Earlier this week, I was able to see the benefits realized from my first vote. My first vote in the legislature increased the gas tax by 6 cents and directed the money to the transportation fund. Governor Patrick, as anticipated, immediately used the money to sign contracts to purchase new orange and red line trains (as well as green line trains and buses). The current administration continued this program, which is finally bearing fruit.
I toured one of the first new orange line trains that has been delivered to the MBTA. The MBTA has received six phototypes that it is currently testing. The inside of the train is pictured. (The bags are filled with sand to represent the weight of people for testing.) The MBTA currently is on pace to start adding the new trains to its fleet in January 2019. In December 2018, it will start receiving four new trains a month, which it will test and, if they pass, add to the fleet as well. The pace will continue until it received 150 new orange line trains.
Currently, the orange line runs 96 cars each morning and night. The MBTA hopes in the near term to increase that to between 102-108 with the addition of the new cars. Over time, as the entire fleet is replaced, the MBTA will also replace the signaling system for the trains. The new signaling system will allow it to run more trains at one time, maybe as many as 120 at a time. Each train can hold 1500 passengers, which is the same as the current trains, so additional trains are the way we will add capacity.
The MBTA anticipates delivery of the first red line trains next April and the introduction of them to the fleet by November 2019. The MBTA has a similar plan to add four new trains each month until the fleet is all new. The red line trains will have more capacity than the current ones (they are larger). In addition, the MBTA is purchasing new signaling systems for the red line to allow more trains to run at a time. Again, this will greatly increase the capacity of the red line.
The MBTA also required the manufacturer to use the same components for the red and orange line trains. This will help in the future with repairs. Currently, there is one type of orange line train and several models of red line trains – each differs from each other as well as from the orange line. The MBTA needs to hand-make many replacement components because it cannot place large enough orders for anyone to manufacture them as the parts are specialized for the different types of trains it has. Having two fleets will the same parts will help to avoid this situation in the future.
It is great to finally start to see the results I anticipated when I took this vote so many years ago.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority unveiled a 35-page drafted investment plan, called “Focus40,” which mapped potential improvements and plans for the T. You can read the report here.
I was disappointed that the MBTA had yet again failed to address the possibility of connecting the Grand Junction Rail to Kendall Square via West Station. I was also disappointed that a connection of the Red and Blue lines were not prioritized either. Both connections would be a fantastic boon to the economy of Kendall square by increasing access to the hub. During the comment period, I submitted a letter to this effect, which you can read below:
It is impossible to ignore the dire need of our state to step up and protect immigrants across the Commonwealth. I have heard it from colleagues and constituents alike: we cannot wait any longer. We must do what we can right now. In spite of roadblocks and hateful rhetoric, I have remained dedicated to using my office to oppose racist and xenophobic policies that hurt our communities and bolster the efforts of tenacious advocates fighting every day to let immigrant voices be heard.
Last session, I was one of the first co-sponsors of the Safe Communities Act, a bill that would strengthen protections for immigrants and keep the work of local police departments separate from ICE. I believe that this legislation was a pragmatic and meaningful way to ensure trust in police in our communities while also creating safer communities. I was pleased that so many of you agreed with that goal and pushed me to advocate as hard as I could.
I worked within the legislature to organize the Progressive Caucus and meet with the Speaker. I had a one on one meetings with the Speaker to encourage him to bring the legislation to the floor. I took formal steps to push for the legislation (letters, meetings, etc…) and I took less formal approaches (conversations with colleagues and organizing). Your persistence and perspectives really helped guide me through the process of pushing the bill along.
Unfortunately, as many are aware, the bill ultimately did not come to a vote in the House. I was disappointed at our failure to ensure protections to our immigrants who are especially vulnerable under the Trump Regime.
But I don’t give up easily, and I know that you don’t either. I am going to continue to push for this piece of legislation to be voted on as soon as the 191th Formal Session begins in January. I’ll continue to push my colleagues and do whatever I can to be an advocate for immigrant families.
