Monday, August 1, 2022

Legislature Passes $11.3 Billion Transportation and Infrastructure Bill

The Legislature's final version of the transportation bond bill, which was released from conference committee on Saturday, was enacted by both the House and Senate on Sunday. It authorizes over $11.3 billion for transportation and infrastructure projects, including $400 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to address ongoing safety concerns identified by the Federal Transit Administration's Safety Management Inspection and $275 million for the East-West passenger rail project.

"Not only does this bill fund much-needed transportation repairs for all modes and communities, but it also goes much further to invest in infrastructure that is more modern, environmentally sustainable, and regionally equitable," said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "The support for electric vehicles, regional transportation authorities, MBTA safety investments, low-income fares on public transit, expanded East-West connectivity, and many other initiatives in this bill will benefit residents, visitors and businesses throughout Massachusetts. I want to thank Senator Crighton for quickly and adeptly taking on the role of Transportation Chair and for collaborating with Senators Rodrigues and Collins as well as so many Senators to produce this comprehensive legislation."

"I'm incredibly proud of the work done by the Legislature to ensure that several of the Commonwealth's most vital transportation infrastructure projects are sufficiently funded," said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "As the MBTA continues to address ongoing safety concerns, and as the East-West passenger rail project begins, this package demonstrates the Legislature's commitment to investing in these meaningful efforts, and to continuing support for other improvements to roads and bridges across Massachusetts. I want to thank Chairman Straus and the conferees, my colleagues in the House, as well as Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, for the hard work that ultimately facilitated the passage of this legislation."

"This transportation bond bill provides Massachusetts with the key to unlock once-in-a-generation federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law," said Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. "With these combined state and federal investments, we will be able to complete vital work on our highways, roads, bridges, and public transportation systems, improving mobility for all residents of the Commonwealth."

"With the acceptance of the conference report, the House once again affirmed its dedication to meeting the transportation and infrastructure needs of the commonwealth," said Representative William M. Straus (D-Mattapoisett), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. "This generational opportunity provides needed investments toward a more unified and resilient transportation system."

Other highlights of the bill include:

  • $3,500,000,000 for projects funded with discretionary federal grant funds, including funds from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
  • $2,812,457,157 for projects on the interstate and non-interstate federal highway system
  • $1,375,000,000 for sustainable transit system modernization and rail improvements
  • $1,270,000,000 for non-federally aided roadway and bridge projects and for the non-participating portion of federally aided projects
  • $145,000,000 for multi-modal transportation planning and programming
  • $114,100,000 for the Airport Improvement Program
  • $85,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on non-federally aided roadways
  • $82,000,000 for rail improvements
  • $64,900,000 for projects of regional transit networks and facilities
  • $25,501,000 for the Mobility Assistance Program
  • $25,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on municipal roadways
  • $25,000,000 for grants to Transportation Management Associations
  • $20,000,000 for grants to municipalities under the Complete Streets Funding Program
  • $10,000,000 for a public realm improvement program

To promote the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), the bill also includes $175 million for the development and implementation of programs to promote, establish or expand public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the development and implementation of incentive programs promoting e-bikes and public transportation, replacement of high-emissions vehicles, electric vehicles for hire and carsharing, electric school buses, electric short-haul freight and delivery trucks, and for other pilot projects that focus on equity and inclusion while reducing emissions.

"This legislation is a significant commitment to meeting our Commonwealth's most pressing transportation and climate challenges," said Senator Nick Collins (D-Boston), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. "Most importantly, it does so while demonstrating that through smart fiscal policy, we can invest in our future while continuing to make Massachusetts a good place to do business. I would like to thank Senate President Spilka for appointing me to the conference committee and thank my colleagues who came together to produce this important compromise."

"I am grateful to the Speaker for his leadership on this critical legislation which will fund generational change for our Commonwealth's roads, bridges and transit infrastructure," said Representative Danielle W. Gregoire (D-Marlborough), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. "Having played a role in this process since President Biden's announcement of the Build Back Better plan, I am confident that the concerns of all of our colleagues and their constituents are being addressed in this unprecedented bond authorization".

The bill makes significant reforms to address the severe safety concerns around the MBTA. The bill mandates the MBTA to establish and maintain a three-year safety improvement plan with measurable safety objectives for the agency, and it directs the MBTA to contract with an independent third-party auditor to conduct annual safety audits. To ensure transparency around the MBTA's safety, the bill directs the MBTA to submit a monthly, publicly available report containing all the incidents, accidents, casualties, and hazards affecting any of its modes of transit. In addition, the MBTA is required to develop and implement short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans for how each line of the commuter rail system can be fully integrated into the Commonwealth's transportation system and contribute to the productivity, equity, and decarbonization efforts of the MBTA as a whole.

