By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) — You’ve got questions about politics and public policy, WBZ-TV Political Analyst Jon Keller has answers.

Why in the world is Congress allowed to tack unrelated pet project pork amendments onto otherwise important legislation? How do we change that? – Eric on Facebook

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You’re referring to earmarking, a practice dating back more than 200 years that gives Congressional leaders a tool to barter for votes with – back my bill and I’ll slip in that line-item you want for your district. Did you know we are home to the most expensive transportation earmark in US history? It’s called the Big Dig, a fun fact to mull over next time you’re stuck in traffic on the Zakim bridge. Twenty years ago, amid public outcry, there was bipartisan agreement on a moratorium on earmarks, but after a few years of decline the practice bounced back and just last week House Democrats voted to officially bring them back. You can change that the same way you change anything in Washington – by applying political pressure with phone calls, emails, and your vote.

Why don’t we have sports gambling here yet? – Ben on Twitter

When the Supreme Court legalized it nearly three years ago, while some states jumped right in, most did not due in part to disagreement on how to proceed among key players like pro sports leagues. Most of those issues have been resolved and while there’s still vocal opposition to having it here from Massachusetts colleges, it’s looking increasingly likely that we will finally get it, perhaps in time for the NFL season next fall. But it’s not a top priority because the payoff is relatively small, an estimated $35 million in state tax revenue. By comparison, legal pot sales generate more than double that to the state coffers, and the state lottery brings in a billion a year or more.

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How many dead people voted for Joe Biden? –  Les on Twitter

Ah yes, one of the more popular false claims still being touted by election result deniers. This is an old red herring. A study by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 2019 found only 19 cases of someone voting in the name of a dead person over the preceding two decades. There has been no confirmed evidence of it happening last fall. And the one specific claim offered by the Trump campaign – about a Pennsylvania woman who died before election day but still voted – turned out to be a legal mail-in ballot sent in by her family after she passed away.

By the way, the woman was a Trump supporter.

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Jon Keller