Senate Passes Bill to Collect Vital Public Health Data, Establish COVID-19 Diversity Task Force

On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Massachusetts State Senate passed bipartisan legislation to promote equity and transparency as the Commonwealth continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As we continue to address the COVID-19 crisis, we must be as transparent, accountable and thoughtful as possible when it comes to data collection,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “This bipartisan bill will give us the tools we need to ensure that we can address inequities in our delivery of healthcare so that members of vulnerable and underserved populations across the Commonwealth have equal access to that care.” 

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Senate Passes Bill to Enhance Access to Safety Net Resources for Most Vulnerable Residents

(BOSTON – 04/29/2020) Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported legislation recently passed by the Senate that makes it easier for residents who have lost incomes due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis to access critical safety net programs. 

“During this challenging time, we need to do everything we can to support the most vulnerable residents in our district and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman, a member of the COVID-19 Senate Working Group. “I’m grateful for the Senate President and fellow members of the Senate Working Group for advancing this legislation, which will ensure that at-risk populations are not denied the resources they need and deserve.” 

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Legislature Passes Moratorium on Non-Essential Evictions and Foreclosures Amid COVID-19

(BOSTON – 04/21/2020) Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill passed by the Senate and House that will provide a critical safety net for renters, homeowners, and small businesses grappling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus public health emergency. 

“During this unprecedented time, it is incredibly important to ensure that our residents are able to remain safely in their homes,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and House for taking this important step to ensure that our renters, homeowners and small businesses receive the critical protections and relief they need during this public health crisis.”

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Legislature Passes Legal Protections for Health Care Workers, Facilities, And Organizations Responding to COVID-19

BOSTON (4/17/2020) – The Massachusetts Senate and House on Friday passed legislation to shield those providing critical health care services from legal liability for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. 

“This is a major step in ensuring that we have the workforce necessary to address the healthcare needs of our residents during the current pandemic,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This bill maximizes protections for a wide variety of healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, who are sometimes being asked to work in very unique settings like field hospitals and other locations. I want to thank the Senate President and Chair Rodrigues for recognizing the urgency of this issue and for moving this bill forward quickly.”

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Legislature Passes Bill to Waive MCAS Requirements, Support Vulnerable Residents

BOSTON 4/10/2020 – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported legislation passed by the Senate and House that provides testing and budgetary flexibility to school districts and supports those experiencing homelessness in the Commonwealth. The bill was later signed into law by the Governor on Friday, April 10.

“The Legislature has taken additional steps forward to support students and protect vulnerable populations in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m particularly pleased that this bill waives MCAS requirements for the remainder of the academic year. Our students’ routines have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we simply cannot expect them to participate in these exams during this time of constant change. Thank you to the Senate President and my legislative colleagues for their hard work and collaboration on this legislation.” 

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Senate Passes Bill to Protect Renters, Homeowners and Small Businesses

(BOSTON – 04/09/2020) On April 9, Senator Cindy F. Friedman supported legislation passed by the Senate that would provide a critical safety net for renters, homeowners and small businesses grappling with the immediate economic fallout of the current public health pandemic.

“As we continue to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that our residents are able to stay safely in their homes,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This bill is another demonstration of the Senate’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our state during this unprecedented public health crisis. I’m grateful to the Senate President and all of my Senate colleagues for taking this common sense step to ensure that our renters, homeowners and small businesses receive the critical protections and relief they desperately need and deserve.” 

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Friedman Supports Bill to Improve Access and Efficacy of Unemployment Insurance

(BOSTON – 4/2/20) Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill passed by the Senate that will provide additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) relief to low-income families, non-profit institutions and employers. 

“Workers and small business owners throughout my district and the Commonwealth have faced an unprecedented financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and they need assistance now,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This bill is the Senate’s latest effort to protect Massachusetts families and provide the economic relief necessary to ensure that both workers and employers can stay afloat during this difficult time.”    

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Friedman Supports Bill to Provide Relief to Municipalities, Others During COVID-19 Crisis

BOSTON – 4/2/20) On April 2, Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill that was passed by the Senate and House to provide necessary relief to municipalities, taxpayers, restaurants, and state authorities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and State of Emergency declaration.  

“This bill addresses a variety of issues that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to support our communities, restaurants and taxpayers,” said Senator Friedman. “We must continue to do everything we can to meet the urgent needs of our communities, and this action is another step the Legislature is taking to ensure that. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for their bipartisan efforts to protect our cities and towns during this difficult time.”

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Senate Passes Bill to Expand Scope of Practice During COVID-19 Emergency

BOSTON (3/26/20) – Today, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation to expand the scope of practice for certain health care professionals for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This bill removes barriers to immediate care by granting certain health care professionals the authority to work at the top of their license, education and training to ensure that our health care system can meet the increased demand it’s currently seeing due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the health care provider community that they need their professionals working at the top of their license in order to manage the increased demand that the coronavirus outbreak has brought on our health care system,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This bill allows health care professionals, advanced practice registered nurses in particular, to work at the height of their training and education, maximizing safe and efficient care delivery and increasing access to care for all those in need. I’d like to thank the Senate President and Chair Rodrigues for their leadership on this issue and for their continued commitment to increasing access to critical care as we address this public health emergency.”

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Friedman Supports Bill to Empower Cities and Towns to Postpone and Reschedule Municipal Elections

BOSTON (3/24/20) – Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported a bill that passed the Senate and House to help protect public health by providing cities and towns the authority to postpone and reschedule certain municipal elections and related activities. The bill was signed into law by the Governor shortly after. 

“As we address COVID-19, we must do everything we can to uphold our democracy,” said Senator Friedman. “I’m pleased that this bill empowers our municipalities to delay elections and allow vote-by-mail and absentee voting options to ensure that voters can safely make their voices heard. I want to thank Senate President Spilka and Speaker DeLeo for getting this done so expeditiously.” 

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