Thursday, January 30, 2020

North Andover's Betty Buturlia 100th Birthday

I very hardy congratulations to Ms. Elizabeth Buturlia of North Andover for celebrating her 100th birthday. Betty reached the centennial milestone last month and I was very pleased to share with her a Senate Citation recognizing her accomplishment in entering a second century of life. In these photos:

Richard Curan, my Constituent Services & Community Outreach Special Projects Coordinator, Cahla Ahlstrom, Assistant Director and Outreach Manager of the North Andover Senior Center and Ms. Betty Buturlia.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Massachusetts Veterans Services Officers

Our state has often been acknowledged for having the very best array of benefits for our veterans. Yesterday many of our amazing Veterans Services Officers from across the state came to the State House to meet with legislators, recognize Representative Kevin Honan as 'Legislator of The Year', and share information about how we can all do more for those who served our nation.

I thank the Massachusetts Veterans Services Officers and all of our veterans for their service.

With Louis Cimaglia, Director of Veterans’ Services Wilmington and Karen Tyler Veterans Services Director for Eastern Essex Department of Veterans' Services.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Today Governor Baker released his budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 2021, House 2. You can read this document online at  Below is my statement about the budget.


Boston- Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding Governor Baker’s $44.6 billion budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 2021 State Budget:
“Governor Baker’s proposed budget identifies some of our state’s most important priorities and proposes major action steps to address them, including;
• Record high levels of investment in public education,
• Safety and infrastructure improvements for our transportation systems,
• Commitments to health and wellness efforts, including substance misuse treatment and prevention and health care cost containment,
• Contributions to the state’s Stabilization Fund that will bring it to record high levels,
• A commitment of resources to rigorously limit greenhouse gas pollution,
• Accelerating workforce training programs through increased access to trade and technical skills programing,
• Financial support for municipalities.

House 2 contains no broad-based tax increases and is the first budget in decades that incorporates a return to a 5% income tax rate that voters mandated in a November 2000 ballot initiative.

Importantly, the budget’s $303.5 million increase in ‘Chapter 70’ education spending funds the implementation of the first year of the recently adopted education reform bill, and sets the stage for sustainably implementing all it its provisions.

Members of the Senate Republicans Caucus are committed to working with the Baker-Polito Administration and our legislative colleagues in the House and Senate in the days ahead to build on Governor Baker’s House 2 proposal.”


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

State Of The Commonwealth

Governor Charlie Baker will speak later today to the citizens of the state and provide us with his "State of the State" address before a joint session of the Massachusetts House and Senate.  We will  assemble in the House Chamber in the State House. This event is open to the public free of fee or cost. If you can't come to the State House you can watch a live audio/video stream of the session on the state's website - Mass.Gov starting at 6:30 PM.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King confronted racism, oppression and intolerance with faith, character and perseverance. His struggle to advance civil rights was long and persistent, and yet even as his own life was at risk, Dr. King marched forward peacefully with a clear, powerful voice for positive change. His vision for change was immortalized in his "I have a dream" speech, delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial at perhaps the height of racial tensions in March of 1963. He inspired millions of Americans, and others around the globe, to actively pursue equality and "a beautiful symphony of brotherhood".


Friday, January 17, 2020

Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project

Construction Look-Ahead: January 18 – January 25, 2020

• ROUTE 1 NORTHBOUND: Approaching the Tobin Bridge from Boston, the workzone begins in the left lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m.–10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5 a.m.).
• ROUTE 1 SOUTHBOUND: Approaching the Chelsea Curves from the North Shore, the workzone begins in the left lane before the Carter Street off-ramp. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m.–10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5 a.m.).

• CARTER STREET: Carter Street under Route 1 will be closed on Saturday, 1/18 between 7 a.m.—7 p.m. and overnight between 7 p.m.–6 p.m. from Monday, 1/20 to Friday 1/24. Carter Street travel lanes will continue to divert around the active workzone under Route 1. Signs and police details will be used to guide travelers around the workzones.
• SPRUCE STREET: Spruce Street under Route 1 will be closed on Saturday, 1/25 between 7 a.m.—7 p.m. to create a safe work zone for necessary bridge work. Signed detours and police details will guide drivers and pedestrians safely around the work zone via Arlington Street.
• ARLINGTON STREET ON-RAMP: The Arlington Street on-ramp to Route 1 Southbound in Chelsea will be closed until Fall 2020 for necessary maintenance and rehabilitation. Drivers looking to take Route 1 Southbound in Chelsea may use the Carter Street on-ramp near Chelsea High School or the Everett Avenue on-ramp near Walnut Street.

