Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fire Chief Albert Beardsley Recognized for Public Service

The Senate Chamber was a wonderful place to welcome retiring Georgetown Fire Department Chief Albert Beardsley and present him with a Senate Citation in recognition of his may years of dedication and service to not only Georgetown but to enhancing public safety in the Commonwealth. Chief Beardsley continues his public service as the interim Chief for Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts and as an instructor at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow.

Chief Beardsley was joined by members of his family including his wife Barbara, sons Greg and Nicholas and Nicholas’ fiancĂ©e Kathryn LaBatte. Also joining us at the rostrum were Gary Fowler, Douglas Dawes and Philip Trapani of the ‪#‎Georgetown‬ Board of Selectmen. We were also pleased to welcome incoming Georgetown Fire Chief Fred Mitchell Jr. to the chamber for the occasion.  




Monday, March 28, 2016

Championing Animal Welfare

This past Saturday I was pleased to participate in the 10th annual “Animal Rights Day” at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, and to receive one of the school’s “Humane-Itarian Award” for my efforts to protect animals in our Commonwealth.

During one of the program’s speaking sessions I was able to discuss with the attendees the tremendous legislative and grassroots efforts that led to the successful passage of the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety law, known as the “PAWS” act in 2014, which I worked to develop and acted as principal sponsor with 75 other co-sponsors. In addition, I updated the audience about the issues and bills that are in the future of the ongoing effort to protect dogs, cats, and other animals.

Saturday’s Animal Rights Day was a well-attended event with a full program including opening remarks by Dean Michael Coyne, who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the day, a police dog presentation by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and words from Greg Mahle, a man who has rescued over 30,000 stray dogs.

Thanks to the Massachusetts School of Law for continuing to remind us all of the importance of animal welfare, and the many things we can do to advance this worthy cause.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bobbi Gibb - Made Marathon History

Decades ago Congress declared March as Women’s History Month. It was not an act of Congress that secured Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb a special place in history; that took an act of courage. 50 years ago Bobbi Gibb, now a resident of Rockport, became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. She was my invited guest in the Senate today where she was given a Senate resolution commending her groundbreaking accomplishments.

After training for two years for the 1966 Marathon, she was told that she would not be sanctioned to run because the Amateur Athletic Union, an organization meant to promote sport and set standards, had determined that women could not compete in running events longer than a mile and a half. Undaunted, she hid near the start line in Hopkinton and ran the 26.2 miles to Boston obliterating with each stride the misplaced stereotypes. She was met at the finish line, ahead of two-thirds of the official runners, with a tremendous ovation and the handshake and praise of Governor John Volpe. Her first place finishes in 1967 and 1968 have inspired generations of runners both male and female.

On April 18th she will be honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2016 Boston Marathon. Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb is an extraordinary and gifted woman and she has truly earned a place in history.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Children’s League of Massachusetts presented me with their Legislator of the Year award today at a State House ceremony. Celebrated as part of their “Superheroes” for kids campaign they also donned me with a red cape, a first for me.

The CLM recognized my legislative work to pass “Jessica’s Law” which created stronger protections for children from child sexual predators, as well as my work on juvenile court jurisdiction. This session I worked with the League on a bill to ban unregulated and undocumented adoptions, often facilitated through on line ads, a dangerous process known as re-homing.

CLM works with more than 80 non-profits in the state to advocate for children and their families.

Sue Todd, President & CEO at Pathways for Children

Matt Stone, Executive Director of Youth Villages for Mass. and New Hampshire


Monday, March 21, 2016

FOX25 News investigative reporter Kerry Kavanaugh and I recently discussed state laws that are meant to protect animals across the state. As the lead sponsor of the 2014 Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety law, known as the PAWS act, I have been working with others to implement sensible policies that protect our animal friends from harm.

The PAWS act was inspired after the brutal and painful abuse discovered in the ‘Puppy Doe’ animal cruelty case. One key component of the law was the creation of a special Animal Cruelty and Prevention Task Force which will assess the effectiveness of state animal welfare laws.

You can watch the interview and Kerry’s recently completed investigation story regarding apparent gaps in state laws and local dog kennel inspection regulations here


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kick Butts Day at the State House

Today, I had the opportunity to meet with a young group of individuals working with local legislators to have a tobacco-free generation in Massachusetts. Their visit to the State House was part of "Kick Butts Day".

Called “The Eighty Four”, the group is comprised of students from across the state working to keep tobacco products out of the hands of Massachusetts’ youth. Eighty Four stands for the 84% of Massachusetts youth who did not smoke when the movement was formed. The effort is part of the Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. Since its beginning, the number of non-smoking youth has increased significantly.


Monday, March 14, 2016

New Law Gives Hope to Halting Spread of Substance Abuse

I was pleased today to join Governor Charlie Baker, Speaker of the House DeLeo, Senate President Rosenberg, Attorney General Healy, members of law enforcement, health professionals and others for a State House bill signing of the opioid treatment, education and prevention.

