Category: MetroWest Daily

Lawmakers rally in rain for school breakfast bill

BOSTON – Gathered in the rain outside the Statehouse on Tuesday, a group of about two dozen ralliers held signs telling the stories of people experiencing hunger in Massachusetts – among them, a gig worker who relies on supplemental food assistance between jobs, and a disabled man on a fixed income who uses food stamps to buy the healthier foods his doctor recommends.

“The weather is illustrative sometimes of how I think it feels to be battling hunger issues, right,” state Rep. Hannah Kane told the group. “It always feels like we’re battling something.”

The demonstration, organized by the Greater Boston Food Bank and other organizations, was part of Hunger Action Month.

The national organization Feeding America says 652,760 Massachusetts residents – or one in 10 people – are struggling with hunger, including 167,450 children.

Ralliers recognized Kane, a Shrewsbury Republican, and Democratic state Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett and Rep. Jay Livingstone of Boston for their work combating hunger.

The group called on the House to pass a Senate-backed bill that would require schools where at least 60 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals to offer breakfast after the instructional day begins. The bill outlines breakfast service models that include “breakfast in the classroom, grab and go breakfast or second chance breakfast.”

With more than three months left in the legislative session, the “breakfast after the bell” bill, sponsored by DiDomenico, is now before the House Ways and Means Committee. It passed the Senate unanimously on July 26.

“Breakfast after the bell, to get kids into school and performing much better, is incredibly key, and I hope we can still get that done this year,” Livingstone said.

Bills require unanimous votes to advance during informal sessions, but very few lawmakers attend the sessions.

“That should be a question that is as commonplace as ‘What’s your plan for jobs?’ ” she said.

As the rally broke up, Assefa offered a parting note to participants: “For anyone who’s hungry, we are getting pizza.”

https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20180925/lawmakers-rally-in-rain-for-school-breakfast-bill

Smooth sailing seen for auto-voter bill

BOSTON – A co-sponsor of automatic voter registration legislation advancing in the House Wednesday said he expects to see the measure become law in a matter of weeks.

“I’d be surprised if it isn’t signed into law in the next month,” state Rep. Jay Livingstone said.

Livingstone joined Boston City Councilors Josh Zakim and Matt O’Malley at a State House press conference to tout the bill, which would automatically register eligible voters when they interact with a state agency such as the Registry of Motor Vehicles or MassHealth. People could opt out of registering to vote if they wish.

Zakim, a Democrat running for secretary of state, said the bill would boost registration across demographic groups and could be particularly beneficial for communities of color and populations that are younger, low income or move frequently.

As the press conference was being held, the House voted to advance the bill, with plans to consider possible amendments and send it to the Senate later Wednesday.

“Looking forward to voting for #AVRinMA in the @MA_Senate after it passes in the Massachusetts House!!” Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem tweeted Tuesday.

The bill has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2020.

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20180627/smooth-sailing-seen-for-auto-voter-bill

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/20180628/smooth-sailing-seen-for-auto-voter-bill