Other policy provisions related to the MBTA include requiring the authority to provide parking alternatives to commuters when it demolishes or reconstructs parking lots or garages it operates; to hold a mandatory, 30-day appeal process during which the authority must confer with the municipality's planning officials to explore alternatives when there is a bus route service elimination; and to develop an updated service and operational plans for established and potential water transportation routes involving passenger ferry service.

Additionally, the bill:

  • Creates a special commission on mobility pricing to investigate, study and make recommendations on the development and deployment of comprehensive and regionally equitable public transportation pricing, roadway pricing and congestion pricing.
  • Creates a commission to investigate and receive public testimony concerning public entities with the ability to design, permit, construct, operate and maintain passenger rail service that meets the standards of at least one of the final alternatives set forth in the East-West Passenger Rail Study Final Report.
  • Regulates the use of e-bikes to encourage their adoption and authorizes municipalities and the state to adopt ordinances or regulations concerning the use of such e-bikes on bike paths and bikeways.
  • Requires transportation network companies to submit data related to pre-arranged rides for the purposes of congestion management.
  • Requires MassDOT, in consultation with the comptroller, to create a website to report on expenditures from this act and any project receiving federal funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  • Requires MassDOT, in consultation with the Executive Office Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), to study the feasibility of wildlife crossing projects for the purpose of establishing and maintaining these projects.
  • Authorizes the MassDOT to create positions and hire staff for the purpose of conducting research and policy analysis for the MBTA board of directors.

"The transportation infrastructure bond bill positions the Commonwealth to be able to repair, maintain, and modernize our roadways and public transit system," said Senator Patrick M. O'Connor (R-Weymouth). "Additionally, language in this bill will allow Massachusetts to go after more federal dollars to build on the investments we are making today. I was proud to serve on the Conference Committee alongside my colleagues and I am looking forward to seeing these investments pay dividends in the years to come."

"The priority investments provided for in this bill are a critical first step in the process of providing safe, reliable and efficient transportation systems for the residents of the Commonwealth," said Representative Norman J. Orrall (R-Lakeville).

This legislation now heads to the Governor for further consideration.


Legislature Passes $11.3 Billion Transportation and Infrastructure Bill
Legislature Passes $11.3 Billion Transportation and Infrastructure Bill

Register O'Donnell Promotes Registry of Deeds Online Research

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reminds Norfolk County residents that there is no need to spend time and money driving to the Registry to view land records since they are available online via the Registry’s internet-based document research system at

“Providing secure, accurate and accessible land record information, coupled with our on-site customer service center, is central to our work here at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds,” stated Register O’Donnell.

Elaborating on the Registry’s research capabilities, O’Donnell noted, “Users are able to research land record information by multiple options, including the name of the property owner and property address. Members of the public can access our internet-based document research system for many endeavors such as determining property ownership, researching land titles, reviewing land plans (only plans which are recorded at the Registry) and finally to confirm that documents affecting a person’s property, such as mortgage discharges, have been recorded.”

As a result of past Registry of Deeds modernization initiatives there is a massive amount of documents for viewing. The website allows users to look up and view over 13 million scanned images with some 41 million pages of land documents dating back to the Registry’s beginnings in 1793.  The Registry Customer Service Center personnel work to help anyone in need of internet research help find what they are looking for.

“A few years back, the Registry of Deeds completed a project which transcribed all our hand-written land documents that were recorded from 1793 to 1900. Prior to this effort, these hand-written documents were in many cases difficult to near impossible to read. With the transcription project completed, over 450,000 hand written documents were transcribed.  Both the handwritten and the transcribed text can be viewed from the comfort of your home or business via our website”

It should be noted that while the transcribers made a best effort to translate these hard to read documents, their accuracy is not guaranteed. “These transcribed documents,” noted O’Donnell, “are not legal documents in and of itself, and are not considered binding on the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds or its employees. It is considered merely a convenient reference for Registry users. For documentation purposes, users should refer to the scanned image of the original document instead of the transcribed image.”

The Registry’s website also provides information on how to obtain certified copies of land documents. The Registry’s certified copy charges are $1.00 per page plus an additional $1.00 per document for postage.

