Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill

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. 

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Senator Julian Cyr Champions Legislation to Promote Ideas of Nobel Laureate

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.

 

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Senator Julian Cyr Files Legislation to Improve Oversight of the Closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Read more in the Cape Cod Times

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Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) has introduced a piece of legislation aimed at increasing the accountability and efficiency of theNuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel. The 21-member panel, created in 2016 by state energy legislation, is intended to provide citizen input into the closure and decommissioning process of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

“Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is one of the greatest public safety threats facing Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and all of Eastern Massachusetts” said Senator Cyr. “I represent – and live in – communities that would be disproportionately affected in the event of an incident at Pilgrim. Responsible closure and prompt decommissioning of the plant is essential, as are regulations that ensure a safe and responsible decommissioning.”

 

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Senate Passes Supplemental Budget for FY17, Includes Funding for Cape Cod Regional Technical High School Renovation

Read more in the Cape Cod Times

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The Massachusetts State Senate voted yesterday afternoon on a supplemental budget to close out Fiscal Year 2017 and enable the state to pay some of its outstanding bills, including $49.8 million for snow and ice removal and more than $20 million for state sheriffs. The supplemental budget also includes 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. This additional contribution from the state will save Cape taxpayers nearly $10 million when taking into account the interest that would accrue to the towns.  

Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) championed the inclusion of this language in the supplemental budget adopted in the Senate. Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) secured identical language in the supplemental budget passed yesterday by the House. The measure now goes to the Governor for his signature. 

“This measure will save local taxpayers millions of dollars and help our communities finance the proposed $128 million Cape Tech project,” said Senator Cyr. “I am proud to be a part of the collaborative work has been done to ensure high school students on Cape Cod have access to high quality and innovative technical education.” 

“The Massachusetts School Building Authority can now reopen the determination of the state’s contribution to the Cape Tech building project and use the highest year when calculating the “proportion of economically disadvantaged students” in the district, thus increasing the state’s contribution by 5.67 reimbursement points for the project,” said Representative Peake. “The state will now pick up 51.12% of the eligible costs, where they would have previously only carried 45.45% of the eligible costs.”

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Senator Cyr Appointed to Ocean Advisory Commission

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg has appointed Senator Julian Cyr to Massachusetts' Ocean Advisory Commission. The seventeen member commission is charged with developing a comprehensive Ocean Management Plan to manage the Bay State's ocean waters. 

"It is an honor to be appointed to this commission and to continue the advocacy of my predecessors, particularly Senator O'Leary, who championed the legislation that created this panel," said Senator Julian Cyr. "Responsible stewardship of our ocean waters is paramount to the success of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket; I look forward to working with a diverse set of stakeholders to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the Commonwealth." 

The Ocean Advisory Commission was created by the Massachusetts Ocean Act of 2008, sponsored by former Senate President Therese Murray, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, and former state Senator for the Cape and Islands district Robert O'Leary. The passage of this legislation made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to create a comprehensive, science-based plan for the management of its ocean waters. The Commission is also directed to hold public meetings and make recommendations to the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. 

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Senator Cyr Appointed to Senate Task Force of Strengthening Massachusetts Local Retail

On Wednesday, September 14th, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) announced the appointments of Senators and retailers to the Senate Task Force on Strengthening Massachusetts Local Retail. The task force was established to work with the Senate to identify ways to help local retailers become more competitive. 

Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) is one of five state Senators appointed by Senate President Rosenberg to the task force, along with Senator Michael Rodrigues, who will serve as Chair, and Senators Mike Barrett, Jason Lewis, and Kathleen O’Connor-Ives. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr appointed Senators Vinny DeMacedo and Don Humason.

“Growing up in my family business, I have a deep appreciation for the unique challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Cyr. “Local retail shop owners are struggling to maintain a decent share of the market, while competing with the pervasiveness of online shopping. Communities like Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket experience the added difficulty of navigating seasonal fluctuations. I am grateful to have a seat at the table in these bipartisan discussions.”

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Senator Cyr Co-Sponsors Joint Resolution Denouncing Neo-Nazism and White Nationalism

On August 17, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and members of the Legislature convened at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House to present a joint resolution and proclamation denouncing neo-Nazism and white nationalism. 

Text of Joint Resolution and Proclamation

WHEREAS, white nationalist organizations in our country have consistently promoted values that are overtly racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant, and these poisonous ideologies continue to promote hatred, bigotry, and violence specifically against individuals solely on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status; and

WHEREAS, today, white nationalism and neo-Nazism remain very real threats to the values for which the Commonwealth stands, and their reinvention as the “Alt-Right” should not mitigate their hateful ideologies; and

WHEREAS, while free speech is a bedrock value for the citizens in our Commonwealth and Country, white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups promote a message that is the antithesis of Massachusetts’ dedication to civil rights for all, and is in irreconcilable conflict with our foundational principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, white nationalism and neo-Nazism are continuing to grow as menaces to societal order as they seek to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide the nation, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic eradication; and

WHEREAS, the white nationalist and neo-Nazi message of racial and social intolerance has led to senseless acts of violence that continue to terrorize members of ethnic and religious communities;

Be it resolved and proclaimed:

that the totalitarian impulses, violence, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis are strongly denounced and opposed; and further,

that law enforcement agencies and elected officials at every level of government are urged to condemn white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, vigorously pursue justice in response to hate-fueled violence and work to ensure the protection of the marginalized and targeted communities; and further,

that copies of this resolution will be transmitted to the Mayor of Charlottesville, Governor of Virginia and President of the United States.

 

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Senator Cyr Attends Community Listening Session on Aging in Massachusetts

On Tuesday, July 25, state officials visited the Barnstable Senior Center for Governor Charlie Baker's Council to Address Aging Tour in Massachusetts. 

Senator Julian Cyr welcomed staff members of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to the Cape, and explained some of the most pressing challenges facing a rapidly aging population. 

"One in five residents of Barnstable County and one in seven in the state is 65 years of age or older, said state Sen. Julian Cyr. "By 2035, those numbers are projected to grow to one in three Cape residents."

For more extensive coverage of this event, please read this article published by the Barnstable Patriot.

 


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