Baker is still asking for a broader waiver from the federal government on unemployment overpayments

Governor Charlie Baker said Boston Public Radio On Thursday, he is still asking the federal government for permission to reverse nearly $2 billion in unemployment insurance payments that were mistakenly made to Massachusetts residents.

Last week, the US Department of Labor – led by former Boston mayor Marty Walsh – rejected Baker’s blanket request to waive collection of the full $2 billion sum. This means that the Massachusetts Unemployed Assistance Department must work through the backlog on a case-by-case basis.

Baker said the Labor Department’s decision now means the state must figure out how to communicate with the hundreds of thousands of people who received the benefits during the pandemic and are now being asked to repay that money.

“I can’t promise you it’s everyone,” Baker said, responding to a question from Jim Braude about the state’s efforts to reach recipients, “but I can tell you, yes, there’s has a pretty broad communication effort here, and still an effort to find a cleaner way to deal with these waiver issues in general.”

Baker said he was still trying to get a broader waiver standard, but didn’t go into specifics. According to a recent Boston Globe article, the Department of Unemployed Assistance is reviewing the Labor Department’s decision.

On sports betting

Baker reaffirmed his desire to get sports betting legislation signed before leaving office. The most recent version of the bill passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate.

“We just finished March Madness, which came right after the Super Bowl and the NFL playoffs, and there’s no doubt an extraordinary amount of tax revenue was lost,” he said. “I hope and anticipate by the end of the legislative session that they will find a way to get the yes.”

On undocumented people getting a driver’s license

Baker also discussed pending legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Baker previously said on Boston Public Radio he was disappointed that Minority Leader Brad Jones’ amendment had failed, which would have given city clerks the ability to verify the identity of someone using a driver’s license to vote.

“I think we have at least one problem here that we need to address with regard to the relationship between driving licenses and the right to vote, which is different,” he said Thursday, saying it was his “main objection” to the legislation. in its current form.

GBH News reported earlier this week that the vote in the Democratic-dominated House was 120 to 36, suggesting the chamber could override a potential Baker veto. But the Senate must pass its own version of the bill.

On the virtues of watching zombie apocalypse movies — no, really

In this December 5, 2010, file photo, extras dressed as zombies take a stand during the filming of the movie ‘Juan de los Muertos’ or ‘Juan of the Dead’ in Havana, Cuba. Screenings of writer-director Alejandro Brugues’ film began the week of December 8, 2011 in Havana.

Javier Galeano/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Earlier in the show, Baker interviewed a national security expert and Boston Public Radio Contributor Juliette Kayyem on her book “The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disaster”.

They discussed the type of personality that Kayyem cites in the book as being statistically better at dealing with and emotionally enduring horrors like the pandemic: people who watch zombie apocalypse movies and horror movies.

“They’re not the preppers, they’re just people anticipating, like, weird things are going to happen, and their emotional and physical states were statistically better than if you just watched. [romantic comedies.] Romantic comedies won’t prepare you for the apocalypse,” Kayyem said.

They are, she posits, better able to process what is happening and are then able to go beyond understanding day-to-day events and think about potential future outcomes.

“Most of us, when things happen, we never get to the second part about it, which is ‘What does that mean? — much less what might happen after that,” Baker said. “And maybe that’s where the zombies have it on all of us.”

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