Category: Featured

Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge Across Storrow Opens to the Public

 

The $12.5 million Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge – a 230-foot-long, steel arch span that links Beacon Hill/Charles Circle to the Charles River Esplanade – is now open to the public.

The 14-foot-wide, 750-foot-long, multi-use bridge was constructed as part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) $300-million renovation of the Longfellow Bridge, which links Charles Circle in Boston to Central Square in Cambridge via the Charles Circle. The Appleton is a signature bridge in the City of Boston with its elegant steel arch span, as well as the first fully accessible, ADA pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive.

The old, existing footbridge is slated for demolition within the next two weeks, according to Miguel Rosales, the architect for both the Appleton and Longfellow bridges, as well as president and founder of Boston-based Rosales  Partners.

 

“As the designer of the Appleton Pedestrian Bridge, I was thrilled to recently cross it for the first time,” Rosales wrote. “The beautiful bridge floats over the park with stunning views of the Charles River.   It is very light, visually pleasing and the first ADA accessible 14-feet wide link in the area.  The main arch soars over Storrow Drive with a single, elegant gesture, which is inspired by the historic arches of the adjacent Longfellow Bridge.

“I am looking forward to having the bridge fully completed including walking surface treatments, hardscape elements and landscaping including the addition of new shade trees in the next few months.  I am confident that Bostonians and visitors alike will enjoy using the innovative bridge for generations to come,” Rosales wrote.

Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, said, “We are excited that this breathtaking new footbridge has opened to make the Esplanade more accessible to visitors. Representatives from our organization advocated for this vital new connection from the early stages of the Longfellow Bridge restoration and we are so grateful to MassDOT, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, former State Rep. Marty Walz, current Rep. Jay Livingstone, Miguel Rosales of Rosales + Partners, and many other partners for their hard work to finally make the Fanny Appleton bridge a reality.”

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said, “The Baker-Polito administration remains committed to providing residents and visitors with opportunities to safely visit the Commonwealth’s state parks system. With the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge, [DCR] is thrilled that pedestrians and bicyclists will have increased access to the Charles River Esplanade. Furthermore, the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge serves as a major accomplishment, and is a welcome addition to the metro Boston area.”

The bridge is named after the wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most widely known and best-loved American poets of his lifetime. He used to cross the Charles River from Cambridge to Beacon Hill in the 1840s while he was courting “Fanny” Appleton, and the new bridge complements the historic Longfellow Bridge as a symbol of their union.

190th Session Recap: Elections Laws and Reform

190th Session Recap: Election Laws

H.4834 – An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud

Overview:

  • This was an important priority for Jay, who co-sponsored this bill and advocated for it.
  • Directs the Secretary of State to work with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and MassHealth to automatically enroll eligible individuals to the Commonwealth’s voter rolls.
  • Secretary of State will adopt regulations governing the AVR system, including provisions requiring electronic transmission, data security protocols, and integration with online portals.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

190th Session Recap: Labor and Workforce Development

190th Session Recap: Labor and Workforce Development

 

H.4640 – An Act relative to minimum wage, paid family medical leave and the sales tax holiday

Overview:

  • 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

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

H.36380 – An Act establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • Jay was an advocate and co-sponsor of this legislation.
  • Adds pregnancy and  pregnancy related conditions, including lactation and expressing breast milk, to the list of qualifiers employers cannot discriminate against
  • Prevents employers from denying reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions
  • Prevents employer from refusing to hire a pregnant person because of the pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition
  • Includes a non-exhaustive list of reasonable accommodations:
    • More frequent/longer paid/unpaid breaks
    • Time off to recover from childbirth (paid or unpaid)
    • Seating
    • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous position
    • Job restructuring
    • Light duty
    • Private non-private space for expressing breast milk
    • Assistance with manual labor
    • Modified work schedules

Outcome:This bill passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.

190th Session Recap: Gun Control Legislation

190th Session Recap: Gun Control

H.4670 – An Act relative to fire arms

Overview:

  • 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

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

Bump Stock Ban

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

190th Session Recap: Opioid Legislation

190th Session Recap: Opioid Legislation

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.

Prevention:

  • 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

To read the full text of the bill, click here.