GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Hampden County Jail in Ludlow, Mass.
File photo / MassLive

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday begins debate on criminal justice legislation designed to reduce the number of people incarcerated. But there's uncertainty over what it means for the state budget.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, nearly 900 people have been shot and killed in the U.S. since the mass shooting October 1 in Las Vegas. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy along with Senator Richard Blumenthal and others introduced legislation on Wednesday that would expand federal background checks.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET.

The Senate has voted to get rid of a banking rule that allows consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies to resolve financial disputes. Critics say Republicans and the Trump administration are siding with Wall Street over Main Street and that the shift will block consumers from joining together against the likes of Wells Fargo and Equifax.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that he will not seek re-election in 2018, decrying the coarse tone of politics and "flagrant disregard for truth or decency" ushered in by the election of President Trump.

Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET.

There is a political crackup happening in America.

There remain two major political parties in this country, but there are stark fissures within each. There seem to be roughly at least four stripes of politics today — the pragmatic left (think: Obama-Clinton, the left-of-center establishment Democrats), the pragmatic right (the Bush-McCain-Bob Corker Republican), the populist right (Trump's America) and the populist left (Bernie Sanders liberals).

U.S. Capitol
Dion Hinchcliffe flickr.com/photos/dionhinchcliffe / Creative Commons

While the White House considers the payments a bailout for insurers, the Massachusetts congressional delegation wants to make sure President Donald Trump knows how thousands of Bay State families will be negatively impacted by his decision to end federal subsidies used by insurers to keep consumer costs down.

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said she is sharing her own story about sexual harassment as a way to show solidarity and say victims are not at fault.

Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four U.S. soldiers killed in a military operation in Niger on Oct. 4, told ABC's Good Morning America that President Trump "made me cry even worse" when he called to offer condolences last week.

The phone call between the president and Johnson has been a source of controversy for a week now, since Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who listened in on the call, revealed details of the conversation.

A scene from Puerto Rico this week. "President Trump seems to be using the number of fatalities to determine the quality of the disaster response," Sen. Elizabeth Warren said.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Several New England U.S. Senators are among those urging federal officials to make sure the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico is accurate.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

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