On Monday, December 3, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voiced her strong support for the nearly 1,250 Massachusetts workers and their families that have been impacted by the National Grid lockout. In a mass email to constituents, Friedman said she has been in regular contact with National Grid and the United Steel Workers Unions regarding the ongoing contract negotiations and remains “troubled that National Grid has been unable to put forward an agreeable contract, and am frustrated by reports of continuous safety violations on gas lines.”
“I fear that National Grid is using the expiring unemployment benefits to unjustly improve their bargaining position, thus preventing the negotiation of a fair contract,” Friedman said. “By preventing a trained and qualified workforce from returning to work, National Grid has placed citizens across the Commonwealth who rely on this public utility at risk. That’s why I believe it is appropriate for the state to intervene on behalf of the locked out workers, and I intend to support these pieces of legislation to ensure that a fair contract can be negotiated.”
After playing a major role in spearheading opioid legislation that was signed into law this summer, Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, is working in collaboration with several health care professionals, law enforcement officers, elected officials and others to explore more ways to decrease opioid-related overdose deaths across Massachusetts.
“I’m proud of the work we did on the opioid bill, but our work did not end when the bill was passed into law,” said Friedman, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “This epidemic continues to impact residents throughout the commonwealth, so it is critically important that we find more ways to reduce harm and save lives. I’m eager to serve on these commissions, collaborate with expert stakeholders and analyze best practices for our ongoing fight against this epidemic.”
In a closely watched case involving addiction treatment for prisoners, a federal judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction that requires Essex County officials to provide a soon-to-be-incarcerated Ipswich man with access to physician-prescribed methadone treatment. In her ruling on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper said that in weighing Geoffrey Pesce’s request for relief, the court considered the likelihood that his case would succeed and whether relief was in the public interest. The judge concluded that Pesce “will be irreparably harmed if denied methadone treatment while incarcerated.”
A law signed in August by Gov. Charlie Baker will bring medication-assisted treatment to new institutions around the state, introducing it to Department of Correction prisoners, offering it to lower-level offenders in five counties, and mandating that emergency rooms and involuntary commitment facilities can provide it. Medication-assisted treatment can include methadone, which helps stave off the effects of withdrawal, and Vivitrol, which helps prevent relapse.
“For the houses of correction there will be five pilots for continuing treatment, for people who come in with a valid prescription or under medical care,” Sen. Cindy Friedman, the Senate chairwoman of the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Prevention, said when the bill was agreed upon.
Sunday, Nov. 11, begins the 100th anniversary year of Veterans Day, the federal holiday first declared by President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day, following the close of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1954 proclamation renamed Armistice Day to Veterans Day, “to insure proper and widespread observance” of this holiday for all veterans and the entire citizenry.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Town Celebrations Committee and Lexington/Bedford Veterans’ Services Office, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Lexington, held its seventh annual Veterans Day Breakfast at Keilty Hall, St. Brigid’s Church, hosting about 200 veterans. Dignitaries from Hanscom Air Force Base included Brig. Gen. Michael Schmidt, Col. Amanda Kato, Col. Chad Ellsworth, and their spouses; and Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, installation command chief; state Sen. Cindy Friedman and Rep. Jay Kaufman were also present.
ARLINGTON, Mass. — A statewide nonprofit that advocates for police retracted a trio of columns it published in its newsletter, penned by an Arlington police officer, that rejected police tactics like “de-escalation” and called for violence against offenders, according to the Arlington Advocate.
“I sincerely believe that the troubling views expressed in the newsletter do not reflect the values of our Town, our hard-working and compassionate police department, or our residents,” state Sen. Cindy Friedman said in a statement. “I strongly support the decision by Police Chief Fred Ryan to immediately relieve Lieutenant Pedrini of his police duties. Such inflammatory rhetoric and behavior has absolutely no place in our police force or our community.”
BILLERICA — The town is expected to receive $75,000 from the state toward the design and construction of a project on Boston Road at the intersections with Lexington Road and Glad Valley Drive, according to a press release from state Senator Cindy Friedman’s office.
The funding for the project was secured by Friedman in the state’s fiscal year 2019 budget, according to the release.
The $2 million project proposes extending the sidewalk and apron near the intersection and landscaping the area between the two roads.
A news release from Friedman‘s office details testimony from Friedman, Democrat of Arlington; Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Democrat of Somerville; and Garballey, Democrat of Arlington:
The three implored the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board to promptly provide both short- and long-term plans for repairs to the garage’s infrastructure to increase safety and improve the quality of life for commuters.
“The decrepit conditions of the Alewife garage are well-known to the thousands of commuters who use the garage daily to get to work,” Friedman said in the release. “It’s time for the MBTA to stop with the patchwork repairs and invest in long-term fixes to improve the safety and usability of the garage. There is no reason why people should be paying so much to park in a garage that is in such poor condition.”
Gov. Charlie Baker was joined by more than a dozen legislators, superintendents and police chiefs on Monday, Aug. 20 for a roundtable discussing his supplemental spending plan to aid public school security.
State Senator Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, applauded the funding, but also said that unless the state begins to work with insurance providers to enhance mental health coverage, the long term improvements will be hindered by a lack of access to services that would make a difference.
“The members of our public schools and public safety officers are doing a phenomenal job, it is a real honor to be a resident of Massachusetts and working with those officials,” Friedman said. “But if we don’t engage our insurance companies and our providers and people who make decisions about the value they play in our communities, we are not going to solve this problem. It’s all going to be put on the schools and the public safety administrators, so we have to look at that piece really seriously and I think it has to be part of anything we do.’”
Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) recently lauded the passage of the final version of the Environmental Bond Bill. The bill includes local earmarks to benefit the Town of Burlington, including $3 million for the design, planning and preconstruction of a new water transmission main connecting the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s (MWRA) Arlington transmission main line with the Town of Burlington.
“I’m pleased that this legislation includes critical funding to connect Burlington’s water supply with Arlington, especially during a time when our residents are experiencing a water ban,” said Senator Friedman. “This funding will increase access to water supply in town and make necessary infrastructure improvements to enhance the quality of life for our residents while protecting our environment.”