By Bob Katzen

“The ability to grant pardons is a very serious responsibility, but through careful consideration and review, I believe these individuals are worthy candidates for a pardon. All of these individuals have shown a commitment to their communities and rehabilitation since their convictions. However, the charges are related to decades-old convictions that continue to have an impact on their lives. I look forward to the Governor’s Council’s review of these recommendations.”

—Gov. Charlie Baker upon pardoning these men for their crimes: Kenneth Dunn (1971 larceny), Steven Joanis (1990 assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, Stephen Polignone (1980 larceny and altering a motor vehicle license/registration) and Michael Picanso (1986 trespassing, larceny and wanton destruction of property). These pardons are the first four in Baker’s eight years as governor.

“The solution to the problem of unfunded mandates is to prioritize funding of them. It is a simple solution, but it may require some hard choices.”
—Auditor Suzanne Bump on a new report that identifies a $1.26 billion shortfall between actual municipal spending on existing programs that are mandated by the state and actual funding of the programs by the state.

“For a long time, folks have been made to feel helpless and are made to feel like they don’t have a voice or their voice isn’t being listened to. So we want to ensure that the neighbors and the residents living down the road from the landfill or the powerplant that is harming their children, that they are the ones who get to decide what happens.”
— Mireille Bejjani, co-executive director of a new environmental health and justice organization, Slingshot, with a goal to hold polluters responsible.

“Anyone in Massachusetts who wants to expunge their record appropriately can do so now under existing state law. Pardon process is a complicated one. It doesn’t happen overnight. I think at this point the fastest, easiest and quickest way for somebody to deal with an issue around simple possession would be to just pursue the expungement process. It’s why it’s there.”
—Gov. Charlie Baker supporting expunging criminal records for simple marijuana possession rather than pardons like President Joe Biden recently recommended.

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