State Senate Unanimously Passes 'An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future.'

I successfully proposes three amendments to the bill, including the ‘Community Empowerment’ proposal championed by Martha’s Vineyard residents

 (Boston, MA) - The Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Mike Barrett. This legislation represents a firm stand by the Senate to ensure a healthier, cleaner Commonwealth for future generations of Massachusetts residents. Most importantly, the policies enacted in this legislation will have measurable benefits in the health of the global environment.

This legislation is a forward-looking plan that prepares Massachusetts for the inevitable obstacles that will come with climate change. The policies and programs will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse emissions, implement a price on carbon, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy.

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$53 Million for Critical Infrastructure Projects are Heading to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard

Capital Projects that are focused on geographical equity and balancing district needs are included in the Capital Bonding Bill headed to Governor Baker. 

The $53 million in funding for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard’s regional infrastructure projects, which I spearheaded and were successfully adopted as part of the Senate Capital Bonding Bill, have been preserved in the final capital bonding bill that emerged from a House/Senate conference committee. The bill, known as An Act providing for capital facility repairs and improvements for the Commonwealth (H.4549), will now head to Governor Baker’s desk for signature.

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Senate Retail Task Force Issues Report

Report outlines findings on the challenges and opportunities facing Massachusetts retailers, with a particular focus on the Cape and Islands

(Boston, Mass.) – Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Strengthening Local Retail unanimously approved its final report. The Task Force was charged with assessing the economic health of the Massachusetts retail sector, and identifying challenges and opportunities facing retail communities. I served as a member of the panel.

I’m thrilled that the Task Force report includes significant detail on the challenges facing the unique seasonal economies on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

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Senate Passes FY19 Budget

My FY19 Budget Priorities Deliver Tax Relief for Small Business Owners, Revenue to Fund Critical Public Safety Initiatives, Housing Programs, and Efforts to Stem the Opioid Epidemic.

(Boston, Mass.) – My budget amendments addressing the opioid epidemic, offering tax relief to small and seasonal business owners, funding municipal police and firefighter training, child advocacy programs and other public safety programs were successfully adopted this week by the State Senate and included in its FY2019 budget, which was passed after three full days of debate at approximately 1:00 AM on May 25th.

I successfully secured $640,000 in local funding for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and $8.6 million in funding for statewide programs.

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Senate Approves Foundation Budget Reforms

On Thursday May 10, students, parents, and teachers filled the State House as the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to pass a key education reform bill to update the state’s 25-year-old funding formula.

The bill, An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century (S.2506), was introduced by Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston) and was co-sponsored by 36 senators. The bill would implement the recommendations of the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) which found that the foundation budget formula is drastically underestimating education costs. This has forced deep cuts to classrooms and critical programs, and one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation.

Today the Senate went on record that we need to do more to support K-12 education in the Commonwealth and that we have a plan to do it. Public schools on the Cape & Islands haven’t received their fair share of state resources. Today’s action is a promise to voters that if they pass the Fair Share Amendment at the ballot this November, we are committed to using those new dollars to fully fund K-12 education.

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Senate Passes "The BRAVE Act" for Veterans

My Amendments to Expand Benefits for National Guard members and Reserves are included in the Legislation

On Thursday May 4, The Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed “The Brave Act” – new legislation that will expand benefits and increase access to a range of services for veterans, active-duty military and their families, Senator Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury) announced.

I wholeheartedly support the BRAVE act as it will improve the benefits and services to the men and women of our Commonwealth on active duty, veterans who served their country with distinction, and their families. In that spirit, I believe we should expand the current motor vehicle excise tax exemption for active members to those in the reserves.  I also believe we should expand the definition of ‘veteran’ to include those who have served in the National Guard and Reserves, as many serve on the front lines during natural disasters and are deployed overseas. Their service should be honored in the same way we honor those on active duty.

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Senate Passes my Amendments to fund Police Training and Special Education

The Senate passed two amendments that I filed in its supplemental budget.  Both amendments passed unanimously and will fund critical needs that have been underfunded in the past few years:

1) Municipal Police Training Amendment

This Amendment creates a dedicated funding stream for Municipal Police Training.  This funding, when fully implemented, will allow the Municipal Police Training Fund to administer ample resources to effectively reduce or altogether eliminate the costs municipalities currently incur for recruit training. 

2) Special Education Circuit Breaker Amendment

This amendment will increase the Special Education Circuit Breaker Reimbursement by $4.5 million for a total of $12.5 million for this fiscal year.  The circuit breaker is an essential component of public education funding as it ensures that municipalities and school districts are able to pay special education costs without cutting funding from other educational funds.

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Senate Passes Credit Protection Bill

The Senate voted last Thursday 4/26 to pass a bill designed to protect the personal information of consumers in the case of data breaches, like the one seen at Equifax, and provide free credit freezes for all consumers.

The bill, S.2455, An Act relative to consumer protection from security breaches, was sponsored by State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), senate chair of the consumer protection committee, and crafted in collaboration with Representative Jennifer Benson (the House sponsor of the bill), Attorney General Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), and AARP Massachusetts.

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Cape Delegation Letter to Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Chairs

On April 23, 2018, State Senator Julian Cyr, along with the entire Cape and Islands delegation, sent a letter to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, in follow up to the murder of Sargent Sean Gannon.

"We owe it to Sergeant Gannon, his family, and the Yarmouth Police Department to take a hard look at what happened, particularly at the Trial Court, witness protection programs, and probation departments. We need to see if there are lessons to be learned from this tragic loss. The Cape & Islands legislative delegation is united in this. It’s about getting answers to help our community heal" Senator Cyr said.

Please view the letter here

See news coverage of the letter at the Cape Cod Times here

Senate Passes student Loan Bill of Rights

Legislation protects students by creating a new licensing process for student loan servicers in the Division of Banks and empowers state officials to investigate and fine loan servicers

On Thursday 12th of April, The Massachusetts State Senate voted to pass S.2380, An Act establishing a student loan bill of rights.  The Student Loan Bill of Rights gives greater protections to student loan borrowers in disputes with companies servicing their loans. Earlier this year, President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded consumer protections that safeguarded student borrowers from deceptive and fraudulent practices by student loan servicers.

The bill requires student loan servicers to be licensed companies with the state Division of Banks, and empowers state officials to investigate the servicers and take action against those that violate the state’s banking and consumer protection laws.

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