Local State Senator Mike Barrett secured $25,000 in this year’s long-awaited state budget to allow OARS volunteers to monitor the water quality of our three beautiful rivers! This funding covers about half the costs involved in testing the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord rivers, which generates data for the state’s pollution prevention programs.
Senator Barrett’s effort to ensure the state continues to contribute to this essential local initiative is exemplary—the program is cost-effective, quality-controlled, and engages residents in citizen science. Crucially, the scientific information it provides paves the way for sound decision-making by our towns, state and federal government, so that we can keep our MetroWest rivers safe for our families, communities and wildlife. To see what it pays for, you can download the latest report at: www.oars3rivers.org/river/waterquality/reports.
Thank you, Senator Barrett! We are also grateful to the chief budget negotiators, Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, for their role in securing this funding.
OARS Executive Director
With the support of area state senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Massachusetts Senate has passed major legislation to tackle the opioid crisis. Provisions of the bill increase access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), explore tools to reduce harm and save lives, expand education and prevention efforts, and address the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.
The legislation draws on extensive new research into evidence-based best practices and accents collaboration among healthcare researchers and clinicians, hospitals, behavioral health providers, law enforcement officials, patient advocates and individuals with lived experience, to develop policies to address the opioid epidemic.
“There’s help here for addicted people whether in the community, the emergency room, or in prison,” Sen. Barrett said. “Whether they’re in long-term recovery or the immediate throes of an overdose, we’re bringing a determined effort and the latest thinking to every link in the addiction chain.”
BOSTON – Local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to pass legislation meaning eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the RMV, MassHealth, and other state agencies.
This means that the burden to register voters now falls upon the state, instead of individual citizens, and it will allow hundreds of thousands of eligible citizens who are currently not registered to have their say at the ballot box.
As temperatures soared on Saturday morning, so did hearts filled with anticipation of the ribbon-cutting for the new Friendship Park at Roberts Field on June 30.
State Sen. Michael Barrett, of Lexington, calling attention to the new playground equipment’s emphasis on accessibility, said the playground represents “the cutting-edge of awareness, for people with all kinds of challenges and disabilities. You are causing us to rethink all manner of things.”
Read the Chelmsford Independent article
BOSTON – Local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues to pass a bill requiring cable companies to provide High Definition (HD) capability to Community Access channels and to include detailed programming information in viewers’ electronic guides.
The bill means that community TV will be on the same playing field as bigger channels. It allows local media stations access to Electronic Programming Guides and channel signal quality that is comparable to pay stations — now and in the future.
BOSTON – State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues this week to pass bills raising the minimum wage, creating a paid leave program, banning the sale of ivory and rhino horn products, and putting an end to the practice known as wage theft.
A “grand bargain” bill — a product of months of deliberation between lawmakers, activists, and business groups — raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, establishes a paid family and medical leave program, and creates a permanent sales tax holiday.
BOSTON — In passing comprehensive energy legislation Wednesday night, the Massachusetts Senate approved a “revenue-neutral” carbon fee designed to incentivize low-emissions lifestyles and business practices.
An Act Combating Climate Change, sponsored by Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, would add a “pollution charge” to fossil fuel prices and return that money in equal measure to people and businesses.
Read the Mass Live article
In passing a major clean energy bill today, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to authorize the most comprehensive carbon pricing program in the country. Its author, State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), told his colleagues, “In taking a fresh run at combating climate change, you’re putting Massachusetts state government at the forefront — right where our constituents want it to be.”
The action made history, in that the Senate became the first legislative body in the U.S., either federal or state, to approve revenue-neutral fees as a carbon pricing option. If the policy survives intact after debate in the Massachusetts House and is signed into law, the Commonwealth will also become only the second state, after California, to extend the concept of carbon pricing to transportation.
BOSTON — A state lawmaker wants to let Massachusetts residents donate to poorer countries hit hardest by climate change when they fill out their tax returns.
