BOSTON – On Feb. 14, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) offered a Senate Resolution, with 18 Senate co-sponsors, to honor the thirteen Massachusetts Olympians that are competing in the 2018 U.S. Olympic Winter Games in the county of Pyeongchang in South Korea. The resolution was adopted and enacted during the Senate’s formal session in Gardner Auditorium at the State House.
The thirteen athletes are members of the ice hockey, bobsled, snowboarding and freestyle and alpine skiing teams. Among the athletes is Burlington native and ice hockey defender Kali Flanagan, who is one of five current or former Boston College players on the women’s U.S. Olympic ice hockey team.
“It’s an honor to recognize such talented and hard-working athletes from across our state and especially in my district,” said Senator Friedman. “Kali is an exemplary athlete, and I hope that her success inspires other young women to follow in her footsteps. I wish Kali, the women’s ice hockey team, and all of the Massachusetts athletes participating in this year’s Winter Olympics the best of luck.”
Click here to view Senator Friedman’s resolution
LEXINGTON- On Feb. 17, state Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined federal Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and over one hundred citizens in rallying to demand that Congress implement more gun safety measures and mental health services to suppress gun violence in the United States.
The rally, one of many across the country, was swiftly organized by Jessie Steigerwald, a Lexington resident and School Committee member, in response to the recent horrific shooting in which 17 people were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I speak today not as a senator, but as a mother,” said Senator Friedman. “When did it become okay to have children massacred in the United States and do nothing about it? If you are not for commonsense gun control, then you are for the killing of children in our schools and in our homes. There is no other way to spin it.”
BOSTON, MA – On Feb. 14, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in passing legislation to protect patients’ access to confidential health care. In an effort to maintain the confidentiality of patients covered as dependents on another person’s insurance policy, the “PATCH Act” requires insurance carriers to issue common summary of payment forms directly to the patient.
“Every Massachusetts resident should have the ability to make confidential health care decisions of their choice,” said Senator Friedman. “Too often, patients are reluctant to get certain treatment services for fear that their personal health information may be shared with a parent or spouse. This bill ensures a patient’s right to privacy and increases access to healthcare for those seeking treatment services that they need.”
BOSTON – On Wednesday, Feb. 14, Senator Friedman and other members of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators wore purple to stand in support of the Legislators for Gender Equality Movement.
Created and organized by Zoe Laboy Alvarado, Senator at Large for Puerto Rico, the movement is to encourage legislators to take a stand for gender equality in all facets of life. Currently, there are 50 women serving in the Massachusetts legislature – representing 25% of elected seats. In contrast, only 14 women are serving in the Puerto Rico legislature that has a total of 78 seats.
“In the 387-year history of the Massachusetts General Court, over 20,000 men have been elected as lawmakers compared to only 196 women,” Senator Friedman explained. “Today is a serious reminder that we have to continue to push for equal opportunity for women throughout the Commonwealth and across our nation so that all women have an equal shot at success.”
BOSTON – On Feb. 8, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in voting to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements of capital facilities across the Commonwealth.
Friedman advocated for and successfully secured funding to benefit projects across the 4th Middlesex, including $1,400,000 for the design and construction of solar facilities at the Minuteman High School in Lexington and $650,000 for the renovation of the Ned O’Brien Ice Rink in Woburn.
“This bill is a representation of important infrastructure projects that will highly benefit cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman. “With these funds, we will be able to preserve and maintain facilities that are vital to our community. Going forward, I will vocally advocate for these projects and let the Baker administration know how important they are to our district and the state.”
BOSTON – On Tuesday, Feb. 6, Senator Friedman joined Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Senate President Harriette Chandler, and many other legislative colleagues at the annual Go Red For Women Movement at the State House. The event was hosted by the American Heart Association and the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, which Senator Friedman is a member of.
Legislators from across the state wore red in honor of National Wear Red Day to support the cause, raise awareness for heart disease and stroke among women and advocate for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health.
“Every 80 seconds, a woman dies of heart disease, but eighty percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented,” said Senator Friedman. “It is critically important for us to encourage all of the women in our lives to go to the doctor, monitor their blood pressure, and stay active to maintain a healthy heart.”
BOSTON- On Feb. 1, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in passing a supplemental budget that includes $15 million for school districts educating students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who were displaced by hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Since September 2017, more than 2300 students have arrived in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and enrolled in schools across the state. The formula that calculates state aid to local schools, however, was established prior to the students’ arrival, so school districts have not received extra money to cover the costs of educating these students.
“As we continue to welcome new students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is important that we provide adequate support for our school districts so that they have the resources they need to manage the sudden rise of students in the classroom while continuing to provide high quality education for everyone,” said Senator Friedman.
BOSTON – On Jan. 25, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) swiftly filed legislation in response to the recent decision by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) to significantly reduce the number of healthcare carriers available to active and retired GIC members. The bill, An Act to ensure greater transparency at the GIC (SD.2500), received immediate praise from Senator Friedman’s colleagues and now boasts 34 Senate co-sponsors.
“I’ve heard from countless concerned families in my district who fear that they will be forced on to a new plan that may or may not allow them to keep their current doctors or continue the course of treatment that they are currently on,” Friedman explained. “I’m outraged by the lack of transparency by the GIC in making this decision and the complete lack of notice in providing specific details of the changes to those that will be highly affected by this change.”
BOSTON – On Jan. 18, state Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) was among nine senators appointed to a Committee that will review the state Senate’s sexual harassment policies and procedures, a task they have about four months to complete.
The Senate adopted an order (S.2262) to establish the committee. The order appointed Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) as committee chair and included a May 15 deadline to report its findings and recommendations.
“We have to make it very clear that we have no tolerance for sexual harassment in the Senate and there will be strong repercussions for anyone who violates our policies,” said Senator Friedman. “We must update these policies to ensure that all Senate employees and members, as well as any individual the Senate works with never feel unsafe or feel like they can’t speak up about an incident of sexual misconduct at the State House.”
BOSTON — On Tuesday, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Representative Denise Garlick (D-Needham) co-chaired the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery’s public hearing on H.4033, An Act relative to combatting addiction, accessing treatment, reducing prescriptions, and enhancing prevention (“The CARE Act”), filed by Governor Charlie Baker.
During the Governor’s testimony, Senator Friedman emphasized the need for the CARE Act to more directly address access barriers to mental health treatment, especially given the prevalence of individuals in the state with co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder and mental illness.
“There needs to be a greater focus on mental illness in this bill,” said Senator Friedman. “Upwards of 40-50% of individuals seeking treatment for a substance use disorder also suffer from a mental health condition. Many of these individuals choose to self-medicate with substances to manage their mental illness and do not have a clear pathway to recovery for either diagnosis.”