Politics: constituent services

Baker signs bill with nearly $900,000 for town organizations

Dave RogersRogersSean Garballey, 2019     Garballey

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

UPDATED  Nov. 12: The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a $3.76 billion relief package to provide energy assistance, support transportation needs and invest in small-businesses, caregivers, health care, affordable housing and efforts to fight climate change.

Many thousands of dollars for Arlington-based organizations are included.

The vote occurred Nov. 3, according to a recent news release from Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Rep. David M. Rogers (D-Cambridge), who were among those who voted for its passage. Gov. Baker signed the measure Nov. 11, BostonGlobe.com reported.

The bill includes more than $800,000 for nonprofit efforts based in Arlington, as follows:

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Law signed honoring ex-slave who pushed to outlaw servitude

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

An act designating July 8 as Massachusetts Emancipation Day, also known as Quock Walker Day (H.3117), became law Nov. 1, when it was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. The law directs the governor to issue a proclamation commemorating the day each year. State Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) and state Rep. Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington) sponsored the legislation in the Massachusetts Senate and House.

In 1783, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Constitution of the Commonwealth’s Declaration of Rights rendered slavery unconstitutional. Quock Walker, born to enslaved parents in Massachusetts, was the driving force behind this ruling. At 28 years old, after having been promised his freedom on multiple occasions, Walker self-emancipated. Shortly after, Walker was found working nearby -- and was beaten and locked in a barn by his former enslaver.

Walker sued his former enslaver for assault and battery and was found to be a free man by a jury of the Worcester County Court of Common Pleas. This ruling was appealed -- and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court again found that Walker was a free man. This critical decision served as the precedent that ended slavery in the commonwealth on constitutional grounds, and it led to Massachusetts becoming one of the first states in the nation to abolish slavery.

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Local delegation helps pass state budget with benefits for Arlington

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Dave RogersRogersSean Garballey, 2019Garballey

The Massachusetts Legislature unanimously passed a $52.7 billion budget for fiscal 2023. The budget, passed July 18, upholds fiscal responsibility and makes targeted investments to strengthen the state’s economic foundation, protect the most vulnerable residents and support the everyday needs of communities and families in the Commonwealth.

The budget went to Gov. Baker for his signature.

“The FY23 budget invests significantly in the Commonwealth, funding services and programs that will benefit all residents,” said Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) in a July 25 release. “I’m especially proud of the historic investments we make in early education and care, and the work we’ve done to improve community-based mental health and substance use disorder services in our state. This budget reaffirms our commitment to supporting working families across Massachusetts, and includes funding for education, health care, food insecurity, and programs for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

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State Senate backs reproductive, gender-affirming care

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Friedman files bill responding to Roe decision

The Massachusetts state Senate on Wednesday, July 13, unanimously passed a bipartisan bill protecting providers, residents and visitors to the Commonwealth who engage in legally protected reproductive and gender-affirming health care. The state House of Representatives passed similar legislation; a conference committee may reconcile the two versions.

An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care includes provisions preventing the commonwealth’s cooperation with bounty-style anti-abortion and anti-gender-affirming- care laws in other states. It mandates health insurance coverage for abortion and abortion-related care with no cost-sharing. And it ensures access to emergency contraception. It also provides confidentiality to providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care.

Senate Bill 2996, filed by Sen.Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), expands on her amendment to the Senate fiscal 2023 budget, filed in response to the leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson and adopted by the Senate in late May.

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Senate passes juvenile-court, asset-forfeiture legislation

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

The state Senate has passed three bills that seek to reform various aspects of the criminal legal system to create fairer processes and encourage rehabilitation.

Two of the bills, S.2942 An Act promoting diversion of juveniles to community supervision and services, and S.2943, An Act updating bail procedures for justice involved youth, address how criminal courts divert convicted youth from jail and improve processes that allow certain youth to stay out of jail while their cases are pending.

A third bill, S.2944 An Act relative to forfeiture reform, would raise the burden of proof required for civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize items alleged to have been connected to a crime. Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported all three bills.

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Friedman vote backs bill aimed at foster-child, parent oversight

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

The state Senate has passed legislation aimed at ensuring stability and oversight of care for the more than 3,000 Massachusetts children involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), as well as protection of the rights of foster parents. Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) voted in favor of the legislation.  

Following the revelation that DCF failed to act on leads that might have prevented the abuse and tragic death of 14-year-old David Almond, S.2953, An Act relative to accountability for vulnerable children and families, creates additional safeguards and clarifies requirements for DCF-involved children and families.

To make ure that foster parents’ rights are respected in all interactions between a family and the Commonwealth, S.2954, An Act establishing a foster parents’ bill of rights, seeks to codify the fundamental rights of foster parents.

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Friedman votes to pass bond bill that include town projects

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

The state Senate has passed a $5.07 billion general government bond bill to fund construction projects related to health care, higher education, information technology, workforce development, the environment, affordable housing and local projects. Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues on June 16 to pass the bill, which includes a moratorium on the construction of new prisons in Massachusetts.

“The Senate bond bill sets the stage for important long-term investments in the Commonwealth,” said Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I’m really proud of the bond authorizations I secured for projects in the 4th Middlesex district. I am also pleased to see the bill includes a feasibility study for a replacement to Bridgewater State Hospital, whose oversight needs to be moved from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Mental Health.”

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State Senate passes landmark voting legislation supported by Friedman

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the state Senate to pass S.2924, An Act fostering voter opportunities, trust, equity and security (the VOTES Act). This landmark legislation permanently codifies the popular mail-in and early voting options used in Massachusetts in 2020, increases ballot access for voters with disabilities and service members overseas, and takes steps to modernize the Commonwealth’s election administration process. 