WORK HOURS • Most work will occur in during daytime working hours (6 a.m.–2 p.m.) on weekdays. Some work will take place during afternoon (2 p.m.–7 p.m) and overnight hours (7 p.m.–6 a.m.) and on Saturdays (7 a.m.–7 p.m).


North Shore Superintendent's Roundtable

The North Shore Superintendent's Roundtable Legislative Breakfast this morning at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School brought many lawmakers and school professionals together to consider the numerous challenges facing our students’ mental health and wellness.

Even as our state leads the nation in many critical areas that measure academic success it is readily apparent that an increasing number of students are experiencing anxiety and other more severe psycho social and health issues that impact their learning and performance.

I am grateful that the superintendents, principals and school professionals in our area are so actively involved in working to better understand these issues and how lawmakers can help to identify resources to help them as they try to educate students and serve their families.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Beagle Freedom Bill

The Boston Herald today published a strong piece from Michael Coyne, Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and Diane M. Sullivan, Assistant Dean about a bill I filed to give animals used in medical experiments a life after the lab. Often referred to as the Beagle Bill, because beagles are used more than any other animal, my proposal will facilitate new relationships between research laboratories and non-profit animal rescue organizations. More than 60,000 dogs and nearly 20,000 cats are used for animal experimentation in the US each year.

Beagle Freedom Bill provides for adoption after lab research is over There’s an old expression: Be the person your mom and dog think you are. No one loves us as unconditionally as our moms or our pets. Our pets are family and the law has begun to recognize that to a…

There’s an old expression: Be the person your mom and dog think you are. No one loves us as unconditionally as our moms or our pets. Our pets are family and the law has begun to recognize that to a… 


Senate Gives Ringing Endorsement to Breakfast After the Bell

The Senate today took action to fight childhood hunger and boost participation in school breakfast programs in the state’s high-poverty schools. The bill, an “Act Regarding Breakfast After The Bell”, would requires that all public schools with 60 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-price meals offer breakfast after the school day begins.

Healthy food and the opportunity to be nourished are elemental needs and our school children who lack this access, and it is sadly a surprisingly high number who do, will be far better able to function and focus on academics and healthy lifelong habits under the provisions of this bill. The Senate’s actions will help school districts to better leverage both federal and private funds and ultimately change lives for the better. As a federally reimbursed program, “Breakfast After the Bell” has the potential to provide up to $30 million statewide to Massachusetts school districts that increase participation rates to 80 percent and above. These payments are made directly to school nutrition departments, helping to support jobs, update kitchen equipment, and provide healthier menu options.

Experts estimate that passing the bill, Senate 2460, will assist with access to school breakfast to more than 150,000 low-income students across the state.

Massachusetts currently requires all high-poverty schools to provide breakfast to every eligible student. However, because breakfast is typically offered before the bell and in the cafeteria, participation levels are low— at less than 40 percent— compared to 80-90 percent participation for free and reduced lunch.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Flu Season, Vaccinations, and You

Every year the flu causes thousands of hospital admissions and deaths. Here are a few national statistics from 2018 to underscore the significant and dangerous impact of the virus. Many more people died from flu than by drug overdoses and deaths from car crashes were only about half as many as from the flu!

The flu is a disease of the body’s nose, throat and lungs; it is imperative to take these steps to prevent it from entering you:
* Get a flu vaccine every year.
* Wash your hands often.
* Cough or sneeze into a tissue - not your hands.
* Wash before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Clean things that are touched often, like knobs and phones.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by asking your primary care provider, going to a local pharmacy, or visiting


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Toys for Tots

Last night Frank West presented Dave Robertson for State Rep and me with plaques in recognition of our efforts to support the Toys for Tots drive.

The Toys for Tots program was initiated by the United States Marine Corps Reserves and for more than twenty years Frank and Karen West have organized the efforts in Wilmington and Tewksbury. This national program receives 18 million donated toys each year. More than 95,000 toys were collected in Middlesex and Essex Counties last year supporting more than 30,000 local children in need.  A big 'thank you' to Frank, Karen, and all the volunteers who work tirelessly to make this such a great success year-after-year.


