BOSTON (5/28/2021) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate in unanimously passing a $47.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), after adding $63.7 million in targeted investments over the course of three days of robust deliberations. Approved with unanimous bipartisan support, the budget maintains fiscal responsibility and recommends targeted investments to address emerging needs, safeguard the health and wellness of the most vulnerable populations and ensure residents will benefit equitably as the state recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Reflecting on the ongoing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fiscal Year 2022 Senate Budget funds important public health initiatives, begins to address the critical lack of children and adolescent mental health services, continues our substantial investment in public schools, and provides support for our cities and towns, including their local boards of health,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “After a robust debate, we passed a Senate budget that we should be proud of – a budget that invests in our state’s future and benefits residents across the Commonwealth, especially the most vulnerable amongst us. This is in large part due to the leadership of Senate President Spilka and the diligent work of Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues in thoughtfully preparing this comprehensive budget.”
BOSTON (05/20/2021) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday to unanimously give final legislative approval to a bill authorizing $400 million in bonds for the design and construction of a new soldiers’ home facility in Holyoke. The bill, which passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives earlier in the week and now moves to the Governor for consideration, also authorizes the issuance of $200 million in bonds to increase geographic equity and accessibility related to the continuum of long-term care services for veterans across the state.
“Rebuilding the soldiers’ home in Holyoke and increasing access to services for our veterans is necessary and long overdue, especially after tragically losing many residents of the soldiers’ home to a COVID-19 outbreak last year,” said Senator Friedman, lead Senate negotiator of the Soldiers’ Home Conference Committee. “This funding will ensure that the Commonwealth’s veterans are met with the services that they deserve and that address their unique and changing needs. I want to thank Senate President Spilka for her leadership and my fellow conferees for their collaboration and efforts in advancing this important legislation.”
BOSTON (05/20/21) – On Thursday May 20, 2021, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) and her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature gave final legislative approval to a bill to guarantee COVID emergency paid leave to workers, as well as avoid drastic unemployment insurance rate increases paid by employers. The bill was back before the Legislature after having been returned by the Governor with an amendment. Passage of the bill by the Legislature ensures that all Massachusetts employees, including frontline workers in hospitals and classrooms, will receive emergency leave for up to five paid days off for COVID-related concerns, including paid leave from work to attend a vaccine appointment.
“I am pleased we are able to provide much-needed relief to our businesses and working families, especially through long-overdue emergency paid sick leave benefits for all workers,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This legislation will protect public health and support an equitable economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”
BOSTON (04/29/2021) – On Thursday, April 29, 2021, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate to pass a bill authorizing $400 million in bonds for the design and construction of a new facility for the soldiers’ home in Holyoke. The bill also authorizes the issuance of $200 million in general obligation bonds to increase geographic equity and accessibility related to the continuum of long-term care services for Massachusetts veterans across the state, with an emphasis on those areas not primarily served by the soldiers’ homes in Chelsea or Holyoke.
“This funding will ensure that veterans in the Home, and across the Commonwealth, are provided the best care for their diverse needs,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means. “I want to thank Senate President Spilka and Chair Rodrigues for their leadership and my Senate colleagues for their contributions in making this bill stronger to better serve our veterans for generations to come.”
BOSTON (03/26/2021) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature on March 15th to pass nation-leading climate legislation, known as the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill, which overhauls the state’s climate laws, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, advances the clean energy industry, and prioritizes and protects environmental justice communities.
“I have been incredibly supportive of this legislation each and every time it has come before the Senate,” said Senator Friedman. “We have been patient, but we cannot be patient any longer. Signing this bill into law puts Massachusetts on a path towards a clean, green, and sustainable future for generations to come. I thank Senate President Spilka and Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues for their leadership, and my counterpart from Lexington, Senator Barrett, for the expertise and unrelenting work he put into this legislation.”
The bill returned to the Governor’s desk and was signed into law on March 26, 2021.
BOSTON (03/25/21) – Weeks after Senate and House leadership promised swift action on COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a comprehensive bill that would guarantee five paid days off for every employee in the Commonwealth. The bill also seeks to stabilize the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) trust fund, provides substantial tax relief to businesses and workers, and delays the state tax filing deadline.
“We are still battling the pandemic, and I am so thankful for the Senate’s swift action, under the leadership of Senate President Spilka, to provide much-needed relief to our businesses and working families,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means. “Not only will this bill strengthen our economy and keep our workforce safe, but it provides long-overdue emergency paid sick leave benefits for all workers.”
BOSTON (03/16/2021) – On Thursday, March 11, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to pass legislation to extend mail-in voting and early voting options for elections held through the end of June 2021. The vote-by-mail provision was previously set to expire at the end of March 2021.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over; we must continue to ensure that Massachusetts voters can safely cast their ballot in our upcoming elections without risking exposure to the virus,” said Senator Friedman. “Utilizing vote-by-mail until June 2021 will protect the democratic process and promote voter participation—a valuable voting tool that should become permanent in Massachusetts. I applaud my Senate colleagues and our municipal election officials for their leadership and work to safeguard our elections.”
BOSTON (1/15/2021) – On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature in passing $627 million in funding for a sweeping economic recovery and development bill which will provide much-needed support to businesses, investments in infrastructure, and creation of new jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was signed into law on January 14, 2021.
An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth ensures the residents of Massachusetts a COVID-19 relief and recovery package that will provide support to the restaurant and tourism sectors, small businesses, and those who have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, while also creating a Future of Work Commission, establishing protections for student loan borrowers, and ushering in zoning reforms that will encourage housing development in our communities.
“The economic downturn caused by the pandemic is presenting serious challenges for working families and small businesses, exacerbating our housing crisis, and impacting sectors of our economy that our communities depend on,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Means. “This law provides immediate relief to the hardest hit sectors of our economy, 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 Conference Committee members Senators Lesser and Rodrigues for their steadfast leadership in moving this bill through the legislative process with a sense of urgency as our state continues to reopen and recover.”
BOSTON (01/04/2021) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to pass breakthrough climate legislation that overhauls the state’s climate laws, drives down greenhouse gas emissions, creates clean energy jobs, and protects environmental justice communities.
“I am pleased that the Massachusetts Legislature took this major step forward and solidified its commitment to protecting our environment,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington). “I am particularly proud that this legislation includes language I fought for during the Senate amendment process that would achieve emissions reductions equitably and in a manner that protects low- and moderate-income persons and environmental justice populations when the state is developing regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our communities. I want to thank Senate President Spilka and my Lexington counterpart Senator Barrett for taking the lead on this issue and putting Massachusetts on a path toward a clean, green and sustainable future.”
BOSTON (12/23/2020) – On Wednesday, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), joined her colleagues in the Legislature in voting to pass An Act promoting a resilient health care system that puts patients first. This landmark legislation, which includes a number of notable health care reforms, expands patient access to care by lifting barriers to receiving telehealth services, broadens the scope of practice for certain health care professionals, requires advance notice of a provider’s network status in order to avoid surprise medical bills and improves coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment amid the most serious public health crisis in modern history.
“This conference committee report embraces the best of both the Senate and House bills to create comprehensive and necessary healthcare reforms,” said Senator Friedman, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “While there is still more to do to improve patient outcomes and access to care, this bill takes a meaningful step forward by ensuring that the Commonwealth’s healthcare system can continue to meet the needs of patients during this unprecedented time, and long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. I am grateful to the House for their collaboration and to Senate President Spilka and Chair Rodrigues for their leadership and for giving me the opportunity and responsibility to help the Senate negotiate a resolution to this significant bill.”