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Politics: constituent services

Friedman named to ethics panel, probing Rosenberg-Hefner

Fills seat held by DiDomenico

Friedman sworn in July 27Friedman flanked by Sen. Rosenberg and Lt. Gov. Polito after she was sworn in last July.

UPDATED, Dec. 7: Sen. Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington, was appointed Tuesday, Dec. 5, to the state Senate Ethics Committee, which began investigating whether Stanley C. Rosenberg broke chamber rules.

The body must decide whether the Amherst Democrat has stepped aside as Senate president after last week's Boston Globe report detailing accusations from four men who alleged that Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually assaulted or harassed them and who said Hefner bragged he had influence on Senate business.

Early Tuesday, YourArlington asked Friedman for comment about the Rosenberg-Hefner case. In late afternoon, her spokeswoman, Kristina Gaffny, responded: "I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Senator Friedman was appointed as a member of the Senate Ethics Committee this morning. Due to this appointment, the senator will not be making a public statement on this matter. All public statements regarding the committee's work will be released directly from the committee."

Read more ...

Rep. Garballey plays role in defending children's health insurance

Sean Garballey

Baker signs birth-control bill

UPDATED, Nov. 21: Rep. Sean Garballey, Democrat of Arlington, is leading the fight for children's health insurance in the Commonwealth, after Congress allowed federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, called CHIP, to expire in September.

House Bill 598, "An Act to Ensure Continued Health Coverage for Children," filed by Garballey with Rep. Claire Cronin, Democrat of Easton, will preserve coverage for lower-income families and pregnant women in the Commonwealth. The measure aims to make sure that Massachusetts leads the nation by example and funds this program, even if the federal government will not.

"Massachusetts needs to step in and fund CHIP if Congress does not act quickly," Garballey said in a recent news release. "We risk roughly 160,000 children in Massachusetts losing coverage -- and any such gap occurring while transitioning to alternative insurance is a disruption in delivery of care, which could negatively impact the long term health of this vulnerable population. I am proud to work on this legislation and ensure coverage for this segment of our population in Massachusetts, regardless of the federal government's actions."

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Senate OKs health-care bill that includes Friedman's causes

Yearlong effort aims to address rising costs, consumer protections

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UPDATED, Nov. 11: The state Senate approved at the stroke of midnight Thursday, Nov. 9, a wide-ranging bill that seeks to control the rising costs of medical care and prescription drugs, including a controversial plan that would fine hospitals if spending rises too fast.

Sen. Cindy Friedman joined the majority in the 33-6 vote. The Arlington Democrat said she is pleased that the bill's final version included several of her amendments related to improving access to treatment for mental health and substance-use disorders.

What Sen Brownsberger thinks about the package

Globe, Nov. 11, 2017: Health bill momentum slows at State House

"This robust legislation takes necessary steps to contain health-care costs for everyone while continuing to deliver quality care and access to services," she said in a Nov. 10 news release. "Going forward, we have to continue to work together to level the playing field and look for ways to ensure that someone with an acute behavioral health condition has the same access to health-care coverage as an individual with medical and surgical needs."

Read more ...

Was Garballey a no-show? Rep offers general denial to Fox 25 report

Rep. Sean Garballey at kickoff in May for Senate bid. / Bob Sprague photoRep. Sean Garballey at kickoff in May for Senate bid. / Bob Sprague photo

Rep. Sean Garballey has offered a general denial to a Fox 25 report that includes him among state legislators who allegedly collected tax dollars for Beacon Hill commutes they did not make.

The Democrat told YourArlington in a statement that he represents a district close to the State House -- Arlington and West Medford -- and has no district office. Instead, he commutes "back and forth almost every single day. I also use my State House office on weekends and weeknights, working on policy matters and constituent cases."

Fox 25's Eric Rasmussen reported Nov. 1 that several legislators had "cheated" the system after the reporter spent Thanksgiving last year at the State House taking attendance on every lawmaker who showed up and later checking that against their daily commuting logs.

