Friedman named chair of Health Care Financing and vice chair of Senate Ways and Means Committees

BOSTON – Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) was named Senate co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing by Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) for the 2019-2020 legislative session which began this January.

“I’m humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve on these important committees,” said Friedman. “I am incredibly grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka for placing her trust in me with these duties and am excited to get to work. I look forward to a productive, impactful and successful legislative session with my colleagues as we continue to fight for key policy initiatives on behalf of our constituents.”

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A single comment made Mayor Walsh rethink supervised injection sites

Boston Globe

Now a member of the state’s Harm Reduction Commission, charged with recommending new ways to tackle addiction and the opioid crisis, [Marty] Walsh recently traveled to Montreal and Toronto in January with Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern and toured injection sites in both cities. He came back largely convinced that operating supervised injection sites responsibly and without neighborhood chaos was at least possible, and worth a very close look for Boston.

“Having sat with him on the committee, I’ve experienced an opening, a willingness, to engage in the conversation. And a real effort to understand something that is foreign to a lot of people,” said Cindy Friedman, a state senator from Arlington who serves with Walsh on the Harm Reduction Commission. “He opened himself up…That’s what it means to take this epidemic seriously.”

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Mass. lawmakers want to extend antidiscrimination laws to venture capitalists

Boston Globe

Massachusetts law prohibits workplace harassment and discrimination. But there’s a loophole: Those laws generally don’t apply to perpetrators who are investors, or potential investors, in a company.

That can be a problem for workers in a significant swath of Boston’s booming economy. In technology, biotech, and other fields seeded by venture capital and private equity, outside investors hold extraordinary power over the careers of entrepreneurs, who have little recourse if they’re mistreated.

Now, a group of lawmakers on Beacon Hill is pushing legislation that would subject investors to the same civil discrimination and harassment laws that apply to employers. The bill’s lead sponsor, State Senator Cindy F. Friedman, an Arlington Democrat, noted that the vast majority of venture capital in the United States now goes to white, male founders.

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Harassment in venture-capital industry targeted

BOSTON — A state senator is looking to amend the laws protecting against discrimination and harassment in the workplace to ensure they cover entrepreneurs seeking funds to start a business. 

The #metoo movement and other instances of women sharing stories of their experiences have prompted a new focus on sexual harassment in industries from Hollywood to restaurants to politics and pushed many workplaces, including the state Legislature, to revisit their policies on reporting and preventing harassment. 

Friedman, an Arlington Democrat, said she spoke with constituents who are active in the venture capital community and have experienced harassment. She decided to tackle the issue, filing a bill to broaden the state law prohibiting harassment and discrimination against employees.

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New bill could prevent jail time for relapse in Massachusetts

bill before the Massachusetts Legislature could prevent people with substance use disorder from being sent to jail only for relapsing. If the bill is enacted, people diagnosed with substance use disorder who are on probation or are pretrial would be diverted to treatment and prohibited from being drug-tested.

Massachusetts Senator Cindy Friedman, who is a co-sponsor of the bill and chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, said drug-free court orders unfairly punish people for a normal condition of substance use disorder that is bound to appear on the path to recovery: relapse.

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Senate votes on legislative rules aimed at increasing transparency and addressing sexual harassment

BOSTON — Senator Cindy F. Friedman recently joined her colleagues in passing two rules reports updating the Senate and Joint Rules related to harassment, diversity, and transparency.

“Transparency and accountability are critical components of a well-functioning and effective government,” said Friedman. “We have set the tone for this legislative session with the passage of several key amendments aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and making sure that we conduct our business in a well-meaning, effective and honest manner.”

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Friedman and colleagues call for heating assistance to support low-income families as federal funds fall short

BOSTON– Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined several of her legislative colleagues in calling on Governor Charlie Baker to assist state residents at risk of getting the cold shoulder from a federal funding shortfall in the low-income heating assistance program known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which serves 160,000 households in the state.

“We are in the midst of some of the coldest months that residents experience in New England,” said Senator Friedman. “Without proper heating assistance, the health and safety of some of our most vulnerable neighbors will be at risk. We must act quickly to ensure that our residents are able to stay warm in their homes, especially while heating assistance is significantly reduced due to the federal government shutdown.”

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Lowell-Burlington shuttle buses to be launched soon Lowell Sun

LOWELL — A new shuttle service connecting Lowell and Burlington is launching after four years of collaboration among state and local leaders. The Middlesex 3 Coalition, in collaboration with a number of government officials, and the Chambers of Commerce in Lowell and Burlington are hoping with funding now in place, the service can begin in the coming months.

Aside from Gordon, Cronin said the project received tremendous support from state Reps. Dave Nangle, Tom Golden and Rady Mom, and Sen. Cindy Friedman.

“Burlington has such a vibrant local economy and a wide variety of successful businesses,” Friedman said in a press release. “This program will be another opportunity for those businesses to access the workforce they need to succeed, ultimately strengthening our local and regional economies.”

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Friedman shows strong support for bold climate legislation in 2019 Press Release

BOSTON – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined over 80 of her legislative colleagues in uniting to support bold climate solutions in 2019. Friedman signed onto a statement circulated by Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Representative Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton) – A New Year’s Resolution: Committing to the Enactment and Implementation of Bold Climate Solutions in 2019 – which signals considerable commitment to climate action in the 2019-2020 legislative session.

“We must take real action to address the threat of climate change with a sense of urgency so that we can build a sustainable future for generations to come,” said Senator Friedman. “The federal government may fail to address, or even acknowledge, this threat to society, but Massachusetts will not.”

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