BOSTON — Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined her legislative colleagues in passing a sweeping $1 billion Economic Development Bill, calling for targeted investments in workforce training programs and job creation through ambitious public infrastructure projects.
“With additional grants to support workforce training and education, more workers will have access to opportunities that will lead to good jobs in high-demand industries, further energizing our economy and strengthening our communities,” said Friedman, a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This bill demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting our workforce and creating an economy that works for everyone.”
BOSTON – On July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature passed H.4742, providing an additional set of tools to address the opioid crisis and establishing the Commonwealth as a national leader in the fight against this epidemic. Among the provisions included in the bill are increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), exploring tools to reduce harm and save lives, expanding prevention efforts, and addressing the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.
The bill, An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction, is the result of extensive work researching evidence-based best practices and collaborating with healthcare researchers and clinicians, hospitals, behavioral health providers, law enforcement officials, patient advocates and individuals with lived experience, to develop policies to address the opioid epidemic.
A year ago today, I was officially sworn into the Massachusetts State Senate. It’s hard to believe that it has already been one year since I began my career as a legislator — and what a year it has been!
Since last July, I’ve had the pleasure of attending events in the 4th Middlesex, addressing your concerns at office hours, and discussing important issues impacting Massachusetts. At the same time, I took part in several key votes to protect women’s access to healthcare, address the opioid epidemic, fight for working families, stand up for our veterans, reform our criminal justice system, and much more. It has been my honor and privilege to represent you on Beacon Hill and fight for the issues we care about.
To commemorate my 1-year anniversary as your state Senator, my team compiled a list of highlights from the past year. Please click on the link below to view our “Year in Numbers” and get a better sense of the work I’ve been doing this session to benefit our district and the Commonwealth.
Click here to view the “Year in Numbers” recap
On July 10, Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, led a conversation with family caregivers, respite workers and homecare leaders on the plight of family caregiving today. She stressed the need for the community to pay attention and make voices heard in the right settings to promulgate the power of professional home-care to take the pressure off of family caregivers.
The senator spoke to an audience of about 25 at the Billerica Council on Aging as part of their after-work sessions to support younger seniors, 60-75 years of age, many of whom are caught in daily crises trying to manage their own lives and that of older loved ones. The three homecare companies present, Guardian Angel, Home Instead and Right at Home have been screened by the Outreach and Wellness Staff at the BCOA and receive referrals as cases are brought to the Center.
BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate passed S.2609, providing an additional set of tools to address the opioid crisis and establishing the Commonwealth as a national leader in the fight against this epidemic. Among the provisions included in the bill are increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), exploring tools to reduce harm and save lives, expanding education and prevention efforts, and addressing the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.
“Despite efforts to suppress the opioid crisis, families across the Commonwealth continue to lose their loved ones to substance use disorder,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “This legislation builds upon the work the state has done around opioid misuse and prevention and provides another set of tools to reduce harm, save lives, and increase access to evidence-based treatment. We have a major epidemic on our hands and we have to use everything at our disposal to cure this disease.”
MASSACHUSETTS CONTINUES TO LOOK for new answers to the opioid crisis. Despite changes to state law to require insurance coverage for inpatient substance use disorder treatment, despite the increased availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone (Narcan), and despite significant investments in substance use prevention programs in our communities, this disease continues to claim lives and devastate families and entire neighborhoods.
Yes, a disease – I use that word intentionally. Substance use disorder arises in individuals exposed to opioids who have a genetic predisposition, history of trauma, or both. The shameless peddling of opioids by the pharmaceutical industry has resulted in widespread exposure to opioids. In individuals with substance use disorder, brain chemistry changes in ways that reinforce the disease.
BOSTON – A group of state lawmakers are pushing for a controversial pilot program aimed at addressing the opioid crisis. The program would open safe spaces for people to inject drugs — called “supervised injection sites.” That term is commonly used around the world, but Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Middlesex) uses the term “harm reduction site.” She says it includes the goal she’s fighting so hard for: reducing harm for injection drug users and communities.
“This is about being serious and putting our words into action,” Sen. Friedman said. “If this were another illness, another disease and there was evidence there was a procedure out there that was working for a lot of people, we wouldn’t even think twice about it.”
BOSTON – Today, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in voting to pass H.4671, An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud. The legislation creates a framework in which eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the Registry of Motor vehicles, MassHealth, and other participating state agencies. The framework will be overseen and implemented by the Secretary of State.
“Nearly 700,000 residents are eligible to vote in Massachusetts, yet persistent barriers and confusion about the registration process make it more difficult for people to register to vote,” said Senator Friedman. “We should be making it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder. This bill will ensure that eligible voters have fair and equal access to our state election process, encourage greater participation in the political process, increase voter turnout and ultimately strengthen our democracy.”
BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed S.2592, An Act relative to the Massachusetts teachers retirement system, sponsored by Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). The bill would improve the enrollment process for new members of the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System (MTRS) or new teacher members of the Boston Retirement System (BRS) who have previous creditable service in another Massachusetts contributory retirement system.
“Nearly 2,000 members of the MTRS and BRS may have been impacted by confusion on an election notice to opt-in to the Retirement Plus program,” said Senator Friedman, Senate vice chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service. “The purpose of this legislation is to create a more streamlined and transparent process for those who wish to participate in the program and avoid any misunderstanding about enrollment in the future.”
Like many of you, I’ve been heartbroken and sickened by the news lately. Immigrant families are being torn apart, children are being forced into detention sites that resemble prison cells, and the federal government is showing no mercy. Our American values are under threat by a “leader” in the White House who refuses to show an ounce of decency and compassion toward the most vulnerable.
Any parent understands that separating children from their families is cruel and inhumane. Furthermore, refusing to provide safety to someone seeking asylum from violence in their country of origin is unconscionable. We have a serious, moral crisis on our hands, and we have to stand up and do something about it.
In response, I recently joined my colleagues in co-signing a letter to President Trump, condemning his actions and demanding that he take swift action to reunite every family that has been separated.