This Week on Beacon Hill: Hearings and Complaints

By Sarah Birnbaum

Mar. 12, 2012

state office of consumer affairs
What have we been complaining about? (Office of Consumer Affairs)

BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts state politics, the debate over MBTA fare hikes and service cuts is about to enter a new phase, the state announces the top five consumer complaints and a rally is planned at the State House to push for a change in sex abuse laws.
On Mar. 12, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority holds the last public hearing on proposed service cuts and fair hikes. That means its almost decision time for the T. Agency officials have proposed raising fares by as much as 43 percemt and eliminating late-night and weekend service on the commuter rail in order to close a $160 million budget gap. But the plans have been met with anger by commuters, thousands of whom have shown up at public hearings to air their concerns. The T’s next step will be to review the public’s comments before making final recommendations to its board. A decision is expected by April 15.
> > Audio discussion guide, documents and public comment submission. 
On Tuesday, the state Office of Consumer Affairs discusses the top five complaints they’ve heard from consumers this year. Topping the list in years past have been problems with auto insurance, health insurance and home improvement contractors.
Sex abuse victims, family members and advocates are set to rally at the State House on Mar. 14. They plan to urge the Joint Judiciary Committee to pass a bill suspending the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault of children. The bill was first filed in 2002 during the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal but it has never made it out of committee. The deadline for advancing the bill is Mar. 21. The statute of limitations is currently 27 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.

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