25 Investigates said it found state representatives Garballey of Arlington, Paul McMurtry of Dedham and John Mahoney of Worcester all collected tax dollars for commutes to the State House that, Fox 25 said, they never made under the per-diem program.

"No one has charged taxpayers for more days traveling to the State House in the last two years" than Garballey, 25 Investigates reported, adding he received more than $4,000 in commuting expenses at a tag of $10 per day.

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Friedman named chair of committee addressing issues of mental health, substance use

Separately, joins colleagues in passing bill targeting campus sexual violence

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Sen. Cindy Friedman has been appointed chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. The Arlington Democrat previously chaired the Joint Committee on Public Service after she was sworn into the Senate in July following a special election to succeed the late Senator Ken Donnelly.

As chair, Friedman will play a significant leadership role as the committee considers legislative matters related to behavioral health, drug detoxification, Department of Mental Health oversight, mental illness and substance use.

In a Nov. 2 statement, Friedman said she would continue to fight for individuals who suffer from debilitating mental illness and substance-use disorder. “In the midst of a mental health and opioid crisis, we need to do everything we can on the state-level to ensure that individuals with behavioral health conditions are able to get access to timely treatment that they need to manage their illness or addiction,” she said.

Long wait for services

According to a recent study highlighted in The Boston Globe, it can often take several months for people with mental health issues to get treatment. The wait is particularly long for children, those who need a psychiatrist, adults covered by Medicaid, and those who do not speak English.

The committee was previously chaired by former Senator Jen Flanagan, Democrat of Leominster, before she resigned from the Senate to take a position on the state Cannabis Control Commission.

Before becoming state senator, Friedman spent nearly a decade working as chief of staff to Donnelly, helping to craft and advocate for comprehensive legislation to preserve and expand access to behavioral health treatment.

In an effort to continue Donnelly’s legacy, Senator Friedman has taken the lead on all of the bills that Senator Donnelly originally filed at the start of the current legislative session, including those related to mental health and substance use.

In addition to her role as Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health Substance Use and Recovery, Friedman will also serve in a leadership capacity as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service and will continue to serve as a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.

All bills currently before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery can be found here >>


Seeks fair procedures on campus


In a separate news release, her office reported that Friedman joined Senate colleagues Nov. 2 in passing legislation aiming to curb college-campus sexual violence.

The bill, filed by Sen. Michael O. Moore, Democrat of Millbury, who serves as chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, reflects a collaborative approach by college officials, advocacy groups, students and policymakers to address the issue of on-campus sexual assaults.  

With the U.S. Department of Education’s recent revocation of the Obama administration’s 2011 guidance on college sexual assault, the legislation aims to make sure that fair procedures and appropriate services are in place at higher education institutions across Massachusetts for both the reporting party and the accused.

In a statement, Friedman said: "Sexual assault on college campuses can no longer be an issue that we brush aside. Too often, students fear reporting incidents of sexual assault and do not have access to adequate resources or training guides to assist them. This bill takes an important step in providing necessary safeguards to suppress the threat of sexual violence on our college campuses."

According to the 2015 climate survey conducted by the Association of American Universities, 23 percent of female undergraduate student respondents reported experiencing non-consensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force or incapacitation.

Despite these statistics, 95 percent to 72 percent of these incidents of sexual violence went unreported, the Nov. 2 news release said. This legislation aims to encourage more students to come forward by ensuring that fair procedures and appropriate services are in place not only for the reporting party but also the accused. 

The legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously, has been referred to the House of Representatives for consideration. To continue tracking the bill, S.2191, please visit the Legislature’s website,

This news announcement was published Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

In first Senate speech, Friedman advances Donnelly’s workforce legacy

Joins colleagues in passing bill aimed at far-reaching change in criminal justice

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Senator Cindy Friedman has presented her first Senate speech and joined the 27-10 majority in casting a vote in favor of criminal-justice reform.

The vote was cast early Friday, Oct. 27, hours after the Arlington Democrat gave her speech in the light of securing passage of a dedicated funding stream for workforce training championed for years by Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly, who died in April.

The legislation aims to ensure a sustainable, predictable source of annual funding for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. That effort pays for regional workforce training partnerships statewide, with the goal of placing unemployed and underemployed workers in jobs in high-demand industries.

