House and Senate Pass Sweeping Economic Development Bill Bill includes provision honoring labor and workforce champion Ken Donnelly

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.”

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Massachusetts Legislature Passes Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis Bill moves to the Governor's desk

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.

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Major Legislation Aimed at Addressing Opioid Crisis

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.”

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Automatic Voter Registration

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.”

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Senate Passes Legislation to Clarify Mass Teachers Retirement System Enrollment Process

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.”

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Senate passes several bills, including support for Local Access TV

BOSTON – On June 28, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in passing a number of bills, including legislation that would require cable companies to provide High Definition (HD) capability to local Community Access channels to enhance the viewer’s experience and likelihood of accessing Public, Education and Government (PEG) programming.

“Keeping our residents engaged and informed is vitally important for the strength of our democracy,” said Friedman. “Making local news more accessible and appealing to our residents by switching to HD will boost civic engagement, allow our residents to have a more direct role in their communities, and benefit our Commonwealth as a whole.”

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Senate takes action to prevent wage theft

BOSTON– On June 21, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) voted in favor of several bills, including legislation that would help prevent the illegal practice of wage theft and promote employer accountability. The bill, S.2327, gives the state greater power to go after wage violators and provides additional tools for the Attorney General’s office to hold violators fully accountable.

“Thousands of workers are stripped of their hard-earned wages every year in Massachusetts,” said Senator Friedman, a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This illegal practice has continually impacted our workers, their families, and our communities, and it’s time for it to end. This important bill takes necessary steps to impose worker protections to prevent wage theft and hold employers accountable, ensuring that every worker receives the pay they are entitled to.”

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Angela Ortiz of Woburn named as an Unsung Heroine

BOSTON – On Wednesday, June 20, Angela Ortiz of Woburn was honored as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s (MCSW) 2018 class of Unsung Heroines. Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) nominated Angela for this recognition because of her tireless efforts advocating on behalf of children with complex medical needs in the Commonwealth. Angela was honored with 130 other Unsung Heroines for her outstanding contributions to her community in a ceremony at the State House.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Angela to move important legislation forward in the State House to protect medically vulnerable children in the Commonwealth who require specialized in-home care to manage their complex medical conditions,” said Senator Friedman. “Time and time again, Angela has demonstrated her ability to fight for what is right and never back down on the issues she cares about. I’m so proud to represent such a caring and dedicated individual in the state Senate.”

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Sen. Friedman casts vote for “Grand Bargain,” raising minimum wage to $15 an hour and establishing a statewide paid family medical leave program

BOSTON—On June 20, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) voted in favor of legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, establish a paid family and medical leave program, and create a permanent sales tax holiday. The bill, H.4640, is the product of months of deliberation between lawmakers, activists, and business groups.

“As our state becomes more expensive to live in, the need to ensure that our workers earn a living wage becomes more important,” said Friedman, a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “The compromise legislation passed by the Legislature will benefit low-income workers throughout the Commonwealth while providing a boost to our overall economy. This is a huge victory for Massachusetts working families and I’m so proud to have played a role in the ‘Fight for 15’!”

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Friedman shows support for clean energy future bill

BOSTON – On June 14, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in voting to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Michael Barrett. This legislation represents a firm stand by the Senate to ensure a healthier, cleaner Commonwealth for future generations of Massachusetts residents. Most importantly, the policies enacted in this legislation will have measurable benefits in the health of the global environment.

“At a time when our environment is under unprecedented attack at the federal level, it is vitally important for Massachusetts to take a stand to preserve our natural resources and address climate change,” said Friedman. “This bill ensures that our state continues to lead in clean energy efficiency by taking important steps to transition to cleaner energy sources, create high-paying jobs in the green economy, and protect our residents from the ongoing threat of global warming.”

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