Our Second Annual Manufacturing Roundtable was a great success and addressed the economic renaissance of this industry in Massachusetts. It also highlighted some of the good work that is being done at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School to bolster efforts to aid the manufacturers and students.
Beyond the many manufacturers in attendance, the group included US Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Jay Ash, members of the energy community, Rick Lord of the Associated Industries of MA, Tri-County Superintendent Steve Dockray, and Franklin's Bob Vozzella, a manufacturing instructor. Vozzella introduced the Center for Manufacturing Excellence which trains young and old to excel in the advanced manufacturing field.
Manufacturing is vitally important to the Massachusetts economy. It is the sixth largest employment sector here, and is helping to lead us out of the recession. In our state, manufacturing contributes to more than 10 percent of gross state product (GSP). Over the next five years, manufacturing establishments are expected to expand their employment by an estimated 65 percent. In order to sustain this growth, however, we need to develop a strong nexus between educational and training opportunities and the specialized worker skills required by these companies to ultimately succeed.
Events like this show how government, industry, and school officials can work in harmony to create great programs, introduce opportunities for our citizens, and address the skills gap.
Sexting bill filed
Rep. Roy has filed legislation aimed at changing the way the state prosecutes teenagers charged with "sexting."
The legislation provides additional tools to police departments to deal with teen sexting. Current law provides police with a limited ability to react as officers must either charge teens with a felony or nothing. Felony charges can have life altering repercussions to those involved. This bill adds a new section that allows police to charge teens with a noncriminal offense or misdemeanor and also provides for educational opportunities and/or counseling to address the transmission of indecent visual depictions by teens.
Rep. Roy worked with his colleagues and Franklin Police Officer Jason Reilly to craft the bill. He also worked with professors from Bridgewater State University and the University of Colorado to develop the bill's educational and diversion components.
To view the text of the bill, click here. For the Milford Daily News report on the legislation, click here.
Fare relief for commuters
Public transit riders will see free access to the MBTA and the commuter rail for one day, while corporate and other passholders will see a 15 percent discount for one month, under a $5 million plan that state officials approved in March. The plan, passed unanimously by the board of directors of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA, seeks to make amends for a stretch of poor performance on the MBTA and the commuter rail as the public transit system endured a battery of winter storms.
The fare-free day will be Friday, April 24, according to an MBTA spokesman. The 15 percent discount is expected to take place during the month of May.
Ladybug on Chronicle
WCVB's Chronicle was on hand in Franklin to capture the story and ran a segment on the ladybug. You can view it by clicking here. It's right after the bit about the State polka.
"Forty years ago, that second grade class got the ultimate civics lesson and had a direct hand in legislating," said Representative Jeffrey Roy. "It was fun to honor the students and their efforts."
Best Buddies dodgeball tourney set for May 3
On May 3, 2015, the Third Annual Best Buddies Dodgeball Tournament will take place at Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, MA. Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization focused on incorporating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into our communities and to provide them with friendships and employment opportunities.
The Franklin school system has four organized Best Buddies chapters. The money raised during this fundraiser will go back into these chapters to continue to fund these vital programs.
The Dodgeball Tournament is for teams of six of all ages and will include music, prizes, a raffle, and a silent auction. At the tournament there will be double elimination dodgeball games for the different age groups, silent auction items, raffles, prizes, food, drinks, bake sale, and music. Each divisional champion will receive a prize, and the team with the best uniform will also win a prize.
Fliers and registration forms can be found on this Facebook event link which you can view by clicking here.
Medway and Franklin receive road funds
Rep. Roy joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to authorize $200 million for local road and bridge repairs, passing legislation before April 1st so that municipalities can take full advantage of the construction season. Chapter 90 funds may be used for roadway projects, such as resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control and lighting, or road building machinery, equipment and tools.
The bill includes $944,408 for Franklin, and Medway would receive $402,433. The Chapter 90 formula takes miles of road, population and employment statistics into consideration.
After a particularly harsh winter, this funding package and the timing of it is welcome news to communities across Massachusetts, including Franklin and Medway. This robust local funding is critical to the safety of our residents and economic well-being of our cities and towns, and these dollars will help get our roads back in shape.
The House has been a longstanding champion of Chapter 90 and other local aid programs. This legislation follows the release of $100 million in Chapter 90 funds by Governor Baker which had been previously allocated by the Legislature but not yet approved. And the amount is in addition to a separate $30 million 'Winter Recovery" fund released by the Baker administration specifically for pothole repair.