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Perry: Criminal charges an “outrageous” abuse of power

Gov. Rick Perry addresses attendees at the 2014 Red State Gathering Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez, AP


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Measure called most comprehensive in a generation

AP Photo

BOSTON — An overhaul of the state’s domestic violence laws, including new bail guidelines and tougher penalties for abusers, unanimously cleared the Massachusetts House on Tuesday amid concerns from defense attorneys that the bill was hastily drafted and overly broad.

The measure, called the most comprehensive domestic violence legislation in a generation by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, was approved 142-0 and now goes to the Senate.

DeLeo said in introducing the bill with Attorney General Martha Coakley last week that it was spurred by the brutal stabbing death in Waltham of Jennifer Martel, allegedly at the hands of Jared Remy, the son of popular Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.

Jared Remy, who has pleaded not guilty, was arrested one day after his release from custody on charges of assaulting Martel, and the case prompted questions about whether Remy’s violent history had been overlooked by the criminal justice system.

Among the many provisions in the bill is one that would require domestic assault suspects to be held for at least six hours after an arrest to allow time for a safety plan to be developed for the accuser. Bail commissioners would also be required to submit a written assessment of the safety risk a defendant might pose before release is granted.

“Victims often feel that they are neglected in the process, that they don’t have a say,” said state Rep. Christopher Markey, D-Dartmouth, during Tuesday’s debate. “I think this bill empowers victims to be able to do things they have never been able to do before.”

The measure also seeks to provide judges and prosecutors with the most complete information available about a defendant, including any prior domestic violence charges or restraining orders in one or several jurisdictions. DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, had suggested that if more had been known about Remy’s past record, the  course of events could have changed.

The House bypassed the normal process of referring the bill to a legislative committee process and holding a public hearing, instead taking it up as an amendment to an existing Senate bill.

“My overall concern is that (the bill) is being rushed through without looking at some of the more troublesome aspects of this,” said Liza Lunt, president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

While the group supports several aspects of the proposal, including enhanced training for judges, court officials and prosecutors around domestic violence issues, Lunt said many other provisions go too far.

For example, the six-hour bail provision could be broadly interpreted to apply to family disputes or other cases that fall outside the typical definition of domestic violence, Lunt said.

The organization was also concerned with some of the stiffer penalties included in the bill and a broader definition of domestic violence that could include, as an example, an altercation between two roommates, Lunt said.

The House backed an amendment sought by the Gun Owners Action League that would allow women to purchase pepper spray as protection without first obtaining a firearms identification card.

The debate came two months after the House voted to expel one of its own, then state Rep. Carlos Henriquez of Boston, following his conviction in a domestic violence case. A proposed amendment to the bill calling for the automatic removal of any lawmaker convicted of domestic abuse was ruled unconstitutional by House leaders.


Bill puts 10-year moratorium on fracking

BOSTON — Environmental advocates are planning to rally at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to pass a ban on the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The group Environment Massachusetts said they’re planning to release a collection of personal stories from individuals affected by fracking across the country during the Wednesday event near the main entrance to the Statehouse.

In November, a legislative committee approved a bill that would place a 10-year moratorium on fracking, which involves blasting chemical-laden water deep into the ground. The measure has yet to come up for a vote before the full Legislature.

Supporters of the technique say it’s a safe method for extracting natural shale gas that would otherwise remain trapped underground, and can help lower energy prices.


President to be in Cambridge, South Boston

BOSTON — President Barack Obama will be in Boston Wednesday to raise money for the Democratic Party while drumming up support for hiking the minimum wage.

Watch Report

Road closures and traffic tie-ups are expected in the Harvard Square area Wednesday afternoon.

Obama is set to attend a round-table discussion fundraiser Wednesday for the Democratic National Committee with about 25 supporters at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.

Obama is then scheduled to headline a DNC dinner in Boston at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter with about 70 backers. The event is also intended to raise money for the party.

Obama’s visit follows a stop at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain to renew his push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

During his stop in Connecticut, Obama will appear with Democratic governors, including Gov. Deval Patrick.

Massachusetts is debating a minimum wage increase. The Senate has approved a bill and a minimum wage question is heading to the November ballot.


1. When the Mohawk Lacrosse Team Played at the Olympics

Source: Library and Archives Canada
The Native lacrosse players in this photo did not play at the 1904 Olympics — but the generation that followed them did. The Library and Archives Canada describes the image as ‘Men from the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake (Caughnawaga) who were the Canadian lacrosse champions in 1869.’

2. Hardcore Version of Olympics: the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks

Logan Clow/Daily Herald-Tribune
A snowboarder grabs some air at the slopestyle event during the Arctic Winter Games Trials.

3. Watch an Asteroid the Size of Three Football Fields Rush Past Earth

Asteroid via artist’s rendering.

4. Is Jason Momoa of ‘Game of Thrones’ the Next Great Native Star?

source: sundance.tv
Actor Jason Momoa as Phillip Kopus in the Sundance Channel series ‘The Red Road.’

5. Administration Agrees to Fully Pay Tribal Contract Support Costs

Indian Health Service Acting Director Yvette Roubideaux

6.4 Fast-Food Marketing Tactics Parents Can Adapt to Improve Kids’ Health

Courtesy Cornell Food & Brand Lab

7. Mills Kills Passamaquoddy-State Elvers Agreement

Joel Page/Reuters
Elvers in Maine.

8. Olympic Star T.J. Oshie’s Girlfriend, Lauren Cosgrove, Also a Gold Medalist

TheBigLead.com
T.J. Oshie and his girlfriend, Lauren Cosgrove.

9. New Digs in the Sonoran Desert: Tohono O’odham Members Line Up to Live in Villages

Lee Allen
One of the 14 newly-constructed homes in the Tohono O’odham San Xavier District

10. Are Pedophiles Getting Free Pass in South Dakota?

Courtesy Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
Brother Francis Chapman, or “Chappy,” (labeled “12”) and Paul Frey (“27”), both deceased, were accused of abusing children in their care at St. Francis Mission, on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, in South Dakota. Recently, Father Clarence Vavra, now of Minnesota, has confessed to abusing boys while at St. Francis in 1975, according to Ken Bear Chief, a paralegal and investigator with Tamaki Law Firm, in Washington State.

11. Preserving Indigenous Democracy

An Indian of the Tarahumara Mountains in northern Mexico in January 2012.

12. Coast Salish Nations Unite to Protect Salish Sea

13. Sacred Site Advocates Ask Senate to Heed Keith Harper Concerns

 

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