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

“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

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”


Committee considers impact of court fees on poor defendants MassLive

Deeply troubling: “In a minute-long appearance before a judge, James tells the Dudley District Court, ‘I’m poor.’ Without inquiring further or offering him a lawyer, the judge orders James incarcerated for as long as it takes to pay off the fine, at a rate of $30 a day.”

Read the article on the committee hearing


Lexington High School Quiz Show team honored at Statehouse Lexington Minuteman

The Lexington High School Quiz Show team, which won both the WGBH Quiz Show State Championship this year and the Governor’s Cup vs. New Hampshire, was celebrated at the Statehouse on June 15.

Read the article about the team’s visit

Senate panel wants homeowners insurance clarity The Boston Globe

“In a time of profound public mistrust of both governmental and financial elites, the Committee finds no justification for a regulatory process marked by a no-exceptions rejection of public notice, informational access, and consumer input.”

Read the article about the report

Bedford High School students go to Beacon Hill to represent METCO Bedford Minuteman

“These kids are really the heroes of their own education,” Barrett said. “They get up much earlier than their peers at a time when research shows students should be sleeping in. I am blown away by the quiet passion of these students.”

Read the article about METCO

Bill would allow more review of homeowners insurance rate increases The Boston Globe

I want these rate increases discussed in an open forum. I don’t want million-dollar propositions handled in private, where only industry is heard.

Read the article on homeowner’s insurance

More insurers raise homeowner rates The Boston Globe

“State Senator Michael J. Barrett, chairman of the Senate’s Post Audit and Oversight Committee, said he isn’t surprised that other companies have followed Mapfre and Safety, given a regulatory system that allows little public scrutiny and comment on rate proposals. Barrett has called on the insurance division to reconsider the increases granted Mapfre and Safety and open hearings on whether they are justified.”

Read the article on homeowner’s insurance

Labor Committee approves $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food and big box retail workers MassLive News

The Massachusetts Legislature’s labor committee has voted to approve a bill setting a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food and big box retail workers.

“People have got to make a living if they work full time,” Barrett said.

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Read the article

Lawmaker wants officials to reconsider insurance rate hikes The Boston Globe

“The chairman of a powerful state Senate committee on Wednesday called on the Division of Insurance to reconsider the substantial rate increases granted to two of the state’s largest home insurance companies and open hearings on whether increases are justified.

“Barrett, chairman of the Senate’s Post Audit and Oversight Committee, said the rates deserve further scrutiny and public hearings, something consumers have urged, but the Division of Insurance has rarely held.”

Read the article on Sen. Barrett’s work on homeowners insurance rates

MBTA postpones schedule changes on commuter rail The Concord Journal

Victory — if not forever, then for now. The T will delay cuts in train stops in Concord and Lincoln until May of 2016. It has committed to reconsidering its planned changes and will entertain “robust public engagement” before making further decisions. New scheduling proposals will likely come out next month, following which there will be the kind of opportunity for comment that was lacking this time around.

Read the article about the MBTA

State senators question home insurance rate hikes The Boston Globe

“A key state lawmaker said Tuesday that he will file a bill that would require the state Division of Insurance to provide consumers with more information about proposed rate hikes and allow the attorney general to weigh in on them before they are approved.”

Read the article on homeowners insurance

Editorial: Putting a price on carbon The MetroWest Daily News

“It’s a discussion worth having. Climate change won’t wait for Congress to show leadership. Where better than Massachusetts, birthplace of innovation, to launch an aggressive response to the threat of climate change?”

Read the article

Senators Seek Quick Action on “Disconcerting” DCF Report State House News

After an independent group called for reforms to the way the Department of Children and Families handles appeals, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Wednesday called the report “very disconcerting” and committed to working with the administration to resolve the highlighted issues. Lawmakers last year ordered the state’s Child Advocate to hire an outside consultant to review DCF’s “fair hearing” process. The report released Monday from the Ripples Group found a growing backlog of cases waiting to be decided, a lack of access for families to easily-understood case materials and a system that lends itself to a perception that hearing officers are not independent from department administrators. Read more

Barrett draws on Canadian experience to promote carbon fees State House News

“British Columbia, with its population of about 4.4 million people, first imposed a carbon tax in 2008 as part of the province’s climate action plan. By 2012, the province had hit its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 6 percent below 2007 levels at the same time that British Columbia’s population was growing and its gross domestic product climbed 9 percent.”

Read the article


With Mass. Off Track On Emissions Goal, Advocates Seek 1st State Carbon Tax WBUR

“This is carbon pricing,” State Senator Mike Barrett said, “and the idea is to make it a little more expensive to pollute, a little more expensive to buy something that results in the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — which is the greenhouse gas that causes climate change — make it a little more expensive to do all that, but then you send the money back so that you spend it on something less polluting.”

Read the article

Mass. can lead on greenhouse gas reduction Boston Globe

In the The Boston Globe, Mike Ross writes on my bill to combat climate change by pricing carbon:

“The idea of a lone state like Massachusetts getting out ahead of the rest of the country and leading a program of this magnitude might strike some as incredulous. But this is precisely what the Commonwealth has been doing on a host of issues — from marriage equality to health care. Being ahead of the curve is a good thing, especially when our future depends on it.”

Read the article

Time to pass measures to ease challenges of the long-term unemployed Boston Globe

Joan Cirillo, President and CEO of Operation A.B.L.E., makes the case for two bills I’ve filed.

Read the editorial

Crushing debt part of cycle of poverty, according to report by Crittenton Women’s Union State House News

“Barrett said there is no evidence that a person’s credit score indicates what type of employee they will make, and he wants to outlaw the practice of employers checking scores.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren has filed similar legislation at the federal level.”

Read the article