In her speech, Friedman said in an Oct. 27 news release: "This bill strengthens our workforce development system where it is needed most, providing unemployed workers a pathway to economic stability."

Read more ...

HEALTH: Senate report, draft law seeks to rein in costs, improve care

Mass. General, Brigham's lodge objections

Leaders of the state's two largest hospitals made a rare appearance Monday, Oct. 23, on Beacon Hill to warn state senators against approving any policies that would slash their revenues.

State Senate leaders, as part of a sweeping bill designed to improve the state's health-care system and control costs, seeking to curb hospital spending. The plan would allow for higher insurance reimbursements for the state’s least expensive hospitals, while potentially fining the hospitals where spending is highest.

The heads of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's asked lawmakers to reject any measure that would punish the two academic medical centers. Read The Globe's Oct. 24 story here >>

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UPDATED, Oct. 24: The state Senate has released a health-care report that focuses on both short- and long-terms goals aiming to lower costs, improve outcomes and maintain access.

The report and accompanying draft legislation are the result of effort by a group of senators, including Cindy Friedman, Democrat of Arlington, to address the health-care system by analyzing the best practices in other states and engaging stakeholders in a series of meetings over the last year.

A hearing on the report, titled "Working Together to Improve Our Health: Right Care, Right Place, Fair Price, Recommendations from the Senate Working Group on Health Care Cost Containment and Reform," and draft legislation was set for 11:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23, at the State House. Read a copy of the report and draft legislation here >> 

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PUBLIC SAFETY: Friedman supports changes in sentencing, curbing 'machine-gun' devices

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Issues embracing limits on prison sentences and on devices aimed at producing machine guns drew support last week from Sen. Cindy Friedman, Democrat of Arlington.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, she expressed support for a comprehensive criminal-justice bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Brownsberger, Democrat of Belmont: "I am proud to stand with Senate colleagues and community advocates .... Now is the time to bring real, meaningful reform to fruition in our state to reduce unnecessary incarceration and refocus on criminal diversion.”

She commented in an Oct. 14 news release following a State House rally seeking the passage of Senate Bill 2170, An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform.

Also on Oct. 12, Friedman joined a Senate vote with national implications, to control arms devices following the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas. The vote was to ban bump stock and trigger cranks and classify them under the same general law that governs machine guns. The amendment, offered by Sen. Cynthia Creem, Democrat of Newton, establishes identical penalties, 18 months to life in prison, for the use and possession of bump stocks and trigger cranks as current law holds for machine guns.

Friedman commented: "I hear time and time again from constituents about the need for commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence. We took a step in the right direction today, and I’m proud of the Senate for taking swift action to ban 'bump stocks' and 'trigger cranks' in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy. This amendment will make our communities safer and I sincerely hope that other states choose to follow our lead."

'Burden on poor'

As to the sentencing measure, Friedman added: "I was especially honored to speak in favor of pretrial bail reform. Our current system places a disproportionate burden on the poor, the homeless and people of color. We need to move bail away from a cash-based system, because ability to pay bail should never be used as criteria to determine someone’s freedom."

Brownsberger said in a statement: "This bill is about lifting people up instead of locking people up and about cutting the entanglements that keep people from getting back up on their feet after they have made mistakes. At the same time it is about protecting public safety and using our law enforcement resources to target our most serious offenders."

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst, added, "In state after state, criminal-justice reform has led to lower incarceration rates, lower crime rates and lower recidivism rates. It is time Massachusetts joins the national let’s-get-smart-on-crime movement, protecting public safety while improving outcomes with our precious tax dollars."

Geoff Foster, director of organizing and policymaking for UTEC-Lowell, a nationally recognized organization that works with at-risk youth, said: 'Criminal records stay with you for the rest of your life, and it's particularly harmful to young people who already have the highest rates of recidivism. This bill is another solid step for public safety and for youth across the Commonwealth as it would allow for juveniles to expunge misdemeanors from their records and take a clean slate into the workforce and college."

