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Friedman advocates for bill to protect children from toxic chemicals

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) testified Monday, July 8, before the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure about a bill she filed that would require the disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products.

The bill was first filed in a previous session and spearheaded by Sen. Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington) and then-Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington), and has since been championed by Friedman.

“This is a commonsense proposal that simply asks that information be made publicly available about what is in products that are intended to be used by and for children,” said Friedman in a July 9 news release. “The passage of this bill would be a step toward transitioning to safer alternatives and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our children and other vulnerable populations in Massachusetts.”

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Garballey reimburses campaign for Uber rides covered by taxpayer funds

sgarballey 19 4519Garballey

State Rep. Sean Garballey has agreed to forfeit $10,000 he loaned his campaign after state officials said he broke several campaign-finance laws, including charging his political account for $900 in Uber rides that were already covered by taxpayer funds.

The Boston Globe reported June 21 that over two years, Garballey also didn’t disclose nearly $17,000 in donations he deposited into his campaign — and $14,000 that his campaign spent — all in violation of state law. The newspaper cited an agreement the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance released June 20.

Garballey, a Democrat representing Arlington and West Medford who first won his seat in 2008, will forgive $10,000 in loans he made to his campaign, pay $2,000 in fines and stop using his account to pay for his trips to and from the State House, The Globe reported, citing the agreement. Read it here >> 

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Second try at 'millionaire's tax' advances in Legislature

New revenue stream aims to fund transportation, education

real estate taxes 200

During a constitutional convention, Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) and Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) joined their colleagues in voting to begin the process of amending the Massachusetts Constitution to place an additional 4-percent tax on annual taxable income in excess of $1 million.

The revenue generated – as much as $2.2 billion annually, according to the Department of Revenue – would fund repair and maintenance projects for roads, bridges and public transportation as well as for public education.

“The revenue raised by the Fair Share Amendment will allow our Commonwealth to make much-needed investments in public transportation and public education,” Friedman said in a June 14 news release. “There is widespread public agreement that this initiative is the most effective and fair way to increase funding for our public schools, make higher education more affordable, and improve our crumbling transportation infrastructure. I was proud to work with my colleagues to move this important amendment to the next stage of the process.”

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How fiscal '20 Senate budget aids Arlington

Cindy FriedmanFriedman, Ways and Means vice chair

$2M increase in local school aid

Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) has joined Senate colleagues in voting on a $42.8 billion budget for fiscal 2020, making substantial investments in key areas related to health-care cost and accessibility, mental health services, public education and regional empowerment. The plan includes several local budget priorities secured by Friedman.

“Most notably, this Senate budget reflects our strong commitment to increasing access to quality, affordable health care, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to receive a quality education, and expanding access to behavioral health services,” Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in a May 29 news release.

“As our state continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, I’m especially proud that this budget makes strong investments in mental-health treatment and harm-reduction initiatives to ensure more resources for families and their loved ones. I want to thank Chair Rodrigues and Senate President Spilka for their leadership, hard work, and collaboration during this process and for facilitating a thoughtful and efficient debate.”

Arlington school districts would receive $13,979,327 under the Senate budget proposal, an increase of $2 million over fiscal '19.

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Garballey champions act to support higher ed, students

sgarballey 19 4519Garballey

Surrounded by numerous colleagues, state Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on Higher Education, on behalf of House Bill 1214, An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher-education system.

Also known as the Cherish Act, the legislation aims to fund the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities with $500 million and to ease the economic burden carried by students.

“Food insecurity is being faced by many students across our 29 campuses, and we have students deciding to drop out between semesters,” Garballey said in a May 10 news release. “We have accumulated four decades of lost investment in higher education. This has caused the cost of a young person’s education to shift from the state to the universities, and from them to the student.”

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Fiscal '20 Senate budget plan includes funds to local groups

Cindy FriedmanFriedman, Ways and Means vice chair

$175K for AYCC, amounts for METCO, Food Link

UPDATED, May 10: The Senate Committee on Ways and Means has announced a $42.7 billion budget for fiscal 2020. The budget recommends targeted investments to provide access to opportunity and economic vitality across the Commonwealth, and includes several local earmarks and budget priorities secured by Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington).

