Includes increased funding for sectors impacted by COVID-19, including housing and childcare
(BOSTON – 11/20/2020) This week, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in unanimously passing a $46 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), after adding $36.1 million in targeted investments over the course of two days of deliberations. Passed with bipartisan support, the budget aims to move the Commonwealth towards an equitable recovery by making critical investments in sectors impacted by COVID-19 including early education and childcare, food security, housing supports, and public health.
“I am proud to have voted in favor of this budget—the $46 billion in funding will help our residents, especially those who are most vulnerable, as the Commonwealth continues to face new and unprecedented challenges that have emerged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The Senate’s investments in behavioral health services, housing protections, reproductive health access, education, and food insecurity in particular are crucial steps toward ensuring a more equitable economic recovery and a more equitable Commonwealth for all.”
BOSTON (11/12/2020) – Today, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means announced a $45.98 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). The Committee’s budget is a responsible and balanced plan that ensures fiscal stability and recommends targeted investments to protect access to core essential services, address urgent needs, and support efforts to build an equitable recovery for the Commonwealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud of this budget – it is a significant step toward addressing the real and immediate needs of the Commonwealth as our state continues to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The spending priorities reflect our strong commitment to protecting the fundamental needs of our residents, such as childcare, housing, food security and healthcare.”
BOSTON (11/2/2020) – The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed legislation to enhance unemployment benefits for 17,000 people in Massachusetts by as much as $1800 each. The legislation was signed into law by the Governor shortly after.
“The Senate is committed to helping the most vulnerable residents in our Commonwealth as we continue to confront the ongoing pandemic, and this bill reflects that commitment,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “During this difficult financial time, we need to do everything we can to support those in need so they can support themselves and their families.”
BOSTON (10/30/2020) – On October 29, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation that would mandate insurance coverage for children with pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndromes (PANS) and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS). The bill, An Act relative to insurance coverage for PANDAS/PANS, would ensure that children with PANS or PANDAS receive optimal care by helping patients and their families access specialized diagnostic tests and effective treatments.
“This legislation is a common sense step in the right direction toward ensuring that families that have children with this challenging condition receive equitable access to the treatment they need and deserve,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This bill also builds on the Senate’s ongoing commitment to putting patients first by continuing to place treatment decisions in the hands of medical professionals, not insurance companies. I commend Senate President Spilka for continuing to lead the way on expanding access to health care for all as well as my fellow Senate colleagues who played an integral role in passing this bill.”
(BOSTON – 10/23/2020) On October 22, the Massachusetts State Senate passed An Act to ensure safe patient access to emergency care, also known as “Laura’s Law,” in memory of Somerville resident Laura Beth Levis, who died in 2016 from an asthma attack just steps from an emergency-room door.
“No one should ever lose their life outside an emergency room due to poor signage and dim lighting,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “What happened to Laura Levis was tragic, heart-breaking and, frankly, could have been prevented. With the passage of “Laura’s Law” in the Senate, we hope to protect patients and ensure that a similar tragedy never happens again.”
This election cycle, Massachusetts registered voters will be able to vote by mail, vote early beginning on October 17 at an early voting location, or vote on Election Day on November 3 at your polling place. My team and I have created a helpful voter guide to ensure that you have the information you need to make your voice heard in this election cycle.
Click here to access my voter guide
BOSTON (10/9/2020) – On October 7, 2020, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) was invited to join the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, created to advance the Baker Administration’s efforts to prepare for the distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.
“I’m honored to have been asked to join the advisory group, and am eager to collaborate with fellow members to support the planning process already underway,” said Friedman, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “As we prepare for the arrival of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, we must ensure that we can distribute and administer it safely and equitably across the Commonwealth – and I look forward to being part of that conversation.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced the formation of a 17-member COVID-19 vaccine advisory group to help advise the state moving forward.
The group isn’t just comprised of medical professionals, infectious disease experts and community leaders. There are also two legislators on the committee who are looking into any state laws or regulations that could potentially stand in the way of an effective rollout in Massachusetts.
