Thursday, August 25, 2016

Registry Low Number Plate Lottery Applications Accepted Until Friday

- Online applications may be made for the first time -

If you ever wanted to have a unique license plate other than a “vanity plate” you just might be in luck. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is accepting applications for the state’s Low Number Plate Lottery —there is no cost to apply. For the first time ever motorists can submit an entry online by going to: Applications for the 2016 lottery are also being accepted by U.S. mail. If you prefer to mail in your entry you can download the one page application and the list of available plates can be found for free at:, or at Registry locations throughout the state. Please note that mailed entries must be postmarked by Friday August 26, 2016, to be eligible.

183 distinctive plates are part of the low plate lottery. While there is no fee to apply, if your application is selected as a winner there is a fee to receive the license plate in addition to the standard registration fee. The RMV requires that these plates must be renewed every two years.

The names of winners will be announced and posted on the Registry’s website by September 15, 2016. Good luck.


New Law Protects Pets Left in Cars

I joined Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Mark Montigny (D- New Bedford), Representative Lori Ehrlich (D- Marblehead), and other supporters of Senate Bill 2369, An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death at an outdoor State House bill signing ceremony.

As a consistent champion of animal welfare legislation on Beacon Hill and a co-sponsor of the legislation, I think the signing of this bill sends a clear message that action can and should be taken to protect animals at risk from exposure to extreme temperatures. Too many times in the past, people have been left wondering what to do as an animal suffers in a locked car. Now there's a definitive answer backed by the protections of this law.

Major provisions of the new law include measures that:
• Restrict dog tethering or leaving a dog outdoors in extreme weather or when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued, • Allow citizens and officers to free animals confined in a locked car after making reasonable efforts to locate the vehicle’s owner, • Set penalties, up to $500, and possible criminal animal cruelty charges for owners who neglect animals in vehicles, • Provide immunity from criminal or civil liability for those who take actions to release a trapped animal.

In the past several years the legislature has taken major steps to strengthen our animal welfare laws. We still have work to do, but there should be no doubt about our commitment to doing it.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Whittier Bridge/I-95 Advisory Overnight Ramp and Lane Closures Through Friday the 26th

The MassDOT’s announced that ramps and lanes for the Whittier Bridge will be closed the for nighttime paving operations Friday the 26th. Detour signs will be placed during the closure of the Route 286 Main Street on-ramp to I-95 South.

MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays. Those traveling through the area are asked to use caution and expect delays.

The following roads, ramps and lanes will be impacted:
  • Route 286 Main Street on-ramp to I-95 South – Wednesday, August 24, through Friday, August 26, from 8:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning,
  • Exit 59 from I-95 South to I-495 South – from 11:00 PM on Wednesday, August 24, through 4:00 AM on Thursday, August 25,
  • Two lanes on I-95 North between I-495 and Toll Road Bridge – Monday, August 22, through Friday, August 26, from 6:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning,
  • Two lanes on I-95 South between Toll Road Bridge and Route 110 – Tuesday, August 23, and Wednesday, August 24, from 6:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning,
  • Two lanes on I-95 South between Toll Road Bridge and Route 286 – Thursday, August 25, and Friday, August 26, from 6:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning,

Take Rabbit Road south and turn right on Route 110/Elm Street in Amesbury. After going under I-95, turn right to take the on-ramp to I-95 South. The detour route for I-95 southbound traffic destined for I-495 South is as follows: From I-95 South, take Exit 58 for Route 110. Merge onto Route 110 West/Macy Street. Take the ramp on the right to merge onto I-495 South.

Here is a link to the MassDOT website to stay informed about this important construction project-…/DesignConstruction.aspx


Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute Launches Biotechnology Training Academy

This week I had the pleasure of touring the state of the art facility of the newest biotechnology center in the state; the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute’s academy to train new workers in techniques that are the foundation for laboratory best practices for bioscience.

Leading the tour of the 3,200-square-foot facility where Chris Munkholm, Director of GMGI and board member Michelle May. We were joined by Bob Coughlin, CEO of Mass Bio, a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 700 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, and other organizations involved in life sciences and healthcare in the state and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante.

