February 15, 2017

State of Politics: Immigrants get a boost, legal pot gets a blog, state Dems get a Falchuk

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Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Attorney General Maura Healey

State of Politics is an occasional collection of news and notes from on and around Beacon Hill compiled from the latest reports by State House News Service.


Maura Healey, state officials tout added layer in gun safety battle


Immigrants are receiving lots of support from elected officials in Massachusetts in the face of executive orders from President Donald Trump targeting refugees and undocumented individuals. A new survey reaffirms one of the reasons why.

Analysts at WalletHub used 18 metrics to determine which states benefit the most from immigration and concluded that immigrants are having the fourth biggest economic impact in Massachusetts. California, New Jersey and New York ranked one, two and three, according to survey results released this week.

Massachusetts ranked first in percentage of jobs created by international students and the economic contribution of international students, fourth in the percentage of foreign-born science, technology, engineering and math workers; and seventh in percentage of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or their children.

Citing security concerns and his goal of reducing illegal immigration, Trump is forging ahead with his plan to build walls and fencing along the southern border of the United States. His plans to halt refugee arrivals and ban immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries have been met with lawsuits and strong resistance and are tied up in the courts.

The states where immigrants are having the smallest economic impact are, in order, Montana, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Maine.

— Michael P. Norton


As Massachusetts lawmakers prepare to dig in on marijuana policy, a Boston law firm has launched a blog that will delve into legal developments, municipal issues, regulatory and policy changes, corporate considerations and the expected appointment of members to the Cannabis Control Commission.

The Foley Hoag blog’s authors have experience with the medical marijuana industry, data privacy, employment, banking and finance and trademark issues. They are former deputy attorney general Kevin Conroy, Jesse Alderman, Christopher Feudo, and Rachel Hutchinson.

The first entry on the Massachusetts Marijuana Counsel blog was posted Feb. 10 and outlined proposed changes to the ballot law approved Nov. 8, which legalized the adult use, possession and sale of marijuana. “The Massachusetts legislature continues to chip away at Question 4, the ballot question that made marijuana legal for adult use throughout the Commonwealth,” the attorneys wrote.

Legislative leaders may name members this week to a new Committee on Marijuana, which is being formed with the intent of vetting changes to the ballot law.

— Michael P. Norton


Former gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk, who was unable to get his United Independent Party off the ground in Massachusetts, will join the Massachusetts Democratic Party, he announced this week.

State House News Service file

Evan Falchuk

Falchuk ran for governor in 2014 and served as the president of Boston-based Best Doctors Inc. from 1999 to 2013. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Boston-based VillagePlan Inc., a company that helps families navigate the challenges of caring for an aging loved one.

“Third parties are not the answer,” Falchuk wrote in an op-ed posted Feb. 11 by Commonwealth magazine. “The time to act is too short, the stakes too high, and the rules too skewed, for a third party to lead this fight. Still, we must keep fighting for economic security, protected civil liberties, and fiscal responsibility.”

The Democratic Party is “powerful enough for that fight – but only if it changes,” Falchuck wrote. “Democrats are not ‘entitled’ to win elections just because they’re closer to where the majority of voters are on critical issues. Democrats must convince voters they’re the voice of working class America – that they have concrete plans for our financial futures, and that they care about every worker and worker’s family from coast to coast.”

Former state Rep. John Fresolo, a longtime Democrat who resigned in the wake of a 2013 ethics probe, ran for re-election under the UIP flag against Rep. Dan Donahue, who won by a more than 2-to-1 margin in November.

— Michael P. Norton

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