Sen. Mike Barrett said his bill is in part a reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord meant to address climate change.
The bill would add a line to state tax forms to let taxpayers make a donation over and above their regular payment.
Read the Washington Times article
On the first anniversary of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) is promoting innovative legislation that would change Massachusetts tax forms and let taxpayers direct voluntary contributions, over and above their regular payments, to poverty-stricken countries hit hardest by climate change.
The full title of Barrett’s bill is An Act enabling taxpayer donations to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), an initiative of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Boston – With local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) as a member, the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Strengthening Local Retail today unanimously approved its final report. The Task Force was charged with assessing the economic health of the Massachusetts retail sector, and identifying challenges and opportunities facing retail communities.
Welcoming the report, Barrett said, “People in my district are really into nurturing the business centers of their communities. When it comes to making policy, I wanted a seat at the table on their behalf.”
BOSTON — Dozens of clean energy businesses convened at the Statehouse recently to showcase the growing vitality of the clean energy industry and to call for expanded clean energy polices during the Northeast Clean Energy Council’s seventh annual Massachusetts Clean Energy Day.
Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson delivered the keynote address for the event, in a speaking program that included Steve Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Melissa Kemp, Northeast Policy Director of Cypress Creek Renewables, as well as other legislative and clean energy industry leaders. Sen. Michael Barrett and Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad were honored by NECEC as 2018 Clean Energy Champions for their leadership in advancing the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy.
Throughout the day, the clean energy business community met with lawmakers to emphasize the importance of consistent policy support in catalyzing the state’s economy and ensuring the continued growth of the clean energy industry.
Read the Taunton Daily Gazette article
“These are personal moments, these are people who got permission from their families to go off and serve us, in horrific and terrible places, and we should never forget that,” Gov. Charlie Baker said, as he addressed the crowd Friday afternoon.
The crowd gathered at the Bedford boat ramp on Carlisle Road, for the official dedication of the bridge that spans the Concord River in the name of Pfc. John Hart and Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato, two Bedford natives who were killed while serving in Iraq.
Read the Bedford Minuteman article
During recent debate on the state budget, the Senate adopted several provisions offered by State Senator Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, including funding for programs in Waltham that work with vulnerable young people, homeless individuals, and families suffering from housing instability.
Read the Waltham News Tribune article
Boston –The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved new legislation to protect consumers facing hacked thefts of their fingerprints, facial profiles, retinal images and other aspects of their unique personal biology.
The bill is a priority of State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington). An already existing law requires businesses and government to protect personal information and to notify people in the case of security breaches. This law has resulted in the identification of thousands of breaches, including as many as 947,000 Target customers compromised in late 2013.
On Friday, May 25, two Bedford High School graduates will be memorialized when the bridge spanning the Concord River on Carlisle Road will be named after PFC John Hart and Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato, who died within 14 months of each other while serving in the armed forces in Iraq.
“The families of these two heroes will be surrounded by friends, family and their Bedford neighbors as we unveil the new name for this recently repaved bridge,” said State Rep. Ken Gordon. “The Commonwealth is proud to dedicate this lasting reminder that we stand with our troops, and honor their sacrifice.
Read the Bedford Minuteman article
WORCESTER – Despite a tight deadline, state Senate President Harriette Chandler and other lawmakers said at a forum Wednesday night were hopeful that a major piece of energy legislation will be on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk to sign into law by the end of July.
The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund and 14 other organizations sponsored the energy and environment town hall, at which Ms. Chandler was joined by state Sens. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, and Michael Barrett, D-Lexington.
Read the Worcester Telegram article
On May 15, Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, and Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, raised their voices in support of transgender equal rights in the wake of the recent decision to allow a question onto the November 2018 ballot that would repeal equal protections and civil liberties for transgender individuals in Massachusetts.
With Pride month on the horizon, elected members of the Lexington delegation are making it clear that bigotry and hatred toward the LGBTQ community is not acceptable in the state of Massachusetts.
Read the Lexington Minuteman article