Beverly Williams, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's criminal-justice action team cochair, said her group supports positive reforms in Omnibus Criminal Justice Bill (S1270) introduced Sept. 27 by Judiciary Committee Cochair Brownsberger.

The Senate plans to take up the legislation before the end of October.

'Danger inherent in deadly devices'

As to the arms measure, Sen. Creem said, "This amendment is a necessary and appropriate response to the dangers inherent in these deadly devices. The horror of the mass shootings in Las Vegas is unfortunately just the latest incident which calls out for the adoption of more sensible gun laws both here and nationally."

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, Republican of Gloucester, said: "The Senate’s bipartisan action means that those who are not appropriately licensed to possess devices that are in effect approximating a machine gun will be in violation of our state’s comprehensive firearms laws."

The amendment also instructs the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to notify licensed owners and manufacturers of bump stocks and trigger cranks of the effective date of the changes.

Bump stocks use the recoil power of a weapon to effectively increase the rate of fire to make the gun a fully automatic assault weapon, which have been illegal in Massachusetts since 1994. At a country-music concert Oct. 1, 58 people were murdered and more than 500 injured by alleged killer Stephen Paddock. Law enforcement found multiple bump stocks and trigger cranks in Paddock's hotel room where the shooting originated.

The House of Representative passed a similar bump-stock ban, and the two versions will be reconciled before being sent to the governor's desk for his signature. 

This news announcement was published Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.

Friedman testifies for prevailing-wage laws, greater transparency for T contracts

cfriedman 90Two pieces of legislation focusing on state contracts filed by Senator Ken Donnelly in January drew testimony of support from his successor.

On Monday, Oct. 2, Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington, testified before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight in support of S.1692, on state contracting, and S.1694, requiring additional reporting of transportation-privatization contracts to promote transparency.

Under current law, there is some ambiguity around which state entities -- particularly community colleges and regional authorities -- are required to follow the prevailing-wage laws for janitorial and maintenance services. S.1692 would resolve this issue by adding a new section to the state finance law that would clarify that the prevailing-wage laws apply to all state departments and institutions, including community colleges and regional authorities.

In her testimony to the committee, Senator Friedman said, "I believe that state-supported agencies should be required to adhere to our prevailing-wage laws and the language of S.1692 clarifies that intent."
Additionally, the bill would add "security guards" to the list of contracted employees covered by the prevailing wage in such departments. Two years ago the Legislature adopted a prevailing-wage requirement limited to security services contracted at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which includes the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the Hynes Convention Center. This bill would expand it to the rest of the departments and institutions of the Commonwealth.

"Given the training and experience required by security guards, and the importance of the work they do in securing our buildings, it is only appropriate that they, like maintenance and cleaning workers, are paid under the prevailing-wage law and that any contractors doing business with the Commonwealth are held accountable for following those laws," she testified.

Friedman also advocated for S.1694, which would place new reporting requirements on the MBTA's efforts to privatize public-transportation contracts during the exemption period granted by the Legislature in 2015. This Tax Payer Protection Act exemption period runs from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2018.

S.1694 would require the MBTA to annually report the expected and actual cost savings of any new service or procurement contracts, and more important, the basis for such costs, including all direct and indirect costs related to the services provided by the privatization contract. That would encompass employee wage and salary rates, retirement, insurance or other employee benefit costs, adjustments to employee scheduling policies and any change in the aggregate number of employees needed to provide the service.

"In short, this is an issue of transparency," Friedman explained in an Oct. 4 news release. "During the MBTA's Taxpayer Protection Act exemption period, the Legislature and the general public should be given greater details with regards to how cost-savings are realized when a public transportation contract is privatized. If we are in the business of protecting taxpayers and saving money, and for a public service where the main cost is labor, having this information is necessary for good decision-making and open government."

Friedman serves as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. She 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 Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.

Senate restores $24.9M for education, public health, arts

cfriedman 90Friedman among votes to reverse vetroes.

Globe opinion, Oct. 1: Build Mass. by building arts 

UPDATED Oct. 1: The state Senate has restored $24.9 million to the fiscal 2018 budget, bolstering valuable programs for children, families and vulnerable residents statewide.

