When the school gymnasium is full of excitement and noise for a rally, there are some children don't respond well.
They put cover their heads and cry. But, they wouldn't if they had a paraprofessional with them. A couple of years ago the city of Pittsfield cut more than 30 paraprofessional positions from the school's budget and parent Starr Williams asks that people envision each one of those paraprofessionals as being one child covering their heads and crying.
This is the legislative term Rep. Paul became a dean.
Mark's district spans both Berkshire and Franklin Counties and in the Pioneer Valley, five state lawmakers are new. Mark is now embracing the role of helping the new legislators adjust to the job and is aligning with them to promote an agenda for all of Western Massachusetts.
Entering his first full session in the House of Representative, John Barrett is doubling down on the priorities he held when he was first elected.
"One of the areas I'm obviously concerned about is transportation in the county. We need it, especially in the Northern Berkshire area," Barrett said.
State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier says that since 2016, the Massachusetts legislature has been shifting further left.
And that's meant the Progressive Caucus' numbers are growing. She is currently the co-chair of that group and has watched it swell in ranks.
Lafayette's tour of the nation, done at the invitation of President James Monroe, took place between July 1824 and August 1825. The president envisioned the tour as a kick-off of the festivities for America's upcoming 50th anniversary.
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli thinks the House of Representatives had a very productive session.
But, he is disappointed that two major topics were never fully addressed - health care and education.
The legislation creates a framework in which eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the Registry of Motor vehicles, MassHealth, and other participating state agencies.
He described himself as just a "back bencher" at this point, with little pull yet to really push anything through despite his many years in public service. Coming in halfway through the session, he hasn't had a chance to file his own legislation, rather working with other representatives and signing on to their efforts.
The Baker Hill Road District hopes to have Senate approval to own property, specifically the Berkshire Mall, on Thursday.
State Sen. Adam Hinds' office said they are currently prepping for the bill to go for a vote on Thursday. It had been stuck in the Senate's Rule's Committee receiving review from Senate Counsel. The House had passed the measure last June.
The state Senate wants to give veterans the ability to "work off" more of their tax bills through community service.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to increase the amount veterans can work off from $1,000 to $1,500 in workoff programs.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed updated marijuana regulations into law Friday.
Voters had passed the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in November and since then lawmakers have been reworking the law, which included a six-month delay. After negotiations between the House and Senate, the Legislature passed changes to the citizen's referendum on July 20, which was then signed on Friday.
BRPC supports the state's push to overhaul land use regulations. But, the specifics in the bills from the House and Senate have raised some concern.
For months, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's regional issues committee has been pouring over the details of the massive omnibus bills. Two bills are going through the legislative process now - one from the House and one from the Senate - with similar changes to zoning and other land use regulations.