Senate Guests From The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

Yesterday, our Senate session included a visit from special guests from communities along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway.

The guests, representing 10 women owned businesses in a 10 mile stretch of the coastal byway, joined forces to market themselves with a brochure and a coastal byway treasure map. Pauline and Glen Bresnahan of Pauline's Gifts in Gloucester, Folk Painter and Designer Johanne Cassia owner of Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery in Ipswich with Rogers and Brown House B & B in-keeper Frank Wiedenmann, and Shelly Nicastro of Essex Bird Shop and Pet Supply of Essex were accompanied by Representative Brad Hill and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante.

In 2003 the Legislature adopted a bill to create this special byway which encompasses a roadway with 90 miles of saltmarsh and waterfronts, seafood stands, antique stores, thriving businesses and stunning coastal views. With the creation of the Scenic Byway came a growing awareness of the important natural, scenic, historic and recreational resources of the area for local residents and visitors alike. I encourage you to visit the byway and support business along it.


Monday, January 13, 2020

"Beagle Bill" Wins Initial Approval For Former Laboratory Animals

The start of the new year offers a promising legislative development that will give laboratory animals a real chance at new life. I am pleased to inform you that my bill, an “Act Protecting Research Animals”, otherwise known as the "Beagle Bill" which provides the opportunity for adoption for dogs and other animals used in medical research experiments, has been given approval by a key committee.

This bill will facilitate new relationships between research laboratories and non-profit animal rescue organizations. This in turn gives these creatures a chance of life after the lab with a Massachusetts family. More than 60,000 dogs and nearly 20,000 cats are used for animal experimentation in the US.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates that new drugs must first involve trials using animals. Product developers also often include testing with animals. The majority of animal testing facilities rely on dogs – the greatest proportion of which are beagles. Renown for being docile and easy-going, the beagle has become a central component of research laboratory testing. These same qualities also make them excellent candidate to become household pets. Prior to this new legislative committee approval we offered the committee new language from an accord reached between the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Representative Carolyn Dykema, Representative Michelle DuBois, representatives from the two societies and I testified in support of the bill and our proposed changes. The committee has now approved all of our requests and I look forward to having the bill before the Senate and House for legislative approval in the future.


Friday, January 10, 2020

The state’s Division of Marine Fisheries has received notice that the AmitiĆ© Fiber Optic Submarine Cable System Marine Survey is scheduled to begin on or about January 15th off the coast of the North Shore. These geophysical surveys will follow a predetermined route for a future subsea telecommunication cable network. In the interest of informing local fishermen in the area I want to share this notice. Alcatel Submarine Networks will be conducting sonar scans and other data collection techniques to meet state and federal government permit application and environmental analysis requirements.

The geophysical data samples will be operating within a 1,650‐foot‐wide corridor that extends from Lynn, Massachusetts to the shores off Rockport. There is a proposal to install a subsea communications cable along a 29 mile long route off our coast that will link to cable lines from the U.K, and Bordeaux France.

They have published this message: “Although the survey vessel will attempt to avoid all fishing gear, we advise all mariners and fishermen operating in the area to plan accordingly when deploying gear in the vicinity of the vessel route. ASN has also hired a Fishery Liaison to assist with “on the water” communications between the survey vessel and the fishing industry. The Fishery Liaison will also place high‐fliers on the predetermined survey route for visual identification in the days prior to the survey.”

On the days of survey operations, the R/V Megan T. Miller Captain can be contacted via VHF Channel 13 or 16. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Tom Hill, water‐based Fishery Liaison for ASN, at (978) 697‐5821. Jay Van Horn, land‐based Fishery Liaison, can be contacted via email at or cell phone at (860) 634‐4934.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

$1 Million MassWorks Grant For West Newbury

The Town of West Newbury will use a $1 million MassWorks award to reconstruct the Plummer Spring Road Bridge. The bridge, located on the border with #Newburyport, has been closed since 2018 due to a collapsed sidewall, resulting in a 3.4-mile detour. The closure impacts access to Anna Jaques Hospital from West Newbury and impedes the designated emergency evacuation route from the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station.

