Thursday, July 19, 2018

Senate Session Update

Today the Senate has focused on a number of bills including:
  • Combating human trafficking and protecting survivors of modern-day slavery,
  • Establishing a special commission to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state agencies, programs, and services,
  • Requiring that all hospitals have a plan for patients with Alzheimer's and related dementias in acute care,  
  • Protecting consumers by prohibiting blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization in the provision of internet service - net neutrality,
  • Expanding efforts to combat the spread of opioid addiction.
I invite you watch our session live. Senate Chamber - LIVE


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

In Memory of Officer Michael Chesna

Governor Baker has announced that several landmarks will be illuminated in blue in memory of Weymouth Police Officer Michael Chesna. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will light the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, the Burns Bridges, Government Center Station, and South Station. The City of Boston will light City Hall. The Boston Garden, UMass Boston, the Prudential Building, and the Dorchester gas tank will also be lit in blue in his honor.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gloucester Sea Cadets Visit the Senate

I enjoyed having the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps - Gloucester Sea Cadets - David G. Ouellet Division visit the Senate as my guests so that they could receive special recognition for their service to others and their dedication and training to learn nautically oriented skills.

The Sea Cadet Corps is dedicated to helping young people, ages 11 through 17, to develop into fine women and men. I thank them and their adult leaders for visiting with me and touring the State House as part of that engagement.

Fair Winds.


Salisbury Beach Betterment Association

I had the pleasure of talking with the members of the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association last night at their 30th annual meeting held at the Surfside Salisbury Beach. They, and their President Ray Champagne, have been working collaboratively with residents and local officials to keep making lasting improvements to the area.

Neil Harrington, Salisbury Town Manager was the evening’s featured speaker and Representative Jim Kelcourse of Amesbury and Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport were also invited to speak. The SBBA has been very active in working with me and others on our efforts to preserve and protect our coastal assets from erosion, pollution and misuse. The Merrimack River Beach Alliance, which I co-chair, has had excellent input and support from the SBBA and its members.

The Salisbury Beach Betterment Association is an outstanding example of a non-governmental organization that achieves results, improves lives, attracts interest and action from the community and makes our world better for it.


Strong to Severe Thunderstorms and Localized Flash Flooding This Afternoon & Evening:

Please take precautions.
• Widespread showers and thunderstorms with rainfall amounts around 1-2 inches in a short period of time.
• Some locations could see 2-4 inches which could lead to localized flash flooding. A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for MA.
• Some of the thunderstorms could produce strong to damaging winds. The greatest risk is across northern and northwest MA.

This is the latest radar image - 1:22 PM


Monday, July 16, 2018


My office shared this press release today- Local Food Production Gets Backing In Environment Bond Bill

Boston - The Massachusetts Senate has taken a major step to support fishing and farming by adopting an amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R – Gloucester) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan condition of Senators. The amendment was added to Senate Bill 2591, “An Act Promoting Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental And Natural Resource Protection, And Investment In Recreational Assets And Opportunity” which was passed unanimously by the Senate on Thursday, July 12th.

Drawing on funding from two separate accounts in the bonding bill, the fishing and farming amendment creates a Fishing Innovation Fund and a Farming Innovation fund, with each fund guided by a board of 13 members comprised of stakeholder and officials from the state agencies relevant to each sector, including the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Department of Agricultural Resources.

“These traditional industries are as important to our state’s future as they have been to its past,” said Tarr. He added that “they continue to provide good jobs and economic opportunities while responding to renewed interest in locally harvested and produced food.”

“I want to thank Senator Tarr and my colleagues in the Senate for their hard work on this important issue,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “I represent many coastal communities who rely not only on our fishing industry as an economic engine but are also the home of many cranberry growers who have provided food and stability for our Commonwealth over many generations. I look forward to continuing to work with them to support and encourage the growth and prosperity of their industry.”

“Hardworking fishermen and farmers have played a pivotal role in our economy for generations,” said Rules Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “I am pleased to join Senator Tarr on this bipartisan effort to better support our local fishing and agricultural industries so that they may continue to strengthen our economy in the face of increasing pressure and burdensome regulations.”

“For centuries, our economy has relied upon productive use of agriculture and the harvesting of food from the ocean,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “The men and women who engage in these occupations work hard and what they do makes a difference to all of us who want the freshest and best food available. Now we can support their efforts by helping keep their equipment and processes safe, efficient and productive.”

Categories of eligible funding from the Fishing Innovation Fund include:
• The design, construction and modification of commercial fishing vessels,
• Research, development and construction of innovative fishing vessels with attributes including - increased fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved stability,
• The capability of supporting sustainable fishing practices through harvesting and on-board storage and processing methods, research, development, acquisition and deployment of advanced and/or innovative technologies including but not limited to sonar, radar, radio communications, satellite and global position and other locating and tracking devices,
• The research and development, acquisition and deployment of safety equipment,
• Landing or processing fish, and/or maintaining permits or licenses to do so without preference to any particular geographic location or region of the state.

The Farming Innovation Fund would support such things as:
• An outreach program to identify and foster new, innovative ideas and approaches to adding value to the commonwealth’s agricultural and cranberry economy,
• Soliciting requests from the agricultural and cranberry industry for funding and technical assistance in reclamation and revitalization of cranberry bogs,
• Training, marketing, distribution, applied research, agri-tourism, aquaculture, forestry, processing, fiber and agricultural resource management research, development, poultry and red meat processing and construction of energy efficient agricultural buildings and structures,
• Researching, developing and constructing of energy efficient agricultural equipment.

“Both of these sectors are surviving because of the hard work, sacrifice, and risk by the people in our state that believes in them,” said Tarr, “and now we need to send a clear signal through legislative action that we believe in those who farm the land and fish the ocean, contributing to our economy and our environmental stewardship.”

The bond bill will now likely go to a House and Senate conference committee to resolve differences in the two versions adopted.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Too Hot For Spot

Have you found yourself in a hot car, uncomfortable, and stuck in traffic? Of course you have and it’s miserable. Imagine that you had no ability to use air-conditioning, roll down the window or even to leave the vehicle – that’s what happens to hundreds of pets each year and that sometimes ends in tragedy.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) came to the State House today to join with Governor Charlie Baker to kickoff of the “Too Hot for Spot” campaign with a demonstration showing the dangers of leaving animals unattended inside locked vehicles. After only 10 minutes the temperature inside the car was greater than 120 degrees – even with the windows rolled down three inches!

I co-sponsored a law to help save the lives of pets in these circumstances, it is now illegal to confine an animal in a vehicle where temperatures reach dangerous extremes. If you see an animal in danger, have legal immunity to break a window and rescue pets in a locked vehicle.

As the thermostat continues to climb this summer, be sure your pets stay cool. Just because it may feel like only a couple minutes in the car, it can quickly become “Too Hot for Spot!”