Among those voting to override 26 of Governor Baker's line-item vetoes, totaling $320.6 million, was Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington.

"The Senate took a stand today to secure resources that are vital to the well-being of our residents in the Commonwealth," she said in a Sept. 29 news release. "We've made a commitment as legislators to advocate for the needs and interests of our most vulnerable residents in the towns and cities we represent. I'm proud to vote for these additional investments to help ensure that more children and families have access to the resources they need to thrive in Massachusetts."

The Senate restored funding for several programs that focus on high-quality education for everyone, from children at birth to adults making midlife career transitions. Overrides include $200,000 for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative and $850,000 for adult basic education.

The Senate reaffirmed its commitment to combating the opioid epidemic and advancing public health across the state, restoring $1.3 million for early childhood mental-health clinicians, $5 million for MassHealth Senior Care and $800,000 to eliminate the waiting list for pediatric palliative care.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the Senate restored $200,000 for Samaritans Inc. suicide prevention, intervention, education and outreach services.

Other overrides included:

$1.9M for the Massachusetts Cultural Council;

$675K for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Services; and

$250K to expand the Housing Court to serve all residents across the state.

Senator Karen E. Spilka, Democrat of Ashland, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in the release: "These programs and services provide critical resources for people across the state -- from housing support for young people and families, to mental health services for children to basic education and skills training for low income adults.

"The Senate has carefully reviewed vetoes in the context of our difficult fiscal situation and ongoing efforts on health-care cost containment. I am confident that the budget remains in balance and cautiously optimistic about revenue collections and potential savings moving forward."

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst, said, "The Senate's analysis shows that these critical services are necessary and affordable, and will go a long way toward supporting working families across the Commonwealth. These investments will ensure that the right resources are in place to educate and promote the well-being of tomorrow’s learners and leaders, while also taking care of our most needy." 

This news announcement was published Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, and updated Oct. 1, to add link.

Friedman testifies for mental-health center, cites life-wasting prisons

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Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington, has testified before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery in support of S.1091, an Act establishing a restoration center in Middlesex County, an initiative originally filed by the late Senator Donnelly.

The bill would direct a large group of public-safety and mental-health experts to develop a pilot program in Middlesex County to serve as a jail-diversion and -treatment facility for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

According to data provided by NAMI Massachusetts, an organization that also testified in support of the bill on Tuesday, Sept. 12, about 25 percent of state correctional inmates and as many as 50 percent of county jail and house of correction detainees and inmates are receiving mental-health services to some degree.

In additional, about 14 percent of male and 30 percent of female inmates are believed to have serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.

“These statistics are appalling,” Friedman said in her testimony. “Our courts, jails and correctional facilities have become the de-facto treatment providers for many of our most vulnerable and sickest residents at a huge cost that serves neither them nor the commonwealth. At an approximate cost of $57,000 per inmate, we are wasting money and wasting lives.”

Individuals with mental illness are disproportionately incarcerated for minor “quality-of-life” offenses, such as trespassing and public intoxication, yet often experience longer stays in jails, houses of correction, and prisons than their nonmentally ill counterparts.

The goal of this bill is to give police officers another option for diverting individuals with behavioral health conditions from arrest and connecting them to appropriate treatment services.

“We need to move individuals out of our jails cells and emergency rooms and into appropriate treatment,” Friedman said, “And one of the most effective ways to do this is to help our police and those with mental illness avoid arrest in the first place.”

The proposed center would include a delivery system that provides 24-hour specialized services for people suffering from mental illness, including inpatient and outpatient services. In addition, the legislation directs the center to develop a formal process in which diverse state agencies can collaborate and communicate across the mental health, physical health, social service and criminal justice systems in order to provide seamless care.

The concept for S.1091 is based on similar models of delivery in Bexar County, Texas, and Miami Dade, Fla. Both have been highly successful in reducing incarceration and emergency room visits, adversarial interactions with law enforcement, court usage and all the associated costs that are incurred when proper treatment is denied.

