Episode 137: Schoolhouse Rocked

32 minutes

6/24/20--A state report was released today on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that was the site of a deadly coronavirus outbreak. 76 people, more than a third of the veterans residing at the home, died of COVID-19-related causes.

The report found that leadership at the state-run home made “substantial errors” that “likely contributed” to the death toll. Investigations from the Massachusetts Department of Justice and Attorney General Maura Healey will follow, and Governor Charlie Baker obtained an outside firm to do an independent review.

The report’s release prompted a resignation from the Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services, Francisco Urena. This is one of several high-profile resignations from state organizations in recent years, following scandals at the state police, the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

As Stephanie Murray puts it, “this does seem to be some sort of trend where administration officials end up resigning amid really serious issues, but Charlie Baker’s popularity stays really high.”

A web-based initiative to model coronavirus data in the U.S., Covid Act Now, found that only 4 states are on track to contain the coronavirus: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Governors of three of those states — all but Charlie Baker — announced a travel advisory starting Thursday that “all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread” of the coronavirus into one of these states must quarantine for 14 days. anyone who doesn’t follow the advisory could be punished by way of a fine. Baker said MA would not be installing such a requirement, calling such an action “unconstitutional.”

Co-host and resident legal analyst Jennifer Smith calls this a weird and kind of thorny issue of constitutional law regarding the essential right to travel between states.” We want to hear from you listeners, should we delve into this further with a constitutional law segment next week?

Kentucky voters both hit the polls and mailed in ballots yesterday in a Democratic primary contest for Senate that’s garnered national attention. Amy McGrath leads Charles Booker in in-person vote totals, but mailed ballots are still being counted. Officials estimate a winner might not be announced until next week, when all votes are officially tallied. This trend might continue as vote by mail gains popularity, and we might not know who wins future primary and general elections, even the presidential election, on designated election days.

In #Veepstakes news, Sen. Amy Klobuchar this week withdraws her name from consideration as a potential VP pick, urging BIden to pick a woman of color. Variety floated Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley as an option.

New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows parents of school-age children are divided over plans for school reopenings. MPG Research Director Maeve Duggan shares the data with The Horse Race hosts. The biggest takeaway? “There’s no clear mandate from parents over what they would prefer, and a sizable portion of them are not confident that schools can reopen safely.”

Within that, there are divides by race, income, and geography “that we have come to expect when it comes to anything to do with impacts of the coronavirus.”

Maeve says the findings in this data support the narrative found in previous work done by MPG and other outlets, that "those who are less confident [about schools reopening], are the same groups that have borne both the health and the economic brunt of the coronavirus crisis."

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Start listening to Episode 150: Yes We Campbell
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