Entries by Eric Sporel

UMass Amherst Athletics’ Spending: Costing the Taxpayer Money

College sports have long been a major and growing attraction at universities across the country. Their rising prominence on campuses nationwide, however, has not come without costs. As their popularity has grown, college sports have taken on a business-like culture. Athletic departments often look and act more like businesses than amateur athletics programs, with television contracts, brand sponsorships, and facilities aimed at attracting better recruits, appealing to alumni donors and exposing the school’s brand to a wider audience. Even at a school like UMass Amherst, which may not be as competitive as top-ranked peers, these costs can add up. From fiscal year 2004 to fiscal 2009, UMass Amherst had 23 varsity teams, but since FY2010 the school has slimmed down […]

How Legislators’ Late Session Scramble affects Government Transparency

Now that there has been sufficient time for experts and the media to review the various bills that the 189th General Court passed in its “Race to Recess”, it’s time to focus on the process itself. The late session scramble to pass legislation thwarted meaningful government transparency. The 189th Massachusetts General Court ended on July 31st, with legislators voting on a handful of vital pieces of legislation. At the end of a two-year cycle, both chambers of the legislature were able to pass comprehensive regulations for transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, and come to consensus on the amount of hydroelectric and wind power use in the Commonwealth and pay equity legislation, should be praised. Deliberations came down […]

Opioid Usage in Massachusetts: A Painful and Tragic Trend

In March, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to substance use, treatment, education, and prevention into law. Its ultimate goal is ending the opioid epidemic that currently plagues Massachusetts. The bill unanimously passed both chambers of the legislature. It is clear that both the Governor and the legislature see the imperative to act immediately on this issue. Just three years ago, there were fewer than 700 opioid-related deaths. According to the Department of Public Health, there were 1,526 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts. Current estimates lead legislators to believe that there were nearly 12,000 incidents that emergency responders responded to regarding opioid use , with as many as 12,982 units of naloxone (Narcan) being used to treat those cases. Currently, Massachusetts […]

No Ban for TNCs at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

While there has been much discussion about whether or not transportation network companies (TNCs) should have access to Logan International Airport, another location critical to transportation service providers, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), has been an equal consideration for lawmakers. The parties involved in this debate are paying close attention to the conference committee that is currently revising the legislation. After both chambers of the legislature failed to reach a conclusion on House bill H.6064, with the House in favor of banning TNCs from the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center, and the Senate dissenting, it is not clear which direction the revised legislation will take. A comprehensive review of the legislative history for this bill shows the many […]

The Battle over Logan Airport—Will TNCs Prevail?

Since 2011, transportation network companies (TNCs) have established themselves as a popular mode of transportation in the City of Boston. Given their convenience and low cost, TNCs such as Uber and Lyft have become local consumers’ first choice over taxis.