Earlier this week Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Maura Healy, announced the State would launch a new hotline to report harassment and intimidation of minority groups. Residents are encouraged to call 1-800-994-3228 or fill out a civil rights complaint form online if they witness or experience bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence against racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women, immigrants and lesbian, gay and transgender individuals.
Healey, an openly gay Democrat, said she’s launching the hotline after reports that people across the country have been targeted and harassed since the election of Donald Trump as president.
Did you hear? Americans crashed Canada’s Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship website Tuesday night as it became apparent that Donald Trump would become our nation’s next President. In response, The Boston Globe created an entertaining video citing seven reasons you should consider a move to Massachusetts instead.
I’ve done a copy and paste below but you can watch the video here.
1. If Obamacare is repealed, Massachusetts will still have universal health care. It’s been state law since 2006 and is what the Affordable Care Act was modeled on. It’s very popular, and it’s not going anywhere.
2. Ditto for marriage equality. Massachusetts’ highest court legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. So even if a conservative Supreme Court overturned itself on the issue, it would still be legal here.
3. Mass just legalized recreational marijuana on Tuesday.
4. Apparently, Massachusetts and Hawaii are the only states in the country in which every county voted for Hillary Clinton.
5. Aside from Mass. very popular (and moderate) governor, all statewide offices are held by Democrats, who also control both the state House and Senate.
6. If you REALLY need some poutine, Montreal is only a 6-hour drive from Boston.
7. Best of all, there is no convoluted immigration process with high hurdles to clear. Just aim toward New England and stop when every other store is a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Some of you may have seen this graphic making the rounds on Facebook. I don’t know if the assertion is correct, but according to rwbomc on Reddit, Massachusetts was the only state in the U.S. where Trump did not win a single county. With Hillary no longer in the picture, I’m going to hijack Clinton’s hashtag and modify it to #ImWithMass.
With the Internet droning on endlessly about the Clinton / Trump debate I thought I would focus on a ballot initiative that will be on several states this fall: the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Currently Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington (as well as Washington, D.C.) allows the recreational use of marijuana. In November five more states will ask residents to vote on making the sale of marijuana legal to buy and sell for recreational use (including Massachusetts).
According to 24/7 Wall St., Massachusetts voters have a good chance of voting to legalize marijuana, and if legalized, Massachusetts is estimated to reap as much as $187 million in new tax revenues. Massachusetts projected tax revenues pale in comparison to the $1+ billion California could reap, but nearly $200 million ain’t exactly chump change and could go a long way to funding that pesky Green Line extension everyone says we need but cannot seem to afford to build.
Yes on 4: Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization
Earlier this month the Boston Business Journal had an excellent article addressing the antiquated or to use the BBJ’s lingo, “Puritanical”, approach to regulating liquor licenses in Massachusetts. Apparently even our Governor agrees because Baker has filed legislation as part of a municipal modernization bill to allow cities and towns set their own quota for restaurants licensed to serve alcohol. That portion of the governor’s bill (H 3906) was pending before the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government when I wrote this.
Although I’m not hopeful, I’d love to see this antiquated process revamped. I don’t know if it is true, but I was once told that our liquor licensing process is the result of Hugh O’Brien being sworn in as Boston’s first Irish mayor back in 1895. As the story goes, shortly after his swearing in the Brahmin community used their influence to have legislation passed so the city of Boston couldn’t turn into a giant pub (dare to dream) and would give the authority of granting liquor licenses to the State House where Protestants still maintained control. I can’t imagine this was true, but as a gay man, I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen senseless, vindictive legislation so I wouldn’t write it off either.
If you’d like to read the BBJ article, which inspired this post, link here.
Standing in stark contrast to North Carolina (boo, hiss) Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations. You may recall this was the source of much discontent at last month’s Boston Spirit Magazine, LGBT Executive Networking Night when keynote speaker, Gov. Charlie Baker, was booed off the stage because he wouldn’t come out in support of the bill.
The legislation expands a 2011 state law that previously banned discrimination against transgender people in the workplace and housing. The legislation now heads to the MA House where it is expected to pass and will put MA in good company, joining 17 other states and D.C. that have already banned discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations.
Hat tip to David over at WGB where I first read about this.
In July 2007 then Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit, to encourage movie producers from Hollywood and around the world to film here. Since then it seems like Boston in particular has been overrun with both TV and Film production crews, although in fairness some very prominent films that feature Boston predate the tax credit like the 1970s romance Love Story and a personal favorite the 1997 Good Will Hunting.
Although it has been controversial, I am in favor of keeping the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit and despite the occasional inconvenience of film crews closing off streets, I think it is really cool to see parts of my home city featured in films – even when it is supposedly some place else (usually NYC).
Well over 100 movies and TV episodes have been filmed since the 2007 tax credit including: The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (2009); The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale (2010), The Town with Ben Affleck (2010), TED with Seth McFarlane and Mark Wahlberg (2012); The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy (2013); American Hustle with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper (2013); Spotlight with Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams (2015); and Ghostbusters 3 with Chris Hemsworth, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig (2016).