This session, my colleagues and I voted on a vast array of issues. From more comprehensive protections for animals to raising the minimum wage, we covered quite a bit of ground. Below is a detailed run down of some of the highlights by category. I hope that this information is helpful and as always, do not hesitate to reach out to my office with further questions.
H.4011- An Act relative to criminal justice reform
Topic: Omnibus Criminal Justice Bill
Standardizes arrest data collection by requiring the department of criminal justice to obtain arrest data in a format consistent with the FBI’s National Incident-Based reporting System and maintain the information of a publicly accessible website.
Establishes a Childhood Trauma Task Force to study and give recommendations on the treatment of juveniles in the justice system.
Requires convicted felons to submit required DNA sample upon conviction rather than within one year of conviction.
Eliminates minimum sentencing for several drug offenses.
Raises the min. age of a delinquent child.
Requires the Office of the Child Advocate to record data for the juvenile justice system.
Limits the amount of time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement.
Extends Good Samaritan protections.
Prevents an employer from discriminating against an applicant for employment for failing to provide information on a misdemeanor conviction over three years old.
Establishes the criminal offense of manslaughter by a business organization.
Diversion to Treatment – This provision to the bill was based on a proposal that I made. The diversion to treatment component makes it so that an alternative route to incarceration can exist for first time offenders of any age. It requires District Attorney’s offices across the State to implement such rehabilitative programs and to ensure access to veterans, juveniles, persons with disabilities, and persons with substance abuse disorders.
Bail Reform – I was proud to jointly file this amendment with Representative Rogers to establish a Bail Commission to study the effectiveness of the current cash bail system and seek the feasibility of a Risk Assessment Tool for the Commonwealth. There is also a component to speak to biases that can occur in such a Risk Assessment. Changes to our bail laws will have a great impact on our criminal justice system as all defendants are impacted by the bail rules.
H.3034- An Act limiting the use of prison labor
Topic: Criminal Justice Summary: Requires that any inmate work program in MA be performed within its boundaries and prohibits MA’s participation in any national inmate work program to build a wall along the country’s southern border. Outcome: This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.
H.4732 – An Act relative to economic development in the commonwealth
Jay filed and supported amendments to provide bond funding for Magazine Beach ($1 million) and autonomous vehicle road infrastructure improvements ($3 million), which were included in the final bill.
Creates restrictions on the use of “non-compete” agreements.
Green lights a Sales Tax Holiday for the weekend of August 11th.
Authorizes public infrastructure grants for local and state-wide projects:
MassWorks Infrastructure Program ($250 million) – provides a one stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development.
Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Institute ($25 million) – enables institution of higher education to participate in the Manufacturing USA initiative.
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation ($1.25 million).
Cyber Security Innovation Fund ($2.5 million) – Establishes and capitalizes a cyber security fund to address cyber security threats and address workforce training and educational needs in order to expand employment opportunities in cyber security and related fields.
Workforce Skills Capital Grants ($75 million) – to purchase and install equipment and related building improvements for career technical education and training programs that are aligned to regional economic and workforce development priorities.
Cultural Facilities Fund ($50 million) – enhances the state’s creative economy through financing for acquisition, construction, expansion, renovation, and repair of cultural facilities, increase employment, entrepreneurialism, and tourism to regions where these facilities are located while stimulating a further investment in the arts, heritage, and sciences by preserving cultural resources.
Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund – will allow for the annual transfer of up to five percent from the Workforce Training Fund to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support job training for unemployed workers and to meet demand in industry sectors with critical vacancies
Charges the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative with conducting a study and issuing recommendations on how to advance the state’s competitiveness in the autonomous vehicle industry.
Outcome: This bill passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 10, 2018. However, the Governor vetoed a provision that would have prohibited a person from making an assertion of patent infringement in bad faith, and a provision to study the barriers to establishing “last mile” broadband connections. He also sent back 6 parts of the bill with amendments.
Establishes the requirement of utilities and municipal aggregates to jointly prepare an “energy efficiency investment plan.” [similar to House legislation]
Creates an annual increase of 2% for the Renewable Portfolio Standard by January 2020.
