Episode 140: The Midnight Ride of Poll Revere

41 minutes

7/16/20-- This week in #mapoli coverage begins with a national news item with a Massachusetts connection. The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a proposal to bar current international students from studying in the US if all their classes are taught online. They would have been asked to either transfer to institutions with at least one in person class or self-deport. This happened during a federal hearing of a lawsuit initiated by Harvard and MIT.

And speaking of lawsuits, the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office told news outlets that applications for mail-in ballots for registered primary voters in Massachusetts are being sent out. This comes after voting rights organizations sued Secretary Bill Galvin, saying he needed to mail the applications by July 15 regardless of the funding issues he had pointed to as reason for delay.

The Massachusetts Senate passed a police reform bill Tuesday that would ban chokeholds, limit the use of tear gas, and train law enforcement officers in the history of racism. The bill, if passed, would limit qualified immunity that protects officers from civil lawsuits. This aspect was the only notable point of contention in the Senate and has also upset police union leaders in Massachusetts.

Stephanie Murray provides an update on the news landscape here in Massachusetts that, like everywhere, was already suffering disinvestment before COVID hit, but the pandemic has only exacerbated conditions. News outlets across the state are suffering, and reporters are enduring furloughs and layoffs, leaving a smaller and smaller group of people to cover the fallout from a global crisis.

Steve Koczela presents snapshots of public opinion on one aspect of such fallout--how families are thinking about higher education int he midst of the pandemic. It turns out that while most (roughly three-quarters) of Massachusetts parents of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders say that their children's college plans have not changed, that leaves one-quarter of parents whose kids' plans have changed. Those who say their child will delay entry tend to be those who have been the most disadvantaged throughout the shutdown--families who lack sufficient devices and Internet connection, families who speak languages other than English at home, and families with lower incomes.

On a lighter note, Steve, Jennifer, and Stephanie, upon hearing of the city of Chicago's recently established Census Cowboy, decided Massachusetts could use a similar vigilante. They asked the good people of Twitter who would make a good Census Cowboy for the Bay State and were flooded with dozens of ingenious responses. The winner: a photoshopped Bill Weld, eating a turkey leg atop a horse, wearing a cowboy hat. We at The Horse Race believe we need that now more than ever.

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