“I will be focused on anything that may be a barrier statutorily or through regulations that may prevent an efficient and effective rollout,” said Massachusetts State Sen. Cindy Friedman, who’s one of the 17 members. “If there’s any work we have to do that the legislature can support, we’re here to do that.”
BOSTON (9/24/2020) – The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) recently honored Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) with their Spirit of Compassion Award during its 107th Annual – and first ever virtual – Friend and Leader Awards Event. This annual event salutes individuals whose work contributes to progress in awareness, health promotion, prevention and effective treatment for children and adults affected by mental health challenges throughout Massachusetts.
“As a parent of someone with a severe mental illness, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate the mental health care system in Massachusetts,” said Friedman. “I’m honored to be recognized for my commitment to this issue, and I am grateful to MAMH’s continued collaboration and tireless advocacy on behalf of some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”
As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up across the United States early in 2020, Massachusetts officials began to implement a variety of measures aimed at staving off transmission of the viral respiratory infection and protecting the public.
Having the command center was just critical, just to have not only a central place, but a single person,”Friedman said. “I don’t wish that job on anyone, but that was so critical, because there was a place where we could at least centralize information and feel like we were getting information back forth.”
BOSTON (08/17/20) – The Massachusetts Senate recently passed legislation that removes existing barriers for students with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders or other developmental disabilities so they can attend public institutions of higher education. The bill, which passed with bipartisan support, honors the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law 30 years ago this week by President George H.W. Bush.
“The passage of this bill in honor of the 30thanniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act is an important step in opening more doors for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “I applaud my Senate colleagues and the many schools districts and higher education institutions who partnered on this important bill, which seeks to create a more inclusive Commonwealth for all and ensures that all students – regardless of ability – have equal access to quality higher education.”
BOSTON (08/17/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed three bipartisanbills to increase birth options and safety for all pregnant and perinatal people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. One bill establishes a commission to study barriers to substance use treatment for women in the perinatal period, another establishes a commission to address racial inequities in maternal healthcare in Massachusetts, and a third increases options for safe, professional birthing care in the Commonwealth by licensing midwifery.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted glaring inequities in our health care system, particularly in maternal health,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This package of bills seeks to address these inequities among vulnerable and marginalized populations to ensure that women have access to the care they need to live healthy lives. This legislation builds on the Senate’s ongoing commitment to breakinng down barriers to care and creating a health care system that works better for everyone.”
BOSTON (8/10/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate recently passed the Genocide Education Act to educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide and to promote the teaching of human rights issues.
“Hate incidents and hate crimes have increased dramatically in recent years, which is why it’s imperative that we use every tool at our disposal to dismantle hate in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “Education and learning about the history of genocide – and the painful consequences of ignorance, bigotry and intolerance – is one of those tools. I believe the passage of this bill is an important step toward equipping the next generation with the knowledge and the resources they need to recognize hate and to dispel hate in our communities.”
BOSTON (8/10/2020) – The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed legislation to fight childhood hunger and boost participation rates in school breakfast programs in schools with high percentages of students from low-income families in the Commonwealth. The bill, An Act regarding breakfast after the bell, would require all public K‑12 schools with 60 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program to offer breakfast after the instructional day begins. The bill was signed into law shortly after.
“Students cannot focus and excel in the classroom if they are hungry,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “When children have access to nutritious meals, they are happier, healthier, and perform better at school. This bill continues the fight against food insecurity by ensuring that more students don’t have to struggle with hunger while at school. Thank you to my legislative colleagues for continually putting the health and well-being of our kids above all else.”
BOSTON (8/7/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate recently passed a bill to introduce new oversight and reporting requirements for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). The bill, An Act relative to accountability for vulnerable children and families,also moves the child fatality review board to the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), establishes a ‘Foster Parent Bill of Rights,’ and increases access to mental health care for children in the Commonwealth.
“This bill is an important step in maintaining the health and well-being of vulnerable children in our Commonwealth, particularly during this time of increased anxiety and need,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “I’m pleased that this bill reduces barriers to mental health care for children and increases access to treatment, making it easier for parents to get their child the critical care they need and deserve. I’m grateful for Senate President Spilka and all of my Senate colleagues for recognizing the importance of improving mental health care in our state and making it a priority this session.”