Establishes a Clean Peak Standard to incentivize electricity generation at times when the grid is at its highest demand and therefore most vulnerable to reliability issues. It is designed to incentivize installation of renewable resources in conjunction with storage systems to ensure that the Commonwealth will not only be increasing its overall usage of renewable sources of electricity through the RPS program, but that those resources can be utilized to provide energy at periods of high-demand to resuce reliance on natural gas and other non-renewable resources that typically get deployed during high-demand periods.
Requires DPU to develop regulations requiring gas companies to annually report how much gas is lost and where those leaks are.
Establishes an energy storage target of 1000 Megawatt hours by December 31, 2025; includes a feasibility study for a mobile emergency battery storage system for emergency response to extreme weather events or outages.
Creates a study of necessity, cost, and benefits of requiring electricity distribution companies to procure 1,600 MW of additional offshore wind capacity, beyond the 2016 requirements, by 2035.
RPS – I worked with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus to organize behind Representative Kay Khan’s amendment #29 to increase the RPS increases to 3% year. I was disappointed that the amendment was not adopted.
Gas Pipelines – I was proud to co-sponsor a number of amendments filed by my colleagues to address the issue of pervasive and environmentally destructive pipelines in Massachusetts. Representative Kulik filed Amendments 11, 12, & 13 to address these issues by prohibiting a pipeline tax on electric ratepayers, establishing standards for approval of gas capacity contracts, and guaranteeing public intervention rights at the Department of Public Utilities. I was disappointed that these were not included in the final version.
Environmental Justice – I was pleased that Representative Vincent filed the environmental justice amendment, Amendment 24, similar to a piece of legislation that I co-sponsored. This would establish an Environmental Justice advisory council to provide recommendations to the Baker administration. Again, I wish that the measure was included in the final bill.
Gas Leaks – I was happy to co-sponsor Amendment 15 by Representative Barber. This amendment instructs DPU to establish uniform standards for gas companies to identify and measure lost and unaccounted for gas by location, quality, and source. It also allows DPU to grant regulatory waivers to allow gas companies to develop innovative projects to reduce lost and unaccounted for gas. I am pleased to report that the amendment was adopted as written.
Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for the “Red Flag” firearm legislation.
Allows for the temporary removal of firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others.
Lets a relative or someone else with close ties to a legal gun owner petition a court for an up-to-12-month extreme risk protection order if the individual is exhibiting dangerous or unstable behavior.
The gun owner can appeal the decision
Creates a licensing procedure for stun guns in Massachusetts after the state’s highest court ruled that a blanket ban on the devices was unconstitutional.
Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on July 3, 2018
After the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas and the ongoing trend of mass shootings nation wide, the legislature took action by banning so-called “bump stocks” or devices that convert legal guns into higher capacity rifles. This was done through the budget via an amendment filed by my colleague, Representative Linsky of Natick
H.1190 – An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors
Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this bill.
The bill prohibits health care providers (including but not limited to physician, psychologist, social worker, nurse, or allied mental health and human services professional, including marriage and family therapist, rehabilitation counselor, mental health counselor, or educational psychologist) from advertising for or engaging in efforts that attempt or purport to impose change on the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient less than 18 years of age.
Outcome: This bill was passed by the House in June 2018 and by the Senate in the last moments of the legislative session on July 31, 2018. Jay hopes that it will receive final enactment in the informal sessions that will happen now until the start of next term. To read the full text of the House bill, click here.
S.2260 – An Act negating archaic statutes targeting young women (NASTY Women’s Act)
Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this bill.
Strikes requirement that abortions performed after the thirteenth week of pregnancy be performed in a hospital (unconstitutional via Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972)).
Criminalization of adultery
Criminalization of fornication
Criminalization of procuring a miscarriage
Criminalization of advertisement of abortion services
Criminalization of selling or giving away instruments or drugs to cause abortion
Removes restriction limiting contraception access to only married couples (unconstitutional via Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 62 U.S. 416 (1983).).
H.1110 – An Act Establishing Three New Commissions on the Status of Women and Girls
Jay voted in favor of this legislation.
