Sunday, January 15, 2023
More Perfect Union: 068 - Congress, The Role of The House Speaker, and The Current Problem Facing The Republican Party (audio)
Thursday, January 27, 2022
"Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday proposed giving Massachusetts residents nearly $700 million in new tax breaks, including exempting hundreds of thousands of low-income workers from paying state income taxes, reshaping Massachusetts’ estate tax, and doubling certain credits for seniors and parents.The second-term Republican said he was filing the suite of proposals with his $48.5 billion spending plan, offering one of, if not the, most sweeping tax relief packages of his tenure as he embarks on his final year in office. The Democrat-controlled House and Senate would have to approve any of the changes before they become law.“The cost of just about everything is going up,” Baker told reporters Wednesday, citing inflation rising nationwide at its fastest pace in nearly four decades. “The last two years have been pretty tough on a lot of the populations we’re looking to help here, and I’d love to see the Legislature take them seriously.”Baker is not seeking any broad-based tax increases to offset the tax breaks, and his budget chief contended Wednesday that the plan included no “hidden cuts” in a bid to absorb them."
CommonWealth Magazine coverage ->
|Governor Baker's budget starts the discussion with the Legislature on FY 2023|
Friday, January 14, 2022
"A LONG-BREWING fight over state energy policy moved into the spotlight on Tuesday as key players laid out their positions in what promises to be an interesting debate over the best way to propel the state’s offshore wind industry into the future.
The starting point is a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker that would steer $750 million in American Rescue Plan Act money into a fund that would invest in new energy technologies, train a new energy workforce, and change the way offshore wind procurements are run in the future."Continue reading the article online
"Governor Charlie Baker and secretary of energy and environmental affairs Kathleen Theoharides on Tuesday urged the Legislature to pass a plan to make the state more competitive in the offshore wind industry.
The hourslong hearing before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy was contentious: 90 witnesses, including many supporters and some naysayers, signed on."
"THE LEGISLATURE’S energy committee approved a bill Wednesday evening that would give the state’s Clean Energy Center a major role in the development of the offshore wind industry and tap consumer electricity and natural gas bills to pay for tax credits, grants, and investments to make it happen.
Rep. Jeffrey Roy of Franklin, the House chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee, maneuvered the bill through the panel with 10 House members and one Senate member voting in support, one senator voting no, and four senators and one House member reserving their rights. Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, a Republican, was the lone no vote."
|Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington (left) and Rep. Jeffrey Roy of Franklin, the chairs of Legislature's Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee.|
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
FM #685 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 685 in the series.
This session of the radio show shares my conversation with three members of the Franklin, MA Community Preservation Committee. We recorded this via the Zoom conference bridge Dec 20, 2021.
We talk about the public hearings scheduled for Jan 4 and Jan 18, 2022. The two public hearings will start the process for the Committee to build the project listing and possible allocation of the Community Preservation Act funds that will be available in Nov/Dec 2022. We don’t need to spend the money all at once but these public hearings start the process on how we should spend the money.
The recording runs about 23 minutes, so let’s listen to this discussion of Franklin’s Community Preservation Act funding process just getting started.
The committee legal notice can be found -> https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2021-12-20_cpc_legal_ad_.pdf
The public hearing dates are:
1. January 4, 2022 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street Agenda = https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2022-01-04_cpc_agenda_-_hearing_1.pdf
2. January 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street Agenda = https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2022-01-18_cpc_agenda_-_hearing_2.pdf
The Online application can be found at this link https://franklinma.viewpointcloud.com/categories/1097
Additional information regarding the CPC & CPA can be found at the following links:
Community Preservation Coalition -> https://www.communitypreservation.org/about
MA State Legislator - Community Preservation -> https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVII/Chapter44B
Secretary of State Page - Accepting the CPA -> https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elecpa/cpaidx.htm
Please bookmark the Franklin CPC website: https://www.franklinma.gov/community-preservation-committee
This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.
How can you help?
If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don't like something here, please let me know
Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com
The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.
I hope you enjoy!
You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"
|Conversation on the Community Preservation Public Hearings - Jan 4/Jan 18 (audio)|
Thursday, November 25, 2021
LEGISLATURE PASSES GENOCIDE EDUCATION BILL
Establishes the Genocide Education Trust Fund to educate students on the history of genocide
The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday passed An Act concerning genocide education to provide education to middle and high school students on the history of genocide and to promote the teaching of human rights issues.
"While past crimes against humanity cannot be undone, we must learn from them," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "After a rise in anti-Semitic incidences in our state and a noticeable decline in young people's understanding of the specifics or the seriousness of the Holocaust, it was clear something must be done. As a Jewish woman and daughter of a World War II veteran who liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure we educate our children on the many instances of genocide throughout history so that it is never repeated. I am grateful to Senator Rodrigues and his staff for their hard work on this legislation, to my Senate colleagues for their continued support, and to Speaker Mariano and our partners in the House for advancing this important legislation."
