Senator Friedman Joins Senate Colleagues to Pass FY 2021 Budget

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.”

Read more.

Senate Ways and Means Releases FY 2021 Budget

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.” 

Read more.

Legislature Passes Bill to Extend Unemployment Benefits to 17,000 Low-Income Recipients

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.”

Read more

Senate Passes Bill to Require Insurance Coverage for Children with PANS/PANDAS

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.” 

Read more

Senate Passes Legislation Ensuring Safe Patient Access to Emergency Care

(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.” 

Read more

Massachusetts Voting Information 2020

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

Friedman Asked to Join State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group

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.”

Read more

COVID-19 vaccine advisory group member: ‘We need to be ready’

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.”

Read more

Friedman Honored with Spirit of Compassion Award for Mental Health Advocacy

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.”

Read more

Telehealth, COVID-19 Response Command Center key factors in combatting outbreak in Massachusetts, officials say

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.”

Read more