The committee’s budget recommends a total of $42.7 billion in spending, a 3.1-percent increase over fiscal '19's General Appropriations Act. This spending recommendation is based on a projected $770 million (2.7%) increase in tax revenue for fiscal '20, as agreed to during the consensus revenue process in January. Thee fiscal '20 budget reduces reliance on the use of one-time revenue sources and directs $268 million to the stabilization fund to continue to build the Commonwealth’s financial safety net.

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 Friedman, colleagues adopt cyclist safety, gender, 'Cap on Kids' bills

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in passing legislation to enhance road safety for cyclists and pedestrians, to establish a nonbinary option for gender on drivers’ licenses and birth certificates and lift the so-called “Cap on Kids,” overriding Governor Baker’s recent veto of the  bill.

All three bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support April 25, her office reported in an news release.

Friedman voted in favor of S.2204, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities, which includes several measures that together will greatly improve road safety, lessen the severity of crashes, and standardize the collection and analysis of crash data.

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Education-funding increase for town in proposed House budget

Sean Garballey, 2019Garballey

The office of state Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) reports that the House Ways and Means fiscal 2020 budget includes some pluses for Arlington.

A member of Ways and Means, Garballey expects the budget will have a positive impact on the Town of Arlington, and the Commonwealth as a whole.

The budget debate is to begin in the House the week of April 22. The figures provided here are not final and will be updated as the debate progresses.

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Garballey honored for antitobacco efforts, legislation

sgarballey 19 4519Garballey

State Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) has received the 2019 Massachusetts Distinguished Advocacy Award from the Cancer Action Network and American Cancer Society.

The award is given annually to someone who has made a significant contribution to the fight against cancer in the Commonwealth. Garballey received the award for his bill to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies, An Act restricting the sale of tobacco products at health care institutions.

This legislation became law last session, when it was included in the collaborative H.4486, An Act protecting youth from the health risks of tobacco and nicotine addiction. The bill, which passed last May, encompasses products derived from tobacco, as well as ones containing nicotine, for the purpose of human consumption. Stores prohibited from selling these products include health care institutions, pharmacies, opticians/optometrists, and drug stores. Massachusetts is the first state in the country to pass this law.

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Senate OKs laws targeting conversion therapy, 'Cap on Kids,' women’s health

Cindy Friedman

The state Senate on March 28 passed legislation that reaffirms the Commonwealth's commitment to providing support for women, members of the LGBTQ community and children and families in need. The Senate also gave final approval to a $135.9 million supplemental budget for fiscal 2019.

“The Senate showed its strong commitment today to our children and families, LGBTQIA+ community, and women by repealing an outdated policy that hurts families, banning an ineffective, inhumane and morally wrong therapy practice, and protecting vital access to family planning and reproductive healthcare services for over 75,000 residents,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman in a March 29 news release. “I’m grateful for Senate President Spilka and my Senate colleagues for keeping these initiatives at the forefront of our legislative agenda this session.”

Lifting 'Cap on Kids'

The Massachusetts “Cap on Kids” policy, established in 1995, was designed to discourage welfare clients from having additional children while receiving aid by excluding additional children from the calculation of benefits. The legislation passed March 28 repeals this ineffective policy. The new policy would start Sept. 1 and makes the repeal retroactive to last Jan. 1.

On implementation, those 8,700 children who are, or would be, excluded from grant calculations will now be included, resulting in higher monthly benefits for their families. The fiscal '19 budget already provides funding for this change, which was included in the House and Senate conference committee report but vetoed by the governor.

Conversion therapy

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia currently ban conversion therapy, an intervention practice used to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction and transgender identity using controversial methods. Those methods often involve traumatizing practices that can lead to depression, substance use disorder, social withdrawal, and suicide. The legislation passed by the Senate would prohibit licensed mental health professionals from using conversion therapy and would instead promote therapies that encourage self-exploration and social support. 

Title X

Massachusetts entities that receive Title X federal funding, used for reproductive, family-planning and women's health services, are poised to lose up to $8 million over fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The loss of funding would be the consequence of new rules set by the Trump administration. The Legislature’s action would provide $8 million in emergency funding to support these entities, allowing the state to offset possible reductions and help preserve services provided to nearly 80,000 individuals across the Commonwealth.

Supplemental FY '19 budget

The proposed supplemental budget for fiscal '9 includes:

  • $30M for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program;
  • $10M for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters;
  • $8M to assist municipalities in testing sexual assault kits; and
  • $1M for SANE and Pedi-SANE Programs.

