bills.
A new report from Harvard University concludes that the housing crisis may be at an end — and this time, they really mean it.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is stepping up personal attacks on his Democratic opponent. After leaving the issue mostly to surrogates, he appeared on national television questioning Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American ancestry.
The state House of Representatives passed a bill giving the MBTA nearly $50 million from a fund that was intended to help reduce air pollution. The vote was 130-25.
A national survey of governors' budgets shows the state's tax revenues are finally projected to hit pre-recession levels. But Gov. Deval Patrick is still taking a tight-fisted approach to budgeting.
The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved a 5% hike in student fees Wednesday over the objections of Governor Deval Patrick. WGBH Radio's / WCAI's state house reporter Sarah Birnbaum has more.
Massachusetts officials, local mayors and advocates rallied at Boston’s South Station for a solution to the state's transportation funding crisis.
Hundreds rally to draw attention to Massachusetts' ailing roads, bridges and mass transit systems; Whitey Bulger's girlfriend heads to court for sentencing; lawmakers debate a one-time bailout of the MBTA and Gov. Deval Patrick resumes his busy travel schedule.
More trouble with Big Dig infrastructure: State transportation officials said crews need to replace crumbling concrete that was supposed to last 30 years — and the fix could cost $1 million.
University of Massachusetts trustees have approved a nearly 5 percent tuition and fee increase for undergraduates. Says the governor, "It's a crummy time to ask students to pay more."
The racing center unveiled plans for a $1 billion resort-style complex with approximately 200,000 square feet of gaming space, a hotel and up to 10 restaurants.
The Senate passed a measure last month to contain rising health care costs. Now it's the House's turn. But experts are divided over whether the plan will actually work.
The state House of Representatives begins debate on a landmark health care cost containment bill and Taunton residents weigh in on the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's plans to build a casino in the city.
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts has congratulated his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, for winning her party's endorsement and said he wants a debate.
Despite predictions that underdog Marisa DeFranco would get on the ballot, nearly 96 percent of the delegates at the state Democratic Convention nominated Warren — a record, and enough to avoid a party primary.
In a landmark decision, on May 31 a Boston federal appeals court declared the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act, called DOMA, unconstitutional. The 1996 law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
About 100 people shouted slogans as Obama strategist David Axelrod tried to address the crowd.
Her U.S. Senate campaign has little cash and no paid staff. Yet Massachusetts Democrat Marisa DeFranco is on the verge of qualifying for the September primary ballot.
This week in Massachusetts state politics, the casino oversight board meets, officials commemorate the Western Massachusetts tornadoes and Springfield hosts the Democratic state convention.
The Massachusetts Senate is expected to debate a controversial amendment to the state budget that would require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to check for proof of lawful immigration status before issuing driver's licenses.
Massachusetts’ top securities regulator has subpoenaed Morgan Stanley related to allegations that it misled most shareholders about the value of Facebook's IPO.
The federal government has approved the use of $628 million to implement cost-saving reforms at seven Massachusetts hospitals that treat many of the state’s poorest residents.
Massachusetts lawmakers are trying to change a part of the state's drunk driving law that advocates say could let thousands of drunk drivers get back on the road sooner than expected.
Gov. Deval Patrick welcomes cable industry executives and celebrities to Boston, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray travels to the Pentagon and the state House and Senate debate spending and jobs.
A grieving father is calling for legislation at the Massachusetts State House aimed at preventing child drownings.
The Mass. House has passed a bill aimed at preventing unnecessary foreclosures by requiring loan modifications when it is in the financial interest of the borrower and the lender.
The bill would control the cost of health care in Massachusetts. But is it necessary — or too much?
Deval Patrick weighed in for the first time since the state House and Senate unveiled competing versions of bills to rein in health care spending, listing four elements a final bill must have.
Mass. House leaders unveiled plans on Monday to boost the budget for universities and local infrastructure programs as part of an omnibus economic development bill.
The budget process moves forward, the Mass. Senate tries to cut health care costs and the state marks 8 years of legal same-sex marriage.
Two different stories hit the news recently about prominent Massachusetts politicians and not-so-flattering incidents from their pasts. They might factor in voter choices.
With health care spending growing at least twice as fast as the overall economy, state Senate leaders released a proposal on Wednesday to drastically rein in the costs. The Mass. House released a similar measure last week.
A bipartisan commission has unanimously approved recommendations to track and assess the performance of business tax breaks.
The Mass. House of Representatives is considering a $32.3 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
MIT is proposing a multi-million-dollar new research facility at Hanscom Air Force Base at a time when state officials are worried Pentagon cutbacks could mean steep job losses.
City and town leaders pleaded with state lawmakers to fix the municipal unemployment system, saying that questionable claims are draining town budgets.
The newly formed gambling oversight board is holding a conference to learn about what will be a multi-billion-dollar addition to the state's economy.
Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo unveiled a $32.3 billion state budget that would deal a blow to some of Gov. Deval Patrick's major policy initiatives.
There is evidence that Massachusetts residents support legalizing marijuana for medical uses. But at a public hearing on a proposed ballot initiative on the issue, Beacon Hill was decidedly lukewarm.
The debate over how to close the MBTA’s huge deficit is in lawmakers' hands now.
Immigration advocates rally, transportation officials testify on a bill transferring funds to the MBTA and the Massachusetts House unveils its budget for fiscal year 2013.
The state Senate unanimously passed a measure that would compensate ratepayers for prolonged power outages.
The board that oversees the Mass. Bay Transportation Authority voted 4-1 in favor of fare increases and modest service cuts as the crowd of 200-plus riders shouted "shame on you."
Gov. Deval Patrick criticized congressional Republicans Tuesday, saying they're blocking President Barack Obama’s efforts to fix the economy.
A law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage law heads to federal appeals court in Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority board is poised to approve service cuts and fare hikes.
A Massachusetts commission is recommending new restrictions on Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT cards — the debit cards that replaced food stamps. Some lawmakers say the proposals don’t go far enough.
New research shows that Bay State residents are better at sticking to their prescribed drug regimen than most. Still, one-third of the patients with chronic health conditions stop taking their medication within a year.
The Massachusetts Senate plans to take up an omnibus bill this week aimed at controlling electricity costs by authorizing more frequent reviews of proposed rate hikes and requiring competitive bidding for green energy.
A former commissioner and two deputies pleaded not guilty to charges of seeking favors in exchange for hiring job applicants sponsored by state lawmakers. (AP photo)
Advocates and employees warn that a plan to save $20 billion will result in furious customers and lost jobs.
When the casino bill passed in November 2011, top lawmakers said shovels would be in the ground within 3 to 5 years for casinos, and even sooner for a slots parlor. The newly formed gambling commission says that timetable may be unrealistic.
The executive branch earned a C-plus on the nationwide State Integrity Initiative, which looked at laws on the books to prevent corruption in government.
On Beacon Hill, judges make the case for more state funding for the trial courts, officials weigh the proposed NStar-Northeast merger and the final members of Massachusetts Gambling Commission are expected to be announced.
When you think of Sal DiMasi and his two convicted predecessors, Massachusetts can seem like a hotbed of political intrigue. See how we ranked in a new nationwide study of corruption risk.
Thousands of callers contacted the state's Office of Consumer Affairs last year to lodge complaints. See which five top the list.
As the debate continues over proposed fare hikes and service cuts for Boston-area mass transit, advocates called Monday for a long-term solution to the state's transportation funding problems.
This week in state politics, the debate over MBTA fare hikes and service cuts is about to enter a new phase, the state announces the top five consumer complaints and a rally is planned at the State House to push for a change in sex abuse laws.
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