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Mass. considers landmark auto-repair legislation

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 Mass. considers landmark auto-repair legislation

Mom-and-pop repair shops in Massachusetts are pushing a bill that would require auto manufacturers to provide, at a price, all the diagnostic and software information they make available to their own dealerships.

Massachusetts would become the first state in the nation to approve a so-called auto right-to-repair law. The state Senate recently passed it, and it is pending in the House.

Dealers have vigorously opposed it on the federal level and in other states.

Car manufacturers and dealers say the push for the right-to-repair bill is not about consumers, but about auto parts.

But supporters say it’s about giving consumers choices. They say consumers have to pay much more at dealerships.

Gov. Patrick announces roster of business backers

Gov. Deval Patrick is trying to counter Republican Charles Baker’s support within the business community through his own power-packed roster of business backers.

The Democrat announced last week he had the endorsement of Cisco Chairman John Chambers, Paul Sagan of Akamai Technologies Inc. and a pair of former Democrats who are also big in the business world, venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca.

Patrick says the support is testimony to his work to help both corporations and small business owners with tax incentives, a smoother regulatory climate and efforts to control health care costs.

Baker is the former president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and enjoys the backing of many prominent Boston business leaders. Also running for governor this fall are independent Timothy Cahill and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein.

 Mass. hires specialist to address inmate suicides

A surge in the number of inmate suicides in state prisons has prompted Massachusetts to hire a suicide prevention specialist.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction tells The Boston Globe the agency has rehired Lindsay Hayes of Mansfield, who in 2007 compiled a report for the department after a rash of suicides behind bars.

Officials say eight prisoners have killed themselves this year, including a 51-year-old former Waltham man found hanging in his cell at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater on Thursday. John Pappageris was serving three to four years for breaking and entering.

Massachusetts prisons have a suicide rate of about 71 per 100,000 inmates this year, more than quadruple the average annual national rate of 16 per 100,000 inmates, according to the U.S. Bureau for Justice Statistics.

Mass. Senate approves national popular vote bill

The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill that would give the state’s Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

The bill approved by the Senate 28-10 last week is part of a nationwide effort to secure the agreement of enough states so the winner of the national popular vote would be guaranteed to win the presidency.

The bill will not go into effect until states possessing a majority of Electoral College votes pass similar legislation. Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii and Washington state have approved the measure.

The House passed its version of the legislation in June.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Deval Patrick.

 Mass. Senate passes warrantless arrest bill

The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill allowing police to arrest drivers who have caused deaths or bodily harm without a warrant.

Supporters said the bill passed last week will be a deterrent to motorists and help save lives.

Currently, police can only arrest drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The bill is a response to the 2002 killing of Robert Martinelli, a 19-year-old Worcester native, by a reckless driver. Police could not arrest the killer because they did not suspect he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The bill will now be sent to the House.