Monday, October 5, 2015

Senator Ross: September 2015 State House Update

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Senator Richard J. Ross, State House Update, September 2015
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State Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) proudly serving the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District.

State House
Room 419
Boston, MA 02133

Ph: 617-722-1555
Fax: 617-722-1054
Dear Friends,

Fall is in full swing and the Massachusetts Senate is back in formal session debating the issues you care about most.

As the Assistant Minority Leader of the State Senate and serving on several legislative committees, I have been busy ensuring your voice is well represented and heard on Beacon Hill.

Be sure to read my newsletter for updates on pertinent legislation and what to look forward to in the months ahead.

As always, let me know how I can better serve you.


On October 1, 2015 I joined my colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate in unanimously adopting a bill intended to reduce the rate of opioid addiction as well as the number of opiate pills in circulation by working with doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacists.
The Senate bill, An Act relative to substance use prevention, was developed from recent findings of the Senate Special Opioid Committee, of which I am a member, following a year-long effort to produce recommendations to further strengthen opioid abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery options.
Over the past several years, we have seen with alarming regularity an increase in drug-related deaths across the Commonwealth. This opioid epidemic touches every community and no family is immune to it. Last session, we passed comprehensive legislation that made a strike against this epidemic, but this session we went a step further by focusing on education and prevention.
The Senate Special Opioid Committee first convened in January 2014 in response to the substantial increase in reported overdose emergencies and fatalities across Massachusetts.  Deaths from heroin and other opioids totaled more than 1,200 in 2014, a spike of 34% over 2013 and 88% greater than 2012.
Components of this legislation include:
  • Directing the newly formed Drug Formulary Commission to publish a list of non-opiate pain management products that may be used as lower risk alternatives,
  • Establishing a voluntary program for a person in recovery to record a non-opiate directive. This would allow a person to have a clear indicator in their patient record that a health care practitioner shall not administer or prescribe opiate drugs to that person,
  • Limiting opioid prescriptions in an emergency department to a 5-day supply;
  • Establishing a Drug Stewardship program for drug manufacturers to allow patients to safely dispose of unwanted drugs,
  • Creating a school-based screening and referral system,
  • Ensuring patient access to pain management consultation,
  • Expanding our "Good Samaritan" legal protections for first responders to possess and administer Naloxone.
It is my hope that this legislation will not only reach those who are already in need of addiction treatments, but also our children who are most susceptible to outside influences. This legislation provides key tools for our schools, physicians, and public safety officials to limit the amount of unused and unwanted prescription pills available, keep our communities safe, and ultimately save lives.
To read more about the legislation passed by the Senate, please click here.

After years of hard work and dedication, the King Philip Regional School District Turf Field is finally a reality.

The effort to revamp the old field that was in disrepair finally came to an end this month as parents, teachers, students, and local school officials came together to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Much of the funding secured for the field was raised through donations, as well as the towns KP includes: Norfolk, Wrentham, and Plainville. Most recently, myself and Rep. Shawn Dooley were able to secure $100,000 in the FY16 budget for the project, a final push from the state to help out the families we represent.

This turf field is going to make an enormous difference in so many students' and teachers' lives. Because of the determination and vision of our towns and our community, generations of KP students will be able use and enjoy this field for years to come.
I testified before the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses regarding my bill S120: An Act Relative to Establishing Senior Citizen Safety Zones. Protecting the safety of our senior community has always been one of my top priorities and it is imperative that we ensure our senior citizens are able to live and travel safely throughout their communities.

This bill would allow a municipality to establish senior citizen safety zones in areas adjacent to: senior citizen housing, hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, community centers where senior activities are conducted regularly, or congregate elderly facilities. This practice would also allow communities to foster safer and more secure streets and crosswalks in areas that senior citizens are likely to live or visit regularly.
Our seniors deserve our full support. For more information on this legislation, please click here.
Great discussion with Senator Karen Spilka, Rep. Jeff Roy, and legislators from across MetroWest at the SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP) Legislative Breakfast (left). Always fun attending the Greenwood Emergency Vehicles Open House in North Attleboro (right).
Great crowd and conversation at the Franklin COA Health Fair (left). Pleased to join WJAR NBC10 News Anchor Mario Hilario at the New Hope, Inc. Legislative Breakfast. New Hope does phenomenal work for a number of towns I serve and I look forward to continue working with them to end domestic violence in our communities (right).
Senator Ross Announces Office Hours in October
Senator Ross and his staff will be holding office hours at locations throughout the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District to provide constituents with an opportunity to meet Senator Ross and discuss any matters of importance to them. Constituents may contact Senator Ross' office at (617) 722-1555 to register for a meeting in advance.         
Tuesday, October 6th
Sherborn Town Hall, 19 Washington Street, Sherborn
Tuesday, October 13th
Wellesley Town Hall, 525 Washington Street, Wellesley
Tuesday, October 20th
Franklin COA, 10 Daniel McCahill Street, Franklin
Monday, October 26th
The Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue, Needham

If you would like a copy of the "Guide to Veterans' Laws and Benefits," please email me at, and I will mail a copy to you. This is an excellent resource, and a must for any veteran and their family.
Thank you for taking the time to read this monthly update on what I have been working on over the past few months. If there is someone you know who would like to receive my State House Update, share this newsletter and invite them to sign up for our mailing list today!

Please feel free to contact my office regarding any questions or concerns you may have. You may also check my website for the most up-to-date information on Beacon Hill. It is my pleasure and honor to continue serving you as State Senator, and I look forward to providing you with the newest updates next month.
Copyright © 2015 State Senator Richard J. Ross, State House Update, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is a service to the people of the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District and for Informational Purposes only.

Our mailing address is:
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon Street, Room 419
Boston, MA 02133

Ph: 617-722-1555 Fax: 617-722-1054 Email:

State Senator Richard J. Ross · 24 Beacon St · Boston, MA 02212 · USA

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