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Boston Nears 50,000 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

As Boston approaches a cumulative total of 50,000 COVID-19 cases, city officials urged residents Friday to trust and seek out vaccines as soon as they are available.

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Panel Seeks February Agreement on Next OCPF Director

The panel seeking a new director for the Office of Campaign and Political Finance is eyeing a mid-February timeframe to interview its finalists, who will face initial questions about their management styles, the agency's nonpartisan nature and their responses to past professional challenges.

Mass. Jobless Rate Rose in December to 7.4 Percent

The state's unemployment rate ticked back up in December, climbing to 7.4 percent and again rising above the national average, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday morning.

State House Takeout Podcast

Uncaptioned image for story:Lawmakers Continue to Sort Through Holyoke Home Tragedy

Lawmakers Continue to Sort Through Holyoke Home Tragedy

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders believes that a lack of preparation and infection control protocols, rather than staffing issues or the background of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home's superintendent, was the biggest factor behind a tragic COVID-19 outbreak that struck the facility last spring.

Fitch: Mass. Jobless Picture Worse Than It Appears

There is more to the Massachusetts labor market than meets the eye, analysts at Fitch Ratings said this week.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, pictured at a 2019 news conference, is stepping down next week to take a new post in Washington. [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Pollack Departure Creates Transportation Choice for Baker

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack will depart Gov. Charlie Baker's cabinet next week after six years as one of the most visible secretaries for a leadership role at the Federal Highway Administration, a decision that Baker called "incredibly bittersweet."

Vaccine Access Expanded to Full Range of Health Workers

More health care workers, including those who work with patients in their homes, are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced, opening up eligibility to the full suite of priority groups included in the first phase of his three-fold vaccine distribution plan.

Uncaptioned image for story:Baker Lifting Curfew, Stay-at-Home Advisory on Monday

Baker Lifting Curfew, Stay-at-Home Advisory on Monday

Citing improvements to COVID-19 metrics since the start of the year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that he imposed in November on restaurants and other businesses, effective Monday.

General Local Aid Will Rise by $39.5 Mil in Baker Budget

Gov. Charlie Baker next week will file a budget that recommends increasing the state's $1.13 billion general local aid account by $39.5 million, keeping with his administration's past practice to align growth in non-school aid for the cities and towns with estimated increases in tax revenue for the coming year.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 21

The Legislature tied a bow on its first bill of the new session Thursday, sending to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk a piece of sick-leave legislation that was among the unfinished business of the 191st General Court. George Monfreda, an employee of the Department of Mental Health at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, is in line to get a "sick leave bank" allowing co-workers to donate their sick, personal, or vacation days for his use.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 21

The House sent business relief legislation (H 55) from Gov. Charlie Baker that would freeze the rate schedule for unemployment insurance trust fund contributions to the temporary House Ways and Means Committee during their Thursday session. The governor refiled the bill last week after the Legislature did not move it across the finish line in the final hours of the 2019-2020 session and it remained in House Ways and Means as the clock expired on the 191st General Court.

Call Volume Highlights Craving for Vaccine, Testing Info

The first day that it was up and running, a hotline that offers to answer COVID-19 testing and vaccination questions for Cape Cod residents was bombarded with calls, 990 of them in the first eight and a half hours, officials said.

Baker to Tour Vaccination Site, Hold Afternoon Presser

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to tour the state's first large-scale vaccination site at Gillette Stadium before heading back up to Boston on Thursday afternoon for his first public event at the State House since last week.

Biden Freezes Regulations to Afford Reviews

One of the Biden administration's first acts is a freeze on regulations, pending review, in an apparent attempt to allow for the vetting of any rules issued in the last throes of the Trump administration.

Holyoke Investigation Pivots to Staffing at Soldiers' Home

Lawmakers are poised on Thursday to dig into whether staff and labor issues might have exacerbated a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home.

GOP Rep Reups Effort to Relax Gun Licensing Checks

A Webster Republican is again proposing a process that would allow Massachusetts residents to apply for firearms licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic without first getting fingerprinted, refiling legislation that did not gain traction at the tail end of last session.

Group Alleges Immigrants Improperly Denied Unemployment Benefits

Hundreds of Massachusetts immigrants who legally qualify for unemployment benefits have been improperly blocked from the aid, a legal advocacy group alleged as it called for immediate action from the Baker administration.

Mass. Pols Express Relief As Biden Takes Office

Massachusetts politicians took to social media Wednesday and said they breathed a collective sigh of relief as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in to the two highest offices in the country.

Search for Top Campaign Finance Regulator Resumes Friday

Almost a year since applicants first submitted their resumes to replace Office of Campaign and Political Finance Director Michael Sullivan, the search process that had been on hiatus since March is set to resume this week.

One GOP, Two Inaugural Messages

For Gov. Charlie Baker and his Massachusetts Republican Party, inauguration day was a contrast in words.