“After a considerable amount of input from residents and local officials, this $1 million award will fuel the reconstruction of an important link in our local transportation infrastructure,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “This is wonderful use of the MassWorks’ Small Town Road Assistance Program - it successfully partners state and local resources to get this job done.”

“It’s vitally important to have this bridge repaired so that we can continue to have this much needed additional access between Newburyport and West Newbury. I’m very pleased to get this funding approved,” said Representative Lenny Mirra.

The bridge will also receive a $500,000 MassDOT Small Municipal Bridge Grant for design and some construction. Construction will include pre-cast guardrail transitions, as well as bridge realignment and road widening.

“MassWorks is a valuable program that maximizes return on investment for capital funding, delivering vital infrastructure repairs that improve public safety while stimulating local and private development, job growth and housing production,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

“The West Newbury Board of Selectmen and its residents are deeply thankful for the Commonwealth’s $1 million MassWorks grant for the Plummer Spring Road/Middle Street Bridge. The award is absolutely critical to the communities’ ability to bring this important project to timely completion,” said West Newbury, Massachusetts Town Manager Angus Jennings.


Initiative Petitions And The 2020 Ballot

Today, the Senate took action on two of four questions likely to be placed before voters at the November 3 election. We voted to direct the initiatives, the Massachusetts Right to Repair and The Massachusetts Beer and Wine in Food Stores, to the relevant legislative committee.

Before a question can be placed on a state-wide ballot proponents must first submit a requisite number of signatures from registered voters and have the Secretary of State affirm the amount has been met. In addition, the item must be determined ‘Constitutional’ by the state’s Attorney General. The Right to Repair question seeks to update a 2012 law that empowers consumers to have repairs and service performed by independent repair shops. Proponents of the new question wish to expand the law to also include wireless technology and vehicle monitoring technology that uses GPS system and on-board diagnostics information.

The other measure, known as the Beer and Wine in Food Stores Initiative, would allow retail stores whose primary business is selling food for consumption off the premises to sell malt beverages and wine - but not spirits. Cities and towns would decide the number of store licenses to issue. If the House and Senate have not acted on these petitions by May 5th, question sponsors must collect an additional 13,000 signatures to place their questions on the 2020 ballot.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

MassDOT Advisory: Route 114 Danvers/Middleton January 13 to 17

Daytime Lane Restrictions on Route 114 (Andover Street) Bridge over the Ipswich River

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced daytime lane restrictions on Route 114 to support necessary water main repairs. Each day, the westbound lane on the bridge carrying Route 114 over the Ipswich River will be closed during the hours of 9:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m., from Monday, January 13, through Friday, January 17. All westbound traffic will be shifted to the center left turning lane during the work. One lane of travel will remain open in both directions with no planned detours.

This impact is necessary to allow crews to safely and effectively repair the Town of Danvers water main which is suspended beneath the bridge. The work will be performed by Albanese Brothers, Inc. for the Town of Danvers under a MassDOT permit.

Those traveling through the area should expect delays, reduce speed and use caution. Appropriate signage will be in place to guide users through the work area.


Update from the Town of North Reading on drinking water

The town of North Reading is distributing the following update about the town's drinking water:


Monday, January 6, 2020

The Commonwealth Nonprofit Safety Grant Program

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito hosted a ceremonial signing of a bill that makes funding available to help Massachusetts houses of worship and other nonprofit groups enhance their security against hate crimes and terrorist attacks.

This funding from the recently-enacted end of year supplemental budget adds $1 million to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding for security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are ineligible for similar federal grants. Funds can be used to acquire and install technology, equipment, and other resources to safeguard them from acts of violence. Funding is prioritized for applicants demonstrating the greatest need and cost-effective solutions to address their building safety and security.

With Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Mike Moore, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston President and CEO Marc Baker and others.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Senate Begins the New Year

The Senate rang in the new year yesterday at the State House with the bang of a gavel and the welcoming of Boston Celtic Jaylen Brown. The state Constitution requires the Senate be in session on the first Wednesday of January - this year being the first day of the new year. Jaylen Brown's visit was entirely voluntary.

Jaylen, a guest of Senator Nick Collins, was invited to the Senate Chamber to be recognized for his significant volunteer work with local children. His Juice Foundation has raised and donated thousands of dollars to organizations, including Boys and Girls clubs to help kids develop strong foundations. His work ethic, altruistic drive, and humanitarian efforts are inspiring.