BOSTON (7/30/20) – Today, the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation to limit the use of step therapy, or ‘fail-first’ protocols that too often direct patients to cheaper medications rather than those more suitable to treat their condition. The bill, An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety, gives health care providers more leverage in determining the most effective treatment options for patients, saving patients expensive and painful regimens on medications they know to be ineffective or harmful.
“This bill takes an important step toward placing treatment decisions back in the hands of the health care provider and patient by limiting opportunities for insurance companies to force a patient to fail on certain medications before they can access the one most suitable for their needs,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “While we must continue to address the high cost of drugs, we cannot do it at the expense of patients, and cost can never be the primary determinant of whether a patient has to suffer needlessly before they can access the medication that is most effective for treating their condition.”
(BOSTON‑07/30/2020) – The Massachusetts State Senate passed a sweeping economic recovery and development bill on Wednesday that provides much-needed support to businesses, invests in infrastructure, and creates new jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on our economy, presenting serious challenges for restaurants and small businesses, exacerbating housing issues, and impacting sectors of our economy that our communities depend on to thrive,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “The ENDURE Act will help us overcome the significant economic downturn caused by the pandemic, putting our Commonwealth on a pathway toward a more equitable and sustainable economic future. I’d like to thank the Senate President as well as Senators Rodrigues and Lesser for their steadfast leadership in moving this bill through the legislative process with a sense of urgency as our state reopens and recovers.”
BOSTON (7/24/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation that resolves a decade-long distribution dispute between brewers and wholesalers in the Commonwealth.
“The craft brewing industry has become a welcome addition to our state’s economy over the last several years,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “Solving this dispute is a big win for breweries in our local communities and will allow them to continue to thrive and contribute to the economic stability of our cities and towns.”
Senator Cindy F. Friedman(D-Arlington) recently joined her colleagues in voting on legislation to jumpstart investment in transportation infrastructure and make the Commonwealth’s transportation system more reliable and accessible to residents. The bill includes $2.5 million Friedman fought for to support roadway and sidewalk reconstruction and traffic safety improvements in the Town of Burlington.
“This bond bill allows our cities and towns to invest in local transportation projects that will enhance our infrastructure while creating much-needed jobs during this time of financial hardship,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m pleased that I was able to secure vital investments for our community, paving the way for a more modernized transportation infrastructure that works for everyone.”
BOSTON (7/15/2020) —The Massachusetts State Senate passed An Act to Reform Police Standards and Shift Resources to Build a More Equitable, Fair and Just Commonwealth that Values Black Lives and Communities of Color(S.2800). Known as the Reform, Shift + Build Act, the comprehensive bill is designed to increase police accountability, shift the role of law enforcement away from surveillance and punishment, and begin to dismantle systemic racism.
“The Reform, Shift + Build Act is a step in the right direction toward equity, justice and fairness for all,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “The police, to a large degree, represent society’s values. If we want lasting change and an end to systemic racism, part of our work must be to look at how we police and what our expectations of the police are. We need to reform practices that disproportionately affect communities of color and reinforce stereotypes that we as a society have allowed to stand for centuries. The Reform, Shift + Build Act is a part of that work. ”
BOSTON (7/9/2020) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined her colleagues in passing a $1.7 billion General Government Bond Bill focused on capital improvements to improve government infrastructure, empower communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system, support early education and care providers with safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expand equitable access to remote learning opportunities for vulnerable populations across the Commonwealth.
“Our antiquated CORI system is just one example of how our system continues to disproportionally impact people of color,” said Senator Friedman. “Now more than ever, we should be investing in the things that strengthen our communities, support our most vulnerable residents and help people restart their lives rather than penalize them for life. I’m pleased that these funds were authorized in this bill, and am grateful for my Senate colleagues for moving this important piece of legislation forward.”
BOSTON (7/7/2020) – Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined her legislative colleagues in passing a bill that expands voter access and ensures safe voting options for all remaining 2020 elections, including the September 1, 2020 state primary and the November 3, 2020 general election. The bill, An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, was signed into law by the Governor on July 6, 2020.
“As we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that Massachusetts voters can safely cast their ballot in our upcoming elections without risking exposure to the virus,” said Senator Friedman. “This historic bill expands voting options to do just that, strengthening our democracy and promoting voter participation this fall. I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for their hard work on this important bill.”
BOSTON (7/7/20) – On July 2, 2020, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her Senate colleagues in passing a $1.1B supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2020 to support extraordinary costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic that require immediate attention. The spending authorized in this supplemental budget will maximize federal financial support while providing critical resources for our most vulnerable populations.
“This supplemental budget is a reflection of the Senate’s ongoing commitment to supporting residents throughout the Commonwealth as we continue to address the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I’m especially pleased that this budget includes investments I fought for to address food insecurity and mental health needs in my district, which have been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic.”
Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, who represents the city of Woburn, released the following statement on June 30 after someone tore down the Pride flag in Woburn Common:
“I’m deeply disappointed and saddened to hear that someone tore down the Pride flag in Woburn — this is a hateful act that is simply not representative of who we are as a community. Despite this, members of our community stepped up and raised a new Pride flag today, and I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.
The Pride flag is for everyone — it symbolizes safety, unity, inclusiveness and love for all, and sends the message that “all are welcome here” no matter your sexual identity, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or background. All who live in and visit our district should always feel safe and welcome to be who they are and love who they want to love.”
Rep. Richard Haggerty, D-Woburn, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, D-Lexington, and Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, announced the passage of legislation allowing for the swapping of land parcels in Woburn to allow the city to begin construction of its new Fire Department Headquarters at Forest Park.
“This bill was the first step to ensure Woburn has access to the land it needs to build a new fire station,” said Friedman. “I’m excited that the Woburn Fire Department can now move forward with this project, which will benefit our firefighters, our residents and the larger Woburn community. I’m glad to have worked with my colleagues in the House to get this done.”
BOSTON (6/25/2020) – Today, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed the Patients First Act, the third piece of signature healthcare legislation advanced by the body to increase access to health care, protect patients, and enhance quality care. The legislation builds on vital lessons learned during the COVID-19 public health crisis, as unprecedented demands on the healthcare system have prompted innovation and the expedited adoption of policy changes.
“The Patients First Act ensures that our healthcare system can continue to deliver quality, affordable and accessible care long after the COVID-19 state of emergency has ended,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “By increasing access to telehealth services, eliminating the unfair practice of surprise billing, and expanding our healthcare workforce, we are taking important steps to protect patients and increase access to quality care for all. Thank you to Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and all of my Senate colleagues for their shared commitment to improving our healthcare system in Massachusetts so that it truly puts patients first.”
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our lives, our healthcare system, and our economy, but one silver lining has been the immediate and dramatic expansion of telehealth services. We’d be foolish not to seize this opportunity to ensure that telehealth access remains a part of routine medical care in the Commonwealth long after the pandemic is over.
Teleheatlh refers to health care services that are provided remotely, typically through videoconference or phone call. It offers a convenient way for patients to access care and consult with a doctor through technology, such as a laptop or phone, that a patient may already own. Telehealth allows patients to essentially take part in a virtual doctor’s appointment—whether it’s using a tablet to snap a photo of your skin to send to your dermatologist for a quick evaluation or having a 30-minute counseling session with your therapist over the phone.
BOSTON (6/18/2020) – Today, the Massachusetts Senate unveiled the Patients First Act, comprehensive healthcare legislation that aims to increase access to health care, protect patients, and enhance quality care. The legislation builds on vital lessons learned during the COVID-19 public health crisis, as unprecedented demands on the healthcare system have prompted innovation and the expedited adoption of policy changes.
“The Senate’s longstanding commitment to making healthcare more affordable and accessible to patients across the Commonwealth is reflected in this legislation,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “The components of this bill are basic principles that will allow our healthcare system to continue meeting the needs of patients during this unprecedented time and long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, improving patient outcomes and ensuring equitable access to care. I’m grateful to the Senate President and Chair Rodrigues for their collaboration on this effort and continued dedication to improving our healthcare system so that it works for everyone.”
