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
Following their recent success in state competitions and on WGBH TV’s “Sing That Thing,” Waltham High School’s show choir played for the Massachusetts State Senate recently at the opening of a formal senate session. Music Unlimited consists of 43 accomplished young men and women who are students at the Waltham High School.
The choir witnessed the swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Senator Nick Collins (D-Boston) before performing two musical numbers — “Man in the Mirror” and the gospel piece, “Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.” Music teacher and former member Alyssa Cincotta led the choir.
“Colleagues are buttonholing me to tell me what fantastic talents these young people are,” said Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington). “Music Unlimited did a fantastic job entertaining the Senate and representing Waltham.”
Douglas A. Trudeau, director of Fine and Performing Arts at Waltham Public Schools said,
“We were truly excited to perform for the Senate. Seeing the swearing-in ceremony was a special treat for all of us. Our song choice of ‘Man in the Mirror’ exemplifies what all senators should do to make the Commonwealth a better place.”
Read the full article here
Boston – On Thursday, students, parents, and teachers filled the State House as the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to pass a key education reform bill to update the state’s 25-year-old funding formula.
Boston – During recent State Senate debate on legislation to support veterans and their families, Sen. Mike Barrett won passage of an amendment to ensure full state reimbursement of monies Bedford expends for indigent veterans moving into Bedford Green, situated on the grounds of the local VA hospital.
While the state Department for Veteran Services (DVS) currently reimburses Bedford at 100%, the arrangement is voluntary and the agency is under no legal obligation to do so. The 69-unit Bedford Green complex serves low-income and high-risk veterans from all over Massachusetts.
Boston – On April 11, Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues in voting to pass the “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” giving greater protections to student loan borrowers in disputes with companies servicing their loans.
The bill, ‘An Act establishing a student loan bill of rights’, requires student loan servicers to be licensed companies with the state Division of Banks, and empowers state officials to investigate loan servicers and take action against those that violate the state’s banking and consumer protection laws.
State Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, and Rep. Ken Gordon, D-Bedford, both of whom represent Bedford in the state legislature, joined their colleagues in passing criminal justice reform legislation that will lead to a more equitable system that supports young and vulnerable residents, reduces recidivism, increases judicial discretion and enhances public safety.
“We made real progress in reforming our pretrial system,” said Barrett. “While the bill codifies the SJC’s recent Brangan decision to help move our bail system away from a cash-based system, a comprehensive overhaul of our pretrial bail statute is still necessary to ensure than an individual is not held solely based on his or her ability to pay.”
Read the Article on Criminal Justice Reform
When state Sen. Mike Barrett left Massachusetts General Hospital on March 28, six weeks after being admitted, he knew exactly what topped his to-do list.
His first request: dinner and a movie with his wife, Nancy Dolberg. By Thursday, March 29, out they went to have pizza and to see “Black Panther” in Arlington.
“It was fantastic,” Barrett recounted. “It was everything I imagined it to be.”
Read the rest of the Article at Wicked Local Waltham
Boston – The Massachusetts State Senate has taken a major new step to protect the social media accounts of students and employees in the Commonwealth.
For the past year and a half, Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) has served as an original cosponsor of “An Act relative to social media privacy protection,” which passed the Senate last week. The legislation prevents employers and schools from requesting or requiring access to the personal social media accounts of employees, students and job or school applicants as conditions of acceptance, employment, or participation in school activities.