As co-chair of the state’s bail reform commission – created by the landmark criminal justice reform bill passed in 2018 – I collaborated with co-chair Rep. Cronin as well as legislators, judges, probation officers, constitutional officers, and bail experts to evaluate policies and procedures related to the current bail system and to recommend improvements or changes.
As the year comes to a close, I wanted to provide you with an update on this fall’s legislative accomplishments and recount some of the times I spent with you in the 4th Middlesex district!
Throughout the fall, the Legislature worked hard to pass several important bills that were officially signed into law by the Governor – I’m particularly proud that the Children’s Health and Wellness Bill, the Student Opportunity Act, and the Hands-free Driving Bill are officially the law of the Commonwealth! I was also pleased that the Senate passed the PACT Act – an initiative I’m leading on this session – to lower the costs of prescription drugs and increase patient access to medications. We’ve achieved a lot so far, but there is always more work to do.
I hope you are well and are enjoying the fall season! As we enter the final three months of 2019, I want to give you an update on all that I’ve been working on at the State House, provide a brief overview on the major legislation we have passed in the Senate so far, and glance back on some great times I’ve had in the district.
As always, hearing from you about the issues you care most about helps inform my day-to-day work in the Senate. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by contacting me via the contact form on my website, by phone at (617) 722-1432, by email at Cindy.Friedman@masenate.gov, or by mail at Senator Cindy Friedman, State House, Room 413-D, Boston, MA 02133.
BNEWS Director Rich Hosford speaks to guests on both sides of the abortion issue about the ROE Act making its way through the Massachusetts Legislature that would re-affirm the rights laid out in Roe V. Wade and expand access to abortion by eliminating the need for parental consent for minors and allowing abortions after 24 weeks in certain circumstances.
As vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, I recently had the pleasure of serving on the six-member conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) state budget. The committee reached consensus last week on a compromise spending plan for the new fiscal year that began on July 1, and it was approved by both legislative chambers on July 22. Having passed the House and Senate, the legislation now moves to the Governor’s desk for his review. He has 10 days to review the budget and issue any vetoes.
This $43.1 billion budget makes substantial investments in education, physical and behavioral health care, housing, and local aid, and it includes several key investments to support programs and services for our district and the Commonwealth.
Senator Friedman recently appeared on ACMi to discuss the FY20 budget process, her new role as vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee, Chapter 70 education funding, the Fair Share amendment, our public transportation crisis, and much more.
Whether you take the Red Line from Alewife, ride the commuter rail from North Billerica or Woburn, board an MBTA bus throughout the many bus stops in our district, or avoid public transportation altogether because you are fed up with such inconsistent service, there are vital improvements we need to make in order to transition to a 21st century transportation system that works for everyone.
If we don’t take real action to solve these problems, we will continue to experience unreliable service, more derailments, over-crowded trains, and much more.
I recently joined my Senate colleagues in voting on a $42.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). This budget reflects the values of the Commonwealth by continuing to make strong investments in healthcare cost and accessibility, mental health services, workforce development, education, and regional empowerment.
I’m especially pleased that this budget includes several investments I requested on behalf of my constituents in Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Lexington and Woburn as well as numerous policy-related priorities.
I hope you are doing well and are looking forward to spring! I want to update you on all that I’ve been working on since the start of the year as well as outline my legislative priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session.
At the start of the year, I was proud to file several bills that seek to address many of the issues the Commonwealth is facing today. These bills include proposals that expand access to mental healthcare, combat the opioid crisis, reform our criminal justice system, improve transportation infrastructure, address sexual harassment in the workplace, protect the public and gas workers from potentially dangerous gas leaks, and much more. I’m very proud of the work my office has devoted to these initiatives and I look forward to advocating for them throughout this legislative session.