Showing posts with label house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label house. Show all posts

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Legislature Passes Genocide Education Bill

Legislature Passes Genocide Education Bill

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

MA Senate Votes to Extend Popular State of Emergency Measures; Sends to MA House

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

CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate passes spending plan unanimously"

 

"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.”

Continue reading the article online 

MA Budget page (not completely updated with the Senate action yesterday)
 
CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate passes spending plan unanimously"
CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate passes spending plan unanimously"

 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

"today this action does not rely on federal money"

 

"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."

Continue reading online ->
 
Direct link to House Legislation ->  https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H3702
 
 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update

Jeffrey N. Roy (@jeffroy) tweeted on Fri, Apr 30, 2021:

"Happy to report that the FY22 House budget passed this week including some great pieces of local aid for Medway and Franklin. 

The budget provides local resources for education, food security, substance use disorder, the commuter rail, and economic development. https://t.co/m4an9fNBNF"

For more info about Rep Roy visit his page ->  https://jeffreyroy.com/

Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update
Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update


Thursday, April 15, 2021

"lawmakers are taking a “cautiously optimistic approach” to Massachusetts’s fiscal picture"

"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. "

Continue reading the article online 
 

House Ways and Means Committee budget
House Ways and Means Committee budget


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Community Conversation on Police Reform - Mar 24, 2021 - 7:00 PM

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.)

MA Legislature press release
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/12/legislature-passes-policing-reform.html

Boston Globe
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/01/opinion/police-reform-bill-historic-just-beginning/

Boston Globe
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/09/opinion/governor-baker-should-sign-police-reform-bill/

Gov Baker rejects, sends back
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/10/metro/baker-sends-police-bill-back-legislature-asking-changes/

CommonWealth on Senate compromise
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/politics/senate-to-compromise-with-baker-on-police-reform-bill/

Senate press release on passage
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/12/senate-advances-police-reform.html

Globe/CommonWealth report on House passage
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/12/police-reform-and-abortion-measures.html

MA Legislation link
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2020/Chapter253

Gov Baker press release
https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-police-reform-legislation

Globe on 12/31/20 after Gov Baker signs
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/31/metro/governor-baker-signs-landmark-policing-reform-law/

Globe on roadmap future
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/31/opinion/police-reform-roadmap-future/

Globe on what’s in/out
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/31/metro/heres-whats-police-reform-bill-governor-baker-signed-into-law/
 
Community Conversation on Police Reform - March 24, 2021
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."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"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."
Continue reading the article online

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Statement from House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka - Nov 30, 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.”

For the legislation itself visit =>  https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2963
 
An overview on the legislation =>
 
 
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2963
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2963


Thursday, August 13, 2020

MA Legislature - Senate and House candidates

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  

There are no Libertarian or Green Rainbow nomination for this office

SECOND MIDDLESEX & NORFOLK DISTRICT

Franklin precincts 5,6 & 8

There are no Republican, Libertarian or Green Rainbow nominations for this office

REPRESENTATIVE IN GENERAL COURT

TENTH NORFOLK DISTRICT  (all Franklin precincts)

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
MA Legislature  - Senate and House candidates