The Eastern Regional Commission will conduct an ongoing study of all women’s matters within those communities and report its findings annually to the Commission on the Status of Women. The Regional commission will recommend solutions to the identified problems.
The Eastern Regional Commission consists of 9 people appointed by the Commission on the Status of Women from communities around Massachusetts.
H.4640 – An Act relative to minimum wage, paid family medical leave and the sales tax holiday
Jay was a strong advocate for increasing the minimum wage and for creating paid family leave as a program for Massachusetts and he co-sponsored legislation to accomplish these goals. Unfortunately, these provisions could not be passed without the inclusion of other provisions that he did not support, such as ending Sunday premium pay.
The law incrementally raises the current $11-an-hour minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.
Raises the current tipped minimum wage in Massachusetts of $3.75 an hour by 60-cent increments each year until it reaches $6.75 in 2023.
Beginning in 2021, employees — even self-employed workers — will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave — with the guarantee that they can return to their previous job or an “equivalent position” with the same pay, status, and benefits.
Establishes an annual Sales Tax Holiday in the State of Massachusetts.
Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and was signed by the Governor on June 28, 2018
H.4742 – An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction
Overview: This compromise language includes initiatives to promote behavioral health and prevent substance use disorders, strengthen the behavioral health system, and enhance options for substance use treatment and recovery across the Commonwealth. Jay has supported and co-sponsored legislation, some of which was included in this bill, to improve treatment options in Massachusetts and to treat drug addiction as a health issue.
Creates the Community-Based Behavioral Health Promotion and Prevention Trust Fund to support evidence based and evidence informed programs for children and young adults.
Expands access to non-opioid treatment options for pain management.
Expands patients’ ability to partially fill opioid prescriptions.
Prohibits discounts and rebates for certain prescription opiates.
Mandates that providers check the Prescription Monitoring Program prior to issuing any prescription for benzodiazepine.
Establishes an Early Childhood Investment Opportunity Grant Program, which will focus on substance exposed newborns.
Adds healthcare providers with direct care experience to the Board of Registration in Nursing.
Creates a special commission to study ways to strengthen Massachusetts consumer protection laws to hold pharmaceutical corporations responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic.
Strengthening and Expanding the Behavioral Health System:
Strengthens Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Health licensing authority over mental health and substance use treatment facilities, giving the departments greater enforcement authority to improve quality care.
Requires facilities to accept MassHealth coverage on a non-discriminatory basis.
Allows the Office of the Child Advocate to impose temporary cost share agreements, as necessary, to ensure children’s timely access to care.
Establishes remote consultation programs that allow primary care and othe rproviders to consult experts in pain management and substance use disorder to improve patient care.
Requires electronic prescribing for all controlled substances with limited expectations effective January 1, 2020.
Treatment and Recovery:
Expands access to naloxone (Narcan) in the community by (1) establishing a standing order, providing access to naloxone without a prescription, (2) allowing certain Sheriffs to purchase naloxone at a lower cost through the state’s bulk purchasing program, and (3) allowing local governments and agencies to exchange unexpired naloxone.
Requires treatment facilities that provide mandated treatment (under section 35) and emergency rooms to provide access to evidence-based care for people struggling with opioid use disorder, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Establishes a program offering MAT to persons with an opioid use disorder at 3 state prisons, as well as a pre-release program at MCI Cedar Junction, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
Establishes a pilot program offering MAT at 5 county correctional facilities for those who received MAT prior to incarceration, as well as a pre-release program, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
Establishes a Center for Police Training in Crisis Intervention to support cost-effective, evidence-based mental health and substance use crisis response training programs for law enforcement, providing the tools to respond appropriately to behavioral health crises.
Establishes a commission to make recommendations on the certification of Recovery Coaches.
Establishes a commission to make recommendations on harm reduction strategies to engage people at all stages of substance use disorder and encourage recovery.
Establishes a commission to study the efficacy of involuntary inpatient substance use treatment, including long-term relapse rates, overdose risk, legal implications, and capacity of the voluntary treatment system.
Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018