Sunday, July 12, 2020

In the News: police reform bill stalls for 3rd day; parents want flag at half-staff Aug 31

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"For the third time in as many days, Senate Republicans prevented debate on a wide-ranging police reform bill, but it appears the Senate could launch into its debate on Monday. 
State Sen. Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton, used a procedural motion to postpone debate - asking that all of the nearly 130 amendments to the bill be printed in the Senate calendar. 
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, said there is bipartisan agreement on 80% to 90% of the bill, but a section dealing with qualified immunity of law enforcement officers is dividing the Senate. He said a bill that’s less expansive and focuses on areas of agreement is more likely to yield “timely action.” 
Qualified immunity is a doctrine that prohibits civil rights suits against government officials where unconstitutional conduct had not been clearly established as illegal at the time it occurred."
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"Parents who have lost children to opioid overdoses gathered Friday outside the State House to urge the governor to lower flags to half-staff in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, part of a national push to get all 50 states to bring flags down halfway on the day. 
The Massachusetts-based nonprofit Team Sharing organized the event and works with parents who have lost a child to substance use disorder by providing social networking, grief services, and advocacy. 
“If you ever have gone to a funeral and and watched a mom put her child in the ground, oh, my gosh, you’d do anything for them,” said Marlborough resident Cheryl Juaire, whose son Corey Merrill died in 2011 from an overdose. “He’s sending a clear message that he doesn’t care, and that’s what we’re really upset about. There was not a good enough reason why he couldn’t do it.” 
Baker has focused on reducing opioid overdoses during his time in office and the governor’s office plans to issue a proclamation on Aug. 31 declaring the day as International Overdose Awareness Day but said in a letter Thursday that U.S. Flag Code authorizes only certain, specific reasons for the lowering of the U.S. flag to half-staff."
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