In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “Our core mission here at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds includes providing our users with first-class customer service each and every day. Norfolk County residents and businesses deserve a Registry of Deeds that provides them with access to land record information in an easily accessible and consumer friendly manner. The Registry website does that by bringing the Registry records into your homes and businesses.”

All Registry users should be aware that as of July 1, 2021 the Norfolk County Commissioners, Peter Collins and Joseph Shea, voted to eliminate the on site direct report to the Register of Deeds Information Technology staff that has been so key to modernization initiatives like on line research. If as a user of Registry services you have an IT issue please let the Registry of Deeds know as soon as possible at 1-781-461-6116 in order to insure the quality delivery of Registry services that the Norfolk Registry of Deeds is known for can hopefully be continued. An email notification can be to

 To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives like us at or follow us on and

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at


Register O'Donnell Promotes Registry of Deeds Online Research
Register O'Donnell Promotes Registry of Deeds Online Research

More Perfect Union: 055 - A History of U.S. Civil Rights and John M Harlan with Author Peter Canellos (Part 2)

In this episode, the group sits down with award-winning writer, author and former Boston Globe Editor Peter Canellos, to speak about his book 'The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero', a look at the U.S.'s history of civil rights, how John Marshall shaped the political and economic landscape at the turn of the century and the ties that has to today.
This conversation is part one in a two-part conversation with Peter Canellos.
If you'd like to learn more about Peter Canellos, his book 'The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America's Judicial Hero', or Peter's other works, you can visit his website here:
Franklin.TV: A More Perfect Union (audio)
Franklin.TV: A More Perfect Union (audio)

Franklin TV and schedule for Monday, Aug 1, 2022

  • or 102.9 on the FM dial = Monday

9 AM 12 PM and 6 PM Talkin’ the Blues – Jim Derick & Todd Monjur
2 hours of awesome blues music, info, interviews

11 AM 2 PM and 8 PM A More Perfect Union – with Dr. Michael Walker-Jones,
Representative Jeff Roy and Dr. Natalia Linos

  • Franklin All Access TV - Our Public Access Channel (Comcast 8, Verizon 26) = MONDAY

8:00 am SAFE Coalition: Task Force
9:00 am 4th of July 2022: Duppy Conquerors
12:00 pm Brook'n'Cookin: Tai Salad
12:30 pm Sandhya: Eclairs
1:00 pm Cooking Thyme: Red Pepper Soup
1:30 pm Pizzapalooza: Healthy Pizza Crusts
2:00 pm New England Candlepins: Fall 2019 Show 7
3:00 pm Candlepin New Generation Show 1: Show 1
3:30 pm Physician Focus: Guns and Public Health
4:00 pm Metrowest Symposium: Festivals & Community Celebrations
5:30 pm Senior Connection: Danielle Hopkins
6:00 pm Veterans' Call: Stephen Meyers
7:00 pm Let's Talk Sports: Unified Basketball
7:30 pm Frank Presents: Caron Grupposo
8:30 pm Concerts on the Common: Matt Zajac

  • Franklin Pride TV - Our Educational Channel (Comcast 96, Verizon 28) = MONDAY
7:00 am Public School Event: Lifelong Music Pt. 2 05-13-19
10:00 am Public School Concert: FHS Concert Night 2019
12:00 pm Public School Event: Jazz Cafe 02-07-20
2:00 pm SAFE Coalition: Task Force
3:00 pm Let's Talk Sports: Unified Basketball
4:00 pm FHS Varsity Field Hockey: v Winchester 11-11-21
6:30 pm FHS Girls Varsity Soccer: v Reading High 11-06-21
8:30 pm Critical Conversations: Social Media

  • Franklin Town Hall TV - Our Government Channel (Comcast 11, Verizon 29) = MONDAY

8:00 am Planning Board: 07-25-22
12:00 pm Economic Development: 07-20-22
2:00 pm Planning Board: 07-25-22

Get this week's program guide for Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( online  

Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (
Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Multiple updates discussed with Town Clerk Nancy Danello in advance of the Sep 6 State Primary -07/26/22 (audio)

FM #833 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 833 in the series. 

This shares my conversation with Town Clerk Nancy Danello and Dyan Fitzgerald, Deputy Town Clerk. We met in the Town Clerk office in the Franklin Municipal Building to discuss the preparation for the State Primary election scheduled for Sep 6, 2022.

