Wednesday, June 23, 2021

MA News Briefs: traffic is back, legislature rebuffs Gov Baker, remote access should stay for meetings

“Traffic, for all intents and purposes, is back to about 2019 levels on most roadways in Massachusetts at this point,” Gulliver said in a presentation to the Department of Transportation’s board.
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"House lawmakers on Tuesday rejected Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal to spend $2.8 billion of federal funds provided to the state through the American Rescue Plan, opting instead to stow the majority of the $5.3 billion in aid into a separate account under the Legislature’s control.

House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano and Senate President Karen E. Spilka said in a statement Tuesday that by placing the money in a separate fund, it will allow lawmakers to decide how best to use the money with input from the public."
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"As we look back on the hellish year gone by, it’s also time to sort through those changes worth keeping, those things that actually made improvements in our lives.

And those changes don’t begin and end with to-go cocktails — as much fun as they were. One of the best things to come out of the pandemic lockdown was the way most government bodies from Beacon Hill committees to municipal boards and commissions adapted, allowing their own members and members of the public to attend meetings remotely — from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Computer screens became that critical window on the political world that allowed the public to tune in to legislative committee hearings on crucial issues, city council hearings, town meetings. And not merely to tune in, in many of those cases, but also to offer remote testimony. Distance or disability was no longer a factor. Nor was the inability to get a babysitter or reluctance to make the hours-long trek from Pittsfield to Boston."
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