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 Earlier this year, President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded consumer protections that safeguarded student borrowers from deceptive and fraudulent practices by student loan servicers.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.Read more
Within the Short-Term Rental Legislation, Senator Cyr Establishes the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund to Address Critical Wastewater Projects
On April 4, 2018, the Senate passed S. 2381, An Act regulating and insuring short-term rentals. The bill expands the scope of the state’s room occupancy excise tax and local option excise tax to include short-term transient accommodations. This legislation will level the playing field, preserve local control and support the emerging short-term rental industry.
The legislation would generate an estimated $34.5 million and $25.5 million in state and local revenues, respectively, based on the most recent Senate Ways and Means Fiscal Impact Report. The expanded tax base will automatically apply to all 175-plus cities and towns that have already adopted the local room occupancy excise to date.Read more
Senator Cyr Secures $53 Million for Important Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard Infrastructure Projects
State Senator Julian Cyr secured $53 million in funding for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard’s important regional infrastructure projects on Thursday in the Senate Capital Bond Bill. Cyr presented capital funding proposals including $6.5 million to construct a new building for the Barnstable Regional Government and Cape Cod Commission, $1.6 million to fund improvements to the Hyannis National Guard Armory, $1.75 million to be used for improvements to the Dukes County Jail and House of Corrections, $2 million to extend the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Wellfleet Center and lengthen the Provincetown bike trail, and $150,000 to connect a municipal water main to a parcel on Highland Road in Truro. Senator Cyr also secured $41 million for the construction of a science building at Cape Cod Community College.Read more
From the moment I was sworn-in as your state senator, I have worked tirelessly to crisscross Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket meeting with constituents, non-profits, business owners, advocates, volunteers and elected officials to help solve problems and discuss how to improve our quality of life. I have convened and participated in Town Halls on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Mashpee, Orleans, Wellfleet and Hyannis on issues ranging from Housing, Renewable Energy, Seniors, Opioids, to Small Business, Tourism and Climate Change.
In the recent state budget, I delivered funding for key Cape & Islands programs...
On November 14, the Massachusetts Senate voted 27-10 to enact H.4009, An Act advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security in our state, better known as the ACCESS Bill. The bill had been restructured in October with a compromise between legislators, the Coalition for Choice, and a group of Massachusetts insurance carriers – who now vocally support the legislation. The same bill was passed in the House and Governor Baker signed the bill into law on November 20.
Filed in early January, the ACCESS Bill was viewed as a safeguard and a worst-case-scenario bill to shield women in Massachusetts from regressive healthcare-policy rollbacks at the Federal level.
A sense of urgency to pass the ACCESS Bill was renewed with Congress’ summertime attempts to repeal the ACA, and was even further stirred by the Trump Administration’s contraceptive-coverage rollback in early October. An emergency preamble means that this bill will take effect immediately.
The benefits of contraceptive care are immense and well documented.
As cited in the legislation’s review by the Mass. Center for Health Information Analysis, benefits of contraception include: “improved women’s health and well-being, reduced maternal mortality, health benefits for mother and child associated with spacing pregnancy, female workforce engagement, and economic self-sufficiency.” The review estimated meager premium hikes of $0.07 to $0.20 over five years, costs that would be mitigated by savings derived from preventing unintended pregnancies.
I am proud to sponsor S.2201, An Act relative to an arts license plate, which aims to showcase the work of Bay State artists and create a stable revenue stream for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This bill would make an arts license plate available for a fee of $50, with the design provided by a council-run artist competition and the money directly benefitting the council. These plates will allow residents to express their pride in the state’s renowned art scene while also supporting it financially.
Massachusetts is renowned for its vibrant arts community, and many contemporary artists are able to create and inspire thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. I have a deep personal connection to the arts, as my involvement with the Nauset High School Select Choir shaped my high school experience and led me to get involved in local politics for the first time to fight for the jobs of the school’s arts teachers. The arts have benefitted countless others in similar ways because of their unique ability to inspire complex ideas and emotions and bring diverse groups of people together in a community.Read more
On November 9, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to bring the Commonwealth one step closer to more affordable, accessible, and high quality health care. The Senate adopted an amendment sponsored by Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) that charges the state with measuring the impact a single-payer system would have on the cost and delivery of health care in Massachusetts. The amendment was adopted as part of a larger health care reform bill under consideration by the Senate.
