Friedman Votes on Campaign Finance Reform Bill to Bolster Transparency and Accountability

BOSTON Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) recently voted along with her colleagues to pass legislation that increases transparency and accountability in the Commonwealth’s elections by reforming fiscal reporting requirements. The bill, An Act relative to campaign finance, was later signed into law by Governor Baker on November 26, 2019.

“Ensuring transparency and accountability are a critical component of good government,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m pleased that we took a step forward to reform our campaign finance reporting system so that legislators are held to the same standard as statewide, county and municipal candidates who choose to run for office. Voters should be able to easily access accurate and timely information regarding campaign donations and expenditures, and this law will make that possible.”

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Friedman Votes on Bill to Ban Flavored Tobacco, Protect Youth from Nicotine Addiction

BOSTON – On November 20, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her legislative colleagues in passing legislation to reduce youth access to tobacco and nicotine products. The bill was later signed into law by Governor Baker on November 27, 2019.

“For far too long, Big Tobacco has successfully marketed its products to our children, leading to increases in tobacco use, serious health consequences, and a lifetime of nicotine addiction for many,” said Senator Friedman, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “The safety of our children is paramount, and it is our duty to take action to protect them from toxic substances found in flavored vaping products and other devices that keep them from leading healthy lives and focusing in school. I want to thank the students from my district who came to the State House to advocate for meaningful action on this issue. This new law is the product of their persistence and hard work, and we will have a safer and healthier Commonwealth as a result.”

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Plastic Bag Ban Bill

BOSTON – On November 20, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in voting on legislation that would implement a statewide ban on all carry-out plastic bags at checkout from retail stores.

“We must take action to reduce waste in our communities and protect our environment, and this statewide plastic bag ban is certainly a step in the right direction,” said Senator Friedman. “I want to acknowledge Senate President Spilka, Senator Rodrigues and Senator Eldridge for their work on this initiative and for ensuring that we continue to prioritize addressing environmental concerns this session.”

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Legislature Passes Distracted Driving Bill

BOSTON – On November 20, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) along with her colleagues in the House and Senate, voted to enact legislation to ban motorists from using hand-held electronic devices in vehicles unless they are in hands-free mode.

“The safety of our residents is paramount,” said Senator Friedman. “This long overdue bill will protect our drivers and pedestrians as well as reduce the rate of tragic accidents caused by distracted driving on our roads. I’m proud the Legislature passed this commonsense bill, and am grateful that our busy roads and highways in the 4th Middlesex will become safer for everyone as a result.”

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Legislature Passes Bill to Promote Children’s Health and Wellness

BOSTON – This week, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act Relative to Children’s Health and Wellness to increase access to vital behavioral health services for children in the Commonwealth. The conference committee appointed to reconcile the different language in the Senate and House bills filed compromise language on Monday afternoon.

“There are several barriers to access for children in the Commonwealth who are in need of behavioral health services, and this legislation takes several steps to address them,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “I’m especially proud that this comprehensive bill requires provider network directories to be more transparent and include accurate, up-to-date information to help connect children with the mental health providers that they need. I want to acknowledge Senate President Spilka for putting mental health initiatives at the forefront of our legislative agenda this session as well as sincerely thank Rep. Benson and all of the conferees for their hard work on this issue and their commitment to improving children’s behavioral health services in our state.”

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Senate Passes Pharmaceutical Access, Costs and Transparency (PACT) Act

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate passed An Act relative to Pharmaceutical Access, Costs and Transparency (PACT Act), comprehensive pharmaceutical cost control legislation aimed at addressing the high and rapidly increasing costs of prescription drugs.  By connecting the need for greater drug price transparency with policies to improve oversight over the pharmaceutical industry, the legislation will put Massachusetts at the forefront of the state’s efforts to tackle increasing drug costs. It will also reduce drug costs to patients and lower health care costs overall.

“This bill will bring us one step closer toward addressing rising costs within our healthcare system that continually impact patients’ ability to access the care they need,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “By reining in prescription drug costs and increasing transparency and oversight within the pharmaceutical industry, we can drive down costs and improve patient outcomes. I want to thank Senate President Spilka and Chair Rodrigues for their hard work and collaboration throughout this process. I look forward to advocating for this important initiative throughout the remainder of this session.”

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Massachusetts Senate zeroes in on drug costs

Massachusetts Senate leaders introduced their entry into the debate last week, teeing up the Pharmaceutical Access, Cost and Transparency Act for floor debate Thursday.

The legislation seeks to broaden the powers of the commission to look at any drugs costing $50,000 a year or more or any “drug whose cost exceeds an HPC value for that drug.” “You will see a public process around cost and proposed value,” said Senator Cindy Friedman, cochair of the Health Care Financing Committee.

What matters on Main Street is that no one should have to cross our northern border to buy life-saving drugs. That no one should try to whip up a batch of insulin in the basement. That consumers know that the drugs they and their insurers are paying for will be assessed for both cost and value.

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Senate Unveils Pharmaceutical Access, Cost and Transparency (PACT) Act

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate unveiled An Act relative to Pharmaceutical Access, Cost and Transparency (PACT Act), comprehensive pharmaceutical cost control legislation aimed at addressing the high and rapidly increasing costs of prescription drugs.  By connecting the need for greater drug price transparency with policies to improve oversight over the pharmaceutical industry, the legislation will put Massachusetts at the forefront of state’s efforts to tackle increasing drug costs. It will also reduce drug costs to patients and lower health care costs overall.

“Our goal for health care is to create a system that delivers affordable, high quality and accessible health care to all of our residents,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “We have made significant progress moving the Commonwealth toward this goal, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done. This bill serves as the next step in achieving this goal by providing immediate relief for certain high cost drugs, improving patient access to medications, and enhancing transparency and oversight within the pharmaceutical industry. If we are to reduce the cost of health care overall, we must take meaningful action to reduce the costs of drugs. This bill is the start of that effort.”

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Sen. Friedman and constituent Sameer Sabir testify on bill to promote public safety, help families cope with child deaths

BOSTON – On October 22, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health alongside her constituent Sameer Sabir of Arlington, parent advocate Deborah Eappen, and Dr. Robert Sege in favor of legislation that would promote public safety and certainty related to child deaths. Friedman filed the bill on behalf of Mr. Sabir after hearing about the tragic death of his young child and the strain it caused his family.

“Pediatric deaths are different and more complex than adult deaths, and should be reviewed by a medical examiner with considerable experience,” Friedman explained. “Ensuring that the Chief Medical Examiner determines the cause of death will create a more transparent process and bring a sense of certainty and solace to grieving families experiencing an unimaginable loss. This is a commonsense step we must take to help parents like Mr. Sabir cope with the loss of their child, and I look forward to advocating for this important initiative throughout this session.”

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Restoration Center Commission leaders advocate for funds to support jail-diversion programs

BOSTON – On October 22, State Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D–Arlington), Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, and Dr. Danna Mauch testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in favor of legislation that would create a permanent fund to help divert individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment. 

“The state has made progress over the last few years to divert individuals with behavioral health conditions away from the criminal justice system and into treatment centers,” said Sen. Friedman (D-Arlington), lead sponsor of the bill. “This trust fund would allow the Commonwealth to continue this effort by supporting effective jail diversion strategies that will bring us one step closer to ending the criminalization of people suffering from an illness. I’m grateful for Sheriff Koutoujian and Danna Mauch for their collaboration and support of this initiative, and I hope it crosses the finish line this session.”

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