CommonWealth Beacon cracks open the stories, personalities, and political machinations that impact residents across the state. Explore sharp, thoughtful reporting that explores local dust-ups, statewide legislative trends, transformative court rulings, and policies that shape life in Massachusetts. 

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John Walsh remembered as optimist who worked for change 

Acclaimed strategist paved way for many ‘firsts’ in Massachusetts politics

Hundreds of people gathered in Faneuil Hall in Boston on Tuesday to remember John Walsh, a Democratic political strategist who is credited with reinvigorating campaigns with a focus on grass-roots organizing. 

Lawmakers playing chicken on Beacon Hill

Republicans have leverage, but only if they use it

Two high-stakes games of chicken are playing out on Beacon Hill – one between top Democrats in the House and Senate and the other between Democrats and Republicans in both chambers.

Case dismissed in MBTA Alewife Garage crash

T sought criminal charges in connection with apparent suicide attempt

The MBTA wanted criminal charges to be filed against a man who tried to drive his car off the roof of the MBTA’s Alewife Garage in February, but a judge on Monday dismissed the case prior to arraignment.

Healey: T will ‘take care of business’ in short term, TBD on revenues

On GBH, governor says MBTA GM Eng’s slow zone plan is needed first step

Bringing the MBTA up to state of good repair comes with a hefty price tag – $24.5 billion, according to a stunning announcement in mid-November – but Gov. Maura Healey says she’s confident in the agency’s assessment that riders won’t need to wait for an allocation of that size to see improvements. 

Boston unveils new electricity supply rates

City currently provides power to 65% of residents

The city of Boston unveiled new, higher rates on Monday for the electricity being offered through its municipal aggregation plan, but the pricing was still below what most other suppliers are charging.

Digging into fine print of salary range legislation

In other states, employers have listed six-figure difference between low and high salary

Different versions of the salary range bill have passed the House and Senate. If the bill becomes law, Massachusetts would join a small cohort of states with pay transparency rules, including Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, California, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. 

Study finds Boston shoplifting rates up from pre-pandemic levels

Retailers group calls for stronger sanctions for repeat offenders

With Black Friday signaling the arrival of the holiday shopping season, a new report says shoplifting rates in Boston are up compared to levels before the pandemic, though the city has avoided the spike in retail theft that several major US cities have experienced. 

What commuter rail ridership gains mean for Boston

Many workers returning to office on hybrid schedules

RIDERSHIP ON THE MBTA’s commuter rail system continues to rebound strongly, providing an interesting data point in the debate over whether Boston in the post-COVID era will face an office space glut that will make the city feel like a ghost town of empty buildings. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, ridership on commuter rail…

Spilka, Senate exit Musk’s X

Senate president accuses platform’s owner of endorsing ‘antisemetic lie’

The Mass. Senate and President Karen Spilka joined a growing exodus Tuesday from X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter that has reportedly been shedding advertisers and users amid owner Elon Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.


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