Tuesday, June 30, 2020

In the News: conference committee resolves difference on ballot bill; Big-E canceled

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"The House and Senate are poised this week to approve compromise early voting and vote-by-mail legislation that should pave the way for a major expansion of options ahead of the 2020 election to encourage participation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All six lawmakers appointed to find a compromise on the bill (H 4820) signed onto a report Monday, including Republicans Rep. Brad Hill and Sen. Ryan Fattman. Rep. John Lawn, the lead House negotiator on the bill, said he anticipates a vote of the full House on the final bill Tuesday while the Senate plans to take it up Thursday, according to a spokesperson for the Senate president’s office.

“Hopefully we’ll take this up tomorrow and then to the Senate and get it to the governor as soon as possible,” Lawn said.

The House and Senate versions of the bill instruct the secretary of state’s office to mail every voter an application to request a mail-in ballot for the primaries on Sept. 1 and the general election on Nov. 3. The goal, lawmakers have said, is to continue in-person voting but to allow voters cast their votes early if they wish or to avoid the polls altogether if they feel unsafe due to virus transmission risks."

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"Organizers announced Monday their decision to cancel the 2020 Big E Fair in the interest of safety.

The event was scheduled to be held from Sept. 18 through Oct. 4. Approximately 1.6 million people attend the annual event.

“The Big E Fair is so much more than just a fair, it is tradition, it is celebration, it is the showcase of everything we are so proud of in New England. This is why our hearts are heavy as we bring you this news,” a spokesperson wrote.

Organizers said staff spent months trying to figure out a way to save the event, but “realized that The Big E experience that everyone has come to know and love would not be the same.”

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