Mass. Senate Takes on Opioid Crisis Press Release

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.”

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) Press Release

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.

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State Senate says Community Access TV should go HD Press Release

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.

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From a $15 dollar minimum wage to a ban on ivory, the State Senate takes action Press Release

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.

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MA State Senate makes history, votes carbon pricing Press Release

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.

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A Year After Trump Nixed Paris, Senator Pushes a Novel Response Press Release

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.


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Senators and retailers wrap up work Press Release

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.”

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Barrett Bill will Protect Personal Biometric Data Press Release

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. 

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Barrett welcomes Foundation Budget reforms Press Release

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.

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Barrett Protects State Aid for Bedford Veterans Press Release

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.

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Barrett Backs Student Loan Bill of Rights Press Release

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.

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Barrett Backs More Privacy for Social Media Press Release

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.

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Carbon Pricing Picks Up Steam Press Release

Boston – Senate Chair of the Energy Committee Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and environmental advocates are making headway in their campaign to put a price on carbon in Massachusetts.

Barrett — who filed a carbon pricing bill in the Legislature this session — joined his colleagues on the Senate Global Warming and Climate Change Committee to announce the release of an omnibus energy bill that includes carbon pricing. The incorporation of carbon pricing into an overall policy initiative by the Senate is a breakthrough.

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Barrett Grills Eversource on its New Charge on Solar Users Press Release

Boston – State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell) quizzed Eversource Energy and the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at a formal oversight hearing last Tuesday, January 30.

Senate Chair Barrett joined House Chair Golden and their colleagues on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy at the public hearing, following the DPU’s approval of a request from Eversource for a new fee on solar users.

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Mass. Residents May Be Able to Fight Climate Change Via Their Tax Returns Press Release

Joined last week by prominent researchers and humanitarian leaders, State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) asked the Legislature’s Committee on Revenue to approve legislation tweaking Massachusetts tax forms and letting taxpayers direct voluntary contributions, over and above their regular payments, to poverty-stricken countries faced with worsening conditions caused by global warming.

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.

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Mass. Climate Math: Getting to Paris Reductions Goal Won’t Get Us Further Press Release

Sounding a note of caution on today’s debate in the Mass. House of Representatives, the Senate chair of the joint committee that deals with energy matters cited “an inconvenient truth about Massachusetts climate change math: our share of the U.S. emissions goal set in Paris for 2025 is almost identical to a state-specific emissions goal we’ve already set for ourselves for 2020.  By 2025, Massachusetts will need to have progressed well beyond this point, or we will have little chance of meeting our ultimate emissions goal set for 2050.”

“Merely running in place on emissions reductions between the years 2020 and 2025 will throw us off pace and forfeit Massachusetts’ hopes to lead on this crucial issue,” said State Sen. Michael Barrett (D-Lexington).

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Barrett calls for an end to modern debtors’ prisons at State House rally Press Release

Boston – State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his colleagues and advocacy groups in the State House yesterday to rally behind a criminal justice reform bill that seeks to keep people from ending up back in prison.

The comprehensive bill includes significant reforms to the common practice by district court judges of incarcerating defendants solely for failure to pay fines, fees or court costs, commonly referred to as “fine time”.  This is an issue that has been championed by Barrett and he has worked closely with the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to ensure that the problem is addressed.

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Barrett proposes limits on Mass. inmates being sent out-of-state Press Release

Boston – Yesterday the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security heard from State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) about his bill to prevent sheriffs from sending inmates out of Massachusetts without meeting certain requirements.

In January, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson of Bristol County volunteered his inmates to help build a border wall proposed by President Trump. This would effectively mean sending prisoners — many serving short sentences for relatively minor crimes — nearly 3,000 miles away, far from rehabilitation services and their loved ones.

Senator Barrett is the author of An Act protecting inmate safety and the expenditure of state funds (S.1279), which would prohibit any sheriff from sending an inmate in his custody out-of-state without meeting certain requirements.

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Barrett seeks state funds for homeless veterans Press Release

During a recent public hearing, State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) testified on behalf of his bill that would guarantee state funding for a Bedford housing complex that caters to homeless veterans.

Barrett is the chief sponsor of a bill (S.2009) that would ensure 100% reimbursement to Bedford for the financial assistance it provides veterans who move into Bedford Green, situated on the grounds of the VA hospital.  The complex provides apartments to 69 homeless veterans from all over Massachusetts.

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Barrett recognizes local unsung heroines Press Release

This week, residents of Bedford, Lexington and Weston were honored as members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2017 class of Unsung Heroines.  Ann Guay, Alice Pierce and Pamela Fox were recognized as women who make a real difference in their neighborhoods and towns.

Senator Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, nominated Ms. Pierce because of her tireless work promoting democracy in her community.  She has spent over 40 years providing bookkeeping services and preparing financial disclosure reports free of charge to political candidates.  Barrett applauded Ms. Pierce and noted that she has “built up a reputation as a highly giving and valuable member of her community.”

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