“The drawbacks of our fragmented healthcare system are increasingly obvious,” said Senator Cyr. “Quality of care is stratified, coverage and cost vary widely, and uncertainty in the marketplace causes real anxiety for families and small businesses. The current sick-care system has neglected many and, worse, costs more than anywhere else in the world. We can’t wait. This amendment moves the ball forward on transitioning Massachusetts to a single payer system in a real and responsible way. Once again, Massachusetts leads the nation on health care for all.”Read more
Supplemental Budget for FY17 also includes state funding increase for Cape Tech Building Project
Last night, the Massachusetts Legislature became the first state in the nation to ban bump stocks, devices used to turn ordinary rifles into automatic weapons. The ban on bump stocks was included in a budget deal reached between the House and Senate that includes more than $129.3 million in spending, including language to increase the state’s contribution to the building of a new facility for Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, increasing the state’s contribution to the project by $5.3 million. The additional contribution from the state will save Cape taxpayers nearly $10 million when taking into account the interest that would accrue to the towns. A district wide election on October 24th overwhelmingly approved the building project.
“Bump stocks and trigger cranks effectively change the nature of a semi-automatic weapon to make it into a machine gun. There is no legitimate purpose for the use, sale, and possession of these devices other than to cause as much damage as possible,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “Taking this action today protects public safety, provides ample time for residents to comply, and establishes sufficient penalties for violations.”
“Today Massachusetts became the first state in the nation whose Legislature has banned the sale and use of bump stocks,” said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “These devices should not have been legal in the first place. I am proud of the bipartisan conversations that the Senate led to ensure today’s action is responsible and does not reap any unintended consequences.”Read more
Today the Massachusetts Senate passed by a vote of 27-10 a comprehensive criminal justice reform package that updates decades old criminal sentencing laws to improve outcomes of our criminal justice system. Among the provisions included in the bill are repealing ineffective mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders, reducing and eliminating over burdensome fees and fines, reforming the bail system, allowing for compassionate release for infirmed inmates, and reforms to the juvenile justice system.
“In state after state, criminal justice reform has led to lower incarceration rates, lower crime rates, and lower recidivism rates. It’s time Massachusetts joins the national let’s get smart on crime movement. This bill protects public safety and makes commonsense reforms while improving outcomes with our precious tax dollars,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).
Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) sponsored two amendments that were included in the final version of the bill approved by the Massachusetts Senate.
One amendment aims to secure equal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), intersex, and gender non-conforming prisoners by ensuring access to healthcare providers with expertise in transgender health care and creating a special commission to study the health and safety of LGBTQ, intersex, and gender non-conforming prisoners in Massachusetts.Read more
Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) testified today before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight in support of Senate Bill 1690, An Act relative to government efficiency. The bill is aimed at encouraging state government to apply behavioral science when designing and implementing policy, programs, and initiatives to improve government efficiency.
“Behavioral science provides exciting opportunities to improve government services and public programs that advance efficiency while saving taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Cyr. “With the field of behavioral economics receiving international recognition in recent weeks, it’s time to apply those same lessons to policymaking here in Massachusetts.”
The field of behavioral economics has recently been in the headlines; Richard H. Thaler, the founder of the field, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday, October 9th. Readers may be familiar with Thaler’s work through Nudge, a best-selling book he co-authored with Cass Sunstein in 2007.
The bill encourages government agencies to identify policies, programs, and operations where applying behavioral science may yield substantial improvements in public welfare, program outcomes, and cost effectiveness. It also directs government agencies to rigorously test and evaluate the impact of behavioral science insights, as well as strengthen governmental relationships with the research community to better use empirical findings from the behavioral sciences.