Friedman Joins Legislature in Passing Landmark Climate Change Bill

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.”

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Friedman Joins Colleagues in Passing Comprehensive Health Care Legislation Amid Pandemic

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.”

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Friedman Joins Colleagues to Pass Balanced Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

BOSTON (12/04/2020) – Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), along with her colleagues in the Senate and House, passed the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget, which invests in programs and services across the Commonwealth. Funded at $46.2 billion, the budget aims to address the sweeping effects of the global pandemic by making targeted investments in housing, food security, and substance use addiction services, as well as domestic violence, sexual assault treatment and prevention programs. The budget also invests in programs that provide COVID-related supports for students and increases funding for developmental services, early education and childcare, and public health.

“The current surge in positive COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts emphasizes that we must continue to do all we can to support our most vulnerable residents during these challenging times—and this budget helps to accomplish that by investing in much-needed behavioral health services, housing protections, reproductive health access, education and food assistance” said Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and member of the FY21 Budget Conference Committee. “I am extremely proud that we were able to keep crucial investments in place—the $46 billion will go a long way towards ensuring an equitable economic recovery for the Commonwealth. I am incredibly thankful to Senate President Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, and the rest of my colleagues in the legislature for their tireless work on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

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Friedman Joins Colleagues in Passing Comprehensive Police Reform Legislation

BOSTON (12/1/2020) – Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), along with her colleagues in the Senate and House, voted to pass An Act relative to justice, equity and accountability in law enforcement in the Commonwealth. The legislation represents the most comprehensive and intentional legislative response to incidents involving police practices in Massachusetts communities. It creates an independent, civilian-led commission to standardize the certification, training, and decertification of police officers, bans the use of chokeholds, limits the use of deadly force, creates a duty to intervene for police officers when witnessing another officer using force beyond what is necessary or reasonable under the circumstances, and takes steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. It also creates a first-in-the-nation statewide moratorium on biometric surveillance systems, which include facial recognition technology.

“This legislation is a thoughtful and meaningful step in the right direction,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Means. “We have a lot of work to do in Massachusetts and across the country to address systemic racism within our institutions and reforming how we police is part of that necessary work—but by no means should it represent the end of this important conversation. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to strengthen racial justice and equity across the Commonwealth.”

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Senator Friedman Joins Senate Colleagues to Pass FY 2021 Budget

(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.”

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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.” 

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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.”

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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.” 

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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.” 

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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.”

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