We cover the following key topics

  • Vote by mail and early voting now permanent per State legislation

  • Town Council required to approve the schedule and police detail before each election

  • Secretary of the Commonwealth mailed vote by mail cards to registered voters

  • “Independent” voters need to check the box for which primary ballot they want (Democrat or Republican, don’t need to make that choice for the November election)

  • Early voting schedule being approved by Secretary of the Commonwealth 

    • in Town Clerk’s office during normal business hours

    • Effectively one week before the Sep 6 primary at FHS

  • Absentee ballot applications available now

  • State Primary Day - Sep 6, 2022

The show notes include links to the Town Clerk page and other election information.

Our conversation runs about 14 minutes, so let’s listen in to my conversation with Nancy and Dyan. Audio file ->


Town Clerk’s page -> 

Register to vote -> 

Sample ballots for Sep 6 ->

In person early voting schedule for State Primary ->

9 precincts for Franklin ->


New vote by mail drop off box at Municipal Building ->


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

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.

For additional information, please visit  or 

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"

new vote by mail drop off box at the Municipal Building
new vote by mail drop off box at the Municipal Building

Would you like to paint a Town of Franklin fire hydrant? Register by Aug 12, 2022

Fire Hydrant Painting Event Rules

The design should be appropriate for a public space and should not be political in nature, or be offensive in any way.

Potential design themes include:
  • Designs inspired by the Historic Places, People and Events in Franklin
  • Designs with a whimsical or humorous twist that will make viewers smile
  • Context-sensitive designs that would uniquely connect a particular fire hydrant with its immediate surroundings
  • Colorful, abstract designs
The public and private space immediately around the fire hydrant should be kept clean and neat when not directly working on the fire hydrant. Please respect the property.

Registration is open until Aug. 12, 2022. Proposed designs must be submitted for approval during this period, along with a completed application. Applicants will be notified by Aug. 19, 2022.

Painting of fire hydrants can begin upon notification of your assigned hydrant and must be completed by Sept. 30, 2022.

Paint only on the assigned fire hydrant. The caps must be able to open after the paint dries. You must provide your own exterior paint or sealant. Nothing can be attached to the fire hydrant.

If words are included in your design, all words must be approved as a part of the design.

You may use stencils, air brush with masking tape, or freehand your design.

You must apply the design submitted in this application. If you desire to make changes, you must seek approval from the Town of Franklin prior to changing your design.

If rules are not followed your hydrant will be painted over.

Judging will take place between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7, 2022. Winners will be announced at the DPW Touch a Truck event on Oct. 15, 2022 for most whimsical, most patriotic, most creative, and judges’ choice.

Any questions should be addressed to: Doug Martin, Town of Franklin Water & Sewer Superintendent at 508-553-5500 or

Town of Franklin will be basing their decision to approve applications for painting based on creativity, originality, imagination, and appropriateness. All decisions on applications are final. 

By participating in the Fire Hydrant Design Event you acknowledge that the Town of Franklin and its affiliates are not responsible in any way for any injury or property damage directly or indirectly associated with this event.

By signing you acknowledge that participants are aware of all rules, guidelines and criteria associated with this event

For more information including event rules, application and frequently asked questions, please visit:

Would you like to paint a Town of Franklin fire hydrant?
Would you like to paint a Town of Franklin fire hydrant? 

Franklin TV: Sue Wade Got Prayers?

by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 07/31/2022

Not long after we launched Franklin Public Radio I was contacted by Sue Wade. The question: Would we consider airing a program of stories and poems written by the Senior Center Writers’ Group, (a/k/a The Scribblers) ? Yup. Yoobetcha!

Behind Sue (seated), L to R: Alice Clack, Sue Bliven, Faith Flaherty, Carol Belcher, Pat Winiarski
Behind Sue (seated), L to R: Alice Clack, Sue Bliven,
Faith Flaherty, Carol Belcher, Pat Winiarski

We have been spinning new stories monthly ever since.

What’s not to like?

This pic is from a ‘Tea’ event celebrating the Scribblers’ 1st book. A page turner. The second book? Coming soon to a Senior Center near you.

Sue was an emergency room nurse – during the Marathon bombing. For three straight days. She was there for others in great need.

Later, confined to a wheelchair, Sue chose indefatigability over her disability. She taught us that the personal power that comes from writing is there for all of us if we just put pen to paper.

Consider writing as a journey that just gets better and better. Got stories to tell? You can join us weekly at the Senior Center, Wednesdays at 1p. We’re also on Zoom.

Currently, Sue may be down, but not out. She is in hospice, and a little prayerful help is a kindness greatly appreciated.

