By Bob Katzen

“We … applaud plans to develop a hybrid hearing model that retains the benefits of remote access for the public. Across the commonwealth, remote access to public meetings has significantly increased public participation in state and local government, and has lowered longstanding barriers for people with disabilities, people with limited access to transportation and people with work and family obligations. After the pandemic, access to the democratic process should not hinge on a person’s health or disability or their ability to afford a car, get time off work or find a care provider. More transparent and accessible government means a stronger democracy for all.”

—Joint statement of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, MASSPIRG, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups on the Legislature’s announcement that it will work to formalize a hybrid hearing model that allows in-person participation at public hearings while retaining the benefits of remote access.

“While we are encouraged by President Biden’s actions, it is crucial that we point out the glaring inequity: the U.S. has proven far less effective—or interested—in reacting to refugee crises that occur outside of predominantly white, Christian, European countries. Our nation has proven slow to react to the refugee crisis in Afghanistan and it has barely reacted to humanitarian crises in countries like Cameroon, Haiti and South Sudan.”
—Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, on the Biden Administration’s announcement that the U.S. will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

“Our administration is focused on supporting Massachusetts’ economic growth and getting more people back to work, and the HireNow program is one more tool at our disposal to meet employers’ workforce needs and grow our labor force, The flexible funds from this program will be distributed to employers quickly to help them with training costs, tuition support and other needs.”
—Gov. Charlie Baker on his administration’s launch of a new hiring and training employer grant program which will help employers quickly hire and train new workers and get more people back to work. The new program provides eligible employers with a $4,000 per employee grant, which can be used to cover training costs or as a signing bonus for new employees.

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