The supplemental budget also addresses a number of time-sensitive spending and policy items.

Legislation concerning the “Cap on Kids” and prohibiting conversion therapy was sent back to the House for approval. Bills concerning Title X funding and the supplemental budget for fiscal '19 now go to the Governor for consideration. 

Friedman represents the 4th Middlesex district, which includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and precincts 1-2 and 4-7 in Lexington.

This news announcement was published Monday, April 1, 2019.

 Senate fiscal '19 supplemental budget includes $30M for low-income heating aid

Cindy Friedman

 Plan cuts ‘Cap on Kids,’ Friedman's office reports: House version OK'd

UPDATED, March 14: Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues March 7 in passing a supplemental budget for fiscal 2019, which includes $143.9 million in spending to address deficiencies, as well as institute time-sensitive policy and spending items. The proposal is $21.4 million less than Gov. Baker's original proposal in January.

Furthering the Senate’s continued commitment to support working families and those in need, the Senate’s proposed supplemental budget eliminates the so-called “Cap on Kids” and includes $30 million for the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program, among other considerations.

MassLive, March 14: House bill on kids passes

“This supplemental budget takes vital steps to provide important protections for our children and families, low-income residents, and sexual assault survivors,” Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in a March 8 news release. “I want to thank Chairman Rodrigues for pushing this supplemental budget forward in a fiscally responsible manner while upholding our values in the Senate to ensure that every family has equitable access to critical benefits and resources.”

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Garballey testifies on conversion-therapy legislation


Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on Children and Families at a hearing Tuesday, March 5, to persuade legislators to support House Bill 140, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, which bans conversion therapy from being practiced by state licensed therapists. The representative also testified the same afternoon in support of House Bill 104, An Act to lift the cap on kids.

Advocates characterize the practice of conversion therapy as destructive to the developing identity of youth who are making, or have made, the decision to come out. The practice of conversion therapy is universally recognized as ineffective and harmful.

Such prominent organizations as the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization have expressed opposition about the medical efficacy of conversion therapy, and have warned about the harmful effects of the reinforcement of doubt about one’s sexual preference or gender identity.

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 Friedman, colleagues OK transparency rules; House says no to NDAs

Cindy FriedmanCindy Friedman

UPDATED, Feb. 2: State Sen. Cindy F. Friedman recently joined her colleagues in passing two rules reports updating the Senate and joint rules related to harassment, diversity and transparency.

The state House has overwhelmingly declined to adopt a full ban on the use of nondisclosure agreements by its members in sexual-harassment cases. Read an opinion about that here >>

“Transparency and accountability are critical components of a well-functioning and effective government,” Friedman said in a news release. “We have set the tone for this legislative session with the passage of several key amendments aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and making sure that we conduct our business in a well-meaning, effective and honest manner.”

The temporary Senate Committee on Rules was chaired by Assistant Majority Leader Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and included Majority Leader Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton), Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham), Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Webster).

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Friedman, Rogers join support seeking climate legislation

Cindy Friedman

State Sen. Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington and state Rep. David M. Rogers, Democrat of Cambridge, recently joined more than 80 of their legislative colleagues in uniting to support in what they see as bold climate solutions in 2019.

The officials signed onto a statement circulated by Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, Democrat of Taunton, and Rep. Ruth B. Balser, Democrat of Newton – titled “A New Year’s Resolution: Committing to the Enactment and Implementation of Bold Climate Solutions in 2019” – which signals commitment to climate action in the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Dave Rogers“We must take real action to address the threat of climate change with a sense of urgency so that we can build a sustainable future for generations to come,” Friedman said in a Jan. 16 news release. “The federal government may fail to address, or even acknowledge, this threat to humanity, but Massachusetts will not.”

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Senate passes bill aimed at supporting first responders

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Targets mental health, confidentiality, access

The state Senate has passed legislation to ensure confidentiality for first responders when participating in peer-support services following critical incidents.

The bill, which had passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year, returned to the chamber after an amendment was offered by the House.

“Our first responders can often experience high levels of stress, caused by the dangerous circumstances they can experience while doing their job,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman, Demicrat of Arlington. “This bill will help our firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics get confidential access to mental health services that they need without fear of stigma. I’m grateful that my colleagues have made it a priority to put vital protections in place for the individuals who protect us every day.”

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