Though the State Legislature has not been formally in session during the month of August, I have had the opportunity to visit all of the towns in my district and hear your many concerns.
Please read my newsletter for information on important issues that will be taking over Beacon Hill come September and how to stay in the know.
As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you.
REMEMBERING ATTLEBORO MAYOR JUDY ROBBINS
I just want to take this opportunity to honor former Mayor Judith Robbins. It would be hard to find anyone more dedicated, more respected, or more devoted to public service. As the first female president of the Attleboro City Council and record setting 12 year tenure as mayor, Judy was constantly breaking barriers for the city she loved.
In my time knowing her, I was always impressed by her kindness, strength, and perseverance in the midst of hardship. I had the privilege of working with her on a number of regional economic development issues while she served as the head of the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority, and more recently on a local environmental cleanup project. Her guidance and wisdom were always appreciated, and she was a true public servant through and through, working tirelessly for those she had grown to love in the city of Attleboro.
These past few weeks the outpouring of love for Judy has been absolutely inspiring. There are not enough words to encapsulate how much she has done for the city or where this city would have been without her.
Judy may be gone, but her legacy, work, and impact lives on. Her fearlessness and courage remain a shining example of all that can be accomplished through public service and giving back to one's community. Thank you Judy.
RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY CENTER
I recently visited the Riverside Early Intervention Program in Needham and spoke with Scott Bock the Founder/President/CEO of Riverside Community Care and Joanne Sweeney the Program Director.
Riverside Community Care has been around for decades and today serves over 40,000 people across the Commonwealth. Spanning across 70 cities and towns, Riverside is dedicated to providing sustainable growth and positive change in families throughout Massachusetts.
The Early Intervention Program in Needham supports families with a broad range of needs, working to make a difference in their lives and securing their long term health. It was a privilege to not only witness the incredible work of Riverside and their staff, but to speak to countless families about how Riverside has changed their lives for the better.
For more information on the Early Intervention program, please visit Riverside's website here.
MILLIS THANKS BUZ DOWNING
This past month, the town of Millis came out to recognize the lasting impact and work of Herman "Buz" Downing.
Buz dedicated over 60 years of service to Millis, ensuring its safety and security. Upon his arrival to Millis in 1955, Buz began using his time managing the Emergency Operations Center. Through his leadership, Buz was able to develop an emergency management plan, and lead the town through several high-pressure situations, including a number of weather related emergencies.
Millis is a safer place to live because of Buz's work. His selfless service and commitment to public safety are a lasting testament to all that can be accomplished when we give back to our community.
The Emergency Operations Center will now forever be known as the Herman "Buz" Downing Emergency Operations Center. Thank you Buz, and best of luck in your retirement. You deserve it.
I have heard from a number of constituents regarding the regulation of transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft. First of all, I appreciate you sharing your concerns and experiences with these companies with me. These companies provide a number of benefits to our neighborhoods, including innovative transportation services as well as the opportunity for individuals to work part time. However, as a legislature it is also critical that we confirm that these companies are adhering to appropriate laws and are working for the benefit of our constituents.
In September, the Joint Committee on Financial Services will consider a number of bills related to the regulation of transportation network companies, including one filed by Governor Charlie Baker as well as one filed by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and Rep. Frank Moran. This will give us the opportunity to consider whether such regulation is necessary to protect the safety of Massachusetts consumers and make certain that these companies are complying with all applicable Massachusetts laws.
I assure you that I will take all of your thoughts and concerns very seriously as I consider these bills and await the results of the public hearing.
GOV SIGNS EITC INTO LAW
Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker enacted a fifty-percent increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for over 400,000 working individuals and families in the Commonwealth.
The bipartisan increase was included in the final version of the FY16 budget while maintaining a voter-mandated tax reduction and without implementing any new taxes or fees. For low-to-moderate households, they can expect to see the EITC increase to 23 percent on January 1, 2016.
For families that are eligible, they would be able to see almost an additional $500 in savings every month which is simply remarkable. By putting money back in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers and families, we are building a stronger more sustainable Commonwealth and protecting the integrity of Massachusetts voters at the same time.
I applaud both the efforts of Governor Baker and my colleagues in the legislature to act swiftly on this and enact meaningful, visible change. I look forward to the continued work we will be able to accomplish this session. For more information on the EITC, please click here.
SENATOR ROSS ON BEACON HILL
In addition to serving the 12 cities and towns across the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District, I also serve as the Assistant Minority Leader of the Massachusetts State Senate, the Ranking Minority Member on the Committee on Ethics as well six other legislative committees. This means staying on top of not only what is going on in my district, but what is on the minds of my colleagues and people all across the Commonwealth.
Check out my legislative committees below and feel free to use their pages as a resource for upcoming hearings regarding pertinent legislation. If you have any questions, you can email me at Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.