Tuesday, July 21, 2020

In the News: MA House has its own police reform legislation; Marlboro lab to use new testing process

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The Massachusetts House released its own police reform bill that includes a police certification process, standardizes training across the state and makes officer discipline records more readily available to the public. 
The House bill unveiled late Sunday comes about a week after the state Senate passed its own police accountability bill that would place limits on the “qualified immunity” shielding officers from civil prosecution and limits the use of force by officers. 
The 129-page bill includes the establishment of a seven-person Massachusetts Police Standards and Training Commission that would serve as the “primary civil enforcement agency” in the state. 
“In keeping with our commitment to debate a bill to address structural inequalities that contribute to and are also a result of racial inequities, this bill creates a new Massachusetts Police Standards and Training Commission that is truly independent and empowered,” Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a statement."

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The Boston Globe posted a copy of the proposed House bill. 

"By the end of the week, one of Massachusetts’ most prolific COVID-19 testing labs will deploy a newly-approved method designed to allow them to test more samples. 
The announcement from New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics comes about a week after the company announced “soaring demand” for COVID-19 molecular testing was slowing turnaround time to a week or more for most patients. 
Quest Diagnostics announced Friday that the company’s lab in Marlborough will be one of two facilities to begin pooling specimens for testing in a procedure approved by under an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this procedure, samples are collected individually but combined into a small batch for testing. 
“A negative result for a batch means that all patients in that pool are considered negative (If a positive result occurs for the batch, each specimen is retested individually). The technique is an efficient way to evaluate patients in regions or populations with low rates of disease,” company officials explained in a statement."
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