Representative Ferrante and I collaborated in securing $150,000 through the House and Senate budget process for the Institute to develop and implement a middle skills workforce training program. This funding will assist with creating a career ladder for workers not necasarily interested in pursuing a college degree.

GMGI’s efforts will make Cape Ann a hub for biotechnology and create a network of companies and industries that can advance innovations that will benefit our economy, enhance the health and wellbeing of residents, and expand our knowledge of the fisheries.

The Institute, which seeks to accelerate our understanding of marine genomics, has hosted several science forums, pioneered modern research in commercial fisheries such as the cod genome sequencing project, and has attracted strong support from government, corporate and academic institutions. Founded in 2013 by three scientists with world-class experience in the sciences of genomics Greg Verdine, Marc Vidal and David Walt along with Gloucester businesswoman Sheree Zizik are taking great strides to leverage resources from the region and the state to make Cape Ann a leader in biotechnology.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Healthy Children and Communities Through Collaboration

Excellent meeting with leaders of the Tri-Town Council and area legislators to discuss opioid and substance abuse education and prevention among youth and how we might be able to help one another with resources.

I was pleased to attend the legislative briefing held at the Topsfield Library which was hosted by Lisa Teichner, Executive Director of the Tri-Town Council and Meredith Shaw the Coalition Program Coordinator. Representative Brad Hill , Representative Ted Speliotis, Representative Lenny Mirra and Senator Joan Lovely attended this important discussion.

The Council’s mission is to reduce and prevent at-risk behavior and to promote the well-being of Tri-Town youth. Through collaborations with kids, parents, schools, local police officers, and community organizations they identify potential avenues to teach children how to be safe and healthy through good decision making.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Senate Takes Action on Human Trafficking

Far too many people in Massachusetts are at risk of the viscous crime of human trafficking; some as recovering victims while others are still bound to submission by fear and dangerous perpetrators.

The Senate has recently taken a significant step to expand protections for survivors and providing tools for enhanced public awareness, mandatory law enforcement training and resources for court staff, health professionals and educators.

I have been working for some time with my colleague, Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford, on this issue. In 2011 we collaborated to enact one of the strongest human trafficking laws in the nation. Human trafficking is tantamount to slavery; victims are mostly vulnerable women and children forced into the sex trade or involuntary labor services. They live in fear that they or their families will suffer serious penalties if they resist.
  • This important bill was sent to the House after I was able to add amendments to: Requires notification to local police upon release of a person convicted of trafficking people,
  • Requires the collected court assessments paid by offenders be made available to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to provide for those who can identify and respond to trafficking; law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, public defenders and others who work in the justice system.

The bill include enhanced data collection to better track human trafficking crimes and identify any patterns or characteristics useful to law enforcement for investigations, arrests and prosecutions.

The bill include enhanced data collection to better track human trafficking crimes and identify any patterns or characteristics useful to law enforcement for investigations, arrests and prosecutions.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reform the Independent Contractor Law

Numerous economic and social studies have determined that Massachusetts has a well-defined need to generate new jobs. One important policy approach that should be included in a new statute is a reform to the independent contractor law.

This law, one of the severest in the country, causes detrimental burdens on many companies that rely on independent labor and as a result, a detraction on our economy at a time when we need to revive opportunities for labor growth.

Today I will be debating an amendment that I have offered to the Senate’s economic development bill, the Act relative to job creation, workforce development and infrastructure investment, Senate Bill 2423. My proposal will reform the independent contractor law with specific new thresholds to determine a person’s status as an contractor:
  • compensation equal to or greater than $30 per hour, or $1,200 per week, or $5,160 per month;
  • services requiring a professional certification or licensure, or conducting business in a franchise relationship subject to FTC rules and regulations;
  • work requiring the exercise of discretion and independent judgment; advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning; or creativity, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor; or
  • the individual is granted either ownership or copyright to the work product.

Our existing independent contractor law impacts more than 1 million workers, including contractors researchers, and artists. Misclassification weakens the competitiveness of law-abiding Massachusetts businesses and constrains our potential for job growth and an opportunity to revitalize our economy.