Senate leaders on Thursday released a health care bill, called the Patients First Act, which addresses telehealth, out-of-network billing, and scope of practice changes. While the bill is only partially related to COVID-19, Sen. Cindy Friedman, an Arlington Democrat who co-chairs the Committee on Health Care Financing, said the pandemic makes it urgent that lawmakers pass reforms to ensure the health care system is financially sustainable and people continue to have access to care.
“The impact on the health care system has been so profound we’ve got to make sure we have policies in place that allow providers to continue to do the work as things ramp up and as people come back into the system,” Friedman said.
BOSTON (6/17/2020) – On June 16, 2020, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation to expand voter access and address safety for all remaining 2020 elections, including the September 1, 2020 state primary and November 3, 2020 general election, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts, we must do everything we can to ensure that our voters can cast their ballot without risking exposure to the virus,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, a member of the Senate COVID-19 Working Group. “The ability to vote is the bedrock of any democracy, and this historic bill ensures that our voters can make their voices heard this fall. No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their own health, and this bill allows our voters to do both.”
BOSTON (6/10/20) — The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a bill to provide governance and fiscal flexibility for many municipalities grappling with public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was later signed into law by the Governor.
“This bill builds on the Legislature’s ongoing commitment to supporting our cities and towns as we continue to confront the COVID-19 public health crisis together,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and House for working together to pass a bill that will give municipal leaders throughout our district the tools and flexibility they need to continue serving our residents.”
Rightfully so, many of you have reached out to me over the last few weeks calling for reform in the way that we police and to confront the systemic racism that is deeply embedded in our institutions – and I couldn’t agree more. This moment requires us to stand together, make our voices heard, and demand action so that we can make meaningful change together.
Read more about some of my thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement in Massachusetts and how we should move forward.
(BOSTON – 6/5/2020) The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed bipartisan legislation to promote equity and transparency as the Commonwealth continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was later signed into law by the Governor.
“As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that the public health data we collect will allow us to deliver appropriate care to underserved residents that require attention,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “This bipartisan bill enhances accountability and transparency around data collection, and gives us the tools we need to ensure that vulnerable residents have equal access to the vital healthcare they need and deserve. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and our partners in the House for moving this important bill forward.”
I know that many of you are growing increasingly concerned about the impact the coronavirus is having on our district and the Commonwealth. I share your concerns and I am working hard to address them.
To keep you as informed as possible, I’ve created a “Coronavirus Updates” page on my website that I will keep updated with the latest information. Please feel free to bookmark it and check it often for the latest updates and guidance.
(BOSTON – 05/26/2020) The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a bill that will provide additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) relief to low-income families, non-profit institutions and employers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation was signed into law by the Governor on May 27, 2020.
“This bi-partisan legislation builds on our continued dedication to helping our workers and employers as they face financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington).“This bill will provide much-needed economic relief to residents across the Commonwealth who have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic.”
Today, the Governor announced Reopening Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s gradual and phased approach for reopening the Massachusetts economy amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Administration released the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities, while continuing to fight COVID-19. Starting today – based on current public health data and trends – Massachusetts will begin Phase 1 of a cautious reopening, and workplaces that are permitted to open are required to follow new safety protocols and guidance.
Learn more in my latest email update
(BOSTON – 05/18/2020) The Massachusetts State Senate convened on Thursday, May 14 for the first-ever remote session in the history of the body to pass legislation to allow short-term borrowing to meet the Commonwealth’s financial obligations. The bill was later signed into law by the Governor on May 15, 2020.
“The passage of this bi-partisan legislation will allow us to continue to meet the fiscal challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I’d like to thank Senate President Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, Senate Minority Leader Tarr, and all of my Senate colleagues for making this happen and for collaborating on today’s first-ever remote legislative session.”
On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Massachusetts State Senate passed bipartisan legislation to promote equity and transparency as the Commonwealth continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we continue to address the COVID-19 crisis, we must be as transparent, accountable and thoughtful as possible when it comes to data collection,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “This bipartisan bill will give us the tools we need to ensure that we can address inequities in our delivery of healthcare so that members of vulnerable and underserved populations across the Commonwealth have equal access to that care.”