"As a former teacher, I recognize and value the importance of teaching about acts of genocide in an effort to stem bigotry and intolerance. This Genocide Education bill puts Massachusetts on a path to do exactly that," said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "By requiring that all middle and high schools teach about the history of genocide, and how hatred and prejudice can lead to violence, we're taking a necessary step in the pursuit of increased education about the atrocities of the past, and how to avoid them in the future. I would like to thank chairs Michlewitz, Peisch and Roy for all of their work with the advocates to produce an impactful bill that will ensure meaningful change."
"With today's passage, the Legislature has taken decisive action to make sure young people are meaningfully educated about the history of genocide and stand ready to oppose its root causes, now and forever," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her leadership and strong support, Senator Lewis for his commitment to this matter, my respective Senate colleagues, and our partners in the House for boldly standing with us to say that we will never forget the lessons of the past and will stand against the forces of division and ignorance. I would also like to thank my constituent, Dr. Ron Weisberger, the ADL, JCRC, MASC, MASS and the dedicated advocates for their support and tremendous efforts. Thanks to their collaboration with the legislature, Massachusetts will use the power of education to oppose hate in our communities, broaden public awareness, and shape our collective future."
The bill requires middle schools and high schools in the Commonwealth to include instruction on the history of genocide. This most recent iteration of the legislation comes as incidences of hate and anti-Semitism are on the rise across the country, with several incidents reported in Massachusetts over the past year.
In 2020, a widely reported survey commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which gauged Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z populations, found that 63 percent of survey respondents in the United States did not know six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. The survey also found that nearly half were unfamiliar with Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz. Massachusetts does not currently require Holocaust education or other genocides as part of classroom curriculum.
"It is shocking how many young people today have never heard of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Holocaust, or other heinous genocides perpetrated in the past," said Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "This important legislation will ensure that more students understand the history of genocide so that it never happens again. I'm grateful to Senator Michael Rodrigues for championing this legislation and to all of the educators and advocates who have worked to see this bill passed."
"While racial, ethnic, national, and religious violence has existed throughout the past and continues in the present, recent events suggest our collective knowledge of some of history's worst atrocities is waning. It is our responsibility to take steps to ensure we do not forget the past so that we can continue to build a better future, while still respecting the ability of individual school districts to shape the curricula of their students," said Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "I'd like to thank Speaker Mariano, Chairman Michlewitz, and Chairman Roy for their leadership on this critical piece of legislation."
"With this law, we can arm our students with the knowledge they will need to recognize the warning signs and feel empowered to prevent genocides in the future," Representative Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin), lead sponsor of the House bill and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. "Making genocide education a mandatory topic for teaching in our schools is a reaffirmation of the commitment of free peoples from all nations to never again permit the occurrence of another genocide, and to deter indifference to crimes against humanity and human suffering wherever they occur."
This bill would establish a Genocide Education Trust Fund to promote and educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide. Funds in this trust would be used for the instruction of middle and high school students on the history of genocide and ensure the development of curricular materials, as well as to provide professional development training to assist educators in the teaching of genocide.
The legislation requires each school district to annually file a description of their lesson plan and programs related to genocide education with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The bill also establishes a competitive grant program that schools, and districts can apply to for additional programming support.
An Act concerning genocide education now moves to the governor's desk.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Today (06/10/21), the Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill which would extend a slate of measures instituted in Massachusetts during the State of Emergency stemming from COVID-19. If signed into law, this bill would result in the included measures being temporarily extended beyond the State of Emergency’s expiration on June 15, 2021.
“The end of the State of Emergency in Massachusetts is both a testament to how far we’ve come and a reminder of the work that lies ahead as we seek a robust recovery equitable to all residents” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Massachusetts’ recovery will depend on our ability to respond to the lessons of the pandemic, in such areas as housing, healthcare, the restaurant industry and civic and community engagement. Today’s legislation keeps these conversations going and addresses the future of some of the most popular new ideas that have been embraced during the pandemic. Some of the included measures, like mail-in voting and greater access to public meetings, are not merely convenient but are crucial for the continued health of our democracy. I’m grateful for the work of Chair Rodrigues and the Committee on Ways and Means for moving this important bill forward swiftly.”
Many of the extended measures deal with elections and public meetings. Under the bill, mail-in voting would be extended in Massachusetts until December 15, 2021, giving voters flexibility and more opportunity to participate in upcoming fall elections. With municipal approval, early in-person voting could be extended through the same date.
