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.”
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.”
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.”