Senator Cindy Friedman took part in an interview with Invested, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s new community development magazine, to discuss Senate Bill 1000, An Act establishing fair scheduling practices for employees in the Commonwealth.
“The bill addresses the issue of constantly changing work shift schedules,” said Senator Friedman. “The purpose of the bill is to create predictable schedules for workers. This has become an issue particularly in big-box stores and fast-food restaurants because of the availability of software that tracks moment-to-moment, day-to-day, and week-to-week sales and trends and allows an employer to change a shift schedule in a minute. We’ve worked on two different versions of the bill. The first version more broadly addressed all of the issues that come up because of just-in-time and on-call scheduling. The most recent version hones in on on-call scheduling and treats being on call the same as being physically present. The language that we filed this year basically says that if you’re on call, you get paid, because you can’t do anything else during the time you’re on call—you’re working. It’s only fair.”
For the second time in six months, the Massachusetts State Senate has approved a proposal that would grant Mass Retirees direct representation on the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
The proposal was filed by our Association as an amendment to S2202, An Act furthering health empowerment and affordability, which aims to gain control over rising healthcare costs. Joining Mass Retirees in backing the amendment was each of the state’s public employee unions and the Mass. AFL-CIO.
Senators Michael Brady and Cindy Friedman took the lead as the main sponsors of Amendment #87. They were joined by nine Senate colleagues as cosponsors: Feeney, Cyr, McGee, Boncore, Timilty, Gobi, Eldridge, O’Connor and Montigny.
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.
“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.”
State Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, will speak at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Temple Shalom Emeth, 16 Lexington St., Burlington.
She will speak at the meeting of L’Chaim, a new social group established by the temple. “Soup and Salad with Cindy” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the social hall. The new temple group, L’Chaim, was established a few months ago for retirees to get together for social and educational conversation. Members hope the monthly meetings will help build a community-center environment and encourage more participation in temple life.
Temple Shalom Emeth serves local communities including Burlington, Bedford, Billerica, Lexington, Reading, Wilmington and Woburn. Its rabbi, Susan Abramson, is the longest serving female rabbi in Massachusetts.
The Lexington Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Planning Board met with Lexington’s State House delegation at a joint meeting Monday, Nov. 8. state Sen. Cindy Friedman, state Sen. Michael Barrett and state Rep. Jay Kaufman shared their views on State House priorities. The trio also fielded questions from the Lexington officials on hand, in a wide-ranging discussion that aimed to square up local, state—and at times, national—issues.
At the outset, each of the state legislators updated those on hand about the Beacon Hill happenings that were at the forefront of their minds.
Selectmen, School Committee members and Planning Board members then had the chance to ask questions from a predetermined list of 12 legislative topics of interest (plus three additions provided on-site by School Committee members).
On Oct. 27, the Massachusetts Senate passed an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, an issue which State Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, has been a supporter of since her election campaign this summer.
The bill, which features 240 sections, was introduced to the senate by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in 2017. The bill highlights areas of the criminal justice system, like diversion programs, decriminalization and criminal penalties and procedures, that Friedman noted had not been looked at comprehensively for some time.
“I feel that on a lot of different levels we need to update our criminal justice system so the focus is on incarcerating less people,” said Friedman.
BOSTON — A workforce training grant program championed for years by the late Sen. Kenneth Donnelly would be named in memory of him and given a dedicated funding stream under a bill the Senate passed Thursday. The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund provides regional training partnerships with the goal of placing unemployed and underemployed workers in jobs that pay a decent wage. Sen. Jason Lewis said the trust fund can help both workers and employees.
“Ken Donnelly never gave up this effort, nor did he ever relax his constant and vocal support for working families,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman, who served as Donnelly’s chief of staff and has since been elected to his seat in the Senate, said in her maiden address. “Because of the work he did to provide opportunities for our residents, it is a fitting gesture that as we supply a reliable funding stream we name the grants that will be made possible after Ken Donnelly.”
Donnelly’s widow, Judy, was present in the Senate’s temporary chamber for the unanimous vote on both the amendment and bill. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
Ahead of the long-anticipated debate on its criminal justice bill Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate launched its own online broadcast program to highlight major Senate initiatives.
The streaming series, “State of the Senate,” premiered at 10:30 a.m. with seven Democratic senators discussing various aspects of the criminal justice bill (S 2185). The program is available on the Legislature’s website and on closed-circuit TVs inside the State House.
Sens. William Brownsberger, Patricia Jehlen, Karen Spilka, Michael Barrett, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Cindy Friedman and Jamie Eldridge spoke, accompanied by stock footage and elevator music, for about 18 minutes about the bill they will debate Thursday.
The Senate president’s office said the program will air “periodically” and that a second episode is planned to cover the Senate’s health care reform bill.
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a major overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system. The bill, S.2185, is 113 pages long, has 239 sections and is estimated to cost more than $1 million in the next fiscal year. So what would the bill do? Here is a look at a few major topics addressed in the bill.
The purpose of bail reform is to ensure that someone is not imprisoned solely because they are unable to afford cash bail.
“What we’re trying to do with bail reform is move bail from a cash based system, which disproportionately affects people who don’t have money, to a system that’s evidence based and that’s objective and that determines or looks at whether someone is a flight risk or a danger to themselves or others,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington.
What this means is establishing ways for judges to assess whether someone is a flight risk or a danger, determine how much they can pay, and set bail at the least restrictive amount possible to ensure that they will return to court and will not pose a danger to others.
BOSTON — Sen. Cindy Friedman never thought she wanted this job. But last year, everything changed.
She’s managed political campaigns, and even worked as chief of staff for a senator. But she’s ‘always been behind the scenes — and I’m fine with that.’ Then her boss in the Statehouse, Kenneth Donnelly, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. He died in April.
Friedman didn’t have to run for his open seat. She could’ve stepped back and let a newcomer try their hand at state politics. But she felt like she lost her “partner,” she said.
“I had to get out of my comfort zone and say, this is important to me that I’m willing to risk losing, that I’m willing to put everything I have out there to try to remain in this work so I can continue it,” she told The Sun in a recent interview.