Public bodies subject to the open meeting law would be able to continue holding meetings remotely until April 1, 2022. Similarly, remote town meetings would remain an option for Massachusetts municipalities through December 15, 2021, and quorum requirements for town meetings would be eased. Nonprofits and public corporations would be able to hold meetings remotely until December 15, 2021.
“Extending these emergency measures will allow municipalities, restaurants, businesses, and residents the flexibility they need to adapt as we continue on the path toward our new normal and we get back to a new better,” stated Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her steady leadership and thank you to my colleagues in the Senate for moving quickly to support citizens of the Commonwealth.”
Also included in the bill are measures relative to restaurant operations. The legislation would allow municipalities to approve and extend permits for outdoor dining through April 1, 2022. Restaurants would also be permitted to offer alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks, for off-site consumption with the purchase of food until March 1, 2022.
The bill also extends certain protections afforded to tenants during the pandemic. Among these is the requirement that a ‘notice to quit,’ including information on tenants’ rights as well as methods for seeking legal and financial assistance, be served to tenants prior to an eviction. Such notices will continue to be required until at least January 1, 2023. Furthermore, the legislation would also extend hardship protections to persons facing eviction by continuing the court practice of offering temporary continuances to tenants who have filed applications for rental assistance, thereby preventing unnecessary evictions in cases where tenants are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19-related financial hardship. This statutory requirement would have expired on June 15, 2021 and instead will be extended until April 1, 2022.
“We learned a lot during the COVID experience, and we may be able to use some of those lessons going forward. This legislation gives us the time to sort out which changes we should make permanent,” stated President Pro Tempore Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont).
“This bill represents responsible and proactive action by the Senate to ensure that important safeguards remain in place after June 15th,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The effects of this public health crisis are not over; we must continue to protect the public’s health and well-being. This bill maintains the rapid availability of our strong health care workforce and provides financial support to those most impacted by the pandemic, like those who struggle to secure adequate childcare as in-person work resumes. I thank Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and my senate colleagues for their speedy and thoughtful effort in addressing these matters.”
“The bill the Senate passed today recognizes that for many people in Massachusetts, the pandemic is far from over,” said Senator Joanne M. Comerford (D-Northampton). “By extending many of these emergency provisions, we can assure people that many of the important protections such as those having to do with public health, remote participation in civic life, outdoor dining, and protections against evictions will remain in place.”
In an amendment proposed by Senator Jehlen and adopted during debate, a lack of access to childcare will not prohibit someone from collecting unemployment benefits from continuing to access those benefits. This practice, initiated during the pandemic and otherwise set to expire on June 15, 2021 will continue until federal unemployment protections expire in September.
Finally, the Senate extended several measures to ensure that sufficient workforce and access to necessary healthcare services remain to address the needs of the Commonwealth during the continuing public health emergency. In a move which fulfills the Senate’s stated commitment to supporting telehealth’s inclusion as a healthcare option for Massachusetts residents, a requirement that certain in-network telehealth services be reimbursed at the same rate as equivalent in-person services would be extended until at least December 15, 2021.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
Friday, May 28, 2021
"THE SENATE UNANIMOUSLY passed a $47.7 billion budget for next year after three days of debate over how best to invest state resources as Massachusetts looks to recover from the hardships of the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate President Karen Spilka said the budget that passed 40-0 would put Massachusetts on “stable fiscal footing” and begin to restitch the fabric of society that had frayed over the last year, while Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues said the bill would help get the state “back to better.”
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
"THE HOUSE APPROVED a proposal Tuesday that aims to relieve employers this spring from major unexpected unemployment system costs, while punting the decision on whether to deploy one-time federal funds to address a benefits system that sagged under the weight of pandemic unemployment.
In a move that business groups described as a solid first step, representatives voted 157-0 to shuffle the distribution of unemployment claims costs so that they can be covered over two decades of borrowing and so businesses will not be in line for huge bills in the short term.
After weeks of review, the House on Tuesday also revived plans for an emergency paid leave program that would make participants eligible for up to one week of paid leave if they or a family member needs it to deal with COVID-19 issues, including self-isolation, seeking a diagnosis, or obtaining an immunization. The House sent the bill to the Senate after rejecting amendments to the measure sought by Gov. Charlie Baker."
Saturday, May 1, 2021
"Happy to report that the FY22 House budget passed this week including some great pieces of local aid for Medway and Franklin.
Shared from Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffroy/status/1388127836108636162
|Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update|
Thursday, April 15, 2021
"HAPPY DAYS are here again. That may not be the case for most Massachusetts residents, still in the grip of the COVID pandemic, but it appears to be the case for state budget writers – at least for now.
The House Ways and Means Committee budget proposal released Wednesday would spend $47.649 billion in fiscal 2022 – or $1.8 billion more than what Gov. Charlie Baker proposed, and a 2.6 percent increase over this year’s budget.