"The VOTES Act will continue to increase participation in our democracy through a series of reforms aimed at increasing voting accessibility and voter turnout in the Commonwealth,” said Friedman. “This bill enshrines mail-in voting, expands early voting, and increases the opportunity to vote for those with disabilities, serving overseas, and eligible incarcerated members of society. I was proud to support this bill and am hopeful that we can continue to work towards same-day voter registration in the future.”

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Friedman amendment to protect reproductive care included in Senate budget

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

The Massachusetts State Senate has adopted Amendment No. 388, sponsored by Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), to S.4, the Senate’s fiscal 2023 budget. The amendment seeks to block other states’ laws from attempting to interfere with legally protected health care activity in Massachusetts, as a growing number of states seek to limit access to reproductive or gender-affirming rights outside of their state’s borders.

States like Texas and Oklahoma have already passed so-called “bounty laws” that enable a resident of their state to bring a civil suit against someone in another state who provides, aids, or abets a resident of Texas or Oklahoma in receiving an abortion in another state, even if care in that other state is entirely legal.

"We are now faced with a situation where another state, in state laws enacted by their Legislature, is threatening the rights of law-abiding residents in our commonwealth for engaging in activities legal under our laws enacted by our duly elected Legislature here in Massachusetts," said Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "This is an egregious and direct attack on a state's ability to make their own laws and protect their own residents."

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Senate passes major climate bill supported by Friedman

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Amid alarming reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate on April 14 to pass S.2819, An Act Driving Climate Policy Forward, or the Drive Act.

The bill addresses climate change in three primary areas—clean energy, transportation, and buildings—with the aim of achieving the Commonwealth’s ambitious goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, which the Legislature codified into law in 2021. The package includes bills focused on home heating oil and public open space land protection.

“The Senate is committed to taking meaningful action to combat climate change on behalf of the residents in the Commonwealth,” said Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, in an April 20 news release. “The Drive Act continues these efforts by addressing some of the major challenges before us and seizing opportunities to respond, including expanding clean energy initiatives, encouraging the use of electric vehicles, and promoting the construction of energy-efficient green buildings. This, coupled with the passage of bills to help homeowners address oil spills and to protect our open spaces, marks a momentous step forward in our efforts.”

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Garballey honored by autism advocates

sgarballey 19 4519Garballey

Rep. Sean Garballey of the 23rd Middlesex District, chair of the Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, was presented with the Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM) Legislator of the Year Award.

At the 17th annual Autism Advocacy Day ceremony April 5, a highlight was a speech from Speaker of the House Ron Mariano. He noted Garballey’s exceptional contributions to the autism community as well as his recent accomplishments in the House for budget and American Rescue Plan Act funds that benefit people with autism and their families.

Co-emcees for the event were Heather Hegedus, an, anchor for Boston 25 News and mother of a son with autism, as well as Gyasi Burks-Abbott, an AFAM advisory board member, self-advocate with autism and faculty at the LEND program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

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Friedman, Senate pass hair antidiscrimination bill

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

The state Senate, with the support of Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), has passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act

The bill prohibits discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles in workplaces, school districts, and any school-related organizations. It  passed the Senate unanimously on March 31.

“A person’s natural hair is an extension of themself, and it is due time that we take action to prevent race-based hair discrimination in the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Friedman, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I thank my colleagues who so passionately advocated on this issue for their work on the CROWN Act, and I look forward to seeing this bill become law soon.”

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Rogers nominates Belmont resident for black excellence award

Dave RogersRogers

State Rep. Dave Rogers has nominated Kimberly Haley-Jackson, a constituent from Belmont, for the 2022 Black Excellence on the Hill Award. which recognizes leaders from across the state who are making a positive impact in their communities.

He joined with House colleagues from the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus to celebrate the award, which recognizes leaders from across the state who are making a positive impact in their communities. 

“I am happy to have the opportunity to honor her incredible work in the Town of Belmont,” said Rogers, chair of the Committee on Higher Education, in a March 17 news release. 

As vice chair of the Belmont Human Rights Commission, chair of the Diversity Task Force and a Town Meeting member, Haley-Jacksony has been committed to Belmont in a variety of ways.

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Disabilities group names Friedman Legislator of the Year

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) has received the 2022 Legislator of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). 

The honor was presented to Friedman at the 44th annual legislative reception, cohosted by the MDDC and The Arc of Massachusetts. This event, held virtually this year March 8, serves as an annual forum for legislators, people with disabilities and their families, and other community members to celebrate March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

Given her vocal and zealous advocacy on behalf of the disability community, Senator Friedman was a natural choice for MDDC’s prestigious Legislator of the Year Award. The MDDC lauded the senator’s work on issues that directly impact people with developmental disabilities and their families, including addressing the growing healthcare workforce crisis, enhancing mental health care access, and ensuring the most vulnerable in society are not left behind as the state continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Friedman helps pass oversight reform bill for veterans’ homes

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the state Senate on March 10 to unanimously pass legislation to increase public oversight of the administration of state-operated veterans’ homes in Holyoke and Chelsea.

To improve safety and transparency at the veterans’ homes, the bill would restructure the chain of command to more closely match established administrative practices used in hospitals and other large organizations.

This legislation follows continued scrutiny of administrative failures at the veterans’ home in Holyoke, which led to the tragic deaths of 77 veterans during the early days of the pandemic. It builds on recommendations made by the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Covid-19 Outbreak, which investigated the tragedy.

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