And – as always –
Thank you for listening to wfpr●fm. 
And, thank you for watching.

Get this week's program guide for Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( online   

MIAA releases new videos for the Summer of 2022; support for coaches, students & staff

10 new video presentations to support coaches, students & staff are available on the MIAA website. Checkout THE HUB for great content from Link:
MIAA releases new videos for the Summer of 2022; support for coaches, students & staff
MIAA releases new videos for the Summer of 2022; support for coaches, students & staff

"In a market badly out of kilter, many older residents are stuck in their homes" - Franklin an example

"They bought their homes when they were young, making money, and raising families. Now they’re empty nesters, in or nearing retirement, and living in houses that are too big for them.

But many older residents in Massachusetts who’d like to downsize — and turn over spacious dwellings to younger buyers desperate for room to expand —are finding it difficult, if not impossible. Even though their property values have ballooned, smaller homes or condos are scarce and carry prohibitive price tags in the state’s out-of-kilter real estate market.

“We’re just sitting tight right now,” said Mary Prosnitz, 66, of Wellesley. She and her 69-year-old husband, Jay, raised two sons, now grown, in the five-bedroom home they purchased 38 years ago and still live in."

Continue reading the Boston Globe article (subscriptions may be required)

From the Mass Housing Project Datatown, we find the data on the types of housing in Franklin compared to the Commonwealth of MA average.

The importance of housing diversity
A wide variety of housing types enables people of different means and at different stages of life to have viable housing options within a community. Different housing types allow for greater density in places where it is most appropriate, such as near transit and commercial, retail and business centers.

Looking at the adjacent comparison between the mix of housing types in your community and Massachusetts as a whole, do you think your community is achieving the kind of diversity that fosters a wide variety of choices? Does your mix of housing structure types foster inclusion or exclusion? Are you making the most of the land available for development?

While a wide variety of housing is required, Franklin is heavily single family home oriented
While a wide variety of housing is required, Franklin is heavily single family home oriented

MA Senate & MA House Pass Legislation to Strengthen Local Public Health Services

The Massachusetts State Senate on Friday passed legislation to address disparities in local and regional public health systems. The bill, also known as the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community (SAPHE) Act 2.0, would encourage wider technical coordination among Massachusetts’ 351 separate boards of health, establish common standards among these boards, and ensure that these boards of health are funded equitably. This legislation implements the unanimous recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and was a key recommendation of the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management’s July 2022 report. This bill also follows the historic $200.1 million that the Legislature included in the December 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) bill to support the state’s local and regional public health infrastructure.

“All residents should be able to expect high-quality public health services regardless of where they live,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This legislation puts into practice the lessons learned during the pandemic by increasing support for local boards of public health and ensuring that all communities in the Commonwealth are well prepared to respond to public health challenges. I want to thank Senator Comerford for repeatedly diving into the many technical aspects of public health in Massachusetts, bringing to light the importance of public health to our communities, and for crafting this legislation.”


“With the passage of this legislation, a person’s zip code will no longer determine the public health protections that they are afforded and local public health officials will have the resources they need to do their jobs,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate Chair of Joint Committee on Covid-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management and also of the Joint Committee on Public Health. “I am deeply grateful to Representatives Hannah Kane and Denise Garlick, Department of Public Health and Health and Human Services officials, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and all who advocated for a better day for public health. That day has come.”


Currently, Massachusetts does not have a public health framework to guide local boards of health. SAPHE 2.0 directs the Department of Public Health (DPH), in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders, to develop a set of standards for local public health systems in accordance with national standards and the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health. Standards will be set for communicable disease control, public health nursing services, food and water protection, chronic disease and injury prevention, environmental public health, maternal, child and family health, and access to clinical care.


The bill also directs DPH and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide core public health educational and training opportunities and technical assistance to municipal and regional public health officials. This will help to prevent a situation from arising in which a board is unable to access health expertise from a credentialed member of the public health workforce.


To help ensure a sustainable state funding mechanism that addresses regional inequities and differing qualities of public health preparedness throughout the state, this legislation directs DPH to estimate annually, before the governor files a budget, the funds needed for local and regional health boards to meet the minimum standards set forth in the bill.


By enhancing and incentivizing cross-jurisdictional sharing, the bill will result in cost savings and more effective service delivery. The bill creates a uniform reporting system which includes metrics for inspections, code enforcement, communicable disease management, and local regulations, and will make this data available (excluding personally identifying information).


