Western Mass. Lawmakers Ask Gov. Baker To Help In Wake Of Federal Shutdown

Jan 11, 2019

Two state lawmakers from western Massachusetts, Jo Comerford and Mindy Domb, sent Governor Charlie Baker a letter asking him to provide emergency funding for food banks if the federal shutdown goes on long enough to impact food stamp benefits.

Also related to the shutdown, in Boston, a pop-up food pantry opened for men and women of the Coast Guard, the only branch of the armed services working without pay. And a new NPR/Ipsos Poll finds that three-quarters of Americans say the government shutdown, now tied for the longest in U.S. history, is "embarrassing for the country," including a majority of Republicans.

Wrapping up other news from the week: Connecticut has a new governor — Democrat Ned Lamont — and when he addressed the legislature this week, he suggested he'd take a more collaborative approach to governing. Lamont got some positive reactions, including from Senate Republican Len Fasano.

"I don't think he used the word Republican or Democrat once in the speech, which speaks to his mindset," Fasano said. "He doesn't look at this legislature as Republican [or] Democrat. We're all in this together."

Also this week, Springfield's new city council president, Justin Hurst, said he'll continue to push for a civilian police commission to oversee the department. He said it's clearly broken.

Springfield police officers have been arrested in recent months for using excessive force and falsifying reports. The mayor and city council have been fighting over the police commission for years. The mayor has said ordinances authorizing it go against the city charter.

And last, the Massachusetts public records law applies to most municipal and state agencies. But the legislature, judiciary and governor's office have an exemption. Beacon Hill lawmakers were supposed to come up with recommendations to make the work of the legislature more transparent, but for the second time in as many years, just missed a deadline to do so.

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