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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New Thermo Fischer HQ in Waltham

Thermo Fisher Scientific supplies scientists with cutting-edge tools — things like gene sequencers to map DNA. The company will be coming up with the latest breakthrough tech. at its new global headquarters in Waltham. Here, welcoming Thermo Fischer alongside Senior VP Alex Stachtiaris; Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy; Travis McCready, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and State Rep. Tom Stanley.

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


Waltham Welcomes Wolverine

Wolverine makes great shoes (my wife and I love our Merrells).  Very happy the company’s New England operations are now in Waltham.  Here I am, cutting the ribbon with the Guv, his wife Lauren, Waltham Mayor McCarthy, and the Wolverine team.


Senate bill bars credit checks in hiring Press Release

To provide a measure of relief to Massachusetts job applicants, the State Senate has approved a bill, sponsored by State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), to restrict the use of credit reports in hiring and promotions.

“People see their credit reports dinged due to circumstances they couldn’t reasonably foresee — their spouse becomes ill, they get laid off, or they hit a combination of student debt and under-employment,” said Barrett.  “All these things are regrettable, but none should stop them from getting back on their feet.”

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Dry your tee? Senate brings back the old way Press Release

To promote energy conservation, the State Senate has taken the surprising step of legally reaffirming residents’ rights to a traditional but increasingly threatened practice — the option of hanging laundry out to dry on a clothesline.

State Senator Mike Barrett, chief sponsor of the policy change, says clothesline use is often barred by condo and homeowner associations.  Environmentally speaking, he says, that’s unfortunate.

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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

3rd Middlesex Area Dems multi-task

The pillars of 3rd MAD — 3rd Middlesex Area Democrats, the folks who keep my Senate district on the progressive up and up — really know how to eat breakfast and talk at the same time.  Can be messy!  But always fun.

3rd MAD Collage

Targeted by hate in Orlando

“The attack in Orlando was on gay people.  The attack was on Latinos.   The attack was on immigrants.  The attack was on Americans.  The attack was on all of us as human beings.  How to repel the attack?  In the U.S.,  the pace of change is painfully slow in the short run — but reaches farther than we ever dreamed in the long run.  That’s OK.  We’ll take it.  For the hard work of making our country a better place, each of us has signed up for the long run.”

— State Sen. Mike Barrett, June 15, 2016, vigil in Lexington, MA after the Orlando massacre.

Senate budget increases funding for the disadvantaged Press Release

During recent Senate debate on the state budget, the body adopted several amendments offered by State Senator Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, to fund programs that assist people living in especially difficult circumstances.

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Lawmakers give millionaires’ tax overwhelming endorsement The Boston Globe

If a “millionaires’ tax” is approved by Mass. voters in 2018, on the next dollar you earn after your first million in annual income, you’ll pay approximately nine pennies rather than approximately five. Adds up to an income tax that’s progressive but still reasonable.

Read the article on a progressive income tax for Massachusetts

Chelmsford rallies to fight opioid addiction

Under a hard rain, 360 runners hit the pavement for a Mother’s Day 5K for opioid addiction awareness.  Proceeds go to Healthy Chelmsford, a local partnership.  Here, with Run founders Nancy and Don Patch and Chelmsford Chief of Police James Spinney.  Learn more about their efforts.

Nancy's Run