Having passed both Senate and the House of Representatives, this legislation will be laid before the Governor for his consideration.

Link to the legislation text can be found ->

The Massachusetts State House JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF
The Massachusetts State House JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

MA Legislature Passes Legislation Giving Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates

The Massachusetts State Senate on Friday passed legislation to ensure that all adoptees will have access to their original birth certificates. Under current state law, an adopted person born between July 17, 1974 and January 1, 2008 cannot access their original birth certificate without obtaining a court order that unseals their record. The legislation passed by the Senate would close this gap and allow adopted individuals over the age of 18 or the adoptive parents of a child under 18 to access the adoptee’s original birth certificate.

“At this point in time, we should not deny people access to their medical information and life history simply because of when they were born, or subject them to a cumbersome process,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I want to thank Senators Gobi, Comerford, and Lovely for their work on this legislation.”


“Many adoptees have been waiting their whole lives to learn their history, and I am honored to have played a part in helping them access their original birth certificates,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem), Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules. “For the sake of preserving our health and well-being, it is crucial to know what physical or mental health conditions to which we may be predisposed. By giving all adoptees born in Massachusetts access to their original birth certificates, this legislation closes a 34 year gap granting generations of individuals medical knowledge they have otherwise been denied. Thank you, Senate President Spilka, Senator Gobi, Representative Garballey, and all my Senate colleagues for affirming that everyone deserves to know where and from whom they came so they can make the most informed decisions possible for themselves.”  


“The Joint Committee on Public Health heard powerful testimony from adoptees who could not access their original birth certificate due to a current loophole in state law addressed by this legislation,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. “I’m delighted that the Senate passed this important bill, and grateful to Senator Anne Gobi for her advocacy and to Senate President Spilka for bringing the bill to the floor.”


“Today, the Senate took a major step in assuring equality by guaranteeing that all adoptees, regardless of when they were born, will have access to their original birth certificate,” said Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer), lead sponsor of the bill. “This would not have been possible without the strong advocacy of Senate President Spilka, Senator Joan Lovely and so many adoptees, including Jean Strauss of East Brookfield. As the lead sponsor of the bill, I have waited six years for its passage, so many have waited their entire lives, and today we tell them the wait is over and they matter.”


Individuals adopted before 1974 or after 2008 are already able to access their original birth certificates without going through the courts system. They can do so on their own once they turn 18, or earlier with the help of their adoptive parents.


The same language having previously passed the House of Representatives, the bill will be delivered to the Governor for his consideration.

The text of the legislation can be found ->

MA Legislature Passes Legislation Giving Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates
MA Legislature Passes Legislation Giving Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates

Boston Globe: "On the eve of legislative session’s end, Mass. lawmakers leave big policymaking to bitter end"

"On the penultimate day of its session, the state Legislature adjourned early — before 6 p.m. — leaving massive and high-priority pieces of legislation for eleventh-hour votes before the formal session ends Sunday.

However, lawmakers were continuing to negotiate compromise bills that will need to be voted on by Sunday. Legislative rules require conference committees to file their reports before 8 p.m. in order for the proposals to be considered the following day.

But Senator William N. Brownsberger said the rules have been suspended before, and that it could happen again. He said he “expects to go late” into Sunday night as members iron out differences in priority bills.

“We got as much business as we could get done today, and hopefully we’ll get the rest done tomorrow,” the Belmont Democrat told reporters as he left the Senate chamber for the night. “There’s no reason to stay late two nights in a row. It isn’t needed, and it doesn’t help . . . we do have a lot of work to do.”"
Continue reading the Boston Globe article (subscriptions may be required)


"WITH THE LEGISLATIVE session expected to end on Sunday night and a large backlog of bills in the pipeline, the House and Senate accomplished relatively little on Saturday.

House Democrats roundly rejected a Gov. Charlie Baker plan to overhaul how criminal defendants can be deemed dangerous and detained, spiking his last-minute effort to attach the measure to one of their criminal justice reform priorities.

The Senate passed its version of a measure bringing the state’s gun laws into compliance with a recent Supreme Court decision. Behind the scenes, House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on an $11.3 billion infrastructure bill and Baker returned a bill to lawmakers revamping governance of the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes with an amendment to delay the effective date. There was little movement on a heavily rewritten climate change bill Baker returned to the Legislature on Friday and no action on sports betting, cannabis reform, mental health, or a host of other legislation." 

Continue reading the article online

The Massachusetts State House JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF
The Massachusetts State House JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF