Archive for MA House

Rep. Liz Malia Dec. 11th

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 PM Eastern when MA Rep. Liz Malia is the guest. She is co-chair of the Joint Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee. We’ll talk her recent big bill on prescription and other drug abuse. She also advocates for mental health parity.

If you can listen in live, go here then. Afterward to can hear the show or download it at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

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Mike Barrett Podcast

The technology-and-business oriented candidate for 3rd Middlesex MA Senate puts himself out there. Lexington’s Mike Barrett has strong ideas and is as plain spoken as it comes.

He is one of the four Dems running for that nomination to go in November against one of the two Republicans who also want Sen. Susan Fargo’s seat. He was the candidate who announced even before she decided not to run for reelection.

Listen is as Barrett describes his visions for a revitalized Massachusetts, particularly from Worcester East. He had been a state legislator from his Cambridge years (6 in the House and 8 in the Senate). Since, he has run a high-tech related consultancy, with a particular emphasis on health care. He dovetails his sundry experiences into a future that supports our local innovators.

He speaks to how he sees our companies replicating a modern form of boom from the mini-computer era. This would turn our focus from business-to-business (B2B) to more business-to-consumers (B2C), with advances in health care related to IT, computers and even robots. He explains what he sees as growth paths and what the role of government should be.

Barrett is plain also about money. He says he is the candidate not afraid to say where taxes need to go up, and where fees for public services do. He said that waffling on taxes are not good positions for progressives to take.

Listen in as he describes how he thinks he can accomplish is myriad goals. He reminded me several times that he’s an optimist and that he accomplished his goals the last time he was in the General Court.

icon for podpress  Mike Barrett [34:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Making Ballot Initiatives Saner

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Somerville) strikes the right and essential note with me. She is in for the long fight, if necessary, to make the ballot initiative process more reasonable and better for us all.

She joined us to speak to her bill H1830 and complementing legislation such as S12. These would bring us in line with other states as well as the original aims of plebiscites to amend our MA constitution or repeal and add laws.

Her 1830 would up the requirement to get an initiative in the works from 3% of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election to 7%. She is quick to note that not only is our current requirement the lowest among the 24 states and D.C. that have a form of the process, but that with fewer and fewer citizens actually casting ballots, the 7% roughly equals our original requirements. In our current system, about 1% of eligible voters can drive a petition to ballot. She explained the history of MA’s process from 1917.

Rep. Provost discussed how overly easy initiatives are “an end run about the legislative process,” without the public process and very little transparency. Particularly in the new post-Citizens United era, she noted that such ballots are “less and less about people and more and more about money.”

She delves into the criticisms of H1830 and S12 that would limit the subject matter for initiatives. For example, some groups chant, “Let the people vote!” and call increasing the signature requirements an “onerous” way of limiting grassroots democracy. In addition, she spoke to how interest groups have used paid signature gatherers to skew the process under the pretext of citizen movements.

Listen in as she decries “how our democratic process can be highjacked.” She also forecasts the current bills, which if they do not advance, will appear in the next legislative session.

I join her in a call to let people know, folk you influence and your legislators, that you support reforms here.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Denise Provost [32:23m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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