Environment tops concern at Ashland event MetroWest Daily News

“We need a carbon price to get us to carbon neutral and beyond,” said Gene Fry, an environmental scientist from Brookfield. The Earth is warming, he said. Carbon dioxide needs to be reduced and, in doing so, the state can create jobs and expand the economy. His testimony drew some of the largest applause of the night.

Read the article on the Commonwealth Conversations Tour

A growing movement would force presidential candidates to release tax returns The Boston Globe

The author of the Massachusetts bill, State Senator Mike Barrett, said he, too, was inspired by the New York bill. He added a few local provisions that would also require presidential and vice presidential candidates to fill out the same statement of financial interests that all Massachusetts candidates must.

Barrett said he approaches the bill with a good-government lens, not a partisan one.

Read the article on the financial transparency movement

Environmental groups call for action at local and state level

The Sudbury Valley Trustees and OARS safeguard the fortunes of the Assabet, Concord and Sudbury Rivers.  They don’t stop there; they promote statewide action on drought management, pollution programs, and climate change.  Top left, my introductory remarks at a recent meeting.  Top right, with Lisa Vernegaard, SVT’s Exec. Director.  Bottom, the entire crew.

Senator Mike Barrett appointed to Committee of Telecom, Utilities, Energy The Lexington Minuteman

“The committee’s jurisdiction covers everything from cell phones to alternative energy to public utility reform to carbon pricing,” Barrett said. “Being Senate Chair doesn’t give me access to any more of my colleague’s votes. I’m going to have to be patient and a good listener to build needed consensus.”

Read the article on my new committee appointment

Democrats on Beacon Hill push anti-Trump agenda The Boston Globe

In January, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson offered to send inmates to Texas to assist with Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexico border.

In response, Senator Michael Barrett filed a bill intended to make that plan more difficult by requiring state approval for such a program.

Barrett worries Trump’s victory will embolden longtime conservatives like the sheriff and also encourage a new slate of state and local politicians to run for office espousing the same ideals. “I think you’ll see a lot of Trumps popping up,” Barrett said.

The Lexington Democrat also filed a bill that would require people running for president to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in Massachusetts. Despite public pressure, Trump bucked a decades-old tradition of doing so.

Read to article on a number of key bills

Lawmakers start to get behind carbon emission bills State House News

“The level of support is coming on a little faster than I expected, but then global warming is heating up a little faster than we all expected,” said State Senator Mike Barrett, the bill’s chief sponsor.

Read to article on the growing support of carbon pricing

Lawmakers seek to block sheriff from sending inmates to work on Trump’s wall State House News

“Until recently many Americans just assumed that the stature of the Office of the President ensured the observance of certain practices that are unwritten but responsible and well-established, one of which is the disclosure by candidates of recent tax returns and, by extension, possible conflicts of interest. The 2016 election shattered this confidence. I hope we can come together to rebuild it.”

Read the article on my bill

This Massachusetts bill could block Donald Trump from the ballot in 2020 Boston.com

“Until recently many Americans just assumed that the stature of the Office of the President ensured the observance of certain practices that are unwritten but responsible and well-established, one of which is the disclosure by candidates of recent tax returns and, by extension, possible conflicts of interest. The 2016 election shattered this confidence. I hope we can come together to rebuild it.”

Read the article on my presidential tax returns bill

Beacon Hill proposal targets tax returns of presidential candidates Press Release

BOSTON — State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) wants the Massachusetts Legislature to tell future presidential candidates that they cannot appear on a primary or general election ballot in the state until they release their tax returns and disclose potential conflicts of interests.

“Until recently,” Barrett wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to House and Senate members inviting cosponsors of the bill in the upcoming 2017-2018 session, “many Americans just assumed that the stature of the Office of the President ensured the observance of certain practices that are unwritten but responsible and well-established, one of which is the disclosure by candidates of recent tax returns and, by extension, possible conflicts of interest.  The 2016 election shattered this confidence.  I hope we can come together to rebuild it.”

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No place in Mass. for prisoners of poverty The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe’s Editorial Board weighs in on my committee’s recent report on “fine time” in Massachusetts — the practice by district court judges of incarcerating defendants solely for failure to pay fines, fees or court costs.

Read the editorial on “Fine Time”

 

State Senate investigates “Fine Time” Press Release

BOSTON — The State Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight has completed a first-of-its-kind investigation of “fine time” in Massachusetts — the practice by district court judges of incarcerating defendants solely for failure to pay fines, fees or court costs.

State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Chair of the Committee, called the findings “eye-opening.”  He and Committee staff identified 105 instances of fine time in 2015 in just three Massachusetts counties — Essex, Plymouth and Worcester.  In 60% of the cases, the defendant had at some point been verified as indigent; ten were described as unemployed; five, as homeless.  Yet all 105 individuals were imprisoned for failure to pay fees and fines.

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