BOSTON (SHNS) – More than a year after the state’s high court ruled judges setting bail must consider a defendant’s ability to pay, state officials are embarking on an examination of the bail system in Massachusetts that will consider measures including potential impacts of eliminating cash bail.
A massive April 2018 criminal justice reform law made a series of changes around bail, in keeping with a high court decision in the 2017 case Brangan v. Commonwealth.
Sen. Cindy Friedman of Arlington and Rep. Claire Cronin of Easton co-chair the commission. On Thursday, at the panel’s first meeting, members outlined what data and information they hope to delve into during their study.
BOSTON – On Wednesday, January 2, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) was officially sworn into the 191st General Court as state Senator representing the 4th Middlesex district. Friedman succeeded former state Senator Ken Donnelly on July 27, 2017, after he suddenly passed away from brain cancer. Friedman began her career as a legislator vowing to continue the great work Donnelly started.
“I’m thankful to my constituents in the 4th Middlesex for placing their trust in me to continue representing their interests in the Senate,” said Senator Friedman. “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with so many of you over the last year and a half to address many of the issues facing our district and the Commonwealth. I look forward to all that we accomplish together this session.”
BOSTON – Burlington area businesses have a reason to celebrate the new year, as the Middlesex 3 Coalition, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) have secured funding necessary to establish a shuttle service that will allow local restaurants to fill hundreds of job openings with otherwise unemployed workers from Lowell.
“Burlington has such a vibrant local economy and a wide variety of successful businesses,” said Sen. Friedman. “This program will be another opportunity for those businesses to access the workforce they need to succeed, ultimately strengthening our local and regional economies. Moreover, it will alleviate the traffic that congests our roads by transporting hundreds of workers into town, without requiring each of them to drive their own cars.”
BOSTON — On December 31, the Massachusetts State Senate closed out the 2017–2018 legislative session with action on a number of bills, spanning issues such as public safety, education, and consumer data protection, among other things. The Senate also passed a supplemental budget designed to address time-sensitive funding needs.
“I’m proud of all that we were able to accomplish together in the Senate this session,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “I want to thank all of my colleagues, especially Senate President Karen Spilka and Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, for working hard until the final minutes of 2018 to enhance public safety, improve education, and protect consumers. I look forward to building on the work we did this session.”
Kudos to Nestor Ramos (“In Josh Gordon case, a troubled league fails a troubled man,” BostonGlobe.com, Dec. 22) for calling out the disgusting hypocrisy of the NFL. More troubling in the response to Josh Gordon’s struggle with a serious disease, is their complicity in demonizing mental illness vs. treating it like the illness it is.
If Gordon were taking medication for any physical ailment, the league would not blink. They don’t seem to have any trouble addressing the symptoms of physical pain that their players have to live with (drugs are certainly part of that). But their neanderthal and dangerous response to Gordon’s actions not only hurt him but hurt the many who suffer with a devastating and difficult-to-treat condition.
BNEWS Director Rich Hosford sat down with Massachusetts State Sen. Cindy Friedman to discuss her first year and a half in office, her legislative goals and a number of issues important to Burlington residents including economic development, traffic, education and the opioid epidemic.
Essex and Suffolk counties plan to join five other counties in a pilot program providing medications to opioid-addicted inmates, a sign that correctional officials’ resistance to the treatments may be yielding to public pressure and legal action in Massachusetts. A federal district judge last month ordered Essex Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger to provide methadone to a prospective inmate, saying that failing to do so could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
The sheriffs’ request was welcomed by state Senator Cindy F. Friedman, chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. Friedman said she suspected the Essex suit was a “driving force” behind the request, but the motivation doesn’t matter. “I’m completely happy about it,” she said.
BOSTON – On December 20, the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits for locked-out National Grid workers for up to 26 additional weeks, or until National Grid workers are no longer locked out, whichever comes first. The benefits would be part of the existing unemployment insurance (UI) system.
“National Grid workers have been locked out of their jobs without healthcare benefits for several months, placing an unnecessary burden on their families and threatening public safety,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This bill takes vital steps to prevent locked-out workers and their families from experiencing economic troubles as they continue contract negotiations with National Grid. It is my hope that the two parties can come to a fair agreement with a sense of urgency so that workers can return to their jobs.”
WOBURN – On December 18, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) visited NeuroMetrix, a company in Woburn that develops wearable medical technology and point-of-care diagnostics to help patients and physicians better manage chronic pain, nerve disorders, and associated sleep disturbances. NeuroMetrix is the manufacturer of Quell, an FDA-approved, over-the-counter weareable therapeutic device for chronic pain.
“I was pleased to visit NeuroMetrix in Woburn and learn about the technology currently being manufactured to serve as a means to treat chronic pain without a prescription,” said Friedman, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “As we continue to address the over-prescription of opioids in our state, it is important that we look for additional ways for chronic pain patients to get the treatment that they need, and products like Quell are an interesting and innovative alternative.”
BOSTON – On December 13, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation to ensure confidentiality for first responders when participating in peer support services following critical incidents. The bill, which had already passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year, returned to the Chamber after an amendment was offered by the House of Representatives.
“Our first responders can often experience high levels of stress, caused by the dangerous circumstances they can experience while doing their job,” said Senator Cindy Friedman (D-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.”