In concluding her testimony, Friedman said, “We need to follow the lead of many states across the nation and apply our resources and our energy to proven programs that help people get and maintain the treatment they need in a system that supports their well-being. S.1091 would allow us to begin that process.”

Friedman serves as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. She 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 Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Friedman reaches out with fresh website, office hours

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State Sen. Cindy Friedman of Arlington, Democrat representing the 4th Middlesex, has announced the creation of her official Senate website -- -- and began holding monthly office hours.

"I'm very excited that our website is up and running," Friedman said in a Sept. 7 news release. To keep constituents up-to-date on news from the State House, she expects frequent updates on the website, in a quarterly newsletter, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

"One of the most effective ways to ensure your voice is heard is to meet face-to-face with your senator or representative," she said. "I look forward to holding office hours in the 4th Middlesex each month."

If you are unable to attend office hours, she encouraged the public to contact her office at 617-722-1432 or at Cindy.Friedman[@]

Her office-hours schedule:

Lexington: Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road: First Tuesday of every month, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

Arlington: Kickstand Cafe, 594 Mass. Ave.: First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. to noon

Woburn: Woburn Senior Center, 144 School St.: First Wednesday of every month, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Billerica: Billerica Council On Aging, 25 Concord Road: Second Tuesday of every month, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. (This month, Billerica office hours are set for Sept. 12, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.)

Burlington: Burlington Council on Aging, 61 Center St.: Second Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. to noon.

Friedman serves as the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service. The 4th Middlesex district includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and precincts 1-2 and 4-7 in Lexington. 

This news announcement was published Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Friedman co-sponsors single-payer, safe-communities legislation

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In her first week in office, newly elected state Senator Cindy Friedman, Democrat of Arlington, signed her name to two pieces of legislation in regards to health-care reform and immigration policy.

"I'm proud to co-sponsor the 'Medicare for All' bill, which would establish a single-payer health-care system in Massachusetts. With the enactment of this bill, we can lower costs and ensure that everyone in our state has access to quality, affordable health care,” Friedman said in an Aug. 3 news release. 

"Health care is a basic human right, and creating a single-payer health care system that benefits everyone is one way to ensure that. We, as a state, have to take the lead on reforming health care and this bill is a step in the right direction. I will make sure that it continues to be part of the discussion in the Senate."

Friedman also co-sponsored the Safe Communities Act, which would ensure that state resources are not used to enforce federal immigration law. The bill would also prohibit state collaboration with the federal government for the purpose of creating a federal registry program based on national origin or other protected characteristics. 

"Adopting the Safe Communities Act is critical, especially in light of the anti-immigrant policies being pushed by the Trump administration," Friedman said in the release. "Massachusetts has always been a welcoming community to all and we need to continue to facilitate an inclusive environment for everyone who chooses to reside here.

"We have made a commitment as legislators to protect the people we represent -- I will firmly oppose any legislation that seeks to promote divisiveness and will support every effort to protect equal rights for all people across our Commonwealth." 

Friedman's official co-sponsorship of the Safe Communities Act followed the filing of Governor Baker's immigration-enforcement bill, which would allow local and state law enforcement to cooperate with ICE agents under certain situations. Several Democratic legislators, including Friedman, have strongly opposed the bill. 

Friedman represents the 4th Middlesex district, which includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and parts of Lexington.

July 25, 2017: Friedman wins: Senate seat stays Democrat, in Arlington

This news announcement was published Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.

House backs Rogers' bill supporting pregnant workers

Dave Rogers

The state House of Representatives has unanimously passed H3659, seeking fairness for Massachusetts pregnant workers, filed by Rep. Dave Rogers of the 24th Middlesex District. The experiences of pregnant workers around the Commonwealth reveal the need for legislation to ensure their rights.

This act, adopted May 10, adds pregnancy and its related conditions to existing employment nondiscrimination laws. The bill also makes it unlawful for an employer to deny a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy or pregnancy related condition.

"While I have passed other legislation," Rogers said in an email, "this is the most significant piece of legislation that I introduced that has passed the House, and all indications are that it will pass the Senate and be signed by the governor. In fact, the governor was quoted as saying that he will sign it."