The COVID-19 public health crisis has placed an unprecedented strain on Massachusetts residents, businesses, our healthcare system and our economy. We’ve made extraordinary sacrifices as the state took swift science-driven measures to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.
Massachusetts acted fast and early, implementing a stay-at-home advisory, social distancing guidelines and closure of non-essential businesses. Simultaneously, the state dramatically expanded testing and hospital capacity, allowing us to test 10,000 plus residents per day and increasing intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity by 80%.
It finally feels like spring has sprung! I hope you have been able to get outside and enjoy the weather – at a 6-foot distance from others, of course. As we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to provide you with an update. Click on the link below to view my latest email update, which includes information on the new face covering Executive Order, the new COVID-19 Constituent Resource Guide, recent legislative action to address the virus, Mental Health Awareness Month, and more!
Click here to read my latest email update
(BOSTON – 04/29/2020) Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported legislation recently passed by the Senate that makes it easier for residents who have lost incomes due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis to access critical safety net programs.
“During this challenging time, we need to do everything we can to support the most vulnerable residents in our district and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman, a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “I’m grateful for the Senate President and fellow members of the Senate Working Group for advancing this legislation, which will ensure that at-risk populations are not denied the resources they need and deserve.”
(BOSTON – 04/21/2020) Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill passed by the Senate and House that will provide a critical safety net for renters, homeowners, and small businesses grappling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus public health emergency.
“During this unprecedented time, it is incredibly important to ensure that our residents are able to remain safely in their homes,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and House for taking this important step to ensure that our renters, homeowners and small businesses receive the critical protections and relief they need during this public health crisis.”
BOSTON (4/17/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate and House on Friday passed legislation to shield those providing critical health care services from legal liability for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
“This is a major step in ensuring that we have the workforce necessary to address the healthcare needs of our residents during the current pandemic,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This bill maximizes protections for a wide variety of healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, who are sometimes being asked to work in very unique settings like field hospitals and other locations. I want to thank the Senate President and Chair Rodrigues for recognizing the urgency of this issue and for moving this bill forward quickly.”
BOSTON 4/10/2020 – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported legislation passed by the Senate and House that provides testing and budgetary flexibility to school districts and supports those experiencing homelessness in the Commonwealth. The bill was later signed into law by the Governor on Friday, April 10.
“The Legislature has taken additional steps forward to support students and protect vulnerable populations in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m particularly pleased that this bill waives MCAS requirements for the remainder of the academic year. Our students’ routines have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we simply cannot expect them to participate in these exams during this time of constant change. Thank you to the Senate President and my legislative colleagues for their hard work and collaboration on this legislation.”
(BOSTON – 04/09/2020) On April 9, Senator Cindy F. Friedman supported legislation passed by the Senate that would provide a critical safety net for renters, homeowners and small businesses grappling with the immediate economic fallout of the current public health pandemic.
“As we continue to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that our residents are able to stay safely in their homes,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This bill is another demonstration of the Senate’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our state during this unprecedented public health crisis. I’m grateful to the Senate President and all of my Senate colleagues for taking this common sense step to ensure that our renters, homeowners and small businesses receive the critical protections and relief they desperately need and deserve.”
(BOSTON – 4/2/20) Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill passed by the Senate that will provide additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) relief to low-income families, non-profit institutions and employers.
“Workers and small business owners throughout my district and the Commonwealth have faced an unprecedented financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and they need assistance now,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This bill is the Senate’s latest effort to protect Massachusetts families and provide the economic relief necessary to ensure that both workers and employers can stay afloat during this difficult time.”
BOSTON – 4/2/20) On April 2, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill that was passed by the Senate and House to provide necessary relief to municipalities, taxpayers, restaurants, and state authorities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and State of Emergency declaration.
“This bill addresses a variety of issues that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to support our communities, restaurants and taxpayers,” said Senator Friedman. “We must continue to do everything we can to meet the urgent needs of our communities, and this action is another step the Legislature is taking to ensure that. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for their bipartisan efforts to protect our cities and towns during this difficult time.”