This powerful new law was a product of tremendous input from across the Commonwealth. Because of the potent response to the daily loss of life from addiction in our state, this law will be a model for the nation because it directs those in need to treatment opportunities and empowers patients to limit exposure to opioids.

With two unanimous supporting votes in the Legislature, this bipartisan bill has been described as the most comprehensive measure in the country to combat opioid addiction.

Here are some photos of the event.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Substance Addiction Legislation to Enhance Continuum of Care and Prevention Adopted Unanimously

A bill aimed at breaking the epidemic of opioid drug addiction was enacted by the State Senate today. The substance addiction and prevention bill sets a framework for opiate prescription limitations, education initiatives at public schools and medical schools, and prevention efforts to monitor prescriptions and patient supports to dispose of unwanted medications.

“The abuse and proliferation of opiates in our society poses a serious and continuing threat to the health and safety of our communities and that threat demands comprehensive and effective responses; this bill will directly oppose the spread of opioid abuse and support those who need access to treatment,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The unanimous support in the House and Senate demonstrates our united efforts to move forward with the best bill possible.”

The bill limits first-time opiate prescriptions to seven days, with exceptions for chronic pain management, cancer, and palliative care. The state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) must be consulted, and a patient record created, each time a medical professional issues any opiate.

It also provides the option of a limited fill which allows patients, in consultation with their doctor, to request a lesser amount than indicated on the script; however, this language is permissive and pharmacists may use their discretion.

Lawmakers included a provision in the bill offered by member of the Senate Republican Caucus to empower a patient, in consultation with their doctor, to request a lesser amount or “partial fill” of an opioid from the pharmacy. In addition, patients can declare that they do not what to receive opioids by instructing that a non-opiate directive be documented in their medical records.

“I am proud to have joined my colleagues in the Legislature and the Administration to work on this important bill,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth) and member of the conference committee which unified the House and Senate versions of the bill. “I believe we have passed legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of those affected by substance use issues and educate people about the dangers of addiction in order to prevent this scourge from affecting future generations.”

This bill also: • Provides substance abuse hospital evaluations within 24 hours after an overdose; • Increases insurance transparency to further behavioral and abuse treatment access; • Requires that contact information for all insurers be posted on the bed-finder tool website and updates the law to ensure the site is available 24 hours a day; • Requires that patients being discharged from substance addiction receive information on all FDA-approved medication-assisted therapies; • Ensures civil-liability protection to those who administer anti-overdose medicine Narcan; • Updates the training guidelines for all practitioners who prescribe controlled substances;

The bill now goes to Governor Baker’s desk for his signature.

Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Understanding Legalized Marijuana

Over the past six weeks, a special bipartisan committee of the State Senate has been studying the many issues surrounding the potential legalization of recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts. Their work has included a visit to Colorado, and conversations with officials and others in Washington State where recreational use of marijuana is permitted.

Today, the committee released its report, which explores many issues in a thoughtful and substantive way. You can read the report by clicking this link -


Friday, March 4, 2016

Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce Hosts - State Senate Economic Report Event

My thanks to the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to speak at this morning’s breakfast forum. The Chambers’ Government Affairs Committee organized the annual event, The Massachusetts Economy: A Report From The Massachusetts State Senate, which included presentations from my colleagues Senator Kathleen A. O’Connor Ives and Senator Barbara L’Italien.

The MVCC has members from more than a thousand businesses in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Several of the members that I spoke with told me that they support state policies that can invigorate our economy. During my remarks I focused on areas of critical importance; the need for a bi-partisan comprehensive energy plan; securing greater health care cost containment through enhanced cost transparency; reforming our independent contractor laws; and reforming the MBTA. This week marked the one year anniversary of my having filed the Fiscal and Management Control Board legislation to restore stability and move away from the mismanagement that has plagued the MBTA for years.

I encourage those who care about our region, our economy and our wellbeing to connect with the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce for other upcoming events.



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Firefighter Civil Service Exam Applications Available

Today is the deadline to apply for the 2016 Massachusetts Firefighter exam. The firefighter civil service exam is given every other year and determines the candidates who will be eligible for civil service positions in fire departments across the state. You must be at least 19 years old on or before March 21 to take the exam.

You may be eligible for preferred placement if you are an immediate family of a killed or disabled veteran; if you have Veteran or Disabled Veteran status, or if you are applying for a position in your hometown and have been a resident for at least a year before the date of the test - this will place you ahead of nonresidents for positions in your city or town.

The written exam will be given on April 16th in locations throughout the state. To find a location convenient for you please take a look at the exam schedule and locations list located at this link -…/exa…/2016-exam-schedule-announced.html

If you miss the midnight deadline tonight you may make an additional late fee of $50 and register before March 21st. Get the details you need to learn how to apply at this link: