A few updates regarding the MBTA

A lot has been going on at the MBTA, so I wanted to provide you with a brief update.

I understand that many of you use the Alewife parking garage on a daily basis. As you know, the MBTA closed the garage in mid-August to address safety concerns after concrete fell from the ceiling and damaged a parked vehicle. The garage reopened on August 20 after repairs were made and the garage was determined safe for use.

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A Year in Numbers A look back on the past year at the State House

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

Policy: Strategies that work, Broadening our reach MGH Cancer Center

On May 11, 2018, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) participated in a panel discussion at the “Bridging the Divide: Mental Health and Cancer Care” symposium along with several panel members, including: Paul D’ Alton, D. Clin. Psych.; Inga Lennes, MD, MPH, MBA; and Kathy Sanders, MD. The panel was moderated by Benjamin Sommers, MD, PhD.


Big Wins in the Senate Budget!

As you may know, I joined my Senate colleagues last week in voting on a $41.49 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The final Senate budget makes substantial investments in key areas related to public education, local aid, transportation, health and human services, housing and assistance for low income families.

I’m very pleased that several of my local and policy-related amendments were included in the final version of the Senate budget. In addition, I was proud to vote in favor of several amendments that were adopted by the Senate, including initiatives that would improve elder behavioral healthcare, help cities and towns preserve open space and create affordable housing, expand access to educational opportunities for youth and adults, provide low-income families access to healthy foods, and protect the civil rights of undocumented immigrants.

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Civil Rights & Safety in the Senate Budget

During the recent Senate budget debate, I voted in favor of the Civil Rights and Safety amendment (#1147), which was adopted in the Senate budget. Some of you might be familiar with this language, as it carries a similar intent to Senator Eldridge’s S.1305, better known as the “Safe Communities Act.” There has been a lot of misinformation regarding this amendment, so I would like to take a moment to clear up any confusion.

The amendment would: (1) ensure that local law enforcement resources are used to fight crime and keep local communities safe, not to assist federal immigration enforcement; (2) prohibit state collaboration with the federal government for the purpose of creating a federal registry program based on national origin or other protected characteristics; and (3) guarantee basic due process rights for immigrants detained in state and local facilities.

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Upcoming Senate Budget Debate

Last week, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (SWM) released its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Budget proposal. With a total investment of $41.42 billion, the proposal continues to support vital government services, invest in our state’s strengths and confront obstacles to continued growth. I was especially pleased to see the proposed budget include substantial investments in public education, transportation, mental health treatment, and working families.

As you may know, my colleagues and I will be debating this budget proposal on the Senate floor next week. While this proposal includes significant investments and important policy initiatives, I look forward to strengthening the final Senate Budget during the amendment process. To that end, I’ve filed 24 amendments on several topics, including increasing access to mental health and substance use treatment, protecting medically complex and fragile children in the Commonwealth, securing a prevailing wage for quasi-state agency employees, and investing in community organizations and local initiatives throughout the 4th Middlesex district.

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Taylor’s Story

During National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Massachusetts’ Advocacy Day, I had the chance to hear from a young man named Taylor who courageously shared a story about his terrifying experience with law enforcement as an individual with mental illness. Taylor’s story illustrates, in the clearest way possible, how important it is to train our first responders to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, to equip them with de-escalation techniques, and to provide them with appropriate treatment referral options.

This session, I’m advocating for legislation (S.1090) that would create statewide resources for comprehensive crisis intervention training (CIT) for municipal police departments and other first responders. Taylor gave me permission to use his story, and I invite you to read it to gain a better understanding of why CIT for police officers is so important.

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Cindy’s Quarterly Newsletter, April 2018

I hope you are well as we continue to wait for a warmer spring season. As we enter the final six months of formal sessions for the 2017-18 legislative session, please take a look at my most recent newsletter, which includes an update on recent major legislative accomplishments and an overview of what I’ve been working on since the start of 2018.

As always, hearing from you on 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.

Click here to view my quarterly newsletter