Government Accountability

Recent Posts

In aftermath of gun tragedies, radically different responses in Conn., Ariz.

One of the many reminders of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting around Newtown, Conn. The heart has 26 crosses, one for each victim of the 2012 shooting. Photo by Morgan Spiehs/News 21.

In the weeks after the Conn. and Ariz. mass shootings, background checks and weapons bans consumed political debates in every corner of the country. Families of victims pleaded for stronger regulation, while gun-rights advocates stocked up on ammunition, fearing impending restrictions. This report is part of the project titled “Gun Wars: The Struggle Over Rights and Regulation in America,” produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative. Continue Reading →

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Questionable management, lax oversight, contribute to long delays in issuing of death certificates in Mass.

Kimberly Parker’s brother and sister, Ed Boleza and Stephanie Deeley, have been vocal about the need for answers since her death. (Lauren Owens/NECIR)

An enormous number of lives have been put on hold because of the state Medical Examiner’s inability to timely process death. While state officials have singled out underfunding as a key reason, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found questionable management decisions and a pattern of lax oversight contributing to long delays in producing death certificates. Continue Reading →

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Mass. Legislature among states that pass the fewest bills

Massachusetts representatives met in this chamber as a full body for the equivalent of 69 8-hour days over the last three years. (Photo by Lauren Owens for NECIR)

Just 31 hours after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that state law did not specifically ban taking photos up women’s skirts, the House and Senate unanimously passed a bill outlawing the snapping of covert sexual photos.

That speedy passage stands in stark contrast to what happens to the overwhelming majority of proposed bills in the Bay State: they go nowhere. Continue Reading →

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Explosion of drug-dependent infants reveals weakness in Mass. child protection

The Grave of Mya Barry in Pine Hill Cemetery, Quincy, Mass. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe)

Mya Barry's brief life and untimely death point to weaknesses in a social services system that is struggling to deal with the region’s booming addiction to prescription and illegal drugs — a plague that has besieged hospitals with drug-exposed newborns and overwhelmed state social workers for the past five years. Continue Reading →

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Fix for homeless housing running into delays, massive cost

Rosa Serrano and her seven children at the Days Inn in Shrewsbury, where they were living since November until being moved to more permanent housing this past week.

Sixteen months ago Espada's family became homeless, and she applied to the state for help. But Massachusetts has no room left for homeless families — the state's 2,000 shelters filled up during the recession, as parents who lost their jobs, got foreclosed on, got sick, or just couldn't earn enough, became homeless, along with their children. Continue Reading →

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Massachusetts children under state protection die from abuse with alarming frequency

Andrea Rizzitano, holding a picture of her late newphew Kadyn Hancock. 
(Photo Credit Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)

Kadyn Hancock’s aunt said she repeatedly tried to warn state officials that the 13-month-old’s mother might hurt him. But no one heeded her pleas and Kadyn’s mother killed her baby in 2010. Continue Reading →

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Zoned Out: Some Cities and Towns Saying No to Families

Barbara Venincasa

In a tight housing market, officials across the Bay State wield an array of tactics to discourage modestly priced new apartment and home construction for families. These include pressuring developers to drop plans for three-bedroom apartments and crafting zoning regulations to encourage the construction of over-55 housing developments that ban children. Continue Reading →

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