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As the coronavirus raged across Boston over the holiday season, the medical director for the city’s Public Health Commission was working 5,000 miles away in Hawaii.

Dr. Jennifer Lo acknowledged this past week that city officials gave her permission to re-locate her family to Hawaii last November so she could care for her elderly parents. She plans to return to Boston this summer.

The revelation blared in headlines from the Boston Herald newspaper to local TV newscasts, and touched off questions about whether a critical city health officer could effectively do her job that far away.

“As a physician and public health professional, I have been on the front line and deeply involved in Boston’s efforts to control the pandemic within our community,” Lo said in a statement provided to the local NBC news affiliate. “For personal reasons, including to support both sets of our aging parents, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision to temporarily relocate our family in November 2020 to be closer to them.

“In conjunction with the move, I offered to resign my position as Medical Director and return to the private sector as a practicing physician,” the statement continues. “However, BPHC determined I would be able to effectively continue my work remotely while maintaining the same level of responsibilities required in this role.”

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The health commission said Lo is technically not a city employee covered by Boston’s residency requirements for municipal workers but rather subcontracted from a private health agency and city officials didn’t want to lose her during the health crisis.

Nonetheless, the arrangement raised questions among medical experts, including former officers of the city health commission.

Atyia Martin, a former director of disaster preparedness for the commission, was quoted by the Associated Press as expressing concern.

“We are in what amounts to the Super Bowl of emergencies,” Martin said. “It’s hard to imagine that key members of the team aren’t there in the game physically to play.”

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VIDEO: Psaki Says She’d ‘Be Happy’ to Face McEnany on Fox

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York says he’s ‘actively exploring’ a 2022 gubernatorial bid

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York has announced that he’s exploring the possibility of a gubernatorial bid.

The GOP congressman’s announcement comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, faces allegations of sexual harassment and criticism related to nursing home deaths amid the coronavirus crisis.

“With his nursing home cover-up & abuse coming more to light, it’s clear #CuomosGottaGo. As a NYer, I can’t sit back as Cuomo attacks our freedoms, our wallets & our safety. After many msgs of encouragement & discussing w/ my fam, I’m actively exploring a 2022 run for Gov of NY,” Zeldin tweeted

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Supreme Court hears Arizona case with major future voting rights implications

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The Supreme Court is hearing a major voting rights case Tuesday that could allow state legislatures to change voting laws, with some concern a high court ruling could make it harder for people to vote.

The court concluded hearing arguments at midday and is expected to make a decision in June.

Many of the arguments between the Supreme Court Justices centered on perceived voter discrimination such as Georgia’s prohibition of early voting on Sundays or forcing voters to vote in assigned precincts.

The Supreme Court is hearing a major voting rights case Tuesday that could allow state legislatures to change voting laws, with some concern a high court ruling could make it harder for people to vote.

The court concluded hearing arguments at midday and is expected to make a decision in June.

Many of the arguments between the Supreme Court Justices centered on perceived voter discrimination such as Georgia’s prohibition of early voting on Sundays or forcing voters to vote in assigned precincts.

The legal battle centers around a pair of election rules in the 2020 presidential election battleground state Arizona. The court will debate two voting measures and whether or not they should be allowed.

The first measure, the out-of-precinct policy, discards ballots from those who vote in the wrong precinct. The second rule outlaws so-called “ballot harvesting” and allows only election officials, mail carriers, family or household members, or caregivers to return another person’s mail-in ballot. Those who run afoul of the ballot-collection law face up to two years in prison and a $150,000 fine, according to CBS News.

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“People who are poor and less well educated on ballots probably will find it more difficult to comply with just about every voting rule than do people who are more affluent and have the benefit of more education,” Justice Samuel Alito said.

The court will also decide on section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which bars discrimination in voting procedures. The Supreme Court took out key provisions of the Act in 2013 which allowed local and state governments to not have to get permission from the court to change certain aspects of voting laws.

The Supreme Court will be hearing testimonies from GOP lawyer Michael Carvin and Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovitch, who first brought the case against the Democratic National Committee after two previous appeals to lower courts ranging back to 2016. The court also heard from a DNC lawyer who opposed the voting restrictions.

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