The House budget includes no new revenue initiatives and no significant spending cuts – and doesn’t rely on the enormous influx of federal dollars that are expected to flow into Massachusetts from the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed in March. "
|House Ways and Means Committee budget|
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Franklin Area Against Racism (FAAR) is hosting a Community Conversation on Police Reform.
When: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 7:00 PM
- Senator Becca Rausch
- Representative Jeff Roy
- Franklin Police Dept. Chief Thomas J. Lynch
- Franklin Police Dept. Deputy Chief James Mill
- and other community leaders
More details, including the Zoom link, in the image below.
In preparation for the Community Conversation Wednesday on Police Reform, here is the collection of articles on the legislation as it passed both Senate and House in December, got returned by Gov Baker, was revised and sent back to Gov Baker who signed the legislation on Dec 31, 2020. (Note: The Boston Globe links may require a subscription. The other links will not.)
Gov Baker rejects, sends back
CommonWealth on Senate compromise
Senate press release on passage
Globe/CommonWealth report on House passage
MA Legislation link
Gov Baker press release
Globe on 12/31/20 after Gov Baker signs
Globe on roadmap future
Globe on what’s in/out
|Community Conversation on Police Reform - March 24, 2021|
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
MA Legislature News: no action on move to slow school reopening; Senate advances Climate change bill again
"Massachusetts lawmakers have not been shy about criticizing Governor Charlie Baker’s balky vaccine rollout, especially amid the recent, escalating conflict between Baker and teachers unions over school reopenings.
State lawmakers could turn those rebukes into legislative action by passing a new bill to delay Baker’s timetable for school reopenings by several weeks and mandate that all school staff have “equitable access” to vaccines before they’re required to return.
But so far, few seem eager to do so."
"THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE passed climate change legislation on Monday by an overwhelming vote of 39-1, signaling the Legislature is unwilling to go along with several amendments sought by Gov. Charlie Baker.The bill approved by the Senate includes a number of tweaks sought by the governor, but on several key provisions – a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and mandatory interim goals for industry subsectors – the legislation did not budge. Baker has insisted the 50 percent target, as opposed to the 45 percent he favored, would end up costing Massachusetts residents $6 billion unnecessarily."
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
“Today, we are pleased to announce the filing of An Act Relative to Justice, Equity and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth, the result of the deliberations of the conference committee on police reform and racial justice.
The compromise reached, which is intentional in bringing better transparency and accountability to policing in Massachusetts, represents one of the most comprehensive approaches to police reform and racial justice in the United States since the tragic murder of George Floyd.
Our approach strikes a balance that will provide greater protections for the rights of all residents through a strong police officer certification process via a new, independent agency, and setting clear standards for training and use of force, while providing a wider range of tools for law enforcement to provide for the safety of the public.
While there is still much work to be done, we are proud of the foundation laid by this bill as we continue to build toward racial justice and equity.
We would like to sincerely thank Senators Brownsberger and Chang-Díaz and Representatives Cronin and González for their efforts in advancing this important legislation.”
Thursday, August 13, 2020
The state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is called the Massachusetts General Court (one of my college professors always called it by the original and formal name “The Great and General Court”, so that’s how I always think of it).
The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when the colonial assembly, in addition to making laws, sat as a judicial court of appeals. It was established in 1630, and meets in the State House in Boston.
The upper house is the Senate, which has 40 members. The lower body, the House of Representatives, has 160 members.
CANDIDATES FOR SENATOR IN GENERAL COURT
***if you need to look up your precinct, go to https://www.sec.state.ma.us/VoterRegistrationSearch/MyVoterRegStatus.aspx
NORFOLK, BRISTOL & MIDDLESEX DISTRICT
Franklin precincts 1-4, and 7
REBECCA L. RAUSCH Democrat https://www.beccarausch.com/
MATTHEW T. KELLY Republican https://www.mattkellyforsenate.com/
There are no Libertarian or Green Rainbow nomination for this office
SECOND MIDDLESEX & NORFOLK DISTRICT
Franklin precincts 5,6 & 8
KAREN E. SPILKA Democrat http://electkarenspilka.com/
There are no Republican, Libertarian or Green Rainbow nominations for this office
REPRESENTATIVE IN GENERAL COURT
TENTH NORFOLK DISTRICT (all Franklin precincts)
JEFFREY N. ROY https://jeffreyroy.com/
There are no Republican, Libertarian or Green Rainbow nominations for this office
For other information to prepare for the Primary (on Sep 1) and Election (on Nov 3) visit the 2020 Election Collection https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/08/2020-election-collection.html
|MA Legislature - Senate and House candidates|