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
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 — 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
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
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
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
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
“Because the white blood cell counts of APL patients are way below normal, infections such as the flu can have consequences,’’ said Barrett in his statement. “My doctors tell me I won’t be leaving the hospital for a month and that, for some additional period of time, I’ll need to avoid crowded situations where people may have bad colds, etc.”
“Unfortunately, my docs will not let me hop out of bed at Mass. General and head up Beacon Hill to vote in a packed chamber,” he said. “But otherwise, with the help of my fantastic staff, I expect to advance my legislative agenda quite effectively throughout my convalescence, and to resume my duties in full thereafter.”
Read the rest of the article
The Senate’s $3.65 billion bond bill contains funding for regional courthouses, public safety facilities and equipment, according to local senators pleased with the measure that also includes authorizations for bonds to improve facilities statewide, including local colleges and universities, parks and public works.
For surrounding towns, Sen. Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, said the measure contains $3.5 million to expand and renovate the Bedford Police Station, $1 million to make playgrounds in Sudbury more accessible and $695,000 to replace firetrucks in Waltham.
Read the article on the Senate bond bill
The bill, proposed by Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and members of the Senate Global Warming and Climate Change Committee, would create a fee for fuels that contain carbon, like home heating and motor fuel. The money raised would be returned to residents and businesses in the form of rebates for adapting carbon-reducing measures.
Barrett told the Statehouse News Service that if the bill passes, the Legislature must select a carbon pricing scheme for transportation by 2020, for commercial and industrial buildings by 2021 and for residential buildings by 2022.
Read the article on the carbon pricing bill
The Federal Communications Commission in December adopted an order repealing past rules that deemed internet service a public utility and required internet providers to treat all traffic equally. Daniel Lyons, a Boston College Law School professor, told lawmakers the order also “expressly preempts any state or local measures” attempting to reinstate those rules.
Noting that he pays between $50 to $60 per month for his Verizon internet access, Sen. Michael Barrett said he wanted the committee to figure out what would happen to the market without net neutrality if the legal challenges fail. He asked Healey if there is a way of “extracting any good” out of the rollback, such as lower prices for a “basic” package that could make technology more accessible to low income consumers.
Read the article on the net neutrality debate
New England’s biggest utility has won approval for new charges on future solar customers starting next January — but in the process Eversource has angered some lawmakers with jurisdiction over its industry, including members of the Chelmsford’s delegation.
Vote Solar and Attorney General Maura Healey have both appealed the department’s approval of the new Eversource rates.
Mahony, who is Healey’s senior policy adviser for energy, suggested lawmakers should craft legislation that discourages customers from using electricity when demand on the grid is high. Demand fluctuates throughout the day as consumers turn on lights, flip on air conditioning and run electrical appliances. The demand charge in the Eversource rates does not vary based on time of day.
Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and the Senate chairman of the committee, had a similar perspective to Mahony on the demand charges, questioning Eversource about why it wasn’t linked to when demand was highest on the grid as a whole.
Read the article on Eversource’s new charges
Most committee hearings on Beacon Hill are mild affairs, planned out well in advance, to solicit input on various bills. Not this one.
Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Thomas Golden decided last week to revisit Eversource’s new solar fee. Barrett says precipitating factors included a Globe story and a particularly unhappy constituent.
Lawmakers authorized the adoption of this kind of solar charge back in 2016. But Barrett and Golden made it clear they believe Eversource has taken that permission beyond what the Legislature initially intended.
Read more about the Eversource solar fee hearing
An opinion piece from the Worcester Telegram supporting bills S.1821 and H.1726, which are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts in an efficient and equitable manner.
Read the opinion piece on “An Act combating climate change” and “An Act to promote green infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs”