Category: Featured

Justice reformers set their sights on life sentences

By Michael P. Norton STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE Published: 2/28/2019 11:06:02 PM

Now that the landmark 2018 criminal justice reform law is on the books, lawmakers are exploring additional ideas and “even harder work,” as Sen. Jamie Eldridge put it Thursday, including the possibility of releasing prisoners serving life-without-parole sentences for the most serious crimes, including murder.

Eldridge and Rep. Mary Keefe on Thursday hosted a meeting of the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus where the focus was on legislation eliminating life sentences without the possibility of parole. Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project said a record 206,000 people are serving life terms in prisons across the nation. That’s more than the entire prison population in 1970, he said.

In Massachusetts, 1,018 people in 2016 were serving life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“There’s beginning to be increasing questioning of these policies around the country,” Mauer said, adding that “people age out of the high crime years” and pose “very much diminished” public safety risks in their older years.

Under legislation sponsored by Rep. Jay Livingstone and Sen. Joseph Boncore, all people serving life sentences would have the opportunity for a parole hearing after 25 years, a change in law that would apply retroactively so that it would affect people currently incarcerated. Both bills are titled “An Act to Reduce Mass Incarceration.”

Noting the number of people serving life sentences has “skyrocketed,” Eldridge said the bill deserves attention, although he told the News Service after the briefing that as chairman of the Judiciary Committee he needs to fully review the bill and declined to comment on his position on the legislation.

“We addressed some of the non-violent mandatory minimum drug crimes, repealing them last session,” Eldridge said, referring to a law that also emphasized treating offenders for substance use addiction. “But now we need to get into, in some ways, the more nuanced discussions around people who are in prison for violent crimes and whether we should be changing the sentencing for some group of those individuals.”

A provision in the 2018 law permitting medical parole, Livingstone said, shows lawmakers are open to changes that reduce incarceration costs while taking into account the danger that individuals pose if released from prison.

Asked about her position on the bill, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, who attended Thursday’s briefing, told the News Service that she was still gathering information on the topic. In 1980, Ryan was the victim of a vicious assault and a witness to the murder of her then-boyfriend.

Ryan said the life-without-parole sentence is reserved for first degree murder, and outlined considerations for lawmakers weighing the bill.

“There’s all of those considerations of – what are we trying to accomplish through incarceration? How has somebody behaved while in custody? And as is clearly true, none of us would ever want to be defined by the worst act of our lives,” said Ryan, a veteran prosecutor whose district spans 54 cities and towns and includes a quarter of the state’s population. “And then you have to weigh against that the loss that victims’ families have suffered and sometimes it isn’t just the immediate loss, it’s the continuing piece. So, many of the things you heard about that continued for years when someone’s in custody, obviously the same thing is happening on the other side. So it is a balance. And then obviously our overall goal is the protection of the public safety and the concern about – what does real rehabilition mean? When and is someone ready to be back out in society, while the rest of us are keeping folks safe?“

Livingstone, who attracted 27 co-sponsors to his bill, noted it’s been 22 years since the last commutation of a sentence for a person serving life without parole. Commutations must be recommended by governors, and approved by the eight-member Governor’s Council. He also said the bill would apply to convicted murderers, people with stacked sentences and those convicted under the “three strikes” law.

According to backers of the Livingstone and Boncore bills, Massachusetts has a lower overall incarceration rate than most other states but ranks second among all states for the highest percentage of its prisoners serving life-without-parole sentences.

The number of incarcerated men over the age of 60 increased 41 percent between 2010 and 2018, while the overall prison population declined by 18 percent, according to Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, and it’s up to three times more expensive to house an elderly prisoner in the general population.

The proclivity to commit crime is “highly age dependent,” the group said in literature distributed at the event, adding, “The peak age is in one’s early to mid-twenties, and continues to decline as one ages. It makes little sense to mandate that a person in their twenties must stay in prison for the rest of their life without a chance to later determine if they still pose a threat to public safety. Incarcerating people who pose no threat is a waste of resources.”

Membership in the caucus co-chaired by Eldridge and Keefe has increased in the past four years, Eldridge said, and the “standing room only” attendance at Thursday’s briefing “reflects the fact that as much as we passed a major reform last session, there’s still a need and an interest and enthusiasm for more reform.”

West End Civic Association Winter Meeting Set for Feb. 21

Beacon Hill Times Staff

Please join the West End Civic Association on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. for its winter meeting held at Amy Lowell Community Room, 65 Martha Road The doors open at 6:45 p.m.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone and Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim will update on issues affecting the West End.

Special Guest Speaker

Reverend Joseph M. White – Saint Joseph Parish

Father Joe will discuss the opioid and drug crisis that is affecting our – and all – neighborhoods. West Enders have learned a great deal about drugs in the city as we engaged in dialogue over the licensing of marijuana establishments in our community. We see an increasing number of drug addicts here, and we are concerned. We need to educate ourselves and our children about the addicted community.

One great service comes from The Archdiocese of Boston, which has a special ministry to assist addicted persons and families of addicted persons. AARPSS, the Archdiocesan Addiction Recovery Pastoral Support Services, can be reached through Father Joe

On the 21st, join in this neighborhood meeting and learn what actions we can take in dealing responsibly with this growing problem.

Spread the word – all West Enders are welcome, refreshments served.

Are you interested in making a difference in your neighborhood? 

Become a member of the West End Civic Association and join neighbors keeping the West End a special place to live. Take part in one of our many on-going projects – or help start a new one.

As a WECA member, you help ensure our residents’ needs are brought to our city government’s attention.

We can keep our West End neighborhoods, from Charles River Park to North Station, special.

Stand with us to help protect the future of our West End neighborhoods.

Co-Sponsored Legislation (2019-20)

Co-Sponsored Legislation

191st Session (2019-2020)

Every session, I get the opportunity to sign onto excellent legislation from my colleagues. It really gives me a chance to work on issues that I support and do what I can to champion those efforts. Below is a spreadsheet of all of the bills that I co-sponsored this session. The document is searchable, and I’ve included keywords in their classifications to make certain legislation easier to find.

Bill Number
Docket Number
Bill Title
Lead Sponsor
Assigned Committee
More Info
Subject Area/Keywords
H102HD2367An Act to reduce deep poverty among kidsDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities & Families; Economic Justice
H145HD1083An Act relative to an agricultural healthy incentives programMark, Paul W. (HOU)Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities Health; Food Access
H150HD3764An Act relative to the safety, dignity, and civil rights of persons experiencing homelessnessMiranda, Liz (HOU)Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities; Economic Justice
H162HD2615An Act to ensure equitable health coverage for childrenRogers, David M. (HOU)Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities; Children & Families
H197HD1353An Act to mandate domestic violence and sexual assault awareness education for aestheticians, barbers, cosmetologists, electrologists, hairdressers, manicurists, and massage therapistsBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure against Domestic Violence;
H363HD262An Act relative to the wholesale of malt beverages produced by a pub breweryZlotnik, Jonathan D. (HOU)Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
H404HD1371An Act to ensure parity for all child care providersBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Education & Families; Labor
H410HD827An Act relative to healthy youthBrodeur, Paul (HOU)Education; Sexual Health; Children & Families
H422HD407An Act to improve literacy skillsCoppinger, Edward F. (HOU)Education;
S255SD618An Act to establish food allergy plansCreem, Cynthia Stone (SEN)Education Protection; Public Safety
S285SD1359An Act relative to safety and violence education for students (the SAVE Students Act)Finegold, Barry R. (SEN)Education; Children & Families; Violence Prevention
H470HD1879An Act relative to affordable and accessible high quality early education and careGordon, Kenneth I. (HOU)Education Education; Education
H476HD326An Act relative to special education fundingHaddad, Patricia A. (HOU)Education Education; Disabilities;
H477HD327An Act to assure opportunity for all students with disabilitiesHaddad, Patricia A. (HOU)Education Education; Disabilities;
H551HD3269An Act relative to grants for high quality early educationPeisch, Alice Hanlon (HOU)Education Education
H552HD3393An Act ensuring high quality early educationPeisch, Alice Hanlon (HOU)Education Education
H553HD3461An Act relative to high quality early educatorsPeisch, Alice Hanlon (HOU)Education Education; Labor
H591HD3145An Act regarding breakfast after the bellVega, Aaron (HOU)Education & Families; Food Security; Economic Justice; Education
H586HD434An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful investment for successful and equitable educationVega, Aaron (HOU)Education;
H604HD2018An Act to create an emergency nursing home task forceCronin, Claire D. (HOU)Elder Affairs; Elder Affairs
H605HD1314An Act to improve Massachusetts home careCullinane, Daniel R. (HOU)Elder Affairs Care; Labor; Elder Affairs
H614HD1021An Act to Improve Alzheimer's’ and dementia care in senior care options programsGregoire, Danielle W. (HOU)Elder Affairs Affairs
H612HD437An Act promoting affordability of home care servicesGregoire, Danielle W. (HOU)Elder Affairs Affairs; Healthcare
H613HD438An Act relative to intensive case management for clinically complex older adultsGregoire, Danielle W. (HOU)Elder Affairs Affairs; Healthcare
H624HD1964An Act relative to Massachusetts home care eligibilityPeake, Sarah K. (HOU)Elder Affairs; Elder Affairs; LGBTQI Rights; Healthcare
H635HD1999An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in municipal electionsBenson, Jennifer E. (HOU)Election Laws Law Reform
H636HD2016An Act relative to election day registration (satellites)Benson, Jennifer E. (HOU)Election Laws Law Reform
H639HD530An Act supporting parents running for public officeConnolly, Mike (HOU)Election Laws Finance Reform; Elections; Children & Families
H646HD3098An Act promoting political participationDonahue, Daniel M. (HOU)Election Laws Finance Reform; Labor
H685HD3608An Act relative to election day registrationMalia, Elizabeth A. (HOU)Election Laws Reform; Same Day Voter Registration
H686HD1099An Act relative to the disclosure of foreign monetary donationsMark, Paul W. (HOU)Election Laws; Campaign Finance Reform
H690HD3890An Act concerning certain ballotsMichlewitz, Aaron (HOU)Election Laws Reform;
H720HD1132An Act ensuring municipal participation of the widest eligible rangeVargas, Andres X. (HOU)Election Laws Law Reform
H719HD815An Act relative to ranked choice votingVargas, Andres X. (HOU)Election Laws Reform
H751HD1122An Act promoting awareness of sewage pollution in public watersDean Campbell, Linda (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Health; Energy & Environment; Water
H752HD1425An Act requiring reserve electric power at wastewater treatment facilitiesDean Campbell, Linda (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Water Protection
S452SD306An Act relative to the proper disposal of miniaturesDiDomenico, Sal N. (SEN)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Recycling; Revenue
H761HD3523An Act relative to Environmental Justice and Toxics Reduction in the CommonwealthDuBois, Michelle M. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment
H762HD3180An Act relative to maintaining adequate water supplies through effective drought managementDykema, Carolyn C. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Water Protection;
H763HD3339An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinatorsDykema, Carolyn C. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Pollinator Health; Bees
H771HD134An Act reducing plastic bag pollutionEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Recycling
H772HD148An Act relative to ivory and rhinoceros horn traffickingEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Protection
H773HD3557An Act further regulating the enforcement of illegal hunting practicesEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Protection
H774HD3765An Act ensuring safe drinking water in schoolsEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Safety; Children & Families; Water Protection
H826HD3878An Act relative to environmental justice in the commonwealthMadaro, Adrian C. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment
H832HD3577An Act to create a 2050 roadmap to a clean and thriving commonwealthMeschino, Joan (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment
H873HD3065An Act to promote healthy soils and agricultural innovation within the CommonwealthSchmid, III, Paul A. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture & Environment; Agriculture
H732HD1033An Act protecting the natural resources of the CommonwealthBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (ENRA) & Environment
H908HD1037An Act requiring mental health parity for disability policiesBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Financial Services; Mental Health
H913HD2698An Act to increase consumer transparency about insurance provider networksBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Financial Services
H935HD426An Act establishing the Massachusetts infrastructure bankConnolly, Mike (HOU)Financial Services Justice
H991HD3202An Act advancing and expanding access to telemedicine servicesGolden, Jr., Thomas A. (HOU)Financial Services
H1037HD1930An Act concerning the use of certain insurance underwriting guidelines pertaining to dogs harbored upon the insured propertyLewis, Jack Patrick (HOU)Financial Services Protection
H1076HD603An Act relative to secure choice retirement savings planO'Day, James J. (HOU)Financial Services Affairs; Retirement
H1102HD3274An Act to establish health equity for pregnant personsSabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU)Financial Services; Women's Rights;
H1133HD3442An Act to ensure prescription drug cost transparency and affordabilityBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Health Care Financing; Prescription Medication;
H1129HD543An Act to provide Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessationBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Health Care Financing; Public Health
H140HD2848An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minorsKhan, Kay (HOU)Health Care Financing Liberties; LGBTQI Rights;
H1174HD3607An Act protecting Massachusetts hospitals and health systemsMalia, Elizabeth A. (HOU)Health Care Financing;
H1180HD1606An Act limiting out of pocket expensesMark, Paul W. (HOU)Health Care Financing
H1184HD1098An Act for equity for high value community hospitalsMoran, Frank A. (HOU)Health Care Financing; Community Hospitals
H1194HD2974An Act establishing Medicare for all in MassachusettsSabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU)Health Care Financing;
H1199HD1218An Act regarding Medicare savings programs eligibilityUltrino, Steven (HOU)Health Care Financing; Elder Affairs
H1208HD599An Act requiring sexual misconduct climate surveys at institutions of higher educationEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Higher Education Education; Sexual Violence Protection
H1209HD3294An Act relative to sexual violence on higher education campusesFarley-Bouvier, Tricia (HOU)Higher Education Safety; Sexual Violence Protection; Higher Education
H1214HD1178An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher education systemGarballey, Sean (HOU)Higher Education Act; Higher Education
H1217HD1384An Act relative to higher education transparencyGordon, Kenneth I. (HOU)Higher Education Education; Consumer Protection
H1221HD3113An Act to guarantee debt-free public higher educationHiggins, Natalie M. (HOU)Higher Education Education; Consumer Protection
H1265HD2406An Act to protect families experiencing homelessness from having to sleep in unsafe placesDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Housing & Families; Economic Justice; Housing
H1279HD2600An Act relative to housing service coordinatorsHonan, Kevin G. (HOU)Housing; Housing
H2500HD2639An Act regarding state income tax credit for renting unsubsidized properties at below market rentsHonan, Kevin G. (HOU)Housing; Revenue
H1288HD3379An Act relative to housing reformHonan, Kevin G. (HOU)Housing
H1305HD3872An Act codifying the Massachusetts Rental Voucher ProgramMadaro, Adrian C. (HOU)Housing; Economic Justice
H1314HD2776An Act providing a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessnessPignatelli, Smitty (HOU)Housing; Economic Justice;
H1341HD1126An Act to collect data on LGBTQI prisoners held in restrictive housingBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Judiciary Justice; LGBTQI Rights
H1343HD2727An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonmentBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Judiciary Justice; Substance Use; Mental Health; Healthcare
H1345HD2118An Act to require sexual harassment prevention trainingBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Judiciary; Employment Law; Sexual Harassment Protections
H1346HD2345An Act removing the liability cap for malpractice resulting in serious injury or deathBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Judiciary
S829SD582An Act eliminating mandatory minimum sentences related to drug offensesBoncore, Joseph A. (SEN)Judiciary Justice; Children & Families
H1368HD3495An Act relative to enforcing federal lawCabral, Antonio F. D. (HOU)Judiciary
H1385HD3432An Act relative to determining the best interest of children in probate & family courtDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Judiciary & Families; Judiciary
H1386HD3449An Act relative to expungement, sealing and criminal records provisionsDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Judiciary Justice; Children & Families;
H1416HD802An Act requiring health care employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violenceGarlick, Denise C. (HOU)Judiciary; Workplace Violence
H3300HD1292An Act establishing a foreclosure review division of the Superior CourtGonzalez, Carlos (HOU)Judiciary; Foreclosure Reform
H1443HD3905An Act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residentsHonan, Kevin G. (HOU)Judiciary Affairs; Housing; Disabilites
H1478HD583An Act to end child marriage in MassachusettsKhan, Kay (HOU)Judiciary & Families; Sexual Violence Protection
S984SD2192An Act An act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residentsLovely, Joan B. (SEN)Judiciary Affairs; Violence Prevention
S985SD2195An Act relative to bullying in public housingLovely, Joan B. (SEN)Judiciary; Violence Prevention
H3379HD3636An Act reducing recidivism and promoting family relationships during incarcerationMalia, Elizabeth A. (HOU)Judiciary Justice; Children & Family
H3384HD2276An Act to amend the foreclosure statute to require judicial foreclosureMark, Paul W. (HOU)Judiciary; Foreclosure Reform
H1525HD1096An Act relative to access to community correctionsMoran, Frank A. (HOU)Judiciary
H3422HD1978An Act to protect electronic privacyPeake, Sarah K. (HOU)Judiciary Liberties;
H1538HD2726An Act relative to unregulated face recognition and emerging biometric surveillance technologiesRogers, David M. (HOU)Judiciary Liberties; Privacy
S1043SD1241An Act relative to collective bargaining duesBoncore, Joseph A. (SEN)Labor and Workforce Development
H1596HD302An Act relative to collective bargaining duesChan, Tackey (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Economic Justice
H1602HD288An Act protecting the right to strikeConnolly, Mike (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Economic Justice
H1610HD3789An Act to prevent wage theft, promote employer accountability, and enhance public enforcementDonahue, Daniel M. (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Employment Law; Wage Theft;
H1617HD2659An Act requiring one fair wageFarley-Bouvier, Tricia (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Economic Justice
S1072SD1355An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment, without regard to protected class statusFeeney, Paul R. (SEN)Labor and Workforce Development; Workplace Violence
H1625HD195An Act relative to defense against abusive waiversGordon, Kenneth I. (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Employment Law
H1627HD833An Act amending the unemployment insurance law for workers with fluctuating work schedulesGordon, Kenneth I. (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Employment Law
H1658HD2559An Act relative to increasing wages of private sector human service workersMahoney, John J. (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development;
H1669HD1874An Act to harmonize wage lawsNguyen, Tram T. (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development Law; Labor;
H1686HD3303An Act relative to physician assistant non-competesSantiago, Jon (HOU)Labor and Workforce Development; Healthcare
H1700HD1125An Act ensuring access to addiction servicesBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery Use; Mental Health; Healthcare
H1719HD105An Act relative to creating intensive stabilization and treatment units within the Department of Mental HealthHaddad, Patricia A. (HOU)Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery; Mental Health
H1747HD1136An Act helping overdosing persons in emergenciesPignatelli, Smitty (HOU)Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery Use; Mental Health; Healthcare
H1769HD414An Act supporting affordable housing with a local option for a fee to be applied to certain real estate transactionsConnolly, Mike (HOU)Municipalities and Regional Government; Revenue
H1823HD3352An Act relating to the remedy for the sale of sick puppies and kittensRogers, David M. (HOU)Municipalities and Regional Government Protections
H1850HD3197An Act ensuring safe patient access to emergency careBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Public Health; Public Safety;
H1849HD549An Act recognizing pharmacists as health care providersBarber, Christine P. (HOU)Public Health;
H3502HD3487An Act to restrict the use of polystyreneDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Public Health & Environment; Consumer Protection
H1872HD3403An Act to require the disclosure of lead in water pipesDykema, Carolyn C. (HOU)Public Health & Environment; Water Protection;
H1926HD171An Act relative to end of life optionsKafka, Louis L. (HOU)Public Health; Civil Liberties; End of Life Options; Death with Dignity
H1948HD2959An Act relative to out-of-hospital birth access and safetyKhan, Kay (HOU)Public Health; Midwives;
H1949HD3554An Act to reduce racial disparities in maternal healthKhan, Kay (HOU)Public Health; Intersectional Justice
H1954HD1945An Act relative to HIV prevention access for young adultsLewis, Jack Patrick (HOU)Public Health Rights; Healthcare
H1991HD3835An Act to assure informed consent for pelvic examinations of anesthetized or unconscious patientsProvost, Denise (HOU)Public Health;
H2006HD3285An Act to establish a sharps stewardship programSantiago, Jon (HOU)Public Health; Substance Use; Mental Health
H2012HD2182An Act to promote public health through the Prevention and Wellness Trust FundVega, Aaron (HOU)Public Health Health
S1364SD1178An Act relative to access to community correctionsBrownsberger, William N. (SEN)Public Safety and Homeland Security Justice
H2047HD3011An Act to strengthen inmate visitationDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Public Safety and Homeland Security Justice; Children & Families
H2088HD3108An Act to ensure compliance with the anti-shackling law for pregnant incarcerated womenKhan, Kay (HOU)Public Safety and Homeland Security Justice; Children & Families; Women's Rights
H2134HD331Resolve providing for investigating construction practices and their impact on firefighter deathsStanley, Thomas M. (HOU)Public Safety and Homeland Security Safety
H2141HD3412An Act improving juvenile justice data collectionTyler, Chynah (HOU)Public Safety and Homeland Security Justice; Children & Families; Juvenile Justice
H2179HD3115An Act relative to GIC composition and transparencyCapano, Peter (HOU)Public Service Service
H2202HD1161An Act relative to the divestment of state pension funds from nuclear weaponsConnolly, Mike (HOU)Public Service Service; Divestment;
H2220HD3094An Act relative to public investment in fossil fuelsDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Public Service & Environment; Divestment
H2330HD1381An Act relative to the collective bargaining rights for employees of the Committee for Public Counsel ServicesMoran, Michael J. (HOU)Public Service
H2343HD600An Act relative to ensure fairness for certain employees of the department of correctionsO'Day, James J. (HOU)Public Service;
S1603SD723An Act relative to landlord tenant tax creditsBoncore, Joseph A. (SEN)Revenue; Revenue
H2448HD1856An Act excluding student loan forgiveness from taxable income for permanently and totally disabled veteransDriscoll, Jr., William J. (HOU)Revenue Education; Consumer Protection; Veteran's Services
H2463HD2835An Act to preserve community preservation revenueFerrante, Ann-Margaret (HOU)Revenue
H86HD3300Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution to provide resources for education and transportation through an additional tax on incomes in excess of one million dollarsO'Day, James J. (HOU)Revenue Share Amendment; Economic Justice; Children & Families; Wealth Inequity
H2587HD1957An Act providing tax relief to seniors while creating affordable housingPeake, Sarah K. (HOU)Revenue; Elder Affairs
H2671HD3680An Act relative to the employment of persons with disabilities on state contractsBiele, David (HOU)State Administration and Regulatory Oversight; Public Service; Disabilities
H2681HD3732An Act ensuring equitable representation in the CommonwealthChan, Tackey (HOU)State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
H2802HD1248An Act to secure a clean energy futureBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment
H2810HD2370An Act to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissionsBenson, Jennifer E. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Carbon Pricing
H2828HD2461An Act to modernize our natural gas infrastructureCoppinger, Edward F. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Public Health; Gas Leaks
H2832HD580An Act relative to Energy Savings Efficiency (Energy SAVE)Cutler, Josh S. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Consumer Protection
H2836HD3092An Act re-powering Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energyDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment
H2843HD3511An Act removing barriers to solar for low-income communitiesDykema, Carolyn C. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Economic Justice; Solar
H2848HD3447An Act ensuring gas safety and consumer fairnessEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Gas Leaks; Ratepayer Fairness
H2849HD3719An Act for utility transition to using renewable energy (FUTURE)Ehrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Gas Leaks;
H2851HD3879An Act accelerating the renewable portfolio standardElugardo, Nika C. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment
H2852HD1614An Act protecting our coasts from offshore drillingFernandes, Dylan A. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment
H2881HD389An Act promoting the proper disposal of miniaturesHunt, Randy (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Recycling
H2887HD3891An Act relative to home energy efficiencyMadaro, Adrian C. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Consumer Protection
H2896HD2529An Act relative to solar power and the green economyMark, Paul W. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Solar
H2899HD1159An Act relative to conservation and natural gas infrastructureMeschino, Joan (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment; Gas Leaks; Public Health
H2920HD2206An Act relative to multi-state offshore wind procurementRogers, David M. (HOU)Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy & Environment
H2934HD576An Act relative to the use of elephants, big cats, primates, and bears in traveling exhibits and showsEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Protections
H2943HD2250A Resolve to evaluate existing funding for the promotion of, and workforce development in, tourism, arts and cultureMichlewitz, Aaron (HOU)Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, Arts, & Culture
H2964HD1060An Act renaming the Yawkey commuter rail station on the Worcester–Framingham lineBalser, Ruth B. (HOU)Transportation Rights
H3008HD3009An Act to advance modern and sustainable solutions for transportationEhrlich, Lori A. (HOU)Transportation; Energy & Environment
H3012HD1719An Act relative to work and family mobilityFarley-Bouvier, Tricia (HOU)Transportation; Public Safety; Civil Liberties
H3070HD840An Act relative to gender identity on Massachusetts identificationLinsky, David Paul (HOU)Transportation Liberties; LGBTQI Rights; Gender Identity
H3118HD1653An Act to reduce traffic fatalitiesRogers, David M. (HOU)Transportation Safety; Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety
H3139HD551An Act relative to unmanned aerial systemsStraus, William M. (HOU)Transportation Liberties; Privacy
H3179HD1534An Act requiring the hands-free use of mobile telephones while drivingWagner, Joseph F. (HOU)Transportation Safety; Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety
H104HD3043An Act to lift the cap on kidsDecker, Marjorie C. (HOU)Ways and Means & Families; Food Security; Economic Justice
HD1520An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residentsBalser, Ruth B. (HOU) Liberties; Safe Communities; Immigration
HD1505An Act empowering health care consumersBenson, Jennifer E. (HOU)
HD3384An Act relative to the scheduling of employeesGarballey, Sean (HOU);
HD2449An Act relative to the Garden of PeaceKafka, Louis L. (HOU) Prevention
HD3815An Act promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing (HOMES)Moran, Michael J. (HOU); Economic Justice

For the Coming Year Livingstone’s Legislative Agenda Considers Both District-wide and National Issues

by Dan Murphy • February 7, 2019 •

While State Rep. Jay Livingstone conceived his legislative agenda for the new year with his constituents firmly in mind, he hopes it will also reverberate on a national level.

“I focused on priorities for the district, as well as thinking about how to continue making Massachusetts a leader, which is more necessary now because of what is happening at the federal level,” he said. “One thing that is under attack nationally is women’s reproductive rights…and we want to make it clear that Massachusetts reaffirms women’s reproductive rights.”

Livingstone and Rep. Pat Haddad have filed legislation called “The ROE Act” to protect women’s decisions regarding their own bodies, which has become the “top priority in the legislative term” for the nonprofits NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, “The ROE Act eliminates the onerous requirement that forces teens to obtain permission from a parent or judge to access abortion. This process causes teens to delay care or travel outside of the state, and is opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Another bill that Livingstone filed with Rep. Adrian Madaro, who represents East Boston, aims to raise fees on Uber and Lyft to better align them with the fees levied on ride-sharing services in other states while using the proceeds to improve public transit, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

 “I’m excited to address improving our transportation system and discouraging use of fossil fuels,” Livingstone said. “I think this bill will help address congestion that is increasing at an exponential rate because of these services and decrease transportation pollution as a result.”

Meanwhile, Livingstone and Rep. Andy Vargas have filed new legislation t to further facilitate early voting in all elections.

“I think we should continue to make voting as easy as possible for people to increase participation,” Livingstone said.

Gearing Up: Plans for Bike Lanes on Craigie Bridge Move Forward

by Dan Murphy • January 31, 2019 • 

Following the end of the public comment period on Jan. 22, the state is now moving forward with plans to install dedicated bike lanes on the Craigie Bridge.

Current conditions on the bridge, which carries traffic on the McGrath O’Brien Highway (Route 28) between Land Boulevard in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston, include six travel lanes with no dedicated bike lanes leaving bicyclists to use travel lanes or the sidewalks and no defined turn lane into the Museum of Science, according to The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

MassDOT and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) unveiled two bike-lane options, as well as planned safety improvements for the bridge, on Dec. 18 at the MIT Stratton Student Center in Cambridge.

New safety measures, which are slated for completion by this spring, include changing speed-limit signs to 25 mph; installing “speed feedback” radar signs; conducting road-safety audit; installing pavement-marking change; and installing flex posts if possible, according to MassDOT.

The design team presented two options for creating bike lanes, both of which would eliminate one traffic lane.

The first option, which was developed in 2008, would create continuous on-road bike lanes and maintain the existing sidewalks while providing two travel lanes in each direction and adding a left turn into the Museum of Science.

The alternative is just like the first option, except that it would create three travel lanes into Leverett Circle and restrict left turns into the Museum of Science.

The final design is expected to be presented in the winter of 2019, wrote MassDOT spokesman Maxwell Huber.

“O’Brien Highway is a key bike route between Cambridge and Boston,” according to a statement from the Boston Cyclists Union. “It’s also eight lanes wide in parts, with a high volume of truck traffic and speeding vehicles. Protected bike lanes are absolutely necessary to minimize conflicts on this road.”

The bridge was the site of a fatality on Nov. 9 of last year when 24-year-old Boston University Meng Jin,24, was struck and killed by a dump truck while biking there.

Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Cambridge nonprofit Livable Street Alliance, is pleased that the state is proceeding with the project, albeit more slowly than was originally anticipated.

“Citizens have been advocating for bike lanes since the late ‘90s…and we’ve been asking for these changes for more than a decade,” Thompson said. “There was a commitment when Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project was complete that they would install the bike lanes, but there were various delays with that bridge and now that it is complete, we still don’t have the bike lanes [on the Craigie].”

While Thompson said she sees no merit in debating which alternative is preferable, especially since they were developed, at least in the case of the first option, more than a decade ago, she emphasizes that “the devil is in the details,” such as connectivity to the Charles River and whether or not buses can make a left turn into the Museum of Science.

“Having strong biking infrastructure is an absolute must, but they still have work to do so that the bridge can move the most people, which includes improving walking and biking infrastructure,” Thompson said.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone also said he was pleased that the project is moving forward while underscoring the bridge’s potentially hazardous conditions. “I think current situation is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclist, and I think separated bike lanes should be installed with minimal disruption to current traffic,” Livingstone said. “I’m pleased that MassDOT is doing the public process with all stakeholders involved so that everyone has a say.”