---- — Hundreds attend Boston anti-gun violence rally
BOSTON — Hundreds of Massachusetts residents have rallied on Beacon Hill in support of legislation to reduce gun violence, joining similar gathering elsewhere in the country sparked by the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey and state Rep. David Linsky of Natick addressed about 200 people who attended Saturday’s rally, asking participants to contact their elected representatives and press them to support gun control.
Linsky, a former Middlesex County prosecutor, is the lead sponsor of legislation to require liability insurance for gun owners, among other proposals to tighten state gun laws.
He and other supporters of the bill filed last week say it would give those injured by a weapon a legal recourse, and create financial incentives that could reduce accidents and fatalities.
Other proposals are also being introduced.
Ex-Mass. chemist faces more arraignments
BOSTON — A former Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a state drug lab faces more arraignments in a scandal that could jeopardize thousands of drug convictions.
Annie Dookhan has already been arraigned in three counties on charges accusing her of fabricating test results and tampering with drug evidence while testing substances in criminal cases. She has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice and other charges.
She faces two more arraignments Wednesday in Plymouth Superior Court and Bristol Superior Court.
Dookhan was indicted on a total of 27 charges. Authorities shut down the lab in August.
An estimated 200 convicted defendants have been released from jail and had their cases put on hold while their legal challenges are pending.
Mass. opens tax season, online filing
BOSTON — Massachusetts has officially begun to accept state tax returns.
The Revenue Department says it has created a “one-stop” page on its website where residents can get tax information and electronically file their returns for free.
Officials say more than 3,200 people have already used the WebFile system since it opened last Wednesday.
The IRS has delayed the opening of the federal tax filing season until Jan. 30.
The state says the vast majority of its 3.5 million taxpayers filed electronically last year, reducing the cost to the state of processing paper returns and guaranteeing quicker refunds.
Fundraiser held for slain UNH student
WESTBOROUGH — Family and friends are holding a fundraiser this weekend in Massachusetts in memory of a University of New Hampshire student who was a homicide victim last fall.
The Lizzi Marriott Explorer Fund will help students who want to study marine biology, Marriott’s field of interest.
The event was Saturday at the Indian Meadows Country Club in Westborough, Mass., where Marriott was from. It will feature music, dancing and a raffle. A golf tournament scheduled in May will also raise money for the fund.
The 19-year-old Marriott disappeared Oct. 9. Seth Mazzaglia faces a charge of second-degree murder in the case. His then-girlfriend, Kat McDonough, stands accused of helping to cover up the crime.
Marriott’s body has not been found.
Push for driver’s licenses for Mass. immigrants
BOSTON — Massachusetts immigrant advocates are set to gather at the State House in Boston to ask lawmakers to back a bill that will allows all state residents to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status.
Massachusetts law currently requires immigrants seeking a driver’s license to prove that they are in the country legally. Immigrant advocates say changes will ensure that drivers on state roads are trained, licensed and insured.
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition has worked with two Democratic lawmakers to introduce the Safe Driving Bill to address the fact that unlicensed immigrants need to drive children to school and relatives to hospitals.
Advocates will gather Tuesday at the State House to press lawmakers to back the bill introduced by Sen. Patricia Jehlen of Somerville and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield.
UNH law school closer to merger
CONCORD — The University of New Hampshire School of Law is one step closer to completing its merger with its namesake — UNH.
The law school’s board of trustees voted Thursday to fully integrate the two schools. The University System of New Hampshire’s Board of Trustees will vote Friday.
The merger began in 2010, when the former Franklin Pierce Law Center changed its name to reflect its new ties to UNH. But the law school currently is a separate, nonprofit educational institution and its faculty and staff are not employees of the University System of New Hampshire.
The law school could become a school of the university as early as next year.
Law school Dean John Broderick said the merger will open new opportunities for both schools to offer dual degrees.
NH man charged in store robbery
HUDSON — A 25-year-old New Hampshire man is facing an armed robbery charged following his arrest for a convenience store robbery.
The Hudson Police Department says Christopher Boisvert, of Winchester, was arrested in Groton, Mass., and is facing extradition to New Hampshire.
Police say Boisvert is charged with felony armed robbery for allegedly robbing a Hudson convenience store on Tuesday night. The charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.