Mass. Gov. Patrick raises cash at Weld law firm
Gov. Deval Patrick is raising some much needed campaign cash at a New York law firm where former Republican Gov. William Weld works.
Patrick made the day trip to the firm of McDermott Will and Emery last week to help bulk up his campaign account. Although the governor had a strong fundraising month in July, he still trails his two top opponents.
One of those opponents, Republican Charles Baker, worked for Weld as his top budget official in the 1990s.
Patrick, who holds a narrow lead over Baker in recent polls, had about $1.2 million left in his account at the end of July compared to Baker’s $2.3 million.
State Treasurer and independent candidate Timothy Cahill had about $2.8 million in his account, but has been raising and spending far less than Patrick or Baker each month.
12 Mass. schools share $27M in federal funds
State education officials say 12 Massachusetts schools are sharing a $27 million federal grant over the next three years to help improve student performance.
The schools —10 in Boston and one each in Chelsea and Springfield — have been defined as underperforming.
Of the more than 7,000 students in the 12 schools, 88 percent are considered low-income and 26 percent are limited English proficient.
Each school will adopt one of four federally developed turnaround programs indicated in their proposal to win the grant money. Five of the schools will replace at least half their teachers.
State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester says the schools have shown “tremendous courage” in embracing needed changes.
Mass. cracks down on prescription drug abuse
State health officials have approved a plan to crack down on drug addicts who go from doctor to doctor trying to get prescription medications.
Under the plan approved last week by the Public Health Council, doctors and pharmacists will have access to an online database that details prescriptions patients have had filled for narcotics, including OxyContin and other powerful painkillers.
The expanded prescription monitoring program will start early next year. Officials say although it cost $1 million to set up, and will cost $400,000 per year to maintain, it will save much more than that by spotting abusers.
Alice Bonner, director of the state Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, said in published reports that at least 9,000 people engage in so-called “doctor shopping” in Massachusetts every year.
The first public law school in Massachusetts is welcoming its inaugural class.
Officials at the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth say 182 first-year students were expected to report to campus on Monday for several days of orientation.
Activities on Monday included welcoming remarks from UMass-Dartmouth Chancellor Jean McCormack and Dean Robert Ward. In the following days, students will learn their way around campus and get advice from returning students.
Classes are scheduled to start Aug. 23.
The school, approved in February by the state Board of Higher Education after the Southern New England School of Law offered to donate its campus and assets, will place special focus on public interest law. Tuition is about half what the state’s private law schools charge.
Jail probe sought after Craigslist suspect’s death
A Boston city councilor wants an investigation of the jail where a former medical student awaiting trial in the death of a Craigslist masseuse apparently committed suicide.
City Councilor Stephen Murphy said Monday that Philip Markoff should not have been able to kill himself while in custody of the Suffolk County sheriff. Markoff was discovered dead in his cell Sunday morning.
Boston Police and the Suffolk County district attorney are investigating whether Markoff committed suicide. But Murphy wants them also to probe procedures at the Nashua Street jail.
An attorney for the family of victim Julissa Brisman says Markoff’s death prevents a long-awaited opportunity to confront him and hear the details of Brisman’s final moments. The masseuse was beaten with a gun and shot in a Boston hotel in April 2009.
Murphy’s request for a probe comes on the heels of a federal judge ordering a former contractor for the state prison system to provide the court with the psychiatric treatment records of about 25 inmates who committed or attempted suicide from 2005 to 2007.
U.S. Chief District Court Judge Mark Wolf last week gave the University of Massachusetts Correctional Health Program until Aug. 27 to turn over documents.
The Boston Globe reports that he wants to determine whether he can legally turn them over to an advocacy group that has sued the state over the care of mentally ill inmates.
UMass Correctional Health contends that the records are confidential under federal medical privacy law.