Under the law, accommodations may include more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, light duty, assistance with manual labor, temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous positions, a modified work schedule and private nonbathroom space for expressing breast milk.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act also would protect pregnant workers seeking accommodation from retaliation from their employer, prevent denial of opportunities based on the need for accommodation, and protect women from being required to take leave from their jobs if a reasonable accommodation can be made.

In a news release, Rogers said, "Today, once again, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has acted boldly to advance the cause of civil rights, women’s rights, and equal opportunity. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill I introduced, makes clear that women seeking a reasonable accommodation from their employers for certain conditions or needs related to their pregnancy must be treated fairly.  

"I thank Speaker DeLeo for his strong leadership, the 99 of my House colleagues who cosponsored this legislation and the many courageous women who stepped forward to tell their stories while the bill was under consideration as -- together -- we send a powerful message in support of equal opportunity in our Commonwealth.  It is particularly heartening that Massachusetts is taking this action at a time when many in our national government seem determined to go in the wrong direction on women’s rights."

The act heads to the Senate for consideration.

Rogers has served in the states House of Representative since 2013 and represents the residents of the 24th Middlesex District which includes Belmont and parts of Arlington and Cambridge.

This news announcement was published Friday, May 12, 2017.

House OKs Rogers' bill stiffening penalty for solicitation of felonies

Dave RogersRogers

Legislation filed by state Rep. Dave Rogers aimed at properly punishing soliciting felony crimes unanimously passed the House on Wednesday, June 22.

H4005, adopted on a bipartisan basis, was an almost identical redraft of H1557, a bill by the same name filed at the beginning of the 2015/2016 legislative session by Rogers, a Democrat representing part of Arlington.

Currently in the Commonwealth, the crime of solicitation -- encouraging someone else to commit a crime -- is a misdemeanor, even when the crime being solicited is a serious felony. Solicitation to commit murder can be prosecuted only under the common-law misdemeanor crime of "solicitation of a felony," which provides for a maximum penalty of no more than 2½ years in the House of Correction.

An Act to Properly Punish the Solicitation of Felony Crimes tracks the conspiracy statute to provide appropriate penalties for solicitation based on the crime which is being solicited, a news release says.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court touched on this issue in Commonwealth v. Barsell, 424 Mass. 737 (1997), vacating the state prison sentence for conviction for solicitation to commit murder, on the grounds that solicitation is an offense at common law and thus a misdemeanor.

"The task of revising the schedule of punishments, long overdue though it may be, must be undertaken by the Legislature," the court wrote.

Action on the issue follows the recent and highly publicized case of Andrew Gordon, a North Chelmsford man arrested while trying to hire a hitman to kill both his wife and a police officer

One of the hitmen solicited proved to be an undercover police officer and Gordon was arrested shortly thereafter. Despite his actions, which many have noted are tantamount to two instances of attempted murder, his sentence was only three to five years.

In the release, Rogers said, "Although the largest share of the bills I filed this session reduce penalties and seek to lighten the footprint of a criminal justice system rife with overly burdensome mandatory minimum sentences, when a situation arises where a domestic violence abuser seeks to have his wife killed, I think we can all agree that 2.5 years in a House of Correction simply does not cut it."

The bill heads to the Senate for consideration.

This report based on a news release was published Thursday, June 23, 2016.

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Lt. Dan Kelly

Retired Arlington police lieutenant dies at 58

Lt. Dan Kelly Lt. Dan Kelly, a retired member of the Arlington Police Department, died Tuesday, May 3, after fighting cancer for several years, Chief Julie Flaherty said in a report by YourArlington partner Patch. Kelly, 58, served 32 years as a decorated member of the Arlington Police Department.…
Sulinha Boucher, 2022

Younger than 5: 4th album for Arlington musician

Sulinha Boucher “We Should Be Kind." Listen to it here >> Sulinha Boucher, an Arlington musician for 30 years who is originally from Brazil, has recorded her fourth album for children, “We Should Be Kind." Perhaps you have heard her at the Robbins and Fox libraries, where she has performed for the…

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